Tuesday, May 28, 2013

In which Abby eats many chocolate covered coffee beans and drinks coffee without milk

Yes, you read that correctly. I actually drank something without milk. That was because I did regret waking up at 2:45 later in the afternoon...and here we are again. I hope 2:45 and I do not become friends. I fell asleep right at like 9:15 pm though, so it's been a good 5 hours, which isn't bad at all.

So what happened yesterday, my first day of orientation?

My family heads off pretty early in the morning, so we ate breakfast at 7:30, the same time we'll have it today. I'll admit that when I woke up for the second time yesterday at 6:30, it took some courage to get out of bed.

Just kind of lying there in the blue-ish early morning light, I realized that Imobu (host father) would have already gone to work by breakfast time and that would mean I would have to speak Korean when I came out of the room. It sounds silly, but you kind of have this feeling of, "here comes a test and I didn't study for it!"
But, turns out it was not such a test after all. I can't speak Korean well yet, but I was able to do a little chatting with Yoonhyun and we drew some pictures together. I drew a picture of a lady and then a picture of the poodle Choco. She labeled the lady as me and added some poop to the picture of Choco for me, then drew a portrait of me, a koala, and a finally picture of her brother Yoonsang with poop on his head. Good news, I think we're going to get along great.
I told my fellow teachers about this fun drawing time, and they responded with "yeah, they're kind of obsessed with poop here..."

In the words of will.i.am, "I'm feelin' right at home, feelin'  right at home."

Yoonsang is also likes to draw and he is GOOD. He showed me a picture of an eagle that he drew on black paper with a white pen and it's amazing. I really hope I can connect with them by drawing together.

After everyone went off to work or school, I hung about the house and did some emailing and reading and took a delicious shower after 24 hours. They don't use shower curtains here, you just kind of get the whole bathroom wet, but it's normal and expected. If you put your clothes far enough away from the water spout they won't get wet, but there isn't always a place to hang them, so I am not sure what you do in that situation.

Then I walked to work for the first time! I only made a few steps in the wrong direction before I remembered the right way and headed off. I did well until I got to the office building and forgot which floor connexus was on,so I just walked up the flights of stairs till I found it. 5th floor. I was puffing a little at the end...I should do some exercise.

The schedule for the day was as follows:
Meet with Karen for run down of which classes I would observe, and the general plan of the day

Teachers meeting to go over June schedule and questions/concerns/updates on all classes

Eat lunch with everyone, this time cooked by Jae's mother who comes on tuesdays to help out.

Tour of cool things around the office area

Observe two phonics classes

Observe my high level class

Meeting with Jae about the bigger picture of connexus

The teachers meeting was a great way to get a feel for how things are run at connexus and being there made me feel like part of the team. Everybody shares any troubles they have with their classes and gets advice or makes a plan of how they're going to address it. Jae and our receptionist/all around cool person Minji are trained in restorative discipline, so sometimes they will meet with students that are especially being a problem and get to the bottom of it. I would love to learn more about what they do, because I think it is a great way to keep peace in the classroom.

Three things I learned from eating lunch with everyone
1. Homemade Bibimbap is absolutely delicious. Also, it's traditional to eat it with a spoon instead of chopsticks. Also, if the cook thinks you don't have enough rice in your bowl, she will let you know. People, I am eating so much food. After every meal I feel like I'm going to pop.

2. If you're left handed you should sit on the end because you're going to cramp your neighbor. But she'll be cool about it because she is awesome.

3. When everyone breaks out in a prayer-song in Korean before eating, check the wall because the lyrics might just be posted right in front of your face and you won't notice until the end. Whoops. haha.

The tour around the area was great, even though it was raining. Janet, one of the teachers who is unfortunately leaving in a month took me around to the little convenience store right across the way. I bought some awesome gummy candy that was like a cross between a peachy-o and a welches fruit gummy flavor-wise. We visited the hallowed 'basement store' which is basically like a bed bath and beyond with the beyond being basically everything else you could ever want. It's the place where we shop for things to stock the Stamp Store. Students are rewarded for coming on time and following the rules with stamps, which they can cash in at the end of the month for cool goodies.

Then Janet showed me the little supermarket where fresh food can be bought, a couple great bread stores and where the post office was. Then she took me to Papearl, the treasure at the end.

It was a stationary store on steroids. Think of Papyrus but infinitely cuter and you can also buy drawing supplies, awesome pens, coin purses and little zippered pouches...basically I want to buy all of it. I will most likely try to go there today and get some cool stationary to send letters on.

Walking the streets was interesting. It felt a little closed in, but I think that was because so many people were walking with umbrellas. I successfully used Ruth and Nathan's umbrella etiquette techniques and did not hit anyone with my bumbershoot.

I'm not sure I'll remember the way to all of these places, but I think maybe I will try to draw myself a map.
Any way, back we went to the office so that I could observe the classes that I am going to take over.

Four things I learned from observation
1. These kids are stinking adorable. Also even in the phonics classes, many of them speak the little English they know with great pronunciation and diction.

2. I am going to have to recalibrate my disrupt-o-meter, because the class that everyone was apologizing that I would have to take over because it was so rowdy is like a gentle breeze in the wind compared to the hurricane that was afterschool. However, we need do need to cut down on that kind of thing more here, because parents are paying to have their children learn English, so we want to make sure they are getting their money's worth and that their child's learning isn't being inhibited either by their own self-distraction of the distraction of others. I will really need to be sure that I am firm about this, because I think I've just gotten used to talking over noise and focusing on the kids who are paying attention from working at afterschool. That's not really an option here.

3. The teachers I observed are fantastic. I don't really know how I'm going to fill their shoes, because they were pretty much flawless in their lesson presentation and dealing with classroom management. But, I guess I will find out on Monday!

4. The higher level class is going to be amazing! The kids are angels and also funny. The teachers decided to give me one of the best classes because I have to work with the rowdy crew too, and I feel kind of bad because seriously I think it's going to be the easiest and most fun of all of them.

Then, I went home and had dinner with my family...spicy rice cakes and an assortment of delicious side dishes...the food here is so good people you have no idea. Imobu showed me these great Korean learning flashcards and gave me a little lesson. He said he would give me some lessons from time to time too.
I am so thankful for this homestay!

Prayer requests for today:
1. That I would be able to speak a little more Korean
2. That I would be able to again stay away in the afternoon
3. That skyping with my lovely Momma would work out!! I am going to try to tell my family about my plan to skype at 8 in Korean, so wish me luck!



  1. 1) I love how you were concerned that you wouldn't be able to joke about poop and as it turns out the kiddos are obsessed with it!

    2) You will learn to be a flawless teacher-just give it a little time ;)

    3) I'm still wrapping my head around you being there!!! Thanks for this blog post-it's so fun to read about what you're doing.

  2. Oooh! and 4) Way to use the umbrella etiquette!