Lovely days

I guess the silver lining of having an extended streak of really hard days is that when you finally have that nice day, it’s even lovelier than it would’ve been otherwise. Similar to that blessed relief that washes over you when a physical pain finally subsides, that wonderful moment when the headache or muscle cramp or whatever slips away, leaving you with a renewed appreciation for your body.

Yesterday was lovely.

Not for any particular reason; nothing out of the ordinary happened, but it was a day at the end of which I sat down at my desk and felt good. (okay so maybe part of it is because I brought coffee to work for the first time in a loooong time…?)

Today was lovely as well.

I’m doing speaking tests with the 3rd graders, and I’ve been very impressed by a few of them. Being less green than I was last year, I’ve become very stringent with giving out perfect scores – which means the kids that do get 100s really really deserve it.

Yesterday I also started my “Halloween” culture lesson for the 1st and 2nd graders. I was kind of worried about it (then again, I always worry about trying out new lessons) because some of the kids go to intensive private English academies, where the foreign teachers frequently teach aspects of Western culture, but some of the other kids who can’t afford academies have much less knowledge of holidays like Halloween. It’s a mixed bag.

Some aspects of Halloween have certainly leaked into Korean culture; they have haunted houses here, and on Halloween night, foreigners and Koreans alike dress up and go downtown. (Although from what I’ve seen, Koreans are less likely to get creative with their costumes.) There’s no trick-or-treating, though.

Anyway, the Halloween lesson is going better than I expected. I do a 15-minute PPT where I go through the vocab for traditional Halloween ‘spooks’ like ghosts, vampires, witches, skeletons, etc. and show them pictures of Halloween traditions like costumes, trick-or-treating, bobbing for apples, decorating our houses, and carving jack-o-lanterns, with very simple verbal explanations (eliciting what they already know whenever possible). Then we do a simple gap fill review worksheet to help them remember.

Last, we play a PPT “bomb game.” I made it with spooky sounds and slightly-spooky pictures of zombies and ghosts – nothing too scary, but just creepily atmospheric enough to get them in the spirit of things. It simulates going trick or treating with them “choosing a house”, answering a question about Halloween, and then receiving points in the form of “candy.” At the end, regardless of the winner, I tell them that Halloween means every kid gets candy. At this point they start whooping and applauding. I make them say “trick or treat” before they can take a candy from my bucket.

It’s so cute because it’s such a reminder of home to hear them chirruping “Trick or treat! Trick or treat! Thank you!”

And as if that isn’t all lovely enough, the weather is lovely too. It’s finally brisk enough that I can wear a sweater all day without dying of sweat around 2 p.m. when the sun reaches its peak. At night, I leave the window open a crack just to feel cozy under the blankets and to get that fresh air. I’m sleeping the same amount or less than usual, but wake up feeling refreshed, and I’m convinced it’s because the air is better and clearer in fall than in summer.

(GIF from Pinterest)

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