Caveat: Hangoogopolis (Capital City)

I came to the capital.   Tomorrow, I will hopefully get to see – and move into my new apartment.  For tonight, I'm hotelled – my standby "love motel" in Ilsan was full! – so I had to use a different one around the corner… slightly higher price, no wonderful view of Jungangno.  How aggravating – must be springtime or something, so everyone's using the love motels.  Ha.

Word of advice:  don't give your cell phone number to 200 first through fourth graders if you have any issues whatsoever with a constant stream of phone calls that consist primarily of "hi teacher!… what?  OK, bye teacher!" and mysterious text messages in Korean with many emoticons.  Actually, I don't really mind.  It's sweet, in a way.

Caveat: 얄러뷰

Two of my first-grade students, Min-gyeong and Dan-bi, wrote “I love you 얄러뷰” in a big heart in their good-bye message.

I was trying to figure out “얄러뷰” – but it’s not Korean. I think “yal-leo-byu” is a transliteration of “I love you” – sound it out!

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I got portraits of the fourth-graders today. Here they are.

4-1:

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4-2:

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4-3:

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The 4-2 class did some role-plays today, and I took a few pictures.

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I am going to miss Ye-won especially (on the left, below).  The other day, she said to me:  “I will hate the new teacher, already, because you are the best teacher.”  That’s way too good for my ego.  Plus, her English is pretty good, eh?

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Here I am goofing around with some fifth- and sixth-graders during recess today.  Note that the girls provided me with a disguise – can you tell it’s me?

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Here are some memento photos of the cafeteria during lunch time.

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My lunch tray, and my co-teacher Ms Lee across from me.

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Here are some boys hamming for the camera.

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Finally, here are some kids brushing their teeth at the communal teeth-brushing place:

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I am going to miss this school so much. Should I have stayed?  Maybe.

I will not miss the feeling of isolation, which was exacerbated by a school administrative office that is xenophobic and stunningly incompetent, and which conducted itself without exception with utter disregard for my status as a fellow human being, despite my substantial dependence upon them for my outside-of-work day-to-day living.

I think that one way to put it is that I will miss the weekday 9am~5pm part of this experience intensely, but I will not miss the weekday 5pm~9am part of it not at all. And that, when you get right down to it, is not a good proportion for a sustainable lifestyle.

I have learned hugely, this past year – about myself, about teaching, about children and about what’s important in the world. I hope I can keep these lessons alive in my heart and carry them back to Ilsan and my next job.