First week done, second week started

I have officially started my second week of teaching here in Korea. This is just a quick update with general stuff I’ve done, things I’ve observed, feelings I’m having, and the questionable life decisions I occasionally make.

The week finished easily enough on Friday in the continuing pattern of students who seem to honestly want to be at school and have wonderful insights into content. My sociology class spent the whole period talking about “normal” behavior and what makes something normal. They arrived at the insight that it depends on who you’re with and what society you were raised in without me even needing to tell them!

After work my boss had invited us over for a “YAY you made it through the first week!” party. Nearly all of my coworkers were there and the majority of those who have children had brought them. The girls (all early elementary age) were running around and honestly just loving life. It was adorable. Also cemented that I do not want children any time in the near future oh my god. Their apartment is gorgeous and on the top floor of the building. It was a nice time to do a bit of bonding with various coworkers. I had some moments of strange loneliness as I often was observing the party rather than actively participating in it. We’re still at the stage where we don’t really know each other yet and so many are still trying to figure out how to interact. It’s that early group development stage still. Slightly uncomfortable but promising. I had a moment of intense longing for my Heritage family at that moment which only sorta abetted as I continued through the weekend.

Saturday I attempted to get work done at school and instead my wonderful family called and talked to me for an hour! Technology is a true marvel and I am so thankful that I can literally video call my family using facebook. I then got a few things done before heading home to kinda just laze around the house. I made some food and cleaned a bit before reading. At 5:30 I headed out to the coffee shop to get some tea and met up with Mo and Ann. They came back to my place before my friend Meg’s girls night at her house that night. That was really fun actually! It allowed for some more bonding and deeper getting-to-know you moments. I heard the ridiculously cute story of how my coworker Marta met and married her husband Phil. They met and decided 6 weeks later to get married. The whole story literally made me awwwww… :) Then home to bed by 9:30! (I’m getting old :P)

This whole weekend/month has been hotter than is even sorta of ok. On top of it being nearly 97 each day the humidity is crazy as you know from my other posts complaining about it. Sunday took the cake with literal record breaking temperatures. And I made the wonderful life decision to go to the beach that day. Cause #obvs. I met Megs and Megan at the Paris Baguette before grabbing a taxi down to the beach. We set up camp at the foreigners section. That morning I made sure to put on sunscreen before leaving the house knowing how horrendously burnt I got last time. We hung out in the water, spent some time out of it, met up with our friend John and Amber, spent more time in the water, and then Amber and I decided to grab lunch. Prior to the decision to get lunch I had seen stars upon sitting down after coming out of the water. Now normally one only sees stars after standing up too fast, being hit hard, or getting ready to faint. I quickly drank some water in fear of heat exhaustion. To do this I unscrewed my Camelback water bottle rather than drinking through the straw…but I didn’t fully screw the top back on like I thought I had. Therefore my phone got wet which landed it in a bag of rice once I got home from lunch. I also attempted to take a very cold shower as I had a pounding headache. After showering I passed out for a few hours. Upon waking I was super shaky. So basically I definitely had some sort of heat stroke/exhaustion thing happening. I watched “The Kingsmen” before going to dinner with Megan and Amber. We met up with Amanda, Alam, and Courtney at the coffee shop where I did no work while everyone else did a lot of work.

Monday was Korean Liberation Day so we didn’t have school! I worked all day anyways. First at the coffee shop and then at my friend Megs. I got this week nearly completely planned though! Which is a new one for me and I have to say I’m enjoying it! It’s bomb not being like “so what’re we doing in US History today…” at 7:30 that morning…

Tuesday, today, I started work just by printing my copies and getting organized for the day. Classes went well. My mom called me at 9:00am. One of my kids asked if AP Econ was outside the realm of what I normally teach. I was like “YEP!”. I don’t think she meant I’m bad at it…just that it doesn’t match the other subjects. Although to be fair…I’m not great at it. And need to spend more time on it.

I decorated my apartment today! After work I headed to Daiso which is sorta like the dollar store here. I bought a frame, magnets, and some cleaning supplies. I then set about framing my picture of my seniors from last year, some postcards, and putting up pictures/postcards. Here are the finished results:

Left- My Fridge with pictures of my friends + my brothers christmas tag Center- My lanyard w/key chains from my students Right- My tv stand with framed postcards + students
Left- Close up of my students/Paul and Babe Center- Inside of my door, which is MAGNETIC! Some of my postcards from my travels Right- My city scape lamp in my bedroom :)

The additions of these decorations help to make it feel more like my home rather than just a place I’m living. I’m looking forward to getting more things on the walls and more organization at home.

Things I’ve noticed: 1) Most western men have a Korean girlfriend if they didn’t come to Korea already married or with a gf. However almost none of the western women have Korean boyfriends. I literally do not have an explanation for it but it vaguely amuses me? Except I’m feeling like it may also somehow be tied to sexism so I’m also vaguely offended? But both of those feelings are pretty mild. 2) Korean people give zero cares about how hot it is. They will wear long sleeves and pants come 114 degree temperatures or the apocalypse. 3) I do a much better job keeping an apartment clean when I am the only one living in it. I have actually swept, done my dishes, and wiped down my counters multiple times. Unsure if this is still due to the honeymoon period but thinking it probably is. 4) I am still not a huge “lay at the beach and absorb the sun” person. I like swimming/floating in the ocean but I can not handle the heat. At all. As clearly evidenced by the heat exhaustion I suffered. 5) I am more homesick when left to my own devices for too long. I need to speak to adults who speak English relatively frequently or I start to get maudlin. 6) I am loving the k-pop music that is played at the coffee shop. Korean hip-hop is both really amusing and excellently beated? That’s not a word but they have awesome beats is what I mean. 7) I have moments of really feeling like home here and other moments where I miss the twin cities with an ache that physically hurts. I am terrified that I am going to leave literal pieces of my heart all over the world and never get them back.

On that cheerful note I am going to conclude my update for today. As always love to those back home!