Sunday 27 March 2011

Yet another Korean adventure...

Another weekend has managed to roll around and pass by and what a weekend it was! Friday night was spent with a good friends and a good game (something like charades) which caused a competitive streak to come out in most of us and a lot of laughs. An early rise on Saturday morning and a subway ride and we arrived at the meet-up point for my first ever attempt at paint-balling (in celebration of Kyle's birthday)!
I'll admit my nerves were in full swing as we got all geared up in our army suits and were given our guns. I was excited to try it but scared at how much it could supposedly hurt! We dived into 2 teams; America (team 1) versus the Rest of the World (team 2). Thankfully the World managed to overcome America despite a few early setbacks. My nerves disappeared after the first few shots (once I realised that the although it did hurt being hit, it was easily forgotten in the adrenaline rush). 42 of us from all over different parts of the world and living in different parts of Korea meched together for a few hours of  fun filled terror and adventure. Despite my reservations at the beginning I had a day of fun that I'd happily repeat. The day didn't end there but was followed up by a delicious dinner at an Indian restaurant and yummy frozen margaritas before we finally made the trip home, tired but happy.

Wednesday 23 March 2011

St. Patrick's Day in Korea.

So roughly 6,000 miles from home It's hard to imagine that St. Patrick's day would be anything like a normal one...and yet it was. The 17th itself passed off without too much fuss or fancy as most of the Koreans had never heard of the day but our fellow co-workers made an effort wearing green (more than Dee and I did, we realised that neither of us owned a single piece of green clothing in our entire wardrobes). That night we went for a few quiet drinks but the real fun and celebrations happened on Saturday the 19th. Dee and I, anxious for an early start, headed to Seoul before most of our friends and were more than happy with what we discovered on our arrival. A river of green shirt, hats, pants and faces flowing along the streets of Insa-dong. The distant melody of Molly Malone led us to the main gathering and it wasn't long before Dee and I were in full swing blaring out the songs along with the band at the top of our lungs. Looking around and seeing so many obviously non-Irish people who were celebrating our small country made me so proud. It really seemed to be true that the Irish are a beloved nationality. The sun shown down on the crowd as they attempted the siege of Ennis (it was a funny sight to watch such a mixed group of people hop up and down and crash into each other all to the unheard directions of an Irish man on the stage)
! We were joined slightly after by our friends (Canadian, America, Korean and English) who all embraced the spirit of the day just as quickly and it was obvious from the beginning that it was going to be a very good day. That evening the U2 cover band finally finished up the official festival but that was not the end of the day. We moved to the Itaewon (foreigner area) of Seoul and continued the celebrations which were topped off with the Ireland-England match live at 2am that night. The Irish bar was packed with all sorts of people (the vast majority of whom were supporting Ireland) and winning that game was the cherry on top of an altogether wonderful day.
After the match people started to drift out to the next pub leaving the few obvious Irish stragglers. I started chatting to a girl standing beside me and discovered she was from Clare. Being so close I named a few people I thought she might have known and discovered she is actually 2nd cousins with my 2nd cousin. At that moment standing in a bar in Seoul celebrating St. Patrick's day, surrounded by Irish and finding a cousin of a cousin I may as well have been at home. I felt that the world got a whole lot smaller for me in that second and home isn't as far away as I thought.

Tuesday 8 March 2011

My new class!

Where to even begin?? That is both the question for this blog and also the question for the new class I have begun teaching. I haven't even had them a week yet and still have had numerous criers, a nosebleed, had to wipe bums and change clothes after a "little accident"! Oh the joys of little kids! It has been a bit of a shock to the system as it is a total change from my last class. I didn't realise how lucky I had it. Don't get me wrong my new little kids are still gorgeous and so cute and so tiny... I just wish we could understand each other. The language barrier is proving a difficulty as some of them stare blankly at me when I even ask the simplest questions like 'What is your name?' then again, in the opposite sense, I too have to shrug my shoulders when they come to me telling me a story in Korean. With 17 kids in the class it is quiet a test (and the fact that 13 of the 17 are boys doesn't help!) The difference between boys and girls is strikingly obviously every playtime after lunch when the girls politely ask for paper so they can colour (usually pretty pictures of flowers and the likes) while the boys proceed to build towers out of Lego (which they then use as weapons to beat each other the minute you turn your back!) The saying 'boys will be boys' has suddenly gotten a whole new light in my eyes and has left me with the slight hope in the back of my mind that whenever I do have kids (a long time away in the future) they will be little girls!

Wednesday 2 March 2011

Teaching so far...

So back two months ago when I arrived I was pretty much dropped in at the deep end. It was a case of welcome to Korea you start work in the morning. In one way that was good though and although I was totally lost at first (didn't know what they'd covered, or what the kids personalities were) I soon figured most of it out.
In the last few weeks I have to say I was really enjoying my teaching. My class were good, they bolder ones I had worked out and had figured out the best way to deal with them and it was pretty settled!!

So much for that.. today was the start of the new school year and I have gotten a class half of whom don't even know what I'm asking when I ask their name. Poor creatures they are only babies really but it still is gonna make my life a bundle of laughs for a while.. I'll write again bout my adventures with my new class but this blog is about how much I settled in 2 months and how much I loved my class. I love teaching kindergarten, I love the spontaneous hugs from the kids and the fact that they will laugh when you pull a funny face or say a word they think sounds strange. I love that they keep an open mind (they're like little sponges). I'll admit it gets tiring.. I mean you can only take so much of 'teacher he won't share his pokemon with me!!' Generally in the evening I am over the moon to have adult conversation too but all the same it was great. I had a good (and small) class who spoke excellent English.. that's all changed but all I'm hoping is that 2 more months down the line I'll have settled into my new class just as well as I have my old one. I'll let you know then but til now I've a few photos of the class I said goodbye to.