After my yoga class on Monday night, my friend Harris wanted to meet up with me to give me a belated birthday present. He gave me this funky and beautifully colored flower! (I later found out it’s a cabbage flower, so if I ever get the craving for a little snack… Haha.) We’ll see how long this lasts. I don’t have the best track record of keeping plants alive, with the exception of my 3 plants back home (that my awesome grandma has managed to keep alive since I’ve been gone!) and a pea plant I had in 1st or 2nd grade that produced more peas than all the pea plants in my mom’s garden!
I only went to yoga on Monday and Tuesday this week and they were GREAT sessions!! I’ll make up for the other missed days this weekend… 🙂
Classes were pretty good this week. I played “Pass the Ball” (another version of Hot Potato) with the 5th and 6th grade classes and that went pretty well!
In my after school class with my 1st and 2nd graders, they were putting little books together called “Who passed the ball?” I was in charge of stapling them after they cut them out and put them together. I couldn’t see the page numbers on the pages, so I just assumed the page that said “Who passed the ball?” would be the first page and then the rest of the pages say “The bear passed the ball… The dog passed the ball… etc.” So because of that, I kept moving all the kids’ pages in the “correct” order. No one said anything until sassy little Jihyun! He was really upset and I couldn’t figure out why… My co-teacher finally told me why he was mad. Then she showed me the page numbers… Oops. I’m glad Brooke “Teacher” knows what she’s doing!
We got a little dusting!! This was great to wake up to on Thursday!!
Because Hosun is gone for this whole week, I get to teach 3rd and 4th grade classes by myself with the homeroom teachers in there if things get out of control. It went GREAT!! The lesson went very well and then we played 2 games. First was “Pass the Ball.” When we were finished they wanted to play again. I told them that I have a new game! They didn’t care. They wanted to play “Pass the Ball” again. I said no and started telling them about the new game… 4 Corners. I would tell them the sentence they’d have to say for each corner and then they had to pick a corner and go to it. After they said the sentences for their corner, I would roll the die. Whichever number I rolled, that corner was out (except 5 and 6 were just rolled again). Then they could change corners and we would do this over and over again until there was only 1 winner. After the first roll in each game, I would let the kids that got out roll the die. So many of them would wave their hands crazily and yell “Brooke Teacher! Me! Me!” I told them “Me! Me! Me! No dice! If you want the dice, just (me doing a gesture of sitting and raising my hand quietly).” I’m not sure if the homeroom teacher noticed, but I was very impressed (and happy!) that this worked like a charm! The kids were so well behaved!! VICTORY!!
I taught the 3rd graders on Friday and played the same games with them as I did the 4th graders, but just a different lesson… Another success!! Then some of the 3-1 girls came up and gave me some belated birthday gifts! I got another lap blanket and it’s actually the same blanket the 3-1 boys gave me last week but just a different color. Haha just making sure I stay warm! Then little Bo-yun gave me a pencil with no lead… I’m pretty sure it’s a pencil she just took out of her pencil case. So-hyun also gave me a little thing of sticky notes and a little notepad with pictures of a famous Korean actor on all the pages. I was looking through it at all the pictures with her when I noticed a page with writing on it. She said, “Ohmygod!” and snatched the paper out of the little notepad right away! Haha 2nd hand gifts or not, the gesture was very sweet!
My 3rd and 4th grade after school class on Friday went great! Before class started, they all wanted to play 4 corners. So we played that for a few minutes before class. They learned a new phrase recently… Are you happy? Are you sad? Are you hungry? Are you thirsty? etc. I went around and asked each kid if they were hungry or thirsty. If they said “yes,” I would then ask them “What do you want to eat/drink?” They did really well understanding what I was asking and answering. Awesome kids!
Winter Yoga Retreat
Friday after school, I met up with a few other foreigners so we could take a taxi to the Seogiwpo Recreational Forest up on the side of Halla Mountain for the Winter Yoga Retreat this weekend! The theme of the weekend is Intention. Before I came to the yoga retreat, I thought I understood the meaning of intention. ” I intend to do this.” or “I intend to do that.” I thought it had a loose meaning of “I plan to,” but that’s not quite it. Intention is a person’s specific purpose for doing something. So my plan for this weekend is to practice yoga. My intention for this weekend is to feel refreshed mentally and physically.
Saturday, we had a really early morning session before breakfast instructed by Sarah. During our mid-morning session with Fjorenca, it started snowing really good! It was so beautiful and peaceful to be doing yoga and then look out the window and see the snow falling so gracefully on the ground and on the branches of trees. I never thought I’d miss snow until the thought occurred to me that I might not get snow this winter on Jeju. Fear not! A weekend up on the side of the mountain cured that!
Our room hosted lunch on Saturday. Lauren and Ashley made a delicious pumpkin, apple, and rice curry dish, Fjorenca made lentil soup and split pea soup, Karima and I prepared some scrumptious tofu like she made for the last retreat, and Mae-og (Ashley’s Korean yoga instructor) performed a little tea ceremony for everyone!
After lunch, we had the meditation session lead by Brandon. This was a very difficult session for me last time because my mind was going everywhere and my legs and feet kept falling asleep. This time around went MUCH better! My legs and feet didn’t fall asleep. And instead of concentrating on my breath (which is constant and rather boring to me), I concentrated on all the natural noises going on outside like all the birds making their different sounds. This was much more helpful keeping my mind off of everyday thoughts and I also got to listen to a bunch of crows have some crazy conversations!
After dinner, we had a group meeting and then ended the night with Karima serenading us with her lovely voice!
We started Sunday with an early morning session with Fjorenca. It started off really easy to wake us up and then turned into a more intense session that got us sweating a little bit! After breakfast we had our closing group discussion. We had a good discussion yesterday about intentional choices and habitual patterns. Then we shared our intentions moving forward after this weekend. My intention moving forward is when I find myself doing habitual patterns, ask myself why I’m going it and think about if it’s really worthwhile or if it’s time to reevaluate the habit.
It was a great yoga retreat that left me feeling refreshed!!
A bunch of us waited for the bus to come and take us back down to Seogwipo. We had to wait for a while, because buses weren’t very frequent on that road. While we waited, we soaked in all the beautiful scenery of snow everywhere! After the bus came and picked us up, we only had to go about 10-15 minutes down the road before we didn’t see anymore snow. Craziness! After we got back, Karima headed down and did some shopping and spent a little more than planned. Oh well!
Later on, we headed over to New Seogwipo to see a dance performance. Harris was performing in it! His friend is a dance instructor at a hagwon (after-school academy) and they were having their annual performance! It was awesome!! All these kids (elementary-high school students) are amazing dancers!
And here are some videos of the performance…
Afterwards, we all went out to have a late dinner for Carolyn’s last night in Korea! She heads back to America in the morning! It was so great having her and Bogari as our house guests! I will miss them both!!