Sunday, December 7, 2014

Cold, Cats and Christmas Markets

I was having kind of an off week at school. I think it's because classes are winding down and I have less work to do, plus it's the Christmas season, but it feels a little lonely being in Korea and not at home. 

Classes went well though. For sixth grade I edited a pass the ball game with new Kpop music that they went nuts over, because Kpop. I basically picked some recent songs I liked so that they would get excited about something. Reading lessons are hard to get the kids excited about, but with some help from the music, they actually had energy for the lesson (and I made sure to throw my favorites in there too). 

But I don't have a lot to do since I'm ahead on lesson planning, and this week is speaking tests, which are annoying but easy to plan. That means I have a lot of time to kind of play around with at work. I'm worried about winter camp being sprung on me, as my handler likes to make changes at the last minute, but whatever. Camp is a joke. The kids don't care about being there, so I'll just try and make it fun and vaguely use English. 

It's gotten pretty cold in Seoul, which has contributed to my slight downer mood. 

But I've been stocking up on things to be prepared

Not thrilled to have to go outside, but these
earmuffs have speakers in them so
I can listen to music


My mom is the best and sent us advent calendars
like we used to have when we were little!

Ah yes, it snowed already

it didn't stay long, but it makes the walk to work

In case you wanted to see my Korean hand
writing. My notes are really messy though

Intermediate Korean is slower but way harder, and I walk out feeling like I know nothing most of the time. In the notes you see above, we are learning about quoting people. But unlike English, where we just use "he said, I said, they said," Korean uses different forms based on WHAT someone actually said, whether it's a question, suggestion, request, or request to help another person, so it's SO COMPLICATED.

We cover more grammar in each class, and it has gotten a lot more complicated. I'm trying to study after school, but it's hard. Most days, I'm super frustrated and I feel like I'm making no progress. 

For instance, I met up this week with a guy I met in Hongdae. I took a chance and asked him for his number, and found out, through our interactions, that homeslice speaks like NO English. Like, none beyond super basic stuff. So we just got dinner and coffee, which was nice. We spoke and texted mostly in Korean, which was cool but after a while we pretty much hit my limit of the Korean I know. 

Instead of being impressed with myself, all I have realized is that I know nothing interesting to say in Korean and that after a year I can't do much more than basics. I don't think I'm all that in English, but I can't even pretend to be anything in Korean. I'm not witty in Korean yet. I'm not funny. I can't joke or be charming. I can barely string long sentences together. I know I've come far, but after that, it feels like not much at all... arg. 

To motivate myself, I'm signing up for the TOPIK test to at least see if I'm able to pass beginner level Korean. Maybe that will make me feel better, but it also means I've got a lot of prepping to do. Aaaack.


Oh look. Koreans are just as mature as

At work during our deskwarming time, my friends and I passed around an article about animals that saw snow for the first time, and of course played around with them.

We all decided that the cat was the best, and every one of us changed our phones to have this either as the lock screen or background. I chose the panda for my background cause aaaaaaaaw.

I'm horrified that it's only 2 as well, poor cat

another 14 degree walk to work means
it's time to pull out the cat mask. It seriously
helps 1000% in keeping your face warm
in the morning

 Cesca and I met up on Friday to shop around Hongdae for some things like new warm slippers for school, and makeup and things. We returned to my apartment to sort out and share my mom's pre-Christmas care package. 

Which included me catching up on the advent calendar. 

This seemed easier when I was younger

Trying to open the door

Dang it's stuck in there good

Got it!!!

Cesca's pre Christmas package


Too excited

Mom kept up her awesome tradition of the coolest gift tags ever.

love it

My mom knows exactly what we need, so she sent us some fleece lined leggings and heat tech like shirts, thankfully. Mine are running ragged from using them EVERY DAY cause the school is cold. THANKS MAMMA!!!

On Saturday, we met up with Lauren to check out the European Christmas Market, which, like most things in Korea, was super crowded and not in the right space. We waited in long lines, but the food was really good! It was super cold tho, so after stuffing our faces, we went to a nearby coffee shop to warm up and chat.



Super crowded

Lots of good food though!

These poor 'german dancers' were so cold!!!

The coffee shop even counted your calories
burned by walking up the stairs. 
It wasn't as exciting as we had hoped, but it was still nice to try some new foods, though they weren't super Christmas-y.

After that, Cesca and I headed down to Gangam because a teacher at her school invited her to see a traditional Korean dance performance. They did some basic dances and spirit cleansing dances. It was cool!

We found the New Zealand Embassy

I didn't want to be rude and take lots of photos while they were dancing... It was very pretty, even if I couldn't understand the MC, I know the dances are usually about cleansing or spirits haha. I even looked up the name and it just says "Spirit Cleansing Dance" and they did about 3 or 4 versions of it. All very beautiful and delicate. It has very deliberate, slow movements, plus I love pretty hanboks!! 

On Sunday, Cesca and I bummed around, watched some of our shows, cleanup up my apartment, and then packed up her stuff to head home. Sundays suck haha. They're always filled with the dread of Monday... I spent the rest of the day studying,trying to help Cesca figure our her Ondol, and now blogging and trying to relax before school. Only about 2.5 weeks of school left till 'vacation' which means camp, and THEN vacation. Ugh, we all really need one. It doesn't feel like the end of the school year, since the year here is almost continuous and it's still weird the end in Feburary (with most of January as vacation...). But I can tell the teachers and the kids are getting burned out. It will be nice to have a relaxing ish break, though the TOPIK is in the middle of January, so I only have around a month to study. 

Gotta get cracking. 

Missing home a lot these days, Christmas just isn't the same here...  Hoping my light workload this week helps chase away some winter blues... 

This week I've been listening to some old and new things, like Zhoumi from Super Junior M's Rewind. I dig this song and his new solo album. Go Zhoumi!

I'm also ridiculously obsessed with the drama I'm watching (and therefore also the OST). It's called Pinocchio, and it's awesome. It stars Park Shin Hye and Lee Jong Suk, two actors I've seen in plenty of roles. They have excellent chemistry. The story centers around PSH, a girl born with the fictional Pinocchio Syndrome, a syndrome which causes her to hiccup whenever she lies. She grows up with LJS's character, who was adopted into their family after a secret family tragedy that nobody in his life currently knows about. But boy is the secret a whammy. 

This song is beautiful, the story has great pacing and emotion, the chemistry is great, the humor is spot on, the story compelling and gripping, the acting is superb. I cannot express how much I already love this drama, and it's not even halfway through. Hopefully it maintains this level of awesome!!!

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