Tuesday, January 8, 2013

One Thing Is Certain…

I am NEVER going to be fully ready to leave this country.  Ever.

As the last two months have been consumed with teaching applications, lesson planning, interview preparations, studying for teaching exams, and future planning, I actually had thought that I was absolutely 100% ready to close this chapter and begin the next.  I was wrong.  I hate it when that happens.

This evening, as with all evenings of the past year and a half, I stopped by my favorite restaurant to pick up dinner for my boys.  I walked in and sat with my friend, the owner, and we had coffee and chatted about our day.  Both of us have very limited grasp of the other’s language, but we always enjoy one another’s company. He is soon planning to take a month vacation backpacking in another country.  That’s cool, I tell him.  He asked me to run one morning by the river with him.  It’s cold out there.  and snowy.  and ice covered everything.  Fat chance of that happening. But I appreciated the offer. 


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Teaching in Korea

There are so many things I have to say on this matter (and I haven’t blogged in a really long time) so I’m going to try to keep this as focused as possible.  My apologies in advance for the many tangents that I am going to have on this one.

First and foremost, teaching in Korea is in no way comparable to teaching in America for a million reasons. First, the majority of us are teaching at hagwons (after school academies – think Sylvan Learning Centers for the upper middle class). These in no way compare to the intensity of public school teaching in America. They aren’t supposed to.  Also, we are hired more as cultural representatives/well-behaved local celebrities than English grammar teachers.  I don’t know anyone that teaches grammar actually.  Most of us teach speaking and/or writing.  Why do we teach these subjects?  Because it encourages (read:forces) our students to talk to us and practice/learn proper pronunciation and conversational English. We are hired to be entertainers, encouragers and paradigm shifters with a bit of experience in crowd control. We are hired to be the face of the cultures that they only read about in books and see on TV. We are the all singing, all dancing teachers of Korea.  But we are teachers and have the opportunity to be amazing ones within this construct.  If you embrace that, you will love your job.  If you don’t, best of luck to you. It’s gonna be a rough year.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Letters From Students

Three students left our hagwon today.  Three of my favorite students.  I’m super sad about it. Being that this is Korea and we have school 5 days a week, 52 weeks a year, I don’t really ever deal with elaborate goodbyes or end of year sadnesses.  Most students just sneak out the door on their last day and don’t come back. Today was different. It was sad.  I did get a couple really sweet goodbye letters and a really sappy goodbye from an eleven year old boy though.  But for being Halloween, it’s been a really emotional day.

Both these girls are finishing up 8th grade. They are best friends and would come hang out with me often in between classes. Letter one is from a student name Kate.  She is smart but she was impossible to get to speak in class. All she does is giggle. She also works daily as the English/Korean translator for the author of the second letter.  (Click the pictures to make them larger.)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A 20-Kilometer Day–Part 2

After Becki and I finished our mountain 5k and picked up our awards, we grabbed a taxi over to the Shintanjin side of Gyejoksan.  Here we met Lee Ann and Lydia for the 7k Barefoot walk.  I did this last year as well but this year went much smoother. When you arrive, you check your shoes at the bottom of the mountain and begin your hike. It’s about 2.5km up to the ridge for the 7km.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A 20-Kilometer Day–Part 1

In all honesty, I’m a little surprised that an ambulance wasn’t called yesterday. I definitely over-scheduled myself.  Me being me however, I just assumed I could do it without really working out the specifics.  And I did it.  And then slept for about 16 hours.

20121014_075338First on the docket was a mountain 5k at 8am. We really didn’t know when we signed up for it whether that 5k was actually on the mountain or on the street next to the mountain.  I was happy to find out the race was on the mountain because I’m really familiar with this particular one and like it an awful lot. And, now I can say that I’ve done a race on a mountain. Who else can say that? However, I was forgetting one very major  obstacle.  To do a race along the ridge, you must first climb the mountain. A mere 300 meters.  For you none-hiking folks, that’s like climbing 1,685 stairs, or the equivalent of about 112 staircases, and then arriving at the top 15 minutes before you begin your run.  Awesomeness.

The picture is blurry, sorry.  My number was my birthday backwards. That could only be a positive sign, right?

Sunday, September 30, 2012

School Lunches in Korea

This blog posting has been brought to you by:

Blogcrastination - noun.

The act or habit of, putting off or delaying blog posts.

Ex. She dearly loved to blog, yet her blogcrastination led to very sparse posting indeed.

definition “borrowed” from http://leeskoreablog.blogspot.kr/ 


Onward to the subject of this blog.  Think school meals in America are rough?  Try Korea.  Yes, if you are Korean, or a foreigner living in Korea, this food seems quite normal and causes zero (or mostly zero in the case of foreigners) apprehension.  However, I thought this would be great for all you teachers and parents that read this.  Threaten your kids with this menu and see what happens!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

E.T. & Teddy Bears

I lasted almost two full years but it appears that I’ve now almost completely fallen off the blog bandwagon.  My apologies.   I’ve been super busy studying for the GRE, running 10k’s, and planning and plotting.  I have photographic proof for those that don’t believe me about the running thing. If I wasn’t the one doing it, I wouldn’t believe me either.

Last weekend was rough.  I signed up for a 7k leisure walk with the Daejeon Walking Federation Saturday night.  It was a nice walk by the river with a few friends and a few hundred Koreans.  I did this with the goal of “loosening my muscles” for the 10k race the next day.  It was a great time until I had to wake up at 5am, still having shooting pains in my feet from the night before.  This was not my best idea but I survived. As I always do. I need to buy new shoes.