A month to go…

Hi world ❤

With only just over 30 days to go things are happening really fast. I’ve even started creating a photo book (thank you Groupon) just to document this year. I will probably need a few more than 20 pages lol. Its just so much to talk about!

Chris was given his first and hopefully only medical problem. A possible cyst under his skin in the back of his thigh. Its been pretty painful. I had a nice swollen up face last week too so its been a rough week. One really great heath news/update for you all is that I had my LAST ALLERGY APPOINTMENT OF KOREA! That means the doctor thinks I am handling it well and will be able to make it through this last month or so. It’s a great feeling since the early morning trips out to Ajou are truly mentally and physically exhausting. Still have one more to go for a follow up and Chris’s second opinion but if that’s it you won’t hear me complain!

Chris has been doing so well on working out and really trying to get healthy. He is a wonderful influence to get me motivated too. He is really excited about living close to the ocean this summer and getting to run at the beach and boardwalk and what not. I am excited to get all my shakes and vitamins back!! One thing about Korea is that it is SOOOO expensive to get vitamins. Even my doctor said so when I asked her because she told me to bump up.

I will probably be posting a lot more in next few weeks of all the leavings and things. I am definitely going to be sad to say good bye to all of the kids! It will be tough but we are so excited to get home. We really miss everyone ❤

xoxo

J

 

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Happy half way through May!

Hello everyone!

So it is already half way through May which is crazy because as of now we are supposed to be out of here end of June/beginning of July! I (Jenni) have a mix of emotions. I can’t believe we have been here this long and I am going to cry have to say good-bye to all of our kids (not even kidding – I’ll be a mess) BUT I am sick…again. Yup woke up this morning and instead of my voice I made a squeak and that was about it. Probably never got over the Bronchitis or whatever I had and its coming back for a second round…. yay? Chris and I have been doing the Insanity work-out program and he is awesome at it. He is almost a month in and I am only through my first week but of course I hurt my shoulder (more like irritated a per-existing condition) and now living off Aleve, my STIM machine and a heat pad. Overall my body is just trying to give me a little more hell before we leave.

So big news is they officially found our replacements. Two girls who will be living here as roommates. I wish them luck since it is a small apartment but I promised myself I would leave it a lot cleaner than what we were blessed to walk into. Been working on the second room (we made it into a walk in closet) and this afternoon going to hit the kitchen. It’s not a very big apartment but I have to say it is a painnnnn to keep clean! I vacuum almost everyday and dust or wipe things down all the time but its just impossible to keep clean! Erika said she has the same problem in her apartment and that the dust is just killer. The weather is really windy lately all the time so its kicking everything up in the air (my allergies are oh so lovely). They have started trimming around and cleaning up all the gardens and trees around the apartment though and it looks really nice. A lot of the first flowers are gone but everything is green and healthy looking!

Alright my head is throbbing and my body is yelling at me to nap but I am way to stubborn to listen so I am going to clean the kitchen before taking a nap. Wish me luck! Miss everyone ❤

J

Reach To Teach Blog Carnival – April

Hello all!

I said a few entries ago (and every since then) that Chris and I would be hosting this month’s Reach to Teach Blog Carnival! I have 5 wonderful entries and links to their blogs so you can read along!

Here are the articles written for the Reach to Teach Blog Carnival, a monthly series that focuses on providing helpful tips and advice to ESL teachers around the globe. The host for this month is us!, here you can find other similar articles. I’ll be posting a new ESL related article to this blog on the 5th of every month. Check back for more articles, and if you’d like to contribute to next month’s Blog Carnival, please get in touch with Dean at dean@reachtoteachrecruiting.com, and he’ll let you know how you can start participating!

Vanessa Long

6 Ways to Stay Motivated in the Classroom

Both teachers and students can get burned out in the classroom. Here are six things you can do to fight the monotony of the school day.

After 26 years in Texas, I decided to take a huge leap and move to South Korea to teach English for a year.  As the time zoomed by, I quickly realized that one year just wasn’t enough time to spend in Asia. This is my blog about my experience teaching and travelling!

