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.

Week 9, 2017

I feel like it’s getting more difficult to differentiate between days, weeks, months the longer I am here…does that mean I’m more comfortable because things don’t stick out as much? That I’m finally acclimatized to things and how they’re done here?

I have no idea what happened last Monday other than it was the last Monday of the 2016 Winter term.

Tuesday was our head teacher’s last day. It was really surreal feeling. It didn’t seem real; she’s been here the whole six months I’ve been in Korea and has been a super cool head teacher.

I got eyelash extensions before school because why not?

Wednesday we didn’t have work because of Sam-il which celebrates the first demonstrations and resistance against Japanese colonialism in Korea; it is credited with gaining momentum for the Korean Independence Movement.

I’m not 100% sure but I’m pretty sure I stayed home and watched dramas all day… I also sent 203943890 snaps to my friend Lee. They said this snapchat filter is my ~true~ form. I agree.

Thursday was the start of the new term. I have the lowest level of learners once on Tues-Thurs and they are so cute! I have a pretty good mix of students that I’ve taught the previous two terms and new students.

Friday I had two more of the lowest level classes right out the gate. I’m a bit more worried about my Mon, Wed, Fri classes because the the lower level classes keep trying to talk to me in Korean and I, obviously, keep talking to them in English then we reach an impasse where we just stare at each other. It’s so awkward! So cute, but damn, so so awkward.

Saturday I went with our new teacher to sign up for Korean class! I woke up at 8:30 on a weekend… *shocked* We took a taxi to Yeongtong Station in Suwon. It was such a hilarious trip because we had the most adorable, dad taxi driver. He picked us up and immediately wanted to know where we were from. After he learned we were from America he proceeded to unlock his phone and show us a photo of his daughter who goes to University of Kansas. He wanted to know which states we were from and why we were in Korea. He asked us if we were military and my mind immediately went to,”lololololololol, what you playin’ at old man?!” I told him we were teachers and he immediately rubbed his hands together to signify his approval of our money making ventures. Oh man, he was a hoot!

We finally arrived at Yeongtong Station and after the most ridiculous confusion we realized we were not lost and there was a sign right in front of our faces about the class we were looking for. We got in and registered for our classes. I suddenly understood how our new students feel when we ask them if they have an English name because that happened to me here. I was good because I already have a Korean name but dang that’s some pressure to put on someone. I’ve studied Hangul previously I was placed in level one. Asia was placed in Hangul class. Another teacher at our school, Olivia, registered also and will be in the same level as Asia. We were there for probably five minutes and finished; I was told I could buy my book that day so we made our way to the front desk. Come to find out I already have both the text and workbooks from attempting to self study. So yay! 🙂

After that, we hopped on the train to Suwon Station because Asia wanted to return some things she bought and didn’t need. We walked around, got lunch, and got her a SIM card for her phone. A pretty productive day so far if I do say so, and it was only about two in the afternoon at this point.

I had gotten home and I got a message from a guy, Sung, I have talking to saying we should go to the seashore. So he picked me up and we drove for about an hour to Daebudo, an island in the Yellow Sea on the western coast of South Korea. That was probably the longest I’ve been in a car since I arrived in Korea and took a taxi from the airport. We got to our destination, walked along the mud flats, looked at shells, and then Sung said he wanted to watch the sunset. So we got back in the car and drove to the western part of the island that is known for sunsets. It was getting chilly so we headed to a restaurant for dinner. He talked me into eating octopus. <_< We got seafood stew that had octopus, crabs, clams, and shrimp. It wasn’t that bad. He also ordered seafood potato pancake. I wish I would have taken pictures because this stew looked like a work of art. Then we came back to Suwon, he dropped me off and went back home to Seoul. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

Sunday I planned on doing laundry all day. I got a message from a Korean teacher at my school asking if I wanted to join her and another teacher at the mall for shopping. That sounded a hell of a lot more fun than laundry so I agreed. Apparently it was their mission to find me a pair or two of pants because a comment was made previously in the week about how my pants are too big. While this was done with the best intentions, finding plus size pants here in a regular store is next to impossible. Even back home, finding pants to fit me in a store is difficult. She thought she found pair that looked like they’d fit… I couldn’t get them over my knees because of my chunky thighs. I appreciated the gesture and effort, but it just wasn’t meant to be. We walked around and looked at all the stuff in the mall, ate some pretty cake, and had coffee. I started to feel really tired so we parted our ways and I went home. I went straight to bed because I developed  a headache. I slept for an hour and then did some dishes and read for a bit.

