Monday, August 16, 2010

A little More Like Home...

Check out "Clarence".. my new roommate.. the one with green hair! ;)
TN English Building. TN teachers live on the 6th and 7th floor. School is on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th floor. 1st floor is an American Cafe called "Emma's Cafe". The owner's sister, Emma runs this cafe. Mom's of the students sit here and watch a large screen to see how their child is being taught (all the English teachers are displayed throughout the entire day of teaching).

Im feeling less and less homesick as each day.. well as each hour passes! It's GREAT! On Sunday night I ventured out with 2 of of my friends (TN English teachers)... oh by the way, I was told by one of my bosses that "TN" stands for "Top Notch"... hmmm? I don't know how serious this is but whatever. Anyway.. sorry to digress, we went to one of our boss's houses to hang out then got some dinner. Such nice people, I love it. Since the group of TN teachers all lives in the TN building, we are like a big family. It's like living in the dorms again but WAY better. There are single apartments like mine and two bedroom apartments. I will say it is very nice living alone expect for the fact that I don't have a huge flat screen in my kitchen and a normal, large refrigerator (this is what you get if you have a 2 bedroom). So.. my apartment is feeling more and more like home. One of my boss's took me to the E-Mart (like a Costco/Walmart) this morning to get some more necessities. Since I don't have a roommate I thought it was totally necessary to purchase a plant.. Clarence is his name... I hope he survives this year with me! I bought a lot of Korean food so it will be interesting to see what concoctions I can come up with.

Today I started training for my job. I realized that my school is more like an after school program.. especially this summer. Students come in for one or two hour to two hour long English classes. From what I observed today, the main focus is on reading and phonics.. although, other subject areas are integrated into the lessons. The teachers use an array of workbooks and story books to teach their lessons. Not only this but the teachers have a smart board right in front of them to refer to if need be (google a word or picture, etc.). The best thing about these classes are that there isn't more than 5 or 6 students in each class. If your a teacher than I am sure you can see the plus side in this. Each TN teacher does a daily analysis for each students at the end of the period. This gives the staff as well as the parents a chance to see students work/progress each day (1 to 2 sentences about each child's day). I love the TN program and all the staff and students. I am really anxious/apprehensive to get started and to see what else it entails.

This evening all my boss's took me out to a delicious dinner (Korean BBQ- amazing). It was a bit intimidating to have dinner with all my superiors for several reasons.. I can barely use chop sticks (the waitress ending up giving me a fork halfway through the meal because she couldn't stand to see me suffer any longer... this won't happen anymore- I bought chop sticks today and I will be practicing at home) they expect SOOO much out of me because I have a teaching degree, and they are obsessed with my look (not a bad thing and not to gloat but I feel like I always need to be done up, ugh). I am very marketable for their company because I am what they call skinny (HAH), "BB" (blonde hair, blue eyes) and I have a teaching degree. This is all very flattering and exciting.. I just hope I can meet their expectations. I told them that I would work hard and try my very best.

So, tomorrow I get my physical. I have heard some interesting things about the Korean health system... I am really looking forward to this weekend.. not only is it my 23rd Birthday on Friday but some friends and I plan to go hiking up a famous mountain in Gwangju. I will let you know how it all goes!

P.S. - for those of you curious, like my Dad. Here are some Korean facts
-Gwangju population size.. about 1.25 million. The city is separated into 6 or 7 districts. The area that I live in is just one of those districts.
-It is very rude to spilt the price of a meal with friends.. typically one person pays and if you do split you never want to do it in the restaurant, always wait till you get outside or there will be drama (keep in mind that all meals are for a group.. it is rare for you to order a single meal for yourself)
-Always take off your shoes at the entrance of someones home or at a traditional restaurant.. and at our school. I was all worried about finding some good work shoes before I left but turns out I will be barefoot everyday. it's kinda gross and weird but whatever. Men have to wear a slipper or socks but women and children can be barefoot. The guys look so silly running around school in their socks and slippers (English teachers- I work with 6 guys and 2 other girls).
-A lot of buildings, especially hospitals do not have a 4th floor.. if they do, the floor is just called "F". The work 4 means death and Koreans are very superstitious.
-Fire escapes entail this.. a large box in the boxed-in window which contains directions for how to scale the wall.. I haven't looked in the box but I am sure there are some types of ropes or pulleys, who knows? There are also no fire extinguishers or smoke alarms (it's a good thing I turned off my hair dryer before it really made trouble for my whole building)- it's trash now!
-NO CHEESE.... yes there is pizza, ice and other great American things but NO CHEESE. I will be missing that the most. I mean, there is some cheese but according to the Koreans and some Americans, it is awwwwfullllll!!!!!
-More facts to come, you will see.. :)

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