Sunday, December 12, 2010

Eggnog.... the perfect homesickness remedy!

Top: Katie, Erica, Dominique (host of the holiday party)
Middle: one of my new classes: Kindergarten students during P.E. (Damon, Julien, Jack, Joanne, Ted)
Bottom: It's not a night in Korea without karaoke... Saturday night :)

I've really been enjoying my new, busy schedule. The days goes by even faster than they did before. I've got a few problematic students in my new class but i'm already seeing a lot of progress in their attitude and work ethic since I started teaching this month. I do so many strange and silly things to try and make my students smile and laugh… I really wonder what they say about me outside of class, especially the older ones. I hate that they have to be in class for 2 hours (anyone will agree that 2 hours… even 1 1/2 hours is entirely too long for a 7, 8, 9 or 10 year old to sit and pay attention). If a kid gets tired and puts his head down, it's my ass because the cameras see that a student is tired which means the teacher is not doing a good job. Maybe if we had a bigger classroom and we were allowed to do hands-on activities than students might be more intrigued. I always try and make time for a fun video or a stretch break… something different that will give the kids something to look forward to. I constantly give praise and rewards (stickers and candy) to those students who work hard, try their best and have a good attitude- it makes a HUGE difference even for my 13 year old students.

Most Korean schools have exams (like college- in the middle of the year and at the end). A lot of students don't come for the whole month of December because of their big exam in school and because of the holidays/winter vacation. I had so many students drop out of one class this month that it is now just one girl and myself. The students that do still come in December seem to be a lot lazier because they are supposedly studying for their exams… I'd just assume they not come. I don't blame them anyway… they've got so much else going on and English is an extra curricular.

This weekend was so fun and relaxing. After resting up Friday night and Saturday, I attended a holiday party hosted by my friend Dominique. Dom was more than hospitable… she provided snacks (this included smores… she had been collecting necessities to make these for a few months) homemade egg nog that was out of this world and alcohol. It was so festive… not only was there a plethora or decorations but she had a Christmas card for all of the guests. All my girl friends here are so cute… they made sure to play a few Hanukkah songs just for me- their cashew (Catholic/Jewish friend) buddy. We had a fabulous evening feasting on smores and spiced egg nog. After playing a number of card games, we headed downtown and danced the night away. I probably danced until 5 am…. my legs are still sore today!

I've finalized my plans for winter break. I would hardly call it Christmas break because we don't have Christmas eve or the Monday after Christmas off work (for those of you who aren't aware, Christmas is on a Saturday this year). All my girl friends are going to Malaysia for their break and I would love to go with them but… we don't have the same days off so they are leaving way before my break even begins. You know.. we aren't allowed to take off work… on that note, allow me to digress… one of my co- workers took a day off because he had a head ache and just didn't feel like being at work. A personal day is totally understandable (We only get two days off all together so we should be able to choose when they are). Management threatened to not pay him for the month because he would not bring in a note from the doctor- reallllllyy?!?! I don't understand them… looks like if I want to take a day off I better plan on going to the doctor with a fake illness. My god they are ridiculous! Ok anyway… so sorry…So, an old friend of mine from high school moved to Korea a few months ago with her husband and her precious baby boy. Kelsey is her name by the way… her husband is in the military which is why they moved here. They are so kind to let me visit them during the holidays. Before I visit them, I am going skiing with some of my co-workers. This should be really interesting because I've never skied before. My boss has a big house in the mountains. He invited all of us teachers to join him and his family for a evening of fun and a day of skiiing/snow boarding. I decided this would be a good chance for me to finally try snow skiing… I guess if I'm awful at it, I can at least say I tried!

Korean Facts/ Randomness:

*I don't have any good facts for you this week but I always have good "randomness" …..
- My students can not understand for the life of them why my eyes are so far back in my head hahaha! It's really confusing for them because they don't have any diversity in their country. Seeing a white person is like seeing a naked person in public. Telling them, "we are different" is not good enough. I finally have to just say, "well, why are your eyes so squinty?!"
-I have a student that always questions whether or not my eye lashes are real . He is sure that I am lying to him because you know… his mom takes hers eyelashes off every night so I must too.
- I've noticed that a lot of Korean women all change their style right around the same time/age.. I don't know if it's gradual or what but this is what I've observed: Once women reach a certain age (i'm guessing anywhere from 45-60) they stop wearing high heels (perfectly understandable) they discard the stylish pea coats, dress pants/tight pants and instead wear wind suits and brightly colored vests. It seems that they all cut their hair short and get a perm. I often see these women in groups out on the track walking.. they all look the same. Now, I understand that comfort is important, especially in your old age but I just don't see why dressing the same and getting a perm is so necessary. It's very interesting to me… I wish I knew what was behind all of this.
-Remember Clarence? He's my plant… I know, it's pathetic that I named a plant but whatever. I think my homesickness was rubbing off on him last week… he was flourishing but now, he looks terrible. He is dropping leaves left and right. I water him every Thursday and always open the blinds… I guess the light that comes in through my front window is just not cutting it for old Clarence. Im going to see if one of my friends will adopt him… it's worth a try. Wish him luck! ;)
-Korea really knows how to decorate for Christmas... just when I thought they couldn't do it like us Westerners, they pull out the big stuff! I really feel at home now!! Although... no one here, that I've heard of, has real Christmas trees... that's where we've got them beat!
- I got some great flip flops/slippers to wear inside throughout the day... I am happy to report that my feet and back no longer ache. It's amazing what a difference shoes can make!

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