Saturday, December 28, 2013

Christmas Feast

For Christmas Day I joined my boyfriend and his family for a traditional feast in the Ballard area. He has a large family and so I met many cousins and uncles.

It was a fun mix of Phillipino food and other fixins including a really great salad.

I enjoyed this gathering and couldn't help but think back on last year's Christmas. I went out to eat with my good friend in S. Korea and then went home. When thinking about this I realised that this year's Christmas was the one I wanted for so long, spent with a family and enjoying the season. For too long Christmas in Korea was really about couples and showing off commercialism at the local department stores. Sure the commercialism part happens here, but I actually didn't mind it this year.

Anyways hope everyone had a nice Christmas it's on to New Year's!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas from Seattle!

I feel like I've moved in enough now that things feel cozy and settled. I surprised myself by getting practically every box unpacked and even was able to fit my suitcases in my new place.

There are still some things left to do and organise, but I can slow down now and enjoy this Christmas Eve back in America. Ian surprised me with a really sweet gift yesterday and we will attend his family gathering tomorrow.

Overall, I'm tired from the move and kind of sad I didn't have time to enjoy this season. However, I've got 2014 to look forward to!

Above you see Tom being bad, because my windows don't have screens. He was so close to just popping out the window. So I've been busy taping window screens to them which so far is working. Hope to find a suitable and sturdy replacement in time. For now I'll keep a close eye on him.

Overall, I think the move here has been a little hard for Tom because he made friends with the cats at my old place. But I think after I let him get cozy here he'll be okay.

That's the view of the yard area next to my building and the following is Ian and me eating brunch after the move.

While I was leaving Home Depot last night I caught the sunset near the big Starbucks building in the SODO region.

Merry Christmas everyone~

Friday, December 20, 2013

Snowy Seattle 2013

It's all melted now but I got up this morning, ate some cereal and put on my winter gear to go for a walk and enjoy my first snow in Seattle. Apparently, Seattle doesn't get much snow that often and when it comes the city is abuzz with tales of "Snowdoom". Having experienced "real" winter several times in Korea, I kind of laughed at what I was hearing about the pending doom. However, I do enjoy snow and it's even better when it just lasts for a while and doesn't become an icy nuisance.

I enjoyed my stroll around my neighbourhood before the rain came and melted everything away.

The following is a view looking East towards Lake Washington and Bellevue. 

Near a local elementary school, children were seen enjoying sledding down the hill.

I move tomorrow, so hoping things will clear up just a little bit so my things don't get all soggy.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Back to Studio Life

In Korea, I lived in studio spaces the whole time, and I really vowed to myself that when I returned to America I would get more space. Turns out I'm not financially ready yet to have my own 1 bedroom apartment (and near school). I've enjoyed living in a house here but in the end I just usually spend time in my room, which is actually smaller than a studio.

So as you know I wanted to branch out and have a space of my own. I found this studio not too far from where I live now and it has enough space and pretty much does the job.

I like that the kitchen is separated by a wall with an opening, so that it doesn't feel like you live in that space. The bathroom is incredibly tiny, but I'm not really the kind of gal who spends a lot of time in there anyways.

The kitchen is also not the biggest of spaces but I'll make that up with a table I can prepare food on and put the appliances on as well.

I won't really move in till this weekend, as I don't have much time or helping hands available after work these days. Till then I've been putting in the essential stuff like plates and cleaning supplies. I should make another trip to Ikea, but not sure if I'll have the energy tomorrow...feeling a little under the weather right now.

If anything I'm happy I'll have those windows to gaze out of while I do my studies and kick back here in Seattle.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

This and That

Well it's one of those posts where I say "sorry" for no posts. School finished up and I think I did pretty well this quarter. This will be my winter break time now till the second week of January, but I have exciting news. I got regular hours at the school I substitute for, so I can make a little extra cash this season and also practice teaching adults. That's probably why I've been too busy to enjoy some free time and post stuff.

I'm happy about my regular hours this winter because I'm teaching 3 private classes and they are all Saudi Arabian students. I've never really had such a chance to teach this culture and so I'm kind of excited. I'll try to write in more about what it's like.

Otherwise I still haven't moved in to my new place but I think that will change very soon. I'm kind of living with the bare minimum right now as a lot of my stuff is in boxes.

