Week One…

4 Sep

I was plunged in at the deep end the day after my arrival in Daegu. But despite my jetlag, I overcame the fear and successfully managed to help some (ridiculously cute) 7 year olds to distinguish between a blue aeroplane, a brown teddy bear and a purple robot. Boom! Trying to not let this sound ‘bad’, I love the laidback attitude of the organisation, and that I can hug and play with the kids. My hair is often stroked, my side clung too, and ‘teacher’ yelled in my direction in between classes- I love every second of it. As the only native English speaking, and the only fluent English teacher at the private English school I suddenly feel a huge responsibility for these kids progress in their studies. I find it frustrating that the other teachers speak in Korean to the kids ALL the time, so I have implemented a ‘no Korean’ rule in my classroom. I stop them when they can’t produce a sound when they are imitating me, and I give a stern look when they talk during someone else’s reading. I was petrified I would crack under the pressure and my nerves would get to me when I stood up in front of those kids, but it really hasn’t, and I love that I’m getting paid for such an amazing job. After three days at work, I like to think I know what I’m doing now, and although on some occasions my questions have resulted in twelve blank faces, there seems to be some understanding there too.

While work was going so well, I was getting a tad worried about the whole ‘I have no friends’ situation. One of the Korean teachers asked me: ‘Do you have friends in Korea?’ and when I said no, she said: ‘then why did you come?’ While Daegu itself apparently has a large foreign population, in my area on Dongbyeon-dong I have not seen one western face. I am quite clearly a novelty, as people shout ‘hello’ in my direction, older ladies ostensibly giggle when I walk past, and little girls follow me around the supermarket. I was getting anxious about the no friend situation. But on Friday the heavens opened in a Korean hospital. I went for my medical and a girl from Middlesborough working for the same company, but a different campus came along too. Steph is amazing, and we hit it off straight away. She took me downtown with her American co-worker, we went for a bite, and several drinks, and before I knew it, it was 6.00am. Whoops. Today, I have not felt my best.

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