Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A semi-white Christmas in Wasu

We got a dusting of snow overnight, so Wasu had a slight glimmer to it this morning. Perhaps it'll stay like that for a bit. As usual, it's as cold as my native Wisconsin out here and we're doing what we can to stay warm.Rochelle and I had delicious dalkgalbi for lunch and we'll be having more Korean food for dinner later with our neighbors. It should make for a good evening. I know it's not the typical Christmas turkey, but I'll stay for the record that I've never been too keen on turkey and that my family's always done other dishes for Christmas. We like to have stuff we don't eat often, so we generally have steak, shrimp, or ribs. My mom makes a mean steak and I miss it.

I miss my entire family. We talked for a while on Skype earlier and all seems well back home. It's not easy being halfway around the world, but sometimes that's how things go. They understand that this job means a lot to me and they know how much enjoyment it brings. Still, they're on my mind today. Soon I'll be back in the States for a long holiday and that will make up, if only slightly, for lost time.

Despite Korea being much more of a secular nation than a religious one, Christmas is a national holiday here and all government employees have the day off. New Year's is also a national holiday, for that matter.

We'll be back in school tomorrow to finish out the last three school days of the official school year. That phrasing's deliberate because while yes, the year does end on 28 December, winter classes will start right away. They'll run for most of the month. I won't have any because I'll be off for vacation.

As a point of information, Gangwon EPIK teachers get 21 days of vacation for the winter* and 7 more days for for renewing their contracts for another year. In addition, I had 4 days of unused vacation time from the summer to use. 

Important note: I've heard that this will change for the 2013-2014 contracts. The 21 days will get reduced to 14 so Gangwon will have the same amount of vacation time as the other provinces. 

Finally, some Christmas tunes for you:

J Rabbit - Winter Wonderland
I came across this video while preparing for a holiday lesson and loved it right away. They nail this one!

Their full Christmas album.

Guided By Voices - I Am A Scientist
I'm not a big fan of Christmas music, so here's some other stuff that's been in heavy rotation lately. GBV hails from my home state of Ohio and they've been around a long time. Bandleader Robert Pollard penned this anthemic song about introspection and self-exploration. Enjoy, for it's a favorite.

GBV - Drag Days
Good number for those relaxed deskwarming days.

GBV - The Unsinkable Fats Domino. From Let's Go Eat The Factory, one of their newest LPs. It's a strong power pop number that features some cool stream of consciousness lyrics.

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