Monday, December 13, 2010

Hectic Hack-tic

Hello folks,

It's been about two weeks since my last update, so I figured another one was due about now-ish. That, and the familia starts coming in this weekend! Wahoo!

The past two weeks and a day has been pretty hectic. We are down one English teacher at school due to certain circumstances and so Katie and I have been runnin' the joint and trying to own it as much as possible. It has been difficult and not the least bit of fun (just a little bit of fun, seeing as my cry count is up to something like 10 for December). Since we're down one English teacher, Katie and my friend, Elise, has been filling in til lunch time and doing a splendid job. The boss loooooves her and so do we, so it's perfect. Only thing is that Elise teaches at one, too! So she has been quite the busy bee, as have Katie and I. We've taken on extra elementary classes and not for extra pay, unfortunately, but seeing as the school is des.per.ate. we are doing our best at trying not to complain too much. So, our planning time has drastically decreased, leaving us breathless and exhausted at the end of every day. It's tiring! And also sickly! Yea, Katie and I are both sick (sshhhh), hence the "hack" in the title of the post, eh? eh? yea? You like? Yea? I'm cool.

BUT! We have a new person coming in soon, hopefully. It's someone who left the country earlier, like summer? And has been wanting to come back and Katie recruited him to our school! Thank goodness.

Also! Katie is now the head teacher! Woot! And I'm pretty sure Sunnie and Boss have put me in charge of the graduation song. It's difficult. We've come up with different songs to use, so I'll sell them to the Boss tomorrow and hopefully she'll really like Somewhere Over the Rainbow, because that song is the best!

Speaking of graduation. Oy. In February (Feb. 8th to be exact) we're having our performance. The kids put on either speeches or plays for everyone and the parents so we've been trying to get them ready for that on top of having to do everything else and then some at school. HECTIC. Chaotic. Downright ridiculous right now. I'm in charge of doing a play with Elephant class. We're doing the 3 Billy Goats... super fun. I'm also in charge of getting King class ready with their speeches. I'm not too worried about most of King class, cos they're pretty smart; there's just a few I'm super worried won't get it at all (coughcoughalvinandliamcoughcough) grrrr.

Anywhos, after dragging myself through school days, I come home and practically collapse, but it's still difficult to sleep, odd. But whatevs, I've been trying my hardest to get ready for the rents to come in on Saturday. Katie and I got Jason's apartment all cleaned and ready for them, so that's exciting. Just gotta clean mine. Ugh. I'm so lazy I don't want to, but I gots to.

Other than that, folks, there's not a whole lot going on. OH! The DMZ has reopened, so I'm just gonna throw this out there, nothing is going to happen, just like I knew.

Mkay. Peace and love to infinity my people. Keep dreaming.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving - NK - Hiking

It's really too bad I can't come up with more creative titles for these posts, but then again, the posts aren't all that creative or exciting, so I guess it fits.

1. It's the end of November, guys. Tomorrow is the end of November, guys. I have one more teaching day of November, guys. I have been working for six months so far. That means I have six more months to go! The past six months have literally flown by pretty quickly. They've had their sluggish moments, but for the most part, they've flown. I've had so much fun so far! I hope the next six months prove to be just as exciting! Let's be honest, they are looking like they might be! Harry Potter comes out December 16th (I have a love-hate relationship with this day because Nate is leaving... weak); December 18th the padres arrive!; December 21st the seester arrives!; week off for Christmas/New Years; January SaraBrown comes back to Korea; February Taylor Swift concert with Anthony?!?; February Lunar New Years! Hopefully in a distant land...; March new school year starts! The end. That covers, like another three months right there! Craziness. Exciting. Lovely.
My contract should be up and over the end of May, which means I'll have about 2.5 weeks to travel wherever til I go to Italy to meet up with the famjam for a cruise in the Mediterranean! Awesome! After that, I'm hoping to have the opportunity to travel a bit in Europe before heading back to the States before I figure out my next big adventure! Yup!

2. We celebrated Thanksgiving the weekend before Thanksgiving because Jason went home for a week since he signed on for another year (he also had a wedding to attend to). J found a website that made Thanksgiving dinner for you, so we paid for it (about 100$) for a turkey, stuffing, veggies, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, and more(???) to feed about 10 people! Baller. Jason made some home made stuffing and I made eggplant bruschetta, yum!
Katie, Jason, Nate, Ian, Carly, Ben, Ben's gf, and I all dug in and enjoyed a delicious Thanksgiving meal! It was a great time! I did miss having Turkey Day at home, but this was pretty awesome. I even got to watch the Thanksgiving Day Parade on actual Thanksgiving! Yay! Here a photo from the day's events:


3. North Korea. Now, I know everyone has heard about this. Guys, I'm not too worried. Some people are freaking a bit, but so far, I'm not worried. Everything is fine here. Things are running normally, and the Koreans don't seem too flustered. But, all in all, I'm fine. I've been in worse situations (I feel).

