Kimchi on the side please!
Trip Start Aug 18, 2010
31Trip End Ongoing
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Upon my first week of teaching, I was taken out to dinner by the 30 teachers, principal and vice principal of Shincherwon Elementary school at a one of the many local restaurant in town that serves Korean barbecue, Samgyeopsal, thick unsalted bacon cooked over hot coals in front of you
Soju is a popular alcoholic drink made traditionally from rice. It is akin to drinking hard liquor. It takes somewhat like vodka, and there is a proper way to drinking it in Asian culture. In order to impress and show respect to your Asian associates or co-workers. Soju is shared, so visitors can expect people to drink out of your glass. It's a sign of respect for a senior associated in the group to drink from your glass of soju, which in my situation is the principal of the school.
Someone may offer the guest their empty glass; the guest must accept it, and wait for them to pour soju. The most gracious response to receiving the soju is to nod, thank the person, by saying 'kumsumnida', smile, and drink the soju. Keep smiling, even if it's a bit strong to the taste. When Korean's offer guests their glass to drink from, the guest can assume that they respect him or her or are extending friendship to the guest.
Well, I got pretty good at the pouring exercise, but I then I didn't realize that when someone offers you soju, you need to take it with two hands
As far as teaching is concerned, I am warming up to it. A bit overwhelming at first, but I think now I have got the hang of it. I teach 15 regular school classes, 5 after schools, and 2 adult classes. A total of '22 hours' a week, but it usually less than that. On Tuesdays I teach 4 forty minute classes at Nae Dae Elementary school, about a 15 minute bus ride passing through fields of rice patties and fields of wildflowers. The classes are no bigger than 8 students and I absolutely adore the kids. I taught them all the macarena this week and they couldn't get enough! Even before I enter the school, the kids are hanging out the window yelling "Hello Johanna Teacha." And we usually play games and sing songs, then I join them for lunch in the cafeteria.
On Thursdays I teach 4 forty minute classes at Moonhye Elementary school, also a small school and about a 10 minute bus ride. I absolutely love it there too. I get the feeling that the children are really excited about class and actually want to learn English. The fist day the children just stared at me and told me "Wow. Teacha. Big eyes. Small head. Very butiful!"
I was a bit skeptical about my adult classes, but I am so glad that I have the opportunity to teach these classes! I have already been invited to my adult students home to make kimchi! It is a great way for me to learn Korean, while I teach them intermediate English. It is also a wonderful cultural exchange. They have learned so much already about American traditions etc. and vice versa. Today, one of the my adult students said that she wishes she could be in my class for 2 hours instead of one and she never wants to go home because it is her favorite time of the week :)
The times that we aren't teaching, I am usually busy making lesson plans and helping our students with the upcoming English Speech Contest
Just starting my 9 day holiday break for Chuseok. Chuseok is similar to Thanksgiving, a celebration of harvest and a time to visit family and eat lots of food! So, I am heading to Seoul for a baseball game then to a friends birthday dinner and night out in the city. And then to Busan, the second largest city in Korea, located on the east coast. My friend Claire and I have a hostel 5 minutes from Hongdae beach...really looking forward to traveling within the country and can already assume that it is very different from traveling in Latin America! No chicken buses here!