Friday, October 1, 2010

Hello everyone! Sorry it has been a few weeks since I have posted. Honestly, I just have been very busy with work, but also I don't want to bore you guys either. Either way, here I am now, so I will write...

Things are going great. I am making friends here and meeting people from all over the world. The cool thing about it all though, is that now I have a Korean cell phone. Its sooooooo weird, but definitely a necessity.

It is great to be social, and meet people, which of course is definitely part of this whole experience. But really the way things are going, I have to say that the teaching and the students take precedent over anything else here. I mean even now, on a saturday afternoon, I find myself planning out how I want to do my class for next wednesday so that it can be even more fun then this past weeks.
Here is a picture from one of my classes with the upper level students. This was a fun class, and on a day that we are supposed to not give homework or tests or anything hard, just kind of have a good time with the students. So I decided to see where they wanted to travel to, and of course as you can see it led to many different topics. I will tell you that the student who said he wanted to take a vacation for a year at "Jason Teacha's House" was probably my favorite that day.
 Anyway, I will work on some more pictures and hopefully get some of my students for you all to see because they are just so awesome and hilarious.
Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

"Buddhist Temple" & "Do I Speak Korean?" (Double Post)

Well, it has been just over a week now since my last post. So first of all, I would like to apologize to those of you who have expressed their desire to hear more from me. I really do appreciate the interest. I have just been very busy here, both with work and some new experiences here. Actually, now that I think of it, every day at work I am experiencing incredible new things. For example, this week myself and the other foreign teachers had to begin the process of calling all of our homeroom students. It's pretty crazy though because we have to call their houses and explain to whoever answers the phone that we are from the English academy and that we would like to speak with the child. Now we I say "explain" you realize that means that I must speak Korean to whoever answers the phone so they understand why there is a person speaking a foreign language on the other line. Sometimes you get lucky though, and the student answers the phone. It's a big job though, because I have over 90 students to call they give us a couple weeks to do it. By the way, I just got Rosetta Stone from a coworker of mine...THANK GOD!

Another thing that I would like to share is that I went to a really really cool place this past weekend. The place was called Bulguksa and I think it was in the city of Gyeongju. It is an incredible city. I spent the day at a Buddhist temple that was originally built in like 751AD I think. But it had been destroyed by the Japanese later, so it was restored and rebuilt and it is absolutely beautiful. Words cannot do an experience like this justice, but I will say that it is probably one of the most peaceful places on Earth. One thing that I learned from this also, which you can see in my pictures on facebook and some on the blog, is that the swastika was not originally a symbol of hate and intolerance. Very long before Hitler adopted the symbol for the Nazi's and their atrocities the swastika was an ancient Buddhist and Hindu symbol that represented different meanings, such as "eternity" and "evolution", throughout different parts of the East at different times. So it was definitely a little weird being surrounded by swastikas at this place, but it is also probably one of the most interesting things I have ever learned. They were selling swastika necklaces and charms in the gift shop.

Here are a few pictures:

The below picture is of hundreds, if not thousands, of piles of rocks balanced on top of each other by the people who visit the temple. You pick up a loose rock from the ground and try to balance it on top of another on. The result is thousands of piles of rocks some with as many as 10 random rocks balanced on top of each other. If the rock you place stays, and does not fall, then it is supposed to be a sign of good luck. I definitely participated in this!

Here are some more pics of the scenery at this amazing place:

I hope you all enjoyed this post. And I just want to let you know that I will be keeping up with the blog at least once a week, but maybe more often, I don't know. But I still don't have an actual internet connection at my place yet, so it is still a little tough. 

Anyway, I miss you all.
Happy New Year Also!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

To be real with you...

