Week 22, 2017

On Monday we got our schedules for the new term that starts on Thursday. There weren’t many surprises there for me… I also didn’t feel panicked this time; and frankly that’s concerning because there’s a lot to prep and I’m just over here like ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ whatevs, man.

The new foreign teacher arrived at school and I was tasked with showing him how to prepare and organize the materials for one of the levels he’s going to be teaching which coincidentally I will be teaching too.

Tuesday was the last day of spring term for our two day classes. I bought kids that got a perfect score on every speech a snack. I have a lot of the same students next term especially from my lowest level, the cutie babies. 👶🏻💜 My desk was an absolute disaster and I took a lot of my materials home to get prepared for the upcoming units.

Wednesday was the last day for four coworkers 😧! Two of the Korean teachers, one native English teacher, and a support staff all are moving on to different chapters in their lives. It was very nice getting to know them and sad to see them go. I was very proud because I did not cry! This was the last day of thee day classes and again, I bought kids that got a perfect score on every speech a snack. This time, it caused hard feelings and made one student extremely upset.

Thursday, as you may have guessed, was the first day of summer term for our two day classes. Everything’s a mess and I feel a bit off because of the change in routine, but otherwise it went great. I have a lot of repeat students so that was nice. It was a bit weird in the teacher’s room because our three coworkers are now gone and new ones have joined us. I kept looking over expecting to see Summer and she wasn’t there. ☹️ I wore a maxi dress to work, the first time ever wearing a dress to work, and I got so many compliments. I got upset though, because my dress got stuck in the wheels of my chair and now has holes in the back. My coworker told me to just put holes all over the bottom to make it look like it’s on purpose. I might just do that 🤔 I got many of my previous students from Winter term back. Some of them have grown so much physically and mentally in our three months apart.

One student that I’ve had every term since my arrival, Olivia, was “very sad” that I’m not her teacher this term.

Friday I had an awesomely terrible sinus headache so that made the day fun. It felt like my eyeballs were going to shrivel up and pop out of my head. It was the first day of summer term for three day classes and it went rather smoothly, I think. I was previously invited to go out after work but I felt so gross that I just wanted to go home and sleep. So I did.

I slept so long I slept through my alarm for Korean class and missed the final exam and party. I felt extremely refreshed when I woke up because I had taken an extra anti-histamine pill before bed. I did absolutely nothing on Saturday except walk down the street to buy milk so I could eat cereal.

Sunday I woke up with a headache again and pain in my ears ☹️ and did laundry. I also seem to have acquired four mosquito bites during my slumber. I will, no doubt be going back to the doctor on Monday morning.

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Week 21, 2017

This week is the last full week of this term Monday I spent the day ensuring I had my materials ready as I would be “on vacation” Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.

Tuesday I had a parents meeting with mother of one of the students from the lowest level class. I told her that her son is so well behaved and an angel. She laughed and agreed by saying, “I’m very thankful for him too!” It was a very cute response.

I quadruple checked my materials and handed them over to the director to check after classes. I got a message from her and I was so shocked I took a picture of it. She rarely gives out compliments, if at all – so I felt the need to document it. 

After work, nearly all of my coworkers went out to eat.

Wednesday was the start of my vacation. Because I’m lazy and don’t really plan things, I didn’t go away. I went to a multi room and played wii all day long and watched random movies. I was there from 1 pm until 7 pm. Then I went to eat spicy marinated chicken.

Thursday I went to Myeongdong to meet my former coworker, Andrea, who came back to Korea after three months of traveling around Asia. We went shopping and got haircuts. I bought Kyle a pretty awesome magnet for his collection but I lost it before I even got home, because I suck. 😞

The first thing I noticed about the hair dye below was not that it was Disney inspired, oh no. The fact that Rapunzel has become “Lapunzel” was the first thing I noticed. Fair enough though because “ㄹ” has a r/l sound so it doesn’t really matter to Koreans.

I got these sweet Marvel character masks and I’m so impressed. Also, if you think it’s a good idea to try to eat with one of these masks on you are sadly mistaken.

