Sunday, May 18, 2008

So people notice that I'm short...

My soccer girls designed this shirt for me and it makes me smile. I know that this may come as a shock to many of you, but I am slightly vertically challenged (just a TINY bit). Well, so were many of my soccer girls. When we played tall teams full of western-sized girls I tried to encourage them that, despite popular beliefs, a size differential was actually to our advantage: shorter women have a lower center of gravity. We can balance better!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

3 snapshots of my busy May life

Check out my facebook album that showcases three random recent events in my life:

1) About 2 weeks ago, I saw the Wondergirls live. The Wondergirls are a pop group here in Korea that are famous for their dance to one song called "Tell Me." These teenage girls can't sing in tune at all, but they can dance. It was a free concert. I was glad at the end that I didn't pay anything. But it was def a cultural experience. Haha.

2) My neighbor, Jung Hye, is getting married in a month. Along with a few other teachers, I threw her a wedding shower this week. It was my first shower to throw and I think it went well. She really enjoyed it so I consider it a success :)

3)Tonight the soccer team had an end of the year party. It was great to see all the girls again. I have missed them the past few weeks! We went to a nice Italian place for dinner and then did awards and watched our season video that Tiece put together.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Adapting and changing

Yesterday I went to a jimjilbang after school with some of my coworkers and spent about 4 hours floating between the hot rooms, ice rooms, saunas, and spas. For the first time I got a full body scrub. I let an ajima (an older woman) scrub my entire body-- a bit invasive at moments, but my skin has never felt smoother! I would definitely do it again. As I sat in one of the pools (naked besides a naked coworker), I found myself reflecting on my year and how much I've acclimatized to my new environment. After being in Korea for about 10 months, things that seemed so foreign in the beginning are now normal. And I do things now naturally that I would never have imagined myself doing 1 year ago (ex: jimjilbangs...).

A few days ago I reread all the blogs that I've put up since I moved to Korea. It was funny to recall all the things that shocked me at first and all the aspects of Korean life that I did not understand. It made me realize how much I have grown this year and how adaptable I can be. I am no longer surprised by buildings being built in a month, stores changing owners every week, ice cream stores being replaced by arcade shooting ranges, children saying "hello" or waving from buses, drunk university students doing Dance Dance Revolution by the grocery store, or families wearing masks to protect themselves from yellow dust storms. I am fairly confident that my students' two greatest fears are the sun and grades lower than an A. I no longer have to ask my kids what they will be doing over vacation, I know that 90% of them will be in SAT hogwons. I crave kimchee and kimbap regularly. I have gotten used to students calling me at home and being my facebook friend. I have been in many of my kids dorm rooms, and they have eaten in my apartment. I am used to running into people I know when I walk through my neighborhood at 1 am. The woman at my favorite coffee shop knows my order. I am no longer surprised when people mention Jesus in a classroom.

As I start to think about leaving Korea for a bit in a month, I know that I will be taking a bit of Korea and TCIS in me. That makes me smile :)