Sunday, January 12, 2014

The End of Winter Camp, Dentistry and Snacks

Winter camp is finally over!!!! It was tough teaching by myself, but it turned out pretty well. My co teacher said they got better feedback this year, and then said "It's all thanks you our Native Teacher!!!" Now, I don't think I did an amazing job, since controlling 9 year olds is hard enough in your native language, but I think the kids had a little bit of fun with me (a lot of them started joking with me- boys- or trying to sit near me and hold my hands-girls). It was tough teaching alone, but I'm glad I had the experience. I appreciate my co teachers a lot more now (and I already appreciated them A LOT).

I technically start my vacation tomorrow, and so I'm looking forward to sleeping in and doing fun things around Seoul. Most of my friends already had a vacation or are still teaching camp, so we are saving traveling for a few weeks from now. We booked a vacation in Jeju for lunar new year, so I'm super stoked about that!

these guys greet me on the way to work
every morning

At camp, I got to introduce a couple of fun games from home for the students. They really enjoyed them and it made me super happy. We attempted the human knot, which indeed produced hilarious results.

Other than winter camp, I've been studying a lot for my Korean class with my friends Lauren and Sarah. We've gotten pretty good at some of the vocab, and I can now get through interactions at the post office with a little more korean and a little less gesturing. Yay, progress!

I also made progress with other obstacles, such as visiting a dentist. Despite having been abroad before, I've never actually had to go to a dentist in a different country. I noticed one of my front gums was looking pretty irritated and looked like it was receding, so naturally I panicked. After some research, I found a place relatively near me (and they accepted my health insurance! Helloooooo $13 cleaning). It was kind of strange actually... They covered me with a blanket and during the cleaning put a mask over my whole face so only my moth was visible. Bizarre. Anywho, the dentist spoke english and informed me that because I have a thin face, I also have thin gums so I have to be super careful. Not sure how that correlates, but ugh anyway. Damn teeth always giving me problems. 

He also told me that, unfortunately, I had a couple of cavities. He said they weren't bad and that it isn't unusual for foreigners to have worse teeth here than at home. And here's why. 

1.) Genetics (THANKS MOM AND DAD)
2.) Spicy foods are not good for your teeth. Guess what Koreans (and therefore I) eat a lot of? I just love me some ddeokbokki
3.) sticky and starchy foods aren't good for your teeth. Lunch always consists of rice and often seaweed. which is sticky
4.) Beer is not good for your teeth. Sadly it's like the cheapest drink available and also very common at teacher dinners
5.) Coffee isn't either. Guess what I've actually started drinking in the mornings cause kids are exhausting?
6.) Korea doesn't put fluoride in the water, so even though I'm using toothpaste from home, that, along with the other reasons, doesn't help.

I'm not thrilled that I have to get dental work done here, but it's mostly my own fault for not researching my changing diet before. Plus, I have healthcare here that helps with the costs, so I can't really complain. It could totally be worse. 

In other news, here's another fun cultural thing that might weird you out:

We go to this one bar sometimes to chill and they give us snacks with our drinks. 

Sarah likes the snacks

the snacks are peanuts and fish

I do not partake in most of the snacks. I'll eat the peanuts, but damn the fish still freak me out. 

Well, I am off to bed. I've got quite a busy week already planned (even tho I'm not traveling) because I have  a lot of errands and local things to do. Hope all is well and that everyone is staying warm!!!

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