Thursday, November 25, 2010

3rd Thanksgiving in the ROK

My third Turkey Day away from home was also my first day at my new job here in Korea. It was an experience, for sure.

This morning, I waited outside in the cold for an hour, because the poor guy they sent from my school to pick me up couldn't find the place. I didn't want to go inside, lest he should drive by and not see me. So I waited. And it was freezing. Then traffic was epic going back into Seoul, and it took us two solid hours to reach the school. God bless him, he had a can of coffee and a waffle for me to munch on in the car.

Once I finally got there, my day was filled with meeting kids, learning schedules, and observing classes. The schedule is similar to LCI, with Kindergarten in the morning and elementary in the afternoon. However, POLY switches classes every 40 minutes, during both times, and so I'll have two Kinder classes that I work with, rather than one. It also looks like I may be teaching a gym class, hahahaha.

The students were adorable, of course. I'm looking forward to getting to know them better. The first girl I met, Dorothy, was this tiny little thing I wanted to stick in my pocket, who made it her job to show me around the first floor. The school is split into two floors, with the bottom being 7 year olds and the top 6 year olds.

My co-workers, both foreign and Korean, are fantastic. Everyone is incredibly helpful and kind, and I'm excited about working with them.

They also invited me, as I mentioned before, to their Thanksgiving dinner tonight. The great thing about that, besides the dinner and the company, was that I got a sneak preview of where I'd be living. If we thought I'd lost weight before from walking everywhere, that will have been nothing compared to what will happen to me now. I live up what was described to me as a "treacherous hill," and that was no exaggeration. I'm a bit nervous for winter, and hope the snow is kept to a minimum this year.

These people really know how to keep the holiday traditional, even so far from home. Our spread was phenomenal:

I have to stay in a hotel tonight, as my apartment won't be vacated till tomorrow. It was suggested that I leave my big heavy bags at the school, so I brought just my carry-on and backpack. I was given a piece of paper with the hotel name, and caught a cab after dinner. I had no idea what to expect, and was pleasantly surprised to see that this hotel could be compared to a Comfort Suites. It's pretty fab, and I don't think I'll want to get out of bed in the morning :)

Even the toilet is fancy ;)

And just so you don't forget that there's a real person behind these posts, here's a fuzzy action shot of me, sitting here blogging:

Riveting, eh? :)

I wasn't feeling well after the dinner, so I stopped at the 7-11 and bought some water and a vitamin C drink. Now that you've been sufficiently updated, I'm going to hydrate and sleep. I've got another long day of learning ahead of me, so I need to be in tip-top shape!

PS - Epic weekend ahead, as well. Saturday is my "Welcome Back" party, and Sunday is Thanksgiving Dinner, part Two, with my dear Jukjeon friends.

Love you all!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Back in the ROK

So it's been a while. I'm a lazy little blogger.

In an effort to keep everything current and fresh, I'll skip the rest of my Guatemala trip, and the Netherlands, and focus your attention on the here and now. I couldn't find a job in the States, and so moved back to South Korea to teach and make lots of money again :)

This time, I'll be living in Seoul, about an hour and a half from where I used to live. I'm working for POLY School, which is a major school around here, and so my job should be pretty safe.

I arrived Sunday evening, and am staying in Jukjeon until Thursday morning, when my school will pick me up and move me and my 100+ lbs of luggage to my new home. I've been staying with the Dish, who you may remember from previous Korea posts.

It's been great being back in Jukjeon. I stopped by the Paris Baguette where I used to get an Iced Cafe Latte every morning, and the husband-and-wife owners remembered me! They were so excited to see me, they gave me a free can of Cafe Mocha :)

Of course, I couldn't be here in the town without visiting LCI. It was wonderful to see all of the Korean staff, but my main purpose was to see my babies. It was a huge surprise for them, and they loved it. I was thrilled about seeing them again, and just wanted to squeeze them till their little heads popped off :) Unfortunately, only 4 of my Kinders were there. Others had left LCI, or were taking a break from English. Still, those 4 were enough for me.

Sally, Laura, Sun Q, and Becky. I don't know if you can see, but Sun Q and Becky are both missing their two front teeth :)

I stuck around to see the later Elementary kids too... And was proud that I could still tell the twins, Sunny and Michelle, apart:

But the two I really wanted to see were Erica and Lina. When I left, I had been teaching just the two of them for 2.5 hours, three days a week. It was a great class, because we were able to go off on tangents and discuss girlie things while still getting our work done. These girls have a huge part of my heart.

Erica and Lina. Erica is the girl who e-mailed me, when I told her I was coming back to Korea, and said "Teacher, don't eat pizza before you fly, or the plane will fall out of the sky." She's hilarious. I told them I'd give them my number, once I have it, and we'd go to Everland :)

It's been really great to be back in Jukjeon (in my old apartment, even!) and to see what has changed and what is still surviving. However, I'm really looking forward to checking out my new neighborhood, my new co-workers, and my new apartment. It seems like, at the very least, my new co-workers will be great. They've already invited me, via the director, to an American Thanksgiving dinner at one of their apartments on Thursday. So I think I'll be very happy there :)

I promise to be a diligent poster now that I'm back in the land of silly signs and funny Englishee phrases :)

Love you all!