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Interesting View

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Today I am here to share with you a few things about a waygook perspective on weird shit in Korea. Excuse my french, but you can’t get much weirder than this place. So if the world does decide to collapse next week the day before my tropical Christmas vacation, what better place to be than Korea.

I know that I often resort back to ‘work weirdness’ when writing this blog, probably because, I am here, at work, ‘deskwarming.’ I always think of about 5-20 things per night after work however that I could write a blog, or even a book about, and just ask why Korea, or my trademark phrase ‘ohhh koreaaaa…’

It took about 4 months to accept the fact that I will never understand Koreans. This culture is beyond me and I think coming to terms with it is the best thing I could do in my two year stay here. Only being 10 months in however, each day, I discover something new; sometimes exciting, sometimes disturbing, but for the most part intriguing.

I love Korea. I love the weirdness. I’ve always called myself weird, so I think I fit in just right…. Okay I lied, I don’t fit it, and never will. I’d have to be about 80 pounds and shorter than 5’5, wear six 6 shoe, and have black hair and black eyes. I’d probably be wearing florescent sneakers with leggings attached to a skirt, some oversized sweater, some trendy jacket and lots of B.B. cream with lots of whitening enhancements.

One realization that I had after going to Japan for 5 days was that, Japan is different. I know I was ignorant and having never been, just assumed that they were quite similar. I was wrong! If you took Seoul and Osaka landscape and subtracted all the people, maybe the buildings look alike. They’re some crazy Asian language blinking and flashing everywhere, store fronts selling majority women’s clothes and accessories and tons of restaurants and bars, everywhere, open all the time.   It was nice to see a change of scenery, different crazy Asian language everywhere and people speaking differently, but most of all the people were different. Koreans all look alike. They do! They all shop at the same stores and wear the same clothes, to a T. There is a few neighborhoods that go ‘off the beaten path’ and dare to be different, and maybe I am unaware, but for the most part, these are university parts of Seoul.

Sinsa, is a main shopping district. For the majority, they are fancy boutiques, Forever 21 mixed in there somehow, and random expensive shoppes everywhere. This is a big target for where Japanese people come to shop. It is all the rage these days, to look like a K-pop star, and for starters, dress like them and change your hairstyle. You’re pretty much there.

Hongdae, a university district and very popular among artists and anyone starting to find themselves, or daring to be different. It’s a nice breath of fresh air to go there and see these people and eclectic vibe or something of the sort.

There are tons of up and coming neighborhoods in Seoul, but these two are that I have experienced to be different and quite refereshing.

Gangdong, is quite a  nook of Seoul. It is the far East side ‘south of the river.’ Most areas  in Seoul are referred to if you are north or south of the river. Not quite sure the meaning of these labels, but I know it means something. Gangnam is south of the river and just a hop skip and a jump or an hour bus ride or a 40 minute subway away. In general, I live about 40 minutes by subway to pretty much everywhere. I cannot complain, but in March I will live even closer to everything!

Gangdong is a typical Seoul outskirt neighborhood. It is very close to Cheonho dong, which is more hustle and bustle than Gangdong. Which I referred to earlier about most people dressing and looking alike, is what I see on a daily basis. I usually have to escape my area most nights of the week, if I stay in more than 2 nights during the week I feel a slight form of cabin fever creeping up on me. It is nice to feel comfortable in my surroundings, but I also like to explore new places.

The past 2 weeks have been unbearably. cold.


Ohh Korea

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Hello four readers 🙂

Just wanted to post a random hello. I have been jotting notes down in my phone lately about things that amuze/amaze/and just down right confuse the shit out of me about Korea. Life in general makes absolutely no sense. Me being here does, but aside from that.

I came to Korea to expand my love and knowledge of Asian culture. 9 out of 10 days, I do love it here. With that being said, it is almost month 8 of my stay. Probably the first 5-6 months I would have began this post with ‘I want to leave, I hate Korea, especially my Boss.’

Adjusting to a non-English speaking culture has been a rough yet life changing experience. I know that those are generally the words that people use to describe this experience, but well, they are quite fitting.

Yesterday, I was asked to attend a meeting at school. The teachers have meetings every Tuesday at 5pm. Since all of my coworkers are Korea, the meetings, therefore, are in Korean. My boss and head teacher do not speak a lick of English. Like talking to my most basic 6 year old students. How are you? I am 7 years old type answers. Amusing, yet sad. How do you own a hagwon that encourages English, yet you yourself cannot and do not care to learn even a fraction of the language.
Who am I to say though, I came to Korea and lasted 3 weeks in my Basic Korean Language course through a language class that was free. Hey, Saturday morning 9 am, just isn’t my thing.

Her role in this school reminds me a little bit of the landlord I had in college. I remember that when I was first looking for apartments, friends and peers of mine would tell me to be careful when looking for a place and that landlords are often called ‘cash cows.’ She puts on the biggest smile, changes her voice completely (my coworkers and I have fun immitating this), and even changing her appearance to impress parents and community members that walk through haba doors.

Back to the meeting, sorry I am a rambler, and non-editor of this blog (no one is, cantcha tell). Excuse the laziness.
Nuri, is my coworker. She interviewed me and I have probably mentioned her and her relationship to me in earlier posts. She is a nice person, but basically does not give me the time of day, and couldn’t give a shit less if I was happy, adapting well, etc to Korea, which is often a huge role of having a foreign teacher come to this country fresh off the boat.
Nuri ‘Kelly we will have a meeting tomorrow discussing the reviews from Tim, it is at 5pm and you should attend.’
Kelly ‘Okay sounds good.’

Tim is the trainer for the cirriculum that I teach. He was a very nice guy and came to observe my class and style of teaching right in the middle of practicing for the parent observations. He was really helpful and gave lots of good advice for me and my job. I had to teach the rehearsed class that we were practicing for the parents, and found it quite amusing the things that he had to say.

The parents class was supposed to be all fun and games for the students and to show the parents that the students were well engaged and totally super fantasically over joyed, emphasis on SMILE! It was pathetic. We were told not to incoorporate phonics (a normal part of our lesson) because it was infact boooorrriiinggg. Go figure. Learn English, not so much fun, but memorize English is fun. Woo.

Ohh Korea.

So lovely trainer Tim came back with some really good and helpful advice. I guess he had a talk with the boss also, basically telling us to change the entire plan we had for our cirriculum for the next 4 months until the end of the school year. The 5 year old class for instance should only be using the toddler cd, and not doing the structured cirriculum, they’ve been doing for the past 8 months, and are already  on level 4. It’s basically memorization and not really learning much of anything.

Anyway after sitting through 40 minutes of a Korean meeting, I asked to leave. They gave me my evaluation and that was that.

4 months and counting 🙂 I think I can I think I can.

My mom (hi mom!) recently asked me what I think about teaching as a career. Basically, I think this experience is not something even remotely close to base the career of teaching after. I am not a real teacher, most days. I am a puppeteer. I enjoy it, but it is exhausting. I have a private lesson Thursday evenings and teach two 10-11 year old girls. They are really a fresh perspective of what teaching could be like. I can have a real conversation and correct easy English skills of basic knowledge.

On that note, enjoy the blog as it is.

I will try and post something more interesting soon. ❤ xo