Monday, September 16, 2013

I Am Not My Hair

1. I wanted to do something that totally scared me. I've had long hair for majority of my life, why in the world would I chop it all off?? That question was the affirmation that I just needed to do it.

2. I'm in Korea for a year, what better time to branch out and do something drastic? I definitely had a lot of encouragement flowing from my community here - which got me going with this idea in the first place.

I remember meeting a girl my freshman year of university who had the most beautiful hair - color, texture, style - I have ever seen. She didn't have to do anything with it. No products. No maintenance. One day our group of friends met and her hair was gone. She said she felt she depended too much on her hair for confidence and security.  She was always so inspiring to me. No, I don't think every girl should chop off her locks just to build a firm foundation of confidence. But I do think it is good to have time away from those things that are precious to us. Maybe too precious at times. In college, my bestie and I would sing this song by India Arie, somewhat as a joke, on bad hair days. It was in my head a lot over the last few weeks of considering the change:

After some quick research, I found an amazing salon, Hair & Joy, in Hongdae - the same area as the church I've been attending. The stylists there are incredibly qualified AND speak English fairly well - a huge comfort. After church Sunday, Abby and I ventured out.  Abby was awesome - she photo-documented the whole thing and cheered me on constantly. As for the result - I love everything about it. It is low-maintenance, saving me both time and money. I no longer have to think about what to do with my hair - it now has a mind of it's own. And I am just going to embrace it for what it is!

My student's reactions today were so precious! (I had let them know last week, so it wouldn't be a total shock - their last teacher did the same thing. Must be an epidemic..)

Triston: "Fantastic!"
MinSeo: "So beautiful!"
Kipper: "More prettier than other days!"
Veronica: (journal today) "I like her hair very much and she is more prettier then long hair.  And teacher was very pretty in long hair but when she cut it is as pretty as HollyHood girl." 
And, perhaps my favorite: my blue level communicated by pointing to the calendar (September, then October, November, etc.) then ran to our weather poster and pointed to the "snow". They thought it was hilarious that I had long hair in the hot summer and now will have short hair in the cold winter. I've thought it rather ironic myself...hehe

Feeling accomplished.
Feeling lighter (quite literally).
Feeling less dependent upon things that don't truly matter.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Grace & Peace Church Retreat

 A beautiful location...

With some wonderful people...

 Eating amazing food...

Playing the most group games I've played since summer camp...hehe

 Soaking in the intriguing traditional Sunday service... 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

August Snapshots

August brought so many changes to Connexus and our community!

Annie and Anna both finished their years teaching and returned home to the U.S.  We also welcomed three new teachers - Anna, Heather and Michael! Now we are the complete second generation (so no more goodbyes for a long time, thank goodness). I could not ask for better people to work, live, and experience Korea with!

For the first couple weeks of the month, a few of my students took off from Connexus as it was their school vacation. Now all have returned, with the addition of twin girls in my highest class - Monica and Michelle. Directly after their first class, the girls' parents wanted to have a meeting about their (very high) academic expectations of their daughters, Connexus and me. Our hagwon, or academy, has characteristics very different from the others here. Our main emphasis being conversational English, we focus on developing grammar knowledge, expanding vocabulary, growing comprehension skills and building healthy, peace-filled relationships. I was really pleased with how our conversation went, and left feeling confident of what our academy stands for (whether they will allow their daughters to remain with us or not). But this class holds a special place in my heart - four girls ages is such an important time in their lives and I am looking forward to how I might be used in it!

For monitoring classroom behavior, we use a basic three-stamp system.  Each student begins class with three stamps and will end class with those stamps if they fulfill their expected responsibilities of turning in homework on time, speaking English only (especially for higher level students) and maintaining good behavior. Well, this week I was talking to my students in class, and lo and behold - a Korean word slipped out. Then they irrupted: "KATE TEACHER!!!!" Laughing almost hysterically, they ran to the white board, added my name under their names, gave me three stamps with the marker, then dramatically wiped one stamp away saying "Teacher spoke Korean!!!"  It was kind of embarrassing, but the best bonding moment yet had with that particular class.  (Should I mention the next day, it happened AGAIN?  Now, they write my name and give me stamps everyday, eagerly awaiting another slip of the tongue.) hahaha

For weeks I have delayed blogging as more and more stories and experiences were piling up. Even now it is so hard to post this knowing I've left out so many important things. haha  But, at least this is a step in the right direction of being a more faithful blogger...

Shalom, ~Kate