Today was the first day of winter break for Katie and me! We planned to start it off with a bang!! And what better way to accomplish that than with a pancake brunch? (This is a hypothetical question but even if you did answer, I feel like I can be assured that you would say nothing because…well, pancakes!) Katie and I went to Flapjack Pantry which is a breakfast/brunch place really close to the Better World Office. 민정쌤 recommended it to us when we first arrived in Korea, so I have been wanting to try it out since. Katie had gone last month with Jacqulyn and Liam and with her stamp of approval, we went.
We shared a plate of chocolate chip pancakes and a side of fries. Everything was quite delicious. Although my local diner still serves up some of the best chocolate chip pancakes I have ever tasted, these were pretty good too. (Though, I take points off for the fake chocolate syrup drizzled over the top. I would have much rather preferred straight up chocolate chips.) The fries were honestly the best part because they were not sweet! What a concept! (Subtle shade to the majority of fries in Korea)
After brunch, we went to the Better World Office to cheat them of their wifi and study in my classroom rather than going to a cafe and having to pay for an expensive drink for only an hour or so of study time. When we got to the office, there was no one there. We looked around and were worried that it was a bad idea to come early but then we realized they were on lunch and in the break room. After a very awkward interaction with 민정쌤 and 소영쌤, Katie and I studied vocab together in the classroom.
In Korean class, I felt good– useful even. I had looked over the grammar points before class so there were not any moments when I felt confused trying to piece together my teacher’s explanations of the meaning behind grammar points. I also memorized all the vocabulary from the chapter the night before, so I found the example sentences and dialogues easier to understand the first time through. And, when 민정쌤 came in to observe, I was able to do a good job in creating example sentences. I even joked around at one point. We were using the grammar point 나 보다 to speculate why Jacquelyn’s voice was gone. Josh said that she might have caught a cold. In a moment of random confidence for me, I shout out, “Or last night she went to a 노래방!” Everyone laughed and I was glad that I allowed myself to speak my mind even if it was just for that one sentence in Korean class– stepping stones.
After class, we had our bi-weekly meeting, so 3반 made their way over to the youth center for all of 민정쌤’s announcements. She updated us on the Christmas party, our reflections that were due on Thursday, and how the rest of December was looking (schedule-wise). She shared what days each high school would be having off for winter break and what to tell our host families regarding our plans for the 24th and 25th of December. After the meeting, everyone that would be switching host families stuck around and were given our new placement information. However, before she handed out the sheets of paper, she started off with a huge disclaimer. She said that it was really hard to find host families that were not millions of miles away from 홍대 or our host high schools. She said that she could really only find one host family in 서울 that was a decent distance from Korean classes. She brought up the fact that so many host families were applying from really distant parts of Korea like 파주 (Not quite the boonies of Korea but might as well be). While walking to the center, I was joking with Josh and Jacquelyn about being placed in Paju because I was already in 고양시. I was 100 percent joking! (Foreshadowww)
When she passed out all our papers, everyone started screaming and groaning as we all looked at our commute times. 50 minutes here and hour and a half over there. 민정쌤 was not kidding. Everyone was so far!
My new host family lived closest to a station on the 경의중앙 subway line (mint line) also known as the hell line (by more people than just me). It is such a terrible subway line because trains come pretty infrequently so sometimes you will have to wait upwards of 15 to 20 minutes for a train and because it comes so infrequently, it is always pretty full. I refuse to ride it during rush hour! I am sorry… but I would rather risk cutting it close to curfew than getting stuffed in a train car feeling like a sardine in a can. The distance from Korean classes to my new host family’s house will actually be about the same as it is now. Even though it is technically farther, there is no transfer (because transferring onto the 경의중앙 line is worse than simply riding it) so it will take about the same time to ride the line down to 홍대. However, to 하나고… that is another story. I will now be 42 minutes from school which requires me to take a train about 25 minutes earlier than I do now… and with walking… I definitely can no longer wake up at 6 am… (and I thought I had it better off than I did in America for high school… looks like I am going back to 5:30 am alarms!). But even though the commute is less than satisfactory, I am excited for my actual family!
I will have two host sisters that are 16 and 20 years old. I have never had a host family made up of older siblings before, so I am excited about that experience~ I can already imagine getting close with my sisters and doing things together~ Going shopping, going out to eat together, going to cafes to study, I am imagining everything. Should I also add that they have a dog? I will have a pet! Yes!! I think this family will be a lot of fun–hopefully. I will definitely make the most of it.
Once all our host family information was settled, I left with Katie to go to 이화 to meet up with our summer RD Madeline! She was an RD for both NSLI-Y 8 Summer (2016) and NSLI-Y 9 (2017). We met up with her in Korea because she is completing her Master’s Degree here at 이화여대. She has one more semester left of school so she will actually be leaving Korea around the same time we do. We went out to a 보쌈 place that she recommended and it was actually really delicious! (I would definitely come back again!)
We talked about our life after NSLI-Y and what we are doing now on the AY Program. We ranted to her about Korean classes and our life at 하나고 while she told us all about going to school and her plans for returning to the states and getting a job teaching Korean hopefully at middle school or high school level. We also talked about all the students she has met since the end of our program and I was surprised to find out that she has met so many! (Mostly from my program). There were even people I would never have expected! It was really nice catching up with her and it did not feel like it had been more than two years since I last saw her. I really enjoyed being able to chat with her and having Katie there was also really nice~ We also brought up JT (my other summer RD) whom she has not had a chance to see in a while… Addie and I are going to try to set up a meet up between JT and Madeline and us sometime in January during our break. I cannot even imagine how it will feel like meeting up with him! Having both of them in the same room, crazy stuff!
Well, that is all for this post~ I hope you enjoyed~ It was definitely a day for the books– a great way to start off my winter break. Keep following for my blog for posts like this one!~
- Emma 엠마