I've got a lot on my mind these days.
There are things that I started to write but either deleted, never finished writing, or never had the time to write down.
So, I was writing about my latest adventures at the gym. This is a story that will hopefully be posted soon. I've started going to the gym with the phone friend and two others. The trainers are interesting people, and nice, and friendly. Despite all this, I still would...
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... And then this post became one of those which I'm explaining now. I meant to finish writing this yesterday. So, now, I'll continue. Now, where was I?
Despite all this, I still wouldn't go to the gym without the others. What I'm doing instead is working out with my friends, and then partaking in an after-workout workout! What is this, you ask? I've downloaded K-pop and J-pop dance videos and started practicing them at home. Most of them are dances I started learning in Kurabu Dancin'.
In the past couple of weeks I've traveled some more. I went to Daegu for my personal culture trip. I took a bus tour and had an interesting time talking to the bus driver in Korean. Once he discovered that I knew a little Korean, he started a long conversation that I can only GUESS the contents of. I do know that we talked about my Jecheon and Daegu. He also also talked about the three major cities in South Korea (and possibly explaining something I read about before the trip: Daegu is considered more favorable to some (over Seoul) because it offers many of the same things minus the crowd). Then he went on explaining some things that make Daegu great, most of which I couldn't comprehend. By the time we arrived at the stop for the museum, I had done a lot of smiling and nodding, and a little bit of comprehension. The rest of the Daegu trip was, overall, enjoyable. I really hope to visit the city again.
In other news, I also attended the TaLK Farewell Dinner in Cheongju. It was nice see friends from orientation that I hadn't seen in months. The highlight may've been the singing contest. One guy wore a red wig (-type thing) out of pipe cleaners, and sang "Part of Your World" from The Little Mermaid. He was one of the first prize winners.
There was also yet another trip to Seoul (Insa-dong) with a friend to look around and for Christmas party gifts. Last weekend was said Christmas Party with the other foreigner English teachers in Jecheon. I wore my blue wig and tiger hat for the occasion. We did the White Elephant game (pick a random present; open it up; choose to keep it or steal someone else's gift), which was really fun. Oh, and I made chicken pot pie which was probably the first big meal I've cooked here and shared with people. No, that shepard's pie that I made for the teachers doesn't count. Not even a little bit.
The last day of school was a teary event. One second grader rushed up to me with a smile after the school ceremony and hugged me. Several seconds later, when she did not let go, I looked down and found that she was crying. Oh no, I thought. If she cries, I might start crying. So, I begged her to stop, but soon other students came over to give me a good-bye hug and joined in the crying... which soon turned into wailing, shouting, and screaming. ...At which point I was mobbed by several students who asked for my phone number. I'm wondering, if I give out my information to these students, will they keep in touch with me? Do they really want to, or is it just an in-the-moment feeling that one feels obligated to do. After all, this is an elementary school. How many of these kids will really want to talk to me once the new TaLK scholar arrives in March? Haha :) At least I can still see some of the students during winter camp and vacation classes (yes, even though school is out, they're still coming here to learn)!
Last night was the school's teacher farewell dinner. It was full of good memories that I hope to never forget. One teacher got especially drunk, and it was nice to find that all the other teachers (also mostly drunk) watched over this teacher carefully. The entire event consisted of a sashimi dinner (which I tried very hard to eat), an hour and a half at the noraebang above the restaurant (where I sang two songs), and a trip to a coffee shop around the corner (where the truly drunk tried to regain composure). Again, there were many good memories that I hope to never forget.
There's a new student at my school (yes, hard to believe that a new student can be accepted days before the last day of school here in Korea). She's a Korean-American from Colorado. I cannot tell you how ... what's the right word... "good" it's felt to speak to a young person without broken English. Not only that, but I can speak quickly when I'm just chatting with her. It's really put things into perspective for me, as well as for the other students. I'm positive they've noticed the difference in our conversations. I'm trying really hard to keep an equal amount of conversation time and general friendly chatting with this new student and all the other children. I see some of them being encouraged to speak to me more, while others are backing a way a bit. I really wonder how things will be if the new student attends my classes in January. Another challenge has appeared!
I'm also concerned about her a bit. I know what it's like moving to different schools (even in another country) in the middle of the year, and I know what it's like to be really different from the other students around you. I wonder how this student's time here will be.
Well, there's just one more day of English camp. Tomorrow is my birthday. I hope I can have fun. I try not to plan things for my birthday. I'm really getting the hang of going with the flow. It helps in so many ways.
'Til next time!