Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Annyong Haseyo

The title of my post is Korean for hello. So, annyong haseyo everyone!

Things have been better since my last post. In fact, the next morning I was much better and the feeling of homesickness was gone. I've been keeping busy with work, and I'm sure that has helped. However, I did a lot of praying that night and I know that definitely helped! God heard my cries and helped me get over my homesickness. Yay God!

This week we have had three days off from work - actually, we have one more day left to our holiday. Today, September 25 is Chuseok here in Korea, and that is their version of Thanksgiving. So, after working Saturday morning for three classes, I have had a holiday. It's great to have this time off to help relax.

Yesterday Sarah, Lorie, myself and Tiffany and Katherine (two other ESL teachers here in Yesan) went to a bigger city called Chonan (I'm never sure how to spell it because I've seen different spellings for it). We went to an English movie with Korean subtitles, and it was ok. The movie was Irish, and was called "Once". It wasn't too bad, though I didn't find there was really a plot. The best thing about the movie was the music, and that was written and performed by the two main characters from the movie. I want to see if there is a CD available with the songs on them because I quite enjoyed those.

I thought I'd include a couple of pictures here. To the right is the view up way on my street here in Yesan. It is empty today because of Chuseok. Normally the street (which is smallish) is crowded with parked cars (on both sides none the less) and many people walking about. It's not too loud and noisy though, but you can hear noise from there in the apartments at times.
For comparison, here is a street in Chonan, yesterday. I would think that things were pretty quiet there today for Chuseok...maybe not, though. I suppose they could have had a festival or something. I honestly don't know though. It doesn't look like a lot of people in that picture, but trust me, there were tons of people out on the streets in Chonan yesteday.

At any rate, I'll try to post some more pictures at another time to show you my adventures in Korea!

Monday, September 17, 2007

A Little Down

Well, aside from when my back was bothering me and I was in pain (when I first got to Korea), I think I have my first bout of wanting to be back home. I don't know if I would really call it homesickness, but there might be a touch of it at least.

I have a lesson plan for my teacher's class for tomorrow afternoon that I need to get done, and I honestly just don't feel in the mood to do it. I'm trying to tell myself that the sooner I get it done, the sooner I can go and read or knit or even just play on the computer. But, that doesn't seem to be working. I'm stumped. I don't know what to do it on. It's only 7:38 pm and I want to go to bed. That's out of the question though, otherwise I will be up at 1 or 2 in the morning and I do have to work tomorrow. I already feel like I need a holiday, though that could be because we are teaching 3 classes on Saturdays now.

Thanks for all the prayers for my back. It seems to be pretty much all better now with just a few tweaks of stiffness in the morning - not as bad as it had been. I hope I never have back pain like that any time soon - or ever again.

There isn't a whole lot going on right now, just mainly working. However, every Wednesday evening (unless it gets cancelled for some reason), the foreign English teachers and a few of the Korean English teachers all get together for supper and to catch up on how things are going. Sometimes (or often) they go out for karaoke afterwards. That's not really my thing and because of my cold, I ducked out of going this past week (two others also didn't go). I suppose I'll probably go sometimes, but not all the time - especially if they get back late. We're supposed to go this week as well, but I don't really want to...I mean, I'll go to supper with them, but I don't want to go out to karaoke, mostly because of the drinking that goes on at that time.

Well, I suppose I really should go work on my lesson plan. It does need to get done. Have a Christ-filled day!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Note To Self

I really need to invest in a pair of indoor shoes for school. You see, the school has a policy that you don't wear the shoes you wear outside in the school. I can understand why. What I can't understand is that we have to go outside toget to and from the cafeteria and you don't change into your outside shoes. Doesn't make much sense to me, but it's not something I worry about.

Anyway, the reason I need some is that I've been using a spare pair of shoes from the school. They are more like slipper than shoes, and the bottoms make for tricky walking if the floor happen to be a little wet. Trust me, it does. I found out the hard way.

On the way back from one of my classes this morning I stepped into some water that the boys (remember, I teach at an all boy school) had spilled on the floor. I did this weird funky dance and fell flat on my butt. How embarrassing!!! My main co-teacher was with me and she felt so bad. I think she went and told the boys to clean it up. It was nice, though, that two of the boys came right over to see if I was ok and they were more than willing to help me. This little incident happened again a bit ago when, after my final class, I went into the teachers meeting room to fill my bottle with water. Someone had dripped water on the floor and I slipped again. Thankfully, though, I didn't fall this time. The only thing I'm worried about is that it might further injur my back.

