Sunday, June 19, 2016

Well...there went June! apologies for not updating more often. I guess less updates usually mean for me that I am busily being part of life here, so it is a good thing for me, but not as fun for people in different parts of the world who want to know what's up. I'll try to give a bi-weekly update from here-on out!
This morning Michaela-the-dear is making pancakes and I am contributing by playing this concert as cooking music. Hooray for 1.5 hours of Studio Ghibli music! (definitely have put this on my blog before, but seriously...never gets old!)

Ok, so what happened? Let's go back in time to May 28, Gooshik and Youngsook's wedding day!
Morning of, the deck and outside were a disaster from late night construction. It was one of those moments where I took one look and decided that it was pointless to try to estimate whether or not it could all be taken care of. Just jump in, all together and see what we could do. We sweated and hurried, but by golly, many hands do make light work! It looked beautiful and it was such a lovely ceremony. I also had the honor of being chosen by Youngsook to catch her bouquet (this photo is staged in Korean weddings). I felt a little shy at the time, but I was so glad to be a part of the ceremony in that way! Not related to the wedding too much, but I sat behind the cutest baby during the ceremony...who I later found out is the daughter of one of the KOPI members!

Fast forward to June 6 weekend when all the teachers, Yeoreum, and Yoonseo piled into Yeoreum's dad's big van and left at 7 in the morning to head for the east coast to Yoonseo's hometown. Minjeong and Yoonseo were are tour guides, and I can't believe how much work they put into everything. We stayed in an incredible guesthouse that was so cozy and comfortable and full of succulents. I basically want to recreate all the decor in my future house. Just my style! There was even a little indoor courtyard!
While we were there, Yoonseo and I of course went to visit his mom and dad. It was my first time going back since I left Korea the first time. When we pulled up and I saw Yoonseo's dad'd great "Dr. Seuss" style tree it was like a 'homecoming' feeling--a moment of recognition of something that I loved from before still there. It was wonderful to see them! Every time I visit there I feel a little closer to them and feel the atmosphere get less formal. You can continue to pray for my language ability--I am really feeling a big desire to be able to talk to them more and understand conversations better and it can be frustrating for progress to happen so slowly. But I always feel so welcome :-)
Other highlights from the trip--beach, beach and more beach. The water was so blue! It was a little chilly, but that meant that it wasn't totally crowded, so I was fine with that! We ate so much good food too....samgypusal, famous Peter and Mary burgers, watermelon from Yoonseo's mom on the beach ( Minji hacked into it with a plastic knife! beast!).
We also visited the home of two famous siblings, the brother a novelist, the sister a poet. It was lovely, and really interesting to me...I am really curious about Korean literature. The novelist is the author of the very first novel written entirely in the Korean alphabet. It's called "Hong Gil-Dong Jeon," or "The Story of Hong Gil-Dong." I would really like to read it; according to good ole' Wikipedia, Hong Gil-Dong is kind of like a Robin Hood style character.

Another highlight: Free-Range rail biking at the lake...Michaela and I took a little side by side two seater, and the rest of the teachers and Yeoreum piled into a six seater. Collectively we proceeded to break all the rules by accident, passing people, changing drivers while moving, etc. Oops. Michaela and I tried to at least use our horn to warn people we were passing, but scratched that idea pretty quick when it turned out that our horn was not that pleasant "awooga!" but instead the shrill shriek of a dog-toy style squeaker. No thanks. I think we were laughing loud enough that people knew we were coming though, haha.

We wrapped up the trip going to the famous Danoje Festival along the river, which part huge outdoor market and part country fair. Yoonseo bought me Cotton Candy, so that along made the trip a ten in my book. We left from there, making the long slow trip back due to holiday traffic. I wanted to give Yoonseo a trophy for his long-suffering in that driver seat. What a champ!

Other fun things that happened this month:

Trip to Hangang with Lomie and Aurie--Yoonseo and I took Lomie and Aurie to the Han River Park one evening to see the flowers and the cool Lego Kid's Garden. It was so much fun! Lomie and I played together and Yoonseo and Aurie played together mostly. Lomie and I made the Lego peope talk to us, and we named the biggest one Bob. "Bob" told Lomie to look for the blue flowers when she walked further down the path, and to look for something special there too. The special thing was a giant whale topiary, but I almost had a cute attack as we were coming back, because Lomie saw the Lego Park in the distance and said, "Hurry! we have to tell Bob that we found the blue flowers and the special thing!" TOO MUCH FUN. Then we all went to McDonalds and had some sundaes together. Loved it.

Starting language exchange--I am doing language exchange/dinner with Hyesun on Wednesday evenings and I love it! Thanks for putting up with my broken Korean, Hyesun! We've only met twice so far, but already I am feeling motivated and encouraged. We were able to have an intelligible conversation (I think...) about Feminism in Korea and introducing our families last week, and I enjoyed it so much. I'm so glad to have a friend to practice with!

Connexus Stuff:
Learning Styles--This month our Teacher's Workshop was about learning styles, (mine are Visual and Tactile primarily) and how they affect the way we teach. This month we are also trying to figure out what our student's learning styles are, and next month's workshop will be about ways to change/better the way we teach based on what we observe are the learning needs of our students. It's been harder than I thought! some students are obviously one things or another, but other students seem to struggle in all areas, unfortunately, so it's been a little tricky to peg down what they need. It keeps me very engaged in class though! I feel like every activity is an experiment, "will this engage So-and-So? or will this listening activity work better?"

Balloon Cars--We made balloon powered cars this past Friday, and it was a blast! I expected there to be some power struggles, since we were trying build one car each per class, and there are some strong personalities in the mix, but there were no problems at all! I loved the great ideas my kids came up with. It is going to be a ton of fun next week when we race them! We'll have different categories of awards, kind of like the pinewood derby we used to do in pioneer clubs at Fairview Ave.

CELT conference--Yoonseo and I will present this coming Saturday, June 25 at Yonsei University!! I still haven't finished the outline for it, but hopefully will have it all put together by Tuesday evening at the latest. Pray that it goes well, and that I am good at watching the time especially. I'm glad I have a veteran lecturer helping me out :-) Directly afterward we will both be heading to...

Yoonseo's family reunion--This will be my first time to meet aunts and uncles and cousins! I feel a little nervous, but I'm looking forward to it a lot too. I worry most about language fatigue, so pray for stamina for my brain! I spent the day today with church members from Grace and Peace and had a lovely time, but by dinner time I couldn't understand what people were saying to me any more because my brain felt so tired from interpreting. I don't want that to happen on Saturday though! Whatever happens though, I think it will be a good time.

Quotes from the Community

Karen J: "Sojeong, I cheated on you this morning. I did language exchange with Soyoung."
Sojeong: *gasp* "I feel empty inside."

Lomie: "I pway games with my gwandma in Pennsylvania. Sometimes I win and sometimes gwandma wins. But I like it more when I win!

Minjeong: *gasp* "Justin Trudeau is my Oppa!"

Michaela: "I think my soul is still at the Jjimjilbang."