Rebecca Thering

Staying Motivated to Teach

While teaching burn-out has been unavoidable for me, there are a few things I’ve been doing to speed up recharge periods and stay motivated to teach.

I’m a Wisconsin-native currently teaching English at a rural elementary school in South Korea.  My Spanish skills aren’t quite as useful here as they were when I lived in Madrid, which is where my Spanish nickname Rebe (Ray-bay) stuck.  I have an itch to travel, craft, learn, and read – and to make the world a better place!

Sarah Steinmetz

Staying Motivated

This month’s topic couldn’t come at a more appropriate time.  Two months into the semester I think just about every teacher in Korea is struggling to stay motivated in the classroom.  Although all teachers deal  with the mental and emotional exhaustion that comes with working in education, there are three main things that I think are essential for staying passionate about teaching.

I am a New Hampshire native and a proud graduate of the University of New Hampshire. After teaching at a high school in New Hampshire for a year, I decided to leave my life behind and move to South Korea.  I am currently teaching at a High School in Mungyeong, South Korea with amazing co-workers and students alike. I am currently enjoying the challenges, surprises, and lessons that come with living abroad, and I couldn’t be happier about my decision to move to Korea!

Jamie Phillips

Insidious Beasts

It’s happened. Your give-a-damn is broken. You are burnt out, frazzled, bored but too tired to do anything about it, succumbed to ennui like a disillusioned rock star. So what to do?The terrible ennui beast comes calling for a reason. And actually, he’s not so terrible. He’s got your best interests at heart. He’s telling you to stop and re-calibrate.

I am blessed with itchy feet… and I follow them! A few years ago, I packed up, sold, and redistributed all of my non-essential belongings, crammed my life into a backpack and wandered aimlessly into the world. I’ve backpacked through South America, worked in Australia’s outback, and eaten my way through South East Asia. For my next adventure (and 30th birthday!), I’m doing a trek for charity in Kyrgyzstan. http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/jamiemphillips/karakolhike
Lisa Vinish
 “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”  True, but Benjamin Franklin forgot one thing: Teacher burnout.  Even teachers who consistently are on top of their game and make the profession look easy eventually feel the mental drain of burnout.  However, there are some strategies that teachers can utilize to prevent themselves from burning out.  In this blog post I’ll share five that have worked for me.
My name is Lisa Vinish and I’m a 20-something Canadian with a passion for education and travel.  My first international trip was to Kenya in 2008 and I’ve been traveling non-stop ever since.  In 2010 a combination of disillusionment with academia and an overwhelming urge to travel again led me to abandon my graduate studies and move to Asia.  This continent has been the greatest love affair of my life.  Currently, I live in Pohang, South Korea and teach at a small private kindergarten.
Dean Barnes
This month I have provided you with 3 main things I feel can affect your feelings towards teaching and suggestions regarding how to change these feelings. Being burnt out can happen to any of us, but if you don’t like something, change it!
Just don’t give up.
My name is Dean, I have been traveling for around 2 and a half years now with a small stint back in my home country. I’m from the UK and I began my teaching career on the island of Bali. I then made the move to Taiwan where I currently reside. Here I have the joy to fulfill my passion for writing by providing ESL/travel related articles to the Reach To Teach website.

being away from everyone is hard

This past week has been a true reminder of how far we really are away…this will not be a very long post. My health has been fighting me everyday. When we hit the 60 day mark it decided a good head cold and constant low fever (on day 3 now) would be a good present. Then we have had some very hard news to take. When you are away you always worry… those ‘what if’s’ and ‘how fast can I get back?’. Well this weekend I woke up to two very sad and tragic messages. Sunday morning I woke up to find out that we had to put our dog, Snowball, down after a good and long life. Monday morning I woke up to an even more tragic message… “Your uncle has coded twice…they are sending him to NYC now” …. and another “he passed away late this afternoon”. The 13 hour time difference meant these both happened over night while we were sleeping and we woke up to find the news. These are the times when you realize being away is a lot. I was blessed to welcome my first niece over this past year and I cannot wait to meet her and spoil her rotten but we have also felt loss and the inability to be there for our families and help support them. May they always Rest In Peace ❤

 

After our adventures in Seoul this holiday weekend and our blog carnival I will post the beginning of next week there will be more things to share. I hope for sanity’s sake that they are all positive messages to share.

