Published: June 2nd 2011June 2nd 2011
It’s been two months since my last post and when I was asked to write a new one, my initial reaction was “But nothing has happened in those two months!” But when I sat down to think of what I’ve been up to I realized that this was incorrect, it’s just difficult to see because I’m actually so busy.
At school we had a big competition called “Guess the Words”. The kids all memorized lists of words and their definitions and then competed to see who could identify the most words in a minute and a half. A couple of my classes won their divisions and a couple of my students won their individual rounds. Some of them really enjoyed it, some just found it incredibly stressful. It was kind of stressful for the teachers to fit it into our class time, but I’d call it a success.
We had two teachers leave this past weekend, so I picked up a couple new classes recently. One goes until 8 at night. The class is pretty advanced and the students are three 13-year-old boys. We get along pretty well despite the warnings I got from other teachers. They’ve been passed
around a lot, but I think they’re hilarious. The other day they sang me a song about a lemon tree and there was dancing involved. I also picked up a new class of 8-year-olds. I have 3 classes in their division and they’re the least advanced, but they definitely make up for it in enthusiasm. They love to laugh and they’re big on volunteering to read, which makes my life a lot easier.
Outside of work, some of the other teachers and I recently took a weekend trip to Daejeon. It’s the 5th largest city in Korea and it’s about an hour south of Seoul by high-speed train. We met up with a high-school friend of one of the other teachers. Daejeon is considered the science capital of Korea, so there were a lot of math and science students from all over the world. It makes for an interesting dynamic. It was also interesting to walk around a town that sees a lot less foreigners than the area where we live. Dongtan has so many private English schools and foreigners teaching in their public schools that nobody really pays that much attention to us. This is definitely not the
case in Daejeon.
We also went to a baseball game a couple of weekends ago. My new team is the Doosan Bears. They’re based out of Seoul and they lost the game we went to see. But it was fun to see how Koreans do baseball. They love it! And they all know a bunch of songs and cheers and they have cheerleaders, etc.
A couple of weeks ago I also got my wallet stolen, which was somewhat less of a fun experience. Luckily I didn’t have much cash in it, but they didn’t hesitate to use my cards. I understand that I’ll get that money back, but so far this hasn’t happened. Replacing the cards in my wallet will take a while as well b/c my credit card needs to be shipped from the US and the consulate has a new policy where alien cards take a month to process instead of a little over a week. I also have to replace my gym card but I haven’t worked up the courage to have that conversation with the people who work there. Communication will definitely be an issue, but my students explained to me how to say
“wallet”, so I should be able to make it work.
This past weekend I moved into a new apartment that the school built for their foreign teachers. It’s really nice, though quite a bit smaller than my old apartment. The problem is that I leave for work a lot later than the other people living there and the workers are still doing work in the hallways, like painting. They get started right after everyone else leaves. Today, this meant that I got taped up inside my apartment and my boss had to come get me out. While they were moving us they didn’t really want us hanging out, so we went and hung out in the park for several hours. I got my first sunburn of the summer, but we got to the watch the water shows that they have in the middle of the park 3 times a day. It was a lot of fun and really entertaining and we got REALLY wet sitting at the edge of the fountain.
I have a lot of trips coming up as next weekend we have 3 day weekend for Korean Memorial Day, so we’re going to Seoraksan, which is up in the mountains and I understand there’s a beach and a casino as well. I’m pretty excited for the beach since the weather is getting so nice. In July I’m going to the Boryeong Mud Fest which is on the west coast. Apparently they have special magical mud that cures all topical ailments. And I just booked plane tickets to Malaysia from end of July to the first week of August which I am REALLY excited about. Even more excited that planet tickets cost about $175 less than we originally thought!
So with all the trips coming up I'll keep you posted!