Thank goodness for weekends! Until now, I have never had a Monday to Friday, nine to five job. It makes you really really appreciate those two days off! This was the first week that I have taught my kids every day since I've been here. And now I know why it was that the first week I was here every single teacher was saying "TGIF!"
Classes are continuing to go well. After last week, I was ready for the weekend. Friday night was a friends birthday celebration, we went to a noreabong to sing some kareoke, and then to a bar afterwards. Saturday I took a trip into Seoul, the same area where I spent Christmas day. A co-worker from school named Sarah took me in. We went to a foreign book store, where I bought several used English books for super cheap, and also a foreign food store where I was able to buy some things to cook with! They have most things here in Dongbaek, but it is a matter of being able to actually read what I am buying. They have a quite a bit of foreign food at this store, and it was nice to know I have a place to go buy some REAL pickles if the need arises!
Sunday I had planned to go to church, but I was sooo tired from the week that I had to allow myself to sleep in. That afternoon though I met up with a girl who was an exchange student with me in Brasil. She has been here for almost a year, and it was so cool meeting up with her. This week I also randomly looked at another friends profile (who was an exchange student in brasil also) and saw that he is living here as well! Super close too, about half hour away. It is so funny that I met these people in Brasil, and will see them in Korea, but never have we met up in our own countries!
The school week started off well. I have been so concerned, however, with trying to get through all the bookwork, because that is what I though I was supposed to do. So the poor kids were beginning to hate me I'm sure, because I was pushing them so hard to get the work done, and we didn't have any time to have fun! My supervisor told me however, that I should focus not so much on finishing the books, but also making sure they have fun. Thank goodness! The last couple days of classes went much better. I think the kids are liking it a lot more! Friday we had a birthday celebration for Kevin. Once a month on Friday we will celebrate the kids who have bdays that month. There was a cake, lots of fruit, and all of the kids brought a present for Kevin! Quite the celebration. It was a lot of fun, and a nice break from regular classes!
Last night Molly and I went out for dinner, and today I am got invited to a church members house for a dinner party thing, even though I missed church last week! I am excited though, because going to church is such a good way to meet people and do fun things. I've always liked going to church, but all throughout college I worked at Parkway Sunday mornings, and that money was hard to give up! So it is nice now that I have the time and the desire to go to church on Sundays. Tomorrow is the actual church service too.
I am pretty sure that I will be registering for a Korean class next week. It will begin the first week in February, and will meet twice a week in the evenings. I absolutely HATE not knowing what people are saying, or not being able to communicate what I need or want! The other times I lived abroad I was able to speak the languages so easily, and so it is very frustruating not knowing anything here! However, I have met several people who have a good handle on the langauage, so I'm sure that if I work hard at it I will to eventally! My dad had asked if the kids teach me any Korean. In class, we have a "no korean" rule, but of course hardly any of the kids speak enough English to NOT talk in Korean. I think most still do not get that I don't understand Korean! So we have the English only rule "or Engrish only" as Charlie calls it, but pretty much all of the kids speak to each other in Korea, and when we play games they speak Korean. I have had several that count in English when we play games, and I make sure to praise them a lot for it! A few of the words I know in class are water (mul) eraser (chiugae) and bathroom (dont know how to write it out!). They taught me the word for foreigner too, well more like they said it to me, and when I asked what it was they giggled and said "English speaker" (oegokin?).
Thursday was the first time I felt really overwhelmed here. There was a huge lack of communication, and I was not informed that the helper teachers would not be with us at all that day. The helper teachers follow us when we go to the bathroom, helping kids wash their hands and zip up clothes, they also serve us our snack and lunches, then they clean out the kids lunch boxes. Also, at the end of the day, when the kids are ready to go home, they make sure each kid is in their assigned room, then take them down to the busses. So Thursday I was the one helping with bathroom and lunch, which was perfectly okay, but then at the end of the day I couldnt take the kids to their "bus rooms" cause there was no adult there to watch or take them downstairs, and no one really knew what to do with the kids. So I got upset afterwards and was able to vent it out to some co-workers, who have all gone through what I am! I know that it was a situation that will probably not happen again though, and at least if it does I will be more prepared!
Other than that incident though, everything else has been going very well! I'm looking forward to taking Korean lessons, and will keep you all updated on how its going.
Have a great day!