Lola O.
It's only Tuesday, but the last two days have been so hectic. My class schedule has changed for the next two weeks, and I only found out two minutes before I had to start teaching them. I usually have Monday 1st period free, but when I came to school Monday, I did what I usually do, eat breakfast, catch up on blogs/news, and settle into my day. At 8:58 AM my co told me that for the next two weeks I have to teach 3rd graders first period. I didn't finish my breakfast, had no clue what lesson they were on, and it just kind of threw me off. The upside is that I'll have two less classes next Tuesday. Today I found out I have an open class coming up for my afterschool class. Does anyone else do OC for afterschool? None of my teacher friends do this at their schools.

At least this time I only have one class and not two. I also have an open class for the 5th/6th grade teachers, one for SMOE, and maybe one more in the next few weeks. I'm in the midst of the renewal process to start another year and the lack of concrete information is really getting on my nerves. The new visa regulations have been delayed a year, but I've already done the work and mailed it out to the FBI so I'm just going to get it done because I was told we could turn it in early if we completed it. We have all this paperwork to do, but no one is telling me what forms we need, when it's due, and so on. My co and my school are unaware of all these changes or things that need to be done. The communication gap between my school, my district, SMOE, and immigration is causing a lot of confusion. I'm just going to breathe, and figure it out one thing at a time. I asked SMOE but they keep telling me my school has the information, forms, etc, but my co doesn't seem to know what is going on. Right now I need to do a health check/health report and a Korean police check. I'm going to work on getting that completed in the next two weeks. I don't want to chance anything to the last minute and have a problem renewing. I just want to get everything done, and then find out my vacation dates so I can plan my visit to see my family and friends.

On Friday, my friend had a dinner and then a scary movie night for Halloween. We watched Wolf Creek and  The Poltergeist (1977 version). The first one had its scary moments, but spent way too much time with them just driving. The second one was pretty hilarious since special effects back then weren't what they are now. I had a good time, and I'm liking these small get togethers rather than some big outing. I slept with the lights on after. I woke up Saturday morning with the shopping virus and headed to the Express Bus Terminal shopping arcade to get some clothes for winter. Okay, that was just an excuse to shop. I love subway shopping and the EBT has a lot of stores to browse through and the prices are very good. I'm running out a room in my place for clothes. I know that when I leave Seoul, I'll miss the shopping like crazy so I'll have to come back for a shopping trip or two. I had planned to relax at home for Halloween because I've never been into it, but I ended up going to Itaewon with a few friends for what was supposed to just be dinner and people watching but as the night went on we ended up at Wolfhound Pub (semi-naked guys dressed up as Indians, orange jello shots, a hell of a lot of people, pretty good music, all equaled a good time.

After that we went to Club Naked for a while. It was my first time there and I enjoyed it, but it was too crowded. Getting home was a pain in the butt! I've never had that much trouble getting a cab in Itaewon but I should have realized ahead of time how insane it was going to get. It took us over 40 minutes to get a taxi going to our area, mostly because there weren't a lot of available taxis and they didn't want to go to our area, and partly because we didn't want to pay 40,000 won when it should cost around 15,000 won. We finally got one, and he gave us a deal for 25,000 because we let him take another guy with us. Whatever, it all worked out, and I got home. I can't even remember what I did for Sunday, besides cook some delicious tacos, do nothing productive, and catch up with my sister. These days weekend days blur one into the other and I don't/can't keep track of what I do or don't do. I feel like I'm becoming a lazy person. I mean when is the last time I explored a new part of Seoul? Uploaded photos? I really too busy/lazy to do the things I enjoy? I am constantly making lists and to do's but when am I going to stop writing/thinkin and just do? IDK...sometimes I wonder if I lost my "mojo"! I think we all have to renew and recharge ourselves every once in a while to get back up to speed.

I don't want to get comfortable and routine about my life here. I want to keep renewing it, and finding even more things to like/love about my life, Seoul...everything. So that is my current state and I'm trying to get my "mojo" back and/or renew it. Besides that, I need to figure out about Thanksgiving in Seoul. I know they have buffets and different things, so I want to look into doing something with friends. I love this time of the year, because there are so many holidays happening that there is always something to enjoy and look forward to you if you open your eyes to it.

