Semi-Charmed City

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Due to the violent protests that now have broken out in my home city of Baltimore, MD, and being so far away from it, I haven’t been able to really wrap my head and feelings around it.

Yes when I was living in America I followed the two previous cases, but I never thought that the rioting and violent protesting would happen in Baltimore.

While listening to this rather stirring piece of music I decided to put my thoughts and feelings down into writing.  now I’m not saying i’m a poet or writer of any great magnitude, but it helped me put my head in a place where I no longer feel frazzeled by the events going on. So if it’s helps anyone even a little bit than it’s done it’s job.

It was written to the song “De Wolfe Music Elation 1”

 

Semi-charmed City

 

So far from home,

it feels like I can’t control,

the fear and the anger abroad shaking my old world.

 

A life I once knew,

I never saw the truth,

for it seemed like nothing new, but how it’s changed.

 

Unable to see.

How could this be?

The same question echoes with no one left to hear.

 

Here in this life,

can’t sanctify

the pain and sadness of those who now are gone.

 

Destroying a city, won’t change it.

Hitting your friends, won’t mend it.

Abandoning all hope, will always let fear win.

 

Those who believe,

please try to see

every life is worth so much more than hate.

 

Shattered and lost.

Divided and shamed.

Alone and broken apart are who we are.

 

What can I do, I’m useless?

Too far away to help you.

Stand by your side is all that I could have done

 

Be strong and survive this time.

We must get past this with help.

Allow healing into your life and try to move on.

 

Gather together to create

and learn to forgive each other

for the future you want your children to live to see.

 

 

But now it’s clear.

And now it’s here.

There’s no use ignoring

What has become….

 

…of my hometown.

Where those whom I love

still linger in the darkness that will pass.

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Breaking Bank / Fast and Furious: Namsan Climb

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Despite having only one class on Friday somehow I have managed to become busy at work. So I am updating on a Sunday.  It’s rainy and I’m tired so today will be the first time in about a month I’ve stayed in the apartment-so cleaning day!

So last time we left off I had just returned from Busan.  The train ride was actually pretty nice even though it was a 4 hour train ride.  But the seats reclined well and I had my Beats headphones so really I was happy.

The rest of the week went by fast, nothing major happened. Usually the weekdays keep me pretty busy so I don’t have too much time to be lonely.  I’ve even become a regular at my local Yoger Presso-they know my drink order.

But the previous two weeks I had something to do-Seoul and Busan.  So I had been a little worried that I would be stuck in my apartment all alone with nothing to do.

But hey, i’m in Korea, and the weather is becoming nicer so… I took my first solo trip into Seoul!  I planned the entire thing myself with some help from co workers.  Despite being told a subway map is old fashioned, it sure helped me the most!  I could see where certain stations lines went and how to transfer and connect…in short it was a life saver.

I knew i wanted to spend the entire day there so I woke up early on Saturday and took the train in.  Instead of the subway like last time, which took almost 2 hours standing, I took the “regional” rail.  It was only an hour and even though I bought standing, I was able to sit down in the stair well for most of the trip.

It wasn’t too expensive either-like 5 dollars?

When I was in Seoul for Vixx I really only got to see South of the river and a little bit of NW of the city.  But this time I took the train into Seoul Station.

I was able to get to the subway line at the Seoul Station-Line 4 to get to Namdaemun Market, Namsan/Myeongdong.

I had made plans to go to Namdaemun Market.  It was INSANE! There were so many people!  In Korea, personal space doesn’t exist and neither do the words “Excuse me.”  I still have yet to become accustomed to being bumped harshly without an apology.  Some lady even  had been so on top of me that her sweater caught on my bag.  She got mad that it had pulled the fabric-sorry lady no apology from me.  If you’re that close to my bag that you’re going to get your sweater caught than that’s your problem.

Afterwards, needing air! I went to Myeongdong.  Basically it’s like a shoppers paradise.  There are so many stores you can get yourself lost.  The amount of skin care stores in insane.  I must have passed at least 3 different nature republics, 4 atriums, 3 etude houses….it’s like starbucks in NYC-one on every corner…and then some.  That day there also was some kind of event going on with a kdrama star promoting a store.

