Sunday, April 19, 2015

Teacher Bonding and a Tragic Anniversary :/

Wow, I didn't realize what a busy week I'd had until I sat down to blog about it. I did a lot this week, and had a great time doing almost all of it!

On a rainy Monday, Young Ah took me to a chinese food place after school as a celebration of my 1 year at my hagwon (she's been helping me study a lot, so she likes to celebrate when I hit any language learning milestones haha). 
We got delicious fried mandu and some sort of fried eggplant. 

I love mandu and these were a little diff
from Korean mandu


My sixth graders had a field trip Tuesday, which meant I got to catch up on some lesson planning, some homework and TV. I love deskwarming days. 

It was also Black Day, a day where single people eat jajangmyeon (black bean sauce and noodles) because they're depressed about being single. Our new nutritionist at school apparently has a sense of humor, cause she gave us jajangmyeon for lunch!

The sauce is knda salty so I don't use a ton,
but it was delicious

more mandu!! yay!
Also we got a break from rice, which
was nice

this is apple kimchi. Now I've seen everything.
This was actually tasty.

On Wednesday, we took a teacher bonding trip just north of Seoul. We stopped at a temple and a garden, and then a tofu restaurant. 

I explained to my co teachers that
BS tour in English would not imply
'Best Service' like the tour company
says they do...


view of some of the temple

I even took pictures with some of my office mates.

Music teacher, science teacher, my co teacher, another music
and home ec teacher, and meeee

The teachers joked that my head disappears cause of the color
of the tree and my hair color. And cause i'm so pale haha

 We also visited some special flower garden. It was nice to walk around in the (finally!) warm spring weather. 

the tulips were blooming, or at least trying

My new co and I being intrigued by something

Some of my co workers. They're super sweet!

Then we headed to the European style garden

After looking around, we hopped back on the bus, where we road windy, twisting roads to our dinner destination, a tofu house. 

Unfortunately, I didn't pack my motion sickness medicine for the bus ride, thinking we wouldn't be on the bus for THAT long, and as a result, the 30 or so minute ride on the twisty roads turned my stomach, so I had 0 desire to eat. Sad, because the tofu soup looked good. Not the plain tofu. I'm not into that.

It's tofu and veggies and sometimes meat.
It looked great, but my stomach couldn't
 handle much more than rice

Platter of tofu. Ugh. Plan tofu is blaaah

Thursday was very gloomy and rightfully so. It's been a year since the Sewol sank off the coast of Jindo, and I'm not gonna lie, it's pretty crazy over here. There hasn't been a ton of accountability or a ton of answers or justice for the families, and people have criticized the whole affair. The families were so upset at the president that they just left the mourning alters before she got there because they don't respect her enough to want to be seen at the mourning sites with her. The botched and haphazard rescue attempts are to blame for there being no rescues, and the whole situation was very poorly handled. Even now, people are calling for more action, while government officials seem to just keep saying "but look, the captain is in jail. We must become a new, safe Korea" without actually acknowledging their own involvement in the tragedy. President Park even left for a trip abroad on the anniversary, which did her no favors with her decreasing popularity here.

Protests have been happening around the city, with the families and protesters being barricaded and shot with hoses and pepper spray as thousands of police forces set up blockades with riot gear. It seems a little overkill to me. In a country that says it's free, on the anniversary of a tragedy for which there are still tons of questions and few answers, allowing the families to protest seems fair. But the police response has been criticized as overkill and brutal. 

Children who were pretty as flowers
Children at an age as pretty as flowers
They flew away like flower petals 

If your hands let it go, you will lose it
If your thoughts forget it, you will forget it

For me, my heart just aches for the empty desks in Danwon High School. The sad consequence of having increasingly available technology means that once the belongings of some students were recovered, the pictures and videos taken by the now gone students show inside the ship before it completely capsized, and it shows the students waiting to be rescued and jokingly (with increasing seriousness) saying goodbye to loved ones. How sad it must be for parents to hear their children's voices asking "When will the save us?" as they wait for a rescue operation that really never came to pass. How heartbreaking it must be to hear their children's voices one more time, saying "I love you" or wondering if the will be saved...

