Korea Update

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Hi everyone,

It has been almost five months since my last post… I can’t believe it’s been that long. The past several months have kept me extremely busy with work, completing an exercise program, and preparing for the next chapter in my life.

As many of you know, I have been living and teaching in Korea for a while. Well, my two years is just about up in November. This leaves me about four months left in this country. Wow. Maybe four months sounds like a lot of time for some, but for me, the planner, this is not a lot of time. This means I have several things to prepare (which I have already started). I’ve been slowly sending things home via snail mail because WOW how couldΒ one person in a one-room apartment accumulate so much stuff??? I plan to do a ‘purge’ of clothes and other items by either selling them, donating them, or trashing them (the ones in bad condition). Obviously, this is a part of the moving process and I’m trying to pack as lightly as possible. I desperately need the clean closure so I can start the next chapter in a clearer mindset.

Other than packing, I have professional and personal goals as well: writing a cover letter, letters of recommendation, apply for jobs, ‘study’ for job interviews, complete a Korean class, catch up in my studies, read every book in my apartment, catch up on my blogging (about 8 posts), finish writing my story, create photo books, plan one last trip when my mom comes to visit in October, appointments, and more. There’s just so much to do before I leave Korea. Of course, I can do some of these things later once I leave, but being ambitious, I would like to try finish most of them, if not all of them.

IMG_4672Even though I have several plans for the immediate future, what has been keeping me busy for the past several months? I mentioned work being a huge time-consumer. This is so so true for me. I agreed to take on a very big project, not realizing how big it really was. This means creating a textbook series of four different ‘levels’ for ELL students. The textbook series is for a three week summer camp, which is starting in TWO DAYS! :O I worked so hard on this series: editing, sacrificing more than eight weekends by working 12 hour days, more editing, researching information and videos, customizing pages, creating a website, etc. But now, I can confidently say that I’ve created a textbook series for students and teacher’s guides–all 800+ pages published! So does this make me an author? πŸ™‚

This project will serve me well for the future and plus, I enjoyed the process. I learned a lot about publishing, editing, and creating original materials. Excited to see it be used in the classroom and reflect on what worked and didn’t work. Very grateful to have had the opportunity to do this, even when times were tough.

IMG_4131These days, I’ve also been balancing Korean studies in between. I’m currently taking classes through a government program and started out from the ‘beginning’ due to my anxiety and freezing up during the speaking test… so this automatically made me start at level 0… I was not properly placed, but it’s okay. It got me into the mindset of shifting from teacher mode into student mode. It was a nice transition and routine for me. After a week of level 0 of literally learning how to read and speak the sounds, I moved onto level 1. Most of this level was easy as I already knew the grammar patterns and most of the words. Some of the new words were specific to life in Korea that I never studied before, so even though it was too easy, I was still able to learn something. It helped me become more confident in speaking out loud as well, which is one area I’m extremely shy in. After the level 1 test, I moved onto level 2, which meant a new teacher. I was a little sad about the change of teachers since I became so comfortable and confident with the level 0 and level 1 teacher, but I’m still learning. Level 2 has given me some challenges mostly because my time has been spread thin. I haven’t been able to study as much as I wanted to and I can feel that I am falling behind. I have a test in a few weeks, so I’m going to try extremely hard to catch up and study. I do want to go to Level 3 from August – November so I can accomplish my goal in building a strong enough foundation. Here’s to hard work! πŸ™‚

IMG_3943It’s funny how just yesterday, it seemed that I was not comfortable, felt like an outsider here, and finding excuses for myself. Now, I feel that I’ve adjusted and now understand that my life is important here. I am still me with goals, inspirations, and confidence. The adjustment period took longer than I liked, but it was obvious I needed that time and I cannot feel sorry or bad for the adjustment. I’m very grateful to have lived in Korea and I will do my best to accomplish as much as I can before the four month mark. I still can’t believe how quickly time has gone by…

Cheers,

Jess

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