After I tried to find the cable car.  Sadly I was only able to find the trail and  I wasn’t really dressed for hiking up the mountain.  I walked for about 20 min before turning back.  I still had other places I wanted to hit.

I headed over to Hongdae, hoping that the Eastern Social Welfare Society would be open.  It wasn’t open officially but the reception lady upon hearing that I was adopted from the agency 25 years ago allowed me to go and see the babies.  It was a jarring experience and sad.  Yes these babies were well looked after, and they even had volunteers helping, but there were so many of them.

After spending about an hour, I chose to explore more of Hongdae.  I found an American Breakfast diner where I ate real pancakes, listened to country music, and even watched american ESPN.  It was nice.  Who knew I would be that happy to see the red sox play the yankees and hear twangy songs about whiskey and heartbreak?

I still had an hour or so to kill so I attempted to find the main drag.  I managed to find it!  Right before the night crowd hit so it was crowded but manageable.  There were tons of shops and things to eat. The kids here were more unique looking than what I have seen so far in Korea.  Typically, I’ve seen designer labels, where everyone looks the same.  In Hongdae, it was all about being different.  It was a nice change.

What also was nice, really really nice, was despite the large volume of people, shoving and bumping rudely wasn’t as prominent. Maybe because there weren’t elders around.

Due to time I had to rush back to the train station and didn’t get to stay as long as I liked. I managed to get home by around 830 and promptly felt as if my ankles and legs were about to fall off my body.  I had no plans but staying in the next day.

However, I decided to head into Suwon.  It is an easy subway ride from my area, about 30 min on the main blue line, Line 1. There is a grocery store in the bottom of the station-with a whole section of American food-I found popcorn, goldfish, BUTTER, campbell soup! It was almost too good to be true.

It was an exhausting weekend but it kept my mind occupied.  It also left me limping for the following two days.

Last Wednesday I had Parents Open class.  Basically it was  when parents would be able to visit and observe the class.  Everyone was super nervous about it.  I was less worried, more stressed that for one single lesson I needed to prep for three  different lesson plans.  The class itself went relatively smoothly.

The school week is going by faster and faster each week.  Last month, March, went by so slowly for me.  April is going by much faster.  My hope is that each month will continue to increase in time.

I had planned on staying in this weekend but decided….why the hell not go back to Seoul and climb Namsan to get to the top.  I didn’t stress as much this weekend because I knew where I was going .  I woke up a little bit later and dressed properly for the hike up the mountain.

I took the train in and headed right for Namsan.  It was a beautiful day and I was prepared to tackle this mountain.  If only I had know.

I looked up online that there were a few ways to make it to the top: 1. Cable car 2. Bus, 3. Hike (there are like 3 different kind of paths for this).  I wanted to hike up using the circular path which takes about 3 hours.  Sadly I wound up finding the dreaded stair path.

It’s about a mile of stairs.

Straight up.

Hell.

The first 10 minutes or so I thought I was not going to make it.  The sun was glaring down on me. I was sweating.  It sucked.

But then….I saw children, elders, pregnant women….women in full business suits and HEELS! So I knew then that I had to climb to the top no matter what.

And after about 35 min or so I made it!

The views were a reward in and of itself.  The natural beauty of the mountains surrounding the urbanization of  city was incredible to see.

I did the tourist thing-bought my lock, went to the observatory, and even took in the “culture” show.  I spent a long time up there but due to the fact that I climbed STAIRS (which everyone knows I hate) to the top I intended on taking my time before coming back down.

Now as bad as the climb up was, the climb down was perilous.  The stairs were uneven at times, and were sloped down-so you constantly felt like you were about to face plant off the mountain.  I would recommend taking the cable car down if you’re unsure of your footing.

By the time i reached the bottom, my legs were spasming so badly that all the thoughts of going to the World Cup stadium and  gwangjang market were gone.  I wound up sending the rest of the day shopping in Myeongdong.  I bought the new Laneige product Superberry extract, a new pair of glasses and lenses (which took about 40 min and 180$) and even found a puppy cafe!

