Hello! I'm still alive, and yes I realize that I haven't blogged in quite awhile. Here's my excuse: adjustments. I've been adjusting to the time difference, my new schedule, a new culture and a new mindset. That's a lot to get used to! But the point is, I'm still enjoying it here.
I'm trying not to beat myself up when I make mistakes, (I am human after all) and I'm starting to understand the school system.
So, before I made this blog, I made a rule. No complaining! This rule keeps me focused on the good, and it reminds me to avoid any bad things that would usually haunt my mind. (My new mindset.)
For the past week, I've gotten to know my students better, and I'm getting to know the area. Chuncheon is lovely. It reminds me of Colorado and Kentucky all at once. The mountains surround the city, but there are large rivers and lakes that compliment the tall buildings and highways. I went to the park last weekend, along with many other foreign teachers, and I've decided that I may bike there once I set my schedule straight. The park features a wavy bridge, and they even have swan paddle boats! We went to a pancake place on one of the docks, and we drank rice wine from bowls!
Most of my schedule revolves around teaching English, and since I have had little teaching experience, it's a process. Like any class, some students are well behaved, while others really test your patience. I'm learning the system, and adjusting to the enviornment of the classroom and the teaching life slowly but surely. I tried explaining smores the other day to one class, because the topic was camping, but it was hard to describe graham crackers.
I haven't really experienced too much culture shock yet. In fact, I'm enjoying a lot of the day to day details that I wouldn't find in America.
For example, on the way to work, one shop blasts music that I actually own on my ipod. They play Kpop hits and Kdrama soundtracks. Also, on nearly every corner is a convinent store or CVC. They have really cheap iced coffee, (my new best friend) and they carry many cool Korean snacks, including a dark chocolate version of cocoa puffs shaped like stars. They also have Oreos of every flavor, and really good hamburgers with pinapple slices. Tables and chairs are set up outside, and they stay open really late. If I have a break at work, the CVC is my favorite place to grab a snack and write.
I'm currently in a language swap with two of my fellow teachers. We meet at Cafe Bene, a cafe that has book shelves, on Fridays at noon and practice speaking. I haven't made a list of all the places I want to go yet, but once I get used to my surroundings, I will start exploring more.
My most recent find was the bookstore across the street from work. They had many popular US books in Korean, and classics that are famous around the world! I found The Hobbit, Pride and Prejudice, Sherlock Holmes and Jane Eyre. They also sell Disney books, teen books and novels that have inspired Korean drama! I was lucky to find The Moon That Embraces the Sun, a Korean novel that inspired the T.V. drama of the same name. I don't know if my Korean will ever be that advanced, but I plan on buying it while I'm here.
Aside from my discoveries, I've also noticed that some things that are popular in America are really popular here too! My students love Frozen, to the point where they will burst into one of the songs randomly (usually Let it Go). The Little Prince is a big deal here too. They have a comic book, T.V show and of course the theme park that I plan to visit soon. I've also seen stickers, stationary and toys based on the Little Prince. The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and Game of Thrones are also a big deal. They had a display for each in the book store, and they sold several different versions.
My adventure here has only just begun, but I have much more to do and see before I will feel adjusted. This is my first major step away from home, so my reaction to the time difference is common and normal, still I look forward to the days that I won't feel so tired and I can explore more of this city and country.