I feel Witty, oh so witty

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Today marks first day of my second annual 13 Days of Halloween Song Countdown!

As mentioned prior, last year was a KPOP only theme but this year I decided to add in some other varieties as well.

I will also be updating my usual once a week update today as well.

So to begin…Lesson planning:

So apart from teaching bratty hormonal teenagers 8 times a week, I also teach hyper, daycare as well.

For the better part of almost 2 years I didn’t know how to teach them. I had no plan, no co teacher and worst of all an inconsistent class (some kids go and come day to day).

So there is no real way to make it a formal class -and I’m supposed to “teach” them for an hour.

Well quickly I learned that worksheets only kept them busy if I implicated a sticker system.

After much stress, annoyance and frustration on my part I finally hit a wall-I asked around but no one really had any answers because none of them had my problems.

So I decided to end up using a project I used during summer vacation.

I altered it for 1st and 2nd graders. Instead of 6 new words and 5 phrases I just used 6 new vocabulary words, a review of 8 (they have to look back at the previous worksheets or do it from memory). They listen to me and write it once in Korean and twice in English.

Then we watch the movie-because they are so young I am afraid they can’t read fast enough or well enough so I put the sound on in Korean and the subtitles on in English. After we watch about 10-12 minutes of the movie we go back of the words .

Like I said it’s not much but  the kids have really become much more manageable, and they never want me to turn the movie off.

Some of them even have become great with remembering the vocab words.

I decided to use Mulan as the starter movie-it  has music, action, comedy and it’s “asian”. They kids (especially the boys) weren’t really happy about it but now they are obsessed with it.I used Tangled and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (I would advise against this because of all the food puns-they don’t translate well) but you can use almost any movie.

It teaches the kids some new words, you get them writing in English (something that is very important because parents apparently only want to see their kids writing in English-it’s not as important if they can’t read or speak it I guess) and then you get to keep them quiet for about 10 minutes. All in all…a win for everyone.

Music Review:

Today I will be using this slot for my first day of 13 Day Halloween Song countdown.

What better way than to start it off with “Thriller”.

Such an iconic song and Music Video and it fits perfectly with the theme.

Now this was way before my time so I didn’t really understand why this was such a big deal-the dance- the music video never looked overly impressive to me. But when I got older and realized it was a pioneer of sorts in that regard, I understood that it was really the first time anyone had done that.

Nowadays (especially in Western Music) the idea of a MV has really gone down. I think that’s why people enjoy KPOP-the quality and sets and costumes are just done like no other. It’s something you don’t get when you listen to One Direction.

Travel:

Sadly despite getting paid I have not been able to travel-this weekend was mostly spent in a 7 hour rehearsal and then being lazy on Sunday.

However this upcoming Saturday I am finally going to the Lotte Family Concert in Jamsil (AKA I get to see Mamamoo and EXO!!!!!!!!! Can you guess I’m excited?)

But the following week I finally have some time and the means to go to Goyang. I’ve been wanting to go hiking for a while and especially now that the leaves are starting to turn colors (this sadly did not happen in Seoraksan because it was still very warm at the time I went).

I also wanted to get a feel for the area up there as I plan on trying to find a job there this coming March.

So that’s it-a short post but nothing too exciting has been happening lately. Tomrrow I will update with the second day of my 13 days of Halloween countdown.

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You can call me Monster (teacher)

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Ok so I am still attempting to update at least once a week if only for my only sanity.

This week was …interesting to say the least.

Today I will discussing: lesson plans (specifically dealing with discipline) new music reviews, and because due to funds and time I haven’t been traveling -so I’m actually going to talk about my plans for upcoming Halloween.

Lesson Plans:

Next week when it is in fact closer to Halloween I will talk about fitting that into my lesson plans. But this week’s theme both here on this blog and in my classroom was discipline.

In my school you get two types of teachers-the kind that has their kids well behaved and keeps them in line-and the kind that lets them walk all over.

I teach with one of each.

My one Co is very good at keeping kids in line, sometimes too much that it dampens the kids spirits but they do learn and pay attention well.

Then there is my other Co. Some of our classes are good enough they can take care of themselves without me needing someone to help keep them focused.

Then there are my other classes who are in strong need of something. This week their home room teachers have been mentioned how bad they are.

My 5-4 class is a class I try to get out of the way on Monday. Originally this was a great class but due to one weird trouble maker ( I say this in the fact that he is actually a very quiet student but he teases the other kids so much – I just never hea it because he says it under his breath all the time) they have become a fighting  and loud mess. So to my despair, I wanted to die when their home room teacher said I would teach them again the next day (I don’t know why -we didn’t need to make up a class-I think she just wanted a break from them-according to my Co their homeroom teacher doesn’t like them).

My other 2 loud classes are somewhat similar to 5-4 in nature but each class has their own personalities.

But the question is how do you deal with disruptive classes with a Co who doesn’t realize children need limits and discipline-and when scolding them for being rude maybe not do it with a smile or laughing or making a joke?

The answer? Gotta put your foot down.

