Another Winter in Korea

I can’t complain; we got snow last night, just a few centimeters, but it’s the first snow we’ve had since early January. The snow we’d had on the ground since November finally melted away a couple of weeks ago when we went through a bit of a warm spell. By “warm spell,” I mean temperatures averaged from 0 – 7 degrees Celsius, allowing our frozen village to thaw. Sadly, our apartment’s heat continues to give us grief.

VIP ended January 24th, and then those of us on weekends had to teach a high school program that weekend while everybody else began their Seollal vacation (“Seollal” is the Korean name for the Chinese/Oriental New Year). Luckily, the kids were both nice and very high-level, so it turned out to be a hugely enjoyable experience after one month straight of teaching elementary school kids (VIP). Then, Glenn and I had our week of doing nothing: our “stay-cation.” It was wonderful. I went to Seoul by myself a couple of days just to do something, and spent the days people-watching and doing crossword puzzles in the cafes. Other days, we lazed around at home and didn’t change out of our pajamas. I was extremely bored by the end of our holiday, but I had done that to myself on purpose so that I would want to go back to work.

The Winter VIP 2014 Weekend Team:
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I was happy to get up Monday morning and go to work. However, our week’s program had been cancelled and it turned into a devo week for us. Of course, everyone was happy about this, but I then felt that I had wasted some of my vacation days on being lazy when I could have done something fun instead. That’s the nature of EV, though: one can never plan ahead because change is constant and inevitable.

Everyone passed the time differently this week. I chose to help make new teaching materials to use for my content area (cooking) and helped my content area leader rearrange and reorganize the kitchens. We washed all the utensils (which took 2 days), swept the floors, threw out old, battered utensils and expired ingredients, and cleaned the refrigerator and every work station surface. We moved the teacher’s desk out of the room and put in an additional rack, which allows more walking space and more drying racks for the utensils. The best part was that my colleague, our content area leader, was able to spend 2 days preparing about 50 tamales and had everyone over Thursday night for a Mexican food party. Considering he’s a trained chef, you can imagine how good the tamales and tacos were. It’s safe to say that it was one of the tastiest meals I’ve had in Korea.

A picture from the Mexican food party: Sheryl (one of the Edutainers), myself, Lea (Korean), and Angie (South African):
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This weekend, I’ve exchanged shifts with one of my colleagues and will be working for her on Sunday (she will work for me next Tuesday). Another devo day.

Next week, we have 2 small programs coming and we will teach an average of 2-3 hours per day. Next Saturday, Glenn and I go on vacation for 2 weeks and will visit Thailand, Cambodia, and China.

It’s a tough life, ain’t it?

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