Saturday, May 21, 2011

First School Fieldtrip to the Strawberry Farm

So when I was thinking strawberry farm, I thought, "Oh neat, we are going to see what a farm in Korea looks like." Wrong. So it the drive was about an hour to get there. There were rows and rows of greenhouses surrounded by a dusty lot. Inside the greenhouses were long mounded rows of trashbag-like material with strawberry plants shooting up out of them. Not at all what I would call a farm. The entire presentation was in Korean, so neither Chris nor I or any of the foreign teachers for that matter understood what was being said to the children. Each child was given a plastic carton to fill. After some time, the ladies at the farm told us to stop and give the containers to them. From there we went to another greenhouse with picnic tables inside and had to sit around them. They brought out bowls of already cleaned and cut up strawberries that the children squeezed and smashed by hand. Once each class had their strawberries mushed enough they were all poured into big pots. Each of the children got a chance to use the big spoons and stir the jam. We had lunch afterwards and all of the children had about an hour to play in some open area before getting back on the buses. Every child got to take home a container of strawberries and a jar of jam! None of the teachers were allowed any of the strawberries, but we did get to sample one or two before they were cleaned. They tasted funny, so we weren't too disappointed.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

What I've learned in Korea

I will be writing different things that I have learned in Korea in different segments.  There is so much to cover and it seems like everyone's experiences that we have talked to are different as well when coming to this country.

First topic: Korean People helpfulness?

What I've seen is that Korean people are very nice and are willing to help whenever they can.  When we tell this to other Korean's or even foreign teachers they are very shocked.  I don't know what other people have experienced, but we are very forgiving for some things just because this isn't our culture.  One of the things that is not considered rude is bumping into each other.  When a Korean walks into someone, they will not turn around or say sorry, they will just continue to walk along like nothing has happened.  This is pretty understandable because there are so many people in different areas that it almost impossible to not bump into anyone. The basic moto is walk to where you need to go at your own pace, and if that means pushing people away that's fine.  I think the other problem people have is older men and women.  They feel like they should be treated better because they are older.  In all reality, Korea still has a lot of Confucius ideas in their society, and respecting your elders in a gracious way is one of them.  I don't mind it because I should be more respectful to them, but I usually am not.  Most of the time older Korean men and women are very curious about foreigners so they will try to communicate with us.  Some will try to practice English while others will babble in Korean and I just shake my head and try to use hand signs.  It's usually the younger Koreans who can speak a lot more English and can help us out more if we need help.  Overall we have enjoyed our experiences with other Koreans and love interacting with them more.