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Published: September 18th 2006
Today begins week four of teaching at Jung-ang Girls' High School. So far, so good. I'm loving the students more each day-- gosh, what energy they have!-- and I have a feeling already that they will be what I miss most when the time comes to leave Yeosu. Last week, I taught about vowel pronunciation, and this week I'm talking about different kinds of greetings in English (from "Wassup?" to "Good morning, how are you?"). Many are pretty good at English already-- they've been taking English classes since elementary or middle school. But, in most English classes, the students and teachers do not speak in English. They only learn grammar, how to dissect sentences, random vocabulary, some reading, etc. Little conversation and little writing. So my job, thus, is to teaching speaking and writing.
I've been surprised how bold some of my students are, considering their lack of English-speaking opportunity in the past. Many come and speak to me throughout the day, which I think is courageous. I know that in learning Spanish, I was always shy to speak to native Spanish speakers. But it is nice to have that connection-- with 18 classes a week and 500 different students,
it's hard to give individual attention to students in class. So, it's great when they come talk to me on their own.
Beyond school grounds, things are still going well. A couple weekends ago, I went to a nearby town called Suncheon for some shopping and spending time with my host sister and her English hagwon teacher (Jackie). Jackie has also started tutoring me in Korean, which I really appreciate. Every Tuesday we've been getting together, eating dinner and having coffee, and then studying Korean. She is quite kind to be helping me like that.
And, within the past few weeks, I've eaten my fair share of raw fish (sushi in Japanese... in Korean something else). Delicious, of course, but really a new experience. Octopus, squid, eel, regular fish, etc. etc. And then there was the aforementioned raw meat ordeal. I went out to lunch with my co-teacher and another English teacher for my favorite Korean meal-- bibimbap (rice and vegetables and meat all mixed together-- very fresh and tasty!). My co-teacher mentioned that the meat at this restaurant was served a little raw, but I just assumed he meant rare, so I said that was okay. Besides,
I'm adventurous, right? Well, turns out it's literally raw meat. At least, so I believe to this day. Anyway, it was delicious, regardless and surprisingly. But, for several days afterwards, I had visions of ugly things coming to life in my stomach due to ingesting uncooked meat. Well, talk about cultural experiences.
Lately, I've just been trying to adjust to Yeosu life, so it's been socializing here and there, relaxing some, and teaching a lot. Which is fine by me, for now. I've explored Dolsan a little more, gone out for some of the night life in Yeosu City, gone to the beach, and watched a lovely sunset along the western shores of the peninsula. Soon, maybe, I'll spread my wings and start traveling some more. But, for now, I'm just enjoying learning new things every day.
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