January On The Go!

Asan English Camp

Though I was technically on vacation from school this month, I was working for the majority of the time. What with Jae-oo working on the tv show ‘Miss Korea’ and keeping busy, being on vacation would be pretty boring without something to do. With that in mind, I headed down to Asan, a city about an hour and a half outside of Seoul to work at a sleep away camp for the first two weeks of the month. It was my first experience with a camp here in Korea and I ended it with mixed feelings. I loved camp when I was kid; going away for a week, staying in a cabin, making candles and dream catchers, building fires and learning other “survival” skills, running, swimming, hiking and all of those other outdoor activities that kids want to get dirty doing.

Yes, I know that the camp I was working at was an English camp, so an entirely different animal, but still, I assumed there’d be fun activities, while speaking English, and games, while speaking English, and ya know, just general fun, with English spoken throughout. There were activities that should have been fun, but ended up terribly noisy and annoying with the Korean managers yelling at the students, in Korean, to be quiet, when these elementary aged children were just being normal kids and playing. At the least, I figured if it’s an English camp, shouldn’t everyone be speaking English? At least the students were well behaved and really quite eager to participate, probably because I secretly took them outside to play soccer when they were good. No sort of physical activity was included in the schedule and for anyone that has taught elementary aged children, you’ll know that was a huge oversight.

These kids needed to get out and use some energy and just run. Of course this secret that we had went through the rooms and the other students found out and I became known as the “soccer teacher” and when we swapped classes for one hour a day which ever class I ended up with became excited that they’d get to play soccer, even if that wasn’t what I had planned. That was okay though. Kids just need to be kids sometimes. When they were being students though, I was pretty proud of them. My teams won all of the competitions, obviously because I’m so good at prepping them and hyping them up beforehand, not at all because I had the highest level. ((wink wink)) Some of the competitions were mixed level teams and we still won though. I think I’m pretty good at confidence boosting and cheerleading, not to mention dancing in the back of the room while my students were on the stage to keep them smiling and having fun, isn’t that what camp should be about anyway?

By the time I got home I was starving for some raw vegetables and bread and the attention of my cats. Who knew two weeks would feel so long? I came home to everything the same as I’d left it. Mae was still tucking herself under blankets and Meyo still sleeping just next to her. Best Friends Forever!

We had tMeyo is scared of the vet.o take Meyo to the vet at the beginning of the month because he was so constipated. We didn’t know he was super constipated, but after an xray that showed the true extent of his constipation, not a pretty xray to say the least, we realized he did not feel safe where his litter box was in our house and so he couldn’t go. He’d been going into the litter box every five to ten minutes for a week and we couldn’t figure out what his issue was. I thought he must have early onset OCD. Can cats get that? The way he was going in and out and in and out and in again, it just seemed like a logical conclusion. Moving must have triggered it. He did NOT like the visit to the vet at all and as he’s a needy cat already, he had to be cradled the whole time. But if I were being probed, I’d probably want to be cradled too. Poor fat kitty.¬†MaeSalami, apple chutney, bacon, grilled cheese and bloody Mary’s and home made naan. After two weeks of rice for three meals a day and lots of stews and Korean curries, I needed some fresh vegetables, some meat that wasn’t boiled and some bread. I love Korean food, but not every meal every day.

We wrapped up the month with dentist appointments, an immigration visit to renew my visa and other busy life things that aren’t so much fun as they are necessary. I have been pleased that this winter has been rather mild ((knocks on wood)) but there’s always February to rectify that. Here’s to a wonderful Year of the Horse for everyone. Happy New Year!

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