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Bow and Leave

The Principal and Vice Principal at my school do not speak a lick of English which makes our encounters fairly awkward.  It would only be appropriate to give them a proper goodbye on my last day of work.  

I was telling Dave that I really was not looking forward to that.  His response?:

"Come on. Just do it. If they dont know English, what you say wont matter. Tell them they’re teeth arm crooked and their breath smells. But with a smile.  You’ll win their hearts. Then bow and leave."


Thanks for the advice babe!

"Life is about change. Sometimes it’s painful, sometimes it’s beautiful, but most of the time it’s both."

- (via estrella-anna)

(via estrella-anna)

Rewind

I got to see Jeremy, Peddy, and Andrew last night for their first dinner.  It is kind of funny to back up a year and put myself in their shoes after having experienced a year in Korea.  Little do they know what is in store for them this year; they have no idea what is to come in the next week, what their new home will look like, what their job will entail, or the relationships that will form. I hope they have as amazing as an experience in Korea as I did.

GAH

Today I had my least favorite class and my favorite class back to back.  Talk about mixed emotions.

3.5 days!

I HATE GOODBYES

I couldn’t imagine my year any other way.  I couldn’t have asked for better friends.  I know this is not goodbye, but instead this marks the end of a great year.  I am sad that the next time we will see each other is undecided, however I KNOW we will all reunite again hopefully sooner than later.

Love you girls.

Goodbye Korea, Hello U.S.A!

My time in Korea is coming to an end in a mere 10 days.  It has been a year full of new experiences, travels, and friends.  I have made incredible friendships here, something I never expected all within a years time.  I remember saying to a friend, half jokingly, that I would be sure to pack plenty of books so I would have something to occupy my time if I was a sad, lonely, friendless foreigner.  I could not imagine my year without the friendships that have developed.  I know a  year ago today they were just strangers embarking on a journey of their own to Korea with the same concerns and excitement, but I feel so blessed to have met these people. 

Korea marks another great year of my life and I have so many mixed emotions about returning home and reuniting with family and friends, eating my favorite foods, and finding a new job.  I am excited to sleep in my comfortable bed and be in the comfort of a real home.  I am thrilled, yes thrilled, to drive my car again and get from point A to point B without being pushed by adjumas, dealing with multiple transfers, and having to walk more on top of that.  Traveling and living abroad makes you appreciate the little things in life so much more.  Oh yeah, and being able to flush toilet paper down the toilet.  Novel idea, don’t you think?

Just as I was not fully cognizant of my decision to come teach English in Korea, a country in which I knew not a lick of the language, I do not know what these next few months will bring.  I guess that is all part of life’s adventure.  Coming to Korea has taught me that I can thrive living in a foreign country with no family or friends to speak of and create a life for myself.  I’ve gained a lot of courage over the past year and hope to carry that with me through my job hunt in this less than ideal economy. 

"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."

Competitive Claire

I don’t think I would make a very good parent in regards to sports.  I realized this only today as we were holding mini-olympics for our students.  My homeroom class consists of 10 students (5 boys/5 girls).  The games included a balloon race, egg and spoon relay, tail game, and couples dodge ball.  My students weren’t volunteering so I had to assign them to the games.  I had to participate in all of the games except dodge ball which surprisingly were a lot of fun.  We came in second (well, tied for) and all my students won ice cream.  However, I realized how I was the loudest home room teacher cheering them on from the sidelines during dodge ball and almost wanted to jump in the game.  I am glad that my students all had a lot of fun….and that we placed, haha.


I am more competitive than I thought.  That brings me to my next point.  There are 10 native teachers teaching at this district camp.  Three of the ten will receive a 100,000 won bonus if chosen by the students.  I know my kids are having fun in my lessons but I also don’t really care to try to strive for this bonus.  That is not because I don’t want it and not because I don’t think I am a good teacher, but because it is purely based on the students opinion.  Basically, bribing them with candy and treats is a sure way to win.  Many teachers are making fun games or showing movies that aren’t necessarily educational or helping to improve their English.  I know my lessons are fun but I also think other teachers are just trying to do everything in their power to “please them.”  It is funny how everyone is trying to act so nonchalant about the bonus.  They will come in to the teachers’ room after class and ask how each of our classes went to assess if they might, possibly still have a chance in the running for this 100,000 bonus that I call bogus.  Sure, I could use the 100,000 but I think it is stupid to try for it when it is based on such things and if I was rewarded I don’t think I would be honored, so to speak, because it is not based on my lesson plan quality/educational value as much as the “fun.” 

But, I still want it.  And that is where my competitiveness comes back in to play.

"

Let’s face it - English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren’t invented in England or French fries in France. Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren’t sweet, are meat. We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

And why is it that writers write but fingers don’t fing, grocers don’t groce and hammers don’t ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn’t the plural of booth beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices? Doesn’t it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?

If teachers taught, why didn’t preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell? How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?

You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which an alarm goes off by going on. English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race (which, of course, isn’t a race at all). That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.