4. Hiking! This past weekend I needed to get out of Ori, so Nate and I went up to Dobongsan (Dobong Mountain). We originally had planned on hiking Suraksan, but we wandered around til we found a mountain and the one we found was Dobong. It was awesome. Started off really swell (as usually) then it started to get a bit crazy. It felt like I was rock climbing as opposed to mountain climbing. There was one part where I had to hold on to a rope and hoist myself up. Craziness. It was freezing at the top, but gorgeous. I was scared, ha, weird. The peak was, like, 4 rocks piled on top of each other. Insanely amazing. The wind was rough, so I was holding on to the metal railing for dear life while Nate took pictures. It was a gorgeous view of Seoul, though!
We also saw the first snowfall in Korea on Saturday night! Cool. And it snowed Sunday night, too! Ahhhh. At least it was kind enough to wait til after Thanksgiving. :)Takin' a break. Near the top.


At the top!

At the top!


Recap: 6 months left in Korea, Thanksgiving was fun, NK is lame, Hiking mountains is fun.

THE END!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Weak Sauce

Hola Amigos!

I apologize for the un-updation of this blog. (I know that's not a word, but I don't really care) Anywhos, in the past month or so, a couple things have gone down. Not a whole lot, that's for sure, but whatevs.

Anyways, Feinschule went on a field trip for Halloween! We went to this place called "American City" which was showing a Virginia old town city (not a real place). It was cool, though. They had a bunch of cool shops and stuff in there. Anywhos, for the field trip we all had to dress up, except for the Korean teachers... weak. So we went to this place and had a blast doing Halloween party stuff. The kids had fun and so did I (surprise, surprise).

Let's see, what else? Not a whole lot. I've been going to work on the weekdays, and chillin' out up north on the weekends. Relatively chill, some would say boring (coughcoughsometimesmecoughcough). But it's all good in the hood.

At the end of this month, I will have been here for six months. Half way through my contract! Craziness. I'm getting super antsy. I need change or I need something! Not entirely sure of what I need. I guess just to move, ya dig? So, I bought a long board. It's a skateboard, but longer... Duh. And it's mainly for cruising, not doing tricks and stuff. Anyways, I bought that today. KatieDale and I discovered a gym in our complex, so we're going to look into that and start going there (yay!). And the famjam comes in one month!! ONE MONTH! Yay! So, I'm currently "planning" what we're going to be doing while they are here. I suppose I will start figuring out points of interest for my travels after Korea, too.

But yea, that's pretty much it. Like I said, nothing exciting. This was more of a "hey, I'm still alive in Korea" update. So, there ya go. Peace.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Untitled

I apologize for the un-upkeep of this blog. This past month has been a strange one, indeed. Last time I posted, it was about my coworkers' plans for the upcoming school year (in March). I am here to update you that they are both staying for another year. Insane. I'm proud of them, though. They are doing something that I don't think I could do, and it makes me proud to know them. They are both excellent teachers, and I can't wait to hear all the new stories they will have after I am gone.

On that note, as you can tell, I do not plan on staying another year. If boss lady asked me tomorrow, I would say no and be completely comfortable in my decision. I am not entirely sure what I will do, though. There are many different things I'd like to get my feet wet in, so we'll see.
Anywhos, on October 7th, we had a field trip to a potato farm! We (aka the kids) got to dig up sweet potatoes. It was fun, and really nice being outside on a farm all day. We played with chickens and rabbits, I got to climb trees! It was a good, beautiful day!

Feinschule hard at work


One of my 4 yrs (aka 2/3 yrs) with his bag of potatoes!


Also, Katie and I are now in charge of a new class that comes in the afternoons. There are three little girls of kindergarten age (that is to say, 7) that come to me for Next Stop and Katie for LA. They are super smart. King and Robot class are both 7 years old, but these three girls are, like, woah smart compared to our kids... They are super duper cute, too, and love to talk, which helps make the 40 minutes go by a lot faster! :)

After getting the scooter fixed with a new battery, Nate and I were able to enjoy some awesome times with it until, lo' and behold, it pooped out... again. I've sort of decided that it's not even worth it anymore. Yes, I love it (OH SO MUCH!), but it's so much work in a place where none of the car or auto places within 10 minute walking distance of me can work on scooters and where there is a hardcore huge language barrier. So, that is that for that. Oh well.

This past Thursday was my birthday! I am not 23 years old! Insane. It was an excellent day, though. Some of the kids gave me presents and Jason and Katie bought a cake and sang happy birthday. That was nice. Then Katie, Jason, Carly, and I went out to Traveler's a couple stops up from us for dinner and drinks. It was awesome! They were holding a raffle for an orphanage, and I put some tickets in cos you could win American-people food! So I put tickets in literally thinking I won't win, but I did! TWICE! In one win, I won a bunch of blocks of cheese and some Wheat Thins (YUM) and in the other win, I won 8 boxes of Mac n Cheese (aka my fave) and some easy-make pasta! Exciting. And in the middle of the wins, we were playing darts and without even looking, I kept getting bulls eyes! In fact, in one round, I got three for three bulls eyes! Insane cos that never happens ever. Luckiest bday ever (other than the real day of birth)...

