“COFFEE BY DANIEL”

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Roasting coffee beans from start to finish in Ochang, South Korea.

I know I’ve mentioned the new coffee shop in town. But, have I mentioned anything about my obsession with it? It’s the perfect place to wait for a bus to Seoul. Since I missed my bus this afternoon, I had an extra hour to enjoy its inviting, antique d├ęcor.

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THE BOY NEXT DOOR

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I have several students that require extra help. Since it’s still the beginning of the new semester, my co-teachers and I have planned activities to aid us in identifying our students in need of one-on-one assistance. In every class there seems to be at least two or three.

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LIFE IS FULL

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Latte art by Daniel in Ochang, South Korea.

Life is so full, isn’t it? Sometimes I feel guilty napping because I don’t want to miss a beat. Other times I nap for two or three hours after school, snoozing for at least an hour of it. I should probably learn how to apologize in Korean so I can say sorry to all my neighbors. Snoozing in the morning is one thing, but twice a day is a bit much.

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‘KLEVORATE’ OR COLLABORATE

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I’m so glad to have talented and motivated co-teachers. It makes the biggest difference. All three of them are very professional, and genuinely care about the well being of students. Our work environment is friendly, and we have so much fun together during class, at lunch, and/or while planning.

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"OFF DAYS"

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I think Tuesdays are my “off days”. The day everything seemingly goes wrong in a week. Good thing I like messes.

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TO BE HUMAN

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This past weekend I really upset a friend. The last thing I ever want to do is hurt someone. But, I make mistakes. I’m human after all. Nothing makes me any more or less perfect than you.

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RYAN AND I

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A claw machine filled with stuffed animals in Hongdae, Seoul, South Korea.

A foreign man playing a claw machine in Seoul, South Korea.
Ryan and I are like a married couple. He holds my bag. He waits for me. We fight about seemingly everything, but nothing at all.

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IN AND OUT OF THE CLASSROOM

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I’ve been working much harder this semester. I can’t believe it’s already been a month. Pushing myself to go above and beyond the work I did last semester is my daily goal. To be honest, I can’t keep up with everything. But, when have I ever been able to?

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KIND OF A BAD ATTITUDE

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I feel like I’ve had kind of a bad attitude about meeting people lately. It’s not that I’ve been mean or negative to anyone. I just haven’t felt as excited about making new friends as I usually am.

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IT'S THE LITTLE (GREEN) THINGS

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A little green frog made out of clay from a student in South Korea.

I was just as surprised to see them, as they were surprised to see me. Two of my students were standing in the elevator when the doors opened. All of us were in a hurry.

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NO PAIN NO GAIN

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Blisters on feet from Taekwondo practice in Ochang, South Korea

I’m not going to lie. I lied to my Taekwondo Master. I told him I needed to leave Taekwondo early in order to get to yoga class. This is often the case, but tonight I simply didn’t want to put in the extra effort. I could barely stand, and my feet are blistered and bruised.

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BOTTOMS UP!

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Traditional Korean cuisine near Ochang, South Korea.

I had my speech prepared this time. In case my principal called on me to say anything in front of all the teachers again. He didn’t. Go figure. But, I did get a chance to talk with him a lot. It was kind of a big deal.

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FLIP FLOP

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Bingo cards to practice English with third grade elementary students in South Korea.

Sometimes I plan a lesson and it turns out to be a flop. But, there’s a way to flip every flop.

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HYEJIN

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A portrait of a Korean woman in Hongdae, Seoul, South Korea.

Affogato at Mellow Chocolate and Coffee Cafe in Hongdae, Seoul, South Korea.
I think what I like most about HyeJin is her desire to understand differences. Of course I am also enthralled by her beauty, and completely addicted to her smile.

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FIRST ASSIGNMENT: TRANSITION, ADAPT AND CHANGE

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The first week of this new semester has totally flown by. So much has changed already—for the better. Days have been busy and long. Our English office had a makeover. Everything was everywhere for a while, but now my new co-teachers and I are settled in and functioning as a unit.

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SERVICE

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A free Tospia pumpkin and peanut sandwich for "service" in Ochang, South Korea.

There’s no doubt I love Korean food. You’ll see many of Korea’s tasty dishes captured with my Instagram photo-snapping sprees. Oftentimes I don’t have a chance to cook, so I need something like a sandwich, a quick bite, especially on days I literally run from Taekwondo to yoga class.

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SIX-BILLION-AND-SOMETHING OPPORTUNITIES

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Not long ago I realized I'll never fully know, or even meet nearly seven billion people that share many of the same joys, sorrows, feelings, dreams and hopes as I do. Perhaps this seems like a given, but for me it was a profound realization. Make every interaction count.

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SPAM! AND SO MUCH MORE...

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Delicious bulgogi made by a Korean in Seoul.

I’m no stranger to living in host homes, sleeping on floors, snoozing in hammocks, or sharing a bed. Name it. I’ve probably napped in, on and/or next to it at least.

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NEW BEGINNINGS

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It’s a new semester. I have three different co-teachers. Bibong Elementary has another vice principal and 17 new teachers in all. My students are mixed up in different classes and grades. I feel like I’m starting all over again.

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