Tuesday, December 10, 2013

O Come O Come Emmanuel

Can you guess today's music? One of my favorite versions of O Come O Come Emmanuel is the fantastic Rosie Thomas version, but unfortunately I couldn't find a good version of that on Youtube, so I will go with my current favorite instrumental version of it: O Come O Come Emmanuel by The Piano Guys.

This past weekend was a super relaxing one for me. It's sometimes hard to have a relaxing weekend because you feel like you want to get out of little old Deokso, but this time we had some project to do! First was deep cleaning the apartment...I know boring, but it's actually really satisfying to everything looking all nice and shiny. Because our apartment is not too big, you can get a lot done in a short amount of time, so you feel really productive without spending hours on it. Next was Skyping with Josiah, which was even more awesome. In case any of you want some good advice on nearly anything or want to look at cool lego sets with someone, he's kind of the best person in the world for that. We both pretty much decided that Lego's Creator line of lego sets is the bee knees. 

Sunday I stayed home from church and had some F.A.B.I.C. From Afar church on the couch. So enriching! I'm realizing that I need to be more intentional about getting spiritual food in my own language. Translation at church is a huge blessing, but sometimes it feels a little like trying to suck water out of a washcloth instead of drinking from a glass. That's a weird word picture, but you get what I mean. Then in the afternoon, Kate and I made an awesome paper bunting decoration for our wall while watching Baby Mama. Can you get better than crafts and Tina Fey? 

In the evening I had some awesome Korean-Chinese food with Yoonseo and then we went with Michael and Heather to see About Time, which turned out to be the best movie I have seen in a while. Yes, I even cried, can you believe it? 

So a weekend at home actually turned out to be just as great as an adventure weekend.

What's happening on the Connexus side of things? I found out yesterday that my favorite student Grace is moving to Sarah's class next month. I'm glad she isn't leaving Connexus entirely, but I am sad that she won't be in my Green class anymore. I know it's probably against all teacher protocol to have favorites, but I do in pretty much all of my classes. Sometimes it's hard to remember that we won't have these students forever, and probably a few will even leave Connexus while we're still here, like precious old Jack. (Still miss that kid).

We've started to talk about things like enhancing/changing the curriculum too. We're all going to try implementing some new ideas. For instance, for my yellow class, I am going to try a knitting project for Friday individual activity days probably starting in January, and might try making a puppet theater with my Green and Blue classes.
So, I'm feeling excited about trying out some cool new things!

Christmas Listening List (Old and a little more obscure edition):

* In the Bleak Midwinter

* The Wexford Carol

* The Huron Carol

* Good King Wenceslas

* Boars Head Carol

* Adam Lay Yboundem

* Coventry Carol

* Hear We Come A' Wassailing

* The Holly and the Ivy

Quotes from the Community:

Yoonseo: *After looking at a picture of Elmer Fudd* That is my dream.

"Oh, your belly button's cute, Sarah!"--Anna

Quotes from the Classroom:

Susan: Eileen, would you rather marry with Korean boy or American boy?
Eileen: American boy because...cute babies!
Susan: Korea babies are not cute? You are Korean baby! You are cute!

Sungyeon: "Which do you like better, Rudolph or snowflakes?"
Joy: "I like Rudolph better."
Abby: "Why?"
Joy: "He is cute."
Abby: *mentally* "she said I'm cuuuuuuuute!"  Gotta love the stop-motion Rudolph film.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013


There are few things better than the soundtrack of A Charlie Brown Christmas, so please enjoy O Tannenbaum by the Vince Guaraldi Trio while you read this post!

That song is particularly fitting, since this past Sunday we put up our little Christmas tree! It's very short, and fake, and has mostly the gaudy and glittery dollar-store style ornaments that seem to be the only kind available in Korea, but still it makes me so very happy. Sitting in the living room with the lights down and the Christmas tree lights on is just fantastic. Lots of warm fuzzies inside.

I've been feeling a little homesick these days, a usual thing around holidays, but have been bringing some things from home into our celebrations here to ease the feeling of being far away. Our apartment is doing a little advent reading together every night using John Fickett's O Antiphons Advent booklet. It is so excellent and the exact thing that I was looking for to help us usher in Jesus this Christmas. Thanks Uncle John for your great writing!

In the teaching department, things have been going well. There are so many happy things, but I am not always careful to make special note of them, so they sometimes run together...I do tend to take note of the not so great things, which unfortunately makes my memories of certain classes not so great. I would appreciate prayer for dealing with my 5:30 class. They talk when I am talking, and one student in particular has such a negative, flippant and disinterested manner that I spend half the class trying to get her to actually try the activities we are doing and stop playing with her dang eraser/pencil/mini toilet plunger/pencil sharpener whatever the heck else she brings to distract herself. 

One student that always makes me happy though is my student, Grace, or Dohyeon. She is 10 years old in my Green class, and is absolutely precious and loves class. She is so eager to participate even in more tedious lessons where we are learning a bunch of vocab and her writing has been improving visibly from month to month. She is maybe a little bit lower than the other two boys in the class with spelling and fluency, but to me she is a much better student than they are because of her attitude and her geniality. The boys are very competitive with each other and are not always kind to her, but she never lets that stop her from learning. What a gal!

Community News:

* Heather and the Men's Apartment took some pretty hilarious Christmas roommate pictures. Please anticipate them.

* Turns out we don't have to bake so many cookies for the Christmas party, so less stress in the baking department!

* Lots of rearranging with classes and teachers coming in January. Because many of our students are entering middle school, the time at which they can come to Connexus will change because they will get out of school later. Thus, we need a big class shuffle to happen to make sure everyone can still attend. This will mean handing some favorite students over to other teachers, which is always a tough thing, and the addition of new students to already established classes, which can be tricky too. Pray for all of us as we go through some big transitions. 

Recently Watched:

* Downton...as always. 

* Wreck It Ralph. How did I miss that one when it came out? so good!

* Human Planet: Mountains. Best part was the Mongolian hunters with their trained eagles.

* Mud. This movie's lesson is....cottonmouths are dangerous? Good movie, but one I feel like I need to think over a bit to sort out the themes and motifs and whatnot.

Quotes from the Community:

"Then Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them because they don't know what's going on...what the heck.'"--Yoonseo's rendition of the Crucifixion.

"Are you good at dinosaur vocab?"--Anna

Yoonseo: "Why don't you remember this place?"
Me: "I'm not good at recognizing places in the dark."
Yoonseo: "Then please don't wear sunglasses."

Quotes from the Classroom:

"Are you friends with Yester Anna?"--Minseo asks about Anna Ruth

Me "Which do you like better, pencils or erasers?"
Yoobin: "Same."
Me: "Can you make a sentence?"
Yoobin: "Same same same same."
Me: ..............*mental facepalm*