So yea. That's pretty much it. I'll leave you with these awesome videos I took of King Class and Robot Class being ballers. :) They are growing up so nicely.


video
King Class


video
Robot Class

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Real World?!?!

In September our boss lady asked Jason and Katie if they wanted to stay another year. Boss Lady gave them til November to decide. So, needless to say, they have both been thinking about what they want to do. Do they want to stay for another year, six months, go to another school, go to another country, go home, etc? There are so many options. Welp, today J said that he'd stay on for another year and K has definitely narrowed down her options and will be deciding by next week. Anywhos, with them thinking (intensely) about what they want to do for the next year, it has got me thinking, too.

*Deep breath*

Should I stay another year? I've already answered this and it's no. I like Korea, I do. But I just can't see myself here for a whole 'nother year. Especially not at this school. I mean, it's a great school, it is! And I love everyone I work with and stuff. But, honestly, teaching English and teaching tiny people just isn't for me. They touch too much and English is hard! I can't even speak it right. See?! Anywhos. I could go to another country, but like I said, teaching English is difficult. It really is. It's not as easy as it may seem. Grammar kicks my butt and, well, yea.

So, as most of you know, the rents are in Kuwait teaching math and economics (aka stuff they pretty much like to teach) and they have told me bunches about the people they work with. Welp, supposedly (I mean, not really supposedly, considering they do work with these people) they work with young couples, like some people a little older than me. These young people are teaching things they WANT to teach. They aren't teaching English because that's really the only thing they are qualified for, they are teaching math, social studies, gym, and they are counseling. They got their masters and went overseas to teach what they want to.

Moving on, I've started (briefly) looking into grad schools for teaching so I can get my masters and then from there where I want to teach. If I can get my masters in history or social studies, that will allow me to go anywhere I want to and teach what I want to teach which is way better than teaching English. Yes. Yes it is.

So yea. Real life/world is difficult. There are so many options. If any of you have any idea or comments, please tell me. It's greatly appreciated. I mean, I have lots of time, but time here seems to fly, so I figured I should start. Plus, since Katie and Jason have to make up their mind now, I now know I'd like to know what I'm doing after Feinschule, too. Oy.

Peace & love.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

New Thingz Rawk

First off, I have had no school this week except for Monday because it is Chuseok. Chuseok is equivalent to the American Thanksgiving. I kept asking the kids what they do for it and all I really got was "Teach-uh, make rice cake and grandmas." Oh yea? You make grandmas? How's that work for ya? Naw naw, for realz though. They make rice cakes! And they VISIT their grandma's. So sweet. Anywhos, for Chuseok our school decided to be cool and have the kids dress up in their hanboks (traditional Korean dress) on Thursday before our most-of-the-week off. So, the kids came in their cute outfits and we made rice cakes and learned the traditional bow. Aww, we're cute.

King class. They all look super excited. This is how they always look, except when Sopia teach-uh is dancing around the room like a weirdo... then they look happy and cool.


the raw rice cakes


So, on Monday, we went out to celebrate our friend, Etaoin's, last night in Korea. Etaoin is from Ireland. She is an artist. She had been in Korea since January. She got this awesome job. ...back in Ireland. So she took it. Sad face.
ANYWAYS, we went out to dinner and then out dancing and foosballing to celebrate her awesomeness and how sad we would be when she was not with us. It was a sad moment, indeed. Sophia cried. Go figure, right? BUT, Etaoin is so awesome, that she left me a bag of goodies! Some shoes, some art supplies (yee!), a dress, some shampoo, and some lady products. Cool beans! Thank you, my love!

This is Nate and Etaoin. And me, being weird. Weird.


Tuesday, I did nothing. Actually, I slept in. It was wonderful! Sleeping in on a Tuesday! Haven't done that since... well, I don't know, for a really long time. It was beautiful. And Wednesday, Nate and I went up to Gangnam and did some Fall shopping! I bought two new hoodies and a couple of awesome long sleeved shirts. They're super cute. Take my word on it. And Thursday! Katie Dale and I went into Suji to meet up with some friends for some foodskies and then we went to this glasses place where I had heard they sold some good cheap glasses. Awesomeness. And they did! Guess who bought TWO new pairs of glasses for 60,000 won?!?! If you guessed me, then you are so totally right! :D TWO new glasses, folks. For less than 60$. And, yes, the glasses are prescription. Yes yes, woot! And it was such a gorgeous day out, that we went to the Jukjeon park and hung out under the beautiful sky. Le sigh.

One of my new pairs of glasses. Baller!

This is basically what today looked like. Gorg, I know.

Needless to say, Chuseok (aka no school) rawks, as does inherited gifts, as does new stuff for me! :D Excited.

