A Travellerspoint blog

Seoul at six months (part I)

in typical non-stop Seoul style

overcast

Is it terrible that I don't remember much of February? Yes, it is the shortest month, but I think its rapid passing may have largely owed to the graduation season at school. I spent a bit more time working with my kindergarten class to perfect a Sesame St. inspired-conversation and song-and-dance number choreographed to this charming ditty by Raffi. It was great. We chose sequin-spangled suits for the kids and let 'em at it. I was proud that all the hours cultivating cute paid off.

So that was school--I shall miss my old kindergartners but the introduction of a whole new class hasn't left me much time or energy to reminisce. These 6 and 7 year-old students are completely new to the language and once we learn the basics, I look forward to peppering their English education with big words, fun catch-phrases and colloquialisms.

February weekend highlights (& there seemed to be an abundance):

  • MUSIC: Witnessing performances by some current darlings of China's rawkus music scene (Carsick Cars) and a band I hadn't thought of since college (Do Make Say Think)
  • Taking a 4-hour train ride to Gwangju for a 3-day Lunar New Year weekend with a largely Irish & English ex-pat contingent.
  • The Wild Women's Performance Festival--pictures here at their Facebook site--was quite fun, featuring some excellent music, dance and spoken word at a beautiful venue. As fate would have it, I was even chosen from the crowd to participate in an African dance number.

I imagine that if I wrote daily, or even weekly, here, that there would be more cultural details and stories. Alas and alack. Generally, it remains that my experience of Korean culture is somewhat shallow owing to the language barrier. Obviously, I can move around with relative ease and enjoyment but I've only met a handful of Koreans and of those folks, I've had substantial conversations with a few--they are women mostly--teachers and students. The one Korean man with whom I spoke at length, lived in New York for some time and works in business here now.

Certainly, I learn a fair amount from my students. I get to read their journals--in which topics do range. There's the frequent entry: "I'm very very very very very very very very happy" or "It's very very very very very funny" (meaning "fun"). The more advanced entries in which students at least used a thesaurus to add some spice to the sentence: "I asked my mother and father could we please do dining out. They said yes with great pleasure." Once in awhile, I'll get a melancholy confessional, such as this one the other day: "My parents fight. [But at] this time, I did my homework. It is loud and angry." Another of my students frequently journals about how he misses his mom when she travels (which she does frequently). Of course, it's amazing that the students can express themselves so well and yet, the simple way in which they phrase things makes it that much more touching sometimes. I've had many of my students for several months now and I genuinely enjoy them and feel that we have some rapport going on. This lends to a generally productive and pleasant classroom environment...which I welcome after my few less-than -harmonious classes.

Thus concludes February.

For a visual record of some of these anecdotes, see my facebook albums White Winter Hymnal and Spring Cleaning.

Posted by H Kingrey 08:55 Archived in South Korea Tagged living_abroad

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