Until next week,

B

Week 8, 2017

Monday our new teacher arrived at campus! That means I have been in Korea for ~six months~ it doesn’t feel like that long in some ways and in others it feels longer. The new teacher went with the current head teacher, who is leaving us on Tuesday :(, and I to get lunch and look around the area of our school. The new teacher informed me that she, along with the two new teacher at the Avalon down the road had read my blog. This was a shock to me as I never thought about anyone other than people I actually know reading this…

Later, my class of girls figured out that you can still take photos and videos even if my phone is locked… here is some of their artistry:

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I got another sinus thing this past week and it cleared pretty quickly…I take vitamins and eat more fruits and vegetables than I ever did back home, but I still get sick. 😦

Everyone has been anxious about the end of this term and wanting to plan for next term. We all just wanted to know what classes we’d be teaching. We got a semi-final schedule on Thursday and I was satisfied with it. Then scheduling errors had to fixed and we got a new schedule on Friday. I am so nervous! I have to teach the babies of the beginner level on three separate occasions.

Friday night we went out to a steak dinner and went to noraebang (karaoke) and sang our hearts out for Andrea’s last Friday hurrah. It was very fun. But also odd that the noraebang had many cats in the hallway living in cages…


Yesterday I worked in the morning for open class. This is where we have mock classes with kids to show them how classes will be if they sign up. As usual, there seems to have been misunderstanding and miscommunication about timing and supplies. While I was at work repairmen came and fixed my boiler so I now can have hot showers! ❤

I started a painting… not sure about it. I’m not confident in my painting skills like I am in drawing. I’ll post a photo of it when it’s completed.

Today I met the new teacher, Asia, and we went to Suwon Station and walked around Lotte Mall. She bought some things she needed and we looked around. We found this awesome juice shop in the basement of the department store and it was so delicious.

Here’s a scary Snapchat video I took.


Until next week,

B

The week my cat died.

This past week has been spent preparing for the new term at school. This also brought the departure of a coworker and the arrival of a new one. I’m no longer the “new” one, so that feels a bit unreal.

Tuesday we were told to come in early for a meeting which was implied that we would go over schedules for the new term. We all get there and there is a new director for our school! I had heard rumors about getting a new director but I didn’t really give it much credence. As with any management change, there are already changes in procedures and it’ll be interesting to see how it all pans out. And if any of these changes would influence me to stay here by extending my contract or not. Now that Sean and I have to have our desks in the directors room as of last Friday it makes me a bit more nervous than it did initially.

Wednesday I felt off and sad for no particular reason. After work I went home and just sat in my bed in the dark. I had a weird feeling that I should call my parents house knowing full well that they were at work. So I messaged my mom to ask about adding something to the box of clothes I ordered and had sent to their house. She responded that I should call their house because my dad was home sick. I called at around 1 am my time and I was informed that my cat, Emily, had passed away. After we talked about some other news, I hung up and cried until 3 am. I woke up again at 7:30 crying.  I don’t know which would have been worse, feeling guilty that I’ve been away from her in last three months of life or knowing that if she were living with me when she died I’d be even more of a wreck. Rest In Peace Emily 1995 – 2016. The last 21 years wouldn’t have been as good without your cuddles and company 💔😞

Thursday was the start of the new term and I had a bit of an anxiety attack when I got to work because my computer background is a picture of Emily’s cute dumb face. I was trying to quickly to change it to something else and was just getting more irritated. I was telling Sean about my cat dying and was crying – all while the new director is looking at me probably like, “what is wrong with this mess?” Sean was kind enough to tell her for me while I sobbed. Then I went to get something from the copy room and I ran into the foreign head teacher, Andrea, and she asked me if I was okay and I lost it and made the ugliest crying faces I’ve ever made. I am the world’s ugliest crier so that was probably a joy to see. Other than a couple tears leaking out, I think those are the only two times I cried at work, thank God.

My classes this term seem like they’ll be good. My classes are significantly smaller on Tuesday/Thursdays which I don’t mind at all. I feel it makes it easier to get things done and focus on extra things if needed. The classes on Monday/Wednesday/Friday are bigger but are older students for the most part. I had a new student on Friday who wanted to make an English name and I was caught so off  guard by that. I was not prepared to name this child! I asked the class for suggestions, added some of my own, and had her pick because she didn’t have a name in mind.

I had to work yesterday for “Open Class.” When prospective students come to our school and check it out – we give them an overview of what classes would be like and gauge their abilities. My experience was unique as there were only two students scheduled and only one showed up. The past two weekends, they’ve had open class as well and they had over ten kids both times.

After open class I walked around and then came back for a nap. Later in the evening, I met up with Sean, Brittany, and Nick and we went to Jamsil-dong in Seoul. Sean has a friend, Tim, who lives there from his previous teaching job; he and his girlfriend were kind enough to host us all for a movie night. We were supposed to meet up with Elizabeth at the subway station but it seems that some miscommunication happened and Elizabeth was at the incorrect station and decided to go home as she had been in Seoul all day. We watched Popstar, which I didn’t really have any desire to see but it was really funny and I enjoyed it a lot. Then we moved on to the The Good Guys, I was having a great time until my stomach started to get crampy and angry and that movie seemed like it was going to go on foreverrrrrr. Everyone else wanted to go a bar and I was going to catch a cab and go back home because I was not feeling well. Our gracious hosts gave me some tummy meds, got me a blanket, and let me stay at their apartment until they came back from the bar so I could split the cost of the cab fare with the others.