Week Eighteen

“One of the most difficult things everyone has to learn is that for your entire life you must keep fighting and adjusting if you hope to survive. No matter who you are or what your position is you must keep fighting for whatever it is you desire to achieve.” –  George Allen

Renee sent me a note on Facebook asking me how things were really going over there and after I started typing a response to her I couldn’t stop! I realized after I hit send that I needed to blog what I wrote since it tells how things are really going out here and what it is like. So prepare for an onslaught of words!

Things are going good. We don’t have co-teachers, in the sense like public schools do. We don’t actually talk with the Korean teachers there at all. But I do have lots of fellow foreigner teachers that I work with and I get along with them pretty good. There are only four of us that are “M-Poly” teachers, meaning we teach the older kids (middle school) in the afternoon and evening and overlap with the “E-Poly” (elementary) teachers for a few hours since they work mornings and evenings. 

I haven’t really hung out with them much yet since money is really tight and I don’t have a phone in order to keep in touch (even though we all live in the same building!). But I would feel weird just randomly showing up at their door. Also, most of the teachers have been in Korea for a few years and are on the second or third teaching gig and don’t really have the “let’s explore and see what is out there” mentality I have. I think at Poly they tend to hire experienced teachers so I am not the norm at what they usually hire.

Speaking of Poly… they pay really well but they work you to the frickin’ bone. We have to write monthly comments on the students which is like a paragraph for each student and we each have about 40 students we have to write them for. We conduct monthly tests which we have to proctor. And even though we have a curriculum we have to create fun and interesting lesson plans for each class. Trying to make middle school science fun and interesting has definitely been a challenge! Velocity, Speed, and Vectors, oh my! We have to give and grade homework everyday. We have to record everything on the website so parents can see it. We give weekly writing prompts and book reports we have to grade and some of them are really painful and others are a breeze but there are still a lot of them. There is more we have to do but it is so much to remember and I can’t think of it all right now! 

Definitely not the chill job I was expecting, but I am learning a lot. I could probably take all I have learned and teach in an American school since that is basically what it is like. A lot of the kids speak excellent English so I am teaching real subjects rather then how to speak English. I am teaching some interesting subjects besides Science (which is hard and I have to study it before each class!) like one class I am conducting called Korean Herald where we are writing a newspaper and some reading classes where we are read actual novels rather then textbooks.

So I have been doing a lot of walking around and just scoping out the area. I go hours and hours never speaking. At times, it is weird sometimes to be the huge lumbering blond whitey amidst all the delicate Asians. I have just about mastered Hello and Thank you and plan to start on the written language soon so while I am wandering around I can start reading some of the signs and I can go into a restaurant and order something!

I haven’t eaten out much because one, I am being chicken shit about going out and ordering by myself, and haven’t had a chance to go out with many people, except the with Danielle, yet.

I can say I am super duper glad I have my Nook to read e-books on or else I would have gone crazy, you can only go wandering around so many hours in the day. And I am super duper glad I put some TV shows and movies on my comp before I left, as well!

Let’s see.. what else…. I plan to start traveling on weekends in probably a month, once my finances are settled. They don’t mention about all the charges like paying for your medical ($130) and your ARC card ($30) and other random charges that seem to show up. My apartment is nice. It isn’t huge but I do have an electric stove and an enclosed shower which is nice and my water pressure in the shower is FRICKIN’ UNBELIEVABLE. It is like a steaming hot massage, I could spend hours under it.

I am starting to put together a list of what I am glad I brought (like my Nook and flavored teas) and what I wish I would have brought (like a backpack!). I plan to do a blog post about it in about a month.

I think that covers a lot! I wish it was three months down the road where I felt more comfortable, these first few months are bound to be brutal. 

One last thing. So far I haven’t been super impressed with Korean food and don’t think it will ever be in my list of favorites, but I am comforted in the knowledge that I did bring some spice packets like ones for making Taco meat, ranch dressing, Alfredo sauce, and a couple others, so I plan to use those soon!

Though I am working a lot at school. I am glad I am staying busy there. I have heard so many stories about teachers having to desk warm and sit around for hours finding ways to keep themselves occupied. With all my work the days zoom by and I am surprised at how much I am enjoying teaching.


11 thoughts on “Week Eighteen

  1. Would you like me to send you a backpack? With some spice packets and flavored tea? It sounds frustrating. I know you will wrestle it all to the ground and kick its ass! Are you planning to get a cellphone eventually?