The puppy cafe was the highlight of the day.  It had been so long since I had been able to pet a dog.  I have never gone that long without petting a dog before so needless to say it was overwhelming.  They had pugs, mutts, long haired doxies, and even….a border collie!  I had assumed they would have smaller dogs due to the fact that most Koreans seems be afraid of animals over 10 lbs.  But they had a great pyrenees and an afghan  hound.  I made friends with a little white maltese mix who loved belly rubs.  But I was really interested in the border collie.  Like my own Logan, he was a little aloof but he seemed to enjoy me giving him ear scratches and belly rubs and butt scratches.  It made me happy and sad at the same time.  It made me miss my Logan more than I have in all the time i’ve been here.

It also helped solidify the fact that I want to move to Seoul next contract.  The Anglican church, the subway accessibility, dog cafe, shopping…everything about the city I love.

As for today, my hip flexors are shot from the climb yesterday.  It’s also raining.  I had planned on doing laundry but so far, I’ve made oatmeal for breakfast, and currently watching Transformers 4.  I think today I might actually sit back and do nothing.  But i’m already looking towards next weekend-World Cup Stadium I think so!

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Candle

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My candle is lit

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real american condiments

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American breakfast joint

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Myeongdong

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myeongdong

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altar

Next time on the real black and white dog archives: hopefully I will be a little more witty and less blank-I realize this post probably sounded really boring and had no personality to it-but honestly I’m still wiped from yesterday. SORRY! 🙂

namsan park

namsan park

shrine

shrine

namsan park

namsan park

coming out of seoul station

coming out of seoul station

flower cotton candy

flower cotton candy

Hongdae

Hongdae

climbing the stairs to the top

climbing the stairs to the top

mountains

mountains

the extremes-mountains and city

the extremes-mountains and city

popular pagoda

popular pagoda

culture show-music and weapons

culture show-music and weapons

my lock

my lock

observatory

observatory

new product from Laneige -superberry extract

new product from Laneige -superberry extract

dog cafe!

dog cafe!

view from the top of the observatory

view from the top of the observatory

Seoul Catholic Cathedral

Seoul Catholic Cathedral

Market that became crazy busy

Market that became crazy busy

The Fellowship of the Kpop (world)…and Busan

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Busan train station at night

Busan train station at night

Like ViXX security was crazy about picture taking

Like ViXX security was crazy about picture taking

my train to Busan-slowly became more and more empty

my train to Busan-slowly became more and more empty

street full of shopping and places to eat with a pretty mountain in the background

street full of shopping and places to eat with a pretty mountain in the background

"Alice Table" or as I call it "That BTS Cafe place"

“Alice Table” or as I call it “That BTS Cafe place”

my delish vanilla latte-it was a heart but then I moved it and it became a weird circle thing

my delish vanilla latte-it was a heart but then I moved it and it became a weird circle thing

Whitney loving it-She heard BTS Japanese album and said "I need to go buy that now."

Whitney loving it-She heard BTS Japanese album and said “I need to go buy that now.”

Outside KBS Busan Hall with storm clouds rolling in

Outside KBS Busan Hall with storm clouds rolling in

Ilhoon :)

Ilhoon 🙂

As previously mentioned, I finally will be able to “talk” about Busan!  It’s been a really really weird week.  Usually to me the school week goes by pretty fast until Friday hits.  However this week was a combination of boredom and stress.  Why you may ask-All of my classes were cancelled on Wednesday leaving me with nothing to do. From 9-440.

BUT at the same time I was informed that I would have to plan three lesson plans for the same lesson because 1. we are having a parents visit next week which means special condensed lesson plan 2. an added on longer version of said condesned lesson plan with co teacher 1 3. and a completely reworked lesson plan with co teacher 2.

So yes while I was half bored to tears half the time, I was also immesley stressed trying to figure out how to create three different lesson plans for the same lesson.

CRAZY.

