Saturday, August 24, 2013

Chocopies, Cinnamon Drink, Fish Cakes, and Tae Kwon Do

In one week I have already managed to find my arch nemesis in Korea: Chocopies.

These semi-sweet deliciously beautiful chocolate-covered marshmallow-containing probably horrifically horrible for you pies of perfection will do me in.  No number of stairs or hills will prevent me from getting fat while I’m here if I cannot contain my Chocopie addiction.

Look at them:

I ate four today.


I bought a pack for myself and ate three of them within 10 minutes.  Only the fact that I promised Elizabeth I would give her a Chocopie since she gave me one earlier is keeping that Chocopie alive.

They don’t even taste that good.

Half-Year Resolution: I, Kathleen, swear that Chocopies are only allowed on special occasions including, and limited to, Teacher’s Day, as gifts, deep periods of homesickness and depression (Oreos will likely prove a better alternative), and when served at parties (I’m thinking this will be unlikely, but I could be pleasantly surprised).  No more than two Chocopies may be consumed in the period of one week.  Witnesses, please comment.

On to other things.  I had a cinnamon drink today.  It was… not horrible, but I do not have the urge to ever drink it again.

I ate a fish cake that had rice noodles, carrots, and shallots (I think) in it today and did not gag or die.  Behold, friends!  I managed to consume something from a body of water other than tuna salad!

We had our last day of classes for orientation (Cooperative Learning, EPIK Information & School Culture, and PowerPoint Use).  Hard to believe I’ve been in South Korea for a whole week already.  Time has both flown by and dragged on.  Including the Tae Kwon Do class we finally had today, we have now all completed 45 hours of orientation for EPIK.

But back to Tae Kwon Do briefly.  Several instructors from the largest (and apparently best) dojang in Seoul (they do have a famous demonstration team) gave their time to teach our class several basic Tae Kwon Do moves.  We started off with some really fun partner stretches and finished with breaking boards.  On the boards we wrote down a bad habit or just something we wanted to overcome.
I’m just thrilled I had the opportunity to hold and break a board doing Tae Kwon Do in South Korea… check that off the bucket list.

It's been a while since I wore a white belt... about 11 years.

I talked with two of the instructors afterwards, including the main instructor, and he told me that if I was ever in Seoul for a weekend, I could come and visit and train at their dojang for a few days.  Given that they were doing 540° jumping kicks and backflips, I feel like I could learn a lot.

We spent some time this evening preparing for our lesson demonstration.  Everybody seems to be freaking out over it for some reason. It’s a team of three teaching a 45 minute lesson condensed into 15 minutes.  If you’re going too fast, leave a little more student practice time; too slow, cut the practice or production time down. Voila!  And they also know that we haven’t had a ton of time to plan, we’ll be teaching with people we’ve never taught with before (rehearsals aside), we’re not all experienced EFL teachers, and there’s three of us all trying to cram 45 minutes into 15 minutes.  One presenter told us that if we broke down crying in the middle of our lesson demonstration and our team members had to drag us outside and console us, we still wouldn’t be sent home.

So let’s just approach this with enough seriousness to do a job well done and receive good feedback and get on with it, yeah?

We also will finally meet our Provincial Office of Education (POE) officials on the last official day of orientation after our lesson demonstrations in the morning.  One speaker told us one of the three schools she worked at was a magical school of wonder where stray kittens wander by in the halls, there are less than 50 students in the whole school, and the principle actually ordered everyone outside to play in the snow when it snowed one day before canceling school.

Yes please.

Fingers crossed!  In the next 72 hours I’ll be signing a contract, meeting my co-teacher(s) (and possibly principle!), and actually getting settled into my home for the next year. Ahhh!

Sorry for the jumbled mess of thoughts.  Things have just been a whirlwind and I’d love to be more detailed about the process, but haven’t had the time.  Be aware now that you will not have a ton of free time at orientation and even when you do you’ll be tired.

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