Day 21, 22, 23, 24 - Calligraphy Finished, Teaching, Students

Day 21 - Monday

This week's Korean exam was really tough. The entire class as a whole did much worse than we did on the previous weeks' exams. Personally, I got a whole 11 points out of 20, but thanks to a high average from the last exams I was saved from going to mandatory study hall and office hours. Hopefully this upcoming week I'll score high enough to keep myself out of that again.

Monday was also the last day of calligraphy. As a final project, we were each given a Korean proverb to rewrite. Mine was literally "To find a tiger, go to its cave." Metaphorically, it means "If you want to see/experience something, go straight to the source." I picked this one because it seemed so in line with why I came to Korea.

After class, we took our teacher out for patbingsu. It was... an adventure. She speaks no English, and, collectively, we students speak very little Korean, so my friend Ashley and I had to act as translators for the group. We knew enough to carry a basic (and error-filled) conversation but it made me realize how much more I have to learn.

Day 22 - Tuesday

I taught my Advanced class again on Tuesday with the Murder Mystery lesson plan that I mentioned before. IT WAS A HUGE SUCCESS! The kids were coming up with hilariously elaborate motive theories, including love triangles and Starcraft cheaters. I was really encouraged that this lesson went well so Tuesday in general (despite getting my terrible exam score back) was a great day.

Day 23 - Wednesday

Yesterday's lesson was less than a huge success. I found out on Tuesday night that I had to completely scrap my third lesson plan for the Intermediate class I had to teach, write a new one, prep for the lesson, and then give it on Wednesday. Less than 24 hours for all that, plus I had a vocab quiz in Korean to study for. Needless to say, it was a long night. The lesson, as I was afraid, didn't go very well especially in comparison to how fantastic my second class went. It was partially my fault and partially the students. They were so stereotypical--the boys were sleeping on one side and the girls were giggling and talking about KPop boy bands on the other. Together, it made for a painfully low-energy class.

I'm glad I got a chance to experience that kind of classroom atmosphere, though. On August 5th, we'll be receiving our school placements and, because I didn't submit any preferences, I have the chance of getting placed anywhere from advanced-level science high school with students that've lived in America to a small middle school with students that hardly know the alphabet. Ooohhh the suspense.

Day 24 - Today (Thursday)

After a week of studying, prepping, planning, and generally getting very little rest, today is my first day of relative relaxation. I have the entire afternoon to do laundry, edit/memorize a speech for Korean class tomorrow, and reset my internal clock to getting in bed at a decent hour. I'm glad I'm done with teaching so early compared to the rest of the ETAs because on Saturday I'll be leaving for my first-ever MT (membership training). KEY Club is setting up camp for 24 hours at a lodge somewhere and the agenda is just event after event of bonding. Everyone's been telling me that it was their favorite part of orientation, so I'm totally pumped.

[[note, pictures are from Sunday when we "celebrated" Halloween at Camp F*bright. the kids are trying to look scary with their faces painted for the Haunted House they made.]]


Day 18, 19, 20 - New Glasses, More Soju, and the Jimjilbang

Day 18 - Friday

Since my tentative trip to Seoul was canceled, I had the entire weekend to basically do whatever I wanted. Friday I went to get new glasses because so many ETAs highly recommended it. The guys there were awesome--super nice and their English was great. When I spit out a few Korean sentences, they struck up a conversation with me that was heavily aided by their cell phone dictionaries. The younger guy did my eye exam and insisted I read the numbers in Korean, so between using a second/third language and having bad eyesight, I must've sounded pretty dumb. But new lenses, frames, and the exam all together cost me just 60,000W, less than $50. And he gave his business card to me and the other ETA I went with. SUCCESS.
In the evening after KEY Club, we went out with the Koreans (obviously). We hit up a foreigner bar where there were a bunch of creepers from Canada, and another place that serves this really weird watermelon concoction that involves milk and Sprite. Yeah. It was the usual--drinking games, funny cultural exchange, lots of soju, hilarious interpersonal relationships between the "brothers". The picture is actually from last week, but what're you gonna do about it, huh?
[[Also, as an aside, the boy in the picture to my left is the same boy from the first outing with KEY Club. For the record, he is not a Playboy. All the older "brothers" pick on him because he's so cute and young looking (very desirable traits), but he's incredibly nice and an absolute sweetheart. Okay, now that that's cleared up...]]