Now that that mess is taken care of (wrap it up and send it away to the most outer regions of space) we shall dive right into happier Busan times.

TRAIN INFO (Pyeongtaek to Busan)

I think I mentioned in the previous post that I left for Busan on a Friday evening and wound up arrive at around 9pm.  It was a surprisingly comfortable trip despite the fact I was next to a stranger the better part of 4 hours.

In case anyone cares about the actual travel portion-I took the Saemauel ITX train to Busan from Pyeongtaek AK Plaza for 66,000 round trip.  The train itself was clean and relatively comfy.  You are assigned a seat unlike American-Amtrak-where the seats are a free for all, so yes you do need to reserve a seat online or at the ticket counter a head of time.  I have been informed that those tickets tend to sell out fast so it’s recommended you go a head and buy them as soon as you can.

Also I am not super chunky but I’m also not the Korean standard of 100lbs for women so the seats were not as wide as those cushy Amtrak seats.  I wasn’t uncomfortable and I had no issue but I can forsee this as an issue if you are in fact on the larger size-also the middle arm rest is not moveable so you are stuck in the space you are given with no real wiggle room.

Now the train was on time and the seats were pretty comfy.  The recline was really nice, and I def. was able to sleep both ways.  I believe they have a snack car but I brought my own water and food to make it and not have to wander around the train too much.

I do wish I could have gotten a window seat because the scenary was very interesting but I had to look over my seat mate (awkward ) or across the aisle (even way way more awkward) to see outside.  We passed by a of mountains, really cute towns, some lakes (I think) but when we finally got close to Busan there was so much neon I thought I had arrived in Macau instead.

My train station AK plaza is big with a ton of shops and a movie theater.  However compared to the Busan train station it is miniscule.  Busan looks like an airport.  It has so much in it and the sheer size of it is overwhelming.

I met my friend Whitney and then we went back to her place.  We rode the subway (t money card!) and it took like a half an hour or so.  She lives right down the street from her subway stop.  I’m supremely jealous.  That was one thing I had requested in my  application-there is unending happiness when you can literally take the subway anywhere.

Korean Apartments And Whitney’s Shrine to KPOP

Her apartment is much more modern than mine with the really cool keycode lock. I have two sets of keys.  Much less cool.  Inside though it is much smaller.  It’s the size of a very small studio with a bathroom (more on that later) and a narrow kitchen.  But man has she decorated it-it’s like a shrine to Kpop.  I have never seen a collection so extensive before.  Posters everywhere, 5 different lightsticks, a ton of music, random things, pillows, the list is endless. I knew Whitney was crazy about Kpop but damn! I was half wigged out by the sheer amount and half really jealous.

Because I had spent the day at school and then traveled for 4 hours on a train I was supremely gross. So I went to take a shower-NEWSFLASH! Showers and bathrooms in Korea are NOT like home.

I am lucky enough to have a decent size bathroom-a western toliet, a sink, and a tub with a shower head-I did have to add the shower pole and curtain myself which is not a big deal.

I was quick to realize though HOW lucky I actually am.  In Korea the toliet, sink, and shower head are all in one square room.  That’s right no seperate space for the shower.  If you google “Korean bathroom” you will understand what I am failing at explaining to you. People buy flip flops for the bathroom because after you shower everything is pretty much soaked so you’re feet will get wet if you want to go to the bathrrom.

It was an experience unlike any other for me.  It was uncomfrotable and awkward.  I guess if you’re the only person in the apartment than it’s not a big deal but it would be something I would have to become accutomed to like Whitney.

I was so exhausted I quickly passed out on Whitneys “GOT7 Jackson” pillow which was surprisingly comfortable.

Busan Shopping: Record Stores that will make you miss the days before iTunes

The next morning we slept in, took our time getting ready and then headed out for a fun day shopping in Busan before the BTOB concert.

