I feel like I've been away forever and it actually seems that way too. Things have been crazy over here in South Korea for the past 7 months. We have 5 months to go before we head back home again. I'll be happy to come home, I'm not sure I'll be happy to leave because being here is an experience. That said, being home is going to come with its own challenges, but I think we can make things work.
It's been since October that I last posted, wow. Things hit a really low low there for a while, but we're finally on the upswing. I think winter is the worst time of year to be here. It's cold and depressing and our living situation makes things worse.
The end of October though had the Halloween party which was fun, though kind of odd. Lots of princesses and some otherwise interesting costumes. That was back before it got super cold so things weren't too bad.
November came and things were still okay, though not great. It was around then that our director wanted us to ask around to see if we had any friends that could come out and teach. Things fell through with our plans eventually, but she was really big on that there for a while. November was also the 3rd full month of us being here. It was kind of depressing being away for Thanksgiving though. It was around that time that my anxiety really started kicking in though, especially the health anxiety. I don't know that I'd say it was the worst ever, but it was pretty bad.
Then came December and it was bad bad bad. The bulk of the month had us preparing for the Christmas "concert" which was us picking books for each of the kids and having them practice reading them. Everyday for a couple weeks we were downstairs in the cold "gym" practicing. They'd read and read and read again. We also had to have them learn and practice songs and little dance routines. We were depressed a lot of the weekends and stayed in because it was so cold and our best options were walking to Homeplus in the cold for 15 minutes or waiting around at the bus stop for a bus. This is also the time when hubby and I got chilblains for the first time ever. It's been so cold and with all the walking we had to do and everything we got them. I got them on three toes on one foot and he had them popping up on his fingers on one hand. Not pleasant. We participated in a photo scavenger hunt downtown in Shinae that was fun even though I wasn't feeling good at all. Yet another month of anxiety kicking my butt. It all culminated into the Christmas show which was long, drawn out, and boring. The night started out with one of the kids throwing up on the "stage" in the gym and that did not fare well for me. Oy. Zach and I were also MCs and holding up the mics for the kids and running around and we were exhausted. December was the longest month ever.
January was slightly better? I'm not sure if that's exactly correct, but the Christmas show was over. This also meant the start of the new schedule which meant that the elementary kids were here all day. There for a long time almost everyone was sick with something. They were also all on medication and the kitchen downstairs was pretty much a pharmacy with kids in and out for various medicines including things for coughs and fevers. We had friends visit from Seoul at the beginning of the month though and we visited a local board game cafe which was a lot of fun. January largely saw us inside to stay warm and escape the record cold temperatures. I spent a lot of time on Pinterest, tumblr, and various other websites. Things were largely depressing and we were depressed and sad and stayed in and moped. Our boss also went away with two of the students (Carley and Christina) to Australia for almost two weeks at the end of the month which was nice since we didn't have to deal with her. This was also the time when we ended up having a half week that was just watching movies. There were hardly any kids here so it wasn't even worth the time. Seriously, during January I think everyone was sick with something. I was also given kids Korean medicine which kind of bothered me since I didn't know what was in it. It was nice that she was gone, at least.
February was slightly better and slightly more eventful. Valentine's Day and White Day came and went. We also celebrated our first wedding anniversary! As for school stuff, we were tasked with teaching our kids (kindy) plays to perform for the kindy graduation ceremony at the end of the month. Cue more chaos. I got overly ambitious and wanted to try Peter Pan, but that was a no go. I also lost Stella in my class that month which was really sad. :( So I changed things and went with Stone Soup. Then our director ordered crazy costumes and my starving villagers were fruits and vegetables. I made some props and had fun with that aspect for the play at least. Stressful month though. We also visited Everland in Yongin for the graduating kids which was an experience. Our director really has no business directing. I thought she'd leave us all behind! The plays went okay though, the parents seemed to enjoy everything, at least, so I guess that's something. It was also during this time that I did tutoring work with a pre-college student and was denied any of the money because it was within "normal teaching hours" so she essentially robbed me of what was probably around 450,000 to 500,000 won which boils down to similar numbers in USD if you take away the thousand markers. All without lifting a damn finger. Boy was I pissed. Our boss is a terrible person. Utterly terrible.
Then last month we finished with March. A month of chaos due to the new schedules, but we've had some good things too. We learned a few new places to eat at, did some shopping and were able to be out more since it's gotten warmer. It was stressful due to hubby working at a different school after his normal classes, more expectations at our school including homework and testing (for kindy kids, wtf), and general chaos due to our boss not knowing what the hell she's doing. That's pretty standard for her. She's apparently worried about the kids not coming back next school year (starting in March, after we've gone) because their parents aren't happy. She's also really starting to step up the marketing and all that jazz. We'll see how that goes for her. We're apparently going to be in the paper or something this week (4/8/13) since a photographer came out and took pictures and everything. I also started learning Hangul in March and can read some things very basically. I still have to learn the rest of it though.
April just started but it's never a dull day here. Boss lady also apparently wants to start a yearly trip to the US to visit Ivy League schools or something and wanted us to go. She wanted to do it in September (our contract is up 9/3/13), but we'll be out of here by then and there's no way we're staying. I had to help her understand where the schools were on the map. She also asked if the Grand Canyon was near the East Coast and I just told her no. I laughed, but I completely understand it since it's a bit crazy to expect her to know where everything is in the US. We went on a field trip to a strawberry farm though which was kinda fun.
So this month is just underway and we'll see how it goes I guess. My birthday is coming up this Thursday and it's hard to believe that I'm going to be 28. That's just nuts. Hopefully the rest of the time is uneventful and doesn't make me all anxious. I think things will continue to improve though with the warmer weather and being out of winter.