Little People

1 Jun

It’s a Saturday evening in Paju City, South Korea.  It’s a quiet night at English Village and once again I am grateful for the luxury of a warm spring day and gentle cool evening.  I think I am still defrosting from the long cold Paju winter. The warmth of the sun continues to feel new… and welcome and satisfying.

The typical pattern of work life in English Village has had a new beat this week.  Gratefully, we had a much-needed break with a few days of light teaching with just one or two classes a day. Our students this week have been mostly elementary students, much different from the regular diet of middle school students and the recent weeks of high school and college students. I still remember the first elementary class I taught this week.  When I walked in I was startled by how… little they were.  I did my best to recover from the slight shock and proceeded to teach the lesson.

The second half of the week we had a more regular pace of classes with another elementary school group.  This group was quite good with their English and mostly good attitudes as well.  I even had one student who had spent two years in Australia.  She was quite comfortable with her English and when she would respond to a question she would stand up and announce her answer eloquently to me and the class. Of course, some classes had the expected high level of elementary school ENERGY that must be released in some way!

I piloted a new lesson I created this week with the elementary students.  It’s an English lesson on adjectives for an upcoming month-long program in August called VIP.  Here at English Village we create our own lessons, then “try them out” or pilot them, then make any necessary changes before the lesson continues to be used.  I had a pretty good time creating this lesson (with the help of many other EV teachers).  It’s a mystery sort of lesson where students learn and practice some basic adjectives to describe people.  Next they watch a series of short videos we created of the “EV Bandit” (EV, that’s English Village) perpetrating a few innocent crimes.  Guided by a worksheet, the students choose adjectives that accurately describe the bandit to help “identify and catch him”. My first run this week of the lesson went quite well.  The students were bright and participated whole-heartedly.  They seemed to enjoy the lesson.

Today I made my regular journey to Seoul and my (as of recently) weekly trip to the chiropractor.  Afterwards I treated myself to a little lunch.  I have been craving sushi for some time lately.  Granted I need to travel a little further east to get the good stuff, but it seems it is still possible to get sushi in South Korea.  I went to a place called Alilgato in Itaewon, an expat friendly area of Seoul.

They began the meal with a delicious cup of miso soup. I kept it simple and ordered two sushi rolls – a spicy salmon roll and a California roll.  They were beautifully created and quickly delivered to my table.  Both rolls were truly scrumptious and a real treat as I haven’t had sushi since I left the United States two years ago.

Tomorrow, Sunday, is the monthly World Peace Prayer Meeting for my Buddhist SGI group in Seoul.  It is also the last meeting of one of our members before she and her family return to the US.  After my meeting I look forward to returning to Paju for a juicy afternoon relaxing at home, doing a little cooking and just taking it easy in the fresh spring weather before a new work week arrives.

Cheers to everyone from Paju City!  As always, feel free to write and say hello!

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