It was windy that day which caused us to wear extra layers of clothes but it wasn’t completely unpleasent.  We took the subway to some underground shopping mall (I will update with the name when I find out) but we were so hungry (I had not had a proper meal since lunch the day before at school) we went to lunch first.  I hadn’t had western food in such a long time that we wound up going for Italian at a restaraunt nearby (once again when I find the names of these places I will update).  We got the creamy seafood pasta and french fries which were amazing.  I don’t know if it was the combo of being so hungry and not having western food in over a month, or the fact it was actually really good but we eat the entire plate-think like a giant skillet.  It was so good. It has piece of squid, scallops (I think?), pasta, mussels was just amazing.

Afterwards we went to the record store she frequents.  When I think of record store I think of second hand vinyl record dusty store that smells faintly of must. THIS IS NOT THE CASE! Record Store in Korea is like a mecca for music lovers.  Not only do they have the biggest selection of Kpop music (seriously its amazing) but they have an extensive selection of western music-from both america and Europe-some of the CD’s they had were ones that I had wanted when I went through my British Pop Group phase (Girls Aloud /Westlife).  It was really something else to behold.

Also not only did they have CDs, DVDs, but CASSETTE TAPES. That’s right.  Those things after 8tracks and before CD’s.  I was so in shock that I must have gushed over them for a solid mintue.

I didn’t want to bore Whitney (who said she could never be bored in Syannara Records) so I tried to limit myself.  There was just so much to see and look through.  I wound up looking through the Kpop section.  Here’s a little bit of information about Kpop Albums.  They aren’t just in little plastic CD cases with the album cover and a list of the songs on the back.  These things are huge with a generous size photo book, photocards and some come with posters.

In America most people have switched over to buying music on iTunes. I admit most of the time I will buy my music online because it’s easier.  There are rare times when I will get the physical copy-and usually I have to order amazon because American stores just no longer carry the wide seletcion of music.

The art of going to the store, wandering and picking up your copy has not been lost in Korea and it’s really enjoyable.  The thrill of buying the album!

I picked up Vixx’s latest album and then we headed out to go to a cafe.

Sidenote: there was a group of school girls handing around the EXO section-Whitney guessed they were having an “EXO” buying party.  I still stand by the fact that EXO fans just so off putting I don’t even bother with the band.

BTS Cafe and Underground Mall

We headed over to “Alice Table” for drinks.  As I mentioned Whitney is a HUGE BTS fan. She explained to me that most of her paycheck goes towards BTS merch (as I’ve said before that means merchandise to those of us who are less wordly about buying ….stuff).

The cafe is cute.  With the menu cover being a picture of the “Alice in Wonderland” story and the cafe taking it’s name from said story, one would think the inside would be somehow related the child’s tale.

Apparently though it has changed a lot since BTS has become a better known band. There are so many pictures of the band with their songs on a loop played in the background.  It’s very cute to see how proud the dad is of his son (I think it’s Park Ji Min but I’m not sure…as you can see I don’t really know them at all). The owner is so nice and very friendly.  He recognized my friend right away.  He goes around from table to table to check on his patrons.

After having a really good Vanilla Latte (my first drink with “latte art”) we went shopping.  We went back underground and I dropped about 160$ on makeup and face products.  We didn’t do too much because we had to get to the concert but it was probably for the best.  I can be cheap (frugal) but most of the time…I’m not.  I just can’t help it.

We went back to her place, dropped off my bags and then headed to the concert.

BTOB Concert no longer was playing on my computer screen!

Now I had brought my umbrella with me, checking the weather for Busan prior.  And that Saturday, while it was mostly sunny, it was obvious it was going to pour.  But silly me, I left my umbrella at Whitney’s place thinking “I’ll be okay.”

We arrive at the venue and the first thing I see upon exiting the subway station was dark clouds.  I said to Whitney “It’s going to pour.” Oh if I only knew.

The venue was the KBS hall and it was a short walk. Whitney got her new “slogan towel” (I’m still trying to figure out what that means) and I bought a bag with the name of the concert on it.  We ran into a friend of her who was also there with her friend. Thank god we did because Whitney had gotten standing and I had not so we were going to be seperated from each other.  I wound up having seats exactly next to her friend.  It was bizarre-of all the places.

