Perhaps you thought I was kidnapped since I haven’t written a legitimate post since my encounter with the Church of God. Although if you’ve been following me on Instagram (@georgiannapisano) you would know that I am, in fact, alive and well and recently ate a hamburger with blueberries.
I recently taught my students “My Favorite Things” from “The Sound of Music,” so in honor of that I thought I would highlight a few of my favorite things from my new life in Korea.
The wacky school lunches
A lunch schedule (in Korean) is posted on the back of our office door, but I never check it. I would much rather surprised in the lunch room. There are a few certainties: rice (occasionally mixed with beans or one time something that turned it pink), soup (always broth, never cream), kimchi (cabbage, radish, spinach, or some kind of mix), and a fruit or juice (”dessert”). One day is seaweed paper (no thank you) and another day is spaghetti with garlic bread! (Okay, that was once in the two months I’ve been here but it was GREAT.)
Holidays at an elementary school
Last week I incorporated Halloween into all of my lessons. I didn’t think I was a big Halloween fan until I realized my family still had (and used) the decorations from my middle school Halloween party, we had styrofoam tombstones prepared for the front yard, and my parents turned their “trunk or treat” into a scary abandoned mine scene for my brothers and their friends. And I thought we weren’t that into Halloween!
Sharing the holiday with my students – who are familiar, but don’t really celebrate it in Korea – was fantastic, although I did dump $100 on candy so they could “Trick or Treat” with me on Friday. Worth it!
The good days with students
My students are the BEST. The deluge of classroom pictures and videos on my Facebook timeline would indicate that I’ve recently become friends with a bunch of new mothers, but it is in fact EPIK teachers all saying “Aren’t my kids the cutest?!?!” But I’m here to say – no, my kids are the cutest!
I live in Songpa-gu (good luck stalking me, I don’t even know the name of my street), which Wikipedia described as “Gangnam of the 70’s.” I’ve been to Gangnam and I can’t make a fair comparison (I do not wander far from my house or subway stop). However, I will say I have to make a lot of transfers on the subway and night spots (Hongdae, Itaewon, Gangnam) are an half hour to an hour away, which is rather inconvenient. On the other hand, I can walk to school, I see my students all the time, and there is a large shopping center and eMart near my subway stop including a movie theater. I’m all set.
The variety of people I meet and see
Teachers I met at EPIK orientation that work in Seoul, EPIK teachers that work outside of Seoul but I connect with in the bathroom line at the bar on the weekends, friends of friends I know in the U.S., coworkers, students…the amount of people I’ve been meeting – all amazingly kind and open – has been overwhelming, comforting, and helpful. There is no shortage of different reasons people find themselves in Korea and I love to meet friends from such a wide variety of backgrounds.