My first niece by my only sister was born today! Ryleigh Arlene. It’s so strange and bittersweet to hear the news and be so far away from my family at a milestone like this. But I’m sure Jamie doesn’t really care that much-she’s just like that, and I’m sure that, as long as she got her way, she was on too many drugs to really notice my absence:) Anyway, I’m an aunty. Weird, but very cool.
Things have been incredibly busy on my side of the globe (I feel like I say that in every post, but I mean it!). I’ve picked up an additional 9 classes per week on the Big Kindergarten side of things, in order to help cover for the newly fired teacher. I, as well as the other foreign teachers, all volunteered to help, but it seriously sucks. My new schedule now keeps me at school teaching from 9:30 am-8:00pm. I have one break from 5:30-7pm, at which time I am supposed to prepare for all of my other classes. In other words, it’s not really a break. Fortunately, this 10 1/2 hour day is only Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Lucky me gets to leave at 5:30 on Tuesday and Thursday. Can you sense the sarcasm? So hopefully all of this madness only lasts for the two weeks that I was told, when another new teacher (one who can read this time, perchance?) shows up, at which time we will train him for a few days and then set him loose. The whole situation is a little icky. I have no qualms with helping out the school-I offered to pick up classes, no problem. But it went the way that many things seem to go around here. No Korean teachers were asked to help pick up the empty classes, although they generally have more free time. We (the foreigners) are still expected to attend ludicrous meetings scheduled at awkward times. And we aren’t even being paid time and a half for the extra classes-instead we are making what amounts to about $3 more/class then what we normally make. It just doesn’t seem like very much appreciation, even though I, Marisa, and Colin have all now afforded the school a lot more money than what they would be spending on paying a substitute teacher-if such a thing existed here-the appropriate amount of money. Blah. I am just hoping these next couple of weeks pass very quickly. At least I enjoy the new ones-the kids are a bit older and the classes a bit smaller than my regular lot, so it’s a different vibe. One I find very enjoyable. So there is the positive end of things.
In other news, last week Marisa and I had our Korean teacher friends over for a little dinner party. Sunny teacher was responsible for the kimchi jijae(stew) and I, Ashley teacher, was responsible for the casserole. Sunny really wanted some casserole-that rare and most delicious of delicacies, indeed-so I went for a basic tuna noodle dish. Weird, since I’ve never really cooked with meat, but it all went well. The Koreans were very gracious and complimentary of my cooking abilities-I think they were being honest, but either way, they loved the idea of a casserole! Both the stew and the casserole were consumed while watching a very dramatic Korean soap opera that Lina, our kindergarten helper teacher, attempted to brief Marisa and I on. Everyone hung out at our apartment, ate, watched some trashy tv and had a lovely evening. I was very happy about the whole thing, and hope to have a repeat performance in a few weeks. It’s just really nice being able to hang out with the Korean teachers outside of the school-and not just Jenny teacher either, who is very comfortable hanging out with me and the other wagooks (foreigners)on the weekends. Its as if some of the Koreans think I won’t want to talk to them outside of school. I think I’m doing a good job of dispelling that notion though. Maybe not everyone before me was so open to making new friends? I don’t know, but they are great company. Hilarious women, for sure, and very sweet souls.