Whitney wound up going in first but we texted the entire time.  She wound up being pretty close to the front of the stage and I was on the second floor. Due to “fortunate circumstances” Whitney’s friends and I wound up being much closer to the stage on the first floor.

The concert was so good!  It was crazy!  Right before I left America for Korea I had really gotten into BTOB.  So seeing them live was so surreal and amazing.   They weren’t on my 13inch laptop screen anymore.

At one point they went into the audience and we got to touch their hands and it was…no words.  They put on a really good show and perform so well live.

When I met Whitney afterwards I asked her if she started crying during the ballad (she had admitted to tearing up during Vixx) .  She said she was crying way before that. Sometimes I get the crying thing but most of the time I don’t-however if that’s how she felt in that moment than more power to her.

She also had managed to get us a bunch of the “Hello Melody Busan” posters.  After saying our goodbyes we headed back to her apartment and then I crashed on the “BTOB” Beep Beep pillow-this was of course after both Whitney and I had come down from our concert highs.

The next morning I did have to leave for the train station to head back home because me train left at 11. I was in and out of sleep for the ride home.

And after a little look around the shopping mall part of the train station I wound up at my apartment with a little daylight to spare.  I was so tired that I didn’t do my laundry.  That’s right I now had two weeks of laundry to do. It cost me 14$ and an hour and a half to do the following day but it was worth it.

I really loved Busan.  It was awesome to be able to see mountains peaking from behind the buildings.  The energy was great and the subway took you just about anywhere.  I admit my jealousy over Whitney’s more desirable location.

Because I have been struggling with the decision to stay another year in Korea or move back home, I wanted to used Seoul and Busan as testing grounds.  Busan was amazing and I hope when I got back I can see more of the city and sights.

However, Seoul was just so amazing and there was always so much to see and do.  I feel like living in a city like that would give me the better experience I feel that I am slightly lacking in my current location.  I plan on heading up to Seoul tomorrow to check out Myeongdong shopping and Yeouido Cherry Blossom festival. Despite having spent the last two weekends travelling like a bird mirgating back and forth, I think that instead of sitting my apartment watching TV and eating alone, exploring Seoul and being a little tired is the clear winner.

Misc.

Random little dribbles that don’t fit anywhere but I find extremely entertaining and hope you do too.

I had tried to get tickets for Big Bang’s comeback-yeah right. As soon as 8pm hit on Monday I clicked on the button and nothing happened.  It was insane and stupid and just made no sense.  I think if it was a year and a half ago I would have been crying like some of Whitney’s co workers.  However because that has cooled off, I wasn’t as upset-I also knew going into the ticket sale that it was going to be like this so it pretty much matched my expectations.

I looked a little around on the sight and saw that my Maroon 5 would be in Korea in September.  My colleague recently has started talking to me about Maroon 5 and her love for them.  I had considered going but I’ve seen Maroon 5 already and who knows what possible other concerts will be around that time.

I told my colleague about it and she was so excited-it had turned out that the tickets went on sale that night-she got standing and now she is so thankful and happy she will be seeing them in September.

Wow this post turned out to be so much longer than I expected but Busan was so packed and I really didn’t want to split it like Seoul.

Until next week.

Next time of The Real Black and White Dog Archives of Korea: My solo trip to Seoul, the discovery of gmarket incahoots with my dissappearnce of money, banking puzzles, and parent’s visit day.

Do you believe in teaching?

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Because I want to hold off on my awesome Busan trip until Friday today I decided to dedicate the amazing blog of me to my actual job in Korea.

No I don’t actually just run around and shop and eat and go places I actually work believe it or not.

So…teaching in Korea.

I’m sure you’ve all heard the horror stories. Nightmare co teachers, psycho bosses, not getting paid on time.

Luckily I am working for the GEPIK program so I am with a public school and do not have the worry of working at a hagwon.  I can’t really comment too much on hagwons because I have no personal experience.  I will say my friend Emily works at a hagwon.  She is paid in cash and on time.  She really lucked out as far as the adminstration part but she does work her ass off.  From 130-930 she is non stop work.

