Well today was my first Thanksgiving alone/away from my family/in another country/in Korea. Honestly it felt like any other day. Koreans have their own Thanksgiving-like holiday in September or October, Chuseok, so today is not a special day for Koreans. At the school, today is just about incorporating American culture into the English language program by celebrating an American holiday.

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I headed to the school and arrived at around 10am for the kindergartners’ Thanksgiving Day performance. I was given the job of videographer. Theyghave me a camera to use and everything was going swell until about halfway through when I noticed the memory card was filling up. During a brief intermission I let the head teacher know who assured me I could just use my phone. No big deal right?

Wrong!

Because videos take up an insane amount of space on phones usually. Deleting some stuff was my only solution, but I had not yet had the chance to upload all of my photos. I didn’t want to delete too many things, but I did remove a few apps that I rarely used.

I thought everything would be okay, but of course it wasn’t. My storage was still getting full. The worst part is that I would record one performance and it wasn’t until after it was over and I checked did I realize it stopped recording after 10-15 seconds. So all I had was the music just beginning most times. Apple seriously can you make it more obvious that my video stopped recording! Geez! I was also bummed because there were so many cute moments I thought I captured and I didn’t! Ugh!

After that finished everyone headed downstairs to get some food. They had a turkey and many Korean side dishes. Plus some desserts. It was quite different from the usual thanksgiving meal I have, but it was all yummy!

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Below is a picture of the photo booth area for the parents and kids  I drew everything on the poster and the other teachers painted it  I think it turned out so well!

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Then we had about an hour to waste until the afternoon classes came. Ree’s boyfriend came for the day. So the three of us hung out some. I was not feeling any kind of way until then. I felt left out around them (the third wheel) and was missing my friends and family a lot. Luckily we had some things to do and clean up and that helped distract me.

Finally the 1st and 2nd graders came. First they had an English singing contest so solos or groups of 2-4 went on stage and sang a quick English song. Most were about a minute and Christian songs or songs that maybe you learn in preschool or kindergarten. Then the kids went downstairs to the classrooms to eat. The kids all signed up to bring something and ate together. We got to eat a little with them too because there was so much food.

They left and then the 3rd and 4th graders came. Same routine with a singing contest and then eating food. I forgot to mention the winners got a dollar as a prize!

Finally the oldest kids came and did the same routine. Singing and eating afterwards. Their songs were longer and more popular songs. A few groups sang songs by Bruno Mars, Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys and Justin Bieber.

In case you’re wondering, we judged based on four categories: 1) Song – did they sing loudly and clearly so we could understand, 2) Tone – did they stick to the rhythm of the song, 3) Expression – facial expressions and motions, and 4) Manners – how was their introduction and how nicely dressed were they. It was fun.

After everything finished it was time for the not fun part: cleaning up. Somehow I was not a lot of help. I kept trying to help move things that didn’t need moving or someone would tell me to do something, but someone else would say no don’t do that. Not to mention this was all done in Korean so I couldn’t even try to ask what I should do instead.

I got so overwhelmed I almost broke down. And finally when they said we could go, I just let everything out once I was at home again. It’s not that anything bad happened. I just didn’t know what to expect and the few things I thought I could count on did not happen and perhaps it was all from the first few weeks of being here. I feel that maybe sometimes we view crying negatively, but sometimes it feels better afterwards. Like emotionally barfing haha. Anyway I took a warm shower and thought about the kids today and all the performances and I cheered myself up again. Everyday can not be happy or perfect and that’s okay. I’ll try again tomorrow and the next day and the next day. It’ll be okay.

I am always so very thankful for my family and friends. I’m thankful for my health and all my abilities. I’m thankful that I get to worship freely. I’m thankful that I have the opportunity to travel even if it’s not easy. I’m thankful for Skype and other social media apps that make staying in contact from afar easier. I’m thankful for the home I have and my job. I am thankful for all my students and the people I work with. I’m thankful for each day I get to explore more of the world, succeed in something or make a connection with someone. And also I am really thankful that I got to eat lots of yummy food today and our school director even sent us home with some food! 🙂

Sometimes I feel dissatisfied with things, but when I step back I realize I’ve got tons of things to be thankful for and I am. I’m just emphasizing that today haha! Happy Thanksgiving!

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