Saturday, April 24, 2010

:::edited 4/27/10:::

it has been a really great week! i feel like i am always talking about the weather, but that's because it makes all the difference in the world to me. honestly, i have wondered before if i have that disease where the weather dictates your mood. if it's sunny, i'm happy as a clam and all is right in the world. if it's rainy or snowy or cold, i just want to stay in my bed and not see people. hahaha. seriously! fortunately, the weather has been beautiful here this week. springtime brings me new optimism. i have started walking to and from school, rather than riding the bus, when time permits. it's really relaxing and enjoyable...not to mention, i need the exercise!

today was a loooooong, but wonderful day. we made the trek (via subway) to a city called suwon to visit a traditional korean folk village. it was enormous and awesome. the entire place was set up like an old school korean village and was rich in cultural information. the day was beautiful and i got to spend it with about 8 other native english teachers and 2 korean friends. here's a shot of me & soo-in: (courtesy of gue-min & his nikon)and another with some big korean statue. the koreans kept calling it a grandfather and said that i should hug it? i don't really know. i just smile for the pictures. i have begun to think of soo-in as my sister! and a girls shot. the koreans told me i should touch the statue's nose? i didn't know why. but they told me later it means you will have baby boys. hahaha. i wish i had known that before i did we are looking super asian. or at least i am...after we had walked like 3,000 miles around the village, we decided it was time to eat mexican food. soo-in has eaten it many times with us (i swear, she is like a real american!), but my new korean friend gue-min had never experienced it. i mean - to the point that he had to ask me what a taco was. it's hard for my mind to fathom that someone could go 20-some years without ever eating a taco! hahaha. i think he liked it, but said it was "different." he had no idea what to do with the chips and salsa. hahaha. koreans can seriously eat more than any other group of people i have ever met. when everyone else was already finished with their meal, soo-in, gue-min, and i were still going strong. hahaha. don't we look like a happy little korean family? hahaha. even with our different shades of gray...which i promise was not planned. we pretty much rolled out of that place after eating so much, but we were happy as could be!

i had a really awkward encounter yesterday. i went into work a little late so i could go to the bank to take care of some business, so i was riding the bus at a weird time. it wasn't busy at all because most people were already at work. about 4 stops after i boarded, this older korean woman came and sat so close to me...practically on top of me! i was kind of annoyed because it was really unnecessary - the bus was seriously empty. but then with no regard to my ipod & earbuds, she just starts speaking korean to me about 1,000 words per minute. i swear she didn't take a breath. i had NO chance to tell her that i didn't speak korean and couldn't understand anything she was saying. and there comes a certain point in the conversation where you've allowed the other person to talk too long, and it would be unbearably awkward to let them in on the secret then. after about 10 minutes, we reached that point. so i finally just started acting like i understood and nodding my head and saying "yes, yes" in korean. i was seriously clueless. then she started pulling out tracts (all in korean, of course) and i realized she was trying to witness to me. hahaha. then she got out her cellphone and was looking at me really expectantly. i did not know this woman and wasn't about to give her my number, so i just said "no, i'll read this" (referring to the tracts) in korean. it seemed to satisfy her and she got off at the next stop. i was practically sweating by this point because i had just had a 20 min. "conversation" with this woman without her realizing i didn't speak korean. i talked to my friends about it that night and showed them the reading material she had given me. my korean friends started laughing and told me it was a good thing i didn't give her my number because she was a member of a cult. hahaha. oh korea! close call, right?

lucky for you guys, my boss required us to get pictures from the classroom to submit to the dept of education. here are a few shots: these next 2 pictures are from my english class for teachers. every other wednesday, i teach classroom english for a group of teachers at bongmyeong. i really love this group of "students." they are great english speakers and we have alot of fun!some of my kiddies at bongmyeong...this is one of my absolute favorite 6th graders at sinan. he always runs up to me and screams "WHITNEY!" really loud in my face, then gets his friends to start chanting my name until my coteacher yells at them. this shot was snagged mid-wrestling, which happens for about 10 minutes every hour during the break between classes. it gets really intense hardcore of my sweetest 6th graders. she greeted me this particular morning with - "whitney teacher! i love you! give me some cereal."you can tell from the pictures why i love my job...which is something i never thought i would say. but my kids are great and make me smile everyday. i am really, really lucky!

i'd better run. off to study some korean before i go out to eat DOG tonight. it's my first experience, so i hope that i can stomach it! more on that next week...


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