Thursday, July 7, 2016

Jangma is here!

Well folks, the rainy season (Jangma, 장마, for you people who want to learn some Korean) is upon on us. Daily rain, perpetual sticky, and more mosquitoes than usual. I went to the basement store a little while ago and picked up a net to put over our window as an extra precaution, since somehow they seem to get through the screen. Nothing is more anger inducing for me in the summer than waking up feeling like I took a bath in some honey because of the humidity, having a fresh mosquito bite and the tell-tale whine of another on its way.

Last week I finished writing June's report cards, powered by the music of Hamilton, so here's a favorite from the musical's soundtrack: Dear Theodosia.

So, let me tell me how those "upcoming events" went!

CELT Conference

For those of us who have a tendency to try to be "susie-on-top-of-it" with God (*coughmecough*) it seems like He let's us get good and stressed out until we finally say..."I guess I CAN'T do it by myself..." Then He shows us what He had in mind.

That happened during the presentation. A few days before, Yoonseo gave me really helpful feedback on the powerpoint, but as a result I was going to have to pretty much redo the entire thing. Stress City. He was kindly going to help me out by taking over the brief intro to Punitive Discipline verses Restorative Discipline part of the talk, but we hadn't had a chance yet to practice together.

By the morning of the presentation, we had both been up very late finishing the powerpoint, and I had only talked through the presentation once by myself, and that was not a great rehearsal: full of stutters, awkward transitions and long pauses where I just said..."Uh, and, next we will talk about, uh..." Needless to say, I was feeling really unprepared on the drive there. But as we parked and met up with some other presenters and talked with some of the conference goers, I felt some excitement start growing, and confidence that we would have something of worth to share. We had about 15 attendees to our session, which was great considering it was 9 am on a Saturday morning and there were two other sessions happening at the same time.

So then it was time, and I pulled up the powerpoint and then off we went, and people, a miracle happened in the lecture room. Abby didn't stutter, Abby did make awkward transitions, Abby didn't forget information or speak obtusely. I felt as I was speaking as if I had practiced this presentation like 10 times. How cool is that? God is good.

After the presentation (we only went over time about 5 minutes too, which was great, I thought!) lots of people came forward to take pictures of the Restorative Discipline posters we had brought and the books and other example resources we brought to give people an idea of where to go for more info. One Korean teacher even took a set of the posters for her classroom since they were written in Korean. One teacher said that it got him thinking about how he might use Restorative Discipline not only in his classroom but as a parent too. I came away from the conference feeling so blessed and thankful. What a great experience! It was so wonderful to present with Yoonseo too, and see a little bit of what his world is like as lecturer. So grateful that he agreed to do one more lecture even though that's what he has to do every week. Good egg, that one :-)

So after the presentation, we got right on the road to the

Family Gathering 

There was quite a bit of traffic, so it took us almost twice as long to get there as it usually would. When we arrived in Dunnae everyone had been waiting for us for a while. I felt a little nervous and awkward at first, but one of his aunts greeted me with a big hug and kiss, so that helped ease my tense feeling right at the beginning, hehe. After eating a little, we joined many of his family members in a big van and rode to the the river to catch some fish for Maeoontang, 매운탕, spicy fish soup. We drove a while to find the best spot, without any other people, and then we parked a little ways from the bank and started clambering over the rocks to get to the water. There were two sets of waders, one Yoonseo donned and the other his Cousin put on. After a while, the path to the water got too wet for those of us not planning to go into the water, so me and Yoonseo's mom and his youngest Aunt and his 1st cousin-once-removed just sat on the rocks and ate snacks together and chatted.

I think that time to talk with a smaller group was really helpful. I felt a little self conscious at first speaking to a big group in Korean, but having a little practice with a smaller group first helped me get my feet wet, so to speak. It started to rain after a while, so we thought it was a good idea to get across the rocks before they got really slippery, and go up to the bank where we had parked. It was a good idea otherwise too, since from where we were sitting on the rocks we couldn't see the guys fishing, but from the bank we had a great view. It was fun to watch and laugh with each other up there, and guess whether they were catching a lot or not.

Turns out they caught probably like 20 or more little fish and found a big bag's worth of whelks too. We drove on home, and then I went with Yoonseo around back of the restaurant/house to watch the Uncles and Cousins gut the fish. They did it so quickly! The fish were tricky too; there were two kinds and both had something to watch out for: one had sharp serrated fins, and the other seemed like they had a poison spine of some kind, because they had to hold it with a pair of pliers while gutting it. I also got to see their huge potato garden and other crops. They even grow their own mushrooms, since to buy as many as they would need for the restaurant would be too expensive. Talk about fresh and sustainable food!

The fish and whelks were taken to kitchen for the spicy fish soup, and we started bringing out all the side dishes. It took almost about the same time to set up the table with everything as it took for the soup to be ready, I think we only waited ten minutes or so after sitting down. We nibbled on the side dishes and then out came the soup! it was delicious. River food has a different taste to it than sea food, and I think kind of richer...or maybe just Yoonseo's aunts soup is like that, I don't know. Anyway, it was excellent--made your nose run and lips burn, but the flavor was incredible. I still have trouble figuring out how to debone a fish with chopsticks, but that was the only thing slowing me down. I ate way too much.

I also got a formal introduction by Yoonseo during the meal and served everybody some soju. At first I felt really nervous about it, not sure if I would do it right, but everyone laughed and told me which order to serve in, so it ended up being fine.

After dinner we played badminton, drank some beer together with lots of laughing and chatting together. I felt really welcome and was really grateful for all their kind hospitality. It was great to have people that I knew already too there--Yoonseo and his parents really looked out for me and helped me feel a part of things. A great first meeting of many more to come.

Well, this blog post is already super long, so I will end here, and leave the Connexus update to the quotes section, haha. Always fun and challenging here!

Quotes from the Community

Abby: “Yeongkyung, if you have magic, what will you do?”
Yeongkyung: “I will have magic eyes and see through anything.”
Hyundo: “Teacher!!! This is dangerous!! Clothes!!”

Woochan: “I like Woochan because Woochan is delicious!”
Hyundo: “You say you are delicious?!”
Woochan: “Food Woochan is delicious.”

Abby: “If Snow White and the Prince have three children, what will their names be?”
Liz: “Lemon Yellow, Sea Blue, and …. I don’t know.
Sandy: “I think they have two children: Snow Black and Snow Orange.”
Jin: “I think it will be Snow, Snow Wh, and Snow Whi.”
Abby: “.....”

*every other day*
Liz: “Teacher! Jin has new love story!”
Abby: “Oh goodie!”

Matt: “Minji, Open your eyes!”
Minji (student at Connexus): “I cannot.”
Matt: “Why?”
Minji: “I am Helen.”
Matt: “What?!”
Minji: “Helen Keller.”
Matt: “Oh my…”

*practice with the pattern, 'that's a nice _____, where did you get it?'*
Liz: "That a nice little cute face. Where did you get it?
Sandy: "From my mom and dad."