a little update; a list

Grey Days

Grey days

I’m not settled. And that’s okay. I feel bad and out of sorts and scattered all over the place, but I’m giving myself grace to take longer than two months to settle into a new life, new job, new country.

What’s going on with me, people ask. How’s life in Korea? I say inane, good-sounding things because the honest answer is weird.

“I don’t know.”

I don’t know how life is here. I haven’t lived much of it yet. All I’ve done is get a little used to my new job, visited a few places, gotten better at reading Korean, been terribly sick several times, discover that kids can be completely irritating…

Most of my comments about life here are complaints, which I refuse to entertain or share. That’s why I don’t write much. I have a lot of worries and complaints, and if I share that negativity it gains force.

So, a list of what is good;

  • School lunches; seriously, having one really good, healthy meal made for me every day is wonderful. I’m not cooking much and eating out is hard alone, but at least I get one good meal a day.
  • All my internet and phone set up; for the first month, it was hard to feel really a part of life here. When I lived in Taiwan, I didn’t have a smart phone, so I walked around blind. But when I’m out here, I can check bus lines and information and it’s amazing.
  • Walking places; this one is kind of a mixed blessing. I don’t like having to walk when I just need eggs or milk or something, but it’s nice to walk around and not feel unsafe, and it forces me to get exercise. A bonus.
  • English speaking co-workers; had I gone the traditional route and ended up in a Korean public school, I would have most likely been the only foreigner, and who knows how well I could have communicated with my peers. At my school, I’m one of many foreigners, and even the Korean teachers speak really good English, so I can communicate easily and get close to them. Plus, they hold barbecues for us at school. Meat win.
  • My American friend; she’s the one who introduced me to the job, and she lives in my building. She also occasionally invites me to do things. Often enough I feel like I have a life, rarely enough that my introvert self isn’t overwhelmed.

I heard somewhere that when you don’t know what to write, write a list. As I’m so fond of them, I thought it was a good idea.

Hopefully I’ll start writing again. It’s cathartic, but difficult to know what to share and what not to.

otter.

 

 

a few updates; dreams come true

AustinCollage

It’s rare I take pictures of myself. I’m not a selfie-centered person. But this has created the odd conundrum of me not knowing what I looked like most of the time. Sometimes I do want to remember that fun day I looked nice and rode in a car with my best friend for four hours to Austin and had some crazy good food…yeah, or maybe I just want to join my generation. Whatevs, yo.

But, yes, indeed, I was in Austin this week. I have relatives down there, and my cousin took me to to all the hot-spot awesome eateries and local joints. I mean, it sounds like we partied mightily, but really we went thrift shopping and comic book store-ing, and then went home to watch Doctor Who with burgers. Aw chyeah. My kind of vacation.

Although it’s a strong contestant, the watching Doctor Who and burgers and tea dueling (you heard me), are the not the reason I called this post “Dreams come true.” No, my friends, I have news.

I passed the EPIK interview a couple weeks ago, and while that in itself was amazing and wonderful and something I’m incredibly grateful for, I will have to turn it down. I will turn it down for a better offer that came from an unexpected source. Long story short, I have a friend who teaches in Korea and her school was hiring so she sent me a message right after my EPIK interview. After getting more information and looking up the school, I immediately sent in my resume and started praying I’d get in. Honestly, this school is perfect. It’s exactly what I wanted to look for after I got into Korea with EPIK, and it has the same benefits if not slightly better. Her school is a private Christian international school outside of Seoul. They prepare their students for enrollment in overseas schools and have a ton of extracurricular stuff; music, martial arts, gardening, drama, debate…everything. They’re also bilingual, so almost all of the courses are taught in English. And get this – that means I’ll be a regular home room teacher, not just the ESL (as far as I know; that may change). I’ll teach science and math and history and grammar…the whole nine yards, including idioms like that.

Honestly, this terrified me at first. I’ve never thought about teaching anything other than English, and I have no experience to do so. However, I know I can do it. I was homeschooled so I know the mechanics of teaching, as well as how to pick and choose curriculum and make things interesting. But it’s going to be so good. I mean, as an ESL co-teacher in a normal Korean school, it was likely I wouldn’t be a real teacher. And I don’t mean that the way it sounds. English teachers can’t interact with the students like the native Korean teachers – we just can’t communicate in that way for the most part. Plus, ESL teachers are rarely permanent. Schools know they don’t often last more than a year or two, and that means they can’t be a real part of the school policy building. I have no idea how much involvement is normal, but from what I’ve heard, it’s not much.

In this school, I’ll be a normal staff teacher who can be involved in curriculum planning and discussion. In fact, during my interview, they were telling me about some changes as if I was already there and part of it. It was brilliant.

I’m beyond excited. I was happy to get in with EPIK, and I have no problems with them. But this will be so much easier, and so much more challenging at the same time. Yes, I’ll be a teacher with greater responsibilities and more work, but I’ll know someone already who works there, and who knows the school and has told me all about it. That unknown factor with EPIK kept me from feeling one hundred percent calm. I just couldn’t be sure I wouldn’t be in a bad situation.

Because of all this, I’ve laid out a calendar of things to research. Beginning with general teaching theory, I’m going to get materials and information on teaching math, science, humanities, and then brush up on grammar and English right before I leave. There isn’t much time left now…it’s coming up fast, and I’ll be in Korea before I know it.

Wish me luck!

otter.