Wednesday, February 5, 2014

It's Time to Say Goodbye

Todays article is written for the Reach To Teach Teach Abroad Blog Carnival, a monthly series that focuses on providing helpful tips and advice to ESL teachers around the globe. A new topic and various articles will be posted on the 5th of every month, so be sure to check back.

For this month's blog carnival we were asked to write a letter professing our love to the one place we love the most. I've done something similar for my new home once before so I considered picking a new location, but as my time here in Buksam is coming to a fast approaching end, I thought it only appropriate to give it one more mention.


Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Season of Giving

Like I mentioned in my last post, my favorite part of the holiday season centers around giving, so what better way to celebrate than to give presents, and hopefully some joy, to 70+ children.  Earlier this spring when Aimee, the founder of KKOOM, asked me to help her with the annual holiday part for Samsungwon, I had absolutely no hesitation.  This is the first year that Aimee wasn't able to be in Korea for the holidays since founding KKOOM 6 years ago; she was looking for support from the foreigners here to keep the tradition going.  I attended the Christmas party last year so after seeing the joy that it brought to the kids I knew I wanted to help make that possible again this year.   Unfortunately, the orphanage is currently undergoing construction so hosting a large scale party proved to be impossible, 70+ kids and volunteers running around a midst welding, sawing, hammering and other chaos didn't sound like the best idea. Instead, we decided to host an online gift drive, asking volunteers to support one (or more) children by purchasing gifts from their wish list.  We were able to get enough volunteers (some even sending money from the US), purchase the gifts and organize all of those sent from across the country. It was a bit of chaos for a few days as we sorted through boxes, wrapped, sorted and shopped but thankfully everything came together by 3pm Sunday afternoon. 

Finally organized, 70 some odd presents 

Friday, December 27, 2013

Holiday Rant

Being removed from your country allows you to appreciate the good and really despise the bad aspects of where you came from, it's kind of like an out of body experience. Being away from family and friends can be tough during the holiday season, but it also gives you an opportunity to realize what you miss and appreciate versus what you can do without.  For me, celebrating Christmas in Korea for not one but two years now has really opened my eyes to the consumer driven, materialistic season the US has turned this holiday into.  This year, headlines spread across news sources and social media alike critiquing companies for opening their doors on Thanksgiving day and reaching all the way until Christmas.  While living in the United States I was aware of what Christmas has turned into but was able to turn a blind eye to it.  Maybe it's because it's the norm and everyone is doing it mentality that allows just that, everyone to continue to do it.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Never Again

Remember last summer and the summer before that, when I had awesome field trips with my staff - great bonding, lots of drinking, singing and food.  Well, its' that time of year again err kind of, except this time it's winter not summer, anyway you get the idea.  A few weeks ago, we had our end of the year teachers field trip, 1박 2일 [1 night, 2 days].  I really think I got spoiled the first year because we had an awesome trip, almost everyone participated, we saw some sights, ate good food, sang, danced, drank and even swam;  on top of all that I even avoided having a hangover the next day.  Last winter our trip was snowed out so I'm not sure what exactly I missed out on, then this past summer we had a mediocre trip, food, drinking and signing but not quite like the year before.  All of this combined I wasn't really sure what was in store for me this winter but I was still looking forward to it regardless, until I found out half the teachers would either be driving themselves and leaving early, or simply not attending.