I chose to go with a public school because it’s more structured and as a first time teacher I really wanted to take off the added pressure of having to make up entire lessons from scratch while balancing a new profession in a new country.

My school is in the resdiential section of Pyeongtaek-Si so it’s about  a 5-6 min  cab ride from downtown (AK plaza/ train station).  It’s an elementry school 1-6 grade.

I have two co teachers.  They are complete oppposites. The first one is very strict with just about everyone.  The kids all seem afraid of her.

Pros: they rarely act out, or misbehave and when they do they are “punished” (made to copy lines over and over) which causes them to never do it again, they really pay attention in class

Cons: because they are so in line they don’t really seem to have personalities.  They are great students but I feel like we can never really have fun. I want them to learn but also enjoy English because if they see it as a burden then I don’t think that increases their interest in the subject.  She also tends to steam roll me a lot or undermine me.

I was told that I should lead the class but if there is one second where I pause or where they children look confused, before I can even attempt to fix it she jumps in and immdietly pushes me aside.  I understand maybe she is trying to help me and the students but I wish she would at least try to let me fix it otherwise I can’t fully take control like she keeps telling me too.  I also was put in charge of my cleaning crew which is a group of third graders who clean MWF.  I always go in and help them or talk to them and we have formed a positive relationship.  They are very cute and willing and work hard.  But when I had to leave for an errand and came back they were very quiet and sad.  It turned out that my co teacher had yelled at them and then told their homeroom teacher.  I understand they can be loud but they are just so willing to do anything that seemed unnecssary to reprimand them in such a way.

My second co teacher is closer to my age and also a first time teacher.  I have most of classes with him.  Because he’s new we are struggling through the pains of first time teaching together which is good a bad.

Pros

He is a very kind and patient teacher.  He hardly gets mad or angry at the students despite their less than positive attitude at times.  He also lets me take control of the class and always is there to support and translate anything.  We always have fun in the class and the students never seem like they are holding back on activities because they are afraid of being yelled at. He listens to my ideas and I listen to him so I  think we have a very good give and take working relationship. I feel more comfortable and relaxed and enjoy teaching more because I don’t feel like I’m being heavily monitored or graded but I feel more like an equal share.

Cons

Because we are both new time teachers sometimes when I can’t get the students attention I would like it more if he would speak up.  Because I can’t really scold them due to the language barrier I do wish he would speak up  a little more.  He recently has done this but he told me that students will take pictures of teachers they don’t like and send it to the board of education to have the teachers fired -this is why I assume he’s afraid of punishing the children even when I think they deserve it.

I know I sound super whiny and like a complainers but these are simply observations I have found in my month here so far.  I know a lot of my friends have much worse co-teachers.  I am lucky that my male co teacher allows me to call him whenever and help me out SO much (cell phone, internet, bank etc).  But sometimes I do feel a little stressed in the classroom.

I know that there will always be struggles at a job and there will be people you don’t like etc. These are just simply my feelings and my personal account. I do have a great position at a nice school but not everything is perfect and teaching in Korea is just that.

I left my heart….in Seoul

Standard
"crypt" English service

“crypt” English service

24 years later

24 years later

Classic tribute to the song “I left my heart in san francisco”. However I did NOT leave my heart in S.F. just a but load of money and taxes thank you California.

I do realize that it has been about a week and a half since the last update.  However I have a really really really….really good excuse like I do with everything in life that I fail at.

I was busy.  Seriously. Like So busy. If you read last post (and everyone immedietly goes to read last post)  then you would know I was all over Seoul.  This past weekend I went to Busan.  Not to mention two weeks of laundry, dealing with a locked phone, and reorganizing my apartment.

But let’s start where we left off shall we?

SIDE NOTE: Yes i’ve begun to add pictures However I’m really dumb and I don’t know how to insert them where I want-so they are kind of all over the place. Again….sorry.

Seoul – maybe I’ve become accustomed to cities but other than the always crowded subway I found that Seoul was no worse than NYC.

I was told “Seoul is it’s own beast”/”seoul is like NYC on crack”. It was neither. I loved it.

