Thursday, March 13, 2014

A Well Balance Meal

I just ate mac and cheese with a side of kimchi, tomatoes, grapes, seasoned seaweed and drinking yogurt. I'm not making this up, people. This is what happens when you have limited utensils and cookware in your kitchen because you are waiting for pay-day to get the bulk of it.

Maybe I should eat this? No, too much prep work and I don't have a cutting board. This? Nope, I'd have left-overs and nothing to put them in. This? I... I have no idea what that is or how to prepare it, so no.

I've been wandering down many of the aisles where bachelors with no cooking skills linger. I'm not stereotyping here either. Most of the people I see in the pre-made, ready-to-eat, just-add-water food sections are guys who look like they don't have anyone at home to cook for or to cook for them.

For now, I'm one of them. Except I'm not a guy...

Anyways... The only meals I have lately that involve smart meal planning are school lunches, and school staff dinners (Hweshik). I really need to cut back on the carbs, though. I might be more active than before, but snacking on rice cakes is a disaster in the making. I looove rice cakes though! Most foreigners don't particularly care for them, but I love the chewy consistency. I haven't met a rice cake I didn't like so far. THIS is what I mean by rice cakes, by the way. Rice puff cakes are good too IMO, but they are nothing compared to these.

I know, I'm weird. I should just stick to my American sweets and snacks, and complain about how the cookie part of the Twix sold here doesn't taste the same (Really, it doesn't and while I am sad about this, I have come to terms with it).

Well, thank you for reading my blurb about my weird eating habits. I promise, my meals will be more coordinated soon. At least I haven't just gotten fast food for the past 2 weeks. I haven't even set foot in the Lotteria around the corner since my first night, even though I was craving some fries the other day.

Again, thanks for reading and talk to you soon.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Recap! The EPIK Teacher Edition

Hi Guys! I can log into my blog again, yay! Okay, so I forgot to change the security settings on my gmail account, so that's why I couldn't log in for a while. Fun, fun.

I have been at my new school for about a week and a half now. First week -- no lessons. This week, I've taught Grad 4, 5 and preschoolers. To be honest, the preschoolers were the most fun to be around even though I meet with them at the end of the day and I'm just about ready for a break by then. The teacher wanted me to sing a "Hello" song, which I totally blanked on. I don't know any "Hello" songs and I was suddenly too nervous just to make something up.

So, next time I'm going to be ready with a song. Let's hope I don't get too nervous though!

Before I get too deep into all of this, I need to play a little catch-up. I've been away for so long so.... Recap!

EPIK Orientation -- Think high school almost, but condensed. Scary, right? Or awesome, if you were one of those "high school glory days" peeps. You have about a week to find people you mesh with, learn some tips and tricks of the EPIK teacher trade and occasionally panic from all the info dumping. I met some cool people, had a lot of awkward moments with others and by the end of the week I was ready to lock myself in a room for an introvert day.

Which brings me to my new apartment, new school and new everything else...

I live in a studio apartment about 15 minutes walking distance from the elementary school I teach at now. I have 2 co-teachers, who I will refer to at YS and JS for future posts. YS has been an English teacher before, and has been a co-teacher before. JS is new to the school, new to being an English teacher and therefore new to being a co-teacher.


Okay, so I have to say there are things about Korean schools I like. I like that teachers get rotated from one school to another after so many odd years. I like that the staff are a kind-of mini community (which includes staff dinners and team building activities).

What I don't like is the fact that teachers are expected to rotate SUBJECTS. When I first heard this I was really, really confused. One of my office-mates is a PE teacher for the first time this year and, like I said, my co-teacher JS has never taught English before. Her English isn't that bad, but I can practically feel the struggle she is going through to communicate with me as well as the students.

So, I feel sorry for these teachers. I don't know how much thought is put into who gets transferred where (do they do interviews, look at entrance exam scores, what?), but I know that both co-workers mentioned are feeling a little panicked from the new experience. Poor JS.

Now... Outside of school stuff -- I couldn't get my heat to work the first night I moved into my new apartment. Neither could a co-worker who came over, but co-teacher YS came the next day to help meet the maintenance guy and so I only went without heat for about 1 day, which wasn't too bad.

I rode my first metro bus in Korea just this past Sunday when going to church. I got a little turned around, but made it to the church building safely. One of the missionaries was kind enough to translate for me, and then told me about a semi-English speaking session recently organized just 10 minutes away. So, I'll try to find that next Sunday. I also know which bus to take to get to an E-mart, so great experience.

That's it for this blog post. I have a lot to share, but this is already getting really long. Thanks for reading!