Thursday, August 9, 2007

small victories at the end

Sometimes living in Korea seems, more than anything, like a giant lesson in humility. On the average day here, I spend the first chunk sitting in a classroom with a beginning language textbook listening to a woman not much older than me try to explain how to say things like “the weather is sunny” and “today is Tuesday” in Korean. At lunch and dinner, I don’t know what dishes I’m eating or how to mix them. I’ve only recently figured out what buttons to press on the Korean washing machines. This week, though, I can claim a few small accomplishments. Today was our last day of tae kwon do and I got to prance around in a yellow belt. Last week we had a test on punching, blocking, and the three kicks we’ve learned. I got to trade in my white belt for a yellow one. It’s the easiest TKD test you can take, but whatever—I’ll roundhouse kick anyone who makes fun of me. :) I also officially finished language classes, taught my first classes for an English summer camp Fulbright holds, and visited a jinjjilbang (Korean bathhouse—I want to post about it later).

Last night we celebrated the end of language classes. As difficult as Korean is for me, I really love our songsangnims (teachers) and feel a real camaraderie with the people in my class section. It’s normal to go out for food, drinks, and/or karaoke (really popular) with your teachers here, so all of class 1C (that's what Laura and I are signing in the picture)--teachers included-- went out last night.

Tomorrow is graduation from language classes. In one week I leave orientation and head to Jeju Island to start teaching. Things are winding down quickly!


MaryAnn said...

"winding down??" It sounds like you're just getting started, silly girl!

Anne said...

Wow! Good for you for learning basic Korean! I can't even imagine how difficult it must be. I miss you, and I really enjoy the fact that you have a blog! Gives me something else to think about besides dental school (which starts in just 7 days!) and this project I'm currently working on for my crazy/hard Spanish class. :)

Anonymous said...

that is so exciting liz! congradulations on your yellow belt- you will have to teach me some moves when you get back :)good luck with teaching. i cant wait to hear about all of it! i am praying for you.