Location: Mokpo, Korea (South)
I KNOW I KNOW...
I have been terrible at keeping this up to date...I never claimed to be a great writer!! haha...but I will try to update everyone as much as possible...even though I can hardly remember where I left off...
In terms of school (or I guess work)...
We had our school festival which was a great success...my English kids put on a production of Cinderella (script written by yours truly!) The principle thought it would be a great idea to include me IN the cast...I make quite the fairy godmother I'll have you know!! This month school has been quite busy...working with MJ is still challenging, and I do have some days where I feel like jumping out a window...but this is definitely a learning experience. She doesn't really like to vary from the curriculum; in the sense where even if the kids don't understand, we must go on because we have to complete the unit. Next week she is gone on a conference...so I'm really excited to have some fun with the kids, have a movie day with some popcorn, play some fun games using our vocab...that sort of thing!!! Tomorrow I get the day off...gotta love a country that gets the whole day off just to vote! woohoo!!
Been on a couple more teacher dinners...my most recent fear factor eating moment was last week...when I ate a LIVE crab...snappers and all!! (they were only about the size of a loonie, but still creepy and crawly!!!) Went to a dinner for UNESCO (which I continue to forget what it means, but essentially it's about different nations coming together and making relationships!!) At the dinner, there were 22 different countries represented. Canada was well represented, until the talent part of the night happened...our version of an unpractised Silent Night and Rudolph was BRUTAL compared to the Korean Fan Dance, a beautiful girl from India doing a traditional dance, a quartet from China that would compete with the four tenors! They also had a wonderful buffet....there was so much food; these people know how to throw a buffet! It ended up being a full-contact sport trying to get your plate full though...I got body checked by some womens child that was strapped to her back...the kids head literally had bruises on it, fairly sure I was not the first person she had used his head to push people out of her way with!!
Ive had some neat travelling experiences...
I went once again to Incheon to visit my friend Kylie...along with my Brock crew, we had quite the time. I went into Seoul the other weekend to do some needed Christmas shopping. Seoul is giant!! I still have yet to cover even half of it, but went to a couple different cities and explored the sites and shopping! One of my roommates from Brock, Julie, had been here for the past 2 years moved back to Korea again! Shes living in Busan (which will be amazing in the summer) and we were able to meet up while I was in Seoul. She is such an awesome girl, so Im so glad that well be able to get together from time to time.
Not sure if you had all heard but there was a big oil spill here in Taean (about an hour south of Seoul)...a Hong Kong tanker collided with a barge and its being called Koreas worst ever oil spill and the country is claiming a state of disaster. I was lucky enough to become involved in a Korean Environmental group, along with 11 other way-bleep-s (foreigners!) and we spent last Saturday cleaning rocks off with old rags. Sporting oh-so-attractive rubber overalls with boots attached we sat along one of the best beaches in South Korea covered in oil. The whole country has really rallied together to help clean it up. I was working along with 70 year old women sitting next to me, rags in hand. It was a really neat and eye-opening experience.
Santa Clause is coming...
Christmas is soon...and I cannot wait! I am so sad that I wont be able to join my family in Vermont though...GRRR!! Im lucky enough to have met some great friends who also wont be able to join their families, so Ill have lots of company! This weekend a bunch of friends are getting together at my girlfriend Andreas house...its potluck time!! On Christmas day Im travelling to Jindo to visit my friends Lisa, Lesley & Morgan and having a Christmas feast! Cant wait! Ive received cards and loved them all!! (thank you Grandma and Grandpa & Nana and Gramps...AND Mark and Sally, though that little gift is KILLING ME cause I cant open it yet!! Grrrr!!! )
Another thing Im lucky for this year is the chance to come home just after Christmas. Ill be heading home on the 29th of Dec. and will be home until the 15th of Jan. Then Im off to Vancouver to spend some time with Gramps & Nana, Uncle David & Aunt Janice, and hopefully Aunt Sharon, Terry and the boys!! Then Im off to Singapore...to visit with Sandy, Brian, Roscoe & Maggie and see all the sites that it has to offer me!!! I CANT WAIT!!!
Anyways, I am so excited to see as many of you as I can while Im back in town...and if not I want to send you all lots of love for Christmas!! Wishing you all the merriest of Christmas and a wonderful new year.
I will TRY to keep this up to date much better come the new year!!!
LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!!!l
love love love
until next time...
Location: Mokpo, Korea (South)
So here's an update on what I'm actually supposed to be doing here in Korea...teaching!!!
