Monday, January 31, 2011

We're not going to Guam, are we?

Having to be at work by 9:30am for make-up classes this past weekend reminded me why the late afternoon work schedule is such a beautiful perk of this job. I have never been and will most likely never be a morning person. I just function better if I can get my eight hours of sleep from 3am to 11am. I'm much healthier and happier that way.

So Saturday found me grumpily heading into work for 10:30 and 1:30 classes to cover what we'll be missing during the five day break (three work days plus the weekend) we get for Lunar New Year. I wasn't really sure how many kids to expect but for the most part everyone showed up and I had a few temporary students here and there who weren't able to make their regularly scheduled class. Since it was the weekend all the teachers got to wear jeans (along with t-shirts they're really the only thing that our dress code dictates we can't wear) and we spent a lot of class time just playing games and letting the kids do those Highlights Hidden Picture searches that they love so much. I was exhausted by the time 4:30 and the end of my second class rolled around but it actually was a pretty easy day.

Later that night a bunch of us went to see The Green Hornet and then everyone basically went home to bed to be ready to do it all over again on Sunday. Sunday was worse though because I had three classes so I taught for nine hours in a row. Blaaarrrgh. I'd slept so badly both nights because my body was doing that thing where you're so paranoid you'll oversleep that you wake up almost every hour, certain that it's time to get up. But I got through it with a little help from Scattergories, peanut butter sandwiches, word searches, and a leftover chocolate donut. By the time classes ended at 7:30 I was more than ready to get home, shower the day off, and get into bed. Today I slept until noon. Nowhere in my memory can I recall ever having looked forward to a Monday so much.

As much as it sucked working the weekend, I think something about the more relaxed class structure helped me build a better rapport with my students. I do feel like the atmosphere in my classes is generally good but maybe since I'm still new I've been holding on to a lot of tension and focusing more on not screwing up than letting my kids enjoy themselves a bit here and there. I've been playing games once in a while with the younger kids for a few weeks now but the middle schoolers are such hard shells to crack that I didn't even know where to start trying with them. I just think being able to let my guard down a little this weekend gave me some good ideas about changes I should make in running my classes for the upcoming terms.

I only had one class today so I'm spending tonight cleaning my apartment and packing for Taiwan. We aren't checking any bags so I'll be packing light (ha!) and right now I'm trying to figure out what clothes I'm willing to wear more than once during a four day trip. I also scooped up a little mini travel toiletries kit from Lotte Mart which solves that no-liquids-over-three-ounces rule which I'm terrible about. Why is it that when regular items like shampoo and toothpaste come in wee bottles that suddenly they're fun? One of life's great mysteries.

Tomorrow I'm going to attempt to find the key shop that's supposedly somewhere across the street from my building to make a copy to leave behind. I only have the one and I hate the idea of losing it while in Taiwan. All of our apartment related stuff goes through work so if I were to get locked out of my place here there isn't exactly a landlord or someone living downstairs that I can ask to let me in. It's weird because this is the first time I'm going away somewhere where I really have to worry about this. I mean, if I left for a weekend in college I always made sure to have my key but I could always have asked my roommate to let me in if I got locked out or had an RA get a spare. And obviously at home there was always someone around but it's just one of those strange things that I only really think about now that I'm living alone. It makes me feel very... grown up, I suppose.

And on a completely unrelated note I now have a couch!
Brianna called me early Saturday night about a couch and table someone had left outside the elevators on her floor. I went up to check them out and saw a note written in Korean and taped to the couch that my clumsy attempt at using my phone's Korean to English translator worked out to mean something about "need". Whether this was, "Anyone who needs a couch feel free" or "I need to leave my couch here while I move out, please don't steal it" I wasn't sure. So Traci came to take a look since her translating skills are much better than mine and in the end we decided it said something like, "Need yourself take". That's good enough for me!

It's in really great condition and I love having something to flop down onto when I get home from work. After some consideration I also decided to snag the table, just to see how it would fit.
I rearranged everything (the table is actually facing the couch) and I think when I get back from Taiwan I'm going to actually put some time into decorating this place. Now that I have some furniture I feel like I should get a rug and hang some stuff on the walls. It's nice that it's slowly to starting to feel a bit homier.

After tomorrow I am going to be more than ready for a vacation. I just want to not think about work or vocab tests or have to bundle up to head to the grocery store. Our flight doesn't leave until late afternoon Wednesday but since we're flying first class (the tickets were a score considering that) we're going to take advantage of the lounge and the free drinks at the airport before taking off. Winston Churchill once said, "I am an optimist. It does not seem too much use being anything else" which is really just another way of saying, "A strong drink and a trip to Taiwan is the best possible way to cap off a nine day work week".

And who I am to fight against the words of Winston Churchill?

Trivia of the Day: An estimated 98% of South Koreans own mobile phones and use them not only for calling and messaging but also for watching live TV, viewing websites and keeping track of their online gaming statuses. South Korean corporations Samsung and LG are the second and third largest cell phone companies in the world, and South Koreans are usually among the first to experience innovative technology. New phones are expensive in South Korea, but this doesn't stop South Korean consumers changing their phones on average every 11 months.

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