“I have found out that there ain't no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.” ~ Mark Twain, Tom Sawyer Abroad
3.1.13 - 3.6.13
Whoa there! Two posts within a week of a each other and I'm not on vacation? Clearly I have some time on my hands. It's all thanks to the Korean school calendar that actually makes a little more sense but it's the beginning of the school year and I have nothing to do yet. The two weeks of work that I had to come into school while the students did not means that I have every lesson planned from now until the semester ends. Also they took away the after school classes so I am going to have a lot of extra time on my hands... a lot. I am kind of glad though. For a while there I was constantly working and having to take books home and finish planning after I got home plus never having time to prepare anything ahead of time. I shall just have to make sure I don't turn into a lazy fool who still doesn't have time to prepare because procrastination habits die hard. Oh I have plenty of time to get this done. Famous last words.
Although I now know that if all else fails I have a career in classroom decoration ahead of me. I may have had a little too much fun getting the classroom ready for the new year. And I may have missed art more than I realized.
The new school year means that a lot of old teachers left and a lot of new teachers came in. It's weird seeing the new faces and then looking for someone and realizing they aren't there anymore. My school is now mostly younger teachers, which is cool, but different. I am hoping my Korean gets better soon so I can actually really get to know my coworkers. Sometimes it really sucks not being able to communicate with people like you normally would. I found that out a lot during break because we would go out to lunch and sitting for an hour while everyone talks around you is not fun. I don't know enough Korean and they don't know enough English for actual conversations. We also got a new vice principal at my school. He seems really awesome. He really makes an effort to talk to me in English and wants to have a good relationship with me. My coteacher says that his last school had a NET (native English teacher) but he/she left Korea early because he/she couldn't take Korean winters. I'm sorry you may be from Australia but you've never heard of layers before? Seems a bit of a cop out for leaving if you ask me... although who am I to judge other people's life decisions. Bad Charlene, bad.
Anyway because of the mass migration of teachers we had two 회식 in two weeks. One to say goodbye to teachers and then one to say hello to the new teachers. Usually you can't go wrong with free food but when it means I have to stay at work and then hang out with 20 plus people who don't speak the same language as I do until 8, 9, 10 o'clock at night it is not cool. Not cool I say. At least the food was good. I was lucky enough to get out of 노라방 (karaoke) the first time but I had to go the second dinner. I am glad I did though. Younger teachers means more dancing and kpop music. Some images of the new teachers rapping to G-Dragon and singing 오빤 강남스타일 will forever remain with me. Love it.
I am looking forward to this year. I feel like I am actually ready and prepared for what is going to happen next. That's one problem of coming in the middle of the year and taking over someone else's position. I wasn't part of the planning process so I was always one step behind what was happening. Now that I am the one who has planned the activities and games and lessons I know what to expect and what needs to get done. I hope I can keep this positive attitude for the rest of my time here, haha, it's turning into Spring I don't see how I cannot not be happy.
With spring comes the time to travel again! Yay! Say it with me again, yay!!! As you know I went skiing last weekend.
Wow. So much more respect for skiers and snowboarders now. It was a lot of fun but I think it may take a while for my back to forgive me. I only skied for a bit because I have small feet and big calves (which means no boots fit me) they literally taped me into the boots so I could go out once because they felt bad. Oh well that one time was enough. I didn't do too bad if I do say so myself. Three times down the hill and I only fell four times. But I guess I should mention those three times took like an hour and a half (maybe longer I lost track of time). I want to get my own boots that I know will fit and I think I may go skiing quite a bit more once the season starts again. A monster may have been created.
The whole weekend was pretty awesome. It was great getting out and hanging out with new people and experiencing new things. Oh speaking of new things I have officially been to a 찜질방. I can't believe I actually went. You have to go in with the attitude of 'when in Rome" because western ideals of modesty and privacy are thrown out the window when literally everyone is walking around these baths completely nude and without a care in the world. It is oddly liberating. And the baths are amazing. Especially after going in the various saunas. Which, by the way, the stone saunas are my new favorite things in the universe.
You shall be reading about various other trips soon. I'll be going on many more trips and tours in the future. The season of festivals has begun again. Bring it on Korea. Bring it on.
Until the next time!