Monday, February 28, 2011
So this week was my one year anniversary of arriving in Korea. I still love everything about Korea. I do get frustrated every now and then because it seems like people don't fully understand everything I say, but its a part of being in a foreign country. I am almost always confused about something, but for me, I think that is a good thing. I lived most of my childhood not challenging myself to do anything. If you knew me in school, you probably know I didn't study and I did my homework during my classes. I didn't study because I didn't really have to as long as I did the work, not too mention I didn't know how to study, and I hated the task of doing it. I never really had a challenge. Now, I live everyday in a challenge. Its a challenge to understand things. Its a challenge to understand people's feelings because they don't express them here. Its a challenge to learn the language and the culture more. Its a serious challenge to learn the manners and the social rules to go out with people. But I have never met a person, that never wanted to see me again because I forgot to give them water first at the table. It can be a bit embarrassing at times because they correct you in front of everyone, and of course, they all laugh. Its fun for me because its new, and its fun for them because I act like a Korean child even though I am an adult. Most people love teaching me about their culture and traditions. Most of the Koreans I have met have adopted me as part of their family, and they treat me as such. It is an honor for me to have met such wonderful people in such a short period of time. The hardest part of living in Korea is that everyone leaves. The past three weeks have been the hardest for me yet because I absolutely hate saying goodbye. Many of my younger brothers at the gym were called to serve in the army this past month. I knew Tae Su, Song Sok, and Simpson would leave this month, and I knew it would be hard for me, but I didn't know that Du Song, Jin Taek, and Seung Gil would go too. Tae Su and Song Sok were my best friends. It was really, really hard for me to see them go. They were really the only ones to take their time to show me things, and we would hang out after. I really miss them already. I don't think they will come back to Daejeon and that's what makes it so hard for me. This past week the foreigners that I worked with this past year left. No one decided to stay except for Max and me. So I had to say goodbye to them too. Also, this week many of the other foreigners I have become friends with this past year have left to go back home or to other places. I also have many Korean friends that graduated from college and are trying to find jobs overseas or have already found jobs overseas. This past weekend alone I had four goodbye parties that I attended. It was very hard for me emotionally. It has been hard for me at work lately too because Max and I have had to cover the classes the other foreign teachers used to teach. It has been stressful because we are supposed to make lesson plans for our new classes, talk to our Korean partner teachers about our new classes, train the new teachers, prepare them to take over our classes, prepare ourselves to take over the new classes, and at the same time finishing the curriculum for our current classes. On Monday, I only had one twenty minute break between afternoon and morning classes, and that was used to get the books I required for the afternoon classes I was substituting for. One time during the day, the Vice Principal came to find me while I was teaching one of my regular classes; apparently, they scheduled me to substitute in a class during the time I was teaching my regular class. She told me that I was supposed to be in the other class, and I told her that I have taught this class all year and asked her which class she wanted me in. Seriously, I cannot teach in two different classrooms at once; don't get angry with me when I didn't set up the schedule. This month has definitely been stressful and overwhelming, but I think it will be worth it. The rest of the year should be amazing. I have the same age group for morning classes that I had this past year, and I have the baby class. The baby class is so cute! I'm excited! I think I have good afternoon classes as well. Now, if only I can get through the rest of this week. Thank goodness we had Independence Day today and got the day off. I don't think I could have done this everyday this week!