Friday I wasn’t feeling well. I had the worst headache I’ve had in years. I couldn’t force myself to get out of bed, I tried but it just wasn’t happening. I finally got up to go to the doctor. I’ve still been coughing up goo and having coughing fits. I was given five pills to take three times a day for three days. After I got my medicine, I got some food, and made my way to work to pick up a package that came for me from Modcloth. Sorry for the shitty photos but I don’t have a full length mirror. But here’s what I got:

Now you may be asking yourself, “I don’t recall Britt ever liking to wear skirts or dresses…” Well, that’s because, to borrow from 보라씨, I think I look like a potato in them. But I decided to say “fuck it” and just wear what I want because people already stare at me here. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Saturday I went to Korean class and there were only four students there including me. When the class first started it was full with thirteen students. We did a practice final exam. I didn’t do horrible but it wasn’t perfect either. I was asked to stay after class for the student council meeting because our class president was one of the people absent. I just sat there listening because I was not sure about what was going on. We were given kimbap and as hard as I try, I just can’t like it. I was able to force down four or five slices before I called it quits. After class I walked around Suwon Station for a bit and ate the spiciest thing I’ve eaten while in Korea. I got a “spicy” chicken sandwich and while eating it wasn’t that hot but, it snuck up on me and when I was about to finish eating it hurt to breathe. It was so painful. Omg I felt like I was cooking from the inside out.

Sunday I didn’t do much besides have a lot of water and consume my pills. I finally got bored with reading Reddit *gasp! I know right?!* and decided I should probably leave my house at some point. I tried my hand at setting up the movie theater app on my phone but I asked me for my login info from a points card I got when I first came to Korea – so of course I didn’t remember any of that. So I ventured down a journey figuring out my login id and resetting my password. Which of course is ~all~ in Korean. Then I set up Kakao Pay so I could save my payment info…again, all in Korean. I was finally successful with purchasing a ticket to the movies and I set out on the bus…only to realize I got a ticket at the other theater. Hahaha… of course I would do that, right? So I get off the bus, luckily in an area I’m semi-familiar with. I decided this would be as good of a time as any to try out Kakao Taxi, a service that reserves a taxi for you after you enter in your starting and finishing point on a map…all in Korean. I was successful after a few trial and error issues. I got to to the theater with ten minutes to spare before my movie. So I feel massively proud of myself that I was able to figure all of that out! 😎✌🏻

Until next week,

B

Week 20, 2017

I don’t really remember much from this past week. I forgot to write it down as it was happening…

Thursday one of my classes told me they were hungry and that I should buy them pizza… I told them no I shouldn’t and they should buy me pizza (jokingly of course). They asked why they should buy me food and I said because it will be my birthday on Friday. One of the students, Ann, was so excited at the idea that teachers have birthdays too. She told me she’d give a present to her little sister, Lisa, who is also one of my students on Friday. After we finished our lesson, she called her mom to tell her it was my birthday the following day. These kids are so precious sometimes.

Friday I turned 31.  As promised Ann’s little sister, Lisa, delivered the goods before classes started for the day. A cute treat bag full of candies. When class started, Lisa announced to the class that it was my birthday and asked them to sing Happy Birthday for me. I was in awe. Our former coworker came back from a three month excursion around Asia. Some of the kids were so confused at first. Others seemed to go crazy at the sight of her. The day went by relatively quickly. After work I went for a steak dinner and walked around the park. The school got me a super delicious cake for my birthday. 😎


Saturday I met the majority of my coworkers at Suwon Station. We were traveling to Jeonju by train. I’d never been on an intended long train ride in Korea. It was interesting but not that much different than a bus. The ride to Jeonju seemed to be going by really fast. We set out to find our lodging – a hanok. These traditional style buildings are so beautiful and interesting. The hanok we stayed at was very simple and cute. We went to wonder around and look at things around the area. Everyone, even the two dudes, got hair ornaments. Everyone except me got hearts. I got this sick hair pinwheel which was helping me make energy and brain power.


I took a photo of a random couple looking a tree that had surrounded a granite boulder while dressed in Hanbok. I took quite a few random photos.

