Friday, November 21, 2008
Last week got rather cold, down to -10 C, and it even snowed a bit. I appreciated all of the warm clothes I recently acquired while walking to school in the mornings. My apartment room is heated through the floor which I find to be interesting; but is very effective in keeping my small place warm. Koreans have been using underfloor heating for several hundred years, so its quite common here. I'm fortunate to have an apartment room that is easily kept warm. In the school they will only heat certain rooms, so it is either very hot or cold. The hallways are not heated at all, so one must keep multiple layers available. In bigger places, such as a school, they use heated air ventilation that is common in the western world. It snows about 27 days a year on average in Seoul; so that is about 25 days more than I am currently used to.
I taught my children about the popular American holiday Thanksgiving; and all the small customs associated with it. Including that many families will together watch parades and college football games. Some of the students seemed very concerned about all the football players missing their Thanksgiving dinner with their families. This concern was alleviated when I expressed that Thanksgiving always falls on a Thursday creating a four day weekend for many; thus allowing ample time for the football players to be able to spend time with their family.
Korea's education is on an alternating six day work week. So students have to come in on every other Saturday, along with the teachers. This does not include native English teachers , since they are aware that Western teachers are used to the five day work week.
The picture on the top is of an upscale department store, one that I did not bother going into. In the vicinity around it though there are many good shops that have decent priced clothing; so there are plenty of options. Because of the large variety and pricing people from other Asian countries will travel here just for the shopping.
The end of the semester is coming up quick; which means the six graders will graduate to middle school and everyone else will move up a grade. Over the winter break I will be giving a three week English camp, so that the younger students in the school can work on developing their basic English. Winter break is longer than summer break since the school year begins in the Winter/Spring; opposed to starting in the Fall. Students will have about a two month break before starting the new school year, but much of this time might be spent at a hagwon or a private academy for learning.