Day 19 - Saturday

I went to a board game cafe. It's literally what it sounds like. It's a cafe where there's a bunch of board games you can play. It was a lot of fun and really chill so I'd like to go back sometime. There's a lot of weird cafes here, like a cat cafe (exactly what it sounds like, a bunch of cats inside a coffee shop).

Day 20 - Sunday (today)

And today we went to the public bathhouse/sauna, the jimjilbang (찜질방). We arrived and split into groups by gender to change into our provided pajama-like clothes. When we stepped off the elevator onto the girls' floor, we were greeted immediately by a bunch of naked Korean ladies. I don't know what we were expecting, but I think we were all assuming there would be another room before that happened. There wasn't.
We changed into our pajama set and went upstairs to meet the boys for the sauna part. There were three rooms: cold, hot, and super-hot. The cold room was just pleasantly chilly, the hot room was something like 75C, and the super-hot was literally a human-sized kiln. I could only stand the kiln for five minutes before I had to leave. The hot room was oppressive just because the humidity was so high.

After trying all the rooms, all the girls sat down to have some boiled/pickled eggs and fruit juice with two of the KEY Club girls that came with us. It was really sweet of them to go because we would've been completely lost without guides to tell us where to go and what to do. We had some really good gossip time and then mentally prepped to go get naked.

Back downstairs in the ladies-only area, we changed out of our pajamas and into our nothings. The place sold shampoo, conditioner, exfoliants, face masks... everything you would possibly need. We got our things and ventured into the naked-ajumma-filled bath area. There were standing-showers, hand-held showers you sat on a bench for, and four pools of various temperature (think hot tubs). We did our thing. Nobody really stared too much. Rather, their stares were polite enough that we didn't feel completely on display, but I did catch a lot of people trying to discreetly check out the foreigners. I guess I don't blame them, since it was an experience that I don't think a lot of foreigners would be okay with. But hey, when in Korea, do as the Koreans, right?

This week will be super busy with Camp F*bright teaching, supplemental cultural talks, and studying for Korean class. Again, sorry for the lack of pictures, but I will really really try to take more!


Day 15, 16 - Interpersonal Relationships and Teaching

No pictures for this post because I'm dumb and haven't taken any in a few days.

I didn't write anything yesterday because I didn't think anything of note happened. Then KEY Club called at 10:30pm letting us know that they were drinking downtown, so another ETA and I changed out of our pajamas and headed out.

Although we didn't drink, it was really interesting to watch the interpersonal relationships play out. The graduated alumni had come back to spend time with the students and watching their social interaction was fascinating. Korea is very much a hierarchical society. Here it's normal to ask somebody their birthday because there are specific titles you must use if somebody is older than you. For example, amongst the club, the most popular titles are hyung/oppa (a boy's/girl's big brother respectively), noona/onni (a boy's/girl's big sister respectively), and sunbae (upperclassman). If somebody is older than you, every time you say their name, you have to attach the appropriate title; it's disrespectful to say just their name without a title.

My favorite interaction has got to be the hyung/little brother interaction. The hyungs are so physical with them, pulling their hair, pinching their cheeks, punching their arms, making fun of them and trying to hook them up with girls. It's just like how blood brothers would interact. Definitely my favorite hierarchy to observe because it's absolutely hilarious.

