Yes, this is post #4 today. I chose to break post a few shorter posts instead of one long post because it allows for a sharper focus. It's better to have a short and tight text than than a long and loose one. This is my English Ed background talking.
Some updates for you:
- The beard chronicles, month 2.5: As you can see in the ramen photos, I've grown a beard. Something like this wouldn't warrant mention in the States. Friends and family know that I've had beards off and on for years now, but to the Koreans (and especially the students), the beard represents something Different: Beards and facial hair aren't at all common outside of historical dramas here. I've been told I look "old," "like a grandfather" and "softer" now. A few boys and girls have complimented it. Many students have asked about when I'll shave it off or why I even have it in the first place. Many students have asked about when I'll shave it off or why I even have it in the first place. It's always fun answering "Why?" with "Because I like it" because the students always seem surprised.
- The vacation is all set: I'm getting a whopping month thanks to unused summer vacation time, the 21 days of winter vacation, and the bonus 7 days from the contract renewal. Like last year, I'm heading back to the USA to visit friends and family. I need to see a few family members because it's been too long since we last saw each other.
- A little kid stared at me last night: It happened at the kimbap place by the bus station. A mother and her two daughters were sitting across the room from where I was. As I was eating dinner, the maybe-3 year old daughter stared and pointed at me before her mother noticed it and stopped her. I smiled and kept eating. As a foreigner in a small town, I figured such things would happen--I stand out here. All of us EPIK'ers do. The mom slapped the girl on the back as punishment. She brought her up to me and apologized before they left the restaurant. I said "That's all right" in Korean and they went on their way. I can't get angry about it. She was a 3 year old girl and she didn't know any better.
Also: click here to see Rochelle's reblog of Illie's picture from our recent Christmas party.