an updated day in the life

Remember back in March, when I wrote my “Day in the Life” post? It detailed the orderly, neat & tidy unfolding of my daily life according to my perfect schedule.

At the time I wrote it, it was true (if perhaps a little sugar-coated)… but these days, my schedule is a bit different, as are my outlook and perspective.

So let’s compare then and now:

6:00 a.m. – Alarm goes off. Hit the snooze button multiple times.

6:00 a.m. – Continue to sleep as I have been for the past several hours. (Bahaha! I used to set my alarm for 6 a.m.??? These days I’m lucky if I’m up by 7:00.)

6:20 a.m. – Shower in my freezing bathroom. Get ready for the day. Eat breakfast. Check my social media and talk to people on the other side of the world. Turn on some TV Kdramas in the background for company.

6:20 a.m. – Yep, still sleeping.

7:00-7:15 a.m. – Tear myself out of bed, potentially in a state of semi-panic depending on what day it is, dash to the shower (which thankfully is no longer broken and freezing), slap on makeup, dry my hair, and rush out the door grabbing my bag and possibly umbrella on the way out.

These days, the morning routine is all about efficiency and not at all about having a peaceful relaxing start to the day. Breakfast? What is that?

7:45 a.m. – Leave for school on foot. The walk to my main school takes about 25-30 minutes; on Mon/Weds I can leave later because the smaller school is only 10 minutes away.

7:50-8:05 a.m. – Start walking (or possibly trotting) to school. I can now get to my main school in roughly 22 minutes thanks to some nifty shortcuts I found and figuring out how to manipulate the lights. (Seriously, “walk” lights can take 5 minutes to turn green here, and only last 20-30 seconds, so if you don’t have a system, you will lose A LOT of valuable time.) My small school still takes between 7-10 minutes.

To make sure I’m walking fast enough, I match my pace to song beats. (I’m sure many runners & speed-walkers can relate.) On a normal day, that’s a speed like “This Side of the Moon,” but if I’m running late, I crank it up to “Back in Your Head” fast (Like, “I-step-just-step-want-step-back-step-in-step-your-step-head-step” fast. Try it sometime. It’s pretty brisk.)

(This is also a technique to keep me warm on near-freezing mornings like today; hence, when I arrive at school, in spite of the cold temp, I end up plopping into my desk chair sweating and gasping for breath. It’s very attractive.)

8:20 a.m. – School begins. I don’t have to do anything, but all the Korean homeroom teachers go to greet their classes or something like that. I’m still not exactly sure.

8:20 a.m. – The homeroom teachers are off to wrangle the children. I have 20 or 30 minutes (depending on the day) to gather my thoughts and do any last-minute printing before 1st period begins.

8:50 a.m.-12:20 p.m. – Classes. Each class is 45 minutes with a 10 minute break in between. I don’t always teach every class during this period of time. If I’m not teaching class, I’m at my desk working on lesson plans… and/or updating my blog. Like right now.

8:50 a.m.-12:20 p.m. – These days the majority of my classes are morning classes, which means I’ll have 3 or 4 classes within this period of time.

12:20-1:00 p.m. – Lunch break.

12:20-1:00 p.m. – I’ve discovered that Wednesdays are somehow special and so we usually get to eat better food on Wednesdays, like bibimbap with a corn dog or fruit salad or a banana. Today it was bibimbap with half an apple and what I believe was duck meat which was delicious.

After lunch my co-teacher(s) and I usually walk around the school a couple times to get some fresh air. This also usually involves coffee.

Incredibly, before coming here I’d never had a single cup of coffee in my life (Starbucks frappes don’t count)… and now, though I still don’t see the appeal of black coffee, I can drink it quite easily. I don’t feel like the caffeine affects me at all, though, since I can just as easily go without.

1:10-3:45 p.m. – Classes. Again, I don’t always teach every class.

1:10-3:45 p.m. – Same, same.

4:30 p.m. – I’m off the clock most days. Many teachers stay later than 4:30 to finish up their work. Sometimes I stay a little longer too. On Tuesdays I have my after school class, which goes until 5 p.m. Then I walk home.

4:30 p.m. – I’m still working. These days I’ve been staying till 5:00 or 5:30 to plan ahead and avoid bringing much work home. I still plan in my free time, but I find it nicer to just be really productive in the quiet hours after the kids leave the school, and then be able to relax more when I go home.

And that’s that! Then I walk home and watch the mountain gracefully shed its fall colors and reflect on how I’ve watched that mountain come full circle, from snowy and barren to green to red, orange, and yellow and now, slowly, back to barren again.

It’s been almost a year now. Isn’t that strange?

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