Today is Children's Day, a national holiday in Korea. It was the final day of my Adventure Korea trip to Seoraksan National Park. After spending the morning on another gorgeous hike, the next 7 hours were spent on a bus back to Seoul in bad traffic, followed by 2 hours of a combo metro, train, + bus ride home.
Today is Buddha's birthday, another national holiday in Korea. I spent the day unpacking, doing laundry, cooking, reading, watching Orphan Black, making videos for my Give it 100 project, and G+ing with my London loves, Hannah & Herm. So nice to have the extra day to relax and catch up after a weekend away.
I learned today from my co-teacher that all Korean kids currently get school lunch for free. This change was made about three years ago, she thought. She also mentioned that I'd be getting another after school daycare class either this month or next, which'll put me at 7. That's all I was told, no idea when or what grade (fingers crossed that it's not another day with the second graders who I already see four times a week). One of my regular third grade classes was cancelled today, and my after school second graders were quite tolerable because it was a smaller group without the most rowdy boy. 5-day market after school on my way home.
I hadn't taught fourth graders in over two weeks due to May 1 (Labor Day) falling on a Thursday, and not having classes with them on my birthday, which was the Thursday before that. No Teacher's English Club today, my co-teacher cancelled it because teachers are busy. After school on my walk home I saw two fifth grade girls across the street - one was crying. The way she held her hand over her mouth made it look like she'd been hurt there, so I crossed the street to see what was the matter. This girl was so sad and it broke my heart to be unable to say something she'd understand in order to comfort her.
I put my arm around her (as some passersby looked on curiously) and said some things in English that I'd say to a crying English-speaking child, but I had no way to understand why she was crying and if I could help. Incredibly frustrating! So I awkwardly stood there with the two girls for a while because I couldn't leave her like that, though she never did stop crying. At one point the quiet friend appeared to be looking for something in the flowers nearby, so I guessed that maybe the crying girl had lost something. I also realized she was just doing the typical Korean hand covering the mouth, like when we're eating lunch, so she wasn't physically injured. Finally I gave her one last half-hug as she continued to sob with her head down, and I made the okay sign with my hand to her friend. The friend and I made eyes and we nodded at one another before I waved goodbye. That encounter broke. my. heart.
I was anxious to see the crying girl in class today - she's in my fourth period class on Fridays. I saw Holly and her little sister on my way into school that morning. My co-teacher was outside training kids for Sports Day (as he's been doing most mornings lately) when I realized the English room key had gotten locked inside the room yesterday. So I couldn't set up ahead of time. We were rushed (per usual) in setting up just a few minutes before the bell rang. No students. Turns out our first period class had been cancelled. (This was really lucky, because I'd been getting a cold and today my voice at about 60%.) When the "crying girl" came in fourth period she was her usual energetic, smiling self. I asked if she was okay now and she said a bunch of Korean at me, trying to explain what had happened. I think she lost a bag/pouch or something. Doesn't matter, what mattered is that she was happy again - it was a relief to see her as her joyful self. One first grade class followed by one second grade class that afternoon and I was done for the week. Short weeks are so grand (and rare)!
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