Oh hey! 10 months!

Possibly a pointless post…but hey!  I like a reason to celebrate…

Today (even though it’s just after midnight) marks my 10-monthiversary in Korea
😀

That’s pretty much it  😀  haha


What I’m up to:
Today/Friday:
Work, dinner with a friend and beginning some cookie baking
(planning on giving cookies to co-workers, the lovely Korean lady (and her family) that run the 7-11 below my work, and bringing some to a holiday party on Saturday night)

Saturday:
Was debating going to Seoul to hunt down tango shoes, but thankfully I was able to find some and order them online (massive thanks to my language exchange partner…who should also get cookies, lol.  Says he really likes them).
Anyway, no need to go to Seoul now, and instead I’ll be spending the day baking and putting together Christmas gifts for friends.
Then a Christmas party that night.

Sunday:
Going to Seoul with a friend

Monday:
Work
Tango  (ahhh!  I forgot…I was going to bring cookies here too!  My new buddies.  And chances are high that most of them have never had homemade holiday cookies…ever.)
then Christmas eve/Christmas slumber party/brunch at a friend’s place

Tuesday:
Christmas!!
evening: Yiruma Concert

Wednesday-Friday: work (holiday parties and a language exchange thrown in there too)

Saturday:  vacation  (much-needed.  Ahhhh)

I’ve been making fabulous progress on my to-do list though, so it’ll be nice to have that finished up just in time for vacation  😀

*whew*

Anyway, good night! 🙂

…My tango shoes are from a company here (international shoes but the warehouse or whatever is here)…but hoping they get here by Monday… :-/
I’m not too thrilled about the prospect of walking backwards in regular pumps…

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Holiday Plans/Upcoming Vacation

Ooh, look at me posting 2 days in a row! 😛  haha

The holidays are coming and I’m very excited.  (Mainly excited for some days off…and to be able to finally clear off my desk at work of all of the holiday play materials, lol).

Let’s see, we’re doing holiday skits and presentations next week at school (well–the kids are…not me, lol), and we’ve been very busy with that alongside regular classwork.
Skits are next Thursday and Friday (vacation starts that Friday evening/Saturday), and report cards are supposed to be finished, or nearly finished by then too.  (Almost finished!  yay!  I should finish them by this Friday).  We’re also having Christmas parties next week.  Also off on Tuesday for Christmas.  Busy busy!

In my life outside school:
I was planning on going to another orphanage to visit (with a group) and bring holiday cheer this weekend, but not sure now.  I went last week and it was really nice.  I loved feeling like I was part of something important, and it was nice to bring some joy to those kids’ lives.  I wanted to go to the second orphanage this weekend, but I’m also working on getting proper tango shoes.
My class is on Monday, and I found a place in Seoul that has shoes, but I can’t make it up there during the week…and they’re closed on Sundays.
I sent them an email getting more information, so I might end up doing that instead since I don’t have any other time to get it done.

Also, I’m attending a Christmas party on Saturday, which is hosted by the language cafe where I participate in language exchange.
Then I was planning on going to Seoul (ugh…again..two days in a row…so much wasted money on travel) on Sunday with a friend.

Monday:  work and tango and Christmas party at my friend’s apartment
Tuesday: CHRISTMAS!  and going to a Yiruma concert with a friend 😀 😀  So excited for this.  I’ve loved him even while I was back in America.
Yiruma & Kim Bum Soo–‘Grown Up Christmas List’
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5Yt_ozC_G0
Yiruma–‘River Flows in You’
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-4wUfZD6oc
Yiruma–‘Kiss the Rain’
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WIbUNfg_wmM

Yiruma is actually from South Korea, so I think it’ll be fun to see him live in his home country. And it’s a holiday show.  🙂

then Wednesday-Friday we have classes again (with the Christmas parties and skits)
then….Saturday I leave for

THE PHILIPPINES!

So excited!  I’m going to the island of Cebu for 5 days!  yay!!

New Home Sweet *much bigger* Apartment :-D + Tango

Hey hey!
I moved into my new apartment last week (stressful week…bah.  3 people moving in/out at the same time is no fun).
Anyway, I’m all settled and unpacked and LOVE my new place.  It’s much bigger (not massive, but I have a bigger closet and space for a couch and working out, etc.)  Really cool.  (Video is coming…)
It’s also warmer in this apartment than my last place.