I realized the other day that I've been in my 9th month of living in Seoul. Two thirds almost completed and it feels like time has gone by really fast. In 9 months a lot of dreams I'd only dreamed about became reality. I've met a lot of wonderful people who've made my time here so memorable and fun. I've let go and moved on from things that held me back in my past. I was talking to my mom yesterday about how I've become calmer, and I don't know if she believes me. I'm a bit a a spitfire I guess when it comes to certain things, but teaching has made me a more patient person. There is something beautiful and honorable about being someone's teacher, and my students remind me time and time of those things. I never really saw myself as a teacher even still I don't think I'd be an official teacher when I get back home, but I do hope to teach and inspire in my own way.

Teaching is so much more than lecturing on a particular subject to me, it's about giving someone tools to explore things further for themselves. My favorite teacher in high school  was my senior English teacher Ms. Butler. She made English so interesting because she allowed us to be creative, discover something we could relate to in the books, poems, essays, and etc that we read. She just made it fun, and it didn't feel like work. I looked forward to her class, her stories, and all the interesting things we'd talk about. That's the kind of teacher I'd want to be. The kind that leaves little seeds that grow far after my students leave my classroom. I'm trying to figure out what comes next for me as far as my career goes. The road I paved for myself years ago, isn't the one I'm choosing to walk on now, and it's not the one I want to step foot on. I'm slowly creating this new path, and with each step it feels more and more like the one I should keep walking on. many things to ponder these days.

On a random note, my students think I've got the hots for the only male teacher under 35 at my school. All because we walked to the bus stop, took the bus together, and talked till it was my stop. She was going to her hagwon so she witnessed everything and the very next day came to my class asking in all seriousness what's the deal between us. I told her we just walked and talked, and she said "Teacher, men and women are not just friends, they are either together or nothing!" I sighed because it made me sad that at least in Korea that holds true for the most part. I don't like that my 5th and 6th graders are wearing couple rings and dating each other, or that they think boys and girls can't be friends. Korean men and women for the most part are not friends. They're either together, related, or nothing. Whenever I hang out with a male friend, my co and the other teachers ask if he's my boyfriend, and when I saw we are just friends they have that look like "she's crazy, that is just not possible!" Or they say, "oh, he must be a gay friend!"

Another sigh, this really makes me miss my guy friends back home. I like hanging out with women, but all my life I've had a lot of guy friends. So here, it is weird to constantly hang out with women, and have only a few guy friends I see once in a while. I miss just hanging out with the guys. I like their honestly and lack of drama. I'm not saying women are liars and always catty, but you know what I mean. Lately, I've been talking to the new teacher because we live around each other and usually are both running late in the morning so we end up catching each other on the bus. Nothing big, or special, and I don't have the hots for him, even though he is quite tall. Anyone that knows me knows my weakness for the tall ones. It's just nice to be making more "friends" at my school. More teachers are talking to me this semester, and I really enjoy those little snippets of conversation. Here, it is hard to have that co-worker friendship that you form back home. The langauge barrier keeps them from approaching me, even though I'd be thrilled with just a hello and a goodbye. I love that my VP makes an effort to include me, and every morning greets me with an enthusiastic "Good morning!!" and says something that makes me laugh. Little things like that make me feel just a little closer to being a part of this school.

I have my Korean tutoring today, so I need to go and study. Have a great day everyone, and a fabulous rest of your week.

Your famous last words started once your fingers hit the snooze

Just nine more minutes, please..
(And they) They all know where to find me
Every word that I said, what a big mistake
It's the words you left out, That's keeping me away
"Set Phasers To Stun" -Taking Back Sunday-

Be blessed,
~Lola O.~
2 Responses
  1. As for the school stuff I can imagine a lot of other folks are in the same pot. If you are going to be doing open classes that means your coteachers are extra busy.

    Also this time of year they have to make 60 page reports before the year ends.

    Then this renew stuff. I would get whatever docs you can get done out of the way. LOoks like you are doing that. Good!

    Your school's job will likely be communicating and going to immigration to get things processed. Maybe you could speak with a recruiter you used before and get the low down.

    FOr now jump through the hoops of open class and tackle what you can at a time. I know how it all kind of piles on top of ya. Actually Oct - Nov is like that at public schools. Usually before the semester ends (December) things get hectic and people run around crazy. hhaha... sometimes you just gotta watch. You know how they tell you things last minute, well they hear it too from their superiors.

    And congrats on wanting to stay here another year and more!

  2. Lola O. Says:

    Yes, it's only the first week of November and tings have picked up pace around here. Lots of things to do outside of teaching. I'm trying to get everything for renewing done ASAP so I have one less thing on my plate.

    My co seems to not know the the details of renewing, but I'm asking around and getting the needed info on my own.

    Yes, to another year. I'm crossing my fingers for even more memorable moments in 2011-2012.