To Korea with Love
Trip Start Aug 18, 2010
31Trip End Ongoing
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After our 2 month winter break, we have had 9 weeks of class so far this semester and teaching already feels more natural to me. I can safely say that I had no idea what was going on the last semester. I entered in the middle of their school year, had no idea what level the kids were, could not speak the language and did not have a grasp on teaching ESL. I got by, and definitely had fun and I know the kids did too, but as far as teaching is concerned, that was my crash course! And thank goodness it's over! I feel more confident and have a better understanding on what is effective to teach and what is not so effective. I just started to teach Kindergarten and absolutely love it! It makes me miss my Montessori students a lot. Thankfully, I have two years worth of song and dance from teaching at Denver Place, so I am dusting off my Wee Sing Silly Songs book and polishing up on my dance moves for my new little guys.
But, as I have been here for eight months, I have had time to reflect. Most of my reflection is based on the differences and similarities between my life in the States as a Westerner and my life living in Shincheorwon, as an Easterner. Let me first say, that my life up here in the boonies is very well different than someone in Seoul. I should say, I live more of a Korean life than the Seoulites, or anyone placed in a Korean metropolitan city does. Of course, there are things I miss and things that I don’t miss. Here are a few in no particular order.
Things I love about USA:
Good, cheap, accessible wine
Breakfast meats including bacon and sausage
Sandwiches from organic delis
Microbrews, or good beer in general
30 racks of beer
4 burner stove
Music concerts under $100
Understanding the language
4 equal seasons
Dry Colorado weather in the summer
Individuals sense of personal space
Cinnamon toast crunch
Things I love about Korea:
Inexpensive phone bills
Delicious, healthy, cheap food
Service just because you are a foreigner
Getting paid to do what I love to do
Cute logos on EVERYTHING
Seoul (in small doses)
Wearing comfy, cozy slippers at work (not the icky ones we are provided with)
K-Pop- I can’t believe I’m saying it, but I have become a sucker for Korean boy bands.
Not being able to understand when the kids are saying i.e. “You crazy teacher, I hate English, leave me alone”
Nori-bang or karaoke room
Feeling and being safe all the time
Homeplus and Emart (equivalent to Walmart- but better in so many ways)
Efficient public transportation
No open container laws
There are certainly things I don’t love about Korea, but aren’t substantial enough to make another category. There are some things I truly appreciate and things I truly despise about my culture. And the same goes for Korea. All in all, I think in many ways, Korea is an ideal place to live, teach or travel. And even with the language barrier, I have found a comfort and special place in my heart for this country and its people...so re-signing my contract 6 more months is definately in the cards!
My weeks are flying by and packed to the brim, as I am teaching 8 extra after school classes along with starting pottery on Monday and salsa classes on Wednesday, so I will be updating you on the progress of my artistic and dance skills! I share my Tuesday nights with Joo Hee and family, a young woman who owns an aromatherapy shop in town and is very keen on having me as a part of their family, for "dinner and a movie" night. I have been trying to take advantage of the beautiful spring weather, so here are some recent photos hiking MyeongSong and DongSong mountains. Happy Spring to all!!!