Friday, December 24, 2010

A Moment of Sappy-ness

No matter what the good-bye is for and what the new beginning is.. it is the hardest thing to say good-bye to the 50 little smiles you've seen every morning Mon-Fri for 11 months while living in a foreign country. Smiles transverse all language barriers and I will remember each and every one of those goofy little grins. 50 smiles will never be forgotten, 50 tears were gained and forever wiped away.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Today is Tuesday, I just finished teaching one of my 4-year old classes for the last time! For some reason, it was like they knew to be extra sweet to me.... at least in the beginning! I walked in, the normal 'Hewo Paula Teacher' greetings... and then I played the first song and one-by-one the students started coming up and giving me a hug (well.. giving my knees a hug) and saying 'anyong saranghayo' (Hello, I love you)... of course I didn't scream at them to sit down and sing the song. I decided I'm gonna soak all this in! I'm goin to miss these kids sooo incredibly much. Even tough Kindergarten has been quite awesome at times and quite horrid at other times, these kids have been such an awesome part of my life for the past 11 months! I know each and every one of their names, whether they use learner's chopsticks or not, who can make them cry the easiest, why they cry, if they're afraid of the rain... and on and on... this whole teacher business is emotionally difficult!!

After the first song played and I began to ask them the normal, 'how are you', 'how is the weather', 'how old are you'... etc... they began to bring their chairs around where I was sitting.. instead of having 10 kids scattered around the large table in front of me.. I had 10 kids crowded around me, trying to get as close to Paula teacher as possible. Where is your camera when you need it?? Luckily I had the camera on my phone, but the pictures definitely did not do 'the moment' justice!

Of course after I convince them to sit in their normal seats, they begin their hellacious chatterboxing, climbing on the tables, climbing under the tables, wandering around, picking their noses, refusing to sit, making their friends cry, nonsense.

And then... once again, that was my sign that I am now ready to GO HOME! :)

Friday, December 3, 2010

I Experienced THE Melting Pot

Sure the term 'melting pot' is normally used to describe the United States. But, I'm not in the U.S. right now, am I??

November 25, 2010

I'm in Korea.
I'm in a tiny city called Jinju, most Koreans have never even heard of it.
I was in a bar called Sound Garden.
Who would ever think, that while in Korea.. you could be sitting in a room where four languages are being spoken all around you. And you need to have a basic understanding of all four so that you can mingle amongst the crowd.

I found myself in this situation at a farewell party for a French friend, David. I have met many French people who are helicopter engineers in a small town right outside of my city.. and I've hung out with them at random get togethers. Although I took French in highschool, I only know enough to understand what people are talking about around me.. and enough to seriously give me issues while learning Spanish.. I always end up using French numbers, days of the week, and random words when trying to speak Spanish, and it drives me crazy!!

I found out that there was a man from Spain that worked with the Frenchies as well. He was at the party, and my friend Samantha introduced us.. because I am trying to re-learn my Spanish again for my trip in March.

I have honestly never been so confused in my life. At the same table, there were people speaking English across from us, French beside of us, Korean around us and Jose and I were speaking (trying) Spanish! Anytime I would try to say a simple word like 'yes', it would come out like, 'Nay, aaagh, Oui, aaagh, Yes, aaagh SI!' It was the most mind-boggling experience!!

When I left, I thought about how I had never imagined that happening in Korea.. and how much I have appreciated everything I've been able to experience here!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

There is a War in Our Midst

.. and I don't mean with North Korea.

Well I do, but I'm sure you have all heard enough about that in the news. It is really not a bother here living in South Korea, because the ROK people are so OVERLY used to the threat of war.. it aint nothin' but a G-thing! I can't understand the news, so I don't watch it.. no issue there. I only understand the words that are originally English, but written in Hangul (the Korean lettering), so no newspaper for me.

I'm talking a war you probably don't hear much about. A war between two equals. A war between friends.. but enemies.

I am talking about.. a BOOGER WAR!


Here is how it works, imagine yourself being 5 years old. You're sitting in your seat, with all of your classmates around the table with you. The English teacher is trying to teach you some new vocabulary.. you look around to see if eeeeveryone is looking at you.. and then you do it! You DO... IT! You pick that golden booger out of your nose and reach over the table, and put it in front of your friend. Then.. you giggle to get his attention, and wait for the war to begin. He flicks your booger towards the girls on the other side of the table.. another boy intercepts.. but oh wait, the booger is sticking to the table (you're thinking, haa haaa. always happens to hiiim!) so the boy picks the booger up and smushes it onto the other table. That friend is thinking.. oooh you want to play that game? And picks one of his own boogers and puts it in front of the same boy.

This goes on and on, while the English teacher is screaming, "HAJIJIMAH!, HAJIMAAAAH! Don't do that! Stop it! I'm getting the Korean teacher right now, Saaan sang niiiim!"

But the Korean teacher never comes, the English teacher doesn't know what to do. Ohhhh no, ooooh no. One of the booger boys is walking up to the front of the class to tell her something.. she's freaking out.. he's grabbing her arm "Paula Teacher! Paula Teacher!". "Eww, don't touch me! Booger boy! Ugggh, SIT! ANJUSAYO!!"

And then the English teacher begins to countdown, "23, 22, 21, 20, 19.. !" The kids are thinking.. hmm.. that's strange! She USUALLY starts at 5, you know, the countdown our mom's do?


But little did they know that I was counting down the days I have left teaching kindergarten in Korea.
23 my friends!