Thursday, April 19, 2012

A general update

Hi everyone! I know it's getting slowly colder in SA, but right now I'm enjoying looking out at a warmer, greener mountain landscape :)

I started this blog with the intention of keeping everyone updated on my life over here as well as helping other people who might be thinking of taking on an adventure like this. As such, some posts are just me writing my thoughts down, others will be more informative and ones like this are just me telling you all what's up :) I have had an overwhelming response to the blog and I thank you all for reading it and supporting me. Keep reading ;)

Each time I sit down and try to type an update I am never quite sure where to begin. I'm on this incredible journey where everything is new and exciting and as such I have no idea what to tell you. School is going really well. I am VERY pleased to inform you that discipline is the bees knees and my classes are running *a little* smoother than they were. Again, most classes are fine and it's really just my rowdy Monday after school class that can be frustrating. I have not had to use my referee cards yet, but one stubborn chap decided last week he just 'didn't want to' participate so bam - made him stand at the back of the class, arms above his head and before you know it he was begging to join in. They still give me grief but are A LOT more respectful. I think a lot of the general improvements I'm seeing in my classes have more to do with the kids feeling comfortable with me more than anything I'm actually doing. I think we all have gotten to the point where we can relax around each other and have found our feet in the relationship a bit more. There's nothing as rewarding as having some students who used to stare at me blankly now participate. I went on a field trip yesterday with my first school and man it was great. Spent a lot of time with the older kids, just trying to chat and make jokes. I'm crazy and silly and they see that now. We can have a lot of fun together and it makes teaching so much easier. I do struggle to always come up with new ideas and games but that is why we have the internet. What did teachers do before this? Make their own stuff? Crazy ;) I even have some girls try to communicate with me over Google Translate but that is a BAD idea - I really don't think they are trying to tell me that Henry the 8th liked ice-cream or something equally as random. Makes us laugh though and at least they are trying. I play Justin Bieber too. They love the Biebs.

I spent the past weekend with Jodie, the girl I originally applied with. Was so amazing being with someone from home; we were able to slip into easy conversation and felt like I got a taste of home for the weekend. She stays in Deajeon, where we had orientation, so was also nice to go back there and party in a bigger city. It was a lot of fun and I found myself feeling a bit like a Korean; surprised by the amount of Westerners around haha. I don't think people living in a big city can truly appreciate the awesomeness of a moment where you realise you are surrounded by English speakers. But that also made me think - why am I here? I didn't come to be surrounded by what I know. If I wanted that, I could have stayed at home. So at the end of the weekend I must admit I was happy to be coming home to my little city. I love being able to walk everywhere and as nice and as necessary as it is to get out often, it feels good to come home. And boy am I happy to say that :) My apartment gets better with time, it feels like me now. Even cooked a meal for two in it the other day and we sat on the floor, ate on a picnic blanket and watched series. Was awesome.

The people are great. Have made some really good friends and I'm out for dinner or something at least 3 times a week, usually more. It's just an illustration of how important company is here and how a tight community develops around the need for conversation and support. My friend Danielle who is from America (yes I mentioned you hehe) comes through most weekends and she feeds the shopper in me. We are not good together - well, actually we are TOO good together so our wallets always hurt a bit after we've hung out! There's such a wide range of people here and I'm still loving being surrounded by people from all over, all with different stories and backgrounds.

I never expected to miss Africa this much. It has cemented in me the fact that I want to stay in South Africa and try as hard as I can to make it work there. Yes, the fact that I feel completely safe here is a feeling I relish. There are other things too which I know I will miss when I leave. My heart is in Africa. I am African and I miss all it holds. So maybe a year here will be long enough? Maybe it's time I start focusing on what I can do on my own continent too :) A PGCE is looking like it's definitely on the cards for me when I get home. Teaching is something I really love and have decided to try and combine that with my Sociology to try and make a difference back home. So I'm learning new things about myself everyday and it's exciting. I'm being stretched beyond my wildest dreams but it's a good feeling - bring on the change baby!!

What else? The food is still great, Seoul is amazing. The people here are generally so helpful and it makes traveling around on your own much less stressful. I had a train conductor follow me to make sure I switched to the right train and a kind passenger help me find out where I had to sit. Turns out I was given a standing ticket, which for a 2 hour train journey is not ideal but hey. It's all part of the adventure. I need to upload pictures, I know this. But I usually blog at school so it's a bit harder. Maybe I'll do a post just of photos...but again, check Facebook out, it's all there :)

I think for now, this is it. Don't want to bore you with an essay for too much longer ;) I'm happy, I'm adjusting, I'm learning. And I've never felt more alive.

So much love to you all.

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