I warned my 5-4 class two days in a row-many warnings-and they still acted out -so for two days in a row they stayed late (ran into lunch time) and copied lines.

Most people would say  “use a point system” -we do but these days the kids aren’t as motivated by points as they used to-if  a student is constantly told he loses a point he won’t care anymore and makes a joke of it (it happens). Not to mention that my Co’s only want to have the students cash in the points 4 times during the whole year. So the lure of points and candies kind of fades for them.

I would like to make it more often but My strict Co is very set in her ways as well.

So what can I do?

For me I found the answer was time. I give them 3 warnings -if they get 3 warnings as a class they stay 10 minutes past the end of class. Yes I don’t like wasting my time but if it enforces the kind of behavior that they should have as 5th (almost 6th graders) than that’s all that matters.

Another issue is that my students are told what they need : folder, book, notebook and pencil pouch.

Most students bring these.

But in my classes with my lax Co , many students don’t bring their notebook or didn’t even buy one.

We use it a lot for warm ups. And I’ve asked them many times to bring it -some haven’t even bought them.

I’ve been asking since March. It’s October-they will be 6th graders next march and after that middle schoolers-they need to start taking responsibility -they aren’t 4th graders anymore.

And because as mentioned above, individual points don’t seem to matter, I’ve made the bold choice to take points away from the class a a whole. If one student doesn’t have his notebook the WHOLE class loses a point. If two students don’t have their notebooks the whole class loses 2 points. And so on-today my 5-5 class had 4 students who didn’t bring their books.

It might seem harsh ( my Co openly said “it’s not my decision it’s hers) but I am not going to supply these kids with paper every class because they don’t have an English notebook (like my Co does-this teaches them they never have to bring a notebook which is what happened).

I even told the class “if you can’t buy for a reason please see me after class”. I understand some kids might not be able to afford one and I don’t mind supplying one -the school bought many for me.

In Korea the lack of responsibility is something the WHOLE country top to bottom suffers from. But not in my classroom. Yes I am “only teaching them English” but I am also hoping they learn something else from my class-maybe how to behave or treat others …or learn to try something new…something that is beyond books.

With children I get why they do it “it’s not my fault it’s his”type of thing is common. But they are kids-adults should not be acting like this. It sets a bad example. So I try to teach my kids to be responsible for their actions.

Fighting is a common thing lately (great) but yesterday in my 5-1 class I had a girl and boy fighting. Normally I would let my Co deal with it but all she said was “stop crying” and to the boy “say sorry” which …literally all he said was “sorry.”

But maybe because I was tired of all the fighting or whatever, I had the two of them stay after class, explain to me what happened (hitting and calling one a name) write 2 sentences of an apology in Korean, read it to the other, and then give it to the other.

I didn’t want to coddle them but I didn’t want to just yell at them. I wanted them to actually apologize, know what they are apologizing for and face the other.

I don’t know if they worked or anything but it was better than just letting them walk off mad and crying.

Discpline is something that is so hard for foreign teachers. We are seen as a joke a lot. Many times students don’t believe we go through with our discpline and are shocked when we do. Many students treat out class like a joke (all classes not taught by their home room teacher-music as well) and will act in a way they would never in their home room teacher.

And I understand it’s a different class- a lighter class (they aren’t graded….) and I don’t mind joking or talking about silly things or even being loud in certain times, but when the students cross over into disrespectful territory and bratty behavior…then you have to check them back into line…otherwise you end up like my Co who couldn’t control her open class.

 

New Music:

Since I could talk about music all day and night I will just pick 2 songs (new or new to ME or just old goodies that aren’t popular etc) that I really enjoy.

And I will pick 1 new song I don’t really care for. This isn’t mean to offend anyone -this is just my personal blog.

So to start I would like to pick : Park Hyo Shin (박효신)

He is solo singer (not sure if he is considered a ballad singer or not) with the company Jellyfish and I first heard about him because VIXX (also with Jellyfish) has a member who is a major fanboy of his.

And with all the disappointing KPOP released lately I wanted to try something new. So I decided to look up his stuff. This is the single off his new album (I think it’s called I am Dreamer but i’m not sure) and it’s such a beautiful song. It’s called “Breath”.

*Side rant*

One thing that drives me nuts is when people say “I don’t understand what he’s saying” or “I would like it better if I knew what he was saying”.

1. google lyrics.  this is the generation of electronics right? and you can’t even work a simple google search?

2. pop songs (not in this case but for general KPOP) lyrics are typically not that great -I love the Backstreet Boys but “I want it that way” is no lyrical masterpiece -same with many pop songs of all generations. you aren’t missing out on much.

3. KPOP to me is discriminated for things that some other music isn’t. For example- if i gave you a video of the beautiful “Ave Maria” I bet all in, your first words wouldn’t be “I would like it more if I knew what the words were”. In case you didn’t realize, the song is in Latin and I’m pretty sure people who listen to this song aren’t native Latin speakers (dead language hello!).  You just enjoy the song, not caring that you actually don’t know what the song is saying-sure you have an idea but how many out of a random group of people would be able to translate it for me?  It’s just something I wish people would be more aware of.

