Well, life has been highly unexciting since my last post. Students came back on Monday but we had no classe with the sixth graders so it was basically just a day of deskwarming. Tuesday we had our third graders and they watched Finding Nemo all day, as per the plans of my co-teacher. They had finished the textbook before we left for winter break, so I am sure they were fine with just hanging out. And it gave me plenty of time to read/mark up the sex trafficking case study from Dasi Hamkke. Wednesday we actually taught for the first time with the fifth and sixth graders. The sixth graders were sooooooo not loving being at school so they were annoying as hell. So Young gave them a little pep talk in Korean about what to expect in middle school, but I think their minds were already there instead of with us in class. Wednesday night I headed over to Daebang for a meeting at Dasi Hamkke and we spent about 2.5 hours discussing what would be staying in the case study vs. getting cut, things we had questions about, how the book should be organized, etc. I think it was fairly productive. The next meeting is when I'm on vacation so I'll miss it, making me feel like a terrible volunteer, haha. Oh well. Thursday and Friday we taught the fourth and fifth graders to finish out the week. I didn't see my returners at all because all classes after lunch were cancelled. I don't know ho they get away with this schedule!
Most of my down time this week has been spent planning the trip to Cambodia, Thailand and Laos that Erich and I leave for on Friday. I AM SO BEYOND EXCITED! Friday night we fly into Siem Reap, Cambodia where we're doing a two day tour of the temples of Angkor Wat, seeing kids from a local NGO perform shadow puppetry and aspara dancing, and taking a half day 4x4 tour out into the countryside to visit an orphanage and school. Monday we fly to Bangkok, Thailand and then Phuket where we'll meet up with Ayzia and stay the night before taking the ferry to Koh Phi Phi in the morning. We'll spend two days in secluded bungalows on the island before returning to Phuket for a night, saying goodbye to Ayzia, and flying out Friday morning to Bangkok (where we'll pick up my brother) and on to Luang Prabang, Laos. In Laos we're getting taken out to a village that Pencils of Promise has built schools in, taking a boat ride out to Pak Ou Caves, doing a full day cooking class, and taking a jungle trek on elephants. Then we fly through Bangkok (again!) and back to Seoul, arriving home at 5:50am on Wednesday morning. I have planned every step of this trip, from the plane tickets to the activities, which is great because I get to decide what we do/see, but a little stressful because if something doesn't work out, its on me. Hopefully everything will work out! I am very excited for sunshine and warm weather. Seoul has been hovering rightaround -7*C (19*F) for the past few weeks, so I figured I would check and see what the weather was like in Phuket the other day. It was 33*C!!! That is about 102*F!!! INSANITY! I was hoping to thaw, but now my goal is simply not to melt, haha.
My brother is coming back to Korea with us and then flying home to NYC on Sunday, February 28. As far as I know, I have to work Thursday and Friday, but So Young thinks we'll be able to convince the Vice Principal to let me leave early. I have to be back at school Monday, March 1, but apparently that is a holiday so the kids won't actually start until March 2. I am a little nervous about potentially getting a new coteacher (I am going to miss So Young so much if I don't get to work with her anymore!), but there is nothing I can do about it so I'm trying not to think about it too much.
Today I did my income taxes on TurboTax (thanks again for sending that Mom and Dad!) which I was really nervous about. These nerves were mostly due to the combination of my dad talking about how with-holding had been decreased for federal income taxes so I might owe more, and the whole foreign earned income thing for part of the year. As per usual, it would just be easier if we all moved on December 31, thus eliminating the need to split up your tax year, but that's just not so easy in real life! Anyway, I ended up owing Maryland $81, but my federal return is $631, still putting me $550 ahead of the game. Not too shabby for the girl who was convinced she was going to end up owing $1000+ dollars! Now that my taxes are basically done I have to think about doing some laundry and starting to pack for my trip. I am actually going to buy a new suitcase to take since I want something with wheels but I'm not taking my gigantic LL Bean rolling duffel bags. I'll probably check out HomePlus tomorrow and see what they have there. I want room for all the clothes and stuff I'm packing, but also room for supplies to take to Laos, like pencils, pens, markers and stickers. Daiso won't know what hit them!
Alright, I'm off to watch some TV and then possibly be productive.