My Korean Birthday

It’s been a busy week since I last posted and I apologize in advance for not writing in so much detail, but I will give a basic outline of the week’s events.

Friday: I went to Emart after work and then hung out with Zaaid and Rene afterwards. We had a great time and it was a really fun way to kick off my birthday weekend!

Saturday: my birthday. I had to work, as you know, and the students we got were possibly the nicest and best behaved kids I’ve dealt with yet. And guess what? They were North Koreans. They are called “Saetumin,” which means something like “North Korean escapee.” How many people can say they have taught North Koreans? Pretty cool, huh?

Work was great, but the evening was not. I really wanted Mexican food for my birthday, so my friends and I took the bus to Seoul to go to “On the Border” for dinner. However, it took 2.5 hours to get there because of traffic, and by the time we got there, we had just a little over an hour before the restaurant closed. The food was pretty good and a lot of people came, so it was still a good time, but it just felt like such a short celebration.

Sunday: The kids left in the morning, like always, and the rest of the day was devo –> BORING! I finally went to the gym after work and had a pretty good workout.


I signed up to teach the Korean soldiers who come to GEV from various bases around South Korea. I figured it would be a nice change of pace from teaching middle schoolers, and plus, I really enjoy teaching adults. It’s been fun so far but at first it was strange not having to deal with loud kids running around and talking during class. The soldiers are VERY quiet and obviously, well behaved, but they started to loosen up a little once they got to know each other. Throughout the week, they have to prepare a presentation that they’ll give on Thursday on the topic of their choice. So the first lessons on Monday were just about the presentation and presentation-giving skills. For some reason, I felt a little awkward teaching sergeants and colonels and guys who jump out of planes how to give a presentation.

It was Shanti’s birthday on Monday, so after work we went to Seoul yet AGAIN for another dinner and celebration. Shanti and Chris had the day off and had already gone into the city, and picked out a Korean restaurant where we had more barbecue and hundreds of sauces and side dishes. Man, it was delicious! There were 14 people and it turned into a really fun night with lots of laughs and funny photos.

Tuesday was a good day as well because we did a game with all of the soldiers in the Concert Hall in the morning, and in the afternoon they had content area classes. In cooking, with kids, it takes all 3 hours to make just one thing and then to clean up. With the soldiers, they were so fast and efficient that we were able to make muffins, quesadillas, pancakes, AND popcorn! And the best part is, they immediately washed everything and put things back on their own without me having to tell them what to do or having to put things away for them. It was great! All I did was talk to them so that they practiced speaking English while they cooked and cleaned. It was really a fun class!

That night, instead of Cinema English, they had me “supervise” the soldiers who were allowed to come in and use the computers to work on their presentations. It was kind of boring just because they didn’t really need my help too much and I just saw there, available to help anyone who needed it. It was pretty neat, though, to see the topics they all chose and to watch them create their PowerPoints.

Today is Wednesday and I don’t really have much planned today. Tonight, though, I’m meeting up with Andy and Lucy and a couple of Lucy’s friends who are all studying for the IELTS (an English proficiency exam), and seeing as I am certified to teach it, I’m going to help them study for it. Then, I’m staying overnight at Andy and Lucy’s (they wanted to return the favor from when they stayed with me a couple of weekends ago). Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I’m having people over for dinner.

That’s everything in a nutshell. More photos coming soon!

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