"

-

This made my inner ESL teacher cringe. HOW TO EXPLAIN I DON’T KNOWWWWWWWWW. (via myradventures)

Yesss, this causes so many “but teacher, why?” memories to run through my head.

(via lauraallover)

(via lauraallover)

I am turning into my Mother!!

I snort when I laugh really hard.

I meticulously cut every sliver of fat off my meat.

I fall asleep watching a movie no matter the time of day or night.

Girls Gone Dirty

Katelyn, Stella, and I went rafting and to Mudfest this Saturday.  Mudfest is a huge festival on the beach and it was packed with so many foreigners.  Basically, every foreigner I know in Korea went.  With the monsoon season, it has been raining every day and the weather has been sub-par.  We left around 6:30 am and when we arrived at the beach to go rafting, the rain had stopped and I thought it might actually be a nice day.  Once we paddled out to sea it started down pouring and we were completely soaked, cold, Stella seasick, and Katelyn dehydrated from the coffee we drank earlier that morning. 

We just wanted to get to Mudfest and try to make the most out of the day.  It was raining for about 15 minutes and then miraculously cleared up and was a gorgeous hot day.  We went in mud wrestling pits and got mud everywhere.  It was in our noses, eyes, and mouth.  It took me five times to rinse my mouth out with beer to get the mud out.  We met a lot of foreigners from all over Korea teaching and in the military.  I had about five people comment on my “colgate” smile and that I look like I could be in an orbitz commercial (probably had to do with the stark contrast of mud on my face).  We got home around 11 pm and I was eeeexxhasssted and continued to find mud in odd places and a developing sunburn.

-sort of rinsed off

I am really going to miss these girls.

First Day of Camp: Success!

I forgot how much I love teaching summer camp (or maybe the regular classes have become that monotonous?).  As it is a privilege to come to camp, only the best and the brightest students may sign up.  Most of these students I have had in small classes (after school or lunch time) which has enabled me to know them on a more personal level.  As much as I have been counting the days till my return home, I actually will miss them a lot.

& I can finally see the sun which is positively affecting my mood.  It is 91 degrees, the AC is on in my school, and I have weekend plans to look forward to. 

The Final Countdown

61 days : 14 hours : 46 minutes : 28 seconds

Attention to Detail

I love my third graders especially my 3-4 class.  They are just always full of energy and they are my highest level students which means I am actually able to converse with them.  The lesson I have been teaching is titled Black Beauty and one of the main phrases I have been teaching them is: They may seem that way, but….

I showed them some pictures (a man with one strong arm and one weak arm, a girl who was smiling on one half of her face and crying on the other) to get them to create their own sentences using the format, They may seem ______, but I think they are ________.  I thought it would be fitting to find a picture of horses since the lesson was about Black Beauty.  The first thing that came up when I typed in tired horses was this:

One of the sentences in the conversation we were studying was, “They may seem happy (pertaining to the horses), but I think they’re tired.  I used this picture but instead got a roomful of both embarrassed and hysterically laughing students who said, “They may seem happy, but I think they’re making babies.”   FAIL.  TIRED, come on.

Dramatic Much?

Maybe my middle school days are so far behind me that I am unable to relate or my memory of those years is beyond clouded but I do not remember crying over a pop star.  My students (and basically all young Korean girls) are in love with Korean Pop music, especially the boy bands.  The lead singer in BEAST apparently has a new girlfriend.  

I walked into my lunch time class today prepared to teach them how to play the game Battleship but I walked into my students huddled around one crying student.  Crying is an understatement.  She was bawling and holding her side, which made me a bit concerned until I saw that her friends weren’t showing concern but instead were smirking.  I asked what the problem was and she could barely blurt out BEAST between her huffing and puffing.  

I couldn’t help but laugh.  She didn’t respond but her face said it all, "How can you be laughing, you insensitive teacher.  This is obviously a life or death matter!  My life is over."

The students were unable to concentrate and didn’t understand the directions to Battleship so I gave them an alternative.  They could search the Internet for five minutes about the singer’s new love affair and then in English right down a summary of what they read and talk about it.  They seemed to like it and I got a good laugh out of it.

"I am annoyed about BEAST’s member Yong Jun Hung and KARA’s member Gu-Ha Ra have like emotions.  I am disappointed for him.  I don’t know why Yong Jun Hung is dating Gu-Ha Ra.  She can’t sing well and is ugly and fix her face and she doesn’t have morals.  But Yong Jun Hung can sing very well and is handsome and he didn’t fix his face.  I hate and don’t like Gu-Ha Ra.  I want and hope Yong Jun Hung breaks up with Gu-Ha Ra.”

"I want to kill Gu-Ha Ra.  She is ugly and doesn’t sing well.  I hate her."

"I saw the news about Yong Jun Hung and Gu-Ra Ha.  I was very surprised to hear that.  He is my favorite singer.  They fell in love!!!  She is very ugly and selfish.  She looks like ET.  He is very handsome, humble, elegant, brilliant, and kind.  She makes me very annoyed."