Time is flying by!

Hello all

So as much as Chris and I say ‘OH MY GOSH WHY IS IT NOT FRIDAY YET!?!?! AHHHH’ the time is truly flying by. I didn’t even realize how long is had been since I updated last. As of our contract finish date we have 65 days left of this adventure. The weather has been warm (75-80 everyday) and its just changing quickly. Everything is in full bloom which is two fold. The trees and bushes are bright purple and yellow and pink and green so it looks wonderful but it also means I can’t breathe half the time… comes with the territory. We have actually been talking about how to pack and what to send back ahead of us too. The weirdest feeling is discussing interview questions and skills they should look for in the teachers who are replacing us. I guess it is just strange to be helping pick the person to replace you. It is also making it very very real that we are almost through this adventure. Everyone says that the last month flys past and now that it is almost May and we leave probably end of June beginning of July it really is like WOW! I think we are enjoying this though. Going to take advantage of the warm weather and go explore some more of Seoul and other areas. We have a 4 day weekend next week and then a few days off in the beginning of June.

Of course all those reading or watching the news have heard about the absolutely devastating tragedy of the Sewol Ferry that was full of students and capsized in the water on its way to Jeju. Chris and I had actually been looking into taking a very similar ferry in just a week or two but decided to stay local instead. The school, Asan, is actually fairly close to here so there has been some impact. Of course every school trip and anything that takes the kids out of close to home hands has been cancelled. Its just horrible – probably shouldn’t get me on a roll though because I get so angry about some of the adult responses to this event… okay I’m done.

Chris and I are hosting the blog carnival (the monthly article we do) so next weekend-ish I will be posting blogs from a bunch of people doing the same thing we are but all over the world. It should be really interesting so keep your eyes open! I also will be posting pictures of our adventures and probably some over the next two months of our preparations and such. So not excited to say good-bye to my munchkins 😦

xox

J

April is rainy?

Hello all!

In my research about the Korean seasons I got the idea that their wet season, which is July and August, would be the most of the rain, Winter would be brutal and the Spring was amazing… it sort of held to it.In  July and August it literally rains like everyday and its a disgusting hot humidity level that makes you feel like a dog is breathing on you every second of every day…gross and I love dogs. Winter was cold but not brutal… home had a much more winter than we did that’s for sure. So far the Spring has been pretty rainy actually at least a few times a week and its always fun when its on days they call for 70 and sunny and then its like 65 and rainy and grey out. The plus side is the world is turning green and pink and white and yellow and its beautiful!! They have these huge honeysuckle bushes by the bus stop and they smell amazing (remind me of my great-grandmothers property). They also painted an enormous mural down the road opposite our apartment on the concrete wall in all these bright happy colors and scenes. Its really pretty and makes it so much happier. They really try and spruce things up around here like how they are putting in all new sidewalks and new road dividers or bushes and plants all along the edges of the road. It make the concrete everywhere much more scenic.

Last weekend I posted about how we hadn’t really done anything so on Sunday morning I decided to change that. We went up to Butterfingers in Gangnam. It is the breakfast place that makes flippin’ AWESOME pancakes! I dug into a pile of eggs and hash browns and Chris and Dave jumped on the bacon and pancakes. It was pretty delicious but way to expensive for its own good. Wouldn’t pay that kind of money for breakfast again. It was a good change up. Chris and I had the afternoon free so we went over to Olympic Park where the 1988 Olympics were held. It was HUGEEEE!!!!! Seriously we didn’t even see all of it and we were up there for awhile. Really glad I wore sneakers because it was a lot of walking. Chris wanted to make sure I saw some Cherry Blossoms since it was on my bucket list and according to all the websites it was the last weekend to really see them due to an early bloom.

