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To Whom It May Concern:

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I am writing this as a message to those of you who tune in every once in a blue moon. It’s been over 2 months since my last post.

In spite of recent news stories you may have seen online, there is absolutely nothing that will happen over here. After much reassurance by a close friend of mine who is much more well intuned with politics, news, life happenings, the chance of a war is ‘impossible.’

The recent news from CNN encouraging foreigners to leave South Korea by Wednesday is basically to scare the shit (which it did for -.3 seconds) out of us. There are sooo many foreigners (not sure the exact head count), but theres tousands of teachers and hundreds of thousands serving in the military. I can safely say that nothing will happen. I have a few friends in the military, co-workers with boyfriends in the Korean and US army, and other close friends that know much more aobut what is going on than I.

In other news, I meant to write a post about my new life, which feels like in a new country, with new people, new job, and new everything. It makes me very happy to see the brighter side of Korea, and look forward to coming to work each day. I love my job, and I have found a new love and appreciation for this country.

WIll write more soon.

Much love xoxox Miss and love you all

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Haba Play School

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Friday Birthday Party ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

Hello again! So sorry to my three readers that I have not update in some time. As far as comments show, I have three special readers, Mom, Aunt Gail, and Colleen ๐Ÿ™‚ And a shout out to Nicole who also left a comment before. Thank you all for the motivation to keep my monthly update.. ใ…‹ใ…‹ใ…‹ใ…‹ใ…‹ (that is text laughing in Korean) sounds like K sound kkkkkkk

This week at the haba hagwon nightmare of an institution, I call my job, we had parent observations. After a little post on facebook about this said experience, a traveling friend I met last year, Chris put it perfectly ‘That is the day I realized I will never be able to teach in Korea again.’

It is a tramatizing experience. The homeroom teacher of the class or a Korean English teacher, and myself, with 8-11 kids depending on the class and their parents, grandparents, and housemaids snuggled into one little classroom. Oh how darling this week was. Due to the extreme hangover look in this photo, I treated myself to some ladies’ night at the local bar (free drinks 10-12 for ladies) after this was all said and done. Tuesday had 1 and 1/2 hours of observing and Thursday was 2 hours straight. 4 classes, 30 minutes each. My cousin Justin asked for an explanation of why I recently commented about the Korean school system vs. the American school system. I’m sure you can find this on your local google page, but I think I will try to make a more personal experience for him and those others interested.

I work at a private school in Korea. I attended public school my entire life in America. Korean private schools are also called hagwons, academies, etc. My school has children 3-7 which is Korean age (1 year older than American age, when you are born you are one, and everyone turns a year older when it is a new year, nothing in Korea makes sense, trust me, just bare with me). So the children are technically 2-6 years old. The school day begins at 8:40 when the first bus load of students arrive and the latest stay till 6 pm. This is also a kindergarten, so I guess it would be more considered full time daycare for the 2 year old class. I do not teach the 2 year olds, but I do teach 3-6 years old, daily. The school is entirely taught in Korean. There are 10 teachers plus me. There are also two assistants for the younger classes, one in the 2 year old, and one in the 3 year olds. The biggest class is 13 students. So there are roughly 55 students in the school.ย  It is definitely a small school and more of a homey type for the children, or that is what the idea is I suppose.

