“Space isn't remote at all. It's only an hour's drive away if your car could go straight up.” ~ Sir Fred Hoyle
2.2.14 - 2.28.14
So I realize that my blog stopped this year. I finally got my Japan trip blogged about in mid-April and it happened at the end of January.
I wish I could say that my life was just too exciting to stop and write about but in reality I wasn't doing anything worth taking the time out to write about.
Not to say that I am sitting in a corner all day but most of my life was just normal day to day stuff that wasn't travel blog worthy. But let's see what I can come up with to share now.
And now we travel back in time to two months past. Picture it, if you will, the sun is barely shining through the clouds. It's cold and windy, a slight dusting of snow falls from the sky. Your face is so cold it feels like if you touched the skin it would break into a thousand spiky pieces. Ah, winter in Korea. A time when the sun is a distant memory and you cannot remember the last time you felt your feet.
After returning from Japan I wasn't really in a financial position to do much exploring. Did I mention just how expensive Japan is?? My oh my. Those kind of trips are called once in a lifetime for a reason. But that's okay. It is so cold I didn't want to go out and do much anyways.
February doesn't just bring the last really cold weather to Korea, it is the end of another school year. This time graduation hit me a lot harder than the previous year. I had only been the previous 6th graders' English teacher for a few months and I didn't really have a solid relationship with them. But the 6th graders who graduated this year had been my students for a year and a half. I loved them! They were my favorite students and they made me laugh all the time. I actually even knew most of their names (which says a lot). I am not sure I would have cried but I had a bad cold and my eyes were watering so my coteacher thought I was crying haha. But it was bittersweet.
The end of the year brought a lot of changes. My regular coteacher was going to become a second grade teacher so I would be getting a new coteacher for the next school year. And then I found out that she would not be helping me with the fourth graders. The music teacher would be my coteacher instead. (Oh joy... two new coteachers to deal with. My mind was pondering how it would be to teach with them, how they would want to conduct class, how it would be different, the same...? I didn't like it.)
I had those nice thoughts to usher me into my two week spring vacation.
When you renew a contract with GEPIK you receive an extra 10 days of vacation but you have to use them consecutively. The two weeks in February between the school years is the only time I could use them. So I took that time to attempt to explore more of Seoul that I hadn't yet seen.
Haha, I ended up just relaxing at home most of the time. I did go out and hang with friends but it wasn't the exploration I had imagined. There were birthday dinners, television shows to watch, farewell dinners (that's another sad thing about February. School years end and teachers that didn't renew (or couldn't because of funding issues) were leaving.
I said goodbye to KP (my Japanese Adventure companion) and fellow 동양메이저 타워 occupant. I am so happy she stopped to talk to me a year and a half previously and then asked me to join her and her friends for dinner. It was a blast and some of the things we did together (egg hunts, dodgeball, scavenger hunts, zombie walks, Japan) will always be great memories for me! I hope you have a blast on your new adventures through China, Mongolia, Russia, and Europe! See you in California sometime!
The start of the new year brought some new things to get used to. I was very lucky with my first coteacher. We had a great rhythm together and she helped me a lot. Now I had to get used to two new coteachers. If you know me then you know I really like order. New coteachers and new teaching practices do not equal order. It would be an understatement to say that it was anything but a rocky first few weeks.
We also received new books for our third and fourth graders so it changed our teaching styles even more. I like the new books a lot better though so I am happy with that change. Which isn't to say I don't like my new coteachers. I really do actually. It took a bit but we have our own rhythms now and I'm sure we will continue to figure out the best ways to work together. The whole idea of coteaching takes a lot of communication and compromise. I'm not sure I would know how to act if I had to do everything myself.
Well, I know a little bit. Daycare also expanded. So instead of one class of 17 students, I have two classes to teach each week. The first class consists of 22 first graders and the second class consists of 10 second through fourth graders. I knew I never really liked the younger kids and now I have undeniable evidence. They only English they may learn is "sit down, be quite, and listen carefully." Granted they can parrot it back but I have a sneaking suspicion they don't actually know what it means. Give me the older kids any day please.
The month of February also brought a lot of personal thought. I found out that my school would not be able to renew me (even if they wanted to) because the funding for a Native English Teacher was cut. That news was bittersweet. I have loved my time at 동패 but I am also ready to move on. So come August I will have to find a new job. I was never sure how long I wanted to stay abroad but I always new I would be in Korea for at least two years. I was right. I am not ready to go back and live and work in the states permanently but my time in Korea is slowly winding down. It's been a trip and I can't wait to make the next few months as memorable as possible.
I will not be finding another teaching job in a different country just yet. The next step will be getting my Masters in TESOL. With my two years of teaching experience and a masters I will be able to find a good job in a different country and make bank. I am looking forward to being a student again. I watched the new Pompeii movie (we will not discuss my feelings of that movie... I may or may not want a few hours of my life back but secretly love the amount of cheese) and after watching it all I wanted to do was watch documentaries about Pompeii. Seriously, i watched every documentary you can find on youtube. When I go back to school hopefully I can take a few history classes just for fun. I always did love it even if I never took any classes. But watching all those documentaries reminded me how much I like learning new things.
I am really looking forward to school again. I love learning and with my masters in TESOL with an emphasis on international education I can come back to the states and have ample experience to find a job at a university when I'm finished living my life as an expat. But before that happens I have to experience what life as an expat in various countries is like. So far Korea has been fantastic but I shall hopefully find out what Dubai or Saudi Arabia is like. And then perhaps some European countries like France or Spain. Or maybe Turkey or back to southeast Asia. Or China. Or Japan. So many options and so many possibilities.
I cannot wait to see where my life goes after grad school.
Until the next time!