Saturday, September 14, 2013

This is the Week That...

This is the week that...we had an adventure in shinae (K for "downtown"). We left in search of clothing stores and whatever else we could find. We figured out which bus to take and felt pretty proud of ourselves until we realized, "We have no idea where to get off." We knew we were aiming for a well-known store called "Home Plus." So, I turned around to the bus full of Koreans, gestured the universal "I don't know" with my shoulders shrugged, and said, "Home Plus?" No one blinked. No one said anything. And then I remembered how the Korean language follows a pattern of vowel/consanant/vowel and so they tend to add syllables to the end of English words. I tried again: "Home-ugh Plus-ugh?" Recognition, head nodding, and smiling. One young girl said, "Next stop." Oh how grateful I am for generous souls on buses!

This is the week that...we ate Korean barbecue with some foreigners we met in our neighborhood. There are little grills on each table. You choose the meat, they bring the side dishes. It was pretty good. I've never eaten so much pork in my life.

This is the week that...I ordered chicken for my co-workers. The first Tuesday, I was at school, someone ordered chicken to share and I said, "Is this a special occasion or is chicken a Tuesday tradition?" The next Tuesday, someone else ordered chicken as a joke. So I figured, I'd better keep up the tradition.

This is the week that...I figured out what the buttons on the fancy toilet do. Don't worry, eventually I will remember that if I keep making videos with the camera turned sideways, they will always be viewed sideways.

This is the week that...I played volleyball with my co-workers at school. They have a monthly event where some play volleyball and some cheer, but everyone is involved! Thus, we played volleyball with 18 people on the court! They also do not rotate, so I was a front-row hitter the entire game. I tried to ask if other people wanted to hit, but honestly, it didn't break my heart when no one volunteered. It was so fun! Before the game, my main co-teacher Mrs. Che said in a very serious tone of voice, "Bo, I am your boss and I have orders for you. I need you to spike the ball and hit Jason (another co-worker) in the face." It was funny. We had a little joke. I spiked the ball a few times in his direction and she gave me a very proud two-thumbs up from the sidelines each time like a proud mama.

I particularly like this picture because I remember the black-tracksuit-guy had just pulled off some amazing play to save my butt, I didn't exactly know how to say, "Wow! Thanks. You're awesome." So instead we both did this--which kind of looks like we both want a hug--but I think still communicated what we needed to say.
Note: "Good job" in Korean is "Chadaso!"

This is the week that...I was invited to sit with the principal and vice-principal at their table after volleyball. In Korea, the principal is "the King of the castle" (their words, not mine). So this was quite an honor. Apparently, the principal was impressed with my volleyball skills and the fact that I try really hard to speak to my co-workers in Korean. The vice-principal even poured me a cup of soju, which is another Korean tradition that shows respect.

This is the week that...Jeremy enjoyed the wonders of Korean-style pizza. His co-workers ordered it and he had on with beef, cheese, corn, onion, and a sweet egg tart crust. Another had shrimp, pepper, cheese, and sweet potato. Mmmm.

This is the week that...I met a Korean teacher at my school with a "Don't Mess With Texas" bumper sticker on her car! Not kidding. Her husband is in the Korean military and so a few years ago they moved their family to Oklahoma for three years.

This is the week that...we found an indoor rock climbing gym! I took Jeremy there on a date. It was a good size place with crash pads, tons of various routes, and a few overhangs. The owner is a gal who speaks pretty good English and showed us around. We were the only foreigners there, but we met quite a few who spoke English and it was fun to realize how little language is required to enjoy climbing together.

This is the week that...I played a game with my grade 5 kiddos. I think they liked it. I think it enabled simple English phrases and involvement from everyone (even those who don't know as much English). It was a nice break from traditional teaching and my co-teachers really liked it!

This is the week that...we had Friday night dinner with foreigners: some from the States, some from South Africa, some from Canada, some from the U.K. The menu involved chili with cheese, tortilla chips, and home made salsa. All foods I have not had in awhile and probably won't for another long while. Sigh. Good times. Good to hear English. Good to feel like you kind of belong. Good to get the jokes.

This is the week that...we are grateful for such blessings, such wealth, such wonderful people, such good health, and such great opportunities. So grateful.


Jessica said...

You look comfortable teaching :] Great job!