Sheesh.  I just realized how much has happened since the last post.  I’m going to do an outline first so I can keep my thoughts straight and make sure I don’t miss anything.

*Tango!
*Christmas at the orphanage  (separate post)
*1 more year!  :-O (separate post)
*Today’s productivity
*Holiday plans (separate post)
*Vacation (separate post)

*whew*

Tango!
Ok, so first, as I mentioned a few months back, I got a bit of extra money (got my severance pay a bit early because we’re changing owners…should talk about that too…sigh.)–and now I have a bit of extra money (after sending money home) to do some fun stuff.
The classes are super reasonable and I’m loving it.

50,000 Won (Around $50, give or take a bit) for 6 classes. (1 lesson a week for about an hour and a half, plus an extra hour of practice time after class—and a discounted rate to the milonga practice session on Thursdays)
Anyway, the classes are all in Korean, which shocks some of the Korean people that I’ve met (that I’d be able/want to take classes–actually shocks some foreigners too–at home mostly).  But honestly, once you’ve been here for a certain amount of time, you sort of get over the fact that you can’t understand what’s going on around you.  You sort of tune everything out (also part of the reverse culture shock that happens when you get home and CAN understand EVERYTHING around you).
Anyway, it’s a dance class, and I just watch what the instructors are doing, and since it’s a visual thing, I haven’t had any issues really.
The only problem that I have had is that the instructors talk for about 20 minutes at the beginning of class (in Korean obviously)–about various topics–dress code, history of tango, feeling the music, types of music, beats, etc etc.
I would miss out on THAT aspect, but otherwise it’s ok.
HOWEVER, Korean generosity shines through here too–On my first week, a middle-aged lady was sitting next to me, discovered that I had no idea what the instructors were talking about (during the beginning speaking part), and would mutter/whisper the general idea of what they were discussing.  IE: “dress code”, “introductions”, “tango music”

Very sweet.

BUT…it gets better.
Yesterday, I went to class (class 2), and someone (not sure if he was asked to do it or not) with really good/decent English had typed up an English translation of the syllabus for me (student, not an instructor).  THREE pages worth!  He also sat next to me and translated the speaking part of the class for me.  (I think he was asked to, or something…), but either way, I was blown away by their kindness.
I’m the only foreigner in the class and everyone has been so friendly–friendly but also with a hint of curiosity about me.
I also kind of assumed that they wouldn’t want to dance with me because I’m a foreigner, but I had no shortage of dance requests.  🙂  I definitely got in a lot of practice.
We just started partner work yesterday and basic “walking” steps.  Interesting walking backwards and having to let someone else lead.  haha.  Trying my best, but having a good time either way.

———–
I have a list of things to talk about, but I don’t have a lot of pictures or anything to help break up the white space, so I’m going to split up some of the things into different posts.

Anyway, today I was super productive (yesterday actually too), and I’m feeling really good.
*Work (10-7–hour and a half lunch break)
*Language Exchange (7:30-9)  (went til about 9:15)
*Then, at home:
-dishes
-moved all the clothes from the couch to their respective places
-made the bed
-hung up a lot of stuff
-hung up Christmas lights in the windows
-cleaned off my desk
-bought plane tickets (2nd set for island hopping) for my winter vacation–all settled now
-wrote out a few Christmas cards
-updated my to-do lists
-cleaned off my kitchen/breakfast table (I only have a table–[I have a table!!!!] and a couch [I have a couch!!!!!] because my friend that I got the apartment from asked if she could keep the furniture here (uh. yes.  saves me from getting furniture in the near future) until she gets back to Korea in a few months.

It’s 1:30am here, so I’m off to bed.
No Kindergarten tomorrow morning (Korean Election Day)!  Planning on sleeping in and making myself some french toast and eggs in the morning before heading to work.
I think all of us foreign teachers are headed into work around the normal time anyway so we can get some work/planning done.
Then I’ll still have elementary classes as usual tomorrow too.

Good night! (Good morning and good afternoon too!)

