Once at school, the excitement was infectious...On the last Friday of every month the school holds a birthday party for all the students who have had a birthday during the month. See, in South Korea, children's birthdays are a HUGE deal. Take American Birthdays and multiply by a million. Thats a south Korean birthday. The children can do whatever the heck they want and they are presented to a large gathering and sat down behind a table that is piled with food and presents.
For the first three hours of school, classes went off as usual. We were told to keep the children in the classroom over the breaks because the secretaries and the director Kiana were setting up the previously mentioned food-slash-present table. Imagine my surprise and soul watering(eh David?) joy when I walked up to the table and encountered what could only have been a manifestation of all of my dreams.
...Turkeys. Two of them. Golden Brown and dripping with juices. A Ham with Crusty Brown Sugar. Mashed Red potatoes, sweet corn, stuffing, candied yams, and cranberry sauce...to top it all off and flanking a huge chocolate cake were two pumpkin pies.
See, the parents of our children are wealthy. Thats probably putting it lightly, but they like to do things for the school. As a surprise, Eugene's mom ( you can find him in the pictures I took at school last week) brought all of this food which she cooked herself for the birthday party. See, Eugene's mom works at the Military base in Pyeongtaek and she wanted the students to experience a real live American Thanksgiving dinner. I can't tell you how many times I thanked her. Since being here I have never stuffed myself. I come away from lunch and dinner satisfied, but never full. I can check that off my list now. I all-out stuffed myself silly...and when I thought that I couldn't take any more - I went back for thirds. The tryptophan coma that I was in during the last three hours of work were totally worth it.
My director knew how blissfully happy I was and she sweetly pushed like four bags of leftover turkey and ham into my hands. My roommate was almost as happy as me. I mixed up some of the turkey, mashed potatoes, garlic, some rice and broccoli in the frying pan for a wicked good casserole type dinner tonight.
But all is not sunshine, turkey, and lollipops. When I got out of my last class today I was pulled into Kiana's office. To make a long story short, one of the three other American teachers quit today. This does two things. . . one: it forces the other two teachers and myself to pick up her classes...and two: while it makes class sizes larger, it might just help the school financially. I really don't know what to do anymore. I feel like I have adjusted to South Korea in every way but the school! I was really enjoying the children that I taught, and felt like I was going to run my classroom in a way that really made me proud. Now I find out that I will be switched to this other teacher's classroom/students. And while these students are of a higher ability, I think i will sort of miss my kids. Especially jenny. One way or the other - I really hope that all of these messes settle down and that I am finally allowed to meld with the school. If this keeps up, I don't think I can connect with anyone...Every day on my way to work I wonder if something else will change, if I will finally be able to teach like I dreamed when I was back in the states. I don't like feeling that going to work is a source of stress for me.
Anyway. Its the weekend. I have turkey. And so I will find some way to manage - as always. Hey, I'm a Wilborn...I come from pretty strong stock.
I love you, I miss you.
Oh Hey! If you want to see pictures from the birthday party and the children who used to be in my class, check out facebook.