“So I find words I never thought to speak /In streets I never thought I should revisit / When I left my body on a distant shore.” ~ T.S. Eliot
12.22.13 - 1.24.14
I love the Korean public school schedule. Instead of two weeks off at Christmas we get a month! Well, somewhat, I still had to teach winter camp but it wasn't too bad. But there are some thing I will never like better, like having to come to school even when the students and other teacher's aren't there... I don't think I will ever understand the mentality of desk warming. ㅠㅠ It makes no sense... ah well. Whatcha gonna do?
It's going to be an interesting week ahead because it has been almost seven weeks since I have taught a real class. But because I was on vacation I didn't even think about a blog post. So I shall go back and reflect haha. I'll keep this post mostly about the week before winter camp and then winter camp itself. Japan shall have its own post (or two) because so much happened.
Christmas in Korea is always a little interesting because the atmosphere is so different from back home. You walk around back home and stores and shops are all decked out in Christmas decorations, carols blasting on all stations, themed television and movies, figuring out where you're going and what you'll eat, and what gifts to buy. It's my second favorite season (Halloween gets first) and you don't really get that in Korea. But you adapt and make your own holiday! My friend BM had been staying with me since the middle of November. She had been traveling and was ending her travels with me while she looked for a job in China.
We ended up spending Christmas Eve with some friends. We had a grand time together, that culminated into karaoke until almost 4 am. Which, come to think about it, seems to be my Christmas tradition in Korea... Karaoke... hmm...
The week after Christmas I had vacation so I didn't have to go into work. On the second day of the new year BM, KB, SK (my Korean mom), and BSK (KB's friend who was visiting from home), all headed to Nami Island for a day trip. Our first stop was Petite France, a little French village near Nami Island. It was adorable and made me want to go to France even more so than I already do. A lot of it was themed around the story Le Petit Prince but there were a lot of other tid-bits as well. We found some stamps in various rooms we could look into and then realized that if you found them all you got a prize. That meant we now had to go back and find them all! Haha, I think it was more fun trying to find them than anything else. Especially once we realized that you had to pay for the end prize (well technically we were supposed to have purchased a handkerchief type thing at the beginning) but we didn't know so we had to buy it at the end. I did because it was only 500 won and I wanted the completion stamp and postcard! Haha, no one else in the group did though... principles and what not.
After my week of relaxation and no worries I headed back to school for winter camp. Most other teachers were not present but I am used to that now. When camps come along it just means that most teachers say 'adios' because they don't teach a camp. Sometimes there is like a math or science camp, there was a library camp going on all break, and then there was English camp.
I don't really like camp. It's a waste of time if you ask me. The kids don't want to be there. They don't care and they don't try. It's camp, they don't get a grade and the only reason they show up is because their parents tell them to go. I don't blame them either, it's their vacation. I don't want to be there so they sure don't want to be there either. But the Korean education system thinks "we're paying these NETs to be here might as well make them teach" so we get stuck with camps. I think there should be a better (or at least different alternative) but again, whatcha gonna do? Suck it up, that's what.
If the school wants to spend money heating an entire English classroom and paying for me to sit around and do nothing... well, I'd be sitting at home paying my own heating bill if I wasn't at school. I guess it evens out. But it is nothing like I imagined my vacations would be like when I was first envisioning my life abroad. I imagined weeks of jet setting and fun during my glorious off days... oh the cold cruel reality of life as a NET. Woe are we who sit around and ponder warmer climates as we sit frozen in our desk chairs.
Three weeks and four camps. I wish my school didn't try to achieve so much. Most other NETs I know have one or two week camps and only one camp a day (sometimes at all). I have four different camps I have to prepare and teach and they last for three weeks. Thankfully I had prepared most everything before hand so after camp each day I would finish whatever had to be done for the next day and then find something to watch online while I did whatever I needed to do for camp. I watched so many shows online it was slightly ridiculous.
But the end of camp finally arrived and with it my second week long vacation. This time I was not staying in Korea. I had planned (well helped plan) a week long Japanese adventure.
And here ends the first post missing from January, I shall continue with my daring escapades and wondrous journeys in Japan in my next post. I don't want them to be forever long and a lot happened!
Until the next time!