My time in Korea is winding down. I cannot believe that I’ve been here for over 11 months. I simply can’t believe it. A part of my heart will always remain in Korea.
It’s been a while since my last post. I’ve been busy, busy, busy. To give you a rundown of my last few weeks, here’s seven things….
1. Of course this would happen. Right before I leave Korea a new little restaurant opens up in my neighborhood. And it has the best Thai food. I’ve eaten there 3 times already. They know me now and give me a free Sprite when I come in. I mean how many curly-haired blondes are there in my neck of the woods?
2. A few weeks ago, I volunteered at the orphanage one last time. We had a water day…water balloons, bubbles, etc. The kids loved it. Oh how I wish I could adopt one of these precious babies.
This kid is an absolute hoot. Seriously. Climbs on anything he can. Screams. Laughs. Etc. He has such a loud personality.
3. Life with my co-teacher has not been all that pleasant. At all. She told me that I didn’t have to make lesson plans for summer camp, that she would do them. Then 2 days before they due she told me that I had to make them because it was my job. I had to walk away from the conversation so A I wouldn’t cry in front of her and B I wouldn’t say something I would regret. Oh, and that was on top of all the materials she still wanted me to make. Yeah, I was not a happy camper.
On another note, however, our last couple of days of school were good. She wanted to do a cooking class with the kids in our middle school class, and they LOVED it. We had fried eggs, sliced tomatoes, cheese, ham, bread, and ketchup (yeah, I know….gross). One of the boys was shoving it in so quickly that you would have thought he hadn’t eaten in a week!
Then we played Jenga in our high school class. As you can see, they loved it. Grown adults nonetheless!
And we also played with play dough. They loved that too!
We had a ceremony to signify the ending of the school semester. I had no idea what they saying. I just stood when they stood and sat when they sat.
4. I have been hanging out with Katie a lot in Euhaengdong, which is my favorite spot in Daejeon. Katie and I are almost 20 years apart in age, but somehow that doesn’t even affect our friendship. She is a fellow Christian, a great friend, and I just adore her. We always have so much fun together….whether we are shopping, eating, paying Nertz, singing at a norebang, or people watching. I am going to miss her terribly. Here I am in my favorite spot.
Last night, Katie and I went there to hang out, and we had THE absolute best time! We had originally decided to shop in the underground (it’s the best place for Konglish shirts), eat dinner, and then have Oreo bingsu for dessert. It’s THE best dessert in Korea.
After dessert, we decided to keep wandering and ended up finding a “new” spot in Eunhaengdong that we had never found before. It was like the fun nightlife of Eunhaengdong. It was awesome! We decided that we were in the singing mood so found a norebang. This norebang was awesome because it had songs that we hadn’t found at any other norebang like “Marry You”, “What Makes You Beautiful”, and the ever-amazing “Let It Go”. There was a lot of belting out, tambourines, and dancing involved. Then we kept wandering because we weren’t tired yet. Found a great 3-man band that was performing on the street and stayed to listen. They were so good. If they had had a CD for sale, I would have totally bought it. They sang some Korean songs and some English ones. We also people watched of course. Some of our favorites that we were looking for: skinny men with bad mustaches (Korean men do NOT look good with mustaches….I’m just sayin’), Korean men with good butts (not very common actually), bad Konglish shirts, and couples with cute/annoying PDA. We were also hit on by 3 Korean men. We finally decided to go home around 2:00pm.
5. I leave for Bali in less than 2 weeks!!!! I have decided to splurge on my last 2 nights in Bali. Staying at a swanky, luxury, romantic resort. Very popular for honeymoons. Romantic vacation for one…coming right up! Have I mentioned just how much I am looking forward to this? Or can you tell?
6. I am starting to pack up boxes to ship home and sell stuff in my apartment. It’s getting real. Wow. You don’t think that you’ve accumulated that much stuff until it’s time to pack.
7. Summer camp started on Wednesday. In the morning I have two elementary classes, with one of the classes consisting of two young brothers. They are both blind and have severe intellectual disabilities. One doesn’t even talk. They LOVE music, so we sing a lot of BINGO and Old McDonald and songs like that. I tried play dough the other day, but they didn’t like that. They did like building things with the big Legos. I taught them push and pull with the Legos.
In my afternoon classes (I have them for 2 classes in a row), I have 3 men, including my male co-teacher, and 2 middle school boys. One of the boys is extremely low, so my lessons have to reflect that. We play games, practice speaking limited English, and are learning “A Whole New World”.
Some friends and I were talking yesterday about my school. It’s not really a blind school. It’s more like a special education school. The students may be blind or visually impaired, but they have special needs that drive my teaching. For example, in a class of 8 students, I might have 2 higher students who are not on grade level but can follow along pretty well and speak/read English. However, I also have students in that same class who can’t read English at all. And another student who can barely speak at all. So my lessons have to be low enough for everyone to be able to participate which is sad because the higher students get bored and are left behind instead of being pushed on. I have some students that would benefit more by being in a regular school where they could be pushed, but they go to the blind school because they are blind or visually impaired. And they are in the same grade and classes with students who can’t read.
However, the regular public school in Korea has its own problems. They push the students so hard that students don’t get to be kids. To explain what I mean, check out this article where they let Korean middle school students get their feelings down on paper.
It’s been a challenging year teaching wise, but I do feel like I have learned a lot in how to teach students with special needs. I feel like I will definitely be more prepared in having students with special needs in my classroom and be able to differentiate lessons for them.
My flight to Bali is booked. My tour in Bali is booked. My flight home is booked. My suitcases are getting packed. Boxes are being packed and shipped home.
In less than one month, I will say good-bye to Korea. I will come back to Texas and see all my friends and family (including my dogs) again.
And I will be looking for a job. I know several of you have asked if I have found a job yet back home. The answer is no. I haven’t even had any interviews. I am not coming home until Tuesday, August 26th, which is the day AFTER school starts. That makes it difficult to find a job. Schools always reevaluate their numbers the 2nd or 3rd week of school, so I’ll probably get a job then. That will give me time to decompress and ease back into living in the states. I have heard that reverse culture shock is a lot harder than most people think. We shall see!
Can’t wait to touch Texas soil!