Peace and love.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Temple Stay 9/11 - 9/12

Hey oh! (again) I told you that I'd post two new posts! The last one covered what I did on the fourth, but this one will be talkin' bout what I did this past weekend which is a temple stay! Woot!

So, a couple people had been talking about doing a temple stay and one of my friends already had, and so I wanted to, too. Mostly because it would be a stay at a Buddhist temple and Buddha is awesome. Why not, right? :)

on the stairs up towards the main grounds of the temple

Anywhos, went with Adventure Korea, again. Excellent. Took off from Seoul on Saturday morning. Got to Geumsansa temple at around 2ish. Once we got there, we all went into a building and got some monk clothes and checked in and what not. We were shown our rooms; girls had one dormitory and boys, another. After everyone was dressed in our monk clothes, we met back at the main place (I say "main" cos that's where we spent a good portion of our time). We met up with our monk guide guy. He was super duper cool and chill. And funny, too. We learned how to walk in a temple, how to bow to Buddha, and other cool stuff. I think this is when we made our lotus lanterns, too. Super neat oh. I was going to bring mine home, but it was falling apart, so I left it. Le sigh.

our monk clothes

my awesome lantern

We had some free time in there, too, so Nate and I went on a nature hike around the temple. Such a gorgeous place. So very green and nature-y. It was lovely and relaxing. The temple buildings were immaculately done. Bright colors, just waving people into their buildings. So very beautiful. Temples are one of my favorite places ever.



After a bit, we met back up with the rest of the group and walked in two silent lines to dinner. It was pretty delicious. Rice and curry and soup and kimchi and other Korean delicacies. Yumsters. After dinner, the group went to the bell tower. Here, we learned about the three different bells that are struck three times daily. So very interesting. I love it! And we even got to strike one! Really cool. After the bell tower, we went to the main Buddha hole to witness an Yebul service, which is a monk chant. The monks are... well, chanting and praying to Buddha for the creatures and the world around them. We got to practice our bows and it was a beautiful sight. I really am not very good at describing this, and so I apologize. I walked away from this entirely relaxed, not a care in the world; I felt so at peace and loved, it was a mind altering activity for me. After Yebul, we had tea time with our monk and a woman monk. Here, people got to ask any sort of questions they wanted to them about themselves or about Buddhism. Pretty cool, some of the questions were funny and good, and some were just... yea. After tea time, it was lights out at 10.

Woke up bright and early at 3 am the next day to go to the morning Yebul. Once again, amazing. It was only til four o clock and we didn't have to be anywhere until 530, so everyone that woke up (it was an optional activity) went back to sleep til 515. Woke up and went back to our main "hideout" to meet with our monk for meditation. He did a quick tutorial for those who had never meditated before and we meditated two times for fifteen minutes each. Then at 6 oclock it was breakfast time. Walked, once again, in two silent lines to breakfast, where we nourished ourselves with delicious Korean food again! After breakfast, we were supposed to do monk chores (like sweeping and cleaning) but it was rainy and wet outside, so we got out of that and went back to bed until 815ish. At this time, we all woke up (again) and met with our monk for a tour and history lesson of the temple. I was so tired that I could barely pay attention, but I have a pamphlet, no worries, folks! The temple was founded in AD 599! OLD! Anyways, if you want to know more about the temple, I have this pamphlet, so just shoot me an email or something, kk?

the grounds at 530 am

ANYwhos, after our quick history lesson of the day, we went on a nature walk up and around the temple. On our walk we saw where the monks are cremated and placed into their own jugs (neato). Then we finished our walk at the love tree. This tree was tight. It started out as two separate trees, but in the middle, about half way up both of the trees, they join together. I've never seen anything like that before. Our monks talked to us (via translator) about the tree and how we should always help others and welcome help when we most need it, too. It was .. touching. It was good. Excellent, in fact. Magic.

the love tree

me and our monks :)

When we returned to the main temple grounds, we had a few moments before our Buddhist bead making, so we just chilled with our new friends, Anthony and Chris (yay!). Then we went to our main spot and learned how to make our beads and got to go to any temple we wanted on the grounds to make our beads. So, these Buddhist necklaces/bracelets have 108 beads on it. While making it, we had to bow 108 times, each time saying a silent wish or prayer for anything or anyone, while putting one bead on at a time. They said we could put 3 on at a time, but I did all 108 bows for each bead. I did not even run out of things to wish or pray about! Afterwards, though, my little pillow that I was bowing on was sweaty and gross and I was even sweatier, but it was so completely worth it. Once we got it all tied up properly, were allowed to wander around til lunch time. Went to lunch and then we had to pack up to leave the temple by 1pm.

almost finished product :)

Oh man. I am so so incredibly happy I chose to do this. It was a great experience. I feel like I learned a lot and I absolutely adore the Buddhist religion and what it stands for. This temple stay will never, ever be forgotten. I'm so grateful I was able to do this.

Love!

