When I come home.

I know I am home when three laptops cannot be on the same internet connection at my parent’s house at the same time/even when I am the only one on I have to wait five minutes for a page to load (slight exaggeration, slight).

I can/have to drive everywhere, and end up wishing for the subway after three days.

I am weirded out by “small-town” talk at the grocery store.

I eat a home-cooked meal every single night. sigh… (I may have had steak three times my first week home, whahaha).

I eat Chinese food, American/Chinese food!

The beach is only an hour away, and the pool is in my backyard.

I am in weddings.

I get woken up at 6:55 a.m. by my niece and nephew. I have never loved not sleeping in until now.

I er, Jordan makes pizza.

I listen to the radio.

I miss rice.

I miss walking.

I buy teaching supplies. Can’t WAIT to get my stapler.

I laugh until I cry talking about “No pants Noah” and “No top Travis”.

I create memories to hold me over until next summer with my friends and family (though it never does “hold me over”), and I love every second of it.

I enjoy life to the fullest, just as I do in Korea, when I come home…^^

Why it’s Worth it.

Friday was the last day of school. And as most of you know, this meant my last day of work at my first full-time teaching job. My students from last year (who now have just graduated from 3rd grade!) knew that I was leaving the school, and once they got over their HUGE disappointment (obvi) they started to ask me random odd questions as the school year was coming to an end. “Chocolate or cheese, Ms. Welton? Do you like chocolate or cheese?” “Do you like sky blue?” “Are you free after school on Friday for a little bit?” Hmmmm… I was starting to get suspicious.

Then, as soon as I waved my final farewell to my second graders (after showing them this video that I am extremely proud of, I don’t normally put anything of my students up here as far as pictures and such— but they did sign a form, and this is SO SO SO GOOD) one of  my precious student from last year grabbed me and dragged me to the bathroom, telling me she had a secret to tell me and it was so secret we had to go to the bathroom (now I know where all the girls share their secrets)… She sat me down on a toilet seat and began to ask me what my e-mail address was, then she spelled it out, very s-l-o-w-l-y, even the “dot-g-m-a-i-l-dot-c-o-m”… it was hilarious. After she ran out of things to distract me with she said, “Oh– Ms. Welton you shouldn’t go to your classroom.” “Why is that?” “Uh… because there is a bomb! Ms. S put it there… no Ms. L (my grade teaching partner)”, “Ms. L, my partner in crime, put a bomb in my classroom?”

Just then there is a gasp and a laugh as Ms. L herself comes into the bathroom, “are you guys in a stall?” “Uh…yeah. Hey, Ms. L— did you put a bomb in my classroom?” “No way, come to your classroom and see for yourself.”

Ms. L and my student lead me to my classroom. I open the door and the first thing I see is a ton of balloons taped to my smartboard.  A cheesecake is on the table and there is… no one…? All of the sudden girls are jumping out from under my desk and the corner behind the bookshelf yelling, “Surprise!”

It had been so hectic when I said goodbye to my students earlier that I had no time to shed any tears. But once three of my girls from last year handed me a book they made full of pictures and letters to me, the tears flew steadily.

This is why I teach.

Slice of Life is hosted by The Two Writing Teachers every Tuesday!

A Whole New World

I know my birthday is old news, it happened a while ago… so luckily this post doesn’t really have anything to do with it (and yet everything to do with it). Different groups of friends came together and started up a fund to get me a new camera lens (which, if I am honest— is the one thing I really wanted the most) for my birthday gift. I know, they are pretty awesome. I was handed the money and told, “Go! Spend it! Only on a lens!”

Yesterday was the day. I popped some Excedrin as soon as my students flew out the door, took many deeps breath, and started to mentally prepare for…

YONGSAN

I do not like Yongsan. It is a confusing place, full of malls that don’t make sense,  electronics, and people crying out to you, “I give you best price!” Imagine an octopus spreading it’s eight limbs toward your face all at once, smothering you… and that is how I feel about going to Yongsan.

In Seoul, Yongsan is probably one of the best places to go to get a camera lens though, and so… to Yongsan I must go.