I can't believe Christmas is just around the corner and although I haven't posted much I really like seeing the decorations around town. Especially the lights people put up on their houses. I can't believe I missed seeing that and I hope to get out one evening and take photos. Otherwise it's not so cold here but still cloudy and rainy at times.

Well hope to post pics of my new digs soon!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Affective Filter Hypothesis in Second Language Acquisition

For my other class (Second Language Acquisition) I decided to do my final report on the Affective Filter Hypothesis. I'll be giving my presentation today, so I'm feeling a little nervous. But maybe putting up this post will help keep me in line. 

The above is what I made in an iPad app called Flowboard. I've never used an app to make a presentation before, but I wanted to go outside the usual PowerPoint box and do something different this time. I can access the presentation online using the classroom's computer. 

The gist of the affective filter hypothesis is that language learners (and pretty much all people) have filters that inhibit their ability to acquire the language at a desirable rate or proficiency. In my presentation I'll go into the theoretical background, variables and what teaching methods might be useful when wanting to lower student's filters. 

Keep in mind this is just going to be a 10 minuter presentation highlighting the 16 page paper I wrote. 

But I think what was interesting from my research, and what I will highlight in my presentation, is that student's have particular language related anxieties. For example communication and listening. I particularly found that listening anxiety is interesting because it shows that if we give our students a variety of listening samples (real-life talk vs. scripted) that it could help lower their anxiety but also give them a well-rounded lesson. 

Overall, I think that it is pretty obvious students come to class feeling something either anxiety or some other emotion. I also recognise that it is really difficult to judge how student's feel. But by seeing that there are specific language related tasks that cause anxiety I can then go forward with my lesson planning knowing that perhaps there are ways to mitigate it. 

I've already started to observe more how emotions work out while I teach and what I can do as an instructor. So it's been interesting and already having an affect on my real life.

Here's hoping I don't rush through my presentation or flub something up!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

December starts

Well I have less than 2 weeks left of this fall quarter and glad to be here at the tail end. My life has been kind of in a whirlwind lately since I decided I wanted to branch off and live on my own. So far I've been living in a house with 2 other folks, and it's been good (cheap) and convenient. But I think I got to used to living on my own when I was in Korea, and the itch to return that has been bugging me for sometime. Since I have a break coming up from school I figured this was a good time to break from where I am now, so that I don't have to move in the middle of a quarter.

So with a lot of hunting and searching I found a little studio not too far from where I am now. It's basically what you saw in Korea, except with windows! Through my five years living in Korea I lived in only one place that had a huge window with a wonderful view. The only hitch with that was that the job was tough and agonising. Anyways, the rest of my time in Korea I heavily lamented the fact that you had just one side of your wall for windows.

My new place will have a large window facing Southeast that on a clear day gets a view of Mt. Rainier. It also has 2 other windows throughout the space.

My house hunting was difficult, since I'm a student and on a budget so my choices were limited. It turns out Seattle is going through an upgrading phase where the housing is getting more and more expensive. It was truly hard to find something reasonable within my budget and near my school. There were a lot of choices in the surrounding areas, but that would of meant a commute and spending money on gas.

However, the place I'm moving to struck me as "home" when I walked in and although I'll be going back to studio living I think just being on my own will make it worth it. The kitchen area has a partitioned wall in front of it, so it won't feel like I live in a kitchen.

The way I saw it was that I spent most of my time in my current place in my room or the kitchen, and this room started to feel cramped with all my stuff in here. (I have too much stuff).

I need to make extra money anyways so with the subbing job I'll be able to get by. It's a gamble to keep paying cheaply for rent and live with other people or pay more and live with yourself.

So I can't move into this new place till they finish installing the new bathroom shower, which they hope to finish by this weekend or next week. Till then I guess I can pack. :)

Thursday, November 28, 2013

A Few Things I've Learned in my Curriculum Design Course

To get my MA Ed. TESOL degree I have to take courses in Adult Education. It's one of the reasons I selected this university because I wanted to be ready for adult instruction.

This quarter I have been taking a Curriculum design course that has been pretty intense. It's one of those classes that have weekly readings, follow up questions online and a project due every week. For a while there I did feel overwhelmed but now that I've gotten through it I feel I've come a long way.

The above is my "Course Visual" for the curriculum I designed. I chose to design a course based upon an intensive English program at a local community college. The visual is to express the goals they will meet while learning the course.

