Monday, April 30, 2012

Clearing the vaults

Both schools have exams this week, so I've some extra time to update this page. Here are some pictures.

Dongdaemun Hostel, Seoul, mid-April 2012

I stayed here a couple of weeks ago when I met Paula in Hyehwa. While this is the smallest room I've booked, it felt comfortable and cozy. It had all the necessary amenities. Being on the shorter side has its advantages. Next to the chair lay a small refrigerator.

COEX Mall, late February 2012  (near Samseong Station in Seoul)

I took my good friend Eun-jin out for her birthday. We ate delicious Mexican food at On The Border. For you shopping nuts and people watchers out there, note that COEX is Asia's largest underground mall.

From the "My students are awesome" file: Bleny's note, mid-March 2012

Bleny's a tall and outgoing HS 3rd grade girl. One day she came up to me when I was walking up the stairs and handed me that red pill above. I'm glad I didn't swallow it, because in my moment of hesitation, she told me she wrote me something. You can see three micro-scrolls above. Creative stuff. 

Her younger sister, Eun-sun, once wrote a thank you note when she finished her visual puns activity early, too.

8 months last week. The rock and roll continues.

Announcement: I'm staying in Korea for two years; possibly three.

One year just isn't enough, not when every day brings as much joy as it does here.

It's a beautiful thing when the students clap for you at the end of a lesson. A couple weeks back, my co-teacher Ms. Jeong and I taught the high school first graders expression "I'm going to the ~ so I can ~" with various places around town and what they can do at those places. They now know what they can do at the bank, the coffee shop, the library, and a few other places here. Throughout the lesson they were taking notes and participating with enthusiasm. They spoke to each other loud and clear in the free speaking part of the class. We coached some of the more difficult words to pronounce and the students caught on quickly.  When the time to finish came I said, "Okay, time's up. Goodbye!" to hear a chorus of "Thank you!"s over the hand claps.

Or how about this: In my high school first grade English Elective class, Min-joon asked me about the island of Dokdo. I said yeah. He said, "Japan maintains that it is their land." He used maintain as a verb. This blew me away. I wrote his words on the board for all 8 students to see and congratulated him for using an excellent word and for using it well.

These are just two examples of what's going on here. These kids rock.

And because I haven't posted in a month, here's a quick review of April 2012:

-- Went to Seoul every weekend for various activities.

-- Drank beer beside the Han River and walked along the park there.

-- Wandered the Chunggye Stream.

-- Had Carrie's birthday party in Dongsong.

-- Attended two weddings of teacher friends. Wedding one was Ms. Yeo and it took place in a wedding hall. We were in and out in 45 minutes because that's how weddings work here. We shot in, grabbed, lunch, the couple say "I do," and took some pictures. Wedding two was Ms. Lee and it took place in a church. Aside from the lack of bridesmaids or groomsmen, and the Korean speeches, this wedding looked like every other one I've seen. The resulting lunch buffet was top notch!

-- Partied in Gangnam, Seoul with my friend Da-som.

--Partied in Hyewha, Seoul with Paula.

-- Bought an Epiphone SG guitar at the Nagwon market the day of wedding two. Got an amp, cable, tuner, strap, strings, case, and stand thrown in as well.

Let there be rock. 
I've wanted an SG since I was 17 and now it's mine. Her name is Ji-young (지영), after the name of recruiter who told me about EPIK this time last year in Madison.