Why is it that the more time I have to work with, the less I get things done? Namely, blogging.
I have been so absent the last few weeks, and there’s really no excuse. So I’ll try to catch everyone up a bit on what’s been going on over here during winter break so far.
1. After spending an incredibly chill Christmas resting up from a long semester, I was excited to spend New Year’s with my really good friend from high school who decided to come over for a visit.
She was only able to stay for a week, so we decided to spend a few days down in Cheonan and then head up to Seoul to do all the typical touristy stuff. For a few reasons, we really didn’t get as much done as I thought I would. For one thing, she was here during a record breaking cold snap, which made it incredibly difficult to do anything outside (aka shopping, seeing palaces, walking anywhere including to and from restaurants bars and clubs at night.) Plus this was basically her vacation from running a small business, so she wasn’t thrilled about the prospect of rushing around trying to cram activities into a short visit.
In any case, we ended up spending a lot of time just hanging out and catching up, which was perfectly fine with me. We did make sure to go to the spa and soak in an outdoor hot spring bath for a few hours, and I think I can safely say that her favorite thing about Korea was the food. I showed her all my favorite dishes, and I think there wasn’t a single thing that she really disliked.
2. After my friend went back to the States, I started up my Winter Camp. Like last year, my camp was with about 10 students for four hours a day. Rough. But unlike last year, it was only for one week rather than two, which made a HUGE difference.
Once again, I will point out what a BAD IDEA it is to bring ten middle schoolers (half of them boys) into school during their winter break and stick them in a room at nine in the morning and not let them leave for four hours. I don’t care how well behaved the kids are, they will go a little crazy by the end (and so will I, to be honest). Now, imagine you get three or four boys who signed up for the English camp because they assume that the foreigner teacher will just let them goof off and play games the whole time. These not so well behaved students go REALLY crazy by the end of four hours in a classroom.
It wasn’t as bad as last year, because even though the boys clearly didn’t want to be there, they at least didn’t act out like the students did last year. And having to plan only five four-hour lessons rather than ten was quite a relief, let me tell you.
My overarching theme for the week was media, meaning we talked about newspapers, commercials, weather forecasts, music and movies. Unsurprisingly, the music and movie days were the favorites, but I think they also enjoyed things like writing and presenting their own weather forecasts and creating an infomercial product. Well, the girls enjoyed it anyway (the boys were a little too cool for most of the activities, of course, but at least they grudgingly participated.)
3. Finally…my winter break travel plans! I’m actually going to Cambodia tomorrow. Even though I’ve had plenty of time and I’m all packed up, I guess I still haven’t mentally prepared myself for this trip (this is a total theme for me - I never feel like I’m really travelling until I get to the airport.)
One other friend and I are heading down tomorrow and meeting another friend there who has already been travelling around Thailand. We’re spending about a week in Phnom Penh and Siem Riep (Ankor Wat!) and then heading up to Laos for a few days and then back to Korea. I’ve done some reading up and planning for the trip of course, but my friends have done more of it, so I’m really not sure what to expect in some of the places that we’ll visit. But I’ll be sure to keep you guys posted!^^