New Kinders and Spring Sunshine


The last few weeks have been a bit hectic at work but it´s just starting to settle in and we´ve had a few days of 60 degree sunshine which had altered my entire mood. Spring is such a relief from the doom and gloom.

My new Kindergarten class is FANTASTIC. I have four boys and one girl and I´m totally in love with all of them.

DSCN3238 DSCN3239

(Left to right, Jason, Willy, Tommy, Louis and Lucia)

Jason is a heartbreaker. He is so sweet and polite. He pushes in all the chairs without being asked when we leave the room. Also as smart as a whip. Willy is adorable. Always so happy and enthusiastic. I have to tell him to stop shouting he gets so excited for the answers!!  Plus, check out those dimples. 🙂 Tommy is thoughtful and introspective. Sometimes he plays too rough, but he focuses well when we do art and handwriting and is respectful. Louis is silly and fun, but also a very studious, focused kid. He is kind and nice to the other kids. At playtime, he lets the other kids jump on him. Lucia is very sweet and always smiling. Sometimes she has a little trouble focusing on book work, but she tries. She listens well and loves to sing. She always makes me pictures.

They are a great bunch. They were a bit shy at first, but now they are very confident and learning SO fast. It only took them TWO days to learn the days of the week. It´s been so nice having a smaller class and also having more boys! My last class of 9 only had two boys and it was very girl-focused. These boys are great. They are fun, but not too rowdy, and respectful. They listen well and are SO cute.

DSCN3241 DSCN3242

Last Thursday we saw a play as a school field trip. My class was SO well-behaved and Willy held my hand the whole time. They were so sweet and even made sure to look out for each other. If one was behind, they would say, ¨Grace Teacher, where is Tommy?¨ You could see the concern in their eyes.  It was also really nice to do something fun. The routine at school is so taxing with so much book work. I fantasize about taking my kids to a park and just letting them run wild.

DSCN3247

I was very nervous about starting with a new class with NO English, but it´s been a huge blessing. At school, you never know what can happen. Kids can leave at the drop of the hat, or one day you show up at work and there is a new student. So, I´m really enjoying these moments before some big change comes along.

We received a bunch of new scheduling items and general changes in curriculum, some of which I like more than others. It´s just now starting to be more manageable and I´m not staying late every day.

Still going to yoga regularly which I have to say is one of the best things I´ve done. I´m slowly getting more flexible and I feel much healthier because of it. Also, with the warmed weather I´ve been running occasionally which feels good. I really miss playing soccer….it´s been so long! I´m probably terrible now.

Right, off to get a hair cut and then off for some sushi in Gangnam. Happy Weekend!

Advertisements

Dad Visits Korea


Dad flew in on Wednesday, the night after Graduation. I was very excited to have him visit and did my best to make sure it went smoothly. Unfortunately, my bus took longer than expected, so I showed up to our meeting point almost 40 minutes late, but Dad was very understanding, like always.

On Thursday morning, Dad came to visit school. Despite some jet lag, I think he had a lot of fun. Thursday was a ¨make up¨day and my last day with my old kindergarten. It was great because we didn´t have much to do, so there was a lot of playtime and fun activities.

I was so thrilled to see my kids so loving with Dad. Chloe, one of my more strong-willed kids, who will some days hug me and others scowl, grabbed his hand as we walked to class. They were literally jumping up and down with excitement, saying, ¨Grace Teacher, father?¨. They could not believe he was so tall! They loved playing with him and climbing on him. I was worried they might think he was scary because he was foreign and tall, but no! 🙂

Thursday night, we celebrated the start to a long weekend with Shabu Shabu and beer with soju.

DSCN3146

DSCN3147

Friday, we adventured into Seoul. We first went to Insadong, which is a cute, traditional area of Seoul. We had lunch (bibimbap, mandu, noodles) and then strolled around the area.

DSCN3159

DSCN3155

DSCN3156

DSCN3157

Later, we meandered over to Myeongdong and sat at a coffee shop for a while. We had a really hard time  getting to Seoul Tower because Lonely Planet lead us astray. But, we finally mananged to get there, only to be greeted by a two hour line for the cable car. Cold and tired, the tower was not perfect but a pretty breathtaking view nonetheless.

