Tag Archives: chiropractor

Stop the Bus!

19 May

It’s a quiet rainy Sunday at English Village.  I am sneaking in a little time to write my blog before I head off to Seoul.  There is a district meeting today for my SGI Buddhist group.  Our meeting is at 1pm but I generally allow about two hours for the journey.  This includes waiting for bus 2200 traveling directly to Seoul, the 50 minutes bus-ride, then catching the subway and any miscellaneous walking involved.  I spent part of my morning today preparing a simple dish for the potluck lunch after the meeting.  It was a good reminder to me how grounding it is to spend a little simple time preparing food.  Cutting vegetables, adding seasonings, mixing ingredients and preparing it to share with others is a simple ceremony that feels like it honors my soul.

I am glad for the rainy weather this weekend.  It somehow gives me permission to have a quiet steady pace after the preceding hectic workweek.  This weekend has been a gentle rhythm of spending time on my own reading and tidying up a bit, traveling to Seoul for a chiropractor appointment and doing a little grocery shopping.  Then yesterday afternoon there was a staff barbecue at English Village.  And last night, I made some homemade tomato soup.  I have never done this before.  It was just wonderful and seemed to feed something in me deeply in need of nourishment and comfort.  Here is the recipe I used!

My second visit to the chiropractor continues the journey of healing my left ankle from my fall in France.  As he works on it, with his friendly and comical “bedside manner”  he gently scolds me as he points out the many different places and ways that my ankle is in need of adjusting.  I have also talked with him a bit about my persistent back and neck pain.  He has concluded that this problem is a hereditary thing and suggest that I sue my parents and we split it 70% for me 30% for me.  Then, he says, I can quit my job and sit at the beach and drink beer.

This past work week was a different rhythm from the sometimes frantic pace of teaching busloads of visiting middle school children.  I worked Monday – Wednesday with a group of college students here from Japan.   It was fun to connect with them and explore the distinctness of being Japanese, the different sounds of their language and names.  I was grateful for some of the simple benefits of teaching college students.  You don’t have to collect them or herd them like disgruntled cats to get them to class.  Generally in class they are well-behaved.  And you don’t have to worry that they might randomly run out of class or hit their friend if you don’t have your eye on them.  That said, upon returning to my regular middle school appointment on Thursday, I was genuinely happy to reconnect with the younger students.  Although challenging at times, it is fun for me to be around their lightness, sometimes shenanigans, and fun spirit.

The greatest challenge lately and this past week has been… how to teach English to students who speak very little if any English.  As I have mentioned before, English Village is a teach English in English organization.  Even the Korean teachers here are encouraged to teach only in English.  English Village even trains teachers how to teach English in English.  And as I continue to develop this skill and refine how to simplify a lesson or express something in its most simplest terms, sometimes I am at a loss of what to do.

Earlier this week I had a class of Japanese college students who spoke and understood only the simplest of English.  My class to teach them was Idioms.  An idiom, if you’ve forgotten, is a phrase commonly used that has its own distinct meaning that is often very different from what the words literally mean.  An example is ” a chip on your shoulder” or “high as a kite”.  Quite difficult to explain to students who don’t have a grasp on the basics of the English language.  But I went into the class with good intentions and did my best to explore it and simply.  After about five minutes as I looked out into a class of totally blank faces, I stopped and said “just one minute!”.  I snuck out of the classroom and quickly made my way to my supervisors down the hall.  I desperately told them my situation and we quickly decided to change the lesson to a word game using English called “Stop the Bus”.  In this game each team has to think of words for different categories beginning with whatever letter is offered for that round…. B, S, T.  When their team has written words for all categories they have to shout “Stop the Bus!”, hence the name. I returned to the class and smiled and announced that we will do a new lesson.  They smiled and laughed and then were fully engaged in the game.

This coming week I will work again with a special visiting group.  They are high school students from a language school.  It is likely that their English level will be high and their behavior a bit more mature as they are in high school.  I am looking forward to it and we will see how it goes!

I must depart now as the bus to Seoul is calling my name.  The bus driver is unforgiving if you are even a few seconds late and will not stop the bus…  Enjoy your weekend!  And of course, feel free to write and share what’s up in your world or even just say hello.  It’s always good to hear from you!

Photo at top, another view of the hills and land surrounding English Village.  Those stone pillars you see on the right… yes those are the giant replica of Stonehenge that greets you as enter English Village.

Settling into Spring

12 May

It is a foggy Sunday morning here in English Village.  This week has continued to be the typical atypical shenanigans of life and work in English Village (EV).  Monday 500 adolescent Korean students arrived.  We danced the “EV mambo” with them for three days (a unique combination of moves including language and cooking lessons, badminton, soccer and rides on the EV railbike), then they left and a new group arrived.

The visiting schools this past week were filled with the general array of bright faces and unexpected challenges.  First there was the girl who, when I opened the room up for questions raised her hand and asked me if I thought I was pretty and then later asked me for my “autograph”.  Later in the week there was the class of 17 boys who for the first hour wouldn’t listen to anything I asked them to do and talked to each other throughout the whole lesson.  As I had these boys for three consecutive hours of lessons, they challenged me to regroup, adjust the planned lesson, and begin the next two hours reviewing good classroom behavior.  I pulled out some classroom discipline tricks I had seen another teacher use, reminiscent of those from my own middle school teacher.  In the end, they left for lunch quiet and orderly and even picked up the trash on the floor before leaving.  Hooray!  and … Whew!….

As the weekend continues, I am doing my best to soak up the luxury of a quiet weekend day before Monday makes her way back around.  Saturday I took the familiar journey into Seoul.  I had scheduled a chiropractor appointment to tend to my injured left ankle still hurting from a fall down some stairs in France over a year ago.  The chiropractor, who is Korean, spoke excellent English from his studies and work in the States. By the end of my appointment I couldn’t have been happier.  I now can see clearly how my ankle is not properly aligned, my foot turning slightly in to the right, which is why I still have pain.  After one appointment that was just a little painful, it already looks better.  He was also able to give me some good information about my painful back, spine and neck.  He took one look at my neck and asked me if I slept on my stomach… which I do.  He told me that I needed to sleep on my back… so I am now in the process of learning to sleep on my back.  First night… not too bad, but it will take some getting used to!

In the afternoon I met with my SGI Buddhist group.  We had a study group meeting in the home of one of the members.  We read and discussed the writings of Nicheren, the Japanese Buddhist monk who is the founder of the practice.  The more I explore this Buddhism, the more I enjoy it.  It’s general message of perseverance and happiness in the midst of all challenges and situations is very compelling to me.  It’s also been great to know and be connected to the other Buddhist members in the area and feel a sense of community here in S. Korea.

This coming week I will be a little off of my familiar track as I am scheduled to teach Korean college students visiting for the week.  So it looks like this week I will dance a new dance with a different beat and a more mature students body.

Spring continues to settle in with temperatures lately topping off at around 70 degrees farenheit.  It is a deep relief to walk outside and feel a gentle warmth after months of a startling winter.  I took a few photos from a walk in the hills of English Village one night after work.  Also, here are some photos of the neighboring agriculture.  This used to look like an abandoned lot and is now fastidiously developing into a proper garden.

All is well on this side of the earth.  How about you?  How are things in your world?  It’s always great to hear from you!

Photo at top a view from “behind the scenes” of the English Village “hollywood-esque” sign nestled in the hills of Paju City, South Korea.

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