I’m back in Korea and settling back into daily life here. I’m actually pretty happy because I’m doing a nice job of kicking jet lag in the teeth. Thankfully in most part due to work, heh. The first night I slept about 4 hours even though I was exhausted…(1 car trip to the airport in LA, 3 flights, an overnight sleep in the airport, a 2.5 hour bus ride from the airport and a taxi ride to my house). Yeahhhh…that makes for a very sleepy me.
Work has also been keeping me busy, especially that first day. The first day I not only was on 4 hours of sleep, but we started our new term (new students, updating the classroom, clearing out stuff from any old students) and catching myself up from what the sub did while I was away. We also just got our student rosters on the first day of classes (typical hagwon-style). Then my classes, which are back-to-back. So, by the end, I was completely wiped out. I finish now around 8:30, but I stayed til 9:30 entering grades from the tests they took while I was away and updating my classroom for the new classes/students.
Yesterday was much better. I don’t mind staying late if it’s going to help make things run more smoothly for the following days. Also, I bought two maps off Amazon while I was in the US–one world map and one map of the US. They’re actually pretty big, which I was expecting to an extent, but I was still a bit shocked at the size when I opened them up. I’m really happy with them now that they have a place in the room though. I also took down our Christmas decorations yesterday.
Combined with doing laundry, unpacking, making meals and meeting a friend for brunch…my past two days have been crazy. It’s also rough with new students because you begin again with everything, so I realized I took for granted how much my kids had learned and I’m working on teaching our routine to my newest bunch in my beginner class. It’s a good opportunity to tweak things, but also exhausting when you need to explain everything again. My last bunch were (are–just in my next level class) fairly self-sufficient and now I’m going to be working on those skills with the new kiddos.
I’ve heard that jet lag goes away more quickly when you travel in one direction rather than the other, and it looks like it might be east–>west. 🙂 I was kept pretty busy at home too and I didn’t adjust any faster, I was just exhausted. I know you’re supposed to ease yourself back into the time change–keep active and adjust your lifestyle to the new one–but go slowly at first…but life doesn’t always allow for that. I’m just keeping an eye out for signs of illness now.
Anyway, so home was great…maybe a bit *too* great because coming back was a bit rough. My mom took off work for most of my time at home and she helped me a ton by taking me to and from various places and treating me to meals at my favorite places. I ate tons of great food, went shopping (and spent too much money…oops…), reunited with friends and got to spend my first Christmas at home since my last in 2011.
I bought my second cousin (we need a better term for that–this one sounds awkward) Jordan a personalized book from iseeme.com. They have so many cute books there and the prices are reasonable. Since I’ve ordered two (another for my friend’s nephew here in Korea) I get all sorts of discount codes in my email too. My Korean friend said that she could tell it was a “Western-style” book because it encouraged kids to be whatever they wanted, and not only a doctor or scientist.
This one here.
The books are super cute and great quality. If you’re poking around the site and debating ordering, I’m 100% satisfied with the books and will use them again if the need arises. 🙂
Next I went to Los Angeles to visit some friends and be a tourist 🙂 I’ve never been to the west coast, so that was pretty cool too. I had a day flight, so I got to see some of the scenery from down below and the deserts were pretty awesome…Nevada, I’m guessing. Maybe I’ll have to look at that giant map in my classroom, heh.
I spent 5 days there and saw most of the main touristy things there…and maybe fell a bit in love with California…
Walk of Fame Hollywood Sign!
Cool shopping center in Hollywood–This is one of the best locations to view the Hollywood sign (at least from where I saw anyway). They have a hiking trail sort of by it, but you can’t get to the actual sign itself (saves it from vandalism etc.)
Venice Beach–It was a rainy and oddly chilly day in December, so there weren’t many people out. The beach has a bike trail which I thought was awesome. It’d be nice to be able to run/bike etc on the beach without having the sand flying in your face (and minus all the extra effort of running on sand).
Introduced to the gloriousness of deep-fried Oreos…
Santa Monica Pier
I also went to In-and-Out, which everyone recommended I do while on the West Coast. Overall another great (and delicious) trip. For New Years, I went to my host-friend’s friend’s place and we had a party there. It was basically a big bbq. Anyway, that was cool too.
I thiiiink I’m all updated…I still need to upload those journal pics from my Japan trip, but my journal is at the gym and I don’t start up again there until Monday (wanted to get re-acclimated here and not need to worry about missing gym time on top of everything else).
I’ll take updated classroom pics when I get there today now that everything is all caught up.
Random Junk on My Mind:
**I got a new laptop battery and my laptop now lasts hours instead of 30 minutes when unplugged from the wall (hurrah!)
**Wishing my brain would stop with the decorating ideas for my apartment–trying to save for post-Korea (and maybe Budapest…)
**Signed up for ultimate frisbee again in the spring
**Munch-a-Saurus is back in my life (my hamster)
**PENPAL LETTERS made it to the US…finally…after like a month, sheesh. That’s longer than a care package. Such a huge relief though. I think I’m still waiting on one more envelope (1 of 4), but all the letters are pretty much finished by the sounds of it and headed back this way. We just changed classes around, so it could get interesting, but still relieved that they’ve made it over.
**Also must finish report cards by Friday…already ready for the weekend, but thankfully it’s Wednesday…
**I brought back a ton of stuff for my students too–Pixie Stix, Warheads (sour candy), maps, Mr. Sketch scented markers (which they’re amazed by… 🙂 ), Crayola crayons and colored pencils (Crayola wax crayons are about $10/box here) and a Magnetic Poetry kit. I got my kit when it was on sale for Christmas though 🙂 We just put it out yesterday and it might be a bit hard, but better than the ABC letters that were up previously. I’ll give them a few months and report back 🙂
*BREAKFAST IDEAS?–Any chefs out there? We have like 4 kinds of cereal here and I’m getting burnt out with my oatmeal. Help 😦 I’ve been doing combinations of fruit, yogurt and oatmeal, but looking for something else. I was thinking of doing more eggs but they’re always too brown and dry and that puts me off making them. (Plus, more mess to clean up.) Fruit is expensive here btw.
Thinking about these breakfast cups...easy, healthy, quick and minimal mess.
Another doozy of a post.