Saturday, March 3, 2012

Lent: Double Header

Blessing #9 - My students
Yesterday, the new semester started.  I wasn't really looking forward to it, but I even got there early.  I was afraid it was going to set the tone, when, as I was walking in, one of my students recognized me, and we had the following conversation:

Student: 안녕하세요.
Me: Hi!  How are you?
S: I'm bad.
M: Bad?  Why are you bad?
S: ... ... ... You.
M: Me?  Why me?
S: ... ... ... *runs away*

Oh goodness.  But I decided to work on convincing myself that he was attempting to have a sense of humor, while I also tried silencing the rant on respect that was threatening to overtake my brain.  I'm glad I was able to keep both to myself.

I got the pleasure of meeting all of my co-teachers for this semester.  They all speak almost fluent English and are rather nice.  I'm looking forward to working with them.

I got my schedule for this semester: I will be teaching third through sixth grade, and only see each class one day a week.  While I think that is unfortunate for their language-learning, it's nice for me, because my role is now very clearly defined.  It will be very hard to replicate the issues I had last semester, where no one was really sure who was in charge of the class.

I got my new textbooks for this semester:  While I'm still not thrilled with the student textbooks and supplement videos, the language they're learning actually looks like it's pretty good, so I'm feeling a bit better about the book choice, even if it was only coincidental that they will teach the kids language that will challenge them  (The books were only bought because they were a continuation of the third and fourth grade series).

As I was leaving lunch, I looked up to see a line of my 4th graders from last semester (now 5th graders). Their exuberance at seeing me made my heart leap and a smile grow on my face.  I was even more excited to see that one of them was the boy from that morning.  I went over to talk to them.  The first comment that they made was how my hair looked different (It grows astoundingly fast), and, for the first time, I found myself incredibly appreciative of Korea's rather "feminine" men and began trying to plot how they could teach American men to notice such things.  Then, one of my more memorable/excitable/IknowI'mnotsupposedtohavefavoritesbuthekindofisone students  (shown in the picture) looked at my and asked, "불고기가 맛있어요?" ("Is bulgogi delicious?" AKA - "Do you like this special Korean meat that we all like a lot?")  It was loud, so I didn't hear him clearly, which made me sad, because that's a sentence I learned how to answer recently: "네.  맛있어요.  하지만, 저는 알레르기가 있어요." (Yes, it's delicious, but I'm allergic.) But, one of the kids translated before the words processed in my head, so I responded in English, asking them if they knew what an allergy was.  I was impressed to find that they did.  I explained that I'm allergic to meat, and they were properly (although hilariously) horrified.  At that point, I realized how much I'd missed them.  I genuinely like those particular boys as people, and if they never grew up more than they have, I wouldn't be upset with them until they were about 23.  

I'm looking forward to Monday, that's for sure.

Blessing #10 - Music
Today, I went to my church translator's house for lunch with him and his wife.  I got really confused about their intentions, thinking they just wanted me over to practice some violin stuff for Palm Sunday, but, as I will be doing something with the International Church that day, I explained I wouldn't be available, and didn't bring my violin to the lunch.  As it turned out, the wife just wanted to make sure that I had friends in the church who were willing to speak English to me, because she remembered what a blessing it was when her church in America provided her with a small group of Korean-speakers.  Then, they gave me a Korean-English hymnal, which brought tears to my eyes.  I love the hymns, and I have missed them so much.  

The wife is the choir/music director at church, so she's pretty musical.  Nonetheless, I was surprised to see a piano in their home.  She asked me if we could do a couple hymns right then.  I picked the first one, deciding on "The Love of G-d is Greater Far."  She picked the next one, our church favorite: "How Great Thou Art."  This, of course, sent me into a wave of tears, which horrified them, but I pulled myself together, explaining that it was my grandfather's favorite hymn, and, even though he had passed two years ago, I still can hear his voice singing that song.  I haven't been able to sing that song since then, because I miss him so much.  But I wanted to sing it.  He would hate us not singing it.  So we sang it, and I closed my eyes and drank in the sound of his voice in my ear.  And, although I got choked up at points, I sang every last word.

I couldn't stop smiling all day.  My grandfather was with me today.

What are your grandparents' favorite hymns?  When was the last time you sang them?

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