Today's music is actually listening music for more than just reading my blog. It is the Studio Ghibli 25th Anniversary concert and I have been pretty much listening to it solely for 2 days now. Joe Hisaishi is right up there with Howard Shore, Murray Gold and John Williams as a favorite film/t.v. score composer.
So, I feel like I've learning many things about myself lately, or being reminded of them, at least, as well as just different things about living here and from living here.
Things about me:
1. I am a morning person...but only if the morning is quiet. If it is quiet, then I enjoy it so much more than the evening. Everything seems bright and new and just beginning. I can begin fresh with the day. But if it's noisy, it feels like the day has rudely begun without me. It can get louder as the morning progressively, but if the first 1/2 hour of the morning is quiet...wow. I didn't realize it was such a big deal until this past week, we had a few rare quiet mornings at my host family's house and I felt so good.
2. It's harder to be a creative fun teacher when you're the type of person who totally loves textbooks and just writing on the board. I've realized that my learning style doesn't require lots of bells and whistles, but that of my students often does, so teaching in a way that is different from the way I learn takes more work than I thought. Kids like games, not grammar explanations...kind of obvious, when you think about it, but there it is.
3. I didn't realize before I came to Korea how much music I listened to. Because now that there are not as many opportunities to listen to music as before, I can feel that it's missing. There are no more long commutes to work in the car where I can turn up the music loud and sing along. It's hard to listen to music at home because it feels disruptive, and at the office, same thing. If I use my earphones I sometimes feel like I'm being uber antisocial and blocking out the world, but I guess I kind of am to an extent. But because of that, music has become a really big "self-heal" remedy. If I am feeling stressed, nothing is better than listening to a Jon Foreman album, or if I'm feeling tired, turning up the old Big Bang.
4. I like having expectations of me coming from one group or at least from related groups, not from several different parties. Never have I felt so pulled in two directions than this situation of living with a host family and being a part of the teacher community at Connexus. On the one hand, I feel obligated to spend time with my host family, because they have opened their home to me and it's a great opportunity to make a lasting connection here in Korea, but on the other hand, let's be real, hanging with the teachers is much more fun, and I hate to feel like I'm missing out on things, or making it tougher for the other teachers because they have to make sure to plan things ahead so I can let my host family know, instead of being fun and spontaneous.
Things I've about/from living here
1. I'm missing stuff. There is a lot happening at home and I am completely not a part of any of it. I guess things are happening here too, but nobody knows what they're missing. It's kind of scary, because anyone who knows me knows that being left out is one of my biggest dislikes. So here I am, left out, not on purpose at all, and there isn't anything to be done about it. Maybe it's time I grew up.
2. It doesn't take long for the new to feel every day. I wouldn't have never said that after only 2 and 1/2 months, Deokso would be the usual, that taking the bus or subway by myself would no longer make me feel super nervous (ok, at least during the day and on semi-familiar routes), that eating meat and rice and kimchi for breakfast would feel totally normal. But it is.
3. It is really hard to be frugal here. There are a lot of fun things to buy, a lot of good food to eat, places to go and movies to see and it all costs a lot. Some things are cheaper, like clothes, other things are more expensive, like movies. And I'm realizing I need to be really careful if I want to return to the U.S. with enough saved to give me time to find a job. *gulp* maybe it's time for a budget.
4. All the indirectness here sometimes makes me feel like being even more direct, which is usually not my style. Instead of trying explain indirectly why I'm not eating dinner at the house and going out with the teachers, I just want to say "I want to hang out with them because it's fun and I can speak English at a normal pace," or "No, I really don't want to go out to eat hot chicken soup right now because I am totally wiped and it's a million degrees outside." Not really helpful, but sometimes it feels like I can never say what I really mean, even in English, poor Korean skills aside.
5. I can write about the negative things (which is pretty much all this post is, sorry!) but I shouldn't internalize them. Let 'em roll off. That's kind of this blog post is for, rolling it off. So, sorry it was a little debbie-downer-esque!
This is a good place, these are good people and God is teaching me so much. I need to write things like this to remind myself of those truths.
Thanks for reading!