We went to the night market. It was dirty and gross, like how I envision urban markets to be but haven’t really experienced. There was a giant pedestrian traffic jam and it was making me so anxious because the people were not moving. Later we went to a noraebang.

On Sunday, we woke up and went to get outfitted in Hanbok. The lady in the shop told me they wouldn’t have a jacket in my size and I could dress as a man. I anticipated this and was against dressing as a man. I either wanted to look like a pretty princess or look like my normal self. So I said no thank you and waited on the stairs while everyone else in the group found costumes. I was getting ready to go to a different shop and see if they had fat people sizes when the lady came out with a jacket and asked me to come try it. So I was outfitted in a navy blue Hanbok and ready to party. Except, it was exceptionally hot in that thing! We went to eat and explore more. I feel like I have never taken nor had that many photos taken of me in an hour and a half before. There was this super cute man who owned a coffee shop we stopped at that insisted on taking our photos with his own phone and offered to take photos of us on our phones as well. At first it was really creepy but it got more endearing as he suggested poses for us. Soon, it was time to return the hanbok and make our way to the train station to come back home.

Until next week,

B

Week 19, 2017

Monday and Tuesday the kids were absolutely wild and crazy. Whether from the long weekend or being off from school because of the election, their attention spans were not amazing.

Wednesday we got Indian food for lunch 😁 and we had term test. And Thursday was term test for the two day classes. One of the girls in my lowest level classes always smells my arms and I thought that was a bit odd. I asked my Korean co-teacher to ask her why she does this and her response was precious; “because I want to explore,” well okay, do your thing.

Friday… I got so frustrated, I cried at work. Because my normal ways of dealing with frustration aren’t acceptable in professional settings, the only way for the mass of emotion to exit was through tears.

Saturday I woke up and got ready for Korean class, talked with Hannah for a bit and started coughing again. I coughed so hard it made me throw up…on myself. I gave up on everything at that point and just went back to bed.

I slept for a fair amount of time and decided I should still accomplish my plan for the day. I stopped at one of the restaurants I frequent to get a bit to eat before conquering my mission and the man upgraded my meal and gave me extra food. I was trying to have a small meal and that wasn’t happening. I thanked him profusely. While I was eating it was pouring with a couple rounds of thunder and lightning. By the time I was finished, the rain had stopped enough for me to wait at the crosswalk and get to the bus stop. What very polite weather we had! I went to Itaewon to check out a store for people bigger than Korean sizes. I don’t know what I was expecting, but it wasn’t it. Because my parents are nice and sent me pants I didn’t really check out that portion of the store, I was a bit disappointed with the selection of tops but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I’ll get over it. The staff was super friendly and hilarious. I had to keep exiting the dressing room because there weren’t mirrors inside and at one point one woman gasped and said, “oh my god! Your skin is just so white!” I laughed and lifted the skirt of the dress I was trying on to my knees, and I think she almost fainted.  😂👍🏻

Sunday I went to the mall to get sunglasses but they were out of the frames I wanted. ☹️ So I decided to go to the movies while I was there. I saw King Arthur and since the only promo I saw of it was Charlie Hunnam kicking ass I did not expect it to be the way it was. I didn’t love it and I didn’t hate it. It was a good way to kill two hours.

Until next week,

B

Week 18, 3017

Monday and Tuesday we had Children’s Day celebrations for our classes. Our campus had a Pokémon theme. We played bingo, stack the cups, had the students write cards for their parents, and did paper puzzles like mazes, and word finds. One of our classes on Tuesday gets an extra half hour of class so they got to play jeopardy. They also had “battles” against another class where they got to play games as a class. The kids seemed to really enjoy it. 

Wednesday was Buddha’s Birthday so I didn’t work! Thank you Buddha! It was hot enough for me to turn on the air con. It was 82 degrees  fahrenheit at noon today. I did extensive cleaning, garbage sorting, and laundry. Then I decided to go walk around the mall. 

While waiting for the bus to the mall, I saw a former coworker out of the corner of my eye. We used to hang out and haven’t talked for months. I found it amusing how much effort she was putting in to make sure I didn’t see or talk to her, or whatever the fuck she was trying to do. She sees me and stops dead in her tracks and starts taking selfies by a flowering bush next to the sidewalk, all while having her back to me but I can see her face on the phone screen. She moves into the bus stop area but still has her back to me, a very unnatural way to move. It just made her that more awkwardly obvious. Part of me really wanted to crush her obvious desire for avoidance but the other part of me was like, “nah, if I wanted to talk to you I would have before now.” So I just smirked at her awkwardness, got on the bus, and went about my business.

Thursday was back to work. It was so discombobulating. Because Friday is a holiday as well, there were hardly any students in attendance. My first class of the day only had two students of ten show up. For my next two classes, my co-teacher and I combined our classes and we played rock, scissor, paper to see who would teach first. 😂 It was quite a day. 

Friday was Children’s Day so again no work. I had plans to go to the arboretum with a friend but “something important came up…” while I don’t doubt this is a legit excuse, this is the second time this week it’s happened – it’s annoying. So I stayed home until the late afternoon because it was quite warm out. I took myself to the movies and dinner. I saw Guardians of the Galaxy 2. It was a good movie. It made me stop thinking about dumb shit for the duration of it so that’s good. 

Saturday we didn’t have Korean class but I met two of my classmates, Claudia and Shabrina, and we went to Dongdaemun Design Plaza for an exhibition on Pixar 30 Years of Animation. It was very awesome. We were there for three and a half hours! Then we took the train to Jamsil and walked around in the Lotte World Mall. It was a great day – I walked 9.1 km and didn’t get home almost 12 hours after leaving in the morning. 

Sunday I went to a multi room near Suwon Station. I played Wii for two hours. I’m hilariously bad at video games so it was a fun time. 

Until next week,

B

Week 17, 2017

Monday was cool until my last class. There is a boy in that class that is known for touching himself, no, full on masturbating while in class. I made eye contact with him whilst he was rubbing away and said,  “uh what are you doing? Put both of your hands on the desk right now.” He complied but resumed as soon as I turned to write on the board. I felt so sorry for the boy sitting next to him 😳

Last week I received a formal invitation to my Korean coworker’s wedding in June. I was like cool! Then I realized I have the most casual closet in the universe and nothing appropriate to wear. I was voicing this concern out loud and one of my coworkers had the attitude of, “omg just get a dress…” Right, because I’ll fit into tiny Korean clothes. I don’t really understand how a person looking at me could think my butt could fit into Korean clothes. The top half, yes; but the bottom half…you’ve probably got to get your eyes checked.

Wednesday we had a campus dinner after work. We all went to eat Indian food. I was starving and decided to forgo the picking out of peas (a food I am allergic to) and eat the aloo samosa straight away. This was a very bad idea and I paid for it later on. The rest of the food was amazing and it brought back many memories that feel like a lifetime ago when I lived in Chicago.

Friday was chaos. My baby student who is four got hit in the face by another student… after he finished yelling at the offender, he looked at me with those “I’m going to start bawling” eyes, and raised his arms to be picked up. So of course I picked him up, inspected his face, and asked him if he’s okay. He cried maybe one tear and was okay.  Later another student in the same class was swinging between the tables, slipped, and hit his head on the floor after I told him twice to stop doing so. After that incident I made all the boys line up against the wall. 

After classes we decorated the campus for children’s day in a Pokémon theme. We were fed pizza. It was cool. 

Yesterday I went to Korean class… nothing special but I realized I’m exactly like my students that don’t really study English and show up to class. 

Lately I’ve been feeling a little more lost than usual, battling myself in my head, and being a bit sad. 

It’s pretty isolating living here. I have met some people staying at hostels, over the internet, at Korean class, and at work but those relationships don’t ever seem to be anything more than superficial. I’ve learned that when Koreans say, “next time” they are essentially saying, “fuck off, let’s not meet again.” So that’s been an interesting learning experience. 

I am not happy with my job environment but I like the main part of my job…do I stay in Korea and try to find a different job and hope it has better aspects than the one I currently have or do I go home and again become the miserable shell of a human I was when I lived there? Do I try to find a job in a different country? Fuuuuck if I know. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