Some things I have learned this quarter is that teaching and designing to teach can by synchronous. I found that while making my curriculum I thought a lot about what was going to actually happen in the classroom. A lot of the activities I ended up designing have a lot to do with student-centered and active learning principles.

One thing I also learned is that how far I've come from my first years teaching in Korea. Looking back I don't think I really started to "teach" until my 3rd year. I also can't believe that I was able to get by teaching at that immersion school without a real curriculum. Sure I made lesson plans and materials for that class (for 2 years) but I didn't really design a full curriculum. Knowing what I know now and how to make a curriculum I think it would have been fun to do that, back in Korea.

Otherwise I can take these skills and knowledge and apply them to future teaching here in America. I also hope that as I advance my career I get to design curriculum and maybe even get paid extra or develop something other teacher's will use.

I supposed I'm doing a lot of dreaming these days about my future, but I'm already nearly half way through my program and starting to feel like I'm ready to hit the big leagues. In the meantime, I'm glad my program offered this course and next quarter I'm going to take Instructional Design methods which I hear is about designing the lesson plan end of things. Not looking forward to another intense class, but definitely going to enjoy the outcomes of it all.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Ocean Beach and Golden Gate Park

I think the benefit of living in San Francisco is that the Pacific Ocean is right there. Looking back I think I could of visited it more often, when I was a resident. Of course, not all days are as sunny in San Fran, but when Ian and I went to Ocean Beach we were lucky.

The distinctive part about visiting Ocean Beach is that you get off the Muni light rail and then climb over a sand dune. In fact parts of the west side of San Fran were built over large and old sand dunes.

We walked and enjoyed watching the surfers catch waves. It wasn't too cold or windy so was quite pleasant.

After Ocean Beach we had some pizza in the Sunset and then went on over to Golden Gate park. There Ian got excited to rent one of those two - people bikes and we found ourselves putting in more than we bargained for.

But we enjoyed some local ice-cream from a food truck and went on our way.

The weather here has cleared up a bit and looks like sunshine is in the forecast for the next stretch of days. Even though it's in the low 40's the warm sunshine really does feel good. Tom seems to enjoy it too and follows it around my room. I seem to be winding down from one of the toughest quarters I've had. But I think I really got into it and am starting to see more connections between linguistic theories and teaching. I've got some items I wan to share from this quarter and so hope to get around to that.

Tom is meowing at me...better see what he wants.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Back to Berkeley

Warning: lots of sunshine ahead. Seattle has definitely settled into its grey and rainy self these past few weeks. That is why I am starting to treasure my mini trip to San Francisco even more since the sun was out blaring.

For the first time in many years I ventured over to Berkeley and found things had changed, but mostly stayed the same. As an undergrad I lived in Berkeley for a few years while commuting to San Francisco State University. I was at the time living with and dating a guy going to UC Berkeley. So in a nutshell Berkeley does have a lot of memories for me.

In fact, I used to be very fearful of urban cities and one time my mom took me through Berkeley (way long ago) and I was feeling so anxious I tried to hide in her car. I can't believe since then I lived not only in Berkeley but also Seoul, a city of millions.

Going back to Berkeley made me realise all these things and that it felt amazing that so much had gone by...most of it in Korea. I also couldn't grasp the fact I was there with my American boyfriend and as a traveler. It just never occurred to me long ago that I would be visiting it under such circumstances or after so much had happened.

Those red shoes have been around the world and back a few times. I hope someday to replace them with the same brand and style but in purple. I guess that's just one of my goals right now.

Ian seemed to enjoy Berkeley as it reminded him of parts of Seattle. I showed him around the campus and then we went to Telegraph avenue where he stepped on some street kids artwork (they were wire flowers on the ground).

But the best part of my Berkeley trip was meeting up with my brother after so many years.

I can't tell you how wonderful it felt to see my brother, mostly because I knew I didn't have to hop on a plane to Korea anymore. I could enjoy the visit without the jet lag or the feeling of sadness of living far far away.

While still on the Berkeley campus Ian enjoyed following the squirrels around and we found a sculpture to pose on.

That evening my brother and his girlfriend drove us back into The City and over the new Bay Bridge.

There is still a little bit more to post from my last day in San Fran so I'll leave that for the next post. Just a quick little update here. Schoolwork is finally starting to slow down and I find myself with little in my pocket to spend, but lots more time to enjoy life. Ian comes back next weekend and then it will be my first Thanksgiving back in America!

My, my ... how time flies!