Maybe I will miss the warm sun rising over my little home here in Korea. It's warmth carrying it's way into my shoebox and warming things up from a cold night. You can watch the sun go past the sky by seeing the sun-rays go from one end of the wall to the other. It's funny because Tom has a little pattern he follows. Around noon he comes out of the covers, where he was slumbering, and heads to the sunshine. I've also noticed around 2:30 he likes a spot on top of my suitcases that sit in the balcony.
Today was all about work, work, work. I got up and immediately went ahead with cleaning behind all the furniture. I found a lot of dust and cat hair all mangled together. Things in here sure do look a lot cleaner now. After I whisked through the living space I tackled the kitchen. Everything needed a good scrubbing including the refrigerator.
When I moved in to this place (two years ago) it wasn't as clean as I'm making it now. But I know who is going to move in and I don't really want to leave someone with a dirty place. It sucks to move in somewhere and then have to clean it to make it comfortable. I suppose I am putting money into my good karma bank!
I've come to the conclusion that I'm not traveling back to America, but moving. If I were traveling there then I wouldn't need to send off six boxes and try to squeeze what is left into two suitcases. But because I am moving, I am sending everything I own to a faraway location.
Today I cleared out my living space and put it all into my suitcases. Turns out I'm going to need that third one. In the end things are starting to look more and more empty in my little apartment here. Someone came by and took the last bookshelf away. Also with all the boxes gone space is opening up.
I thought I would get to dusting behind furniture and cleaning out areas today but I think my motivation will come tomorrow. I'm meeting up with a friend for dinner as a one last goodbye.
Even though I don't have to wake up early anymore to head into work, Tom still wakes me up. He does it gently by first meowing in my face and then laying his paw on my chin. Then he slowly drags his paw away so that his claws catch my skin and wake me up enough. It's okay to get up early and feed him cause I can sleep in for the next two hours. Or when he wakes me up again for his treats. Who needs an alarm clock, when you have a cat?
I've been spending the past 24 hours figuring out how to get all my stuff to Seattle without paying more than I should. I might have too much stuff to begin with, but I've been here for five years. I have summer and winter clothes to take with me, along with my art stuff. It piles up!
I did a "mock packing" yesterday to see if I could fit all my clothes in two suitcases and not be overweight. Turns out things were too close to the edge. The maximum weight is 23 KG and after I would add all my knick knacks and stuff it would have gone over. So I took out my summer clothes and put those in box, since it should still be mildly cold in Seattle when I get there. Thankfully I have a military friend who is kind enough to ship these boxes out to America. I believe this will be cheaper and faster than using the Korean postal service.
I'm sure all of us know how to use an umbrella and get around their town in the rain. You look out for puddles and wear proper gear. But it seems surviving the rainy streets of Seoul, can add on a few more challenges. I've come to realize these nuances over the course of living here four years, and thought I would share them with you. Not as a way to complain about life here, but just to divulge my observances. Here we go...
I had the fun and pleasure today of making it to the Anguk Immigration Office to renew / extend my visa. Since I am staying at my school it was necessary for me to go to immigration and get this done on my own.
The documents I needed were pretty basic, compared to getting a new visa. This time all I needed was a copy of my contract, school's registration, passport..alien card...and other ones. Hehe you can check the immigration website.
Out of exit 6 you go up to the SK Hub building and take the stairs to the 2nd floor. Find your way to the big room with all the chairs and people sitting in them. Find the ticket machine and press the green button hard enough to make a ticket come out.
Since the start of this recent semester I realized that these kids need extra study aids to get them through all the English math jargon. Also, it was starting to pester me that they kept on mistaking the word square for circle.
As I am planning for next year I am continuing on my path to make study guides. The above is the one I recently made for the fractions chapter. Now I must admit that I am actually a math dummy. However, I did very well during my math classes in college, mostly because I found algebraic formulas fascinating.
It came as a complete surprise. A text from the boss on my computer, after I returned from lunch. Requesting I come and talk to him about next semester. I replied and the next thing I knew I was up in his room learning of my near future.
Turns out all of the 2nd grade teachers are moving on next year. For each grade there is a team leader and these folks, as you can imagine, manage the show. So 2nd grade's team leader would be missing. In short, he wanted me to move up to 2nd grade Math and be the team leader.
At first, I was skeptical because I liked staying in 1st with all my materials and plans for next year. But I was curious and so learned more of his proposal. Turns out he really needs someone to fill the 2nd grade team leader position, and felt I was best because I have experience with the kids and the school. Plus it fits that I will go into 2nd Grade Math, as the book is the same company and similar material.
One of the chapter's coming up in the student's book is "Estimation." For this week of estimating fun I decided to have all the classes take part in a Jelly Bean guessing contest. There are eight groups and each one will get to see a jar semi-full with jelly beans and make a guess as to how many.
A worksheet will accompany this activity and the winner will receive the jar of beans to take home.
There are just three more days of camp and thank goodness! Although, tiring and often mind-boggling strange, the camp has been going pretty well. I have learned what the low-levels need and how better to pace myself for them. They take time to process the English and I try to give it to them in a slow yet understandable manner. But mostly they want to learn through games, crafts and activities. I guess that is true for all first-graders.
Camp, as mentioned earlier, wasn't planned very well even though the planning committee did do hard work. I want to step up for winter camp and plan some new stuff for them, but am trying to lay-low so not to seem like a pushy person.
My gosh did it go so fast! I am really pleased that this semester has come to an end. Of course, kind of not looking forward to three weeks of camp with the same group of kids. But, in essence the toils and trials of everyday work will not come to me again till September.
Things I've Learned:
First graders do require a lot of energy, but you don't have to put on a show all the time. They like games and things for them to do that can keep their minds and hands busy. Teaching at a private elementary school has a lot of benefits when compared to my previous job. I have enjoyed the lack of coteaching and love being in control of my own classroom. However, I have not escaped the Korean workplace and still encounter many snafus related to this. I've learned that patience is the key and one can be strict with the students but not take it emotionally.
Maybe, you have seen the above picture with a young Korean woman in it and the words "Korean Cupid". After looking at it a few times you might have wondered, what it is like to use an online dating service in Korea. So your curiosity finally peaks and you head over to the site and end up in this world that you might think is just like any other dating site, except it is not.
Before I get into my guide, let me first tell you that I met JH through this particular site, and just about two years ago. It was after my break up with my first Korean boyfriend (BK), and I didn't want to believe that I could never love a Kboy again. However, I am not the person to walk up to strangers on the street or go to bars/clubs and hit it up with guys there. I needed a place to go to where I could connect with a Korean man but on a certain level. That is why this guide today will reflect an actual user's experience and give you some insight into the site and trying to meet Korean men.
I have yet to purchase a desk for my home. Instead of a nice comfortable place to do my work I have been completing it on my bed. Tom seems to find this a fun advantage for him, as instead of my laptop making it onto my lap, Tom gets there first most often. Usually the following picture is how I look while I try to get ahead on my lesson planning.