Korea, Kimchi & K-Pop.

...life as a foriegner in South Korea...

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Blog FAIL = November Update

OK, yes I have been a total blog failure.

However, in my defense, a glass of wine was spilled on my laptop causing the motherboard to fry, and leaving poor Amanda without a computer.  

How have I been managing?   Well the absolute archaic school computer at my desk takes 5 minutes just to open Firefox.  Don’t even get me started on the time it takes for boot the computer.

So I have been desk-hopping —  using the English Zone’s super-fast computer whenever the classroom is available.  Using my co-teacher’s laptop whenever the English Zone is being used.

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My nights have drifted back to the TV, reminiscent of my first two internet-less weeks in Korea.   The Discovery Channel has been a lifesaver.  It is the only TV station I have that broadcasts programming entirely in English.  Not even Korean commercials are found on this channel.  

I have also found time to do some absurd things, like spending 4 hours cleaning my apartment.  I mean, super cleaning.  Like on my hands-and-knees scrubbing the grout in the bathroom and that dusty space behind my TV. 

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Last week, my computer-free time in the evenings was dominated by one very special visitor.  I adopted a one-month old kitten from the animal shelter.  I named him 자기 (“ja-gee”), which is similar to “honey” or “sweetheart” or “baby.”


(to give u perspective on how little he is — he’s sleeping in my bra!)

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(my little 자기!)

 Unfortunately, 4 days after I got him, I returned home from school and found my little kitty dead in his bed.  It was very traumatic and I cried and cried…. even calling my mom on my cell phone (expensive!) at 1am USA time bawling hysterically.   Luckily, my co-teacher Young-Eun hurried over to console me.  My friend Richard, bless his heart, came bearing a shoebox and trowel so we could bury 자기.   

After the burial, I was feeling much better.  I think mostly it was the shock of coming home, expecting a playful kitten, and instead finding a rock-hard kitty corpse.  I have no idea why he died…. he was having some diarrhea and wasn’t eating on his own, so I had planned to take him to the vet that day.  Anyways, the rest of the weekend was full of friends, food, and sleep — kept busy which was good to get my mind off the kitty. 

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As for school, I am staving off the “senioritis” or the “end-of-the-year-i-don’t-give-a-hoot illness.”   I am really becoming confident in my lesson plans and teaching execution, although my classroom management needs improvement.

Just last Thursday was the Korean ACT/SAT test.  It only occurs once per year, and every high school student across the nation takes the test on the same day.  Korea takes this so seriously, that businesses are encouraged to open only at 10am, so traffic is minimal during the testing hours ensuring that no students are late.  This test is paramount — a good score dictates what college/university you go to, which in Korea, dictates how the rest of your life will go.  Students have committed suicide over this test’s results, and even those students on their deathbeds will attend to take the test.

What did this mean for me?  Nothing except I got to arrive at school at 9:40 instead of 8:20am, and classes were shortened that day to only 40 minutes.  However, my lucky high school teacher friends got the entire day off!  

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This past month, my school had their “Festival,” which is basically just a glorified Talent Show, equipped with all the usual pitchy singing and asynchronous choreography.  I was begged forced encouraged to perform something like a song or dance.  Since I have been taking jazz dance classes for a while now, I strung together a bunch of different dances and performed a dance medley.  I have never felt like such a star in my life.  The kids were chanting my name, screaming along to the songs they knew, and asking me for autographs.

Yes, you heard right.  After the performance, I sat outside in the cool hallway at a table that had the programs on them.  The students thought I was there to autograph the programs… and autograph I did, for the next 20 minutes.

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As the school year draws to a close, that means it’s time for vacation!!!!   As part of the EPIK program, I get 2 weeks of paid winter vacation.  For re-signing my contract, I also get another 2 weeks paid vacation bonus.  I am lumping all 4 weeks together so I can spend quality time at home in the USA.

Jan 21st - Feb. 15th:   Kansas City (and surrounding areas)
Feb. 15th - Feb 21st:   Hawaii for my actual relaxing vacation!!!  I will be staying with my roommate from university, and it will be great to catch up with her!!!

I am extremely excited for this vacation (although not excited by the ticket prices!) and hope to spend some good, quality time with my friends and family.  And all the FOOD!!!!!!

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So that’s what’s going on in the world of Amanda-Teacher.  

Filed under korea daegu festival dance vacation epik cat computer

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Summer vacation…. NOT

So as I mentioned previously, even though the children are on summer vacation, some of us teachers are not.  We are forced to deskwarm from 9am-5pm, Monday - Friday. 

However, the first two weeks, my school hosted a summer camp.  While some of my friends are traveling from school to school, hosting different summer camps with different age groups, my school decided to put summer camp entirely in my hands.

I could chose how many kids I want, when I want them, what I want them to do, etc. 

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Filed under summer camp korea epik teaching lesson plan music movies