I admit it–I am a blogging failure. I’ve been lacking in that department as of late, but it’s not my fault, I swear! Work has been crazy, and the not-yet-unbearably-hot weather means that I’m spending as much time as possible outside. We’re just entering monsoon season, which, until I experienced the first of the rainy weather last week, sounded absolutely ridiculous. We’ll have several days of sun and beautiful weather followed by a day or two of constant, heavy downpour. Close umbrella, dry off, open umbrella, close it a few hours later. Repeat that for the next month.

Weather aside, things have been pretty busy over the past few weeks. The swimming pool opened Wednesday and we managed to fit in one four-hour swimming class before the rain came the next day. I’ve also switched my schedule from 9-5 to 1:30-8:30. As nice as it is to be able to sleep in, there is nothing worse than having to go back to work after dinner. The only positive side to this is that evening shift guarantees most weekends off, so a few friends and I are off to Mudfest, held south of Seoul in Boryeong, next weekend. Pictures will most definitely be posted.

Other things to happen recently…

My family’s cat, Princess (don’t judge me, I was 7 years old when we named her), was put to sleep this week after a sudden illness. The loss of a pet is so weird. It’s like losing a family member who never spoke to you but would occasionally bite you, jump on you or curl up with you. This is the first pet loss since the summer before I started sixth grade, and it wasn’t any easier this time around. If anything, it has brought up feelings I thought I had already dealt with after losing my grandfather, great-aunt and mentor in a two-month span earlier in my contract. Cue quote from Shaq, passed along a few days ago by @KG1590: “I got to admit it’s getting better, a little better all the time.”

 

If you don't think this is cute, you don't have a soul.

If you don't think this is cute, you don't have a soul.

 

 

The Great Turnover of Summer 2009 is nearing its end. More than half a dozen teachers finished their contracts last month (and earlier this month) and have departed Seoul. It’s always tough to see friends go, because even though our paths may cross in the future, it won’t ever be in this context again. Friends Nick and Diana (I’m hoping that increased blog hits from this post will encourage them to update more often) left yesterday, heading to Kenya for a month before making their way back to Oregon, and willed me their toaster. Have already used said toaster to burn garlic bread (toast), warm some cheese for a tuna melt and bake banana bread. What’s that? Bake banana bread? Oh yes, you heard me right. Despite being notoriously awful in the kitchen (and leaving my former roommate Natalia to constantly bake us treats), I managed to find a simple recipe, throw in my own secret ingredient (cinnamon) and whip up two wonderful loaves of bread. I.Am.Awesome. (Ten bucks says one of my parents will comment on this post with the story about how I once destroyed a kosher-for-Passover cake, which, despite being from a box, was still entirely possible to screw up. I still stand by the argument I had at 14: Manichewitz did not properly label “Cake Mix” and “Frosting Mix.”)

We’ve had Russian students here for the past few weeks. The first group was nothing short of unruly. There were about 50 of them, most from wealthy families who could afford to send their kids to an English village in a foreign country for a couple weeks. These kids came here with a strong sense of entitlement, and SEV only reinforced that. Last Friday, Jeanette and I were the only teachers scheduled to “teach” Sports Night. Throughout the hour and a half-long class, the kids were constantly leaving the auditorium to buy hot chocolate or coffee, or to use the telephones to phone home from the Telephone classroom. We took turns making rounds in the building to corral the kids and bring them back to the auditorium. I was floored by how rude most of those kids were to us. One student, who other teachers tell me had been great all week, demanded to “speak to a manager” when Jeanette and I refused to dim the lights and blast music for the kids to have a dance party instead of playing basketball and soccer.

The frustrations left by those kids were almost immediately forgotten this week. The new class of Russian students is only comprised of 15 kids, and they’re very well-behaved. I’ve only taught them a couple times, but they made Bank an enjoyable class to teach, and that’s difficult to do.

The other kids we had this week came from two private schools in Seoul. Most of my classes were with seven teams from one of the schools, about 100 kids. The kids were so much fun to work with and got into everything we did. During Song/Karaoke, which is notoriously hard to get kids to participate in, Jeanette and I danced around the auditorium to Westlife and New Kids on the Block as all of the kids sang out in unison. Kids from one of the teams even threw their arms around each other and swayed to “My Love.” I was actually sad to see these kids go (which I rarely am) because I’m afraid that next week will be a letdown after the string of highs we’ve had over the past few days.

Things I promise to blog about in the next few days:

Independence Day in Korea (Yeah, July 4th. So I’m a week late. Sue me.)

The massive food binges that Donny, our recruiter, has taken us on.

That’s really it. I’ve got the Foodathon still unfinished in Drafts, but I’m hoping to whip that out in a timely fashion. On that note, it’s 1 a.m. and I’ve got my sixth day of work in the morning. Tomorrow is unusually busy and all of the teachers are scheduled to work mandatory overtime. Pro: extra money. Con: C’mon, who wants to work on a Saturday?

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