March 4th 2017
This was the weirdest most hilariously confusing week I’ve ever experienced. Before I get into some of the highlights of said week, I would like to add some visual documentation to this blog as requested by my avid readers.
So Thursday was my first day at school, and as I mentioned before, I was to wait outside my apartment and ride the school bus with the little kids. I couldn’t help laughing at their faces when they saw me get on their bus and walk to the back row. They kept turning around to look at me and say HELLO!! HELLO TEACHER!! They really are very happy kids so that’s a relief. On that day there wasn’t much teaching since it was the first day of school for the academic year. There were 2 identical welcome assemblies in which the new teachers were introduced, songs were sung, and cake was had. I’m not sure why the same assembly was held twice, but everyone was too busy to really tell me what was happening. I just followed everyone else. Anyway, after those assemblies my co-teacher sat me down and gave me my teaching schedule, and told me that I did in fact have a class to teach that day (SURPRISE!!!) so I should prepare an introductory lesson, as well as some activities for two after school English clubs. I’ve been told lots of things happen last minute in Korea, and its very important to be able to go with the flow here. They went alright. I was prepared, but my lesson plan was too advanced for the after school kids, and they didn’t understand me. I’ll be ready next week.
After school, my co teacher told me we were all getting in a van and going for a faculty welcome dinner. He said “Do you like the trout? River fish!” I said “suuuuuuure!” We all went to this restaurant where we had a big private room, where everyone sat on the floor at a huge table of raw fish and other accoutrements. It was like a Korean Hogwarts feast. I have no photos of this event because my phone had died. But, there was raw trout, fried trout, steamed trout, dried trout, and trout soup. I liked the trout soup, but I’m not sure river fish are my thing after all.
During all this trout, Soju was being poured all around. Soju is the Korean answer to vodka, but its a little sweeter, and therefore easier to drink. Drinking culture is huuuuuuge (HUUGEEEE) in Korea, and certain etiquette must be followed, especially if you’re sitting across from your principal and you want to make a good impression. First, you should never pour your own Soju. People usually come up to you with a bottle and a shot glass, and they pour it for you. Then they give you the bottle to pour a glass for them. Then you cheers and drink. I liked how during this dinner people kept getting up and moving down the table. It was like musical chairs. That way you get to drink and talk with everyone present. It reminded me of Greeks when they get together at weddings or family events.
Overall, everyone at work seems really nice, and genuinely curious about me and where I am from. I am surprised no one has asked me about Trump yet, since most Koreans totally despise him. I know some of my friends at other schools have already been bombarded by Trump questions. Anyway, Its a weird feeling to never know exactly whats going on around you, and I think that’s going to be a big part of my daily life at school. Its not as unnerving as I expected it to be, Its pretty comical at times, like watching a movie on silent.
Today (Saturday) I will be reorganizing my room, eating chocolate cereal, preparing for lessons next week, and maybe getting back into Netflix. Later Vanessa and I will check out an art supply store in town. For those of you keeping track, my shower is still broke.