Sooooo Korea, well I'm really happy here I know I haven't documented and significant portion of my time here (4ish month or so) and I would say for about three months I wasn't particularly happy. I wasn't particularly sad or angry. I was more meh than anything (I would still do things that I knew were fun but didn't feel that fun anymore) but I think it was just one of those phases of culture shock, which I do remember going through when I was in Germany (though it was much worse because it was November, December, January time which is as you know is a kind of an important time for family in much of the world). But I'm over that feeling and I'm really happy here. Even being sick which I have been for much of this past week (and for those of you who've lived apart from family will know, that's when you miss home the most) I'm still in a happy frame of mind.
There are still things that irritate me or that I dislike (I mean I'll never get over how ridiculous smoking is here, or how theres really no concept of personal space on the street and if someone bumps you they won't even look around much less apologize. Though its easier to recognize that its not them necessarily being rude but more conforming to society norms because apologizing or even caring that you bumped into someone is just not what they do here, apologizing probably doesn't even cross the mind for most, and eventually you start acting the same way. I bump into people all the time and I don't apologize and they don't care/notice. It's still annoying but that's just how they do here...yo yo yo YO haha) but with a lot of things you just become use to it, like it's sad to say but spitting in the street doesn't gross me out anymore. I mean I'll still cringe a little when I hear someone preparing to hock a luge and I'll avoid the spot they spit in but it really is an everyday occurrence. To be honest its a bit of a relief to me at this particular time and place because while I don't have the urge to spit on a normal basis (like most Korean's seem to have) I have been fairly sick and coughing up a bunch of stuff that I don't want to swallow or hold in my mouth until I can find a bathroom, so the fact that I can spit it out without worrying about whose there to see me or what they'll think (though I never really worried about it before) is nice (haha sorry for the graphic and disgusting nature of the topic but I like learning/discussing about the small as well as the big differences in other societies compared to my own).
And this has gotten off topic...kind of. What I was planning on writing were some of the ways I have changed since I came to Korea. This is kind of a shout out to the fact that come next next Sunday (the 26th) I will officially have been in Korea 6 months, ASSAH!!! So here it is
- I have leveled up and became a ninja assassin at chopsticks wielding, or I've grown from little baby Mario to adult Mario on star-power and not even Koopa Troopa's can defeat my awesomeness with the chopstick-ness. I could go on but I think you get the picture. (This comes from using chopsticks everyday, everywhere as that's the silverware of choice here. I didn't even own a fork until about 4 months into my stay in Korea and I only got it because I wanted to make spaghetti, which has happened once, which coincidentally is the amount of times that fork has been used. I'm so use to rocking the chopsticks and spoon combo that when I was actually given a fork, knife and spoon at a foreigner restaurant we went to I didn't even think and just used the spoon to eat everything until about halfway through the meal when I realized what I was doing.)
- I love mushrooms. I'm not sure if I like the American style of mushrooms (though I don't think I would) but I like the mushrooms they sale here. They, like most fruits and vegetables taste slightly different than back in the states.
- I'm skinnier. Still nothing close to being called skinny but Korea was/is a life style change in many ways (food, excercise ect.) which resulted in losing about 15ish pounds without actually trying to lose weight when I got here.
- I drink more alcohol. I'm still not a big fan of it. It's not like I didn't drink before I came to Korea, I just didn't like the taste of alcohol. Which I still don't and I still only drink when I'm out with friends, which just happens to be a lot more frequently here. I'm still not nor will I probably ever be one of those people who crack open a beer or drink a glass of wine to relax.
- I'm a better teacher. LoL I wasn't any kind of teacher before so it's kind of a given that I would be better, but I like to think I'm actually a fairly good teacher. Almost all of my kids love/like me (including the bad students who all the teachers hate and are known as the trouble makers. Which is nice because they don't make too much trouble in my class, and actually try to participate) and I know that what I'm teaching is actually sticking with a lot of them, already the 4th and 5th graders are reaching a much higher level than the 6th graders. Haha and I'm not saying that that is just because I'm their teacher because frankly my co-teachers are really great teacher's whom I've learned a lot about teaching from.
- I'm more forceful/independent here.
- I keep my apartment much cleaner on a whole then I did my room, my dorm, or my apartment in Germany. As in I rarely have dishes in my sink longer than a day.
- I hang dry all my clothes, and it doesn't bother me and I don't ever think about the days when I had a dryer.
- I cook less (eating out is so cheap and I don't have a lot of free time during the week).
- Drink more coffee (Korea has a crazy amount of coffee shops).
Haha this has gotten pretty mundane. I know I have more interesting things I wanted to list but I can remember them so if I do, then I'll just edit this section.
Also a quick list of things I really should have blogged about but didn't
- The world cup - let's just say it was ridiculous and crazy and mad fun. Korean's are pretty nationalistic so the support and loyalty they had for the Korean team was a sight to be hold
- Boryeong Mud Festival - 2 days playing in the mud with hundreds of other foreigners/koreans
- First time at a jimjilbang - Korean public bath house. This is actually really interesting so I may go back a blog about this but if not just think about lots of naked old ladies, lots of different sized pools and sauna rooms, a very interesting aroma therapy hip bath that involved a chair with a hole in it and much much more.
- All the crazy people here. The constantly changing pool of foreigners combined with the relatively small pool of them in a country where anyone not Korean sticks out like a sore thumb creates a really interesting dynamic...i.e. drama haha
Things that are coming up.
- My open class (this I will get into more later because it is one of the things about public schools that really bother me and is directly related to school life/dynamics especially combined with a newer/worse-r principal than before)
- My trip to Hong Kong - which I leave for on Sunday. I'll be traveling with Thildi and we'll be couch surfing so I'll definitely have things to say.
- Contemplations of either switching to a Hagwon, a middle or high school, or moving to China/Taiwan/Hong Kong or another country.
Haha that wraps up this segment of Where in the world is Holly Love D**ton