She Works Hard for the Money

… but not nearly hard enough.  Money is dwindling but I’ve still got the unique college girl in me that can still manage to scrape up enough money to have fun regardless of financial crisis.  I’ll eat the Ramen noodles if that means that I can drink Bud Light at the bar.

 

So tomorrow begins the first day as a para professional for CPS (Cinci Public Schools).  I was hired last week and since then I have been sifting through a pile of paperwork: rules, guidelines, insurance info.  I’ve gone through the booklets and handbooks and I am sure that there is not much else I can do to prepare myself for walking through the school’s entrance.  Monday will be a very tough day and yet very exciting because everything will be so new.  I will update in detail about the events of that day.

I’ve been very nostalgic lately about Korea.  Now that I have completely reassimilated, I find myself missing a lot.  In Korea, I faced a challenge every single day, whether it be comunicating with a taxi driver or visiting a shopping market.  But here, there have been more than a few times when I have chosen laziness over recreation.  I miss the days when I could walk everywhere if I wanted to and even if I felt lazy, I could always spend a buck on the subway to any destination with a bevy of fun options.  But most days of unemployment in the U.S. were spent gourging on food in front of the boob tube and while I am certainly not proud of it, I know that I did it because I could.  At first, I forced myself to put away my Korean memorabilia in order to make room for business casual clothes so that I could go on the job hunt, but after a while I had nothing around me to inspire.  Fortunately, I’ve made myself more active in the last month by joining Boot Camp with my sister, a fun weekly aerobics-type class that gets me going and makes me feel better about the weight I’ve gained (yikes!) I’ve also been lifting some weights at Jason’s and he’s very motivating about me beginning to run in order to stay in shape.  It’s been a tough journey these last three months, but they have also been the most fun: family, friends, Jason.  My life is about to become more hectic and what I hope, most fulfilling.

The Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons are going to be very different from last year.  Instead of assembling the foreigners from my English school or neighborhood for a quiet breakfast or dinner, I will have to be shuffling around from place to place in my car in order to poke my head in.  There are still so many relatives who have not seen me since I have been home.  I do feel awful that I have been so busy, but I know that there is still a lot of time to catch up.

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Acclimated and Animated

To All,

My slow and slovenly way of updating is definitely piss-poor, but I am going to make more of an effort since I do have so much time to write.

I have now been back in the States for about three months.  Family and friends came to the Dayton airport to pick me up and it was exhilerating to see them after such a long, exhausting flight.  I caught up with friends, drank some spirits in the spirit of homecoming, and I made up for lost time. 

The one factor in an American life that has been pulling me down, for many months, is the job hunt.  The search began very strong but eventually fizzled when I had applied for 100s of positions without so much as a reply or rejection.  It became apparent that all of my Korea friends were right: maybe Now was not the time to return back to a country with an economic crisis.  And money was starting to dwindle, after numerous dinners and frequent bar tabs.  Then I journeyed with my friend Mike downtown to Cincinnati.

Mike graduated with an education degree and wanted to scope out Cinci Public Schools and asked, since I had so much time, to accompany him.  For the hell of it, I adorned my best business casual and grabbed my resume copies.  While Mike filled out an application for a subsitute teacher, I took one for an Instructor Assistant.  I did not know much about the position, but I knew that it was in the classroom and currently, that is what I know best.  I finished the application and stapled it to my resume.

A week later I received a call informing me that Cinci Public Schools wanted to meet with me.  Another synonym for Instructor Assistant is Paraprofessional.  Being the uninformed, yet nerdy, person that I am, I Googled the term.  The paraprofessional assists the teacher assist the students, but in what way?  I scheduled an interview to get more details.  In my first interview, I learned that the job candidate would help assist the students who needed extra help.  I was unsure of what this really meant.  Like bad-spellers? It was recommended that I check out one of Cincinnati’s public schools so I got in contact with a principal in the Roselawn neighborhood.

Since I am not a very articulate speaker, I opted to e-mail the principal first.  He most likely was a busy man but I did not want to show my trepidation in my voice.  He scheduled a tour that he would lead himself and it was decided that I would walk through and get a better perspective.  The day that I met with the principal I was feeling a bit under the weather but I was excited to see what could be my future emplyoment.  I had been knocked down so many times with applying for jobs that this seemed to be a very positive option.  As I walked with the principal down his halls, I realized that I may have been over my head.  Indeed the students that I would be helping were severely disabled.  I tried not to show my sadness as I followed this man who graciously greeted his students. 

Would I be capable of managing students with special needs?  I need to seriously consider this question.  Though I was able to maintain a classroom of fifteen or so Korean students, this is on a level that is entirely different.  I know that I have skipped a lot of information (and good stories) from the beginning of my homecoming until now, but that summary would require a lot more time than I have. 

Still trying to figure it all out…