Monday started off on a sad note… Hosun came up to me and told me that Sunghee will not be coming in today and is taking the rest of the week off. She told me Sunghee had a miscarriage. I can’t even imagine what that must be like. I feel so bad for her. 😦
Hosun told me that I would then have to teach the 6th graders by myself all week. I was so excited! I’m glad I have the chance to teach them by myself, though I am really sad as to why I got this opportunity. Because I was teaching by myself and can’t speak Korean, the homeroom teachers came to class with their students to handle any discipline problems. Ever since Sunghee took over for Eunmi, the 6th graders have turned into little devils, but have their homeroom teacher stay in the room and they are angels! It was great! I did the lesson with them and had extra time, so I played the “Who’s Stronger?” PowerPoint game with them. Not all my classes were able to play it last week, so it was nice to fall back on for 4 of my 6 classes on Monday. The last class of the day had already played it, so I got an idea off the top of my head (or maybe the side of my head, not quite sure) and I had the kids get out some white markers boards. I would say a word and the group would have to spell it and hold up their board. The fastest teams wins. Then the next round, I would say a word and they had to make a sentence using that word. The last round, I would say a sentence and they would have to draw the picture for the sentence. Their favorite sentences were “Brooke is taller than a giraffe” or “Brooke is shorter than a frog.” I was shocked to see how well this game went!!
On Tuesday, Kyoungnam helped with discipline in my class so the homeroom teachers could have some time to work. I played the marker board game with 3 of the classes except one… The 6-6 class were being little brats, not wanting to do anything, and had quite the attitudes. (Not all of them of course.) So I told them “No game!” and doubled their homework. I heard a lot of complaining and whining and then Kyoungnam got up at the front of the class and gave them a lecture. I have no idea what she said, but when she was done all the kids were saying, “Sorry, Teacher. We’re so sorry. We’re very, very sorry.” Wow. It is sooo nice having a co-teacher to back me up!! I haven’t had this since Eunmi left. I felt light as a feather, I was so happy! Thank you Kyoungnam!!
In the 5th grade, we are doing the chapter “She has long, straight hair.” I just had to teach the review part in the book ,but I ended up having extra time. I drew some pretty awesome characters on the board that the kids thought were hilarious! These are some of the sentences they came up with… ‘Albert is fat.’ ‘Albert has curly hair.’ ‘Albert has big ears.’ ‘Albert has big, dark eyes.’ ‘Sarah has a big nose.’ ‘Sarah is thin.’ ‘Sarah has long, straight hair.’ ‘Sarah is tall.’
After school class with the 1st and 2nd graders is always fun. This week they were being so cute. They LOVED playing with my hair (more like petting my hair) and they kept playing with my hands. Once they saw one kid doing this, they all had to do it. I don’t mind at all, but my after school co-teacher gets a kick out of it! (I’ve actually been told by a lot of people here that my hair is incredibly soft, along with my hands… Great genes! Thanks Mama & Dad!!)
Thursday morning started off with a nice shower… Then I got on the bus. I was taking a nap on the bus to school and then some guy sat next to me. He seemed like a big guy because his legs were right against mine. When I opened my eyes, I saw that he wasn’t very big, but wasn’t trying to stay on his side of the seat at all. I kept scooting over up against the window and kept trying to nap. He reeked of cigarettes. He kept trying to talk to me… “Hello! My name is…” I’m thinking “That’s great, but I don’t care.” Nevermind the fact that I’m TRYING to sleep here. His legs were constantly against mine and his shoulders were always up against my arm, nevermind that I’m squished up against the window trying not to touch him. Then he wakes me up again to tell me “I am Korean.” Really?! I couldn’t tell. Later, he nudges (a little too rough) me awake at a bus stop and says a bunch of things in Korean. I kept shaking my head and saying “No.” When I was about 3 minutes away from my bus stop, he tried holding my hand. What the hell?!?! I pull it away and say “No.” He thought this was funny. Then when we get to my bus stop, he doesn’t get up to let me out of the seat so I have to squeeze past him. As I was doing this, he puts his hands on my waist to “help” me. I tried to hit his hands away but my bags were in my hands, so I just got out of the seat as fast as I could. He also thought this was funny. I instantly started crying when I got off the bus. I felt so violated and disrespected and so unsafe in a place that I call home and on a bus that I have to take to school every day. I have never felt unsafe or scared since being in Korea until this moment in broad daylight on a bus filled with people… A place where I never expected to develop this feeling.