 

Saturday we went to the Noryangjin Fish market which was awesome.  Rows and rows of seafood, and some of which I couldn´t identify.  It´s not very touristy which made it even more fun. We wandered around for a bit, then finally asked someone if we could have one the red snappers on ice. After a little haggling, he pulled the fish out of the tank, thrashing around, and bludgeoned it´s head in front of us with a hammer. Bye bye fishy. He then cut half for sashimi, and half for grilling, and we following a small Korean woman upstairs to a restaurant were they served the fish.

DSCN3184

DSCN3189

DSCN3190

We ate the sashimi to start. It was served with homemade horseradish and soy sauce. It tasted so fresh! Next, they brought out the grilled half-fish and we ate that with gochujang and lettuce, like fish galbi. Just as we were leaving, they brought out fish head soup! The fish heads were a little scary for me, but the broth was fantastic.

DSCN3195 DSCN3196

DSCN3198

We took a cab to Itaewon and spent a few hours walking around and sitting in coffee shops.

DSCN3199

DSCN3200

Around 7 we had dinner at JohnnyDumpling, and had spicy mussel and mandu soup and fried mandu. Nom.

Sunday we had a slow morning and then took the bus to Suwon to go see the Fortress. We ended up walking the whole three-mile wall which was really fun. The sun was shining and the views were great. I´d never seen the fortress so it was a new experience for me too.

DSCN3207 DSCN3215 DSCN3222 DSCN3224 DSCN3226

Sunday night we got spicy chicken galbi which Dad really enjoyed and then ice cream. 🙂

Monday was a CRAZY day at work. Actually insane. All new classes, new kindergarten, new schedules, pure chaos. Dad spent the day wandering around Gangnam and I tried not to faint at work. The good news is, I really love my new kindergarten. I have a new, 7-1 class, 4 boys and 1 girl. They are sweet and cute. Some of theme know a few words, but we are really starting from scratch. Dad watched  class on Tuesday. The boys LOVED my Dad and had fun when he visited.

Wednesday night Dad took the airport bus to Incheon and I said goodbye at lunch. It was great having him here. It helped me to remember I have people that love and care about me. Makes stress at work seem less important. It was such a cool experience and I´m glad he took the long trip out to see me!

Kinder Graduation


Looking back, it feels like one big blur of stress and craziness, but I will try to remember as best I can. At LCI, Graduation for Kindergarten is a huge production. The kids have to perform a musical play in English and each kid has to memorize a speech. The teachers also have to give speeches. Everything has to go well and it´s not really ¨cute¨ when a kid messes up like it might be at home.

The play was quite the ordeal. Having 6 and 7 year olds remember lines and stage directions is crazy town. The don´t really even know what acting is. They were very fidgety and waiting to say their line was hard for them.

My class did The Little Mermaid. They had been practicing the songs in Musical English class for a while and the impression was that they would rehearse at that time. But as the weeks went on, more and more responsibilities got thrown at the teachers. Soon, it was our job to make sure they memorized all their lines for the play and speeches. Then, we had to cut play time and rehearse in class. Then, I was asked to narrate. Then, I was asked to be in the play itself because a kid got sick! Then I was asked to direct the play, and be in it. It became really stressful. After countless hours of practice and rehearsal and stress, I was very happy to get it over with. Sad to have such a fun, silly thing like a Kindergarten play become so serious.

On Graduation day, the kids looked very cute and I tried to enjoy my last few days with them as much as possible.

DSCN3120 DSCN3127 DSCN3130 DSCN3134

They did pretty well in their play and the parents seemed happy, which, was by far the most important thing unfortunately, rather than the kids having fun. It was great to meet the parents and be thanked.

DSCN3143

I will miss this class. They were quite a challenge on arriving. I had to lay down some hard rules and was not always liked when I did it. But, over the months we formed a strong bond.

By the end, there was lots of hugging and kisses. It was really amazing watching the kids grow up and see their English improve. I did not cry, but did feel a little choked up on the last day. One of my friends, Rachel is teaching many of them in 1st grade and I like to say hello and ask how they are doing.

DSCN2651

DSCN2457