Monday, September 13, 2010

DMZ, September 4th

Hola amigos! SO! I have much to update, but I'll break it down into two different posts. You're welcome.

Anywhos, on September 4th a bunch of us went to the DMZ (de-militarized zone). It was Etaoin, Etaoin's parents, Katie, Sara, Louis, Nick, Ben, Lindsey, and one of Etaoin's friends. To be quite honest, it was relatively boring because we spent most of our time on the bus traveling from stop to stop to stop. BUT learning more about the history and stuff was awesome! Here's what we did, or at least, as well as I can remember it :)

We first stopped at Imjingak. This is where the Freedom Bridge is located, as well as a memorial that they hold a special service at every so often. ALSO, it's where an abandoned train was left. The train has 1200 bullet holes in it! Pretty neat. Imjingak had this amazing barbed wire fence up with beautifully colored ribbons attached to it. Korean words and phrases and whatnot was written on each and every single one of them. I thought it was a beautiful because I imagined what was written on each of those ribbons; words of love and forgiveness and memories... I would post a picture, but it's all sideways and stuff. Sad face.

After we checked out Imjingak and the Freedom Bridge, we traveled to lunch? I think? Bah, I'm horrible at this. Oh well. So we went to lunch at one point during the day. It was chill. Same ol' same ol' Korean food. Pretty good stuff. It was such a pretty day, too! I was super please with that. Gorgeous blue skies and fluffy white clouds. :) Happiness.

We visited the 3rd tunnel, I believe (that's what it says on Adventure Korea's website, anyhow). This was ballerness. We watched a documentary about the tunnels first. There are four tunnels as of right now (these tunnels were dug by North Korea in order to invade Seoul quickly). They believe there to be more tunnels, but, alas, they've only found four. So, we got to put on some awesome yellow hardhats and walk down, down, down, down, dooooooooown into the tunnel. It was cold! So COOL! I barely had to duck my head (yay for being short!). And we could only walk so far, because it was blocked by this teeny tiny metal door, and we turned back around and started back, then up up up (what a workout, I tell ya). It was neat. We also took pictures next to giant D-M-Z letters at this place. Coolio.

We visted the Dora Observatory, which is basically a lookout place overlooking (weird.. a lookout. Overlooking stuff. Imagine that, huh) North Korea. We could only take pictures from behind a picture line that was placed waaaaay far away from the wall. But when you got up to the wall you could see a city in North Korea. Someone said that this was an empty said, designed to fool South Koreans. You were so not allowed to take pictures at this wall, though. One lady snapped some photos, and the South Korean military kid ran over and promptly deleted all of those pictures, nice try though, lady. So, that was... cool. At least to see North Korea and snap some awesome photos of some guys' heads cos I'm too short. Oh wellzzzz. Edit: the city is totally a scam, I just read the website. It was built so that South Korea would think of North Korea as a prosperous nation or something like that. Hm, whatevs.

Then we went up to Dorasan station, which is the last station of South Korea before it goes up to North Korea. Supposedly a train really does go to North Korea! With goods and people and stuff! Cool. We got to see the train come in (oooohhhhh, aaaaahhhh). Got some coolio pictures of me "unitying" the two Koreas, cos I'm just that AWESOME. I mean, come on, let's be honest folks.

So, uh, yea. That was pretty much that. Like I said, nothing all that exciting, but it was really cool learning more about the war and stuff of the country I'm living in. History is always exciting.

Etaoin, moi, Katie, and Sara

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

new news new!



New!: I bought markers and colored pencils (aka crayons) and origami paper and drawing pencils! Woot! I get a little jealous of the kids when they bust out their cool stuff to draw, so I figured I could be jealous no more and bought myself some things of my own! How very exciting. The markers and colored pencils are super colorful (the outside, not necessarily the colors). They have pictures all over them! Asians are cool. And smart.





News!: A typhoon is going to be hitting us either tonight or tomorrow. Either way, a typhoon is comingggg! I think you only get typhoons in Asia. Hmm...

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Update: 3 Months

...Exactly! I've been working at Feinschule for exactly three months today. I just now realized that. Cool, but weird. It's weird cos sometimes I forget where I am and then, randomly, remember that I live in Korea and I have a slight panic attack that lasts, mmmm, 30 seconds max, then I'm okay cos I remember that it's pretty cool here. Also weird, because I've been doing the same ish for three months and still have 9 more months of the same ish. Fun.

Anywhos, this week. It's only Tuesday, but yesterday and today I've been sick. No big deal, though. This week is already wayyyy better than last week and last week I wasn't sick! Weird.

Last week consisted of the teachers putting together progress reports for both the kinders and elementary kids and trying to finish everything we were behind on for the kinders. It was insane. We were yelled at a couple of times because there wasn't enough of that or of this, or because the art books didn't have enough color. Needless to say, last week was quite hectic and I am oh so glad it is oh so over.