After school that day, I met with some lovely ladies, Sarah, Karima, Becca, & Jordan, and we went out for dessert. We talked about a lot of stuff like our students, other things going on, and the incident on the bus this morning. Talking with them about it and about sexual harassment in general made me feel better. After that, my friend Terry came down from Jejusi and he, Karima, and I went out for dinner (sliced, marinated beef… sooo good!) and then to a DVD Bang. A DVD Bang is a place where you can go to rent a room and watch any movie of your choice (well the ones they have in stock anyways, which was a lot). We went with Moneyball. I fell asleep halfway through, but the parts I did see makes me want to watch it again and actually stay up for the whole thing! This evening definitely put me in higher spirits!
The next morning I talked with some of my co-teachers about what happened the morning before. I couldn’t talk about it yesterday because I always felt like crying when it got brought up. We talked about things I can do and what to do or say if anything like this ever happens again. From now on, I’ll be sitting in the aisle seat and only moving over for women or kids. And if a man is bothering me, just keep saying “Hajima!” (Don’t do that!) and it’ll probably embarrass him enough to stop or at least get others around me to yell at him. I’m just hoping it never comes to the point ever again!
My 3rd grade classes went pretty good this week. Haesu, my favorite, little, chunky 3-1 student, was upset when she came to class. Before class started, I asked her what was wrong and she pointed to a boy in the front of the class and said “Fight” as she was gesturing with her hands talking. I’m guessing they had an argument then… As Haesu was walking to her seat, I saw the boy holding up both middle fingers at her with this big “I hate you” look on his face. Then one boy comes up pointing at the boy with his middle fingers up and yelling, “Brooke! F*** you! (giggles) F*** you!” (He had to tell me in case I wasn’t aware what it meant.) I kept telling him “No, bad word.” He just giggled and walked back to his seat, saying to himself, “Hehe, f*** you. Hehehe.” Oh, the life of a teacher in Korea… Gotta love it!
Friday night, there was the Trick or Treat Book Concert at Maybe Cafe to help raise money for the YWCA to buy some English books for their library. It was fun! I dressed up as a Korean 3rd grader. (Can you guess where I got the inspiration?) Lots of singers and Harris (my hip hop teacher) and his friend danced to a Michael Jackson song in the street. It was awesome! Then there was this truck trying to get through and Harris’s friend was dancing in front of the truck blocking his way. He wasn’t too happy. They were both wearing these really creepy masks!
Saturday morning, I headed out to do the Udo Olle. Udo is an island off the east coast of Jeju. So I took the hour and a half bus ride to the ferry terminal. I was walking to the ferry terminal and was about 100 yards away when it suddenly started down pouring! Just my luck. So I walked back to the bus stop and headed back to Seogwipo. 3 hours on a bus for nothing! So instead, I headed down to the harbor when I got back to Seogwipo and took the walking bridge over to a little island called Seopseom and hiked around that.
Udo Olle 1-1
I tried to do Udo Olle again on Sunday morning… Success! It was a beautiful day! I took the 9:00 am ferry and was able to start the Olle at 9:20 am. I had to walk through a lot of fields on the Olle, which turned out to be cow pie minefields. I stopped at a little cafe for a burger for lunch. There were pictures of Marilyn Monroe everywhere!
I also stopped at the Pirate Cafe. When I was on Udo this spring with some friends, we stopped here for some coffee. When you come to Pirate Cafe, they give you this little foam rectangle that you can write and draw on and then hang it somewhere in the entrance coming up to the cafe. I thought I’d stop in to find the one we made and I found it! It wasn’t easy, as there were soooo many more tiles hung up now compared to when we were here last.
I climbed Udobong… Lots of work! But the view from the top… Wow! Breathtakingly beautiful! I finished the 15.9 km Olle course around 1:20 pm!
More pictures from Olle 1-1…