Finally Having Fun in Korea

I would like to start off with a shout-out to Chev’s mom, who I just learned is a faithful reader of my blog! I am both flattered and honored to know that a non-acquaintance finds my life interesting enough to follow. Thank you for reading! I also appreciate your concern for my health post-surgery. Chev told me that you asked about me. 🙂 (And congrats to him on becoming the new Weekend Coordinator!)

I had a great week AND weekend! EV is trying to get through their yearly contracts with public schools and is running out of time, so OWP has been dealing with 2 programs every week: the 3-day-2-night program (3D2N), with Wednesday being an overlap day. Because I had been in Special Programs and then immediately put on the weekend schedule with Wednesdays and Thursdays off, and then being out for 3 weeks due to surgery, last week was the first Wednesday I had worked in OWP since last November! The overlap in programs wasn’t too bad, but it is a little awkward to have the second program arrive, have them leave their bags in the Exhibition Hall and go straight to class for 2 hours before taking them to get their bags and check into the hotels (the most awkward part being the fact that we take them at 4:45pm to get their bags, go to the hotels, and then have to go back to class for half an hour before dinner time). I can think of a million better ways to do it, but I’m just a lowly cooking teacher.

The first program I taught after having surgery and then a week of devo was the military program, which was a nice way to ease back into teaching since soldiers make very disciplined students. I had been worried about going from military to middle school again, but we actually had 2 wonderful groups last week. From Monday-Wednesday morning, we had an elementary school program and the kids were so lovely and enthusiastic, AND near-fluent in English! (That always helps A LOT!) Then, from Wednesday afternoon-Friday, we had a middle school group who was equally lovely and actually had an overall great attitude (which can be rare with that particular age group). I got some really nice postcards from a bunch of the kids, some of whom wrote very meaningful messages to me. For example, one kid wrote, “Hi, my name is Lee Do Yeon. Cooking with Rachel is good! Watching cartoon with Rachel is good! I can speak English because Rachel. English Village fun! Food is delicious! Thank you and I love you.” Another one says, “Rachel, I think meeting you in English Village was the best thing. I wish to meet you again sooo much! Thank you!” It is nice to know that I had such an effect on some of the students!

I have to admit that my throat hasn’t been doing as well as I’d hoped. It felt a little raw after military week, and has gradually felt a little worse every day. Obviously, it isn’t nearly as bad as it had been, but I’m a little worried that I’m over-using my voice in class. I don’t have any more vacation/sick days to use, and we are VERY short on teachers at the moment, so the best I can do is to let my co-teachers do all the talking and yelling, and I’ll pass out stickers and gather ingredients for cooking. The only thing I’m worried about is having to pilot a lesson this week. When I had my week of devo, I developed a lesson for VIP that needs to be piloted (“tried out”) on a class this week in order to see what works, what doesn’t, and what needs to be changed so that it’s all ready to go for VIP. I’ll probably just avoid being social after work in order to save my voice for teaching.

Speaking of being social, I’ve been quite the social butterfly! I think I’ve been out more within the past week and a half than I had been from the time I arrived here until now. I’ve gone down to the pub with Glenn a few times to hang out with people there, and that has led to invitations to do other things, most of which I have said ‘yes’ to, which has then led to even more invitations and opportunities. On Thursday, I got together with a couple of co-workers to show them how to stretch properly (which they asked me to do after learning that I’m a former gymnast), and 3 additional people showed up and then it kind of turned into an official club, if you will, and we decided to make it a regular thing every Thursday. After the session, I went out with 2 of them to Kimbap Changook (a little Korean restaurant in Paju) for dinner. Then, on Friday after work, I ran into another co-worker who asked if I wanted to go for dinner somewhere. While there, I got a call about meeting up with some other people afterwards, and even though I was getting eaten alive by mosquitoes, at least I went for a little while and didn’t just go home because I wasn’t feeling well. Being healthy is awesome!

On Saturday, we went yet again to Itaewon to watch a rugby game at a bar with all the rugby fans at EV. Actually, Glenn and I started the morning off with a phone call from Dhaval, which turned into a Skype chat for an hour and a half! Deesha just arrived in Sri Lanka to start her 3-month gig there running a local hospital, so Dhaval is home alone in North Carolina and I think he enjoyed talking to us for that long as much as we enjoyed it. After that, we went to Gangnam because Glenn wanted to meet with an optometrist about getting laser eye surgery. Just like me with my throat issues, Glenn has been suffering from a series of bad contacts that give him a lot of grief (and pink-eye a couple of times). So, he scheduled the Lasik for next Saturday since I can’t take any more days off and I need to go with him to help him get home afterwards. But back to the current weekend. Glenn made his appointment for Lasik and then we went up to Itaewon and met up with some EV friends to watch the game with. It was fun, but I’m glad the game was the last of the series since I would like to explore more of Seoul and not just go to Itaewon every time! Although, I can’t complain too much because we found the ONLY Ethiopian restaurant in ALL of Korea and had the most delicious dinner ever last night!

Today (Sunday) I went in to work for 4 hours because I needed to print, laminate, cut, and assemble the materials for the lesson I’m piloting this coming week. I had planned on climbing our mountain afterwards and then relaxing with a book on the rooftop of a bridge we have at EV, but it started to rain just as I was leaving the office and now I really don’t feel like doing anything! Lucky for my readers, it led to me blogging. 🙂

Although I need to continue to let myself heal, I am just so happy these days that I feel well enough to work, be social, and start back up my gym routine. I’m going to start planning out our vacation to the Philippines in September and continue working on my grad school application. I’m so excited to be here in Korea and I can’t wait to explore more of Seoul and other parts of the country! (And to travel more in Asia, of course!)

My goal is to blog once a week, so please stay tuned for my next post!

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One Response to Finally Having Fun in Korea

  1. Marian LaRusso says:

    G and I are so happy to learn that you are feeling better. Some day, in the future, you
    are going to write a book. It will be a best seller. Remember, I have all this info saved for
    you. Love you, love you, love you……………Gma

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