Here are 10 observations/things I’ve learned during my time here in Korea:
(not meant to be offensive! please don’t take it that way! :-/)
1. Um. Most coffee places don’t open up til after 10am. Which is fine for me because I don’t drink coffee…but it was definitely a shock to see.
2. Koreans are a very friendly batch of people.
3. While American parents throw their children into a million sports and activities, Korean parents throw their children into academics. Hard. And Early. To say “education is important” is an understatement.
4. Leggings. Leggings. Leggings
5. Korean women + high heels+ fashion
6. Korean food is spicy!! The “oh my gosh…my eyes are watering” kind of spicy. But it’s good too. Does take a bit of adjusting though.
7. Seems to take about 10 days to get through all the jetlag.
8. The Korean language isn’t composed of like 2000+ symbols as I originally thought. It has an alphabet and each “symbol” is comprised of smaller symbols which tell you how to make various sounds…ultimately creating a word.
Um..I probably could have explained that better, but it’s almost 1am, and I think that’s the latest I’ve stayed awake since I’ve been here, ha 😛
9. I’m starting to feel a bit more self-conscious with how often I’m stared at. I know that it’s probably natural because I have blonde (ish) hair and blue eyes and I stick out like crazy, but…yeah…it’s wearing on me.
10. I actually really do like my new job. It’s very different…and hard at times because I’m not used to what I’m supposed to be doing….but I know I’ll get there. I just need to be patient with myself. But I love the kids, and I get my own classes starting tomorrow morning, and being able to watch them learn is going to be great. 😀
11. Crosswalks vs. Cars–Um…people seem to have the right of way at crosswalks here. It’s not uncommon for people to dart across the street. I have like 6 heart attacks a day watching this happen. No one gets hit obviously, but part of my brain seems to scream out “LOOK BOTH WAYS!!!” lol.
12. The >< button in the elevator (to close the doors) actually works here. haha.
You push the button, the doors start to close. When you want them to…not when they want to or when their timer wants them to. It’s like magic! haha 🙂
I also wanted to note that after the kindergarten graduation the other day, the parents were able to come up and take pics of their kids with the teachers (I felt weird being up there with them because I had only been there a few days). It was actually good because I had some students who would come up to me (and their parents and their cameras in tow) and be like “Stacey Teacher!!”…and my heart just melted into a little puddle. The whole graduation was incredibly sweet and I’m sure that in a year’s time, it’s going to be even more memorable. Not to mention when my own (future) kid has their kindergarten graduation. I’ll probably be that mom in the front row waving and sobbing like a maniac. lol. 🙂
Anyway, so we were on stage with the kiddies and parents (kind of a swarm) and I remember one parent that bowed to another teacher and myself and was endlessly saying “Thank You” to us. Words can never even begin…
That simple act…even the fact that he bowed to us (the ultimate sign of respect/honor etc)–and a deep bow at that–sort of floored me. I actually do have a job that someone appreciates and respects. I just want to live up to that.
That also kind of got me thinking…I wonder how often teachers in America (or other Western countries) receive a genuine ‘Thank You’ for what they do.
And not even stopping there…what about other professions? Sure sure, you bust your butt every day, and you might enjoy your job too, which makes it all the better. But to get that sincere ‘Thank you. No really, thank you for everything that you do.” could really mean the world.
I felt it at the end of my last job too. The fact that people had actually noticed…and taken the time to say something about it. And then just the other night at graduation.
*Currently Reading: Eat. Pray. Love.
*I also joined a book club here in Korea. I love reading and I love even more the fact that I have time to read again. The book they’re reading is called Skippy Dies by Paul Murray. It’s apparently an Irish book and supposed to be really good. I’m a sucker for the physical copy of a book (as opposed to reading it online which also hurts my eyes), and I was given a link to order it online, but I want to clear it with my bank first so I don’t get my account frozen or something.
Which um…may (hopefully not) have happened (we’ll have to see when I try to buy something) because I tried to buy a pair of Nike running shorts online and it rejected my payment. Ugh. Please oh please don’t freeze my account.