Progress reports: somewhat pointless. It might have grades of the spelling tests and monthly tests (elementary) but other than that, it's like lying nicely to the parents. Instead of saying "So-and-so will not stop talking or yelling in class, and so they distract the other students." We have to say something like "So-and-so loves talking." Hmp. Lame. I tried to be as honest as I could in the nicest way possible, but it got a bit difficult at times. Whatevs.

This past weekend was excellent because I didn't do practically anything. Just stayed at home most of the time, relaxing. It was excellent. Last Sunday the 22nd, I went white water rafting, this past Sunday, the 29th, I watched a movie and went to Korean class. Yes, starting that up again. Hopefully it'll last longer than one class. Ha.

This week has been good so far. I'm enjoying it. Sorry this post is so incredibly dull, it's just been, like, 2.5 weeks since I've last updated. Truth be told, there's really not a whole helluva lot to say. We did go on a field trip, but that was sorta boring. The kids made alien thingamabobs, it was cute. Here's a picture:

Oh, hey! There's me, too. Lucky you. So, yup. Like I said, nothing special. My apologies.

Friday, August 13, 2010

A Tribute of Sorts

Yes.

August 14th is a big and important day for mi familia for 3 reasons.

1. It's my mommy's birthday! What a special lady this one is. She's the greatest. My bffl. Haha. I am so proud of her for so many things. When she was tired of being at home with Sarah and I all. the. time, she decided that it was time to go back to school. She graduated with her masters in education and has been hollerin' at kids since then. Super cool. Also, she is just super duper cool. Like, seriously. ALSO, she and mi padre are moving to Kuwait at the end of August. She has never lived outside the US and she is doing this huge move now. I admire her to pieces (well, both the rents) for just peacin' out of the States (copycats). So yep, it's my madre's birthday! Spectacular woman.




2. It's the anniversary of my cousin's death. This kid was awesome. Whenever we went over to Pakistan to visit la familia, he was always around and willing to take little trips to the mountains with us (note: this is in plural, but we only did this once, BUT it was so awesome that it seems like it deserves the plural tense). He was awesome. Always in my heart, Momo Bhai.



3. On another happy note, it's Pakistan's independence day from India! WOOT! Go Pakistan! 1947-2010, baby. Rockstars. Get it. Work it. Get it [and keep it] together, so it can be a couple more decades, eh?



So, yup! Exciting stuff. Woot, August 14th. Also! I've been in Korea for, like, practically two and a half months already. Time flies!!!

Peace & love.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Kodak Moment

...Without the camera. Ha. I don't carry my camera around with me everywhere, so I painted a pretty picture depicting this story:

Ahem, last week (Thursday, to be exact) I received a package in the mail. It was sitting at school just WAITING for me (how kind)! Everyday we stop on the second floor to pick up the kids and our lesson plans and say hello to the other teachers and on this particular day, I got to pick up my package as well. We rode up the elevator and hopped off at the fourth floor and Stella and I went into the classroom and I put the package down and it roared. Yes, roared. Awesome.
Stella got super excited and was bugging me to open it, but I didn't. Blah blah blah, the other kids came in and Stella told them about the box and so I went around the room banging the box on their desk and holding it up to their ear, trying to get them to guess what was in the box. Then they all bugged me about the box til lunchtime.
Finally, I gave in and opened it as soon as everyone was finished. The roaring sound: dragons. :) Then Sarah saw bubblewrap. She stopped talking for a hot second, looked up at me with her mouth open and said, "Teacher, pop?"
Of course I was like, "Um, no. This is my bubblewrap."
Sarah: "TEACH-UH!"
Me: "It's mine!"
Sarah: "BUT TEACH-UH, it fun!" and looked at me with puppy dog eyes.
Me (caving over those eyes): "True...... FINE!"
So, I rolled the bubblewrap out and we started jumping up and down on it giggling like I was the same age as her. Then I hear a bunch of little feet pattering into the classroom, look up and almost all of King and Robot class had come in. I said SURE, and then they all joined in. Kodak moment. No camera. Oh well. Here's my beautiful picture:


Sunday, August 8, 2010

Jeju-do & Busan AKA Summer Vacation 2010

What up!?

I hope everyone is doing well! I decided that I should update this here blog before I forgot everything about our summer vacation! As I have said before, we decided to stay in the country because our vacation was from Thursday-Wednesday. Unfortunate, but oh well, we had a good time nonetheless!
Our trip

Anyways, we left early from work on Wednesday the 28th (4pm) and headed straight to the bus stop. Caught the bus up to Gimpo Airport. Pretty sweet. We all slept most of the time. Got there, got our tickets and seats (all together, aww). The plane ride was pretty short, so that's good. The landing was horrible, though. Super rough. Oh wells. So, we jumped onto the bus to take us straight across the island to Seogwipo which is where our hotel was located. Once we got off the bus, though, we had no idea how to find out hotel. Luckily Katie is smart and looked up and bam! our hotel was right there! Amazing. Got in, got settle for five minutes and headed out to see what was going on at 10 o'clock at night. We ended up finding a great little bridge with amazing rocks that we just sat on and watched the HUGE waves come crashing in. It was fun. Then we went home and crashed.

