Wednesday, July 10, 2013

From the land of the giant humidifier

Because even though there's been a couple tough things this week, thing are looking UP by Epik High

So what have I been up to lately? well, besides reading the archives of this mom blog,* I've been trying to spend less money, study more Korean, be a better teacher, and get used to the sensation of walking around inside a giant wet cloud that is the outside air of Korea in the summer.

It is waaaaay too easy to blow 10,000 won or more a week on things like coffee and ice cream. It's so hot that pretty much everyday I want something cold, be it an iced cafe latte or a Bravo cone. But after doing a sample budget for myself I realized that even if I live in moderation, the most I'll have in savings by the end of this year is $3,000, so I really should be trying not to cut into that by extravagantly beating the heat with sweet things. I'll just start sucking on ice cubes or something.

I've heard from the other teachers that it's also hard to save much money here because of the "treating culture" here. Instead of everyone paying for their own, a lot of the time one person just pays for everyone with the expectation that someone will treat them back. So far I have mostly just been the recipient of said treatings, which sounds great, but you'd be surprised how fast you adapt to it, and even start feeling mega guilty that you haven't treated anyone.

As for studying Korean, I have been the biggest bum on the planet. I need to get a move on if I have any hope of passing any levels in the TOPIK exam. The hardest thing still is speaking. Any language learners have any tips for me?

 I think I have an unhealthy mix of introversion and pride/fear of failure in my personality that is making it almost impossible for me to speak for adults in Korean. I don't want to try to say something and then fail...even though I KNOW that failing is not the most horrible thing and worse would be not trying. I hate it that I know that fact and can't make my emotions and actions follow what I know is true. It's so dang annoying and discouraging. I've been here for almost a month and a half and I don't feel like my language skills are any better. That's kind of been a tough thing to realize this week.

Another tough thing is trying to be a better teacher. The student that has been such a problem was completely out of control one day this week, which resulted in some serious RJ and now very possibly him taking an indefinite break from Connexus. He was given a choice to stay and follow the rules with the stipulation that he would need to take a break if he did break the rules; or he could just go ahead and decide to take a break now. I feel guilty, but at that moment in the RJ meeting, I really wanted him to just say "I'll take a break." I've been so fed up with dealing with him, so when he said "I want to stay," I have to admit that I kind of felt a little like a deflated balloon. That being said, today he didn't come, and his classmates said that he told them at school that he wasn't going to come to Connexus anymore afterall...and I kind of felt a twinge of something sad.

I don't think it was sadness that he wasn't coming back. I'm not going to pretend to be a lovey-dovey teacher who is great at seeing the good in students and loving that potential despite their rather less than ideal behavior. I'm not there yet. I want to be, but I'm not that. I like the good students best. I think I was mostly sad because ultimately I had failed with him. I wasn't able to ge through, I wasn't able to make him like me or the class enough to want to follow the rules. I know I'm known to be a bit of a realist (or debbie downer in some people's opinions) for most things, but when it comes to teaching I have a secret pocket of idealism that makes me feel incompetent when things like this happen, even if the realist knows that it's bound to come. Ah well.

So what are some fun things coming up?
1. Girls Night. We're starting a weekly tradition of Thursday night being The Bachelorette, Wine and Snacks night, and I love it. It feels like college again.

2. Connexus/KOPI staff retreat this weekend. It will be a short overnight trip, but I'm really looking forward to hanging with everyone. Also, since we're leaving Friday after work, I'm just staying at the community house from Thursday night on, which is going to be mega great. I'm enjoying my host stay, but there's only so much alone time you can take if you are an enormous baby and can't muster the courage to speak in Korean.

3. Possible trip to a 9-course zipline in Mungyeong in celebration of Sarah's fifth year in Korea. I found out about the zipline when watching an old Korean reality tv show and thought of it when she was trying to figure out something fun to do. If we go, don't worry, I will post a video!

4. Trip to Japan the end of the month/beginning of August. My plane ticket was bought today, so now I just need to get my rail pass so I can ride the Shinkansen to visit Hope in Tokyo! SO mega pumped.

So that's what's been going on lately!

Thanks for reading!

*I blame my fellow teacher Anna on this one. I never knew mom blogs were so fascinating. Also discovered that the author of this blog was at the same Wailin' Jennys concert at Messiah that I went to with mom and dad. Possible celebrity spotting in retrospect??!

1 comment:

  1. I felt the same about language when I was in Russia. I didn't speak often because I had something between a fear of failing and a feeling that Russians would think I was making fun of their language if I messed up. If you find a solution please do share!

    Also, mom blogs are great. I have been reading this one for a couple of years just because this lady is hilarious: