Recent Blog Posts
Being sick again SUCKS big time and the rainy/gloomy days are not helping...
Yesterday I was chatting with my Boss/Friend and told her I wasn't feeling well, she said she would get me medicine today.
Today I showed up for work but I was useless as my illness took the best of me; my boss gave me medicine and even prepared a light snack to eat before the pills, she showed ne how much she cares about me. I was told to take tomorrow off and get better because she said she was feeling bad cuz I went to work today while being sick....
Back in november when I was working at *****, I asked my Boss to help me get medicine for my cold (we were friends, that's why I asked him), he basically ignored me, made me work for up to 15 straight hours and a week later asked me if I was sick....
Everyday I feel blessed for the new family I've found away from Home and I'm sure my mom's working something up there for us to be having such an amazing time/life now...
I can't thank my boss enough for being so cool and for loving me so much^^
Tomorrow I'll rest and hopefully my sore throat will get better!
I know I haven't been blogging much, but our Vlog is consuming more time these days and I want to focus on that now that is growing, it's been so much fun to make videos and to reply to the comments on Youtube/Facebook...
But do stick around as I'll try to update more often!, even if it's a random post about.my boring day lol.
Or, you can check our youtube channel (Double trouble en Corea) but that's in Spanish hehe.
Time for me to sleep and I'll see you guys soon^^
Better late than never but last weekend I had the pleasure of heading up to the Seoul Photo & Imaging Show to check out the first exhibition comprised of expats living here in Korea. It was all made possible by the hard work of Dylan Goldby. I am grateful for his hard work and friendship and being one of the lucky 50 photographers selected to be a part of this show.
If you are not familiar with the “P&I” show it is the largest photography exhibitions in Korea. I have blogged about it before but this was the first time that I was actually a part of it. Typically this show has (in my opinion) 4 parts: the gear, the girls, the geeks and the galleries. The biggest draw is usually the first 2 “g’s” as dudes from around the country come to oggle the gear and take pictures of the girls holding the gear. Geeks like myself usually stick to the gear and the galleries.
At any rate, for me the biggest draw up to Seoul was getting a chance to meet a lot of the people that I have been talking to over the internet for years. I think that the overall feeling was that we all sort of knew each other but not the face. It was strange meeting so many people that I have followed and chatted with for so long and finally met in person. It was a really good time and I am happy that I got up there.
Here are a few more shots from the meet up
I know it's not what you want to hear, but it's true. A good portion of my students on any given day don't give a crap about learning English. When I first started teaching, I really let that get to me. I sincerely care about these kids, I want them to learn, so every student who talked or napped through my class was like a personal wound. Right in the feelings.
It also makes you wonder..."Why am I here?" I don't have a teaching degree. I'm just another idealistic English major dreaming of making a difference in the world. Do I have any right to make my students to pay attention in class? Am I helping them at all? Is it morally okay to be complicit in forcing English into their brains? Am I worthless? The constant articles about "The end of foreign English teachers!" and emails from the local Education office about budget cuts are no help in this area either. You read about a Korean group railing against the necessity of foreign teachers and you start to think, yeah...maybe...you're right...I'll just go...am I really any use here anyways?
As a career worrier, these are the sorts of questions that start to assail me after a week of difficult classes. It wasn't even entirely my fault. Teaching with a cold benefits no one.
So, after a week going into a deeper and deeper slump, a recent conversation with a student just revived me like a shot of adrenaline to the heart.
I've always felt that it's important to get to know your students outside of class, because the way they act in class can be entirely different from their true personality. It's easy to pass over very smart or talkative students, just because they aren't as motivated in class. This is all too true in the case of Taehon, the main character of my story.
On Lacking Mutual Respect
Taehon is a third year middle school student, the equivalent of a freshman in high school for any American readers out there. That puts him at...what...15 or 16 years old? In a class of 36 students, he doesn't stand out at all. Average height and looks, unlikely to speak up in class, but secretly a passionate and driven student, with big dreams for the future.