Today, Day 16, I taught my first class. It went as well as I could expect for a first lesson. My biggest downfall was underestimating their English ability, so my material (idioms) was too easy for them. I'm completely rewriting my second lesson plan to be much more challenging with some specific vocabulary. Because the camp theme is holidays, I decided on doing a murder mystery where some mythical holiday character has killed the Easter Bunny. Each kid will have a role as a character and they'll have to figure out which one amongst them is the murderer, having them use English to first gather information from one another and then, if there's extra time, host a short trial to figure out the details. I KNOW SO COOL RIGHT?

I also held office hours today and got to interact with the students under more one-on-one terms. Gracious, they're so cute. I'll try to get pictures sometime later this week or next, when I don't look too much like a weird stalker snapping my camera in their faces.


Day 12, 13, 14 - Songnisan (삭리산)

This past weekend, the F*bright office took all us ETAs on a weekend retreat to central Korea. The place was Songnisan, loosely meaning "a place to leave the mundane behind". We were advised not to bring homework, study material, or stress about our lesson plans. Instead, we were supposed to just enjoy the retreat and each others' company.
We were treated to so much food. We hadn't yet had a really traditional Korean meal, but Friday we sat down (on the floor) to some old fashioned stuff. There were tons of banchan (side dishes) spread out in front of the low tables and grills to cook the meat right on the table. We ate like we hadn't seen food in weeks (which to some extent was true). Post-lunch we had a lecture about Buddism to segue into our walk to a Buddist temple.

It was gorgeous. Not only was the scenery amazing, but the fact that we had two monks as personal guides was fantastic. Their stories were fascinating, and because we got to the temple right before evening prayers, we were able to observe the rituals. Awesome.

Saturday, we hiked the mountain. Although my group originally planned on a 2-4 hour hike, we ended up going all the way to the summit... then to the next summit over... then down by a different and much more difficult trail. Even though I'm looking like a hot mess in the pictures, I was happy I did it.

After a good 6+ hours of hiking that was more like rock climbing, I just didn't have the energy to check out the meager night life. Instead, I caught up with some friends and we stayed in the hotel. Ice cream, pajamas, gossip, and K-dramas rounded out the Songnisan trip. It was fantastic and I'm so thankful to the F*bright staff. They're awesome and they totally take care of us. I also feel a lot closer to the other ETAs--there's nothing like feeling as though you might die on the side of a Korean mountainside to really build friendships.

While it was relaxing at Songnisan, coming "home" to Chuncheon was painful. This week starts Camp F*bright, and intensive English camp in which 150 elementary/middle school students are living in the dorm next door and taking the lessons we F*bright ETAs prepare for them. That means class observations, lesson planning, and English teaching on top of the F*bright homework and Korean classes we already take. It'll be pretty intense, but I'll try my best to get some good photos/video so that you can see how adorable these kids are.


Day 9 - First Quiz Results and Surprise Holidays

First of all, shout out to the KEY Club kids that are reading this now. What's up, guys?!

It turns out that my prediction the other day came true: the quiz results are back and although I didn't do as well as I thought, I still got an 80% so I'm safe for the next week. Hollaaa! There's no time to rest though because tomorrow there's another quiz. This place keeps us ETAs crazy busy.

Despite that, I still decided to ditch my study date and go out with KEY Club instead. (My priorities are questionable.) They were going out because, apparently, today is a holiday in Korea--cho-bok, one of the hottest days of the year as predicted by the lunar calendar. If these guys use it as an excuse to party then they're my kind of kids. And I wasn't disappointed. We headed out the front gate of the university to have some beer and fried chicken because nothing says Minor Korean Holiday like a good American-style celebration.


Day 8 - TKD Open, Korean Class, and Calligraphy

Sorry I haven't updated in a few days, but don't worry, it's just because nothing really fun has happened.

Saturday (Day 6) was filled with a mandatory lecture and some homework, followed by a brief outing in the pouring rain to find a bar/noraebang. Apparently, every other youth in a three mile radius had the same plan because all the bars and noraebangs were filled. We finally found one where we could have some beer and soju so we did just that while practicing our Asian poses.

