Thursday, May 28, 2009

Some highlights from the past few months.

Time has slipped through my fingers again and now I must update you all.

In March, I returned to little Korea after a month of travel and rest. My mission upon returning to Seoul: to find a decent paying job and to save as much money as possible for another amazing vacation and to return home indefinitely.
My job search was tiresome and fruitless, until the day I received a phone call from another "adoptee" who knew I needed some help.

At the beginning of April, I started teaching at BFE. Basic Facts: part-time hours paid by the hour, no benefits, 1 hr commute from my flat, kindergarten aged children that speak minimal English, and I speak minimal Korean. My thoughts at the time: I saw it as a challenge and accepted it. I would learn more Korean, be able to find more work and have a larger income, AND really see my efforts as a teacher, teaching English phonics to Korean children.

I find that my current challenges are blurring what I saw from the beginning. My students are very young, and because they are so young they don't care and don't put forth much effort into paying attention to me or the lesson (who can blame them, when I was their age, I too wanted to play and run around). It has taken over a month to finally get more hours of work a week(a meager 12 to 23 hours).

Despite my complaints, I have seen some great things come from this job. My Korean has improved slightly...even though I'm still at the beginner level, my ability has come a long way. Some days, I really see a breakthrough with some of my students and it REALLY makes my day. I also get to see their characters grow. I have one little boy who is absolutely precious. When all of the other boys throw the cards around and gather their bags to hurry out the door, he is always there helping me pick the cards up to put them back in place. It is such a small gesture, but it touches my heart and makes me think about what kind of people my students will be when they get older.

Although working with children can be difficult and tiresome I have received some clarity through writing this. The benefits definitely outweigh the negatives.

Are you wondering, is it all work and no play for Noel? Lately, I've been living for the weekends.

Cherry Blossoms at Kyunghee University

Girls at Hooters (Sun's first time!)

2nd day of my trip to Seoraksan

Since I have returned to Korea I have: hiked Seoraksan (a large mountain that is a few hours from Seoul), been to quite a few going away bashes (Korea is full of goodbyes), had a blast running a 10k race, got a view of Seoul from Namsan Tower, ate some delicious, yet difficult King Crab for the first time, made an olive tree with my roommates, saw my friend Kat perform in the Vagina Monologues, went to see Nanta (really fun show that involves cooking and drums), danced at various venues, was introduced to the artists Mirou and Matisse, wrote a review for a restaurant in Itaewon, lost at Texas Hold'em to an Irish woman named Deirdre, volunteered at a food kitchen and dog shelter, visited Myeongdong Cathedral and stayed for mass that was in Korean, went to the 63 Building aquarium, got spooked at the Seodaemun Prison, and went to see the Cherry Blossoms at Kyunghee University.

My roommate Julio enjoyin' the free food.

Myeongdong Cathedral

With Wolf at the animal shelter