Wednesday, October 29, 2014


Earlier this year I started teaching babies and it has had its ups and downs. I prefer teaching older kids because I can reason with them and joke with them and give them some responsibility, and that is just not this age group. But, I am happy to say that after a few long hard months the little ones have learned almost all their abcs, all their colors and shapes, they can write their names most days, and they're starting to learn how to read words. I'm proud of them and even more proud of me! They've also colored quite a few pictures during the last 10 minutes of class when they've reached their learning capacity for the day and I've reached my teaching capacity.

Last week one of them came in with a stick-on tattoo of an angry bird on her hand, and the others were jealous. One girl stuck out her had and said "bird" and I drew her one, and she LOVED it. Ever since then it's become a fun game we play. They come running over to my desk and say all the English words they know, and I give them beautiful tattoos, and then we can start class.

I am obviously a talented artist. 

There's something so endearing about these moments. Our communication is very limited - they babble to me in Korean and I actually understand a lot of what they say, but I can't converse with them the way I do with my other classes. This is one small way that we can have fun together and I get to enjoy being with them without any kind of struggle. 

Until the day they ask for a drawing more complex than a shape - then it's game over kiddos. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

A blast from the past

Friday was a holiday and we had no school, so I took a day trip with some friends to my Korean hometown of Ulsan. I haven't been there since I moved away almost 2 years ago. While I lived there I didn't particularly love it because there wasn't that much to do, but I was really excited to go back for a visit. It felt the way it feels when I go home to America - some stores were gone and new things had taken their places, but overall everything was exactly the same. It was really familiar and comfortable. I pretty much remembered where everything was, how to get there, what things were called (which is a big deal for me...I'm not so great with directions). I still don't really have that in Busan - this city is massive and spread out and I've got friends who have lived here much longer than I have so I just end up following them around when we go out. It was refreshing to be back in a place I knew so well.

 I completely forgot about this ferris wheel, but it was my landmark in the beginning when I was trying to find my way around. If I could see it I knew I wasn't lost.

We stopped for coffee at a cute little cafe decorated like a living room.

The people I was closest to in Ulsan have all moved away and scattered, and it was fun to look at places and remember who I was there with and what we did, and think about where we all are now. We had some really good and fun and stupid and hard times trying to figure out Korea together, and as cheesy as it sounds almost every street and restaurant brought back some kind of memory. I probably wouldn't have made it without that initial group of friends.

Ulsan was a great first city for me to live in. It eased me into living in this country and gave me a good taste of Korea without being so overwhelmingly big and busy. I had great schools and coteachers, and I made some dear friend during my 2 years there. It may not be the most exciting city in the world but it has a special place in my heart.