Monday, December 15, 2008

The First Week in South Korea

Dec. 8 Sunday- Zombie, grumpy Vanessa steps off the plane into jetlag land of sleepwalking down dark hallways in the middle of the night and getting lost in the maze of her new school.
Monday- After getting up at 4 am and wandering around, going back to bed and sleeping until 9am, I meet with some of the staff to finish and finalize some paperwork. Also my first chance at eating true (cafeteria) Korean food. Pretty yummy if you ask me, even though sometimes disturbing since much of it is unidentifiable.
Tuesday-Friday- As I explained in the previous post, the children are given proficiency tests and sectioned off into classes according to their ability. The rest of the week, I followed around the lowest level class to all 20 of their classes. As their home room teacher asked them questions about how their day went, 11 pairs of Korean eyes stared back at us blankly or meticulously began studying the carpet. Crickets began to chirp, and then the crickets out of boredom started to serenade the class of harder times in some classic blues numbers. I was with this class for an entire week, and from that time, I can tell you that they understood most of what was said, and they were a smart bunch but getting them to speak was like trying to brush your dogs teeth, even when the toothpaste is chicken flavor, nearly impossible without personal injury. But rather than being bitten, injury in the form of exhaustion from using every ounce of energy to engage and entertain these silent little Korean sixth graders. Several teachers commented that they had never had such a quiet class. Not a soul spoke, and deathly silence would take form in the room, as it's own entity. That is until a kid who had named himself Top (they all pick English names for the week) after the hugely popular "Big Bang" pop group, would look up from being distracted and just start to yell out random answers. He was our saving grace, the only energy, and the only seemly life force in the room. And to be honest I think Top had ADD from his inability to pay attention, but when he did pay attention he gave it his all. In the end, we gave Top the "Best Effort Award." I have a feeling Top was not the typical student to receive awards. He wasn't ill-behaved, but he did needed to be reminded nearly every class to pay attention to the lesson, but once you did, he gave you almost all of his attention until distracted once again. I had a lot of fun with this silent group, and by the last day, a couple of them began to crawl out of their self-made hermit shells and participate a bit more. (I don't know if I can take pics of the kids for legal reasons. I will find out though)
Friday evening- A group of us went out for something similar to Korean BBQ, but isn't exactly the same. It is pronounced Duckgabi. I am not going to try and describe the difference because I am not entirely sure of the difference myself, but I was assured they are not to be mistaken for the same type of cuisine. Nevertheless, in both styles, the food is cooked in front of you and often eaten with lettuce leaves. Yummy to my tummy, but man oh man spicy!

Sat-Sun- I was extremely lazy. My days were nearly identical but for my outing on Friday evening. Woke up, called Kyle, layed in bed, read my book, called Kyle again, refused to change into anything but my sweatclothes, and maybe took a cat nap. On Friday evening I did venture out with a group of teachers to a "Mexican Korean restuarant." Let's just say, the food wasn't exactly Mexican food, a proper attempt, not quite there, but all in all not bad. I ordered seafood rice, which I think was an attempt at Paella (actually Spainish) but with wimpy seafood and a fried egg on top, very typically Korean.

So far, I have really enjoyed my time here, the teachers and staff are welcoming and terrific. I feel like my one week of independence from my hubby has done me well, but I am so ready to have my lovebug here with me and can't wait until Kyle is here to venture on the this journey together!
My first bite!
The quaint restaurant

Random dog in the middle of Samsung Plaza. I thought he/she deserved a picture.
Me with the dog, but you can't see her colors quite as well.


Charity Childs-Gevero said...

Oh look! A dyed French poodle!

I have a French Poodle! Her name's Elizabeth Taylor and we call her Taylor for short! But she's black, so I don't know what to dye her...hmmmm...white perhaps? LOL! :)

Thank you for visiting and commenting on my BATW day! Feel free to visit me again soon, any time of day! :)

kittens n kisses,

p.s. I love your ring in your picture on your header image! ;)

kay said...

Sooo proud of you for venturing out and eating interesting food.
Just wish your husband loved us enough to let us know how he is doing and what he is up to!! Hint, hint!!

Anonymous said...

wow! you have really jumped right on in!!! I am so amazed at how well you do with the food. I am such a wimp and not very daring when it comes to food!!!

That dog was soo funny lookin! I dont get the big poofs on his side!!!