Friday, October 17, 2008

Another Friday, Another Field Trip

I was starting to feel better yesterday, so imagine my dismay when I awoke this morning feeling like I had just been trampled by a herd of bowling elephants. My voice had decided to stick around, so I was grateful for that at least.

Today was another field trip day for the kindergartners. Normally I really look forward to field trips (honestly), but today I just wanted to hide under the covers, stuff my nose with tissues, and pray for the blissful embrace of death. Since dying isn't an option at present, I got myself up and ready, and had a pleasant walk to school. I lost my bike lock the other day, so I'm walking everywhere until I get a chance to buy a new one. I don't want to risk losing my bike.

I got to school just in time to help herd eleven kindergartners into the van, and then climbed in with them. Being a teacher, I have to sit in the seat that positions me backwards, so I usually get a little nauseated when we drive on the really curvy country roads...like we did today. We were taking the little ones to a sweet potato farm, and I spent the entire journey there dividing my attention between keeping kindergarten body parts inside the vehicle and not throwing up. I am happy to say that I was successful with both.

The potato farm was loads of fun for the kids. They got to walk around some gardens, play on a gigantic net slide, view a presentation on sweet potatoes (it was in Korean, so I have no idea what was said, but the kids were interested), play with two rabbits, and ride a raft across a very small pond. They also got to fry some sweet potatoes and cook some stems from the potato leaves (apparently these are edible, and actually quite delicious). Their favorite part, of course, was getting to go out and dig up their own potatoes. Each child had a small bag that they could fill. This was my favorite part, too, since I also got to dig some potatoes and fill a bag for myself. Guess what I'm going to be having for dinner for the next few nights!

The only calamity on this field trip involved poor Harry. When he was putting a slice of sweet potato into the hot, oil-filled pan, he dropped the potato and oil splashed on him. Most of it, luckily, landed on his clothes, but he also got a splash of it on his face. Having once accidentally dunked my entire hand and wrist in a fry vat at McDonald's, I could sympathize with the poor kid. Fortunately, he didn't get too bad of a burn, and it wasn't very big, so he was able to still enjoy the rest of the time at the sweet potato farm.

The drive back was, unfortunately, a great deal more nauseating than the drive there. It was all I could do to keep my kimbap and sweet potato down in my stomach. I still feel like the elephant bowling league held their latest bowl-a-thon fundraiser on top of my body, so I'm hoping the afternoon classes will give me an easy time today. Tomorrow I'll be journeying to Daegu to hit Cosco's for some more "American" food supplies. After that, I plan to spend the rest of the weekend resting and drinking lots of water.

1 comment:

Elizbeth said...

Hi :) This will be absolutely random (and lengthy), but my name is Elizabeth, I am from Nashville, TN and I've been reading your journal the past two days, and I'm addicted. Ok, I didn't mean that as creepy as it sounded.

Where should I start? I came to your journal via Chantel.. eh.. I honestly don't remember her last name.. she says she's a teachkoreanz.com recruiter in Nashville, searching for folks to teach abroad in S. Korea. I so want to do it, but I'm a little skeptical.. maybe about the company and concerned possibly about getting screwed over. I think its a legitimate concern.. I guess? Did you go through this same company? It would put my mind at ease if I knew of someone else that used this company.

I am a world traveler as you are. I have lived abroad about 2.5 years, I worked as an Au Pair in the Netherlands, and studied in Belgium. Korea is TOTALLY different culture though. I'm used to living abroad in westernised countries, and so I suppose a good portion of my concerns stem from that as well. I'd like to know more about your culture shock, if you had any at all. You seem like you transitiioned really well,.. and I kind of figure I'd do the same. Just out of curiosity, though, did the company that you went through give you heads up on being culturally appropriate before going over there.. or have you learned through trial and error by possibly offending in some cases? I guess I'm concerned about being a respectful and well-mannered American.

My plans are very similar to yours, actually,.. I've got my future mapped out now. I absolutely have a love affair with culture.. so I must make it clear that I am so incredibly excited about experiencing new food, new surroundings, new people, new experiences. I mean, I was an Anthropology major and I've backpacked all across Europe and some of Northern Africa. I've got SO much world to see still, though. Cultures drive me, ..however, I will be honest I am drawn to the possibility of saving money as well. Are they pretty honest about that.. I mean, I wouldn't expect them to be dishonest about paying me, but here's what I've read and heard through many accounts: I've encountered that Koreans are so despreate for Natives that in most cases they will pay for the airfare to and your airfare out, plus rent, plus some utilities are paid, plus according to experience a salary anywhere to 1,500,000 Won - 2,000,000 Won a month.. is this pretty accurate?

I expect to pay for everything else, my entertainment food, clothes, vacations. I'm just curious if I need to be prepared to pay for the basics,.. even though thats not what I've been told.

This is simply because, my intentions after my year contract is up (and granted I don't get so attatched that I never want to leave.. which.. is VERY possible) I want to take a month in another country getting my TEFL certification from the money I've made, then move back to the Netherlands for my masters in public history/heritage studies. I can get a job teaching English in NL with no problem with my TEFL cert., my fluency in Dutch, and my year experience from Korea. So, I'm kind of hoping I can save up quite a bit of money so I can live off of it once my contract is up. This is sort of where I stand right now,.. but I suppose I'm curious if everything which I've heard is pretty accurrate.. or,.. are they pulling the wool over my eyes?

Anyhow, I'm pretty sure I've overwhelmed you with WAY too many questions for the time being. I really want to make this happen though. Actually, the beginning of March is about the time that I want to make my way over there, so perhaps I will be able to have your position as you are leaving, that would be So AMAZING! Do you know if Cate has already started looking at replacements? This is ALL so exciting! I can't wait to hear back from you. My email address is p.elizabeth.martin@gmail.com. Also, I'd like to maybe exchange Myspace or Facebooks,.. if you are cool with that. Have a great Monday and get well soon!!

"Passage—immediate passage! the blood burns in my veins! Away, O soul! hoist instantly the anchor!
Cut the hawsers—haul out—shake out every sail!
Have we not stood here like trees in the ground long enough?
Have we not grovell’d here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes?
Have we not darken’d and dazed ourselves with books long enough?

Sail forth! steer for the deep waters only!
Reckless, O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me;
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go, And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.

O my brave soul!
O farther, farther sail!
O daring joy, but safe! Are they not all the seas of God?
O farther, farther, farther sail!"

~Walt Whitman, "Passage to India"