  2. I'll be there in less than two weeks my sistah! Let the exploring commence! 🙂 And eventually we will have that revelation that the crazy unknown and exotic Korea we came over for is just another place we know well….Besides the chocolate that I am willing to share, let me know if you want anything from home. 🙂

  3. Have I ever mentioned to you that I think you are one of the bravest souls I've ever known? I admire your sense of adventure and your go-getter bearing SO much, Kiki. (wishing I could hug you) Even though you're super-duper busy, it seems like it could be somewhat lonely there right now. I'm REALLY glad you've found a friend in Renee (Hi Renee, I'm Cyn! :-)! I generally don't worry about you because you are such a strong, exuberant, and capable person, but I do feel pangs of fret on occasion, so I'm comforted knowing you'll soon have someone there (in-person) with whom you can share this adventure, and explore the world around you with eyes as curious as your own. Thank you so for sharing your experience! PLEASE let me know if you need or want anything because Sandra and I will be sending you a care package eventually anyway so you may as well get things YOU want, right? 😀

  4. Arrrrggghhh!! I wrote this nice long comment and lost it all! Frustrating.Awwww. you guys are so awesome! It really is an adventure and it has been tough getting settled in… but that is what usually happens, the first few months are always the toughest. I just lucked out when I upped and moved to WA, I had Christa and family nearby to keep me sane!Christa, I may take you up on that offer of flavored tea soon if I don't find any! All I can find so far is brown rice/green tea. Which is just okay. You know when you go for sushi and get that tea at the beginning? It is that tea. But since I haven't been drinking soda (Diet coke is hard to find, all the usually have is Pepsi Zero, ick) I usually just drink tea and water! I am still on the search for a backpack and will let you know if I can't find one soon!Renee… soon! Looking forward to hanging out! :)Cyn :big hugs: I love that you worry (fret) because it just means you miss me! 🙂 I will definitely keep on blogging about my adventure, the good and the bad. Hopefully it will mostly be good!I have my address now, I am just looking for postcards. As soon as I find them, and then the post office I will mail them off with my addy and will also definitely let you know what I am missing out here that you could send. 🙂

  5. Oh yeah, and Christa. I should have a cellphone in the next couple of weeks. You have to have your Alien Registration Card first and I don't have that yet, it is still being processed. So much frickin paperwork to live here! Oh, and you have to attach a picture to all your paperwork.. weird.

  6. With all the people, Korean and foreigners alike, carrying backpacks around you wouldnt think itd be that hard to find them…then again, if youre willing to go all cutesy Hello Kitty etc…you wont have a prob haha.You can find Lipton teas at places like HOMEPLUS…but its mostly gonna be powder drinks. Homeplus stocks quite a bit of westerner foods, tho sometimes a bit more expensive, you get to a point where paying $6 for a bottle of Prego or Pace Picante is definately worth it hahaYoure close enough to the Seoul metro area…there should even be a Costco in youre area ??? Maybe ?? Im waiting until after you get your first payday, then I hope to make a weekender to Seoul and maybe we can meet up. By then Renee will be here too, so Ill get Tamas to bummm along and we can all enjoy a great time out !! :oP

  7. Yes, I finally picked up a T-money card so I can go on buses and subways soon…. and it is a Hello Kitty one. lol I really just want one of those lightweight bags for everyday use. I don't know how to explain it, but it is what my son used to use for school, like a Nike sport bag with the two strings that come out of it to make a backpack. That is what I am hoping to find first, and then a regular backpack… without Hello Kitty on it!I have been to Home Plus and Kim's club and seen tons of green tea, black tea, and one box of mint tea. I have a feeling I will be buying out all the mint tea! My stash of mint, berry, lemon, etc… tea is running out fast :(Oh.. and I am told there is a Costco in the area.. too bad my sister stole my membership for it.. Now I will have to get my own and not be on my moms account!I get paid on the 10th each month and was thinking of trying Seoul this weekend… or maybe just a bus ride to the mountain nearby and hiking. Let me know when you want to do a Seoul trip I am so ready for it! All of hanging out in Seoul would be awesome!

  8. I love your blog… it sounds like you are having an interesting adventure… I know your family is sending you stuff but if you want mail or a care package give a shout… I'll send you an argosy calendar so you can use it to write all over and take notes.. LOL !!! Hope your week is splendid !! Xani.

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