Funny Business

http://www.buzzfeed.com/daves4/steps-to-instantly-make-your-day-better

^I actually burst out laughing while reading that, so I figured I’d share 😀

—-
Two for two with good days this week.
We finally got a real office-style printer/copier at work today…rather than 2 normal household printers.  PRAISE THE LORD.  My gosh.  The old ones broke down all the time because of the heavy volume printing that we have going on…never thought it would happen, but so so grateful.

I also started focusing more on making sentences at my language exchange.  I wanted to work more on actually writing them (I can speak and read…mildly ok…lol), but I think writing will help me make sure I’m saying things correctly.  And it helps to make sure I understand the grammar.
It’s rough, but I think it’ll be good.  Maybe it’ll help with my speaking confidence too.

Anyway, finishing up a bit of Christmas present stuff then off to bed.
Happy Wednesday!  😀

Happy December!

Ah!  It’s December already…and already the 4th at that!  Sheesh.  Time flies.

Anyway, I had a pretty good day today–kids seemed well behaved and things ran smoothly, so that was nice.
It’s just now 11pm on Monday here and I spent my evening watching Christmas movies (Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmas), baking apple/banana muffins and planning for my classes.
Note: I don’t really need to do much planning as my classes are pretty much set for me since I work at a private school.  But, I do have free-reign (with a lot of gentle nudging and convincing) of the kindergarten art classes, so I was planning the next month for those.  And by the next month, I just finished planning for the month of February, lol.  I really enjoy it 🙂
I get the majority of my ideas from Pinterest…

^My Pinterest page for art class

Plans for the next few art classes:

http://www.deepspacesparkle.com/2010/12/17/winter-snowman-collage-art-lesson/

Sparkly snowmen–assuming our glitter comes in by tomorrow…

http://www.deepspacesparkle.com/2009/12/16/kinder-christmas-ornament-craft/

Christmas Ornaments

http://www.kinderbykim.com/december.htm

Gingerbread men 🙂

Santa #1 (for the younger kids)

Santa #1 (for the younger kids–age 4-6)

http://megduerksen.typepad.com/whatever/2011/12/two-craftsone-post.html

Santa project–older kinder kids (age 6-7)

That’s our plan for December art 🙂
(SO HARD to choose the holiday crafts–there are so many good ones out there!)

I can post the January crafts too, but I didn’t want the post to be too image-heavy.
January art is more winter-focused (lots of snowmen and snow-scenes)
I planned February with a friendship “quilt”, 2 Valentine’s projects and then the last week is going to be a self-portrait using some of the scraps from our (overflowing) scrap box
March (not planned–but I have a bunch of ideas “pinned” on Pinterest), but it’s going to be recycling themed.  (Old TP rolls, plastic bottles, metal cans, etc. etc.)

I really can’t take credit for much of this because I just get ideas from Pinterest 🙂
It makes me happy though.  It’s fun watching the projects come to life (trying to work on keeping my stress levels at bay–working on their listening/following directions skills at the same time), but yeah, it’s fun 🙂

We’ve been decorating the school a bit for winter too–paper snowflakes are making their appearances (most kids hadn’t done this before (SO SAD. AHH!), so it was cool to introduce it to them).  I also want to find a way to stick in a few paperchains too, haha.
I also love seeing our head-teacher’s reaction to any and everything creative.  She’s so impressed and amazed by any project that we do.  Creativity doesn’t seem to be as common or as fostered as it is back home (hence why it took so long for them to let us do more “normal” art projects with the kids.
Granted, we’ve been doing them for months now (since maybe May?), but it still took a lot of effort to get them to leave behind the super-advanced workbooks and let the kids do more crafty/age-appropriate projects.

I don’t know of any other schools that do art like we do (and have that kind of flexibility), so, another reason why I’m re-signing with them.

Alllllsooo…I need to find/make some sort of Christmas speeches for some of my writing/reading-focused classes.  They have their speech contests this month, and we (the foreign teachers) convinced the head-Korean teacher that it would be more fun/less-stress/more creative/more-exciting to do Christmas role-plays/plays than having the usual speeches where kids get up and talk about their vacation.
Imagine: each student talking for 2-10 minutes (10 being this one girl that takes ages because she’s one of the many that has parents that write it for her)…each about their vacation.
OR…Christmas themed speeches/plays.

Ok, Christmas wins.  haha.  As usual 😀

Anyway, I need to clean up my apartment and get some things done before bed.
Until next time!