Fast Fall

Let me first apologize to friends and family.  I have been a bad Erin this fall.  Yes, my job ate me.  And as a result, I have been horribly out of touch.  Getting eaten by your job, no matter how great it is and how much you love it, is not sustainable.  It’s hard to survive continual mastication.  So I’m working hard now to manage my time better and make more of it for you.  I’ll try not to disappear for so long again.

Work is going well, but it has been an emotional roller coaster lately.  We recently had parent teacher conferences, and that was an experience like none I’ve ever had.  Usually, at international schools, the thinking goes, “I’m busy and I pay a lot of money to ensure that my child is getting a great education, so unless I hear otherwise from you, everything is fine.”  In the past, we would maybe see 15% of our parents for conferences.  Imagine my surprise when we blocked out two full school days and one night to see parents, and we were full.  We had interviews with parents every 15 minutes with a short break here and there.  That kind of schedule was totally brutal, so thankfully, most of the meetings were lovely.  There were only a couple of the ones you kind of expect from the Korean stereotypes.  Really only two were mad at me for “giving” their kids a D or saying their kid needed extra ESL support.  And the parents brought gifts.  We got tons of chocolates and cookies and little desk items.  So that, and the kind parents, softened the experience.  Interactions with parents lately has taught me a lot about cultural sensitivities.  Things are very different here in Asia than in the Western world in what we value in children and we both have strong opinions about how to do it right with kids.  Sometimes here in Korea, what the parents say they want, and what they then do seems so contradictory.  This is topic for much further thought and consideration, but consider me a new student here.

Apart from learnings from the parents and students, I am totally in love with Chadwick.  I love our mission and what we’re trying to do.  I love it that I am already witnessing kids blossoming as individuals for the first times in their lives.  I love it that my administrators support me completely.  I love it that our head of schools takes time out to explain his reasoning and decision making.  I feel valued here.  I feel like I’m effecting positive change.  I love having support for collaboration.  I love our school so much, that I am not even resentful of the amount of time I spend working or our daily schedule or meeting schedule that feels a bit too heavy.  I’m okay with it because we are building something special here. I mean, we got two whole PD days with my mentor from my graduate program at CU-Boulder.  This place is awesome.

Life outside of school is good too.  We’re getting used to life here in Songdo as the little city steadily grows and begins to fill with more people.  Streets are not so deserted anymore.  More services, restaurants and bars are opening.  We’re learning about Seoul and already have favorite places to go there.  We’ve been rock climbing, camping, indoor ice-climbing, and we’ve spent a lot of time (especially Tim) on the big US military base in Seoul.  Tim goes there for his ski patrol classes twice a week and some Saturdays and the organization got me a base pass too.  We can’t shop at the commissary, but we can eat at the restaurants and one bar has all of my favorite beers from home 🙂

We’re looking forward to our Christmas vacation this year.  The last two have been spent on skiing vacations in the Alps.  We’re doing a total turnaround this time as we’re rock climbing in Thailand and are so excited to go!  As it turns out, we will have LOTS of friends there to meet up with at different points, to visit with and to climb with.  It will be a sweet Christmas and a well-earned vacation!

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