Sunday, April 20, 2008

While the days just keep flying by, today was at least a little different from our "same same but different" routine in Korea. A local organization, Busan Buddhism / Han Na Rae, put on a lantern-making class for foreigners at Hongbeop-sa, a temple at the northern end of Busan. So we went, along with around 100 other foreigners, to have an enjoyable cultural experience. We ended up having a great time, and we got to make two very nice lanterns as well: one lotus pedal, and one octagonal lantern. Somewhat like paper mache, the organization had kindly prepared all of our materials, so we got to focus on arranging and gluing, rather than cutting up paper and making metal shapes to wrap up. Our apartment is now looking a bit more Korean, though we have yet to actually hang up our new creations!
Otherwise we are working a lot, on average 3 extra classes per day, and will presumably continue this hectic teaching pace through May, or whenever our school actually manages to hire another foreign teacher. Supposedly we are currently quite close to doing so, but we're not holding our breath. The additional money is quite nice, but we are very exhausted after work, so most nights we literally just make dinner and then lounge about watching downloaded American television and reading books. A reading recommendation: "The World Is Flat" by Thomas Friedman is an excellent guide to the current state of the global economy, and how the world truly is flat concerning commerce and business relations.
In personal electronics news we finally got Liz's computer working again, although her old hard drive definitely seems screwed - thankfully nothing too important was on it, other than some old photos that we hopefully have backed up elsewhere. Next up is our camera, which primarily involves waking up early on a week day and traveling to the repair center - tragically much more difficult than it sounds...

For the curious, here is a sample teaching schedule (Anderson's) from last month:
(all classes are 40 minutes long)

First, 3 Kindergarten classes:

11:20 - 7-year-olds 1st-year-of-English
12:50 - 7-year-olds 2nd-year-of-English
1:30 - 6-year-olds 1st-year-of-English

Next 7 Elementary classes, on a Wake-Up, Hop, Skip, Jump, Boost, Elite system of books... Hop, Skip & Jump have 4 levels each. Boost & Elite have 5 levels.

2:30 - Hop 3
3:15 - Wake-Up
4:45 - Boost C
5:30 - Skip 3
6:15 - Boost E
7:00 - Jump 2
7:45 - Boost B


Definitely a wide range of classes, ages, and levels, so the day is far from repetitive, although jumping from Kindergarten, which require an animated and overly excited teacher, to the more laid back (and disinterested) older children is a bit of a shock some days.

Anderson's DJing is still going well, nothing too exciting to report there.
In May we plan on going to Seoul over one 3-day weekend (thanks Children's Day) and then to Jeonju to visit Sunny and her family another 3-day weekend (thanks Buddha's Birthday). Frankly we can't wait for the holidays, March and April is the longest stretch of the year without any days off, and it is definitely a bit wearing, never mind all the OT.

Hope all's well

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