Sunday, September 12, 2010

I'm alive and well

Well folks, it's been a while, hasn't it? Sorry I have been M.I.A. since I arrived in this beautiful country. I offer no excuses other than things keep popping up, whether they be social calls, ironing (ugh!), emergency Pringles runs to the 7-11, etc.

at my desk in the office
I am teaching at Dae Chang high school in Yecheon. I work with four co-teachers, one of which is my main co-teacher, Mr. Do Gi Choel. I teach about 4-5 classes a day on average and am at school from 9 to 5 or 6 depending on if I have an after-school class or not. Korean high schools are three years long and I work with first and second years exclusively as the third years spend all year preparing for exams. The students' English abilities are not stellar but they are very hard workers and they love bantering with me. I have been told that I look like Eminem, Justin Timberlake and David Beckham. I'm fairly certain it's because I am white and I have short hair, but I'll take them all as compliments.
I digress. I have had the opportunity to hand-select students for an intensive English Conversation class every Wednesday and Friday. Mr. Do, my head co-teacher had students interview for positions in the class and I got to pick the best 10. With the 20 students, I am developing a penpal relationship with my former students at San Juan National High School, my school when I was in Peace Corps Philippines. Sir Erwin (my co-teacher in the Philippines) and I are in the process of pairing students.

Otherwise, my home life is great. I have a swank, one-bedroom apartment, complete with airconditioning, a full kitchen, washing machine, TV, 50Mbps internet and iTV (TV that comes in through the internet as opposed to cable). I have also acquired a Play Station 3 from another foreign teacher here in Yecheon, borrowing it until she returns home. The best part about this acquisition? I can now stream movies and TV shows from my laptop to the TV. It is the ultimate entertainment setup.

catfish soup
I live directly below my co-teacher, Mr. Do. This is a great situation for many reasons, but primarily, I get invited to a couple family dinners a week, masterfully prepared by his wife. Aside from the dinner invites, I have been invited out to eat with them. We had a delicious soup consisting of two whole, fresh catfish from our local river swimming in a red hell-broth that brought forth sweat, snot and tears of joy. One of the marvelous things about eating out in Korea is that so much of the food is prepared at your table. It's fun watching the food cook while sitting, snacking on pickled side dishes, chatting and being enchanted by the smell of simmering soups, BBQing meats and the ambience of meals cooked there previously.

Hopefully sometime this week I will post pics of my apartment, of Yecheon and embellish my posts with more detail about daily life here in this town of 50,000 people.