Only Six More Months!

I'm a day late in posting this, but yesterday marked that I only have exactly six more months in Korea! I suppose if I were to renew my contract then I would only be 25% through, but I still have a lot of time to mull that over. I miss America and there are still plenty of other places that I want to see. It's unfortunate that I am writing this post now because I think the past two months of deskwarming (coming into school to do practically nothing all day), along with the winter cold, have dampened my mood a bit.

On Tuesday, classes will resume and we will begin our next session. I will still be in charge of the second and third graders. A lot of changes have been made and I'm not really sure what to expect. I am hoping it will be a breath of fresh air. My handler (teacher responsible for assisting me with any problems and day to day responsibilities) has changed. Apparently nobody liked my old one, and while I didn't have too much of a problem with her, I just didn't find her to be a warm person. When I was in need of help I felt more comfortable asking other teachers with whom I had established more personable relationships. Two of my favorite teachers will not be with us for the majority of the semester: one is taking time off to care for her son and the other has a thyroid problem and will be gone for three months. Another teacher I really like is moving to a different school, and our vice-principal is being replaced so that she can become a principal at another school. I am going to have to adapt to the new teachers' methods which may take some time.

I remember really enjoying teaching, but I just haven't really done it in so long! The second graders will all be new to me, but the third graders will be the second grade students I taught last year. I am dreading 2-6, or whatever their new class number will be, but maybe they will have matured a bit? One can hope... I still have no idea what my schedule will be like, and I keep asking for a calendar so I will know when exams are, but I won't know until Tuesday, at the earliest. I am also curious whether I will have afterschool classes or not, along with the staff conversation class. I suspect I may not have the staff class anymore because only one teacher was showing up, and I was informed yesterday that I will have to start creating a monthly presentation on subjects of my choice, such as American culture. I'm trying to stay positive and think of it as a fun activity I can knock out in an hour or so, but I wasn't provided with the purpose behind it.

As for my personal development in the past six months, I am very pleased. While I do consider myself an independent person, I really do enjoy the company of others, so it took some adjusting to living on my own. I was used to living with my family of four, plus four kitties, in a large home. Now it's just me in my tiny studio. I relied on my parents a lot for advice and taking care of household duties. Now I have to do these things on my own. I had to unclog my sink because I was too embarrassed to notify the landlord because I put rice down the drain when it should have been in the food trash... Even cooking can be a chore, especially with my one hot plate. However, there are plenty of 24/7 kimbap places around so I know I will never go hungry. Also, I finally after six months configured my second drying rack. I also learned a valuable lesson in dealing with LG Telecom... some shady guys tacked on tons of extras to my cell phone plan, but hopefully my co-teacher has the problem resolved now. Basically I've learned to be very cautious with my financials.

I've made a lot of friends in Korea and it's been a blast. I even have a few that I consider really close friends and hope to remain in contact with, even when we go our own separate ways. I've also seen a few friends leave and this will continue to happen until it's my turn. Korea is such a transient place, people coming and going all the time. I think when it is time for me to return home I will be saddened, especially since I will be returning to Tampa and many of my friends have moved on to bigger, better things. However, I think when I return it will only be for a brief period of time before I move on to my own next big thing.

One thing that's really great about Korea is that there is pretty much always something to do, but you may have to travel. I don't really mind, I've gotten used to it since I live in Chilgok and everything is far away. If you have a hobby or interest there's a good chance you can find others that are interested in it too. I went scuba diving at the Busan Aquarium this past weekend in the shark tank and it was a ton of fun. I'm hoping to get certified sometime in the near future now. I'm hitting the gym more regularly now too. Back to travel, it isn't as cheap as I had expected in regards to going internationally, but I will be going to Hong Kong in just a couple of weeks. Then I have Taiwan to look forward to in May. I went to Japan over Christmas and hope to go again to see other parts of the country like Tokyo and Osaka. There's still plenty of places in Korea I have to go to as well, but luckily busses and the KTX are cheap. So much to do, so little time (and money!).

Anyway, these are just some of my thoughts, it's been awhile since I last posted. I hope the next six months go as smoothly as the first. I'm really looking forward to making the most of my remaining time in Korea!