*end side rant*

My second pick is going to be “Tonight” by SPICA. While the MV is kind of cool (in a super aesthic kind of way?) the song is just a great fun song that makes you feel happy.

I’ve actually seen SPICA twice and both times this song really stood out to me. They are a really underrated group -maybe because they are older? Some people say their visuals aren’t great (which I think they are all very unique and pretty without looking plastic) or that their songs just aren’t hits (which I can kind of understand after listening to a lot of their music). But their vocals are insane and their harmonies are amazing. I wish they had more songs like this that showcase their talents.

 

Now onto the song I didn’t really care for (This is going to be a SUPER unpopular opinion I can already tell) is the new BTS single “Blood Sweat and Tears”.

Now while I’m not a fan of theirs, I do listen and like most of their music. I even own a few copies of their albums.

One of the big reasons I never became a super fan is sadly due to their insane fans (yes I know I am an EXO-L so I don’t really have any room to talk) but within the past year or so I’ve definetly noticed their fans behavior …as have the rest of the KPOP community.

But I want to give their music a fair opinion so I do listen and watch the MV’s and try to ignore their crazy fans.

Now I really did enjoy I Need U, Fire and some of their older songs (Run was kind of boring and after my friend told me that Save Me sounds like a Justin Bieber song…well I can’t listen to it the same way). And the concept for this single looked interesting…but ….the song for me fell really flat.

I got a bollywood/sort of caribbean feel….it just didn’t work for ME (a lot of people loved it -their fans died so as long as their fans are happy that’s great for them). Also the MV …didn’t really do anything for me-it actually reminded me of the scne in Pride and Prejudice when Lizzie is at Darcy’s house looking at all the statues.

I also wasn’t really pleased with the way the lines were divided-I thought Fire did actually a good job-but Jin had ….1 line? (was it even Jin? I’m not a big enough fan to really know their voices and we all know MV’s are the worst way to tell who is singing what ). Groups these days are doing their best to spread out lines (evenEXO’s Sehun has lines now!!!!!) so I wish BTS would do that as well. Usually it’s V who gets jipped for lines with Jin. (I know at least that much about BTS). So at least he got that little bit of the chorus. But like I said a lot of people like the song(I do like their music…just not this one-so have a listen and make your decision.

Finally as I had mentioned I have no money (think 99 $ to last me until Monday 12pm) so I clearly can’t do much. I had planned on going to hike in Goyang this weekend but due to money and the fact I have a 7 1/2 hour rehersal on Saturday…that plan has been changed until the last weekend of October (I am going to the Lotte Family Concert on the 22 EXCITED!) So I can get some exercise in, and see the fall leaves.

So I will instead focus on “Halloween”. Last year I did a KPOP 13 days of Halloween on my personal SNS. This year I do want to do something a little similar but different as well-so I think I will expand it beyond just KPOP and post it in my blog. With Halloween being the “13th” day I will begin this series of posts starting next Wedneday the 19th. While I will (fingers crossed) being updating on this everyday for those 13 days -one most days it will only be the Halloween Video because I hve work and you know how life gets in the way.

So please look forward to that .

Ok that’s it for today. Hope you enjoyed it. I will most likely be combining the First day of 13 days of Halloween with my usual post.

Have a  great weekend.

 

Up and Down

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This post is going to be short and simple.

Essientially it’s my OFFICAL last day.  Well for my first year of teaching at least.

And in another two weeks I will have been here a year!

I already did a review of the year last post so I will just do a simple brief recap.

I can’t believe how much this year has really shown me. I’ve learned things about people, myself, Korea and the relationships I hold with people.

While I am happy with my decision to stay with my school for another year I have started to look into possibilities for next year.

I’ve learned that some of the areas/locations that I was looking at in December now have openings including some of the areas that I was really wanting to go to.

While my plan initially was to go back to school, with the ever mounting hospitals bills from my lovely USA hospital stay, I don’t think I will be able to save this year like I had planned and will push it back a year. That being said I am going to really try to move to the areas that I want for next year.

My only fear is no re signing with my school in December, only to have to scramble to find a job. I guess that’s my only option at this point because I have zero interest applying with EPIK again and GEPIK doesn’t allow you to transfer schools-and you have to reapply with them which now means you have to reapply with EPIK.

GEPIK is slowly phasing out and by the time 2018 comes around I think the program will be no longer in existence which sucks for those of us who much prefer the system and the area.

The only other option would be to try for hagwons which have hours I really hate but I am going to talk with my friends about it a little bit more.

Yes I have a lot of time to plan but I really need to start thinking about savings as well.

* So now I will post. This was done two days after I wrote the entire thing but my co teachers dragged me away for lunch and never came back to the school afterwards so…..tada!

 

O.M.G. (Over a Month Gone)

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So….it’s been a while.  Like a long long while.  With the insanity that was my July and August I do apologize for not blogging.  Where to even begin.

Well it’s been so long I don’t even know what the last thing I wrote was.  Probably something about Chess the musical and 2pm concert and the craziness of summer camp planning.