The next day (the 29th) we got up early-ish and took a taxi to Jungmun beach. It's supposed to be a really popular beach, but when we got there at 10 am there wasn't that many people. The waves were HUGE though! And the current and riptide were ridiculous, so sometimes the lifeguards wouldn't let anyone into the water. After lunchtime the beach got super crowded. People put up umbrellas and tables and we were soon toe-to-toe to all the people in South Korea... It was greeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaatt. Jason made some friends with a guy and his girlfriend and we hung out with them til dinner time. We heard/saw that there was a seafood buffet up the hill so we trudged on up the hill and sat down for a delicious buffet filled with sushi, crab legs, mussels, and everything you could think of! Well, maybe not everything, but SO much! :) Then we went back to the hotel and crashed for the night. Super exhausted after a day of doing nothing on the beach. Excellent.
Jungmun Beach

On the 30th (Friday) J, K, and I went to climb Hallasan (san is mountain in Korean, so to you folk, it'd be Mt. Halla). Anyways, it was rough but great. It started off pretty mellow and a nice incline then all of a sudden it went straight up. Maybe not completely straight up, but might as well have been. It was intense! We got to the "top" and had lunch and we were about to keep going to the tip top, but then realized that it was restricted. A bit disappointed, but it was nice making it as far as we did. Amazing. Anyways, headed back down and the hike took about 4 ish hours. Not too shabby. Hopped the bus back down and decided that since we were super close to some waterfalls, we'd go there. Walked on over and they were pretty sweet. We were pretty exhausted. So we pretty much ended up going back to the hotel, found a galbi spot, munched on some food and crashed for the night. Good day.
Hallasan
Natural Mountain Water!

On Saturday, we woke around 10ish and caught a bus up to Jeju City to see something that I wanted to see. A big rock made from lava that looks like a dragon head. The story goes something like the dragon wanted to learn how to fly but when he got out of the water/lava he froze... or something like that. Pretty cool. At first it took a bit to figure out which end was the dragon's head, but I think I figured it out. Jason and Katie still didn't really know what was going on. Oh wells. They still came with me! :) Then we had heard about another beach that was popular, and so we headed there. It was super duper crowded. No waves, though. It was pretty chill just hanging out in the water for the rest of the evening. Then, after that we went back and ordered some pizza and chilled out for the rest of the night.
Dragon's head
Another beach

Sunday, the first of August, we woke up super early and headed to the airport to catch our plane to Busan to meet up with Sara for the second half of our vacation! We got to Busan and sat around the hotel for a minute or 50 deciding what to do with our day. Surprise! We picked the beach. So we hopped the metro up to Haendae beach and almost died from shock. SO MANY PEOPLE. EVERYWHERE. Insane. You could barely see the sand there were so many umbrellas, and where there wasn't umbrellas, there were people. We found a spot and camped out. We tried going into the water but it was freezing. After a bit, though, I got super hot so Katie and I went in. It was really really nice until we kept getting beat up by all the Asians on their stupid inner tubes. Geez. After a bit of that crazy nonsense, we decided that we should go visit Jagalchi market, but on our way back to the metro we passed a place called FN Tacos (Fuzzy Navel). We had been CRAVING Mexican food, so we stopped in for some snacks and a couple drinks... Which turned into us meeting new people, going to TGIFriday's afterwards, and then playing on the beach til 2 am. Sweet.

Haendae Beach

Here comes Monday. We hopped across the street to Jagalchi market, aka Busan's fish market. It was so cool. Fish everywhere. Fish and mudfish and eels and mussels and sharp pokey things and round slimey things. Awesomeness. I almost kept falling because the floor was super slippery and my shoes are super stupid (thanks, Old Navy). So we walked around there a bit. A thing (eel?) got loose from the tank at one point and Jason squealed like a little child when the fishman picked it up to put it back and decided it'd be funny to "throw" it at Jason. Fishman was right, it was funny. After the market, we chilled out on the Harbor for a hot second taking in the scenery then we found a bus to take us back to the same beach we went to the day before. We ended up at Busan Aquarium! LOVE ME SOME AQUARIUMS, y'all! :) Super fun. Then we thought that going back to the beach would be a good idea. We stayed for maybe an hour and peaced out back to Jagalchi mkt for some food. We had raw fish. Delicious. Raw snails, raw octopus, everything raw. Oh em gee, people. SO GOOD. After the yummyness that is raw seafood, we went back to the hotel, showered and got ready to go out. We walked around Busan Film Festival (or Nampodong Market) for awhile. A bunch of little alleyways filled with stuff to buy. :) Found a place called Big Sugar thanks again to Jason's great people skills (coughcoughawesometattoocoughcough) and chilled out there for a wee bit. Realizing that we were way more pooped than we had originally thought, we headed back to the hotel.

Jagalchi Market
Hey oh, I'm underwater!