After Vixx concert which was amazing, I spent the following morning going to church.

Easy right?

For the most part yes.  Now I will say this about Seoul metro-it is not always simple.  There will be times when one line will branch off into two seperate directions and take you the wrong way.  There are times when a simple thing like exiting out of the underground station can mean the difference between being literally next to your stop or five blocks away.

Luckily there is an app (free) called Seoul Subway-it’s blue and has a picture of a train on it.  USE IT!

Anyway back to church.  It took me a little bit longer than I anticipated. Like an hour from the time I left my hostel to the time I got to the church.  Mind you this is still in Seoul.  That’s how big the city is.   I found the church and only arrived 15 minutes late which wound up being not too late.

I’m a baptized episcopalian aka american anglican. This was the Seoul Anglican Cathedral.  It was huge.  Sadly the English service was relegated to the basement. Still nice, but I didn’t really get to see the inside of the cathedral.

outside of cathedral

outside of cathedral

Seoul Anglican Cathedral

Seoul Anglican Cathedral

chicken from heaven

chicken from heaven

Hangang Citizens Park Yeouido

Hangang Citizens Park Yeouido

Yeouido Park

Yeouido Park

It was a really nice service and almost felt like home.  I don’t know if it was the fact I was slightly worn out, feeling shockingly homesick or the fact I hadn’t been to church in over month but I admittedly started crying in the middle of the first reading.  I had to excuse myself to the bathroom-get it together-and return for the rest of the service.  I managed to hold it together and actually felt a little better afterwards.  I had been feeling moments of homesickness but I had been able to push them away.  But not in church.  I guess it’s true-you can’t lie in church.

How I desperately wish I lived in Seoul if only to attend church.  I’m glad that despite the 1 1/2 hour subway ride each way, I have found a place for christmas serivce.

After service ended I spent the rest of the day wandering around Seoul.  I wanted to hit up my adoption agency.  It was about 2 stops down from the church in Hongdae.

I had a feeling it wasn’t going to be open but it was still interesting to go to.  It was very close to the subway station which is good when I go back for a proper visit.  I will update you when I go.  I had planned on doing some shopping in Seoul but…there was just like nothing to buy.  I guess I wasn’t in the mood to really just “get lost” and really explore because I was on a time table. So clearly…shopping fail.

By this time I hadn’t eaten so…..I was PAINGRY! Yes I said paingry.  A term my dear old co worker used to use when she was so hungry she was angry.

I wound up findng a really nice place in Yeouido to eat an “Earl Grey” macaron-something I’ve been looking for for a long long long so long like August 2014 long time. And it was amazing.  No mom, don’t worry I didn’t just eat sweets. I found a street vendor in the Hangan Park-marinated chicken and green onion on a stick. It was so delicious and I was so beyond hungry

Yeouido was so pretty.  It was so nice to relax with actual grass.  You will find when you come to Korea that grass is nonexistent-every piece of land that grass could grow on is used as farming. So Yeouido was a nice GREEN change.

I wound up sitting on the steps for a little while, not wanting to leave. Why oh why did I live so far away?  But soon I had to head back to my town-1 1/2 hours south by subway.

It was the subway from hell.  I was already on edge because I was tired and my back hurt from lugging that full backpack around all day.  To top it off, everyone else and their entire extended family was leaving at the same time I was so I stood with my backpack for the entire ride home.  Like I said last post-subway ride from hell.

I got back with daylight to spare but I was so tired I didn’t bother with my laundry.  I figured I would get it done during the week.  Oh how wrong I was.

So that was part 2 to my seoul adventure.

I hope it was enjoyable.  If not….then don’t read next post.  Duh.

Next time on the real black and white dog archives of Korea: Busan Trip: catching up on (or not) weekend chores, train ride to Busan (all 4 hours each way), shopping and eating in Busan, BTOB concert, realizing I have two weeks worth of laundry needing to be finished.

UPDATE: I was just informed that both of my clases AKA ONLY classes tomorrow are cancelled so I will be updating tomorrow because ….I will be bored from 9-310.