Well to wrap up my August here is a brief over view: summer camp, parents visit, concerts.

Summer Camp:

To anyone who is contracted through GEPIK or EPIK you will have to complete two “camps”.  I had worked really hard planning out what I thought to be fun lessons but educational.  All of my other friends have told me that my lesson plans seemed to keep the kids occupied while they learned something.

Turns out my co teacher did not want a summer camp like everyone else.  It was to be 40 minutes of teaching something simple and then 40 minutes of a game that had nothing to do with what we learned.  Needless to say this was much harder than I thought. Even though I spent over a month carefully planning, I still spent 3 hours every day replanning for the following day.

Positives: The 3rd and 4th graders were beyond cute! They understood way more than I thought they did and I was able to speak freely with them.  It was a nice change to have kids so willing to participate without fear of being embarassed.

I understand people who say that teaching them is exhausting at times…but since I never teach them, I found them so cute and fun to teach.

My 5th and 6th grade class was a lot smaller so I really got to know their names and personalites.  I had 5 of my fifth grade students.  Compared to the 4 other 5th graders, my students had a much higher level and also were so much more confident.  The 6th grade boys weren’t as bad but I think it’s because I only had 2 of them.  I’ve seen what a class of 30  6th graders looks like and it’s not pretty.

Cons:  Other than feeling pressured to change the lesson plans during the course of camp, I really enjoyed my summer camps.  The kids were great and i got to really know some of my current fifth graders.

Lesson Plan:

Day 1: introduction, orientation 3/4 -altered musical chair game where they had to identify letters on chairs instead, 5/6-hot potato game where they had to ask a question or answer in the alloted time…if the timer went off when they were holding it they had to roll the dice and do the punishment.

Day 2: My Favorite: learning my favorite things song, make a favorite mobile, play guess “jessie teacher’s favorite thing” game

Day 3: 3/4-Family members, catch the words game, family BINGO game, 5/6-future tense, I will, make a time capsule

Day 4: Holidays- American holiday tour (with my dog as their guide) make your holiday activity

Day 5: Music day- Learn different types of popular American music, listen to sample clips of the music, Water balloon game-choose one card from the bag-if you can’t answer you must sit on the balloon and pop it

Day 6: Money Day-learn about American money, play 4 corners game (choose which corner has the right price) auction/shopping day, scavanger hunt-take pictures of thing or actions

Day 7: golden bell quiz, snack, awards, movies

Parents visit:

Parents visit was definetly something that stuck with me for a while.  While back in the USA i used to be the kind of person who got homesick very easily.  But here, not so much.

My parents came for 9 days after their China trip.  They were worn out from going and going in China.  I met them at Seoul Station and we took the KTX to Busan.

I have never been on the KTX before.  I wasn’t really impressed that much.  There was no where to store luggage and the seats weren’t as nice.  The ITX saemul is much nicer and cheaper.  It takes a little bit longer though. But traveling by train in Korea is so easy and cheap with nice scenery that spending a little more time on the train is NBD as long as you have your tunes, and snacks.

It was nice that we could all relax on the train ride. I had been running around like a crazy person the few days beforehand.  I had been house/puppy sitting and only had about a day to deep clean my apartment before the parents got there.

So when I finally had to go to Seoul to meet them, I had no eaten and was tired.  Thankfully we were able to just sleep on the train.  Which I did….soundly.

Because I’ve been to Busan before I knew my way around the station.  But W and I always take the subway to her house.  However, with all our luggage, exhaustion from traveling, and not wanting to deal with a super long subway ride, I found the taxi shelter.  It was about a 15ish minute ride to the Pacific Hotel.

Haeundae is a cool place.  It’s the closest to a beach town I’ve seen so far here in Korea (aside from he short time I’ve been at Gwangali).  It’s far more commercialized and tourist friendly than any other place I’ve been to outside of Seoul.  There are a lot of restaurants on the main strip, and shops and markets.  We were able to see the nightlife as we drove by to our hotel.

Paradise Hotel was super nice.  And it’s prices reflected that.  If you are willing to shell out the extra money, it’s a place I’d defiently recommend if you are looking for a little pampering.  For example, a breakfast buffet for the three of us was a nice 100$.

We ate at BonChon (the first one I’ve seen since being here) and then hung out in the hotel room.  At that point I was so hungry and tired so all I wanted to do was eat and go to bed.  Our first night in Busan was that of staying in the hotel while trying to explain why Snoop Dog was on “SMTM4” (a Korean rap show).

The following day we woke up and had breakfast at the Coffee Bean an Tea Shop (I think that’s what it’s called).  It’s a short walk from the hotel.  We had our breakfast and then went back to change to go to the beach.  It was an overcast day but there were a lot of people.

It was a little cold and the waves were pretty rough-but this is coming from someone who was spoiled by the caribbean. While the umbrella’s weren’t free the inner tubes were-I suspect this is to prevent drowning which is a smart idea.  Even though it was overcast it was still a nice day.  We all had fun watching the teenage boys sit in the breakers and get completely flipped over on their tubes by the waves. We could hear their shrieks of laughter and terror.

