I even figured out how to upload videos onto Youtube. Apparently all I had to do was switch my location setting from South Korea to "Worldwide". Clever.
So. There's my unscripted, unedited apartment tour for your viewing pleasure.
Right. Moving on.
I got new boots in Itaewon awhile back, but I don't think I posted any pictures of them. Here they are. They're that adorably clunky style that is so popular right now, even though they're all Ugg Boots knock-offs. These are faux fur and moleskin, I'm pretty sure, so they're not waterproof or as well made as proper Ugg Boots, but they're warm enough, they fit me, and they look good with most of my clothes. Best of all, they were cheap.
It does snow here in Korea, though not as much as Minnesota by a long shot. We got a light dusting the other day, and if I hadn't been so sick with this stupid yo-yo of a cold, I might have enjoyed it more. As it was, I did have the presence of mind to take a few pics with my iPod.
Here's my desk at home for those of you curious as to how my workstation looks:
I'm also taking pictures of all of the teachers and staff at Uiwang EPC for my not-so-secret Christmas project. I'll post the pictures up here, maybe next time, but I still have a few elusive people to hunt down while I have my iPod handy. I'm going to be drawing each of them in a cartoony style. I won't be using this one here, but as you can see, some of my coworkers were less excited about this project than others:
Classes have been going well. After the fiasco with the text books for the Book Club classes, the problem was corrected, and now I have a fairly predictable and formulaic syllabus to work from with our current books. It makes my job easier, the students are happier, and we're not getting any more angry phone calls from parents (at least not about the material). I feel like less of a failure, and the stress is no longer making me want to curl into a ball and die. Everyone wins.
This weekend, I volunteered to work for an extra half hour or so with a Saturday program that the library in our building was doing for Christmas. I wasn't sure exactly what I was supposed to be doing at first. In typical Korean fashion, they kept changing the plan right up until the last minute. I was a little worried and frazzled about it, but when I got there, things went pretty smoothly.
Hea Young from the library, a really nice lady who may be a new friend, gave me some options for what I could do. I agreed to lead the 30-40 some families in a few rounds of Jingle Bells (with printed lyric sheets to share), talk a little about American-style Christmas and my own experiences with the holiday, and then to hang around to help everyone write Christmas Wish cards which they would then hang on the Christmas tree in the lobby. I mostly just mingled, talking to the kids and their parents, asking them what their wishes were for Christmas and so on. Only one person actually asked for my advice on spelling or grammar, though that was supposedly what I was there for (though I wouldn't be surprised if nobody had been told this).
After card-making, Hea Young asked if I wanted to make a craft, and I said sure. She gave me a little plastic snowman to decorate with markers, and I sat right down at the table with a bunch of mystified and amused kids and started coloring my snowman with great care. I had some fun conversations with the kids as we worked, and then we had our snowmen shrunk down to the size of cell phone charms in a toaster oven. In fact, they WERE cell phone charms. Perfect for my brand-new Korean cell phone. (If you want the number, btw, you can email me or contact me on the Facebook and I'll send it to you privately.)
It was hardly like working at all. I had a lot of fun, and for the first time in many years, I was really feeling the Christmas spirit. This was a community of families all having fun together and enjoying a holiday through song and art. It was a good feeling. Even as someone who doesn't necessarily identify as Christian anymore, I felt honored to be part of that.
See? I even put on the antler headband.
Our wonderful Cindy is getting married next Saturday, and all of the teachers have been invited to the wedding. If I'm able to go, I will be sure to take some pictures (with Cindy's permission, of course) to share with all of you. I've never seen a Korean wedding before! I've heard they're dreadfully boring, but I think that could describe most Western weddings I've seen, too (with a few notable exceptions). Anyway, I hope I can go, if only to show my support to Cindy who has been so helpful to me and the other foreign teachers. She was the one who first met us when we arrived in Korea, after all, and took us on our first Lotte Mart run, got us our cell phones, bus cards, etc.
I think that's really all there is to report. I could get into the minutiae of lesson planning, classroom stories, etc, but nothing is really standing out right now. Things are getting better, anyway. Even my most difficult classes are becoming more manageable as I gain experience as a teacher, and as my students learn to respect and understand my expectations of them. Someday, I'll sit down and write up some of my funniest and most horrifying moments in the classroom, but not today.
I hope the pictures and video were satisfactory. I promise to dust off the good camera for the wedding, and if I do any other proper getting-out-of-the-apartment on the weekends, but that's what I've got for now. Until next time!
Annyoung hi keseyo,