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Friday, January 13, 2017

A Full First Week

When  the humidity is 47%, an air temperature of 38°F feels much, much colder. I told Amy that I was going to have to start dressing like a Muscovite matron of the pre-Petrine period-- layers upon layers upon layers! While my longjohns and leggings remained disused in Georgia, they have certainly been brought out of retirement with a vengeance here. The damp cold seeps into your bones. The school does not have heat, so both teachers and students are swaddled for the duration of classes. I do usually shed one layer as I roam up and down the aisles of desks, pointing out spelling errors and remarking "perfect!" when I see the student has finally rendered everything correctly. Today, however, I trotted home just before classes commenced to get a sweater and my largest scarf, and I wore them for the rest of the day.

I am officially a resident alien of the Republic of Korea. The school director and I drove cross the island Wednesday morning, dropped her daughter off at the airport, and went to the government office that oversees such matters, and in less than 10 minutes I was digitally fingerprinted and issued a paper affirming my legal status. The real card should arrive in the mail in the next day or so. My new Discover Card should also arrive around the same time – somebody nicked my number and had started to make Internet purchases, and thank God the Discover people immediately contacted me about it.

Amy and I went to the E-mart up the road near the World Cup soccer stadium and spent more than an hour shopping the home goods and grocery store sections. I found an enormous kettle, a glass measuring cup with the cups measurement on the correct side if you hold it in your right hand, and some good vegetable enriched pasta. I did not get any ramen. They had an entire aisle of ramen. That stuff is so salty. I did get a nice wedge of Parmesan cheese and some mozzarella, and a decent bottle of red wine. I'm spending a fortune on organic milk.

My adult student owns an orchard, and brought in fresh picked oranges and kiwi fruit on Wednesday evening. Delicious. When I have difficulty explaining an English concept to him, I revert to its Russian equivalent, as he has a doctorate in that language. He worked as a tour guide in Russia for Samsung employees sent over to become specialists in that country's emerging market. He would take them to Lenin's tomb, the Bolshoi theater, the Kremlin and various other spots, though rarely into the metro, as for security reasons the company didn't want its employees going underground.

I feel like most of my classes – thanks to profound prayer and lengthy preparation -- have gone fairly  well this past week, with the exception of one of the sixth grade classes, in which the students sat silently on Thursday like a little unresponsive bumps on a log when I reviewed some material with which they were supposed to be thoroughly conversant. I wonder if I have to go back to square one with them. I tried going on to another lesson, this one about Spanish siestas, but they didn't have any idea of what a nap was, since apparently no self-respecting Korean sleeps during the day.

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