Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Look Ma, I did something cultural

We had one nice day last weekend so Jon and I decided to take advantage of it and go visit a temple in the middle of downtown Seoul. (Actually, we decided to meet up at the COEX Mall for more mall-happenings but then someone told me that there was a temple right across the street and we thought it might be nice to actually go outside, see some daylight, and learn a little about Korean culture for once.)

So we went to the temple, which is literally across the street from the biggest mall in Korea, and it was surprisingly serene.

They were putting up these lights while we were there.
Despite the city being so close, it was quiet and the other visitors seemed to be there for worship.
We did venture inside the main temple building, but there were people praying so we didn't take any pictures. It was beautiful though, with a huge gold statue of Buddha in the center, thousands of tiny lights lining the walls, and intricate wooden carvings.
We watched a monk beat the drum.

Before we left I picked up an assortment of souvenirs.


It's week 3 of the term at work and it seems as if the students are starting to get into the rhythm of things. My Memory Mega class, the lowest level class that meets twice a week, can be quite the handful now that it consists entirely of boys, but overall the week just flies by.

I'm fortunate that I have my own classroom, but it is on the third floor (while our main floor is the fourth and the majority of other teachers are on the fifth) so I do feel a little isolated from the others. Also, my classroom is on the inside and so has no windows, which I've decided is partially a good thing because it is one less distraction for me and the students. It also means that the only daylight I get is when I'm walking to work (because my apartment windows also face in and the sun never shines directly onto it). The other effect of an inside classroom is that it gets very hot very quickly, and the staff have set our heater/AC to "heat" for the time being. So around hour two of every class I hear grumblings about how hot it is and "Teacher, turn on the air" to which I always reply, "Sorry, I can't." "Teacher, open the door." "Sorry, I can't." And so on until I remind them that it will be way worse when the weather heats up and then they shut up.

Which got me thinking about the merits of cold weather (and yes, it is still cold; today the forecast suggests snow):

1. Cold weather is relatively clean (rain and snow wash away the grunge on the sidewalks and streets; people don't sweat)

2. No bugs

3. The air is clear

4. Students never complain about it being too cool in class

5. I don't have to see people's feet via sandals or flip-flops

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