Saturday, February 5, 2011

Happy New Year!!

Saehae bok manhee badayo! (Which is Korean for Happy Lunar New Year! Literally, it translates to: Many blessings to you in the new year, which also applies.) It's been awhile, friends, but here I am, back again, for an update! (And yes, it is, in fact, several days after Lunar New Year, but I'd rather go with that than Happy Early Valentine's Day! I'm not expecting chocolates this year, anyway... unless the moms of my favorite little boys decide to send me something via their sons... ^_^)

Today, I went with a friend to Yongsan Electronics Market (pretty much the one place in Korea to get anything related to electronics... like, anything.), where I got H's hard drive with my music restored, and regained my music! (And, to prove how flimsy emotional happiness is, my high from having my music back crashed when I realized that one of the 2 folders which wouldn't copy onto my external hard drive was filled with several gigs of my favorite music... Including the Pride and Prejudice soundtrack!!! ㅜ.ㅜ <- Korean emoticon for crying. Anyway, I'm going to have my tech-savvy student take another look at it, and hope that the partial restoration will enable him to retrieve something from the big folder... Please Lord, may it be!) I also acquired a humidifier (which looks like an Easter egg, no lie), an oven (the size of a large rotisserie oven... not a regular US oven) (which came with 3 really cute little cake pans - a teddy bear, a heart, and a seashell, as well as another pan, rotisserie skewer, and a couple of other gadgets) (I am really excited about making cookies, biscuits, etc, now!!), and a few (really, really expensive, but good smelling) Yankee Candle votives (the glass jar ones were just WAY too expensive... Next time, I'll probably just go for the Korean brand, unless someone wants to send me some?? ^_^) (I have a lovely Lavender Vanilla aroma floating around now!).

Working backwards... A couple weeks ago, I decided to join one of the choir groups/praise teams/whatever you want to call them at my Korean church, our group is called Promise, and we sing in rotation with 6 other teams (which include names like Ecclesia, Amaze, and Pistos. Hooray for Greek!!) Last Sunday was Promise's turn to sing (and a certain member of a certain Korean boy band came that day, which was also the day that the Pastor decided to capitalize on the uniqueness of me being the only white person there, and spoke to me during the sermon... plus one for the number of Korean celebrities who know who I am, bringing the total to... 3, I think... ^_^), and I joined a special choir group that performed yesterday for a special Seollnal (Lunar New Year) service in front of a huge crowd... (upwards of 1,000 people, no lie.) So lately I've been busy with choir practices (for reals, some (for the Seollnal service) didn't end until like 1 AM!!!), and I've enjoyed singing again. However, I don't think I'll sing for special services any more... there was just too much emphasis on the performance aspect for me, not to mention, I really do need my rest. It did give me a good opportunity to get to know more and different people in my Korean church. I'm strongly considering joining the choir for my English church, too, which is more 'choral' than the Korean church...

In the middle of January, I had 3 special guests in my home: H was able to come for a week at the beginning of her vacation (she's now globe-trotting with J...), and C was able to come for a very short (>24 hrs) visit (which was plagued with poor communication, and was something of a tragedy of errors... C was spared from being forked to death by H and I because we did not want to leave his children fatherless.), and, as Shakespeare said, (at least, I'm pretty sure that was him) "All's well that ends well," and it ended well, so it's all good. (Speaking of C's children, #2 is coming soon!!!! YAY!!! Now, to see him... and T... and M, and everyone else...) Oh, guest #3 was C's friend from the ship, in case you were wondering.

I had a lovely Christmas: I spent the day with friends from both churches, and Skyped with the family in FL when I got home. I didn't even mind having far fewer presents than usual, especially since one of my 3 presents was a Lincoln logs set. SCORE!!!)

I've taken up origami. I enjoy learning new patterns and trying different paper patterns with them, too. This is definitely a good place to enjoy origami - you can get a wide variety of origami paper in stationary/school supply stores (which they have here, they're pretty cool to browse). I'm working on making 1,000 paper cranes (Korean lesson: Crane - Hak)... I have 40 down, and a lot to go. You supposedly get one wish if you make 1,000 paper cranes, and I'm not sharing my wish, but I'm not honestly putting faith in paper cranes to make my wish come true... it's just something kind of fun to do... and if I do happen to get my wish (whenever that may be), I certainly won't object! (Besides, H pointed out that making 1,000 paper cranes will give me time to improve my Korean, in the event that my wish does come true... in which case, I will surely need improved Korean.) I'm also able to make frogs, cute little hearts with wings (learned that one yesterday!), really sweet paper airplanes, and a few other things, in addition to the cranes. (Actually, I went to a White Elephant exchange in mid-December, and my gift was "1,000 Paper Cranes: Some assembly required." Yes, I think it was clever.

My teaching schedule has lightened for the month of February, for which reason I thank my God. I think, tho, that someone noticed just how light my schedule was looking and so I've been getting several additional classes, so it's not quite so light as I thought it was... but it's still lighter than it was...

I'm evidently a bad Kindergarten teacher... as I was told in December (Yeah, that brought some dark days, which made me turn to my Bible, which brought some painful, but necessary revelations which were good for me... It was cathartic. And I know that God is still at work in me and in my life.) by my not super-sympathetic supervisor (and on her last day, I finally figured out why: she thought my English degree meant an English Education degree, as in, she thought I had already learned how to teach. No wonder she was frustrated and exasperated with me, but that really didn't help our relationship...). I was told that again on Tuesday by my new supervisor, who is much more sympathetic and supportive, at least, she seems like it... It's still a bitter pill to swallow, but she's made some suggestions (some of which the other supervisor made, too), and hopefully, maybe (especially when we tack on those books that helpful folks back home are sending, thanks again Aunt Lee!!) I can become a good Kindergarten teacher.

Thankfully, my other classes seem to be going well! I have about 3 favorite classes right now (since #4 was reassigned to the new foreign teacher *sad face*) - one class with 2 preschool boys, whom I love like my own sons... or at least close to it (mostly I teach them nouns, read stories to them, and sing songs with them - I love it that their favorite songs are Bible songs that I'm teaching them!!!) (Their moms are GREAT!! Especially when compared to the moms of my Kindergarten students, who pretty much only complain about me and how awful I am... yeah... but these moms give me Christmas presents (including a cake!!! Which is basically a Korean mom's stamp of approval on a teacher.), and notes of appreciation. If North Korea ever invades, I will volunteer to get those boys and their little sisters out of the country with me. Yes, I love them that much.), the next favorite is a class of two advanced English students, one of them being my "techie student", they're pretty good kids, we have good discussions, and I have a good relationship with both, and now I have them for two sections - 2 classes in a row, 2 times a week; the last is a class of 2 boys around 4th/5th grade, this might be confusing, but I have each of them one time per week in a one-on-one class, and when it isn't their turn with me, they're in a one-on-one class with another foreign teacher... Still with me? Anyway, these classes are pretty much conversation classes, so we mostly chat and build science projects left over from the Kindergarten science classes; both boys are Christians, so I get a great opportunity to strengthen and encourage them in their faith, and to live out my testimony before them.

So teaching isn't all bad, and is actually pretty cool sometimes. I know that right now I am exactly where God wants me to be, and I'm content. He is good to me.

Signing off for now,
Miss Chatters

PS Check out cute pictures of my little students dressed up for Lunar New Year here!
PPS I'm also now writing for a Korean pop news blog, Seoulbeats, which is fun and challenging.