Sunday (Day 7) I went out to the international Tae Kwon Do competition happening here in Chuncheon. As far as hot, ripped guys kicking each other goes, it was a good time and fun to watch. Additionally, the little kids were ADORABLE in their tiny uniforms, screaming in their high-pitched voices. D'aww~! Note the slogan in the background of the picture--"I Love Taekwondo. Let's Go to Chuncheon!" Inspiring.

The rest of Sunday was rainy and had to be spent studying for the big Korean test that I had today. Ashley--one of the other girls in Intermediate Korean--and I went out to I Think So, a quiet little cafe that serves some fantastic iced coffee. For a good few hours, we sat up there on the second floor, cramming vocab and grammar. We also had our first lesson plan due, so between studying, homework, and F*bright cultural adjustment check essays, there was a lot to finish.

Today, Day 8, I had that test. I knew it was going to go well because, although I slept through breakfast, lunch today was AMAZING. Fried pork with fruit sauce, ramen-and-hot-dog soup, watermelon, kimchi-style potatoes... okay, now that I write it down, I realize it doesn't sound amazing, but realize that yesterday they served baby octopus, and maybe that puts it in perspective. But anyway, lunch was fantastic, so I knew I JUST KNEW that the quiz would go well. And it did. I think. Probably.

Later I'm heading out to my first calligraphy class, which is bittersweet for a few reasons. One, I didn't realize that calligraphy is right during Key Club, so I'm going to break my promise to the boys from Day 5 that I would go to every meeting. Two, my friend Eric from Canada (shout out to my 오빠!) revealed that I would have to keep my arm parallel to the floor whenever I write with the brush. I didn't know I was signing up for an upper body work out so we'll see how it goes. If dinner is as fantastic as lunch was, then I'll assume calligraphy will go well and I won't pull a waygookin (foreigner) move and spill ink all over myself or something.


Day 5 - Patbingsu, Key Club Mixer, and Noonas

Since we didn't have any obligations besides Korean language class today, a few ETAs and I went wandering around the Kangwon downtown area to see what there was to do in this rare beautiful weather. We ended up at a patbingsu place, where I was able to successfully navigate the ordering process solo.

MORE IMPORTANTLY, today was the Key Club Mixer woooo!! I was so stoked for this. We split up into small groups to drink with small groups of the club members in a random parking lot. It was kind of like a tailgate, but with a lot more mosquitos and Koreans. There was a group of boys kind of hanging out by themselves in the back, so I ended up dragging some classmates with me to their group. It turned out really well--they were fairly shy English speakers, but since almost all the Americans in the group were Intermediate or Advanced with Korean, we were able to mix our terribly broken Korean with their broken English to understand each other. A few rounds to soju-cap-flicking and Baskin Robbins 31 later, we went out the front gate to a bar because no Korean outing ends with just one round of drinking (no joke).

While at the bar, the most AMAZING thing happened. For the first time in my Korean experiences, I was called "noona" (big sister). SO CUTE!! I was thrilled. The boy who called me big sister was being picked on by the two seniors at the table (they requested I call them "oppa", big brother). The boy was fairly cute and the two oppas were picking on him, calling him a Playboy and a heartbreaker. In my broken Korean I told them to be nice, and the boy--apparently thankful--thanked me and addressed me as "noona". [[He's wearing a black shirt and standing behind me in the picture. Speaking of the picture, how do you like the guy front row, center? Check out his pose--my roommate says he looks like he's out of a KPop album cover. hahaha]]

They insisted that they pay for the entire bar trip, with the expectations that we would go out with them again on Sunday or Monday, which is typical of Korea as opposed to going dutch like in America. They have our email addresses so hopefully we can all arrange a time to go out again, because they were a lot of fun and I'd love to see my oppas (big brothers) and my namdongsaeng (little brother) again soon!


Noraebang - Don't Stop Believing

And now, a musical performance brought to you by a bunch of buzzed/drunk waygooks in Korea.

