I’ve been here for almost 3 months now, I honestly can’t believe it. Where the heck has the time gone? I know in the grand scheme of things 3 months is nothing, but this is the longest I have legitimately been AWAY from my family and close friends. Having always lived within an hour of the Schaeffs, it’s kind of crazy to think that it’s been so long since I’ve seen them. I spent my first Halloween abroad which ended up being my most elaborate, and now the holidays, my birthday and both Mama and Papa Schaeff’s birthdays are fast approaching. It’s nutty to think I will have to ship presents to them. Regardless, the past almost 3 months have been the most amazing I’ve ever had. I’ve talked to a few peeps back at home in the past week, and they all keep telling me that it looks like I’m having the best time. And all I can respond with is “YEP, best decision I’ve ever made :).” It was a bit hard for me to actually tell my mom I was already considering a 2nd year here. A couple days later, I got this adorbz pic of me from when I was 3 with my first Korean friend/neighbor, Hana Ko, from when we lived in North Hollywood. When I would sing the Hannukah song like a good Jewish child she thought I was singing about her. Or so Mama Schaeff says. Keepin the azns close by from the get go I reckon!
In other news, I thought I’d take a post to just talk about some of the things I’m loving about being in Seoul. First, that would be my lovely girlfriends here. I really love them. Katie, Abby, Steph and I had a wonderful girls night out on Saturday filled with martinis, tequila sunrises, some amazing jazz and most importantly, some much needed GIRL TALK. We went to Jazz Story which is in Hyehwa, the area I’ve decided I really want to live in. I think I wrote about it before, but I went on one of my favorite dates ever there and I needed to go back. Abby had been saying she wanted to go see some jazz, so twas perfect. Originally, I had only intended on going out to Jazz Story and then making it an early night because old lady over here has not been wanting to booze it up like a young buck these days. What is becoming of me? I guess I’m becoming more matour. Anyways, that went to shit after a couple “dirty” martinis, a good buzz, a bottle of soju and the need to make up for a shitty Friday night. We ended up going to yet another ghetto ass club in Hongdae, which was awesome good fun. I didn’t get home til about 5am, after which I proceeded to sleep/Skype/sleep the rest of the next day away. All in all, I am in love with my girlfriends here. They are simply amazing and make me happy. I really needed a good group of girls, especially after leaving so many lil gems back state-side 🙂 YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE. Anyways, here is a video of Billie Jean (how approps 😦 ) and some pictorals!
I know I literally talk about my students like they are my children or food that I love so much that I just want to eat UP, but there were a couple things that made me even more obsessed today. First, one of my favorite 6th graders, Billy, is entered in an English speaking/writing competition. He asked me if I could proofread his speech for him, and of course I was so excited about it. He wrote about challenges that we all face in life and compared it to his favorite show called Challenger. It was seriously the cutest thing ever. Kids are so freakin smart and it becomes even more apparent everyday. Here he is in 6th grade and I was truly impressed by how he not only could write a 2 page speech in English, but it also made sense. I was talking to my co-teacher Leni about how good it was while on our way to lunch today, and she told me he is one student who truly cares about learning the context as he wants to become a writer one day. I knew I loved him for a reason. But now I’m sad I came half way through and only get him and all the other 6th graders for 1/2 a semester 😦
Second, last night Katie and I had a coffee date, and afterwards we were walking around Suraksan, which is where she lives and where both our schools are in North Korea. I ran into so many of my students!! It was actually really nice to run into them and talk to them outside of school. 1 of the girls was Sally. She sits right in front of me in one of my 6th grade classes and she is always so cute and sweet and shy. She doesn’t ever raise her hand but I can tell she’s smart and she’s one of my faves. I was talking to her last night and was so impressed with her English. Katie and I kept telling her how great she spoke, and then today she comes to my class and raised her hand 3 times, giving 3 correct answers. Truly impressed and it made me happy to think maybe just that little “you speak so well!” had an impact. Another one of the girls I ran into was Sara. She’s in 5th grade and apparently has problems at home. She’s super tough, pretty obnoxious and is always punching the boys. But I still really like her. I think she’s really smart and just needs someone to actually tell her that because I don’t think she gets it at home. I was telling her how I always call on her because I KNOW she’s smart, and that she always gives correct answers, and when I look at her work it’s usually almost always perfect. I also told her she was pretty and she just kinda hid inside herself and kept saying “No I’m not. No I’m not teachaaaa.” While I’m sitting at lunch today, I told both Jin and Leni how I ran into her last night, and Jin tells me “YES! Sara came to me today to tell me how you told her she was cute and smart! She was very happy.” Ah, the freakin little things just keep getting me 🙂
Last thing about my students then I’ll stop. Today I learned that Sesame Street is PURE GOLD. I taught my 1st and 2nd grade afterschool babies about feelings and emotions this week. Whenever we start the class and I ask how they are today, they give me blank stares, so it seemed only suiting to teach them something so vital. Anyways, we started the class today with a Cookie Monster and Ernie video about being happy and sad over a cookie. THE KIDS WENT NUTS. I honestly didn’t expect it. I ended up playing the video 3 times for them because they couldn’t get enough, and frankly neither could I. Something about hearing cute little babes laugh. I also had them draw feelings on monkeys, and originally asked for one student from each table to come up and tell the class what emotion their monkey had. No no. Every single student shot their hand up to come to the front of the class, show their monkey and speak complete English sentences. It was one of those “OMG I’m actually doing something right” moments. They’re having fun and learning 🙂 So great. Now here’s a video of them watching Ernie and Cookie Monster, because I couldn’t handle it and needed to bottle it up. Let your heart explode NOW.
In completely unrelated news, not only will I be ringing in the New Year with my sista from anotha mista, my favorite bossy pants, Cori, BUT it also looks like Bret is going to be able to come out here and we will travel to some exotic land together over my birthday!!! BEST NEWS EVER!!! Now to get the fam out here soon! 🙂
That’s all! Goodnight moon 🙂