Ok, now first of all, of course everything I have previously posted is entirely true. But I just read through all of what I have written and I have realized that I have only posted the things that I thought would make you all happy to read. And don't get me wrong, that is really how I have been feeling about all of this. But realistically, I don't think you have a clue as to what it is like over here for me. I actually really think my apartment is great, and apparently it is a bit bigger then the other teachers, which is definitely surprising because mine is not big at all. Now I don't want this to sound like a complaint, but everyone here is just so focused on work, work, work, that little things seem to slip through the cracks. For instance, little things like not having hot water or gas yet, or maybe something like not having a light in bathroom/shower, or even something like not having a stove or any possible way to cook food for myself. So basically, I wake up in the morning and can't make anything to eat after I take a freezing cold shower in the dark. For over 2 weeks now. HaHaHa. The funny thing is that I am not too upset about it. I mean yeah it totally sucks. Really, who likes more then 2 weeks of cold showers? This is simply something that you can't really make an issue out of over here. I was warned too, that things will happen here, but in their own time. So I have just accepted my reality and go to work and work hard. That is what is expected here. Ya know, if you had asked me what I would think about enduring something like this before I had actually left for Korea I might have used words like "crazy", "ridiculous", or "insane". But I have been forced to have a brand new perspective on life over here. I really want to get as much out of this experience as possible. That means the good of course, and if so be it, the bad also. I think the first big thing I have learned over here is that my idea or "definition" of bad, or even simply what I thought was uncomfortable, is completely irrellevent now. And the only way to get through the things that have been difficult is to just accept it. I hate to say it, but I think I found what the actual definition for the phrases "It is what it is" means. In the end, its about taking the adversities and just accepting them as reality, because when you can do that, what you thought were adverse conditions will become just another day. And for me, that is quite alright, because each day here whether at work or just walking around the city, has been an absolute blessing.

Gotta go teach a reading & speaking class, my topic is American Idol, go figure hahaha...bye for now...

Sunday, August 29, 2010

1st Class-Lesson 1, 2nd Class-Lesson 1....

I definitely can say that before now I did not have the respect for school teachers that they deserve. I guess I was just totally oblivious to the concept of teaching in a school that requires teachers to teach the same class over, and over, and over, and over, and over(you get the point!). It does get a bit monotonous. However, the flip side to it is the kids. Since the kids are different in each class it doesn't really matter that the material is the same because I am quickly learning that each group of kids, not to mention each kid individually, is completely different from another. I have been finding the classroom to be an interesting atmosphere, and to be quite honest, a very comfortable one. There is a very definitve moment that you are striving for in each class, and really it is what you are looking for right of the bat. It's that moment when you can see that you have got the childrens attention. Its like hitting a home run, because once you got them focused on you and not bored or day dreaming its almost like you can teach them anything. It is absolutely not an easy achievement by any means, but I guess with kids this young it is really the best approach. Get them locked in right away, or else you lose them for the whole class!

So that is enough about school for now...I have been able to do only a little exploring so far, but I think after this week I will have much more free time and will be all around Daegu and Chilgok and taking pictures. I cannot wait to show you all pictures of the most totally random english sayings and phrases that are all over the place here. I will give you one example from a pizza place in the building where my school is called Mr. Pizza, its slogan is "Mr. Pizza: Made for Women". So look forward to some more of that! 

Oh and this morning it was very lightly raining when I was walking to get breakfast, and I did not have my umbrella. All of the sudden I stopped noticing the rain. I looked to my right and an older Korean woman was standing beside me smiling and sharing her umbrella with me while we crossed the street. It was such a nice thing to do and totally unexpected!

Love and Miss ALL OF YOU!

Share this with whoever you would like, I am enjoying all of your wonderful comments!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Teaching is...

Ya know what? This is really an interesting thing. When I was younger I did not enjoy school very much at all. At least I don't think I did. But now, I am loving being a teacher! It really is unlike anything else. And way more difficult then you think. But the kids are are fantastic, and definitely very different then American children. School is so important in Korean culture that the children actually go to school all day loooooong. What I mean is that they will go to a regular school in the morning at like 7 or 8am until 2 or 3pm, and then they get on another bus and come to English school until 10 or 11pm, and because the schools require it, there is homework every single night and if it is not done then the kids get detention. My students ages range from 9 to 12 in elementary, and about 13 to 14 in middle school. And what is even more amazing is that these kids are extremely well behaved, even with a schedule like that. The work ethic here is just something that does not exist throughout the vast majority in America. But in the classroom, and I know this sounds totally cliche, it really is like making miracles. Having the kids completly focused on you, waiting for you to do something, which you better because otherwise you will lose their attention and in big trouble...they laugh, they smile, they get excited or even confused, but you can see the light bulbs turn on in their heads, and then  you know you are doing you job, and it is impossible to not be moved by it. Actually, originally I thought maybe I would just be indifferent with my feelings about teaching children, but now I know it really is a fantastic experience.