This week for parent observations I got to see first hand how ridiculous the hagwon title is. Parents pay a minimum of 700,000 korean won and a maximum of 1,000,000 won per month for their children. That is easily converted to USD asย  1 million won is $904.00. For the two weeks prior to the parents coming, my boss watched every class I taught tweeking and changing just about everything I thought I was going to be doing for the parents. We had to make obnoxiously large posters and display boards for games and activities we had to do to make it appear like the students were having a ridiculously fun time. We had to be extremely cheerful, loud, and happy the entire time. We were not allowed to directly discipline students, remind them not to speak Korean, or do anything they would see as negative, like we are usually told to do during normal class time. I created correography to many songs and stories that we read. I wish I hadย pictures. I even made little headbands with different animals on each for the students to wear and participate in one of the stories. Farmer and the Carrot. A story about a farmer trying to pull up a huge carrot from the ground so called all his animals for help. And one by one they came up and helped the farmer (me) pull up a huge carrot. Then while the parents were here, we gave them some real carrot to eat when we pulled it up. These kids are 5. It was cute, everyone loved it, crowd pleaser, yadda yadda. We also did songs and dances like itsy bitsy spider, I’m a little teapot, and those are the only popular ones you would know of. Our cirriculum is made entirely of stories, songs, chants, poems, and action activities. It is good way to learn English, have students memorize stories and songs and dances for two months and bam move up to next level whether they are on track or not, right? Wrong!

I was never a fan of school as a kid. As I grew older I remember trying to avoid it at all costs some days. I am pretty clueless and I will be the first one to admit, how the American school system operates. I do know that many people like myself come to Korea with the intention of gaining experience and going home to America, Canada, and other English speaking countries and find that there is such a huge difference, Korea is not technically ‘teaching.’ I am aware of that. For some reason also, I was always the kid to say ‘When I grow up I want to be a teacher.’ Probably had something to do with the fact that I idolized my older cousin Kirsten and she is probably a fantastic teacher. I do not think that is the path the big man up there had for me. I am okay with that, unfortunately my career path did not come with a Plan B. So that is something I need to figure out.

Korean schools make me laugh. Parents pay a shit ton (excuse me) of money for a ridiculous puppeteer show. I have had my picture taken numerous times, been interviewed, classes filmed, recorded. I have been published in multiple magazines, a newspaper, and various publications. My PICTURE is the most important part of my job. Thanks for the blonde hair pats it’s really working to my advantage this year. Baaahaha.

I knew what it was like when I applied and they required a picture and skype interview to make sure I was really the person I said I was. Only in Korea (asia).

I’ll end with this. I recently attended this Stand-up Comedy night in Gangnam (yes Gangnam is a real place). It is basically a bunch of expats like myself poking fun at the world around us, Korea and Koreans to be exact. This one guy put it quite well. He said something along the lines of, If you look around and see a 6 year old wearing heels and ask why is there a 6 year old wearing heels. You replace Why with of course and everything will make much more sense. Of course there is a 6 year old wearing heels. Only in Korea.

Much love xoxo

p.s. I’m staying another year ๐Ÿ™‚

Olympics from Korea

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Well I know that this is not a bit outdated seeing as the supposed amazing Olympic closing ceremony was days ago… I wanted to say a lil about the perspective of watching Olympics from a foreign country, South Korea.

I have never watched so much archery, badmitton, fencing, and judo in my life. I have also never seen so much rivalry against Japan either, pretty amusing. We watched a big judo match versus Japan on the way to Jeju during my summer vacation and the tour guide of our trip was cheering with joy when Japan lost. Yes, our tour bus had a tv and norebang (karaoke).

I couldn’t escape it the Korean sports. If a Korean was competeing, it was on, otherwise, sol. I did get to watch some gymnastics with the hula hoop, and a little bit of track and field one night at the gym.ย  I did get to see Bolt set his record, but other than that, I was a bit deprived of my usual Olympic favorites; beach volleyball, swimming, normal gymnastics.

I was living in Australia during the Winter Olympics in Vancounver and did not really occur to me that I would be in a non English speaking country next time the Olympics came around. I guess one of those things you kind of take for granted before moving abroad.

All in all, I am well rounded in my Olympic sports now. Never actually seen badmitton, judo, fencing, or archery for that matter. Not sure if I will ever again by choice.

Ohhh Korea, thank you again for the free entertainment. Like the crazy lady that screamed at the top of her lungs and her husband in the mall on Wednesday afternoon, whilst holding their baby. The sound was comparable to scratching long nails on a chalk board, made many heads turn. Free entertainment at its finest.

