Good morning from English Village! Winter is slowly creeping in. Admittedly, I am not a cold weather person. But with some proper layering and a good scarf… so far, not so bad! As the cold weather has begun to show her face, it is standard these days to see teachers roaming about wearing coats, hats and scarves – inside and out.
It’s been a good week. Life has been about teaching English, staying warm and easing into winter. Warm soups and spicy herbal teas. Enthusiastic (and some not so enthusiastic) young Korean English students. And the regular diversion to Seoul.
This past Sunday I went with some friends from my SGI Buddhist group to a restaurant in Itaewon (in Seoul) called Petra’s Palace. It was wonderful! It’s a mediterranean restaurant owned by a family from Jordan. The selections are delectable. I had the chicken kabob. Another friend had the curry. There was hummus and tabouleh for everyone. The best thing for me was – nearly the entire menu included items with no sugar added! Hooray! It was a wonderful, satisfying meal and I look forward to going back.
When we were leaving Petra and heading up the small windy road in Itaewon, a Korean man on a motorcycle buzzed by in an elaborate flair. His motorcycle was decorated with…I’m not sure what… but it was big and unexpected and he couldn’t help but be noticed as he sped loudly down the alleyway. It was such a breath of fresh air to see something outrageous… if even for a moment. After living in New Orleans for 13 years, it seems that is something my spirit has been missing.
Adventures in teaching English continue. Overall, it’s really a great break to teach small groups of young children. While most days ease by with the typical reading of books and English games and activities… every once in a while there is something unexpected or unpredictable. I have a few little ones who don’t get along with each other and this is challenging in class. They say things to each other in Korean and… I don’t know what they are saying. So I don’t know if one is provoking the other or if I need to intervene. Inevitably it ends with someone getting mad, not talking, stomping off and sometimes… in the swinging of little arms and someone getting hit. Yikes. Nothing too serious, as it is little people arms and little people hits. The parents are helpful and supportive but as they speak limited English and I don’t speak Korean… it can be difficult to create a good resolution.
I have some happy breakfast news in my world of healthy eating. A friend of mine recently turned me on to a new protein powder called Juvo Raw Green Protein. I just got it this week from my favorite Korean delivering company, iherb.com. It’s fabulous and I am so excited. It turns out this product was actually created by a Korean doctor who teaches at a local university. It has wonderful ingredients, doesn’t taste too bad, and provides all the nutrients and proteins I need for breakfast in the morning. It has slimmed down my morning routine considerably (which typically includes making oatmeal and eggs every morning. Ugh.) I follow a diet called radiant recovery for people with sugar sensitivity. At the heart of this diet is plenty of protein and healthy carbs at every meal (oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa…). It takes some effort to do, but it is well worth it. This protein powder is a big help! Yippee!
The winter slowdown is starting to kick in. The skies are white. The wind is cold. And the need and desire to be out and about is… diminishing. Life is slow right now. And in truth, it feels pretty good.
Good bye for now from the newly barren lands of English Village, reminiscent of the stark and quiet country I saw when I arrived here nearly a year ago. I am sending warm winter thoughts your way! Feel free to write and let me know how you are. It’s always good to hear from you!