Day 5 - New Friends, Noraebang, and Tea Ceremony

No post yesterday because I was too busy having ridiculously fun adventures in Korea. I know, life is tough.

Yesterday after class and Key Club, a bunch of ETAs decided to go out to the bars. After having a lot of trouble trying to find one to go to, we decided on a soju house called "The Bucks". Only in Korea would you see a bar named after a horrible NBA team. We had some trouble communicating to the lady at the door, so finally we just said "13 people" in Korean and she led us around to the stairs, at the top of which we found a room with a few large tables. We navigated the menu and ordered soju, beer, and a fruit platter. (In Korea, you usually have to order food with your alcohol.)

We played some Korean drinking games (see below) and finally left to find a noraebang. For something like 5 or 6 pitchers of beer, 6 bottles of soju, two platters of fruit, and some little snacks, each person in our 13 person group payed less than $9. CRAZY.

We didn't know where to go after we left The Bucks. Luckily, there was a group of Korean students just outside the bar. We started talking and eventually (probably prompted by the soju I had) I introduced myself and the group in Korean and asked them where a good noraebang was. They pointed us to one, and so I invited them to come with us.

So they did.

Noraebang is, literally, a singing room. It's a private karaoke room where you can go with friends to sing and drink. And who doesn't like singing and drinking?! We had trouble telling the guy running the noraebang that we wanted 30 minutes. We payed the 30 minute fee, but then when we wanted more time, he kept shaking his head. The girls that came with us sang a few K-Pop songs with us but mostly we were being obnoxious Americans: Sweet Caroline, Don't Stop Believin', NSync, Ghostbusters... you know, the classics. We eventually sang for and hour and a half, but the guy would only take about $9 for the whole time period. $9 total, not $9 per person.

We left for the bar at about 9:30pm and didn't get back until 3:00am. Five and a half hours of good times, food, and booze for just $18. FANTASTIC!

I paid for it today by being incredibly tired during Korean class and the teaching workshop we had afterwards. I'd blame it on the rain and cloudy weather, but I think it was probably more due to the 4 hours of sleep I got.

Instead of going to Key Club tonight, I went to a traditional tea ceremony. It was so neat to watch the lady perform and she was sweet despite not knowing any English except "One, two, three". She taught us how to insa (bow) in the most formal way, how to drink tea correctly, and she explained the steps in the ritual of making tea. She's also the calligraphy instructor, so I'm looking forward to seeing her on Mondays for calligraphy extracurricular classes.

Tomorrow is the Key Club mixer, so no promises for a post. I will however promise you at least one video and a bunch of pictures because shenanigans are sure to follow.

Drinking Games - Baskin Robbins 31

Want to watch me lose a Korean drinking game? Yeah, I thought so.


Day 3 - Key Club, Soju, and Drinking Games

I had my first Korean class today--four hours of Korean reading/writing/speaking/listening, all taught in very quickly spoken Korean. I've never taken a Korean class taught in Korean, so I was really thrown into the deep end. After a while, I was able to shut off all non-essential portions of my brain and just concentrate on what the heck the teachers were saying. I maybe understood 30%. Maybe.

I met the executive director. She gave a speech. That's about it for that.

I met Key Club! The meeting tonight was a lot of fun. We were placed into small groups with the club members and we were supposed to be discussing topic questions about our dreams and goals in life. Instead we really just chatted informally. Since they don't always get to speak with foreigners, I think this was fine because they had to deal with American accents and conversational rhythms. Then afterwards we were invited out to the bars with them!

We went up to the 4th or 5th floor of the building to a private room. It wasn't just drinking--there was maybe a bottle of soju for each pair. It was fun to practice pouring for each other and sharing that piece of culture with kids my age. There was so much food too! For 5000W (about $5) we all got half a bottle of soju and a ton of food. There was fruit, a stew, chicken, fried food, and small dishes of crackers, Korean-style pancakes, and more. It was FANTASTIC. After a few shots of soju we started loosening up and the awkwardness eased. The KNU students were more comfortable with their Korean, and we were more comfortable in the environment. So we discussed drinking games.

