Spring is here!
Jeff and Jocelyn Gehring 2012-03-29
Now that body has fully recovered from the marathon and spring is upon us, I felt the need to update everyone on our adventures. We have been quite busy and less mobile as Jocelyn becomes more rotund. Most of the past months have seen us busy with work, but being pregnant has also led us on several journeys to the hospital. Despite all of this, we have had some time to have a little fun.
This is the 22nd week of Jocelyn’s pregnancy and despite having had no morning sickness, she has gained a whopping 7 pounds. Much of the reading Jocelyn has done on the subject of weight gain has said that she should have gained much more by now, but the doctor told us everything was fine. Perhaps it is just a cultural difference in which American women are expected to gain exobitant amounts of weight while the Koreans prefer to stay healthy. Whatever the case, she is feeling fine.
Our last visit to the doctor was on May 12th. The doctor conducted several tests on the baby’s heart and skeletal structure. The bone test went fine and our little girl is looking good in those terms. For the heart test, she was lying in the wrong position and not wanting to budge. After attempting to coax her to move for several minutes, the doctor had Jocelyn get up and walk around the hospital for about 10 minutes. After that, the doctor was able to better test the heart, but still unable to get all of the information she wanted. From what she did test, everything was fine. We also got some nice pictures of the baby. One of what appears to be her sucking her thumb and a nice shot of her long foot. The foot is eerily similar to mine which makes me feel a little sorry for her already.
In the evenings Jocelyn gets a lot of solid kicks in the belly, many of which I can feel. They are getting stronger and more consistent which is nice, especially for me since it doesn’t disrupt my day at all, but is nice to feel from time to time.
Since becoming pregnant, Jocelyn has really been able to reap the benefits of Korean hospitality for several reasons.
1. Koreans love foreigners.
2. Koreans love pregnant women.
3. Koreans love Harvard graduates.
Everywhere we go, people give up their seat for her, take her bags, pat her belly etc. Meanwhile, I just get lectures about the importance of taking care of pregnant women and how I have to take care of domestic duties. Because I understand that they are only trying to be helpful, I refrain from telling them that I am already quite the housewife.
The next doctor’s appointment is in June. We will keep you informed.
Having grown up in Tucson, I hadn’t really experienced a true spring since my toddler days in Cincinnati. Spring finally came in early May. Until then the weather had been unseasonably cold. The locals were almost apologetic for the horrible weather that they kept saying would end. Since March, I have heard the standard Korean, “maybe the weather will be nice next week?” followed by, “It will rain for the next 4 days.” followed by, “next week will be very cold” followed by, “Maybe the weather will be nice next week?” My typical response would be, “Oh good, I am very excited for spring.” This eventually turned into, “Did you see the snow last night?”
Now, the cherry blossoms have come and gone, and a variety of other flowers have done the same. All of these plants I have never seen always elicit questions from my co-workers such as, “what do you call this flower in English?” I always have to disappoint them and tell them that we don’t have them in Arizona. If they import some Prickly Pears or some Saguaros, then we’d be in business, but these spring flowers leave me baffled.
One observation I made while watching all of these flowers bloom over the past several months is that the colors of the Easter candy do exist in nature. I had always thought that they were created by Hershey’s and Nestle years ago and they just stuck. The color of the pink, yellow, blue and purple Peeps have a flower equivalent. I was shocked.
Next month, the Lotus flowers are supposed to bloom, or at least, “maybe” they will.
Nowadays, I am teaching a Saturday class at my school. Koreans call it Seodang which basically means it is like a club for students who want to study English. Thankfully, the students are all there by choice. This makes my job much easier. An average day will include a reading, writing and speaking activity followed by a short game. A good day will consist of me monitoring a 3 hour game of Monpoly, clearing up issues with Chance and Community Chest cards. We usually get fed lunch and I get paid extra for the class, so all in all it’s a good deal.
Korea has a holiday know as Teahcer’s Day. Though we don’t get the day off, there aren’t any real classes. Students will write letters to teachers and give them carnations and things of the like. This year it fell on a Saturday, so I only had my Seodang class to attend. Two students were nice enough to write me letters in English and I’d like to share them with you. Perhaps if you don’t teach here you won’t appreciate how adorable these letters are, but regardless, enjoy.
“to. Jeffrey. Hello Jeffrey my name is Shin mi ye! I don’t write English well. but I will try hard! What do you think about Samnam Middle School? I think it is very beatiful. teacher’s day is came. Very congratulations to you! You are very gentle, kind, funny and humorous. Before my think is ‘English is very boring and difficulte!’ but Present my think is ‘English is very interesting and funny thank to you. Very thank you. I want to study English to you. English teacher! thank you very much. see you again! bye bye!
P.S. I’m 2nd grad 1 class number 24. English name is “Amy” Korean name is “Shin mi ye”! remember me! 2010.5.15 from Shin mi ye.”
Another student wrote,
Hello, my name is Bang hyun-ha. My English name is Amy. I’m first grade. Teacher. Today is Teacher’s day. Thank you for teaching me. This is small latter for you. I study English hard. Because, English is better than other subject. So, on Saturday, I go to school, study English. With Jeffrey teacher and my friend. And on Monday and Tuesday, Seven class. I go to English room. Ah! Do you know me? Monday and Tuesday. I study English in English room. With my friend and you. And I like cartoon Simpsons and Conan (Japanese cartoon). This paper is Simpsons!! “And question” 1. What’s your favorite cartoon? 2. Do you know Conan? Teacher bye! See you later! May 15th 2010. “Amy or Bang hyun-ha”
These are now my favorite students.
I was impressed to say the least. Considering how hard English is, they did a pretty good job, especially knowing that their letters would be read by a native speaker. Those types of things usually strike fear into the hearts of Koreans.
Now that the weather is nice, the hiking invites are becoming frequent. Several weeks ago, I went on a hike to the top of Sinbulsan with my co-teacher Mr. Sohn and his brother-in-law. It was a hazy day, so the view wasn’t the best, but we did get to see a paragliding race taking place. After the hike, we ate some sort of spicy duck alongside one of the mountain rivers. I am always a little leery when eating duck because it is difficult to differentiate between duck and dog through the Korean accent. Mr. Sohn assured me that this time it was indeed duck.
2 weeks after hiking with Mr. Sohn, I got another invite to hike the same mountain on the same trail. This time I went with Mr. Han, a very nice man in his early 50′s. Because it was later in spring, the mountain was much greener than before, which was helpful in providing shade. Again, it was a hazy day, limiting visibility, but still a nice time.
On May 27th, Jocelyn and I have been invited to give a speech to gifted students and their mothers on preparing for Ivy League Universities. Jocelyn’s Alma mater paved the way for this one, I was just an after thought. The focus of our talk will be on extracurricular activities and general preparation such as SAT’s and how to be a competitive applicant. We will both speak for 45 minutes as well as answer questions.
Jocelyn’s previous co-teacher, Ms. Lee, recommended her for the speech and because I accompanied Jocelyn to the meeting, as a good husband would do, I was volunteered by the ladies in charge so the pregnant Jocelyn wouldn’t have to do so much work. I knew I should have stayed home and practiced guitar. Live and learn. Never accompany a pregnant woman to a meeting with other women who generally think that men have it easy.
We will keep you updated with the baby, our adventures, etc.
Jeff and Jocelyn