An Atypical Week at English Village

What is a “typical” week at English Village, anyway? Every week – nay, every day – is different. It’s just that it’s been a particularly interesting week for us so far.

We have 10 students here in Special Programs from Thailand. They are extremely polite, well behaved, and just plain nice kids. They way they help each other, interact with us and their Thai teachers, and show genuine sincerity towards everyone is unmatched by any other students I have ever taught (except maybe the North Korean kids, who were also some of the nicest kids ever). They arrived last Sunday, and Glenn and I had volunteered to greet them. It ended up just being me because the day before, Glenn played rugby and broke his nose. He was still healing and so I figured I could manage greeting a group of 10 kids on my own and taking them to the hotel and cafeteria. Indeed, it proved to be an easy task.

Classes during the week went very well, and Friday was their first field trip to Seoul. Glenn and I had volunteered to chaperone, so we accompanied them first to Insadong, which is a trendy neighborhood with lots of shopping, street food, and art galleries. We did an hour there, then lunch, then went to another neighborhood called Myongdeong (that’s where I had gone with Ellie and a couple of the other girls back in early February). There, they had 3 hours of free time to shop, and so Glenn and I went to a coffee shop along with the other 2 chaperones, and hung out there until it was time to go. It was a great day and we all had a great time. The kids loved it! It was their first time in South Korea and they were all so excited to have the day in Seoul.

During our field trip, there was some excitement back at English Village because everyone was sprucing up the buildings for the Gyeonggi province governor’s visit on Saturday. Our co-workers in Special Programs had to spend the day painting classrooms (which came a week after we were made to decorate them; logic seems to be lacking in almost every decision made by our administration). Anyway, Glenn and I were very grateful that we got to go on the field trip instead of having to paint all day.

We had a relatively quiet weekend. The first half of Saturday, we spent being lazy at home (“lazy” for me being cleaning, doing dishes, and laundry), and in the evening we walked over to a nearby mall and shopped for jeans for Glenn. He bought a pair that fit quite well, which we consider to be an epic victory considering Asian sizes are smaller than “Western” sizes. We had dinner at an Italian restaurant called “All About Garlic,” which, indeed, had a ton of garlic in every dish on the menu. Glenn’s steak was basically a slab of meat covered in a heap of garlic. My pizza was so thin that it was basically a tortilla, and I stacked them all on top of each other to make one normal-size slice by our standards.
Sunday was truly a lazy day for me. I didn’t even change out of my pajamas! Glenn went off to the pub for the entire afternoon and evening (he got home at 10pm), so I had the place to myself and enjoyed a little “me” time.

This is the second week for the Thai students, who will remain for a total of 3 weeks. Yesterday, Monday, was an exciting day for them because a film crew was at EV and they were shooting a music video for some semi-famous pop group from Korea (within the past several years, Korea has grown famous for its “K-Pop” groups, meaning Korean pop groups, which are usually groups of 3-6 teenagers). The Thai students were able to watch them film part of the video, one of the scenes being the 4 boys riding in a neon-pink convertible down Main Street and shouting at the top of their lungs, and another scene being the 4 boys yelling and running down a set of stairs. The rest of us thought it was all just hilarious, but it was quite exciting for the Thai students (and, of course, the Korean students and visitors).

There was triple excitement today, because we had a group of Japan arrive as well as a group of Koreans from Paju joining the Thai students for the day. The activities in the morning went exceptionally well because they all were so excited to meet each other. It was so fascinating to watch them work together in groups, a mix of Thai, Japanese, and Korean, speaking English with each other and teaching each other their languages. It’s hard to describe how truly amazing it was to witness all that, because one would never be able to witness anything remotely close to that back in North America.

In addition to getting Japanese and Korean students for the day, there were 2 film crews here again. I don’t know what the one crew was shooting, but Glenn and I spoke with some people from the other crew and it turns out they were filming an LG commercial, and some of them were Canadians and Russians. The one Canadian guy is from the Timmons region in Ontario, so he and Glenn hit it off, and meanwhile I got to practice my very rusty Russian with the one girl. Now that the weather is getting warmer and nicer, there will most likely be film crews here every couple of days, if not every day (2 out of 10 commercials in Korea are filmed at EV). Apparently, this is what it’s going to be like here come summer.

I wonder what other excitement will ensue this week? Stay tuned to find out, and check out my new pictures in the meantime!
View Photo Gallery

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