Well Christmas has come and gone here in Korea, and I gotta be honest, it passed just like any other day! Besides the fact that I talked to my family back home and they were celebrating, you wouldn't have even known that it was a holiday! Kinda a good thing for me here, so I didn't get sad at all. I'll update you on whats been happening this past week.
Sunday I went into Seoul to see the Nutcracher with some teachers from my school. I don't think I've ever seen the whole ballet! It was soo pretty. We went out for Mexican afterwards (it was no Taxco, but it was decent)
Monday was my first day trial teaching at the school. I was pretty nervous, but all of my classes went surprisingly well. The kids were all very well behaved, I think because I was a new teacher and they were used to their regular teachers. All in all, the day went well.
Tuesday was the day that I met my new students that will begin in January. My co-teacher and I have one class of 6 six year olds, and one class of 10 seven year olds, but they are actually not six and seven. In Korea, everyone is considered one year older, because they count the time that a baby spent in the mothers womb as one year. So you are born one year old. And, if I understand correctly, you do not actually turn one year older on your birthday, but everyone turns one year older on January 1st. I believe this is how it is done. So, my six year old students, are all mostly only 4 years old US age. So they are 5 years Korean, and then on January 1 they will all turn 6. Understand? Good, me neither.
Needless to say, they were pretty stinking adorable. I took the six year olds for a 30 minute class period while their mothers talked to my boss. I basically did a lot of miming and singing (by myself). My director was in the room with me, so he actually translated a bit of what I was saying. That was pretty helpful. Most of them understood and were able to answer "what's your name?". We took a quick trip to the bathroom, and then we went back to the classroom for more singing. When they come back to school on Tuesday I will begin the day with the 7 year old class, my Apple class, for 80 minutes, then after a ten minute break I will teach the 6 year olds, my Banana class, for another 80 minutes. After lunch (which I eat with the class) we have 40 minutes of "special class", either playing board games, singing songs and learning chants, science, art or taekwondoe (which I do NOT teach, thank goodness!). Then the kindergartners leave. Eventually I will teach some elementary classes in the afternoon, but until a few of the current teachers leave I will just have lesson planning for the last few hours of school. I can't wait to start teaching! It will be so challenging, but so fun to be creative with the kids.
Wednesday we had our school Christmas party. Santa came to school, and the kids got gifts, sang songs, made cards and decorated Christmas "cakes". Quite the fun day.
Thursday (Christmas Eve) was a nice relaxing day. I joined a gym here, so I made my first trip there. The treadmills each have a TV in them! So I was able to watch a movie while I walked, which was awesome cause I wanted to watch the end of the movie so I walked longer than I ever would normally! It is custom here for the men and women to shower at the gym before they leave. However, they are communal showers. I don't think I've ever showered in a big communal shower, so I wasn't quite sure if I would. I brought my shower stuff just in case, but decided not to. Not this first day, maybe I will eventually after I get more comfortable!
That evening I went out with my friend Molly and her sister who is visiting from Indiana. We went to a kalbi restaurant, they cook the food right on your table and you eat it right out of the pan. You can either just eat it plain, or put it on a piece of lettuce and shove it all in your mouth. REallly good and fun to do!!
Friday was Christmas. After talking to my family at my grandma Mullis' house, we went to Itaewon for the day. An area of Seoul that is basically like walking into NYC. Lots of American restaurants, Starbucks, little clothing stands (like Chinatown). It was nice to enjoy some comfort food for Christmas. We just wandered around a little, then came back to Dongbaek and ate dinner (tempura, little dumplings and something else I can't spell yet, but it is almost like Italian gnocchi texture and is cooked in a spicy sauce, pretty tasty) and watched "Miracle on 34th Street". A good Christmas overall. I skyped with my family again late last night while they were over at Joe and Gails for Christmas morning (and saw the traditional breakfast my mom always makes....ahhhh sooo good!!!).
Today we are going to eat lunch and go to this place called Dr. Fish. It is a little spa type place, where we go and put our feet in a little pond and fish come and suck the dead skin off our feet!! Haha sounds great doesn't it!! I am super excited about it. There is talk of an ice bar tonight too, so we shall see.
Hope all of your Christmas' were Merry and bright!!! Happy New Year too!! ( I am trying to figure out how to post pictures, I will do it as soon as possible!)