Thursday, August 27, 2009
First week of Korea
This has been the longest week of my life. Mostly because I was jet-lagged for the first half and could not sleep when I wanted to. Yesterday was the first day I felt like I was fully rested.
I live in a part of Seoul called Nangok-dong, Gwanak-gu. It is a more poor part of Seoul, I've been told. The streets are always filled with people walking. Keep in mind that I come from Colorado, where people only walk around in the downtown parts of the city. Where I live, everywhere is downtown times 5. I stick out like a thumb. During the day I don't mind, but at night, when I walk alone to the store, it is intimidating.
Last night I went to the store and bought some Korean cereal. I didn't think much of it at the time, but woke up this morning supper excited to eat cereal. They are Korean coco-puffs. Quite tasty. Every other morning I have made french toast, so it was nice not to have to cook this time.
The school that I work at is wonderful! Extremely nice building and a great staff. The content is, well, simple. Except for my last class where we are reading a science book. This class is challenging for me because I have to explain words like penicillin and social organization to 6th grade English learners. Yesterday, in another class, I wrote the word "haunt" up on the board and asked the students to draw a picture. One student drew a picture of "hunt". So I spent the next two minutes trying to explain haunt. Finally one student looked up the word on her phone. The class all went "ahhhh". You should have seen the picture I drew to explain haunt, it looked like Picasso...
The students are great. I have only one trouble class. They were all put into one class because they are hard to deal with. Since I am the new guy, why not. They are actually my favorite class because they know how to laugh. The class I am the most worried about is the one where they stare at me and not say anything. I get uncomfortable when I can't tell what a student is thinking. Even if it is good or bad, I always like to know at least a small hint.
I work with two other Americans and three Koreans. The class time is split between a native speaker, me, and a Korean teacher. I teach six 35 minute classes a day, and work a total of 6 hours, two and a half are spent in between classes waiting for my next class. I actually only spend three and a half hours working and for the money I make, its not bad.
So far I have not been able to connect with very many people because I flew into Korea Saturday night, slept in on Sunday, and started work on Monday. Although the week has been long, it all happened very quickly. Bulgaria to America to Korea in 17 days, three different time zones. Three days to adjust to each new time zone. I am finally able to slow down and process some things, but am feeling a bit isolated. If you could pray that I find some fellowship at church this weekend, I would appreciate it. Its hard going from sweet fellowship and community, ie. Fort Collins and Bulgaria, to nothing. I am not afraid because I know God has gone before me and prepared this time for me to grow closer to Him.
I love being on my own because it forces me to rely on Him.