Sunday, December 29, 2013

Happy Holidays from Seoul!

Well, it has certainly been unique holiday week. I didn't really get much of a break though, honestly. That's because Christmas isn't really a big deal here, but we did get the day off, thankfully. Christmas Eve was actually the last day of school before winter break, but because I'm a lucky English teacher here, I have to do 11 days of winter camp (read: babysitting), and that started on the 26th.  I gave my co teachers really small Christmas presents and they were really sweet and grateful, as always, and I have to keep thanking my lucky starts for being placed in a school with awesome co teachers. 

Christmas eve was er, interesting. I got invited to church by my handler, and because I usually go to church on Christmas Eve, and to maintain a good relationship with her, I said yes, plus I'm really bad with a.) on the spot decisions/invitations and b.) saying no to superiors, especially in Korea. I thought she was just being nice and worrying that I would be lonely, buuuuut it turns out she is an UBER JESUS FREAK. I'm talking preaching on the subway, studying the bible every day Jesus freak. Like seriously, she told me how much she loved Jesus like a dozen times and was talking about how she feels moved to preach in basically any open space and how many people she has saved blah blah blah. I should have known this would happen. I think i heard her listening to gospel music one time when I stopped by her room... Should've remembered that before I said yes haha. It was a weird service. There were the traditional little kid performances, but it also featured a hip hop dance to a remixed Silent Night (yes, I'm serious), as well as a play about kids doing a play about the nativity story, which made me pretty uncomfortable because a lot of the humor was focused on one of the kids who obviously was mentally challenged. It just didn't seem to be, er, very Christian.

There was also a juice and cookie break in the middle... weird. I definitely won't be going again, but it was vaguely intriguing to see a Korean church service. Even if it was awkward for me to be the ONLY FOREIGNER. AGAIN. 

I decided that the night was young and met up with some friends, where we rang in Christmas by singing All I Want for Christmas is You at the top of our lungs, and then promptly requesting that they play the new and awesome Taeyang song "Ringa Linga"

Spending the first part of Christmas with some lovely ladies,
Maria, Janell ad Lauren

Unfortunately, for the better part of the week, I was ignoring some pretty obvious "YOU'RE GETTING SICK" signs from my body, and when I got home around 1, I started to feel pretty crappy. And then I had chills all night and barely slept, and that's the story of how I woke up pretty sick on Christmas. It could have happened any day.... I'm a little sad it was on Christmas but what can you do.

Skyping with the family on Christmas (for me) and
Christmas Eve for them

I had to cancel plans with my friends because all I wanted to do was sleep, but I didn't want to risk getting them sick or getting myself sicker. So I slept most of the day on Christmas, but I did get to see my family open my Christmas presents and I watched Elf with my mom and sister, a Christmas Eve tradition I wasn't ready to miss. Sadly, due to the slowness of Korean mail, I haven't received my Christmas presents from my family yet. But that's ok! It'll be more of a new years, Epiphany gift thing?

I am a little bit sad this holiday season, as I do really miss my family, and it is the first Christmas I spent away from home. But I'm having an amazing time here, and I've met some really, really incredible people, so I can't be too sad. Plus, with winter camp, I'm much too busy to wallow for long!

 These pictures suck because I was using my iPhone and it can't focus well on stages, but on Thursday, my awesome co teacher, Young Ah, invited me to a performance that her band was having. I brought Lauren along because I didn't want to be the only foreigner and I also wanted her to meet my co teacher, and it turned out to be one of the most amusing things EVER. Turns out, Young Ah is part of a group that organizes bands of teachers all over Seoul, and this was their big performance. Some of them were... er... alright, but Young Ah was adorable and amazing!!! I congratulated her after and she was so excited I came. We have officially reached arm in arm status, and she excitedly told me we should get dinner next week. This means that we have reached good friend status guys, which is SUPER AWESOME!!!! I'm so, so excited that we have such a good relationship and that she will be staying on as an English teacher next year.

