Category Archives: reading

Catching Up

I just ended another decent week at work.  There were good things and bad, but mostly there were a lot of positives with the students that made it all worthwhile.  I’ve been introducing a lot of new activities and stimulation for my students to use during free time.  There’s not enough of that time, but I feel that it’s just as, if not more valuable, than class time!  Kids need some time to self-direct.

Some kids surprised me this week with their speaking.  Some surprised me with their amazing ability to add numbers that came out of nowhere.  Some surprised me with their creative ideas.  All in all, it was a very worthwhile week.

I apologize for not updating much recently.  I made a goal at the beginning of this year to read 24 books in 2012, so two a month.  A couple of weeks ago I saw I was only at 15, so I have been putting in a lot of quality time with my Kindle to help remedy that.  Now I’m up to 20, and I can definitely pull that off by the end of the year.  But what I’m realizing is that I could have read a lot more this year– at least one book a week, if I really wanted to.  Sometimes I read books in Korean which is a lot more slow-going, though.  According to, I have now read 6454 pages this year!  Not counting all of the books I have to read at school with my students :P

This weekend we haven’t got anything special planned so I’m just going to get a lot of lesson planning done and get it out of the way and off my mind.  I hope everyone is warm and well.  I’ll try and post something with pictures this weekend.

Halloween (but not)

I’m feeling loads better this week.  The medication is working!  I still have some symptoms but they are ever-so-slight, and I have my energy back at work.  It really makes an amazingly huge difference in how invested I am in the lesson that day, and my level of investment makes a huge difference in how satisfying the work day feels.  It’s good to be back.

In other news, Halloween came and went without any bang.  Compared to three years ago there are a lot more jack-o-lanterns decorating the walls of cafes and shops, but nobody was actually walking around in a costume or asking for candy.  There are definitely halloween parties in the city if you know where to go, but you know I’m not the kind of person to go to a party like that.  Nothing like going to a party back home with your parents and other family friends!  Instead, because halloween was on Monday, we had our second movie night with the Apgujeong English teachers and watched The Nightmare Before Christmas.  It was perfect for getting us in the mood to start anticipating Christmas :)

I also finished A Feast for Crows (book four in the Song of Ice and Fire series) and immediately bought the next one.  It’s going to be so painful having to wait for the (potentially) last two books in the series seeing as the gap between four and five was 6 years…  Now I’m beginning to regret getting so invested in a series!  Nothing can fill the void, except maybe revisiting good ol’ Harry again…

Sick Again + Other Updates

I can’t believe it.  I finally got my voice back, and now I’ve got a nasty cold.  I guess losing my voice and having coughing fits for two weeks made me appreciate a lot though.

Before I had energy and my mind but couldn’t talk– now I can talk but my mind is so foggy.  I guess it’s easier to teach with a voice and fake the enthusiasm than to cough through a lesson.  But I sure wish I could be back to normal for a while.  I’ve almost forgotten what that feels like!

In other news, today one teacher was sick but the class I was supposed to teach was actually something the Korean teacher had to lead, so I just took over the absent teacher’s classes instead.  It was science, and teaching science is awesome because there is no lesson planning– you get the bag of materials with directions in side and wing the explanations.  It was a pretty good day for me.

Unrelated to school or teaching, I am currently reading Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy.  It’s a break from all the Korean books I’ve been reading but it’s good to keep myself stimulated in English too.  After I finish this I really want to read the Game of Thrones serious.  Tristan and I have been watching the TV show and it is phenomenally written.  Apparently the author wrote the screenplay as well and the dialogue is so fantastic that the books must be brilliant.  I’ve only heard good things!  It looks like there is a lot of reading in my future (well, after Ashley visits!)

The Good Girls

Ever since I started reading on the Kindle I’ve been reading free books– all books by female authors.  Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and Sense and Sensibility.  I’m in the middle of Little Women by Louisa May Alcott at the moment, and I can’t get over the similarities.  I probably need to read more novels penned by women before I can speak informedly, and I am enjoying the books– I thoroughly am.  But I can’t help but notice a trend.

Once you get past the obvious point that all of the women in Austen’s books are unemployed with lives revolving around their future marriages (Little Women is a bit more progressive on that point), the books focus entirely on how these women should be working harder to perfect themselves.  They should be musical, well read, witty and beautiful, of course.  But a great deal of every book is spent on the inner reflection of each character or conversations with the other women in their family.  They spend every day wondering how to better themselves emotionally, to always act prudently (a word used often in the books and not today), and to be mindful of class and station.  They chastise themselves for being loud, opinionated, quick to anger, in want of anything material, etc etc.

That’s not to say it isn’t good to aim for those things, but 100+ years later and not much has changed.  Most women would rather anything than to be exposed as anything other than nice and good.  It practically defines us from our infancy, striving to be good, constantly wondering about what kind of person we are (okay, a lot of women are worried about their appearance as well).  When was the last time you read a book, written by a man, where the entire story was about them realizing some character flaw, obsessing over trying to be a calm and good person, and internalizing their emotions and pleasing others?  Especially a book written before the 20th century.

[Note: I have to mention the book The Curse of the Good Girl by Rachel Simmons.  My mother gave me a copy a few months ago and I was surprised to not only relate, but it was also somewhat shocking to realize that (most) boys don’t think and feel about themselves and the world that I (and other) women do.  I can’t pretend it hasn’t influenced what I have just written.]