Sunday, May 8, 2011

Field trips, paintball, and more fun in Pohang

So sorry for the long gap between my posts. I have to get better at just dedicating a little bit of time every day to write about SOMETHING. There's always something happening, so it's not like I have a lack of things to write about or anything. I guess I could start now from the last time I posted. Well, here it goes...

School is going well. I am loving my students and my classes more and more everyday as the kids' personalities shine through and I get to know them more. Their English is improving so quickly, it's unbelievable! Just two months ago, none of my students knew any English. Now, I am greeting with a "Hello Jaime Teacher!" When I ask them how they are, they respond with a smiley "I'm fine!" Even my youngest class, Korean age 5, which is about 3-4 Western age have blossomed so quickly. They already know hundreds of words, shapes, colors, and short sentences. They can ask for water, to use the bathroom, to go to the playroom, and several other things. One of my students surprised when they asked me, unprovoked, "Teacher, what's that?" Whoa!

What's also funny are the things they pick up from me. It's made me more aware of the little idioms I use too often. I realized this after one student accidentally dropped his crayons on the floor. He threw his hands up in the air and said, "Aw maaan!" Another time, after I praised a student for a good sentence he asked, "Teacher, it was awesome?" Baahahahaa! I almost died!

Last week we went on a field trip to a park close to school. I think the name was Duom Mountain. It was beautiful! The field trip itself was... interesting. We spent most of our time snacking and taking pictures, it seemed like. BUT it was a day I didn't have to teach class, so I can't complain too much. Also, thanks to my generous 3-year-olds, I got to try about 100 new Korean snack foods, some of which I liked, others not so much. But a great plus to eating snacks with these kiddos: cookie faces!

Here's my student Marco with chocolate cookie ALL over his face. This picture doesn't even show nearly how much cookie he had all over. Soo cute.

Here's Justin on the bus ride to Duom Mountain. Poor kid has a row of rotten baby teeth. No more chocolate for you!

Here's Donna and Aiden, two more of my students in my youngest class. They all automatically give you the peace sign too whenever they pose for a picture! They were sitting together, but for the life of me I couldn't get them to stop wiggling to get a good picture with BOTH of them in it. Darn toddlers.

This week we also had a day off for Children's Day, and the day before was a celebration for Children's Day at school, meaning no classes in the morning during kindergarten classes. Instead, we played gamed like Twister, candy pong (Rich's invention. As he puts it, beer pong for kids!), making balloon helicopter, relay racing, and cooking class (which I taught!). For our day off, we went paint balling with a huge group of other teachers from Pohang. We played four or five games of paint ball, ate snacks, drank beer, and had an amaaazing barbecue outside at the paint ball pit. It was a grreat day!

This coming week, we also have Tuesday off, which is Buddha's birthday, in Korean 석가탄신일 (Seokga tansinil). There have been celebrations all week long, and paper lanterns lining the streets for weeks. Last night, when Rich and I went downtown to go to a DVD bang (literally a DVD room), we walked right into a parade celebrating Buddha's birthday when we got off the bus. There were hundreds of people walking either in normal dress or traditional hanboks, and holding lighted paper lanterns. One float was of a phoenix that BLEW FIRE as well as Buddhist monks shaking hands with parade goers and others playing huge drums on trailers. They could be heard all the way down the street, the diameter of these drums must have been at least 6 feet.

Traditionally, the lanterns are used to send a request or a prayer to Buddha, or are sometimes dedicated to a particular person. We are planning on heading back to Gyeongju to visit Golgulsa Temple. I promise Mom to bring my camera, I won't miss a beat.

Here's one picture of the types of lanterns that are hanging all over the city. They are absolutely beautiful when they're swinging in the wind.

Also, I am making it my DUTY to write more on my blog. Maybe not a long post every day, but at least a few days a week, I will post something. Maybe a picture, a little reflection. Something.
So here's to a wonderful week ahead, and a shout out to everyone I am missing oh so much in America. I love you!

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