A year in photos – Day 5

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Thursday, March 1

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March 1st is Korea’s Independence Day. It also marks my last day of freedom. Unfortunately, I have to go back to work tomorrow… On a Friday! Boo.

I had a really good day though. Dave was here from Ulsan. We went out to get some dinner and noticed that the streets were lined with Korean flags, including this giant flag hanging from a building in an area of Busan called Seomyeon.

A year in photos – Day 4

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Wednesday, February 29

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When you’re away from home, getting mail means so much! Today I came home to this card from my dear friend, Joni. It made my day.

A year in photos – Day 3

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Tuesday, February 28

All good things must come to an end, including vacations. While I still have 2 days left until I have to go back to work, Dave has to go back tomorrow morning. We just landed safe and sound in Busan.

A year in photos – Day 2

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Monday, February 27

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We are having a lovely time in Jeju. The food at the hotel is really great and the dessert is even better. Our favorite so far has been the chocolate crème brûlée. It’s amazing!

It’s official…

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Sunday, February 26

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Year one is over and as of today I have begun my second year in Korea. If the upcoming year is anything like today, it is sure to be the best year of my life so far.

Dave and I are on Jeju Island for a long weekend and we are having an amazing time. I can’t imagine a better way to spend a weekend away. I’ll post more about it soon.

During this contract year, I’m going to do my best to take a photo every day and post it to my blog. Today’s photo is just Dave and I after dinner. It was really good (especially dessert!) and now we are just sitting around listening to the sounds of the ocean. More about that later though…

Renewing My Contract

I finally made up my mind to stay in Korean for another year. The problem was, I didn’t know if my principal and vice principal would want me to stay or get a new Native English Teacher. Every day I would see all of my friends talking (online) about their schools asking them to say, signing contracts and getting medical exams. I didn’t hear anything from my co-teacher.

I already knew that our applications to renew were due on December 5 and I also knew that included the medical exam results and it takes up to a week to get those back. I was starting to stress out so I started asking my co-teacher a lot of questions about the renewal process. It turns out she was pretty clueless. She didn’t even know that I needed a medical exam (so it’s a good thing I asked).

The vice principal of our school was supposed to be out all week so I had to wait around for a week not knowing if my school wanted to keep me or not because it’s basically her decision. The following week, I kept asking my head co-teacher if she had heard anything from the vice-principal. She said there was a meeting with the vice principal and the head teachers about me, but she hadn’t heard anything.  On Friday, I decided to ask my other c0-teacher to see if she knew anything. She told me that she really wanted to tell the VP that they should keep me, but she hadn’t because she doesn’t want to teach English next year.

I’m not sure how it came up, but my co-teachers spoke to the VP at lunch that day and she told them that all of the head teachers wanted me to stay so I could stay at the school if I wanted to. I was so excited to hear the good news!

Since then it’s been a whirlwind of paperwork… and I had to go get another medical check. That was an adventure.

Step 1. Check in at the front desk

Step 2. Escorted to a dentist chair where he looked at my teeth for less than 10 seconds then said, “Your dental condition is very good!”

Step 3. Take a number.

Step 4. My number was called so approached the unknown desk and was asked to pay 60,000 won (about $55).

Step 5. Walk back to the front desk and then escorted into another room.

Step 6. Height/Weight check

Step 7. Blood Pressure

Step 8. Chest Measurement (Does anyone know why they only measure our chests??)

Step 9. Color blind test. The woman opened a notebook. Inside they had glued some of those dotted pictures with numbers hidden in them.

Step 10. Hearing Test

Step 11. Eye Test

Step 12. Chest X-ray

Step 13. Urine Test

Step 14. Blood Test

Step 15. Instructed to sit on a bench outside of some closed doors. Sat there for half an hour as the two men inside chatted in Korean.

Step 16. Go into the room and sit in front of a doctor for “counseling.”

Doctor: Do you have any problems with your body?
Me: No.
Doctor: If you have problems with your body, you have to come back here.
Me: Okay.
Doctor: I don’t want to see you again.
Me: Me too! Bye!