Jee Young, being the amazing friend that she is— agreed to come and translate for me (even though she feels the same way about Yongsan as I do). We prayed and prayed that we wouldn’t be overwhelmed by the salesman at all the bajillion different counters (aren’t they all the same???!) and we would be able to get the lens I wanted for a decent price.

So what happened? Well, apparently our prayers worked a little too well. No one wanted to sell me a lens! This one unkind man refused to get the lens out that I wanted to see, thinking I wouldn’t buy it, and saying that the lens he had under the counter would work just fine for a student. Luckily, this was all (more or less) translated to me after the fact. A STUDENT. What, I don’t look like your typical photographer? I am going to punch you in the face! (Of course, I am all talk, I would never…).

We wandered a bit and discovered a very chill guy, who gave us more of an understanding of why I wanted to lens I got. He was informative and nice, not pushy at all. NICE.

I got a 30 mm F 1.4 sigma lens. It’s pretty sweet. Having a new lens is just like having a whole new world to explore. Now, I can’t wait to take my brother’s senior pictures when I go home this summer (before I was terrified)! Here are the first pictures I took on it today during recess:

Love their socks.

Love her bow.

I always love Elaine’s shoes.

The only picture I actually edited of the four. Love her slinky.

Slice of Life is hosted by The Two Writing Teachers every Tuesday!

On being LOVED.

I already dedicated a ridiculously long post to my 27th birthday. It doesn’t really need any more attention. What I will draw attention to, is the fact that I have all-star friends. I am talking, over the fence, out of the park (and beyond) type of all-star friends. And when you live on the opposite side of the world as your family (and the friends whom you call family), having a community that loves you, flaws and all, is vital.

God didn’t create us to be alone.

As soon as this video played on Saturday at my birthday dinner, I burst into tears (I had friends who I met when I first came to Korea three years ago that had never seen me cry, so… it’s kind of a big deal), I have no words to express how beautiful my friends are— inside and out!

Thank you so much to everyone who contributed, especially Jee Young and Dyanne, I can’t believe you all made me cry!

Slice of Life is hosted every Tuesday by Two Writing Teachers, join us!

Crushes

Crush. A word I never thought I would have to teach my second graders. Over the past two weeks a flood of “he/likes, she likes” have passed through the mouths of my students in hushed whispers and giggles. Three girls like Ben*. Ben likes May. Brian and Jane are dating. Lina likes Kevin.

WHAT? Does this really start in second grade? I was home-schooled so the opportunity never presented itself (for some odd reason). My grade teaching partner confirmed with a loud YES while we were watching our kids at recess today. “I remember having feelings,” She said with a smile.

Then the tears starting flowing. “He said I liked Ben and I never said that!” May wailed during lunch (even though, I know, she really does like Ben). I firmly told my students to stop talking about their crushes with other students if they didn’t want people to know. “Ms. Welton, what is ‘crush’?” uhhh…. yeah. I turned and walked away. I can tackle that tomorrow.

 

                                                                                                             

*All names being changed for the protection of the hearts of my dear students.

Slice of Life is hosted every Tuesday by Two Writing Teachers, join us!

I always knew I was a Princess!

I find it hilarious that on the very Tuesday I finally decide to write up a “Slice of Life” post (which Jee Young has been bugging me to do for over a year—oops), it mirrors two other posts (or… what do you call a three-way mirror?). Can you really blame us (Jee Young, Dyanne, and me) though? If you went to the Party Princess Cafe, and had the chance to be a princess for an evening, you know you would totally blog about it too!

It all started way back when Jee Young wrote up her “Bucket List”. Instead of writing down “skydiving” (which I am totally up for), or “hike up a mountain” (a very popular Korean past time, besides shopping), Jee Young discovered that you can go to a cafe in Seoul and rent dresses that you proceed to put on, and have a photo shoot in different created “scenes” for an hour. SHUT UP. What girl doesn’t want to be a princess? I will tell you, NO GIRL.

If you want more details of how to get to this cafe, and how much it costs, and blablabla, check out either Dyanne’s or Jee Young’s blogs (which have been linked above). Instead of more words, I am going to leave you with PICTURES. These are just a few of the gazillion we took. Oh my word it was so much fun (especially since we surprised my friend- who didn’t know we were going- for her birthday).

The slice of life challenge is hosted every Tuesday by Two Writing Teachers.