Hot and humid here, again. Almost hit 6 months. Can you believe it, I can’t ?!

 

Love always

 

 

“Love many, trust few, but always paddle your own canoe ” โค

Festival season

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Just a small update on recent events here. Really starting to enjoy Korea, Seoul, and life abroad as a whole. After a bit of a rocky start can only go uphill from here right.
Spring beer festival was in napsapyeong to kick off the spring weather of intense rain showers and down pours. But as you can imagine it didn’t stop us beer drinkers seeking free delicious homemade beer. After working at a microbrewery and being spoiled with delicious brews its hard to drink cass and hite on a regular basis. Much free beer was consumed from a variety of places and all in all good end to the day with some pork tacos from a truck.

Cherry blossom festival in yeuido was a bit of a let down since they were exactly bloomed yet, but a good time with good company and a nice park in the city is always a good change.

Lotus lantern festival and parade was incredible. Def can cross that off my bucket list i took a stupid amount of photos and loved everysecond of the two week period the lanterns were displayed at various temples.

World dj festival was held just east of seoul this year in yangpeong. Amazing weekend bit of a storm passed through ripping practically every tent out of the ground and away some that never were to be found( sorry alan and mark ๐Ÿ˜ฆ )
But all in all amazing weekend of dancing drinking djs and silent disco oh and being dirty just for another d word but yes we were smelly by day 3.

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This weekend will be attending korean queer culture festival. Not sure what I’m in for, but should be interesting never been to one before but Korea isn’t exactly an accepting place for gay culture so we will see.

Next up in Mid July is the Mud Festival which I have always seen photos of friends that have been to Korea before so I’m pretty excited to experience it first hand. I will be joining a group of people through my Korean language class, CLS (Conversational Learning Seoul) and they seem like a fun group, so should be good.

After that will be the UMF Korea. This is probably what I am most pumped for at this point. Huge DJ names will be performing there, unlike when I went to World DJ festival I didn’t know anyone that would be playing, but I couldn’t pass up this opportunity so I bought a ticket on my birthday and greatly anticipating this 2 day mayhem just a walk away from my house ๐Ÿ™‚ Woo really take for granted sometimes being sooo close to everything living right in Seoul, but I will be happy when I can get out one of these weeks and travel.

Next weekend, June 9th, I will be traveling to Yeosu Expo in the South of Korea. Most of the posts (trying to not make it that way though), are from events sponsored by them and given free tickets to go see some shows. Most of them being non-verbal shows or musical type deals, but all been pretty nice especially when it’s free ๐Ÿ™‚

Pretty excited for the weekend to get out and get away. Although I wasn’t able to attend the orientation, it seems like we will be put to work photographing and going to different parts of the expo to take some photos and later post about it. Not quite sure what I got my self into, but anyway free trip can’t beat that.

June 6th is Memorial Day here in Korea happens to fall on a Wednesday so looking forward to another short week next week. Just found out last night at dinner with some c0-workers we will be having a Pajama Party at school on a Friday in July, gotta love when school sucks up my weekend hopes of leaving this city. School again on the Last sunday in June for father’s day. Ohhh Korea. It’s a love/hate relationship.

In better news, two weeks and counting until I am reunited with a good friend of mine, Maggie. Maggie is Canadian and we met in Australia when we worked at lovely Hog’s Breath together. She now lives the life (literally) in Singapore and I was able to visit her last year for St. Patty’s Day and now she has a layover in Seoul on her way to home to do a roadtrip of the Us/Canada (nice), and we will spend the saturday night dancing away till early sunday morning when she has to depart again. Really nice to see familiar faces around here. And being reunited with old friends of course.

It’s Friday here, thank goddd. Going hiking for the first time Sunday, so that will be nice. I am going to try and post here more regularly (and make it more interesting for my 2 readers out there, much love). Hope all is well back on the home front,

Love always xoxo

World Beat Vinari

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World Beat Vinari Seoul, South Korea May 2012