I picked up the results yesterday. I passed!

Today I turned in my medical check results. My co-teacher had a meeting with the principal and vice principal. The principal asked her to translate his words to me. She typed it out and gave it to me. I thought I would share it with all of you.

First of all, thank you for last 1 year.
Your face looks so good than first time I saw you. getting brighter and brighter.

I think it maybe you spend good time at this school and Korea life.
Thank you for your passionate teaching. Student’s English ability getting rising and they like English.

I want to recontract with you and please make sure you do your work (teaching English, broadcast, Morning English, etc) with sincerity & passionate.

I wish I expect good result.

-principal

Open Class, BIFF, Scavenger Hunt… Oh My!

Sunday, October 9

I never left my apartment on Sunday. I was fairly productive though. I did a lot of laundry, cleaning and organizing. I bought a new comforter on Saturday and I was worried that it would be too small for my bed, but it fits. It’s quite warm so I’ll have to wait until it gets colder to use it, but it is incredibly soft and I am very excited about it.

  

Monday, October 10

I have taken it upon myself to teach one of the 4th graders to read. His name is Tae Gyun (sounds like Gyoon).  During class I told my co-teacher that I think he’s very smart, but he can’t read so I want to help him. After she explained to him, he looked at me and said, “Thank you, Meagan Teacher!”

He was in my low level summer camp class and he is one of my absolute favorite students. He is just the sweetest thing.  His listening and speaking level is normal, but he doesn’t know how to read or even basic phonics. I will be tutoring him for about 15-20 minutes every day after lunch. It’s on a completely voluntary basis. I don’t get anything out of it except the personal satisfaction of helping out a great kid.

Tuesday, October 11

On Tuesday, I watched a movie at the Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) outdoor theater. Read this blog post to find out more about the festival and see more photos.

BIFF Busan Cinema Center

Wednesday, October 12

I had my open class on Wednesday. In the morning as I was walking out of the secretary’s office, one of them ran out to me and said, “Meagan! Today your open class day??” I said yes and then she held my hand and said, “You be a good teacher. Cheer up!” It was so sweet and so sincere.

I wasn’t nearly as nervous as I was last semester. I didn’t feel like it went that great, but my co-teacher said it was good. After lunch she sent me an instant message on the computer that said, “Principle said you did a good job today. and keep up teach passionly.” He observed for about 60 seconds. But hey… at least he enjoyed every minute of it.

After work I was walking through my neighborhood when I saw a group of middle school boys on their way home. They were racing each other down the sidewalk and when they stopped, I noticed that they were all instinctively fixing their hair. They had to make sure each piece was in its place. It was quite humorous.

Thursday, October 13

After school I met up with my friend and neighbor Jamie to get some dinner. We wanted to venture out into a new area for dinner so we walked about a mile to see what there was to eat near the baseball stadium. We ended up eating a spicy chicken fried rice meal that I loved, but it was a bit to spicy for Jamie’s liking. The great thing about it was that it was only 4,500 won per serving. Afterwards, we did some wandering about and stumbled upon some lovely finds.

  

Friday, October 14

6th grade girl: You have a very white face.
Meagan Teacher: Is that good? (even though I already knew the answer)
6th grade girl: Yes.
Meagan Teacher: Thank you!

Saturday, October 15

On Saturday I participated in a scavenger hunt with 4 other friends. We had 2 lists of challenges, one for pictures and one for videos. Each challenge was assigned a point value and the top 3 teams at the end won prizes. There was also a prize for best costumes. My team didn’t have time to go all out on costumes so we just decided to color coordinate. We wore black and red and called ourselves the Red Hots. We ended up coming in 2nd place (out of at least 15-20 teams) at the end and we had an amazing time! I have so many pictures and videos that the Scavenger Hunt will get its own post in a few days. Here are a few pics to hold you over until then…

Take a photo of your team performing in an airband

Bonus Challenge: All 5 team members must do a human pyramid and take a shot at the same time

Take a picture of 4 team members with at least one body part in the ocean