My schools name is Ae Hyang Elementary School. It is BRAND NEW!! It is a huge school, and we definitly don't fill even half of it. They are building apartments all around it, so we keep getting new kids all the time! We have a small staff which is nice...we all know the basic greetings in eachothers language, so everyone is really friendly!! Every morning before school...everyone goes to both the Pricipal and V.P's offices to say "good morning". It's kind of neat, that they make sure they say goodmorning to eachother before the day starts! Every monday morning we have a staff meeting, which I'm required to attend but for what reason I'm not sure. It's fully in Korean...and they have a tendancy to throw my name around during the meeting, but no one actually addresses me! Kind of awkward!!! haha..
Up until this past week, I hadn't been doing a whole lot...well nothing actually. MJ is a new teacher, and it obsessed with the textbook and not using anything but. She also likes to do everything by herself...slowly I have been working her in, so she lets me take over some of the work. I think she's finally realizing that I may know more about English then she does...hmmm?!!! ya think?!!
So I've started taking over more of the "main" teacher role. I still use the textbook (which is awesome to have on the days you aren't feeling so creative!) It is a struggle though. I teach from gr. 1-6. In the classes there is a WIDE variety of skill. There are many English tutoring centres here, so some of the kids do afterschool classes...some don't. Which makes it quite a task trying to teach the language and give everyone the attention and challenge according to their level. I have one extra class in which they've put gr. 3-6 in ONE class..i don't know what they were thinking, because some of the kids are working on single words, and the others are putting together full paragraphs...ahhh the joys of teaching!
My Vice-Principal has also decided that I am to put together the cirriculum/text book for the gr. 1-2...that's a whole lot of extra work I hadn't been counting on. But I'm kind of excited, because after I do this and after I leave Korea, the cirriculum that I made will still be used...(if it's good!!) Kinda neat eh?!!
It's also a struggle getting used to working with small children...I've made more of them than I'd like to admit cry. I'm not mean...well at least I hope I'm not, but the kids are very shy...especially with speaking English, and they seem to not like it when I stand there until they repeat the word or phrase I asked them to speak. Thus..the crying begins! But they are getting more comfortable, thanks to my persistence, the fact that I give them a lot of "high-fives" and bribery (yah so i bribe them...stickers, candy...they work wonders!! haha)
We have a lot of fun though, crying aside!!! I love the games, crafts and singing...yep, we sing a lot. I love it, i get to act silly and like a kid...they eat it up, and I never have to feel embarassed...cus they are under 12!!!
Anyways, back to lesson planning!! Until next time...
love love love
Location: Mokpo, Korea (South)
as promised I am trying to keep this up to date!!! Though I still have yet to figure out how to put photos up, but really the fact that I've managed to set up a blog is HUGE...so give me time on the rest of it!! haha!
We just finished celebrating Cheusok (which is Korean thanksgiving) and we got a full 5 day weekend...woohoo!! it was amazing! So some of the Way-bleep-s (which is apparently the Korean term for us "English kids") and I went to Busan for a vacation. It was a 5 hour journey and after a little sweat and frustration we got there. We met up with 7 others from closer to Seoul, so there was a HUGE group...and only 4 were not from Brock...how crazy is that!!!
Busan is the 2nd largest city in S. Korea having almost 2 mill. people, much bigger than Mokpo. It is Koreas largest seaport...has 2 (well maybe more, but I only visited 2) beaches and lots of resturants/bars/shopping!!! The weather was terrible...we only had one sunny day, plus the sunny day that we LEFT on! GAH! But we used the sunny day to our advantage sunning on the beach and on the rainy days went bowling and to the aqaurium. Did lots of walking around exploring the markets....they are so cool. Lots of fish and nasty looking things from the sea...but sooo neat to look at and take in all the "lovely" smells (YUCK!) I managed to wrangle 2 others into visiting a temple with me. The temple we went to see was called Beomeosa Temple, founded in 678..that is OLD!!! It is one of Korea's Great 5 Temples!! It was amazing...and we were there in time to see 2 monks have a drum ceremony, it was awesome...they beat this giant drum, it sounded unreal!!! I am so glad I went to visit it...it was so amazing to see all the carvings and paintings in the buildings. I can`t believe how beautiful it all was. I also can`t believe we made it there and back, because it was no where near our hostel and up in the mountains!! OH OUR HOSTEL...was not a hostel...it was a hotel...well, it was called a hostel, but i`ve stayed in hotels that weren`t this nice...and it was so inexpensive (which when you are still paying off a student loan is KEY!!) So despite the weather Busan was lovely. (we even managed to sneak in an Outback Steakhouse dinner!! haha...they had lots of western food there!)
