not quite the makes of a movie....
Ok, loyal readers. I know that it's been approximately 10 years since I've posted anything. For this, I am only partially sorry. Most of the time, I feel that I am as comfortable in Seoul as I was in South Bend, meaning, of course, that nothing has really been too blog-worthy. But since I have not e-mailed anyone either, I feel it is time for a DOUBLE POST! That's right....two, two, TWO BLOGS IN ONE! Why all the caps? It's all very exciting, you see.
The first post will be about the first of many outings taken with my NEW class at the Daechi Worwick. (Sidenote: if you don't remember why I am not at the Bundang Worwick, backtrack to the post "Being Fired in Korea"...ring a bell? Ok, let's continue then.)
My NEW school is set in Daechi, in the greater Gangnam area, in Seoul. What this translates to is an hour commute via crowded, hot, smelly subway for 40 minutes one way. I didn't move because, well....I really hate moving. My entire community of friends and restaurants are set in Bundang, and I only have 112 days (not that I'm counting) left in Korea, so why move? To a smaller and dirtier apartment? Where I have to relearn local geography and infrastructure? No, thank you. The school itself is quite beautiful. It was the first of the series, and is a stand-alone building, two stories, with a FRONT YARD! It's not very healthy or particularly lush grass, but it serves its purpose. We also have a swingset, with a slide and seesaw and are alloted 30 minutes per week to go crazy in an outdoor setting. This part I like.
I will not go any further in depth into the parts I don't like. Not gon' do it. Wouldn't be prudent.
Anyway, the only thing keeping me sane amidst the regular insanity is, again, the kids. I have a class of 7 (slightly down from the 9 I started with) beautiful, silly, wonderful, bright students. I took over for a teacher that incorporated no discipline, who took over for a teacher that incorporated FAR less discipline. My kids have adapted well, speaking no Korean in class, and for the most part staying in their seats. I love them.
Because of our location in Seoul rather than the "suburbs", our outings seem to be limited. We had my first one at Olympic Park in the Jamsil area. It was a beautiful, mild day and the kids seemed to have fun, then be worn out and irritable. So it goes.
The conditions were favorable.
Grass is very sacred in Seoul. When we tried to let the kids run around all over it, we were promptly scolded by the ajassi landscapers.
My new babies, Libra class. 1st row, L-R: Denny, Kate, Sebin, Cindy, Esther. 2nd row: me, Daniel (who has left us for Korean kindergarten), Sean, and Jung Ook (our Korean teacher)
Chaos in a garden maze.
Clara, from Cassiopeia class, is by far one of my favorites.
I can't remember what they were pointing at....I believe one of the kids was using his taekwondo powers on a swarm of gnats....
Esther, on the left, is the new sunshine of my life. (Ignore the cocked fist...she usually just hugs or clings)
This is Sean, modeling one of the classic poses after an outing. The dismay. The horror. The exhaustion.
My kids are super-sweet, if not a little rambunctious. I have parent-teacher meetings coming up, an event that always makes me reach for the Tums, especially at the new place. Our punishment is to teach a full day of kindergarten, then have double elementary, then two hours (average) of meetings. I'm looking at a 12-hour sentence. Fun.
Recently, one of our ex-co-workers, Christina teacher, got married. Up until now, I have avoided Korean weddings like the plague.
So, imagine, if you will, a Korean wedding: they take place in a Wedding Hall, which is basically like a wedding factory. The ceremonies are about 30 minutes long and secular (I think). The halls are in a perpetual state of decoration, the same ones all the time. The couple comes in, gets married, there is generally a banquet somewhere on the premises, quickly, then the next one comes. Usually when the ceremony is taking place, the entire audience (because that is exactly what they are) is talking on their respective cell phones. Phones are ringing, people are elbowing each other to get the best seat/standing area. It's like the subway. It's hard to get a good picture because there is a crowd of photographers standing at the altar with the couple. They are omnipresent. Everything is in Korean, because, well....we're in Korea. So if you're a foreigner in the audience, it's pretty much guaranteed you won't understand a word. Two people sang songs, one in Korean and one in English, (I don't know if that's typical) the ceremony was over, then the whole family was herded like cattle to the front for pictures. Then the friends. Then the food. Then get out, get out, get out! because there's another couple coming in.
I went because it was our friend's wedding and I knew it was pretty much the only time I could reason going to one of these things. I managed to get a handful of good pictures in.
A picture of the formal picture of Christina and her new husband, Dong Hyun.
Wedding hall exterior.
Amy and I with Christina in the bride's room.
The interior of the wedding hall.
Christina and her dad going down the aisle.
Listening to one of the singers.
Bowing to Dong Hyun's parents (this is customary; the bride does a half bow, but the groom does a full-body bow)
Christina and Dong Hyun's families.
And so a Korean wedding goes.
This post was incredibly long, but I'm making up for a lot of lost time. My next post will probably be from Singapore, where I am going for Christmas! Woohoo!