Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Toast and Tangerines

I've been back for about 6 or 7 weeks now and so far it's been great! I work in a privately owned school through E. Bo. Young Talking Club. My owner is fantastic. She is a very kind and fair woman and she has really created a good atmosphere in the office. I have my own classroom this year which is pretty amazing. I actually feel a bit like a teacher now ha ha. I am teaching 2nd grade to middle school and, generally speaking, my kids are fantastic! In previous schools, I've definitely had classes I dreaded, typically the moody, pre-teen kids, but here I haven't had any of that. I actually find my middle school kids to be a lot of fun and they have senses of humor that make me crack up every day. On an average day, I teach 6 classes. I  have to be to work at 1:30 and start teaching at 3. I get a 45 min dinner break in the middle, am finished teaching by 8:15 and am contracted till 9, although this varies. At times, I get in workaholic mode and stay way later, whereas other days, I leave a bit earlier.

The only downside to my current situation is my location. I am the ONLY foreigner in my area which can be a bit a weekday slump situation. I actually saw a foreigner run past me while I was walking to work one day, and a small part of me was tempted to run after him and scream "who are you? Where do you come from? Give me social life, please!" but after some deep, momentary consideration in my head I opted against this decision. I fear it would have created a psycho girl first impression. However, there is a positive side to this location; I am generally in a good location to get to the 2 main locations for foreigners. The main hangouts are called Hongdae and Itaewon. Itaewon has the joys of several western grocery stores, which I have yet to peruse, as well as a large number of foreign friendly food and hangouts. The downfall to this location is it has a bit more of a seedy feeling. I haven't quite pegged why this may be, possibly the larger numbers of American army men or maybe it's just what people say. While here, I have noticed that it seems to be that you are generally a Hongdae person or an Itaewon person, kinda like the "are you N*SYNC or Backstreet boys" phenomena back in the day. I can hands down say kids that I, Anna W, am a Hongdae girl through and through. In my own personal opinion, if Itaewon was the seedy and a bit slimier locations, Hongdae is the more artsy and free-spirited location. There is actually a park there that 100% sold me on moving to Seoul and not Busan. Last year, my friend and I were visiting Hongdae and we were walking through this park on a rainy day to meet back up with our friends. As we passed, we came across something that was a very important moment for me....there, we both curled under the umbrella with the hundred other people doing the same and listened to a local group singing Adele outside. This blew me away. I learned that this was a normal thing here, to have random live music in the park. And so it was, that I knew I had to be here. On top of the chill, outdoor hangout at the park, there is also a lot of artwork on buildings. It's amazing and I will definitely get pictures once it's not so cold out. As it were, oddly, I have recently become friends with the owner of the park. Do not even begin to ask me how someone owns a park and how that works, because I have no clue. One day I will ask him and let you know. I have really enjoyed my experiences in Hongdae and I can only begin to imagine how much I will love it in the warmer months.

As anyone can imagine, building a solid social life can take a bit of time. I have my wonderful friends from my old cities, and I have definitely had some good times with them since I've been back, but that doesn't really fill the weekly void of socialization. I have recently been hanging out with an awesome group of guys and am starting to feel like one of the group finally. They are a group that can seriously make me laugh and they are all very laid back and just want to love life. I promoted a midweek hangout event this last weekend and it seems as though it may work out quite well. This week, we are all getting together for Dak-Galbi (a Korean dish, I broke ((another)) camera and have yet to take many pics here but I will be sure to do a food blog at some point) and we are debating having a book club integrated in as well. In addition to this group of guys, I also have been developing some friendships with a wonderful group of girls. I met Maeve via Joanne last year and she has 2 new coworkers that seem to be a lot of fun. Due to some weather issues, I haven't seen them much lately, but I think we will definitely have some good laughs in our futures.

Currently I am also pet sitting for a friend from Daegu. I have a small farm going on here: 4 rats, 2 hamsters and a hedgehog. It's definitely a time consumer and a wonderful distraction for me, but I must say I am very glad it is only for 4-6 weeks. It's a lot of work to make sure everyone gets their lovin! And as sweet as her rats are, they are definitely no where near where my girls were. They aren't too big on being held, but I'm working on that.

And I suppose I should explain the title: Toast and Tangerines. My goal for the year is find the joys in the simple things. Last year I cooked some amazing food and did some really cool things, but this year I'm really wanting to find the joys in the simple things. My slogan is toast and tangerines because it occurred to me once day how much I loved that for a meal and yet how simple it was to make. ((I even have the slogan hanging on my door so I see it when I leave)). I've been reading a lot more and, in general, I'm hoping to take some steps back and appreciate the little things and the simple things. Currently, I am in search of a cozy coffee shop to regular myself at to get some reading and blogging done.

I suppose that's about all I have for now. Like I said, I'm hoping to be more active on this blog this year and I will hopefully get the camera situation sorted (or get the Big Boy camera out more) and do some blogs on food, sites, stores, etc here in Korea. It's a beautiful life here and I know it's too difficult for people to come visit the experience, but I will try and share it via modern technology.

Till next time : ) Much love!!!

"A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than
a life spent doing nothing."
-George Bernard Shaw