The classrooms have been left as memorials to more than
250 students and teachers that died on the Sewol

Being here when tragedy struck, I cannot explain how hard this has hit me. Other things are very tragic, but the fact that this tragedy was so preventable on so many fronts is what haunts people the most. Every few weeks or so, something makes me think of the students who lost their lives because of bureaucratic idiocy. Sometimes it's just my kids laughing in the hallways or when I see groups of students in their uniforms on the street. A bit of yellow ribbon hangs on many backpacks, once a symbol for hope for survivors, now a memorial to all those that died... While live goes on and people start to move on, I am continually reminded of the event here and I think it is not far from anyone's mind over here...

friends leave flowers, pictures, notes and even snacks, like Honey Butter
Chips, on desks, in memory of the crazes and memories
they never got to share

After such a sad and solemn day, even I found it hard to continue on with the week. How sad the parents must feel. How angry. I hope that the protests amount to something and Korea can work on healing from this tragedy. A year has passed, but the wounds seem just as raw as they did on the day of the sinking and the frantic days after...

My 3rd graders had a field trip on Friday, so I didn't have to teach, which was well and good, because I was not feeling it. I headed over to Cesca's after school to just relax after a draining end of the week.

people are gross

On Saturday, my friend Jenn was having a birthday party!! We headed over to the Mokdong gun club to shoot some things up.

I chose to shoot this one specifically because
I love the drama City Hunter and that's the one
Lee Min Ho uses. 

They had lots of options

I somehow ended up going first

Not the best but I had a good time! 

Now, I'm not that into guns or gun ownership, but a place with experts and highly supervised usage? That I can agree with! I wanna find archery next...

After getting our adrenaline pumped Cesca and I met up with Sarah in Hongdae to just chill and get food. We wandered around until the rain made it's return and we called it a night.

I've been wanting to try this forever

Cesca shows here unparalleled joy at getting
to try this delicious treat

And also her confusion at the random English
on things. What is this?!?!?

On Sunday, we headed to dance class again, this time to learn the first half of Miss A's "Only You." Miss A is really popular here, and I love this song. While it was also difficult (it's faster and more intricate than it looks at first glance), I feel like we learned it better and the moves made more sense than last week's.

Cesca and I have big plans for the next few weekends, so we can't go to class, but look forward to some pretty cool updates. 

I hope this week was great for everyone. It's rainy today and will be tomorrow, but after that, the weather looks like it will be fantastic. It may be late, but I'm glad spring has kinda sprung!


Full disclosure, I don't listen to BTS, nor have I listened to this song more than once. They tend to be more of a pop rap group, and they're all younger than me, so I'll pass. They are pretty popular, but what caught my eye about this was a friend saying that it was an interesting stand against the Korean education system, which it totally is. It seems to criticize the Korean style memorization method that so many perpetuate here. The Western world only sees the test scores and tends to overly romanticize the school system here. They may be top scorers, but keep in mind that their students are some of the least happy in the OECD... Anyway, it was interesting to see an MV take a stand against this style of learning.

In a release that I will be listening to foreverr (I already downloaded this song), it's Heechul and TRAX guitarist Jungmo with an adorably upbeat number with a hilarious video (that girl's got some patience, man...). Heechul is silly, adorable, and a guy who marches to the beat of his own drum. It's awesome. Even tho the lyrics of the song are quite sad, because it's basically him wondering why he's so alone and why everyone else is in love except him... But it's so upbeat and quirky that it hides the sad well.

 Plus, who doesn't love a hot guitarist with pink hair?

1 comment:

  1. Hello Christina. So good to know you through your profile on the blogger. I am also glad to stop by your blog post and see those beautiful Korean dishes. I am from Mumbai, India the other part of the world but you are already in the other part of the world. I am in the Pastoral ministry for last 37yrs in the great city of Mumbai a city with great contrast where richest of rich and the poorest of poor live. We reach out to the poorest of poor with the love of Christ to bring healing to the broken hearted. We also encourage young and the adults from the West to come to Mumbai to work with us during their vacation time. We would love to have you come to Mumbai with your twin sister and other friends too to work with us during your vacation time. Since you are in Korea it would be easy for you come for couple of weeks to Mumbai to work with us. We can then take you around and show you the places of tourist interest such as Taj Mahel one of the seven wonders. I am sure this would be a memorable trip to Mumbai, India and also working in the slums with the poorest of poor will be a life changing experience. My email id is: dhwankhede(at)gmail(dot)com and my name is Diwakar Wankhede. Looking forward to hear from you. God's richest blessings on you and your sister.