Saturday, January 8, 2011

Life in Korea 2010

so much for that New Year's resolution about actually posting to my blog.... actually my only New Year's resolution was to do one new thing a week

Sooo... maybe I should recap my crazy year on Korea....

January --- err... my first experience at Winter Camp ... what a waste of time... is it supposed to be three days of English language immersion?  Who knows since no pre-camp meeting I attended ever explained the purpose of the camp.  Anyway our local district runs an overnight camp at a mountain retreat center.  Sleeping on the floor, Korean breakfast supplemented with my stash of instant oatmeal, my first taste of Golden Bell and discovering that those skits that can look so cute are often accomplished by the children memorizing words phonetically using hangul characters that sound like the English words - so much for learning English.  This was followed by a trip back to the States where I vaguely remember trying to outrun a major ice storm as I drove from St. Louis to Mississippi and finally making it to Graceland.

February - So what's with the crazy school calendar schedule?  No school in January and no school the first week in February because it's still Winter vacation/Chinese New year followed by two weeks of school so the Sixth grade can graduate and classrooms can be cleaned out and huge piles of papers and books can be thrown away only to be followed by another week of no school so we can prepare for the new school year which starts in March

March - New school year - teachers change schools every 4-5 years in Korea so there is a new batch at my school.  The Vice-principal changed too and then all the returning teachers received different grades to teach. - I guess it keeps everyone on their toes. I had to attend a week long EPIK training program even though I'm not part of the EPIK program.  Turns out many of the other teachers there were in the same boat.  It was the orientation program for new teachers which would have been really helpful when I first started teaching.  Best part was making new friends and hanging at a great Jazz club in Seoul

April - this is the point at which I think I really like what I'm doing here and I am oblivious to the outside world

May - looking at my teaching notes, apparently we missed several days of school (or at least my lessons) probably in preparation for sports day

June - I notice that more of my lessons are dependent on things that I snagged at waygook - that website has saved my boring classes on more than one occasion - looks like I got my free physical at the hospital too (sometimes it pays to be old)  I remember when the results came back my co-teacher was reading them and I said "let me guess I need to exercise more otherwise everything is ok"

  July - after dreading the thought of having to teach at Summer Camp, I found out that by simply saying "I don't want to" I didn't have to - I must remember that in the future - I told my school that I wanted to re-sign for another great year and thus I ended up with three weeks of vacation - I made my crazy trip to the UK and then took the train to London, Paris, Zurich, Milan, Rome, ferry to Sicily. I hopped a ferry to Malta for the Rod Stewart concert then flew to Egypt (because it was on the way), caught the pyramids then flew to Kenya.  Hung out with my son, stood on the equator and saw hippos up close.

August - something happened but I don't remember what

September - Second semester of the school year got underway - I went to the Andong mask festival with some friends

October - a great month with lots of great KOTESOL stuff going - loved the International Conference in Seoul - This is also when I discovered Korean dramas on and was impressed with quality.  I watched The Road No. 1 which is a cross-between Titanic and Band of Brothers set during the Korean War - highly recommended

November - a very busy month with the KOTESOL drama festival (I got to be a judge) and the Thanksgiving symposium and dinner in Choeson - making more friends and having a great time plus I didn't have to teach at the YES center on Saturdays!  - my next Korean drama was Girls Before Flowers - and  I finally have something to talk about with the sixth grade girls - Who is cuter Kim Hyun Joong (YES!!!) or Kim Bum( dimples! I call him the Korean Mario Lopez) and what is with the hair job on Lee Min Ho (butt ugly) - I see now why everyone says Korean Dramas are so addictive!

December - er... I'm sure things happened... Actually I got to participate in the 24 Hour Theatre Project in Daegu - great fun!  Basically it's the end of the school year (except for two weeks in February - crazy huh?) but I did go caroling in Andong for the second year in a row (raising money for the orphanage) and spent the last week of the year deskwarming at home which gave me time to become thoroughly engrossed in Korean dramas.
Let's see this year I watched
The Road No. 1 - great Korean War love story
Boys Before Flowers (loved it)
Sungkyunkwan Scandal  (cute and interesting from an historical perspective)
Playful Kiss - so stupid that I almost didn't attach the link - I only watched it because Kim Hyun Joong (Boys Before Flowers) was in it
The Great Queen SeonDeok - wow what a great historical drama - I had avoided this one because it had so many episodes but it was gripping all the way to the sad ending - I'm still arguing over Bidam versus Yushin

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