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They were beautiful of course :). We have basically set the goal to do D.C. on a weekend and see them again. So we walked all over the park for a long time and enjoyed some fresh air. The place was packed! We caught a 6 o’clock bus home and made it back to the apartment in time for dinner and an early night in. It was a lot of fun to get out for awhile but we realized when we take these weekend days or little adventures they really do eat a lot of time. Usually you come home tired and its one of those ughhh we have work tomorrow.

Work has been a rough going this past week :(. We lost one of our teachers which was really sad because she is pretty cool. We are going to adventure to the new Costco going in at the end of the month though. Costco makes bank in this country because they carry all the international things and of course its cheaper and in bulk. Its totally awesome. We also had a big dinner for her going which basically means sitting on the floor with all the other teachers. At this point though we have a staff who is pretty fluent so it makes them much less awkward. As usual its traditional Korean style with a thousand dishes and more food that you can imagine! Everyone would be proud I am starting to try a lot more things… trust me this is a miracle.

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Anyways so yeah the kids have been off their rockers and all the kids we had separated throughout these past 9 months due to behavior issues have been shoved back together into full 10 student classes. Chris has had it rough because he has a couple rough classes in a row so it makes the day long. Overall when teaching (TEFL, ESL or well anything) you have those rough weeks when you just count the minutes until the weekend.

This weekend is sadly one of chores and errands. The usual laundry and such and have to make a Lotte Mart trip. I have never appreciated grocery shopping in the States more than this year. Holding onto your groceries while holding onto the bus seat or handle for dear life is quite an experience. I also have to get back on the job application bus. Last weekend I was just so sick of it all I needed a weekend off but I have had so many e-mails about job openings in the last week that I really have no reason not to. For awhile there is was getting pretty repetitive but I think we are starting to hit peak season and lots of jobs are being posted daily.

Well wish us luck on getting everything accomplished without burning out. Chris is having fun grinding his new Starbucks coffee because according to him Koreans drink weak coffee and he likes his black. It makes the apartment smell good :).

❤ J

Energy – Finally!

Hello all! I am probably as hyper as I could be lately… woke up on my own by 8 and started cleaning kind of hyper. I had the dishes done and Chris’s coffee made and ready before he had even shifted in his sleep! Oops. Just being a good girlfriend 🙂 His new thing is making pancakes and he makes flippin’ awesome pancakes! Adds a little cinnamon to it. So this week was super hot in the beginning and I woke up to feels like 37F today … yeah enough to turn the heat on for a bit since my toes were so cold. Its warmed up though. Good thing since all my energy has gotten the laundry done too! 

This afternoon and tomorrow will probably be another day of job applications. Dave found an authentic breakfast place up in Gangnam I think we are going to go check out tomorrow…. sounds delicious. My allergies have been driving me up a wall all week so I am looking forward to the cheer up of some good food. Look like a clown again with a ring around my lips – I should probably start wearing lipstick lol embrace the chaos!

Lately I have found the fascination of growing my e-mail contacts. Not like hunting down friends to make just so I have people in there but getting the e-mail of people we know. I realize my saved contacts is almost nonexistent and emailing things anymore is so convenient. There are so many programs that make the adorable cards and things to e-mail but I have no one to e-mail them to! Just a fun thought :).

Not much else going on to tell everyone. Just a normal day in Korea. Oh my debate class has been having a lot of fun and getting things done while still being silly and just using our brains. The normal teaching technique in Korea (so far that I have seen) is pounding vocabulary as a matter of memorize and translate but my course makes everyone think and analyze information to create an opinion. SOO out of their comfort zone so I am really impressed when they can do it 🙂 Erika is now co-teaching with me on Fridays which is awesome because she can help translate some of the more difficult concepts we are working on. Our topics are Slow food/fast food and now dieting… can be quite touchy so making sure everyone feels comfortable is important. Excited to move onto censorship and other things because these guys have some strong opinions! Oh and I covered all my walls with bright and colorful flowers I had the kids color and moved my desk … change can make everything a little brighter :)!

xo J

P.S. My students find it fascinating when I speak small bits of Spanish. I said ‘Hola’ when they came in the other day and they found it so fascinating!