Thursday, June 6, 2013

Day of firsts!

Reading music today is : Fine, Thank you, and You? by 10cm

Yesterday's classes were very much like the day before, though a little worse maybe, because I forgot to copy a bunch of things, and being observed is always nervewracking. I'll have a meeting tomorrow morning to go over the things I should fix in my teaching, but I'm not going to think about that now because today was a simply FANTASTIC day.

Two of the students at Connexus invited the teachers to go with them to a Folk Village modeled after a village in the Joseon Dynasty. It was something that I had wanted to do while I was here, so it was pretty awesome to get the chance to go when I haven't even been here two weeks yet.
There is a lot to tell, so this might be a long one.

I spent the night at the other teacher's apartment and we headed out early in the morning today at around 8. The families picked us up, and we all split up and rode in different cars.  Let me tell you, that experience was enough for me to be completely floored by the English ability of those students. They were facilitating communication back and forth between us and their parents, and even though it wasn't perfect, we understood each other. The parents too, tried to use as much English as they knew. I felt like a complete bum for not practicing my Korean more when every one is so willing to try out any English they know to make communication easier. That's only one example of the generosity of these families, which I will tell more about later.

Once we got to the folk village, they fed us a delicious picnic with kimbap and tunafish sandwiches, which we assumed to be lunch. Then we headed out into the village to see the sights and the great performances. The first performance we watched was of a folk dance/drum performance, and it was incredible! The sense of rhythm and balance of those men was impressive, and it was a really neat to experience something from Korea's past. The pictures can't really do it justice, but please take a look at them and watch the video I uploaded to facebook!

After that, we watched a horseback riding performance and a tightrope walker. The horseback riders were so great at engaging at with the crowd too. They performed tricks like snapping the heads of flowers with a whip while riding, firing arrows at a target (and getting it very close to a bulls eyes) while riding at a full canter, and all kinds of flips and contortions. The best was last: they built a three-man high pyramid on the backs of two horse, while riding at a pretty decent pace. I got video of that one too :-)

I should mention that during that horseback riding performance, the families bought us all ice cream too, which was awesome because it was pretty hot (though I have been told that it was pretty mild compared to what the real-deal summer is like here, yikesies mikesies). Then after all these performances, they bought us a huge lunch of bibimbap and some cold noodle dish that tasted like cucumbers mostly and was delicious...perfect for a hot day. I also tried makgeolli (rice/wheat alcoholic drink) for the first time and surprisingly...I liked it! It has a very low alcohol content, so it wasn't very bitter. I recommend it to anyone wanting to try a drink they haven't had before. It tastes like it would be really good with something spicy or with a really nutty bread maybe? I'm not sure. Anyway, it was super.

The rest of the day we just walked around, looking at all the neat things in the village and taking pics with the absolutely adorable students. Then we drove back again to Deokso, and when we arrived, they families ordered pizza to be delivered to the teacher's apartment. They had wanted to take us out to eat, they said, but could see we were tired (truth) and so they wanted to order it to make sure we didn't have to cook anything. Seriously. They payed for the entrance fee, brought breakfast (not lunch), bought us ice cream, bought us lunch and acted like it was the hugest honor ever and no problem at all to lug us around all day. I am floored. If there is one thing I want to learn from Koreans so far, it is the way they honor people and offer hospitality.

Anyway, so after that, I just chilled with the other teachers at their apartment, and then came back home at about 8 ish. My host family wasn't home from their Grandmother's house yet, so I just watched another episode of the Korean Drama I'm currently watching and cleaned up around my room. When they came home, Yoonsang and Yoonhyung showed me the hermit crabs they found, and Yoonhyung watched my drama with me and we listened to some music together. Imobu said that they are planning to go back to the East Sea maybe tomorrow and go camping and then look for clams in the mud flat! They said I could come if I wanted, and you know I am jumping on that, no question. (Hope, Ev, and Le-le, can you say Family Outing? heheheh).

Tomorrow is activity day at Connexus, so I will be teaching card/board games to all my classes and thinking of ways to weave in English, so that should be fun.
Thanks for reading! be sure to check out the new photos and things on facebook once I get them up!

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