I’ve been living in Seoul, Korea for about 3 weeks now and it has certainly been an experience. Some parts of it are definitely starting to grow on me.
First off, my Korean students are adorable. They are so cute sometimes I can’t even handle it. When we sing the ‘Good Morning’ song sometimes I want to just give them all a giant hug and pinch their cheeks. Teaching in Korea itself is still miserably hard, with long hours and a heavy workload, but the kids make up for part of it. They are so sweet. I am their home room teacher, so I take them to all of their classes including sandplay, cooking, math and art. Sandplay is a giant sand room filled with antibacterial sand that apparently costs one of our yearly paychecks to fill up. Every time after they’re done playing we have to brush the kids down to make sure a grain of this expensive sand doesn’t leave the room.
I’ve also learned that everything the kids send home has to be near-perfect (or at least look that way.) My co-teacher and I run around cutting out shapes and gluing on googly eyes to make sure nothing is given to the parents that is not presentable. This is a weird concept to me, as I was never an artist as a kid and was always coming up with messy, splattered art projects that my mom still proudly hung on the wall.
I also went to my first yoga class here at a gym. It was all in Korean, so there was lots of looking around and following along, but I actually really liked it. It wasn’t like another yoga class I have ever been to- kind of more of a synchronized dance to different music. The teacher actually stopped the Micheal Jackson song she was playing when we weren’t in synch and we did the entire sequence again.
It had to be done. And it had to look pretty.
I’ve also found that it is not nearly as easy to be a vegetarian here as it was in Thailand. Good thing I really love kimchi. That stuff goes well with anything. Like, really. And bibimbap. Fairly sure I could eat that everyday. And I might have to (or learn some more vegetarian Korean dishes.) There are coffee shops everywhere. I thought I knew what it meant to have a lot of coffee shops around (being from Seattle) but this might trump even my beloved home city.
Overall, I’m getting adjusting and learning as much as I can. The working hours at the school are going to be rough, but I’m finding things I really enjoy about living in Seoul and hope that this city keeps surprising me. It has certainly been an experience thus far.