On a bad notes, I got taken out by a wave and lost my favorite pair of sunglasses.

After Haeundae we went to downtown Seomyun and wandered around.We had dinner at Seoga & Cook-the place I make W take me every time I visit.  Its “italian” but in typical Korean fashion, it tastes a little different.  Still the seafood is amazing and the portion sizes kind of remind me of back home which is why W and I always share.

It’s also the place that I was able to hook my dad onto buying “ade” (fruit juice and sparkling water basically) by getting him to try the Hallabong ade.  He quickly became obsessed with it and ordered it every single time we got drinks after that.

We then wandered around a little- I took them to Kim’s Club for some drinks and to let them see a Korean grocery store.  We then headed back to Haeundae.  It was a little strange though.  I’ve heard from friends about witnessng racial issues but now it was first hand.  Younger people didn’t want to sit next to my dad, and clearly gave them a wide berth.  I was shocked because we were in a more foreinger populated area.  (W had told me when her mom was visiting that her mom bumped against a lady on the subway, and the lady proceeded to wipe herself with a tissue afterwards).  It made me very angry…but also allowed me to see what I might ignore on a regular basis.  Because I don’t look foregin on the outside, I don’t have to deal with day to day issues of being different.

The following day we left Busan to come to my hometown Pyeongtaek. We took the ITX Sameul which is my favorite train and once again I slept as I usually do.  I let my mom have the window seat both times on the train because she would only be here once.  It’s a route I’ve traveled many times despite not actually ever sitting next to a window seat.

We stayed in Pyeongtaek enough time to do laundry, relax and even head up to Suwon for a look around the summer palace. There was an English speaking guide and we found out due to the new holiday (liberation day eve) the palaces were free!

Because my apartment, while bigger than most, does not fit three adutls comfortably, I had to sleep on the couch.  My apartment quickly taught me, that more than 2 people is a crowd.  We were able to eat pizza and ice cream and overall just relax.  I even got my dad asking to watch episodes of Modern Family!

That Friday, we left for Seoul on the slow “regional rail” as I call it.  It’s the slowest train, Mungunghwa, and from Seoul to Busan W said it takes about 6 hours. (I did have to one day take it from Busan to Pyeongtaek which while long, didn’t feel too bad.  It was about 5 hours but it was at night so I guess I didn’t feel like I wasted my entire day on the train).

It’s a quick 1 hour ride up to seoul, something I do almost every weekend.  However, I usually have a standing ticket, so I made sure to buy my parents tickets a head of time so we wouldn’t have to stand with their giant suitcases.

We headed to Seoul where we spent 4 days!! We stayed in Myeongdong at the Pacific hotel.  It was also a very nice place to stay. It’s right at the foot of Namsan Mountain, and we could even see the N Tower from our window.  It’s also literally right across from Myeongdong Shopping center.  IMO…it’s kind of the best location ever.

We went to the N tower out first day which was insane! I’ve been twice now but it was so crowded it took an hour just to ride the cable car to the top. It turns out that the Friday was a new holiday and there was some speical event going on at the top of the Mountain….it was so crowded and busy…but my parents seemed to like it.

Afterwards, we went to Myeongdong to look around at the shopping and ate street food.  I’ve never gotten the chance to do it so I had a lot of fun!

The next day My parents did the DMZ and I slept in and did some shopping!  We wound up meeting in Itaewon.  It’s the foreinger district of Seoul, and happens to be within walking distance of the Seoul US garrison.  It’s not my favorite place but if you want decent foregin food, or need imported supplies, Itaewon is your best bet.  We ate at some pub before wandering around the area and then headed back to Myeongdong.

My parents claimed that they had no intention of shopping with me…well like everyone, Korea changed them.  They became Nature republic addicts, doing the foot and hand shea butter treatment and face masks every night.

That’s also when the collection of Nature Republic EXO fans started as well. They are free and you get one each time.  They let you choose.  I wound up with Chanyeol (who I didn’t know at the time) and we used the fan a lot that weekend.  Sadly I lost him in the subway…so we went on a hunt for a new one.  And we wound up with 4 at the end of the trip.

We went to church on Sunday at the Catholic Cathedral in Myeongdong and ran into an old co worker of my dad’s! Afterwards we went to Gyeongbukgong Palace which was also free! We got to see the changing of the guard! They place is huge! You could spend an entire day there!  It made Suwon look like a dwarf palace.

My dad and I went to the Olympic Stadium and the Olympic Park afterwards and wandered around.  We went to a chicken and seafood place as well.

The following day we went to visit the World Cup Stadium and the adoption agency.  We learned that I have a twin sister after thinking it was a boy for 25 years! It was cute to see at the babies!  We bought diapers and baby wipes as a donation.

Our final night we had BBQ and mango cheesecake bingsoo and it was amazing!!  I’ve had about 3 different types of mango cheesecake bingsoo-Sulbing, Cafe Bene, Mango Six…but nothing compared to Twosome place…

It was hard to say goodbye the next day and I was sad for some time after that but luckily I have great friends here who knew that I didn’t really want to be alone!