One of my favorite parts so far has been the chilrens names. Most of these students have English names already. But not all of them. So of course we must give these kids English names. It is a little weird though, because this will most likely be their name forever. With that in mind, I have only allowed a couple Marios and Luigis, and had to decline a child the name of "Monster" and "Pizza".   :)

Its been a lot of fun so far.....

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Chapter 3...

So I bought a basketball. It is soooooooo sooooo cooool. I know its just a basketball, but it has Korean writing all over it and it says "KBA" instead of "NBA", which is hilarious. There is areally nice park right across the street from where I live, and the other night I got off work early enough to go out there with my ball. The court was empty when I got there, but within 5min there was probably 10 little Korean children wanting to play with me and talk with the little english that they did know. It was a lot of fun.

Gotta starts today, its only like an orientation day, but I should have a few hours of class all together probably i'll let you know how it goes.....

Oh and by the way, I want to specifically say hi to Emma Rose Drosner! I hope you are doing great little one!

I miss you all....

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Chapter 2...

Helloooooooo Everyone!!!! I am sorry I have not written much during my first few days here, but I have been extremely busy, while at the same time still trying to recover from the jetlag(which by the way is 10 times worse then I expected). Anyway, let me fill you in....

While first of all, thank you to all of you who have been sending messages and emails with your support. It really is fantastic.

The way my trip began is actually pretty crazy. Saturday 8/14 early morning flight from Ft. Lauderdale to Charlotte - 3 hour lay over - Charlottle to JFK NY - 10 hour lay over - Sunday 8/15 12:30am JFK NY to Seoul South Korea, 14 hour flight - arrive in Seoul at 3:45 Monday morning! Then I had to wait a few hours before I could take a 4 and a half hour bus ride basically across the entire country to get to Daegu, which is where I live. Soooo that was a trip, to say the least!...But I couldn't have been happier when I arrived, no matter terrible I felt.

The shock of being in a completely different world does not come lightly. There is no easing into it. No one was there to really help me figure anything out. But the people here are so nice and have been very helpful to me. It has not been uncommon for a complete stranger offer their assistance when they see me frozen in utter confusion while looking at a map or trying to figure out the bus routes.

Anyway, let me tell you about my job. I had no idea how lucky I was to land this job at this particular school. It is a brand new private school that will be opening for its first classes this coming monday. It is a beautiful facility that would rival any private school in the states.  I am writing this from my desk in the teachers room. There are Korean teachers stting next to me on both sides as we speak. One of them is named Julie, and the other is Wendy. They both speak very good english. But they definitely speak more Korean then English throughout the day. It is so weird though, because I am totally getting used to hearing this completely foreign language being spoken all around. And believe it or not, I am starting to grasp some of the different sounds and words. I really hope I can learn a lot of the language.

I have to get back to work now, but I look forward to writing more about the people and how my work is, its truly to ya soon...

Saturday, August 14, 2010

And So It Begins....(chapter 1)

So, here I am, waiting in a lounge in JFK airport. Part of me thinks I am absolutely insane, while obviously the larger part of me is excited to begin this journey. I really think it is totally fair for anyone who is doing this to be scared out of their mind, so I have no qualms admitting it. Anyway, I am writing this now because as the closer I get to the moment I board the plane the more evident it is becoming how hard it is going to be to communicate with all of you. That fact in it self  is enough to have me fighting back tears this very second. I also want to thank all of you who have supported me throughout all of this and to those of you who have gone out of your way to wish me well before I leave, I truly cannot tell you how much that means to me. I really feel like I am doing this with so many people with me, even though I really am going to be by myself in a completely different world 8000 miles away. So again, thank you all for being here with me in spirit.

Now, I will make you all a deal....I will continue to update this blog regularly with in-depth insight into my experiences in South Korea and wherever else I may travel to as long as all of you who are able to, call my mother as often as you can because I know if its as hard for her as it is for me to not be able to speak to her every day that she will really enjoy the company and support. Thank you all so much.

So, as I close my computer screen I will be walking to the check-in counter to get my ticket and check my bags. AND SO IT BEGINS...