When Winter Arrived

While we’ve all been expecting the drop in temperatures and the need to bundle up in parkas, the realization that winter is actually here has taken all of November to fully settle in. I haven’t ventured anywhere this month, primarily because of the weather change and the desire to relax on my weekends. In the last several weeks I have stayed late at work every day, whether it’s taking care of decorations, lesson plans, crafts, or cleaning out my desk. There’s no real need for my to stay late, I just end up doing so.

Silly picture with IP Bear.

Work has been going well, and I’ve found myself quite happy with the majority of the changes being made. It feels like things are running more smoothly than they had been, our voices are heard more often, and we have more support from our boss. That said, it does keep us rather busy when we receive new information and or instructions every Monday morning about how things will change. Relaying this to the students isn’t always easy, and it is a stress for us, but not anywhere as bad as the beginning of the month. IP kiddos had their graduation pictures on the 19th. They looked super snazzy, and we had a day of making snowflakes and listening to Christmas music. The kids were called out one at a time for casual dress pictures, fancy dress, graduation gown, and then graduating class pictures. It was a pretty great day.

The whole IP 2012 crew, excluding a couple of teachers.

The following week we took our IPs to the Children’s Museum where they had an absolute blast. It reminded me a lot of our Science Museum trip, but there were several other groups on a field trip and we ended up feeling rather rushed through the whole thing.

Considering I worked my bum off in October with grad school applications, reading, writing, and editing, November turned out to be my break month. If you can really call it that anyway. I was set to do NaNoWriMo this month, and I lasted all of about two weeks and 7,000 words. In the long run, you might be able to call it progress since I only had 3,000 words in 2006. I did manage to come up with some more material for a different story that’s been on the back burner for ages, but the world was too big to focus on. I made the decision to switch stories, but that didn’t take off either. So for my crazy thing this month, I fell back on going without pizza. Kind of lame, I know, but there you have it. I managed to read one book, “The Paris Wife,” but I can’t say it was in any way satisfying. I began recording chapters of “The Hobbit” for Guy a couple weeks ago, and it’s a new kind of adventure experiencing the book that way. My Gollum voice is terrible, but I’m sure he’ll overlook that.

Seoul Lantern Festival 2012

Seoul Lantern Festival 2012

This month was host to the Seoul Lantern Festival, and a few of us managed to get out and see it the final weekend. While it was rather frigid, we had some good company, and plenty of people funneled together to keep us warm. Cameras weren’t very good at doing these extravagant paper lanterns justice.

We’ve been preparing our classes for Christmas this entire month, and I don’t think there’s a single one of us who regrets it. All the classes are learning at least one Christmas song, IP Bear and Alligator have written letters to Santa, cut out snowflakes, and more. Kelsey and I are prepping both classes for an advent calendar, with the day’s helper removing the date and picking a prize from the Santa bags I bought. Santa has written a letter to each student, and they’ll be receiving those before the holiday break. They are so incredibly pumped about everything already, I can’t wait until they open their letters.

Our "handsome" wreath for Bear class.

Our “handsome” wreath for Bear class.

A few new and exciting things that were a little out of the ordinary: Finding an “authentic” Mexican restaurant nearby. While the salsa bowls weren’t nearly large enough and the poor waiter probably felt overwhelmed with our desire for chips, it was delicious. I was rather boring and had meat and cheese tacos with a margarita. It was really interesting to have Mexican spicy versus Korean spicy. Two totally different worlds.

While I am anxiously awaiting December starting tomorrow, I can’t get out of the feeling that I need to be at work. I find it really strange how things have changed enough for me to feel that way. The Hobbit is set to arrive here in two weeks (supposedly), and I have already decided that I will see it opening day, regardless of whether anyone joins me. I will then see it again with the people who want to see it on the weekend. I should also mention, LotR:EE will be watched before then, too. There’s the Christmas parties to look forward to at SLP, and they’ll include a couple days full of song concerts and a visit from Santa himself. Then there’s going to be the glorious six days off until the new year. I can only hope they’ll be relaxing and enjoyed to the fullest – with lots of reading and gaming, naturally.

After that, two months to go until I’m stateside.

Two months left with some of the most amazing and life-changing kids I’ll ever meet.