Left Over Vacation:

I went back down to Busan to visit W (so much traveling…esp to Busan!)  The Gwangali Beach Water gun festival was happening that weekend.  Even though we didn’t participate in the water gun festival, we had fun watching the performers and people getting soaked.  To sum it up as best as I can…Gwangli Beach looked like a Korean version of Spring break in Daytona Beach.

We decided to eat at a new place that weekend, and had amazing pizza and fries.  Even though the crust was filled with sweet potato it was so good.

Even though summer break was only 2 weeks it felt much longer than that. It makes me want to work hard to get to that next vacation!

Concerts:

So in August…I went to a total of 3 concerts which doesn’t sound that bad….yeah right.

Teen Top- I let W drag me to Teen Top-her favorite band.  We had standing of course and while it wasn’t quite as impressive as Vixx… Teen Top put on a great show.  They made me a fan through their concert.  Despite Niel’s lips, the 3 hour concert was a great time!  Ever since then I’ve been watching their Hawaii and Guam trip and listening to their music!

BEAST/Daejeon:

The final weekend of August I decided to be crazy and go see Beast on Saturday and then do the Daejeon super idol concert the following Sunday.

Well…W told me “you have to go to fan events!”  which take place a few hours before hand.  So I went at around 1230 and did not sit until at least 10pm that night.  Why you may ask?  Let me tell you one thing : FREAKING FAN EVENTS!

If you don’t know what fan events are let me break it down for you: fan clubs before the concert hand out free stuff to the fans…..and it’s insane.  If you ever choose to do this…take friends!  You basically stand in lines, run around like a crazy person, and get free stuff.  Sometimes things run out, especially if the person is popular.  It’s fun, despite getting sunburnt and being exhausted even before the concert started.  The concert was really good! I had been wanting to see BEAST since they are one of my favorite groups!  I had never been to a concert before by myself so it was an interesting experience.

They all looked and sounded great! Even though Hyunseung’s freshly dyed red hair leaked down his face due to sweat and kind made him look like he was bleeding, he looked so much better than I have seen him.  If it is true that they will be enlisted in the military soon, I’m glad I sucked it up and went to my very first concert alone.

I wound up with so many fans, stickers, photocards, that I have them all in a bag under my desk, trying to figure out what I’m supposed to do with it all

The following day I had to go to Daejeon for the super idol concert.  SISTAR MBLAQ Crayon Pop Block B and Vixx were all playing!!!  The venue though was really unorganized and we were all very confused.

It was my friend K’s first concert in Korea!  Sadly the disorganizaion and lack of fan events wasn’t so great.  But once the concert started it was amazing!

I saw my student E who had told me about the concert in the first place!  He was with his dad.  He came over and wasn’t shy about conversing in English with my friends and me and even gave me two fans from the Vixx  fan meeting of my favorite two members.

Crayon Pop was first: I knew 0 of their songs.  But they weren’t bad.

MBLAQ was next.  I was sad that I wouldn’t see Lee Joon but shockingly the trio did a great job! I barely even missed Lee Joon and Thunder. the vocals were on point and Mir looked really good.

Sistar was next: all the soliders that had showed up in one big group got very quiet all of a sudden and was focusing 100% on the stage.  It was hysterical to watch.  I was so happy to finally see “Shake it” performed live!  Sadly the original choereo for ‘Touch my body” was used instead of the remix.

Vixx was next: and W and I proceeded to turn into total fangirl mode.  Although they didn’t perform my favorite song they were so good.  They all looked great and sounded perfect…there’s just not much more to say otherwise I could go on forever.  I will say this: unlike dream concert where I completely  blanked out during Love Equation…I do remember this.

Block B was last:  I think because they haven’t had much come out in the past year I just wasn’t as excited as I usually have been about them in the past.  They sounded good and it was fun to see them again, but their outfits were really awkwardly put together.  While PO and Jaehyo had on suits, others had on t shirts or flannel….it was a strange mix.

The concert was just over 2 hours which felt short and I wish it had been longer.  Each group performed 3-4 songs.  I’m glad I got my Vixx fill and hopefully it will carry over until their next comeback! (not counting Vixx LR)

This past weekend W and I did Show Me the Money 4 Concert:  It was at Korea University and up a big hill.  I’m still sore in the butt from walking up it.  It was a smaller concert but still fun.  Jay Park and all of AOMG showed up (minus Simon D).  Tablo and Epik High also showed up with Jinusean performing after.  I understand now why Jinusean is no longer too popular.  They definetly have that 90’s sound.  I liked it but I can understand why some people might find it out dated.

The most dissappointing act of the night was Zico.  Not only was Zico sick so his voice sounded whiny and nasally (which is so not Zico which is why I like his voice) but Song Minho didn’t even show up.  According to WINNER fans he was in Japan.  If you’re the runner up I think you should show up. It was just not that great of a set.  Luckily Verbal Jint/San E/Sanchez made it up.

I had never really listened to Verbal Jint before, but with Sanchez the two of them make a lethal pair.  It was so different and less angry sounding that every other rapper that performed that night.  Overall while rap and hip hop isn’t really my style I enjoyed the concert.

