Nothing much to wrap up from entryTWO. So this month what have I been up to? Man it’s been busy! I was tryna to write as I went along but things got a bit hectic aha!
In this post, I did a few things (in no particular order); my Seoul excursion, banquet at church & my second baptism, administering speaking tests at school, dealing with awkwardness & learning Korean.
The first thing I’m gonna address is awkwardness.
Moving abroad is seriously an opportunity to jump right out of your comfort zone and into the unknown. This is the second time I have done that; maybe I like being in awkward situations…I take that back. No I don’t actually.
Earlier in the month, I felt it. At lunch, I usually sit with my non co-teacher (we don’t actually teach anything together) and other teachers even though we don’t say much more than hello in Korean. One particular time, my non co-teacher was not in and I sat with the other Korean teachers and at lunch with them. Now, none of them spoke to me directly in fact, they just smiled and nodded their acknowledgements and happily chopped their meals, clattering their utensils on the stainless steel trays. We all must have felt weird because language was the giant barrier between us. Even down to, ‘how do you like the food?’ none of us could communicate. And that’s where all the awkwardness begins: not being able to communicate.
I consider myself an introvert and pretty much won’t speak unless I need to in some situations. Other times in comfortable situations, I’m a complete chatterbox. But when living amongst people whom you’d like to communicate with, and they with you, you totally feel like that a saw thumb. I’m learning Korean at a very slow pace saying the bare minimum. My suggestion to anyone considering living abroad, go and learn the language too.
I was living in China while sorting out my application to Korea. I started practising Korean in China but oh, how confusing it got! I mixed Chinese and Korean together so I hung up learning Korean for a bit and watched Kdramas instead. Being in China, I was pretty confident with speaking the continually used phrases when ordering food or general shopping. But now, I want to shift my acquired knowledge from China to Korea, I’m learning it’s a process.
I’ve been using this book called Korean From Zero (book 1 is actually free from the website) and it’s been pretty helpful for beginners wanting to learn Korean. I’m currently working through this book and it’s been helpful being a visual and auditory learner and all that, I can pick out key things when I see them while out and about.
I’m dealing with the awkwardness as it comes to be fair. I tend to laugh it off with other foreigners who are in the same situation or my non co-teacher who finds some of the incidences I get myself into hilarious. Best bet if you’re gonna move away, it’s cool to feel like a plonker. It’s fun when you look back it – of course if it’s fresh in the mind, you kind of want the ground to open you up and swallow you, but baby steps. One step at a time.
Continuing with events from earlier events in the month, I finally got a chance to visit Seoul.
Totes cool buddy, NECYYYYYYYYY!
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I’ve been pretty busy so I didn’t get a chance to write about Seoul. However, I will post something about my trip very soon. So stay tuned for that.
I administered speaking tests when I taught before and I found them boring.
I had to stay awake for the next student as it was fresh for them all the while I was crying inside like HOW MANY MORE!!! Well. I did that for 12 students tops and probably once a month in different classes. I didn’t realise how good I had it! Okay, okay different environments and all that so I’ll cease complaining.
This speaking test was REAL different in public schools. As well as listening to the same selection of memorised things like 200 times, public schools are a lot ‘nicer’ when grading. In my opinion, if you roll up to my testing seat unprepared, you get ZERO. Nope. Minimum I could give students was a 60. That’s a pass isn’t?! Them things wouldn’t run back home, I tell ya that one! Didn’t open ya mouth? You got an ungraded (U) score. Bye.
That took me about a day to get my head around – I couldn’t fail them? Hold on before you think I’m so mean teacher: isn’t it only fair to grade the students accordingly? I dunno, maybe saving face is more apparent than I like to give it credit for. But that was one thing that took me by surprise. But when in Rome, one has to adjust and adopt.
So the students who didn’t try got their 60% grade. The students who worked hard got their 100% and danced back into class hollering their results and I walked away knowing every single phrase students told me. Pretty sure I heard them in my dreams too.
In other news, the church banquet happened about two weeks ago now.
There are still lots of things that intrigue me about the church I go to and this being one of them. I’m used to seeing leaders just burn out or step down because of pressure, exhaustion, etc. I mentioned before about the different rankings of the leaders and so this banquet was to acknowledge the active leader’s commitment and work they’ve done during what’s called the sowing season (the time where they’ve been the busiest leading community/connect groups for example). I’ve never been to a church where leaders are given the opportunity to be honoured. Being my first time experiencing this, I was rather happy to serve food and tidy up. Now we’re in a Sabbath season where we’re resting, it’s not necessarily a time fling everything learnt of the window, but a chance to reflect.
Getting our act together and joining Korean class
Finally. So I never had an official lesson in China, I simply asked loads of questions and did “role plays” with the local teachers who sat directly in front of me. Ohh I do miss those guys…. Anyways, Korea is different. Not everyone in the office speaks English and everyone is busy so there’s no play time like there was in China. (The locals had to be at school all day even if they didn’t have any classes). In Korea, there are opportunities to get certificates (China also, but I was living in the sticks) and chances to look all professional. Aside from all that, I will be able to communicate!! And that’s what I’m after to be honest. To be able to go home and be like ‘YO FAM! I can speak Korean‘ and get the gasps like ‘woah, I can barely speak French.’ (iJoke)
Korean class is cool. Tis just Necy and I, and we get to have private classes each Saturday. This weekend will be our second lesson and we’ve been practising (Necy more than I have) all week. The only way to really get the language stuck in my brain is by memorising it and saying it over and over – and then using contextually correctly. Truth be told, we’ve been here for 4 months so it’s late! BUT, we’re getting stuck in. No time to lose. We gotta language to conquer and be fluent in aha.
I got baptised Sunday gone in the OCEAN! Man, lemme tell you something, it was cold! It was cool (no pun intended) to be in the ocean because I’ve usually seen those baptisms on TV in films in America (aha). The great thing about living in a beach city, I guess! I’m not even sure what to say about my baptism other than it was pretty amazing to have experienced it with so many people supporting. But yay to being bapisted 😀
Here’s my testimony:
Over the last few years, Christ has been working on my heart in areas where I would have preferred to have remained in my comfort zone. Each time He showed me more of who He is, I relinquished more of my control to His.
I’ve always had some kind of need to be fully controlling of my life and others, taking on their concerns & problems as well as trying to juggle my own problems, struggles and, shames. However, after feeling extremely weighed down, I slowly realised I didn’t have any power in changing or fixing any of it.
Then one day, having heard and understood what Jesus was really offering, I accepted His offer and finally I’ve begun to lay everything at His feet.
Today’s a public declaration that I revoke full ownership and allow Christ to fully rule my life.
Featured Image credits go to SpoonForkBacon