I learned a bunch of them. Korean drinking games don't use many props. By that I mean American games use playing cards, plastic cups, ping pong balls, etc. Korean games use the caps on the soju bottles, or nothing at all.

Baskin Robbins 31:
The goal is to NOT be the one to say 31. If you are forced to say 31, then you must drink. Each person playing counts up to 31. They can say one number, two numbers, or three numbers. For example Player 1 = "1, 2, 3"; Player 2 = "4, 5"; Player 3 = "6, 7, 8"; Player 4 = "9" until someone is forced to say 31.

"Guess Game" (that's what they called it at least...):
Players count off sequential numbers, however no two people can say a number at the same time. For example, Player 1 starts by saying "One". Then other players must continue by saying "Two" but you can't say it if somebody else says it at the same time. It makes for a fun game because there's long pauses where you just look around at everybody else, ready to say a number but not wanting to say it if somebody else is about to say it, too. The loser has to drink.

Soju Cap Game:
Soju caps are made of an aluminum-type foil. When you open a bottle, there's a long strip of foil left on the cap, barely attached to it. Each person passes the cap, flicking the strip once per turn to try to break it off the cap (kind of like wiggling a soda can tab until it falls off). Losers must drink, such as women must drink if the men break it off, or Americans must drink if Koreans break it off, etc.

So it was a pretty great day, even if I had to stay up until 1am doing homework. I made some great new friends that I hope to see again soon, especially Song Il and Henry, who sat on either side of me at the bar. After they taught me their drinking games, we played quarters and I told them about flip cup. Now, I need to go find plastic cups for Friday's Key Club Mixer so we can play!

[pictures/short video to follow tomorrow, i.e. when it's not 1am...]


Day Two - Placement, Quarantine, & EMart

Today was the big placement test and I was a little worried. When I found out that breakfast was basically a whole fish about the size of my hand, Cait and I went down to Dunkin Donuts for something a little more familiar. Due to iced coffee and bagels, we were late for check-in (oops...)

Placement took me a little longer than most of the group because the intermediate/advanced placement required an interview. I'm not really great at listening (in Korean, that is), so I stumbled a little with the interview questions. In any case, I'm in the intermediate class; I must not've done that poorly.

After the interviews, the small group still left in the testing room was rounded up and an announcement was made: we were quarantined!

It was really rather unnecessary. One of the ETAs felt ill, so he went to the hospital where it was found he had a fever. Korea's a bit paranoid about swine flu at the moment, so KNU wanted all the ETAs to be placed under quarantine. No big deal, it just means we can't roam around campus and our meal times were changed so that we weren't mixing with the KNU students. He seems to be fine now so they should lift quarantine tomorrow.

A little later in the day, we were placed into 4 person groups to go to Emart via taxi! This was really fun because it felt so rewarding to give the taxi driver the destination and then actually where we wanted to go. We picked up personal items and some snacks for the Key Club mixer, which was moved to Friday due to the quarantine.

Tomorrow is the first day of class and we'll be meeting with the executive director of F*bright, so I have very important things to do. I.e. prepping an outfit.

Dorm Life

Video, as promised. I have a really annoying rise-in-pitch at the end of almost every sentence for some reason. I promise to try not to do that next time.

Update on Day 2 coming soon.


Arrival Day

I made it!

After some fiasco at the airport where my carry-on ended up getting checked (costing me $65) and a weird flight in between a 40 year old man and what I can only assume was his mother, I made it off the plane, through customs, and to the university with all my things. I even got to watch some 4th of July fireworks shows from the plane, which was really cool.

Kangwon National University (KNU) is huge. After a lunch of curry (what?) and some business matters, some of the orientation leaders held a Hangul review. I skipped it and opted for the campus tour that was being given by members of the campus English club called Kangwon English Yard (Key Club).

