After living in my apartment for 5 months after the previous EPIK teacher, I just discovered this giant spoon on top of my cupboard.
So a new school year officially started on Monday. Two weeks of deskwarming came and went. My Korean reading skills have already improved since I see it everyday just walking around. My listening was always fine. My speaking has become more natural according to my co-teachers and my mom, probably from hearing it everyday. Grammar/Sentence structure isn’t a issue unless you want me to explain it to you. Really, what I need to work on is my vocabulary since that’s where I run into trouble. So I’ve taken the initiative to study on memrise :) Hopefully I will be diligent and see some improvement.
I also found a 1st year med school course on memrise and have been studying anatomy through it. Currently, I’m planning on staying another contract term in Korea (if my school renews me, of course) so I can see my kids through their entire school year because I think it’ll be more beneficial for them that way. But this postpones my future plans of going to med school by a year as well. So in order to keep my mind from melting on all science related things, hopefully this course can keep my head alert. It’s also kind of fun :b I’ll be looking into other volunteer/medically-related options while I’m in Korea too. My mom definitely wants me to come home after this term is up, so I’m still weighing the options…
Speaking of a new school year, I’ve been prepping and getting pretty excited/nervous for it. If you don’t know, my little 5th grade monsters have now graduated to 6th grade. I’ve made friends with one of the 6th grade homeroom teachers and ran into her on the way out of school on Monday. She seemed a bit flustered and mentioned how talkative they were. I’m hoping they have strong homeroom teachers and that my 6th grade co-teachers will be strong too. As well as myself…
I also have my wonderful 4th graders again as 5th graders and a new set of adorable 4th graders. Last semester, I had my 4th graders every other week. This school year, I have half of them for the first semester, and the second half for the second semester. I think this’ll work out nicer since I’ll be able to get to know them a little better.
I have a few plans that I want to implement and now that it’s a new school year, I feel like I can use them. Make the classroom more of my own. Jumping into the second half of the school year and in the middle of the semester (September intake) makes it a little difficult to sort things out. I pretty much felt like I had to go off of what was established by my co-teachers and the native teacher before me. Plus with 3 new co-teachers, everything feels like a fresh start. Anyway, a big goal this semester is to try and learn my kids’ names. And with 22 classes and ~700 students, it’s not an easy task (4 4th, 9 5th, 9 6th grade classes.. did I mention my elementary school is huge?). Starting things off with seating charts~
A big change is that I won’t have any after school 1st graders. Which was a lot of fun so I’ll miss it, but it was also pretty exhausting so I don’t feel too terrible hehe.
I don’t start seeing my students until Friday when I’ll have half of my 5th graders. Familiar smiling faces.. :) For now, I’m getting my materials ready for the next week and will probably study a bit with the leftover time. Planning on getting my classroom prettied up tomorrow.
I’ve already run into a couple of my old 6th graders in front of the middle school next door. They waved at my enthusiastically and they look so little in their school uniforms. ; u;
Post to come: Hike at 대둔산
This must be the “Cheeseburger in Paradise” Jimmy Buffett was singing about.
This is killing me right now.
I want my In-N-Out! D;
I’m terrible at blogging consistently forever~
I’ll go backwards chronologically as best as I can.
Anyway, since I’m wasting time deskwarming already…
Currently, I’m deskwarming for the second week of ‘spring’ vacation. There are no students in school, minimal staff. I don’t mind it too much and I try to be as productive as possible, and this week I’ll probably start getting things geared up for the new school year. Our office was moving so I had to unplug about 10 computers and organize dusty wires and electronics by myself since no one was around, but the music teacher said I didn’t have to help move the furniture the next day. Because of the office moving around, I’ve been sitting in the English classroom by myself. Which is nice actually since the heating works well in here. My vice principal also kindly offered that I could stay in his office with the other vice principal and a couple admin staff if I got bored, also saying it was ‘dangerous’ for me to be alone. A nice offer, but I kind of like hiding in my little dungeon. :b
This past weekend, I went up to Muju with Andy. It was a great weekend of snowboarding/skiing and I’m exhausted now from it. My body is also pretty sore, but I managed to learn a little bit of carving finally! Also, in Korea, it’s perfectly socially acceptable to just carry your snowboard onto the ski lifts and run off. I would say 90% of all snowboarders did this. I was relieved because I was prepared to fall off 99% of the time from the ski lift like I normally do. A nice old man also taught me an easy way to rest my snowboard on the ski lift so it was less of a hassle :)
Started off with some night boarding/skiing! My first time snowboarding at night O:
Selfie while waiting for Andy at the bottom of a slope.