W and I then went shopping in Myeongdong to find her BTS comic books while I finally picked up Mamamoo’s first album and EXO’s overdose album. I don’t know what possessed me to buy it…actually I do but that’s another long story and this post is getting too long as is.

Then we sat down for about an hour before heading back to Hongdae where we had a really good chicken noodle dinner and watched street performers.   Men performing girl songs never fail to make me smile.

We tried mango six mango bingsoo but it just wasn’t that great.  The mango’s were almost too tart and it melted way to fast. I was dissappointed.  You would think something called “Mango Six” would have the best mango bingsoo…not the case.

We left the next day after sleeping in and enjoyed time in the coffee bay near seoul station!  Finally I went home and spent the day cleaning my apartment.

So that’s it all caught up…it took forever.  But with Cinderella coming up in two weeks (Ken is playing the prince…kill me now) and then Chuseok in Jeju a week after that where W and I will re-enact our very own Vixx One Fine Day vacation I don’t know the next time I will be able to blog.

So for at least today…that is all…..WOW

Busan Haeundae

Busan Haeundae

Busan Haeundae Beach-Overcast

Busan Haeundae Beach-Overcast

Their

Their “selca’ game is strong

Jack doing a handstand

Jack doing a handstand

Jack and Daniel....not the alcohol

Jack and Daniel….not the alcohol

Gangnam style Jack

Gangnam style Jack

Ride up to Namsan

Ride up to Namsan

Top of namsan

Top of namsan

Gyeongbukgong Palace

Gyeongbukgong Palace

When I had light hair....wow

When I had light hair….wow

Dad's new best friend..Chanyeol Fan

Dad’s new best friend..Chanyeol Fan

Dinner...

Dinner…

Gyungbokgong

Gyungbokgong

World cup stadium

World cup stadium

worlds best bingsoo

worlds best bingsoo

Naman Tower

Naman Tower

Our fan collection

Our fan collection

SMTM4 concert...Rap Husband (verbal Jint)

SMTM4 concert…Rap Husband (verbal Jint)

Daejeon Super Idol Block B

Daejeon Super Idol Block B

Daejeon Idol VIXX <3

Daejeon Idol VIXX ❤

Daejeon Idol...MBLAQ....right?

Daejeon Idol…MBLAQ….right?

Fans my student gave me....aren't they amazing?

Fans my student gave me….aren’t they amazing?

Beast Beautiful Show 2015

Beast Beautiful Show 2015

BEAST! If only Yoseob was actually waving at me....

BEAST! If only Yoseob was actually waving at me….

Get by with a little help from my new found aquaintences

Standard

I don’t know if I would consider the people I met at the GEPIK teachers seminar “friends” but I would consider the possibility.  Now before you think I sound like a complete heartless loser, let us define what a friend is.  Someone you talk to on a daily basis, hang out with, share you issues and secrets.  So no, I don’t think I am a heartless tin man…woman..person.

 

Moving on. The seminar was good. I did learn some things about teaching, my personal situation, and myself.

First we had 4 classes a day all 50 mins.  Topics included writing, art, communication and issues.  I found while these were helpful, everything felt very rushed.  I had hoped we would have spent more time in class.

 

There was an “elective” that we chose which lasted over an hour and a half…after our regular classes.  Needless to say I don’t think I was being unreasonable when my lack of participation in group work was noticed.  I hate group work anyway.  Always have.

 

Aside from learning helpful techinicuqes and activities, the seminar gave me the biggest piece of helpful advice by simply turning me into a student once more.

It’s been over a half a year since I last had my Spanish class, and even those were not your typical structured classes.  I suspect most of the teachers have been out of school even longer than me.

By becoming a student once more and having a teacher lead the classroom, I was able to remember and understand the perspective of being a student once more.  I wanted my teachers approval.  I wanted to get all the answers right.  I got competitive with the other students.  I think realizing the dynamic of the classroom, not as a teacher, but as a student , was the thing that I took back with me, conciously planning to implement it in my teaching. (I realize that was one long ass sentence and full of fragments but whatever).

I think putting yourself back in a student mindset is something a lot of teachers forget.  They forget the students needs and struggles.

Now getting down to my living and group situtation.

Most dorms had 3-4 people.  I had one other who happened to be the loudest/leader/most outgoing of the entire group.  I wanted to shoot myself.  By nature, upon meeting new people, I am more reserved, wanting to get a feel for their personalites by watching and listening.

While some people get the hint and back off…others refuse to leave! Constant “Roomie!” and “My roommate is the best!” and the “My roommate loves me.” Silence…That was all I asked for at night….thank you Beats by Dr Dre with your noise cancelling feature.

But after spending some time alone with my “roomie” I came to the realization that she could be relatively normal.  In a weird way she reminded me a lot of my best friend (currently in China) back when we were in college.  We wound up spending the last night talking with her other friend.  I came to the conclusion that my groupmates weren’t completely scary and the final day turned out to be rather enjoyable.