On to English camp. Each day, we do 3 periods of learning and 1 period of fun games and activities. Yes, this is what I get to do all day. 


I don't know if I have updated you on this, but my favorite Kpop group, Big Bang, announced they were having a concert at the end of this month. Despite our best efforts, the tickets sold out extremely fast and we couldn't get our hands on them. While venturing into Hongdae on Friday for a new watch, I received this message from Sarah:

We had both entered a contest to win tickets without much hope, and I had forgotten about it until she messaged me. I immediately called her and proceeded to shriek and shout in the middle of the street, both of us incredulous and unable to believe our luck. I'M SO FREAKING EXCITED. 

So then we wandered around Hongdae for a bit, finding awesome things like this:

And then I went to see the Hobbit. Which was WAY TOO LONG. It was alright, but seriously, by the end I was just like "CAN WE GO ALREADY?!?!"

Anywho, on Saturday, Lauren, Sarah and I ventured out to Myeongdong to try something we've been dying to do for ages: a fish cafe.

No, it's not a cafe where you eat fish or play with them. It's a cafe with special fish that eat the dead skin off of your feet and it's the weirdest feeling in the world. Like, it tickles and vibrates and is just bizarre. But MAN, my feet are smooth!

my left foot was quite popular

so was sarah

the price included a cup of coffee. Attempted
latte art

It was totally weird but awesome. So yeah, it was a fun filled week, even though I was pretty sick on Christmas. I ended up sleeping most of the day and still went to bed at like 10. And went home and slept the next day as well, but all that sleep must have headed it off before it got worse, so now I'm feeling pretty good. 

It was strange to be away from home for the holidays, but I am seldom lonely or without something to do here in Korea, so I wasn't too sad. I miss everyone a lot, and I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season! Onto the new year! Who knows what madness 2014 will bring!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

More Christmas Cards and other holiday things

So I took lots of pictures of the Christmas cards the kids were making this week. Some of them even gave them to me!

This is the boy that tells me "Christina Teacher,
you are so beautiful! Saranghaeyo!" when he
wants to answer in class

I actually received a good amount from my students, with some other gems mixed in:

and then I cried a little. SO SWEET

haha they tried 

I love his message, "Thank you for birth." Apparently, that's
a common thing to write in Korean...

Serah lived in Dallas for a while so
her English is awesome. 

She's adorable 

 And these are from my 3rd graders, as the pop up card was a bit too complex for them to finish in 40 min

it was their last English class, so I also got a lot
of gifts of Vitamin C

Other stuff!

rockin a cat sweater

Young Ah was wearing a green sweater, so she was "tree teacher" while
I was wearing this and earned the nickname 'Santa teaacher' as well as
Christmas teacher
On Friday, we had an end of the semester staff dinner, which I was informed of at about 3:30 on Friday. I was also informed that none of my co teachers were coming. YIKES. Thankfully, one of the music teachers, Eun Kyeong, speaks pretty good English, so she stayed with me the whole time, and Hae In eventually showed up (she had been at a business meeting or something). Fridays are already a long day, and staff dinners are fun but tiring haha (you try being surrounded by a strange language all day and see how alert you are!), and the rest of the subject teachers really didn't feel like going to the noraebang (the principal loves going), and so we kind of snuck out right before the end of dinner so we didn't have to go. Which meant I could go home and curl up with my electric blanket!

And then on Saturday, I decided to head to the ballet!

Sarah and I went to see the Nutcracker! It
was fabulous!

SPOTTED: Phantom brochure. Tickets have been acquired!

Very European

And then I was shopping today and got some free stuff, including a face mask.

Weirdest. Thing Ever. 

Soooo that's my life! If I don't update before then, Merry Christmas everyone!!!! I'll be spending the day watching movies and drinking wine with my lovely fellow waygookin! Buon Natale!!!