My mom was worried I would get injured and luckily I didn’t. Unfortunately, Andy did. He had given me his gloves to use since my cheap 3,000 won ones were starting to not cut it. Then I let him go off on his own to a slope that they didn’t let any snowboarders onto. So he went off and the first time came back with a wide grin on his face, saying it was one of the best slopes he’d ever been on. He wanted to go on it one more time before we left, so I went on a different slope and we planned on meeting at the bottom before doing one more run together. When I finally saw him, his hair was covered in snow, his face was red, and he had a sheepish look on his face. “Sorry, but I think that was the last run…” He then proceeded to show me his bandaged up hand.
He had dislocated his pinky (and popped it back in himself) but also scraped most of the skin on his thumb off. We got him disinfected and re-patched up at the emergency care at the resort before popping on the bus back to Muju town then Daejeon.
When I was little, I was painstakingly shy. In preschool, they thought there was something wrong with me because I never said anything until they saw me talking a million words a minute with my grandma after she picked me up. I’ve gotten better about it over the years especially since college, but if I’m not prepared to talk to people, I can get really uncomfortable. And if possible, I always try to figure things out on my own before resorting to asking someone for help. I do really enjoy meeting people though, but it’s all a part of who I am. A big awkward part.
Anyway, being semi-fluent in Korean always puts me in a tough spot. I understand most everyday language and speak without an accent, but once you start expanding that vocab, I can only give you a blank stare. And since I look like any normal Korean, I often get frustrated responses as if I’m mentally challenged unless I explain I’m from the States (but even then, sometimes they’ll still treat me like I should fully understand them). And I understand it can be confusing for them as well, but man, it’s difficult sometimes, especially for someone like me who requires a lot of mustering up courage to ask someone for help. Plus the stupid grumpy bus driver pointed us to the wrong direction TWICE >:(
On normal days, I’m fine and can blend in. However, this weekend consisted of me having to take the lead in getting the two of us to the resort. This and a combination of a few rude customer service folk led me to getting really frustrated up to the point of getting into our hotel room. Then, when Andy goes and pulls his waygook card (as we affectionately call it), he gets the simple answers quickly and without fuss.
My mom was in Korea for two weeks prior to going to Muju so I was able to relax and use her pr0 Korean skills for a while. It was nice having her around and I miss her already, but it also made me revert back to high school laziness days. I’d wake up and she’d be making me breakfast. I’d go to do the dishes and she’d tell me to leave them. She’d do my laundry while I was gone… Mothers <3 She didn’t even get to spend most of her time in Daejeon with me (busy seeing other family and friends, soooo popular!) which was probably good since I still had school/deskwarming during the day.
Now I’m back to living by myself and I desperately need to get my apartment back together today.
Light snow on the way from the airport.
Us eating snacks and being derpy on our train tour.A random 동동주 stop on the train.Messing around with art sculptures in Daejeon.
Messing around with art sculptures in Daejeon.
6th grade graduation came and went. One of my favorite students said good-bye to me about three times, told me that she would miss me, and took a photo with me. n____n
Got a couple other photos with students, but the gym was so crowded it was nearly impossible to move around and many families filed out as fast as they could. Hopefully I’ll see most of them walking to school since the majority of them will be going to the middle school next door.
I will miss sharing an office with most of these teachers (one of my co-teachers will still be teaching English with me). Three of them are also leaving the school altogether ;___; They always make me smile, even on my hardest teaching days <3
Oh and winter vacation in Thailand happened! I don’t think I ever made a post about it…
It was intense, beautiful, and strange. The temples, beaches and islands were sooper relaxing during the day and the cities and nightlife were insane.
We started in Bangkok, landing in the beginning of the protests. Explored a lot, went to Ayutthaya for a day, explored some more. Made our way down to Phuket with its touristy weirdness, then Koh Phi Phi to meet up with the rest of the girls for some island relaxing. Then Krabi/Ao Nong for our last day before literally running onto our train back up to Bangkok to get home. I feel like Thailand would need its own post someday… maybe…
oh and new EPIK teachers are in Korea now! How exciting! And half of them are lurking around Daejeon for orientation! :D
Daejeon will be having a welcome party of sorts so hopefully I can meet some of them soon n__n!