Monday, September 7, 2009

Insides of a cow anyone?

The past two weekends have been really fun. Lets see...the weekend before last we had a school dinner. It was a "farewell/welcoming" dinner. Two of the other Kinder teachers were leaving and then it was welcoming me and Whitney, and also the 2 new people replacing the ones leaving. It was the whole staff, including the owners, the cooking ladies, and the bus drivers. It was interesting - we ate at a galbi place. Which is where you cook your meat right at the table, and then rap it in a leaf and eat it in one bite (which is hard to do when you have a little mouth). It's good though. Some of the side dishes were: kimchi, a whole fish, and there was this one plate with all different parts of a raw cow - the liver, the lining of the stomach, toungue, and something else that I can't remember. Yea. It was a little strange, or strang-ee (as all the koreans say). At one time during dinner the owner of my school came around to each person and poured a shot of soju (the korean alcohol). And we had to accept it with 2 hands (as you have to do with many other things). After dinner all of the foreign teachers and many of the Korean-English teachers all went out to a bar. We actually began walking to one and then the owner of our school found out we were all going out together and decided to take us to this really nice private bar, with couches and a karaoke room, and even a golf range in the back. So she took us there and gave us her credit card and told us to have fun! We were all like woah, thank you! It was so nice of her and just so different. Bosses don't usually say here's my credit card - go have fun and get drunk together! They are very into co-workers bonding and being in "harmony". So that was a fun night. It was great to go out with the Korean teachers too.

So this past weekend I went to Seoul with 7 other foreign teachers at my school. We went to the Korea v. Australia soccer game. It was a lot of fun. One of the teachers at my school is from Australia, so we all decided to root for his team, instead of Korea. He gave us some Australian gear - flags, head bands and bandannas, so we were all decked out. We also all did the Australian soccerroo chant. Unfortunately they lost. 3-1. The Koreans were all pretty excited though. On Sunday we did a lot of shopping. We just shopped in this one area where our motel was, it was a great street for all kinds of shopping. Lots and lots of Korean memorabilia. I bought a lot of stuff and could've bought so much more. There were lots of fans, paintings, korean masks, korean dolls, lots of jade, and just a ton of cool stuff. Even in the alley ways there were people selling Korean antiques, like old coins, flags, old swords, pottery, etc.. It was defiantly a place where I was like "I want to get that before I leave here, and that, and that.. Anyways, for lunch we found a Subway :) Something that can not be found in my town. It was so delicious. We also went to an American Grill for dinner, and we all had burgers. There's a lot more American food in Seoul then there is in Gwangju, so we were taking advantage of it while we were there.

School is going well. I'm really enjoying it. It's just such a unique teaching experience, and the kids say the darnest things. A few of my classes can be very frustrating though, because the real young kids don't know much English and they are wild and crazy, and even when I yell at them, it doesn't seem to bother them because they can't really understand what I'm saying. And for the kinders, the only way to punish them is to take away "stickers" or to put them in time-out. For my afternoon elementary classes I can make them hold their hands over their head for a punishment, or send them down to the head teacher and get yelled at or hit.

So the English language doesn't seem too hard until you try and teach it. There are some things that I can not explain..and then other things that I can explain but make no sense to the kids. Like the other day I had to try and explain the difference between having a cold and being cold. The kids were like "teacher - same?" There's also so many expressions used in stories, the kids want to know what the words mean literally, but I have to explain that it doesn't really mean's just an expression. Oh, something kinda funny happened today. While teaching phonics, there was a picture of two men, a white guy and a black guy, and one of the kids points to the black guy and screams out OBAMA! And then they all started to say Obama. I was like what? How do these 5 year olds, in Korea, who can barely speak English and probably don't even know the name of their own president know Obama? It's crazy. It made me laugh though. This is also the class that can hardly remember their own English names. Although I did teach them the word fantastic. So when I ask "how are you today?" They all love to say "I am fantastic!" But they can't pronounce their f's, so it sounds like "pantastic". It's so cute.

I started taking Korean classes last week. My school does it and one of the Korean-English teachers teaches it. Not all the foreign teachers take the class, just about 9 of us. We had a writing and speaking test today - and I got minus one on writing and a prefect on speaking! Woo! Yea, those were only the constants though. We have a test on the vowels next Wednesday, and I will probably fail because they all sound the same, and it's very difficult to tell each one apart. It's a fun class though, and I'm excited about learning how to read Korean. I can actually read some signs around town know..well I can at least sound them out, don't really know what it means though.

Alright, well just thought I would do a little update. Oh and if anyone wants to write me a letter, my address is:

Caroline Grant
ECC 2nd Floor SamIn Building
1120 Juwol-Dong
Nam-Gu, Gwangju, S. Korea

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