Saturday, August 30, 2014

Sunflowers? For me??

I have not posted in awhile because culture shock has me sinking in quicksand. The reality of being so far from people who love me is weighing heavily on me. The quality of life here depends on how you are treated at work and the support system/activities you have outside of work. Well, I have discovered that my school staff, while polite and courteous, only tolerates me and my teaching position (SHOCKER!). Foreign teachers are not respected and are found, if not amusing, then annoying. There have been a few instances where I have not been invited (or remembered) to major school events, including the retirement lunch party of my principal last Thursday.

In fact, I was not even told about his retirement until Principal Park told me himself four days before leaving. My co-teacher did not mention it to me at all even though it was common knowledge at the school for several months. I spoke with a close friend who traveled in Asia in his twenties. He told me that no matter what, you will ALWAYS be an outsider in the Asian society. The quicker I accept that, the easier time I will have.
I have to admit, I did not expect such superficial, transient relationships here and have adjusted (lowered) my standards accordingly.

In addition to this, another "newbie" teacher who I was close to and considered a part of my support system, did a midnight run. He was unhappy for a long time and decided to bounce. It angered and saddened me but I completely understood why he left. He was miserable (like quite a few of us) and he wanted to be surrounded by people who loved him. It is very difficult to stay in an environment where the people tolerate you because they have to. No matter how strong you are, it starts to wear on you.

A lot of us have difficulties navigating the strange new relationships with the locals while attempting to steady our footing in a new country. This tightrope act sometimes can result in depression, excessive drinking and avoidance of interaction with the locals. Sometimes it is easier (and safer) to choose to close yourself off with other ex-pats and become bitter. I am trying very hard not to do this. I am here to experience Korea with all its good and bad, just like any other country (MUST REMEMBER THAT LOL).

Since he left two weeks ago, I have gotten sadder and sadder. My anxiety level has increased and I have started to isolate myself again. I am hoping once school starts back up, the busy energy will revive my spirits.

I have dusted off my camera and started taking real pictures again. It makes me happy to produce great shots. I have also started practicing the law of attraction in an effort to bring joy and hope back to my heart.

If you know me personally, you know that back home I plant mammoth sunflowers in front of our house every spring. Well, the universe wanted me to have beautiful sunflowers in Korea and placed them right outside my window! It gives me joy EVERY TIME I see these flowers.

I know it is God sending me encouragement and I sure do appreciate it. THANK YOU!!!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Summer Camp - Pipe Cleaner Art competition

We did a bubble wrap dress design and fashion show competition yesterday. The kids used their creativity and had lots of fun!

Summer camp - Bubble wrap fashion show

We did a bubble wrap dress design and fashion show competition yesterday. The kids used their creativity and had lots of fun!

Monday, August 11, 2014

End of semester lunch for teachers

This was from the end of semester lunch that the principal/school bought for all the teachers. The school usually only has events during school hours which is great since all the teachers seem to be very intent on having lives. 
Yes, I am taller than my principal, lol.

Taller than a corn stalk?

It is difficult being tall here and finding something or someone taller than me. There are only a few men who I have had to look up to but these corn stalks make me look like a shrimp every time. Now if I could only find a place that has shoes my size!

Taller than me

The meds the doctor gave me the last time I was sick was taller than I was. And I still do NOT KNOW THE NAME OF THE DRUGS, lol.

Summer Camp - hula hoop competition

Our teeny camp budget did not allow for it. So I sprung for two hula hoops so the kids could enjoy a hula hoop contest. Turns out kids can hula hoop forEVER. So we had to make it "battle of the hula hoops".
Ask me how long I was able to hula?

 LOL, seconds!!!