After our first class together, he came up to me to apologize for his noisy classmates, explaining that they "lack mutual respect." I was floored. I know American middle schoolers who don't know the words "mutual respect." I still can't decide if I was more shocked by the vocabulary or the sentiment.
Since that day, he'll occasionally linger after class to ask horribly complicated grammar questions in that quiet, thoughtful voice of his, but we never had a real chance to talk until today.
I don't have any classes this week due to midterm exams, so I was bumming around the English room cleaning and organizing during lunch today, hoping that someone would come visit. My wishes were granted! Taehon wandered in, offered to help clean, then asked his usual difficult grammar question. By the way, explaining the difference between "to" and "for" in simple English is hard. I think I confused him more than I helped.
Be the Change
However, after we muddled our way through grammar, the real questions started to come out.
"Will you stay in Korea for long?"
"Yes! I love Korea. I love teaching."
"Good! Korean schools...need you."
I get this question a lot. "Will you stay?" When I say yes, I want to stay here long-term, no one believes me. It's just so common for foreign teachers to spend one or two years before returning to their home countries to start a "real life".
"If you want to know Korean history or culture things, I will teach you."
"Wow! Thank you so much! I will ask you."
"And, please teach me about American culture."
This led to a bit of a comparison between Korean and American school life, and the fact that American students have lots of free time, since after school academies aren't really a thing, shocked him. I also mentioned how happy I felt to know him, to have such a curious and smart student.
He then brought up his month studying abroad in New Zealand, and the fact that the students there "Had the attitude to learn. They want to listen."
My theory about many Korean students and their lack of focus in class in that they are just plain tired. 8 hours of school followed by afterschool hagwon work until as late as 11 PM or midnight? How can you expect them to have the energy to actually learn when they're spending so much time working?
This brought out the best thing I've heard from a student in a long time.
"I think...Korean education is not good. I want to change. So, I want to be in politics. If you can vote in Korea someday, please vote for me."
This kid is going to go far. If I can ever vote in Korea, I know I would vote for him. There's hope for the world yet.
This my most favourite Korean food of all. It is a really "friendly" food for foreigners who are trying Korean food for the first time because it is not red, not spicy and looks like Chinese chicken soup. Somehow the restaurants do it best, but it is also simple to prepare it yourself at home. Here's what you need.
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문래창작촌 | Seoul Art Space | Mullae-dong, Mullae Line 2
문래창작촌 | Seoul Art Space | Mullae-dong, Mullae Line 2
A rainy afternoon in Mullae-dong. Come out of Mullae Exit 7, and walk south for a couple of hundred metres. You’ll meet the entrance to the industrial area (there’s a couple of pieces of street art which you can’t miss) Once inside, you’ll find a mixture of steel workshops (still very much operational), artist studios, and some boutique cafes. Unlike some of the other artist villages around Korea, this place certainly feels more gritty. I chose to visit on a rainy afternoon which meant having the place to myself. I think the weather added a certainly gloominess and made the vibrancy of the art stand out even more. Towards, the main road, the village becomes more ‘gentrified’ and there were some pretty flashy coffee shops complete with posing hipsters (Very akin to parts of Shoreditch in London).
If you’re interested in the industrial side of Seoul, the juxtaposition of old and new, or urban street art, this is probably about as good as it gets.
Pick a rainy day and don’t forget your umbrella!
It is tough to be in a long distance relationship. I see friends who complain about being in a "long distance relationship" when their boyfriend/girlfriend goes on a school exchange. But being in a long distance relationship with someone from a different country or culture brings it to a whole new level.
Here is how we make our long distance relationship (LDR) work:
(Recent EMS with home-grilled seaweed, korean beans, korean snacks...)
I think the most important thing is to have a mindset that this relationship will work if you put your heart and soul into it. It will be a tough relationship, but the most rewarding one you will ever have.