Today I went to my first Korean wedding! It was pretty neat. I think I might have made more of a spectacle then the bride at first though!! I think this `white girl`threw everyone for a loop!! It was neat tho...no gifts are given, only $. Everyone eats before the ceremony. Then we went up stairs (it was in a hotel) and sat at more tables with a bigger buffet. This was an all you can eat wedding...which was amazing!! (so glad i wore a loose fitting dress!!) Everyone just sat and ate during the whole ceremony...which was wierd, plus the table in front of us had far too many bottles of soju, and got nice and rowdy (at 12 noon!) so they were pretty much shouting at eachother across the table for the whole thing. I would have lost it if i was the bride!!! Ah well...guess that`s the way it goes! The moms and many of the older women were in traditional Korean dress...they looked so lovely. Their dresses are so colourful and made with this wonderful silk...they are gorgeous! That part was really cool...but i still can`t get over how much food there was...it blew my mind...and made me quite happy because i`m fairly sure I won`t have to eat for a week!!!
Well i`m off to lie down...i`ve eaten far too much and my body doesn`t quite know how to handle it!!!
Till next time...
love love love
Location: Mokpo, Korea (South)
Well this is my first journal entry. I'll try and stay updated on this thing, but we'll see how that goes.
So far Korea is amazing!! The flight was long, sleeping in coach is a treat all in itself...it doesn't happen. Thinking more potent gravol is needed for the flight home! Everyone here has totally done their best to make me feel at home and help me in everyway possible. My co-teacher M.J. (who's name is unable to be formed in my mouth) is essentially the only thing that has so far kept me from being deported; she has been amazing. She's set me up with bank account, alien registration, grocery shopping tips and more!
I've been here for almost a month now...HOLY COW!!! It is starting to feel a bit more comfortable. I am getting better at navigating myself around my city...though I still do like walking in straight lines, because landmarks are difficult when all the writing and signs look the same! I've also run into some fellow Brock U. grads which have made this place a whole lot more fun and are helping me to fight off the homesickness.
Here are some things that have amazed/shocked me so far:
-the sterotype is true...I have yet to see a even partially safe driver that hasn't run a red...young drivers would have a field day with this city
-they love their horns...and boy do they honk them...ALL THE TIME...and they aren't just regular horns...they have jingles, it's kinda awesome...i want a personalized jingle on the focus when i come home!!!
-if you are walking...cars have the right of way...i've almost died multiple times trying to cross the street...on my GREEN!!
-I have never seen so many rediculous steering wheel covers in my life...it is both awesome and terrible at the same time!
-I realize why there are so many mountain/hiking shops...its not because they do alot of hiking...it is because in order to walk along the streets in the city, you need a walking stick, reflective vest, AND hiking boots so that you don't roll and ankle or fall in the numerous potholes. Road maintenance is not a high priority!!
-chewing with your mouth fully open is totally normal...UGH!
-dogs with both barretts in their hair and their ears died crazy colours...my favs have been 2 shitzus...one with blue and the other purple ears...YIKES!
-they can find a way to put either whole fish, fish heads, or lots of the bones of fish in any dish!!!
-grocery shopping...helmets, shin guards, and steel-toed boots needed. The carts don't just move forward and back, but side to side...not sure who's brilliant idea that was, considering the road rules that are followed here!!! No one says excuse me...or even the Korean equivalent...they just plow you over! haha...so i'm toughening up my shopping skills, learning to cart-check people!!
What I miss most so far:
-my family and friends...so get on booking those tickets folks!
-fast paced conversation...though I am able to get my fill with my Brock crew, but still on a regular basis it is missed.
-being able to go do typical errands (shopping, the bank, photo developing, getting directions, gym memberships) and it not take 45 mins to make some progress!
-COFFEE...oh wow....i don't know what they think this is, but it isn't coffee!!! haha...its either pre-made in a can, or instant...
=TERRIBLE!! (grandpa...you would not be impressed! though I'm sure some others are laughing at me right now loving the fact that i'm being forced to give up coffee!!)
What is AMAZING so far:
-Korean BBQ...oh man, do I love it...it's like Korean fajitas...AMAZING!
-trying all the cool drinks...they have so many drinks in their stores and I love trying them all....some have not been sucessful!
-glasses are CHEAP...got me a nice new pair for $60!!!
-trying the food...might as well try it all at least once...sometimes I try it again...sometimes not! haha!
-transportation: it is so cheap to get around here...taxis, buses, trains...so inexpensive
-the cafeteria lunches...they are prison-style!! we all line up with our steel plates and have the cafe ladies dish it out!! kinda feels like prison or the military but its a neat way to try out a bunch of Korean cuisine!!
-these pears...they are huge....i love them...i could eat them everyday, but they are out of season now, and expensive...i am not impressed!!
well...I'm sure I'll think of more...but for now, that's it!! I probably should do some lesson planning...that is why I'm here!! till next time....
love love love... J