Thursday, September 26, 2013

Getting my life together

As expected, the post Chuseok slump came, and it was really tough to pull myself out of bed monday morning. But school and errands beckoned. I really wanted to get things sorted with my phone, bank and internet. This month has been great culturally, but there are a lot of personal frustrations you have to deal with when getting set up in a foreign country.

Anywho, Monday there was a teacher's meeting, but my co teacher was helping me sort out my cell phone (it told me I didn't have any data left, when I'd been carefully keeping track). Apparently the girl at the phone store signed me up for LTE instead of 3g data (side note: WAE?!?!?) and so that's why it was messed up. So after talking to my teacher, I ended up with unlimited data since it was only \10,000 more than a pretty small data plan. So why not?

And then my co teacher told me I didn't have to go anyway- she doesn't. She figures if there is something important that someone else will let her know haha. But she also said she knew it was probably overwhelming and frustrating for me to sit in a room with lots and lots of Korean being spoken. I appreciate the gesture. I'm pretty tired most days from the effort of trying to understand people and trying to get them to understand me. This isn't a Korea thing, it's a standard language barrier tiredness that I've encountered before. Plus, I usually need some downtime after being surrounded by people every day, so it was nice to get a break.

My co teacher also called to set up internet installation for me, which was SUPER nice of her and I'm really grateful. I'm gonna have to figure out how to give her a gift for being super helpful. Since I got my first paycheck, I should really buy my co teachers and co workers a gift to say thanks for the welcome. I already gave my principal and caretaker their gifts, so I'm just debating on a big gift for tomorrow (cause that would make Friday even more awesome, right?) I'm thinking of stopping at Dunkin' Donuts and just picking up some donuts for the room. I want to get something more special specifically for my co teachers, but maybe I'll just take them out to dinner sometime. UGH RELATIONSHIP BUILDING IS SO FRUSTRATING.

Tuesday was another eventful day, as I had lots to do. I didn't have time to finish my lesson planning for the next couple of days, so that followed me home. Lessons from scratch take an exceptionally long time to plan! It was also busy because I made an appointment to go to a language class in Sincheon. Sarah and I met up (after I was approached by people wanting me to join their bible study, despite the fact that we could only communicate in basic and broken Konglish, and then approached at another station by a creepy man who leaned over and stared at me for a while, gave me a 100 won coin and then gave me his address and phone number?) and we registered for the class together. The girl's English was AMAZING even though she hadn't ever studied in an English speaking country, so I was super jealous. She was genuinely surprised when Sarah and I said we were excited to learn Korean. Which is a pretty standard reaction from Koreans. Maybe they've never been somewhere where they couldn't communicate? Or they just don't meet many English teachers who are keen to learn Korean (though I can't for the life of me imagine WHY someone wouldn't want to learn how to communicate in a language they will be surrounded by for a year...?)

We went to a coffee shop and the buzzers
had TVs in them. So I got to enjoy some
So Ji Sub :)

He's also on all the cups at this
particular shop, as it's featured in
his drama, The Master's Sun

I've been learning a lot about school culture for teachers here, which has been enlightening. Apparently the students really like to say hi to me because I actually walk around the school- the old english teacher would just stay in the English room... He didn't eat with the teachers or really interact with them. That's his choice, but I'm having a blast with my co teachers, so I can't imagine just sitting in the English class all day.

Bathroom selfie because I love my new skirt! I try to
dress nice here cause Koreans dress
really well and I'm always getting stared at. Might
as well try and look my best, right?

Another odd teacher thing happened yesterday. I was told Tuesday we were going out wednesday (I internally panicked because the Internet guy was coming Wednesday and I didn't want to postpone, or miss the outing). Turns out, once a month or so, all of the subject teachers leave school at 2 (normally we all leave at 4:40) and go hang out and do something cultural or fun. Like see a movie. Yesterday we didn't have much planned, so we went to Hongik University and toured the campus (where the teachers heard about my creeper story and still wanted to know if he was at least cute... NOPE). Then they told me if I saw any guys I liked they would totally talk to them for me, because if I was there alone a bunch of them would have come talked to me (yeah ok co workers. OK... probably not). Then we went into hongdae and shopped a bit and got Japanese Ramen for dinner (they distinguish cause Korean Ramyun is spicier. Japanese isn't). It was delicious. Buuuut I still suck at eating noodles with chopsticks so that was still a fail. I've been trying to secretly observe how the heck people do it here, just so I don't look so uncivilized when I eat them. It's not like it's an elegant process, but still. I haven't gotten the hang of it yet... Wamp.

The cable guy pulled all of those wires from
outside of my window. Idk what they do. Then
he was just chillin tryin to fix my internet.
 I now have access!

In other news, one of my co teachers and I now have established an "it's ok to text about non work related things" relationship, as I texted her about the crazy ajusshi at the subway and we've been texting about our kdrama, Master's Sun. I watched the episode on a live stream site because my co teachers aren't good with spoilers and I wanted to have a semblance of an idea about what was going on. Sure enough, a minute after the ep ends I get a text from my co teacher about the ending!!! Glad it wasn't spoiled for me!
Then I had to wait patiently for the english sub to come out, which I watched this afternoon in the middle of my 2.5 hours of deskwarming. Productivity!!! It's also nice to have someone I can text with random questions about Korea.

I need to get out and about and make more Korean friends.

1 day till the weekend, and another ep of master's sun tonight!!! Huzzah!

And if you've stuck with me this long, yes, my lessons are going well, I now have a bank card, functioning phone and internet. YAY.

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