One of my small group's guides was David, whose English was very good and was extremely enthusiastic about showing us around the massive campus. I'm excited to see him again tomorrow when the Key Club hosts a mixer for its members and the other F*bright scholars.

While in Chuncheon studying Korean and English teaching at KNU, I'm living in the dorms. It's not so bad. The rooms are smaller than the ones at PSU (the double I'm sharing is about the size of a Simmons single, for you Staters that understand the reference). The rooms are alternating boys-with-girls, and almost all the F*bright ETAs are living on the same floor. The bathroom situation is strange, which brings me to Uncomfortable Cultural Adjustment #1: Not flushing toilet paper. In Korea, apparently it's more common to just throw it away in a small trash bin placed in the stall rather than flushing it.

After dinner (fried squid), some of the ETAs went to explore the downtown area, which is pretty awesome. It's clearly a college town, as the entire downtown strip running along the campus is filled with bars, restaurants, PC rooms, and convenience stores. Our little group found Ice Cool, the hang-out of choice recommended to us by the previous ETAs. There, we got a couple bowls of mixed fruit patbingsu (shaved ice with fresh fruit, ice cream, and red bean on top). It was fantastic after a day of sweating through every article of clothing possible.

Pictures and video to follow as soon as I adjust to the 13 hour time difference.


Departure Day!

Today's the day!

I'm departing from Boston at 7:30pm--just a few hours from now--and then my flight to Korea leaves NYC at 12:30am tomorrow.

People keep asking if I'm excited, but I don't really feel anything. I still don't think it's hit me, and I don't think it will until I'm sitting on the plane to Korea. Until then, there's worries about what last-minute items to throw into my bag, making sure I have all the documents, and getting onto the plane in time.

Anyway, a video thank-you to my family and friends, all of whom have been so encouraging and wishing me well. It's cut short for some reason, but I'll fix it when I get there because I'M LEAVING RIGHT NOW!


On Packing

As departure gets closer and closer, it feels more and more as though it's not actually happening. Maybe I'm just in denial that in one week's time, I'll be moved into a dorm room in Korea, settling into a routine, and exploring the city of Chuncheon. I can't even comprehend that. It makes no sense to me.

Anyway, here's what's on my plate lately:

I spent all of last week vacationing with my family. Beaching, renting movies, playing board games, fishing, it was a good time. I suppose I was able to figuratively "pack" some awesome memories during that week.


I've got my winter and teaching wardrobe all packed up. I like to think I was good in packing light, but who knows. I might get there and find out that I didn't bring enough pants, or that none of the sweaters are Korea-fashionable. But everything fits, and my bathroom scale says I'm only at 40lb, so I'm not going to sweat it. I laid out some of the winter clothes I packed in that suitcase just so this blog isn't entirely boring with me writing. Note, not included: my entire teaching wardrobe, 2 winter coats, sweatshirts, gifts, shoes/boots, jeans, and a bunch of other things I can't remember to list.

The contents of the other suitcase are sprawled across a corner of my room. As I do not physically own a second suitcase at this time, it is difficult to pack. I should get on that.


I'm a geek, so I don't handle being unprepared very well. I made sure I had a solid foundation in Korean before even applying for the scholarship, I made sure I had my passport/visa/medical paperwork completed as soon as possible. I do not know how to prepare for teaching, though.

I ended up reading a lot of EFL. Apparently, I'm technically teaching English as a Foreign Language, not English as a Second Language. EFL = English outside of an English-speaking country; ESL = English taught within an English-speaking country. THE MORE YOU KNOW.
With the little bit of knowledge I know, I've been thinking about lesson plans and things like that. Halloween, Thanksgiving, those are easy. If you can think of any American culture things, they would be fantastic to know. Idioms, slang, holidays, hobbies, mannerisms... anything. Do tell.
Other than that, I'm just trying to get my act together for Friday. That plane is leaving with or without me being ready for departure.