I was having generally bad day today. I’ve been feeling really stressed about a number of things and it’s just been building up. Just sitting at my desk thinking about it all made me feel like crying. I’m not sure why I feel so down like this but it just feels terrible.
But I tried doing things to make myself feel better. Talking to my sister usually cheers me up, but seeing the notification of her unread message just added to my stress instead of relieving it. I tried studying Korean, which usually can take my mind off of anything, but instead I felt overwhelmed by all the words I didn’t know. Then I listened to music- something that always cheers me up- but I just felt bored and frustrated because I couldn’t find the right song to match my mood.
I was somewhat dreading my first class of the day- how could I teach when I was feeling so terrible? I thought I was in for a long, miserable day. But something amazing happened instead. Whenever I walk into a classroom, I try to be as cheerful and alert as possible – teaching requires you to always be “on.” So I mustered what positivity I had left and came into class with a smile (and candy, the kids love candy) and my students shouted their usual “HELLO TEACHER,” and instantly every bad thought I had had all morning melted away. Being in front of my students, seeing them happy and excited to learn, watching them sing and play games together, in turn made me feel happy and excited. It was the first time I stopped and wondered to myself, “Wow, am I a teacher? Is this what it feels like?”
Sadly I only had two classes today, so the excitement was short-lived, but it gave me a little hope in the midst of a tough situation. I don’t feel fully back to normal, but I have a little hope that it will get better, and I feel kind of surprised that above everything else, it was teaching that lifted my spirits today.
Life here has been hectic to say the least. Since moving to Seoul, it seems like there is always something going on every single day and weekend. My friends and I take trips, go shopping, and go out drinking, and with my coworkers I go to the movies and baseball games and staff dinners. It’s really fun, but boy am I exhausted! It has taken me a long time to settle down and make time for not just the things I like to do, but also the things I need to do. I always feel harried to go grocery shopping or fold laundry or sweep the floor-it always feels like precious time is slipping away and that these things can wait. I have to constantly remind myself that I have 10 months left of my contract and that I will probably stay for a year or two after that- so really, there is no need to rush. With that thought, and considering my mental and physical health, I’ve been taking a break from barhopping and organized excursions and trying to focus more on making my home comfortable, doing my work well, and keeping my mind at ease.
It might be hard to see in this picture, but I added hangeul stickers to my keyboard today! It was painstaking work and my hands are sore but they turned out quite nice. Now typing in Korean will be so much easier!
Does anyone have any recommendations for Korean typing practice? I’m still chicken pecking at my keyboard haha.
So last night I had my interview for EPIK! If you don’t know what EPIK is, it stands for the English Program In Korea and it’s a government funded program that hires native English speakers as ESL teachers and places them in public schools all across South Korea. As this is my second go-’round with EPIK, I thought I’d share my experiences and some tips for preparing for the interview.