Week 19, Friday

Something amazing happened. Yesterday my tutor, in a discussion about pronunciation, said “in reality often people pronounce 요 yo as 여 yeo”

You know my ongoing struggle in strong O versus weak O but now I feel VINDICATED. I HAVE been hearing weak O in strong O’s place. I am not crazy!

I feel at a real slump in my Korean this week so it’s nice to win one.

I nearly lost at the bank but MVP goes to the woman who pointed out I left my money at the ATM behind. I paid my electric bill, transferred money for a Korean New Year ski trip and in the hubbub left fifty dollars behind.

En route to the bank some grade 4 boys spotted me and shouted Abigail Teacher! One boy I had goofed off with earlier in the week. Grade 4 is precious and I’m sad next year I’ll only see them once a week.

Next week is the last week of school so I feel the last minute pressure to close out projects.

A gruff man that S later said had “no manners” barged into our classroom to open cabinets and almost dropped a drum on my head. Since school is undergoing construction to replace the ceilings, every teacher will have to pack away the class into boxes. S and I are in the spare music room so we get to pack all the extra instruments. Yay! We have one week. At least S confirmed with the VP that I’ll have a computer and internet during my desk warming time.

I received the list for winter camp and luckily it’s mostly good kids like Clever Girl and the third grader who wrote me a note. Strong Girl is looped in too but I’m hesitant to summarize her chaotic neutrality as “good” over 15 hours of camp time. The boy who said hi at the bank will also be there (in previous posts I called him SEVENTEEN fan. He’s a cutie and he’s got braces with rubber bands, I feel your pain kid.)

I like to pretend that the kids asked their parents to sign them up because I’m popular but it’s more likely the parents need somewhere to stick them while they work. I am still powering through camp planning, and surprise! Another change.

Week one will be grade 3 and 4. Week two will be grade 4 and 5. There are some really strong and also really weak grade 4 students who signed up for camp. However, they’re not sorted into weeks by ability.

And in Asia age: Yesterday I asked third grade “how old are you?” To which they responded “I am ten years old!” But in Korea you’re born a year old and age up every year on January first. As it was January, I caught them: “aha! Are you ten or are you eleven now?” Also as a consequence I’m 29 in Korea and 27 in international age.

The teacher who was on a gap year that enjoyed teaching English will not be able to come back in time this year; in addition G has been neither confirmed nor denied. I have zero idea who will be my two new co-teachers in March. (To me it’s so strange that every elementary teacher has to be certified in science, math, English, and music and yet no one at this school seems comfortable teaching in a English which is a subject they trained for).

S submitted her request to be a third grade homeroom teacher, followed by first then fifth. Because no one else at the school has obvious English abilities, I suspect English may fall again into her unwilling lap.

I started talking to a coordinator in the southeast region just to get an idea of what my options are if I want to move after this contract. At a glance, there is higher pay and lower air pollution, plus mountain-beach combo. Others have mentioned considering Jeju as well as the southwest region.

Seoul people say the south is rural but this entire province has about the same population and area of urban Atlanta, which no American would call rural.

Seoullites tend to say any city with less than 3 million people is rural; after all, Seoul and its surrounding area is the home of fifty percent of the population.

Indeed these thoughts are eight months in advance but fortune favors the prepared.

P.S. I took a flute home.

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