Though..I will say…I was called “cute” by my younger classmates….my “dongsaengs”…that will never go away will it? I finally understand Baby Spice’s little breakdown in “Spice World” “I’m going to cute even when I’m 30.” which…is now scarily not that far off…..ugh.

Now during my stay it was my “25th” anniversary of leaving Korea for America…..weird.  It passed without much fanfare i’m sad to say because I was busy with “school.”  I will make some time for this soon though.

After my 3 day seminar I had a 4 day vacation that was “spring break/children’s day” so I had over a week off from work.  It was hard getting back into the swing of things.

You know how after the initial two days of being happy you have no school, is slowly followed by 3rd and 4th day where you kind of are bored and want to go back to school, is quickly replaced at day 5 and 6 where you are content to no have work? Well that’s where I was.  I had even gotten accustomed to going to bed later.

It’s now Friday and I’ve only had two classes this week, due to “sports day” being the wednesday that I returned to school.  I was glad I got to see my 1st, 3rd, and especially 5th graders compete, despite that only being in the sun for an hour or so on a cloudy mild day, I GOT SUNBURNED! Now the top of my chest is red-this does not happen to people like me.

While yes i no longer can tan and look like N from Vixx, I sure as hell have never burned the first week in May…..except…I do now…..dammit. Maybe the sun is stronger here?

But Maryland is pretty damn hot.  Speaking of Maryland, Sunday is mother’s day and my first one away from my mom.  I sent off “cards” which was an easy and cheap thing to do-so i will def be doing it more often.  But it will still be strange.  I guess we will have to skype that day.  She still gets confused thinking i’m a full 24hours a head of her, not just 12.  It’s very funny and cute.

Now regarding some teaching life/customs because I feel like i need to make this some how informational…that is so not a word….is it?  I swear since I had my hair “dyed” (bleached people, bleached) from the dark dark dark dark brown (aka the shade above black) I have said/done more dumb things that I have ever done before.

I won’t say what they are because…well thats just too embarssasing.

So as I mentiond I had been on break. When I left, I was told to go and talk with the principal.  I was given a specific saying on a post it.

Now I have no problem doings things asked of me if it’s not a normal custom for me.  I understand that.

However, when I came back from break, I was not told that I needed to see the principal again and greet him AND give him a gift.

I was not told of this at all until of course after the principal had mentioned something to my co teacher about recieving a gift from the other foreign teacher who has been teachnig in korean for about 6 years.  So i was given a “passive aggressive” note saying that I need to learn Korean style.

I would have had no problem buying the principal something small, or going in to say hello to him had I been told BEFORE. In this situtaion, I was the “scapegoat”  because I was the foreinger.

Those who say that “oh you’re korean  they probably just assumed you knew what to say and do.”  I have this to say: they’ve known me for over two months.  They still think I can’t read hangul and romanize everything for me.  So they clearly knew I would have no clue what to say to the principal.

After talking (VENTING) to my friends I calmed down a bit, took the passive aggressive letter with a grain of salt, and continued on.  This is Korean custom as well-not wanting conflict to save face where in America this is considered rude, cowardly and one of the things most people consider their biggest pet peeve.

So today, I continued on with my normal day, did my business and have kept to myself a little more than usual.  My friend told me that there is a time when your co teachers no longer treat you as a guest, and you are considered part of the staff-and will be treated like so. She said most teachers decide during this time to leave or stay a year. I am guessing this is the “light switch” but it was so bizarre-I don’t know if they thought that the GEPIK seminar (run by mostly westerns) would suddenly make me a korean teacher…..I don’t know but they signed me up for it so I think they would know.

March went by like a slug. April was a bit faster.  Here’s to hoping May will progress fast as well…which judging my calander sitting on my desk, it has-since it’s already May 8…and I totally just realized it’s my half birthday….which now means I’m closer to 26 than 25…..which in turn means i’m closer to 30 than 20…..ok I can’t deal with that head trauma right now.

Luckily this month I have “Dream Concert” to look forward to on the 23rd.  Like I’m way more excited than I should be.  For those of you who don’t know what that is, which yes I used to be you like…a month ago …..it’s bascially a giant kpop concert with different artists.

This year 4mintue, BTOB, Shinee, Sistar, topp dogg, BTS, EXO (what’s left of them anyway ….not sorry) and Vixx are some of the names as well as a bunch of others.  I am sad that I will miss out n Beast who was there last year.  But I’m totally excited!

I also spent more than I’ve ever spent before on a concert.  Let’s just say the inital price was 200 for reserved sitting …..and we got standing so….I don’t want to reveal the price because I’m not that gaudy…and I’m also slightly unable to wrap my head around it still.

 

I do want to talk about a conversation my friend and I had about music and KPOP in general because it could seem that I’m a pyscho fangirl ….which I’m really not. But that would invovle going on a tangent and it would be unrelated to this post.  So check out my next post which I will start now!

Next time on the real black and white dog archives: my introduction and journey through KPOP, how music is beyond normal thinking and reason and feeling, and  why it’s more than a simple song. Prepare yourself…or simply skip over it.