My back has been getting a lot better lately, but I still wake up somewhat stiff. Today I don't think I was as stiff a I had been, but I was still stiff. I would hate to have my back almot better only to have it get hurt again. I've taken an Advil a bit ago and hope that it will help. I still have a couple of pain killers and muscle relaxers, so if it starts acting up I will take those ASAP. I'm praying that my back will be fine and that it wasn't hurt further.

In other news, our escapade to Seoul was great. Seoul is a really big city. We didn't go to a lot of places, but we walked around and bought a few souveniers from vendors. We did go into some stores, but I didn't find any yarn stores this time so couldn't feed my knitting addiction. We plan on going again (hopefully soon) - maybe in October and I hope I'll be able to find knitting/yarn stores ahead of time online so we'll know where to look for them.

So far, work is going well this week...though to be honest, it's only Monday so I have four more days to go. I found out today that they've added three classes to my nineteen. These new three are teaching conversational English to Korean elementary teachers. This will be on Tuesdays, and it will make my day even longer...longer than Monday. Monday I have five classes; Tuesday used to have three classes, but now including teaching the teachers, I will have six. As well, we are supposed to teach for about three hours on Saturday afternoons (we get extra pay for this, and I'm told it is very good money). We're not sure exactly how Saturday will work out because they've changed this program from last semester. The other ESL teachers in our building that are doing this have told us that they could tell us one thing one minute and in a five minutes change thins...it's very frustrating, and you can't really make plans.

Well, I'd better go for now. God bless and have a Christ-filled day!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

School Is In

Well, I have now finished my first week teaching Engish here in Korea! My lesson was the same for all 19 classes I teach - a basic introduction lesson where I would tell about myself and ask them questions to "test" their listening. I've been told that I can do just one lesson plan for all the classes, and just adapt it so that it will reach those who don't know very much English, and also those who would be classified as intermediate beginners.

Monday is my busiest day with five classes in a row. My easier days are Tuesdays and Thursdays (so far), with only three in a row. I teach at Yesan Middle School for boys. That's right, I teach all boys all the time! The grades I have would work out to grade seven and eight in our school system. Here, though, they go by levels and I have all the level ones and twos - each class (there are 9 classes in each level) is 45 minutes long and has roughly 30ish boy in each.

The heat has pretty much disappeared, thankfully. We had several days of rain in a row, which brought welcomed coolness. Today is sunny and cloudy and very warm (though I'm not sure of the exact temperature). Those first days were so unbearably hot, so I am enjoying today's weather.

I'm pretty well settled into my apartment. I'm just waiting for my stove to be hooked up and my chair to be delivered. The apartment is a bachelor/studio type - just one room; two people could comfortably live in it though.

On Tuesday, Sarah and I were taken to one of the main cities that is about two hours away so that we could apply for our alien registration cards and a multiple entry visa. The visa is so that if we want to travel while we are in Korea, we can do so and still be able to get back in (our work visa only allow for one entry, which was when we landed in Korea two week ago). We were told that it would take two weeks for us to get but one of the ESL teachers in our building said she got hers in ten days, and another one told us she got hers in seven days. We need the alien registration cards before we can open a bank account, and have internet and phone and cable hooked up. Thankfully I have access to the net at school! Not to worry though, during school hours I use it to check email and surf for ideas to use in class. The only time I do anything personal is at lunch or after classes. All the ESL teachers have told us the schools don't care what we do at our desk just so long as we look busy. One teacher told us she reads a lot of books and another has said she has observed other ESL teachers playing computer games...

Tomorrow Sarah, Lorie, and myself are heading to Seoul with two other ESL teachers that live in our building. Sarah and I are in the same town and her apartment is above mine, but Lorie ended up getting placed about 15 minutes from us (she's coming in tonight on the bus to go with us in the morning to Seoul).

Latest prayer requests would include that my back continues to get better (it is now more stiff and a little sore rather than the excruciating pain I was having), that I do well with my teaching, that I can handle the boys, that I get along well with all my co-teachers and develop good relationships with my co-workers (I'm the only foreigner here - everyone else is Korean). Also, please pray that Sarah and I can find a church that speaks English. There are none in the town we ended up in (the town is called Yesan).

God bless, and have a Christ-filled day!