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  • Lulu Johnson

Year Two: We start all over again

Hello everyone, I'm sorry it's been so long since my last post but I've been busy as usually. I really do hope I am more consistent and frequent in writing these blogs post this year but we shall see.

Anyhow, being home in America was amazing solely for being able to see my family and the variety/diversity of food that was available. It was relaxing and renewing to spend time with my parents and sister while also doing nothing at all. Christmas and New Years went by so fast probably because I arrived home on December 23rd and Korea doesn't do Christmas decorations so it didn't feel like Christmas at all this year which was a bit disappointing but it was interesting how other countries view Christmas and how they celebrate it. In South Korea, Christmas is actually a couple's holiday and not so much of a family holiday which was really surprising when I first found out. Due to the omicron variant, I was playing it safe and didn't do much while I was home but I was okay with that. I just caught up on a lot of sleep, time with family and friends. Overall, being back home was a nice break and was much needed before heading back to South Korea.

However, as I am writing this blog post, I am back in South Korea. I've been here for the past month but had my first teaching day on 3/03/2022. When I arrived here, I had to do another round of quarantine but this time, it was only ten days and I did it in an Airbnb up in Seoul, the capital of Korea. This time around, it was much nicer with the fact that I could get any meals that I wanted delivered to me. I got caught up on all of the international foods that I would crave before heading back down to my home city of Gyeongsan. Seoul, basically has every type of food you can think of and it bests to get it in Seoul compared to other parts of Korea. some meals I ordered were crabs, Chinese dumplings, malatang, Mediterranean food, baguette sandwiches, and strawberry cakes. These were delicious and I wish foreign restaurants were more prevalent in other parts of Korea. Besides getting amazing food, quarantine was long and boring. Having ten days of doing absolutely nothing was quite exhausting and by the end of day five, I wanted to be out of quarantine. After ten days of quarantine, I had to go to the Fulbright building in Seoul, to travel to our orientation site which was at Jungwon University. Since I was a renewee, my orientation this year was only five days, unlike last year where it was six weeks long. Orientation was also a lot more strict this year due to the omicron variant. We were not allowed to leave the university campus and had limited access to the university in general. I was glad that I was only there for five days because it felt much longer then that when I was there. After orientation was over, I headed to back to my apartment and homestay in Gyeongsan.

It was super nice to see my host family again and I realized how much I missed them while I was in America. My host family is doing well and the kids have grown even more. My oldest host sibling is now officially taller than I am. Last year, I was taller than her but now the roles have switched and its sad to see. I went into my new school on 2/21/2022 and found out I had a new coteacher this year. This is the unique thing about elementary schools in Korea, every single year, the teachers get a new position. Because I am the foreign teacher, I am one of the few who didn't change positions at all. My new coteacher was a 6th grade teacher last year and my coteacher from last year, will now become a 4th grade teacher. South Korea changes these positions every year so that it is "fair" to the teachers so that one teacher isn't stuck with a bad position for the rest of their career. I was also told that public school teachers have to change schools every 4-5 years to prevent corruption because I guess that its actually bad in the education system since everything is based off of school records and performances. This seems quite chaotic to me but I guess this is how its always been done so the teachers are used to it. I found out that my new coteacher has never taught English so I think this will be an interesting year to say the least. I am quite excited and happy with this new change as the new co-teacher is really nice and friendly. The first couple of days have gone well and I think this will be a good school year.

Aside from school and host family, I have already met up with some of my Fulbright friends and started boxing again. It was nice catching up and seeing what my friends had been doing during the winter break. Boxing is good as usual so nothing much has changed about that. This is pretty much the end of my update! Thanks for reading and I hope everyone is staying healthy!


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