The last day (Tuesday the 3rd) we woke up, checked out, and left our bags at the hotel. We went back through Nampodong market where I bought a super cute little bag. Sort of like my Lucky Brand bag, except it's, like, baby sister. :) YAY! Then we went to a beach that is near our hotel. It was a nice beach until Katie and Jason went for a walk and Sara and I were on the beach and two creepstar Russians came up and wouldn't leave us alone. When I say "didn't leave us alone" I really mean, they sat down and tried to talk to us. Ew. So we left as soon as Katie and Jason came back and went back through the market looking for galbi, but decided we were too hot and chose Pizza Hut then Coldstone instead. :) After lunch, we walked 3 metro stops up to Busan Station, grabbed our tickets and chilled outside until 15 minutes til our train was to leave. Hopped the train and came back to Seoul. As soon as we got off the train at Seoul Station, we were running it seems like. Jason was leading and Katie and I were going slow cos we were tired, but we had to run everywhere with our backpacks on because (first time) the green man was about to stop walking across the road, so we ran to get there before he turned red. The second time equals same same. But the third time! Our bus back to Miguem (aka the city right next to Ori aka our place) passed us and so we had to SPRINT to the bus. Got there right before it left and chilled out. THEN we got off that bus and saw the bus to Ori right in front of the bus from Seoul so we had to run to that bus! Oof. Exhausted. Got home, showered, bed.

That is our trip. On Wednesday (our last day of vacation) we each just hung out at home, did laundry and whatnot. I had so much fun. My coworkers are awesome and we're thinking about going to Japan for our September break. :) STOKED!

The End.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Jeongja + extras

An nyung hah seh yo! :)

I should be packing for Jeju and Busan, but I figured I should update this thingamajig before I leave so I don't have a bunch of different things to update on! Whew.

Anyways, last week I introduced a new "game" to the kiddies (King class). It is for the phonics class. We've been learning words that start and end with "sh" and "ch" and end with "nk" and "ng." So, I thought making a game out of it would be more fun than always doing work books. I thought it would be, like, a one or two time deal, but no. All week last week. Now, let me explain it first. I break the class into teams, if there is 11 or 10 of them, I put them in group A and group B, and if there is only 9 (which it was a couple times last week) I put them in three groups of three. Easy. Then they are to brainstorm as many words that they can remember/think of with these requirements in them. Super easy, yea? I thought so, until they started asking me to help them then I totally blacked out. "What?! A word that starts with 'ch'? Hmp, I'm sorry guys, I can't thin---I mean, that's cheating!!!" Ha. Totally blew off my stupidity for being a diplomatic teacher. Anyways, the kids love the game. Well, most of them do anyways. I am personally getting tired of it, but whatever. Time to brainstorm for new phonics games. Any idears??

Here's a picture of Peter (aka the smartest one) being hounded by the girls who want to be on his team. So cute.
He loves it.


Anyways, this past weekend! I have heard of this place called Butter Fingers Pancakes. Ahem:

I've heard that they are an awesome Western b-fast place. So, I told Jeremy about it and he was all gung-ho to go, so we got onto the yellow line at Ori and went up 2 stops to Jeongja. We got off the subway and looked around. Eh, not too much. We start walking in more towards the "city" part. Then we fell in line with the cutest little street I have seen here so far. Lined with boutiques, cafes, jazz bars, and the like. It had little alleyways that were the nicest ever and had more shops in it. So adorbs.




We find Butter Fingers and dig into two huge dishes, that would probably be suitable for a family of four. Needless to say, Jeremy takes home a bunch of leftovers.

Then on Sunday we decided to go back with our friend Bob. We take him to Butter Fingers, too. I just had some yogurt and granola. That's it. I couldn't take the cholesterol infested meal again. My body isn't used to it anymore. Ick. Then we walk around and go to Coldstone! While we're sitting outside eating our ice cream, I do a bit of photo-taking/stalking :P
I took more pictures, but they would show up crooked on here, so go to my Picasa Web Album. South Korea 2. To divert from my gushing about how much I love Jeongja, one thing I have noticed a lot over here is how often I see Korean dads with their kids. I see dads taking their kids anywhere and everywhere. No moms around or nothin' sometimes. I know this isn't really completely new, but, meh, I don't know, I think it's cute. :)

On our way back to the metro stop we pass ilovecookie.com which is a tiny little shop FULL of Western foods like Kraft Mac n Cheese, RANCH!, real people Cheetos, and the likes. OMG, yay!

Anyways. We make it back to the metro stop where I quickly get distracted by this huge bridge looming in front of us on the other side of the street. I looked over my shoulder to tell the boys that they can go home if they want, but I'm not ready and I head on off towards the bridge. It was such a beautiful view. On one side, you just see the river heading home towards Ori and the other side goes towards Seoul and has a tiny little waterpark. So colorful! It was full of tents that families posted up for the day to stay out of the sun (they hate the sun here) and let their kids play in the knee-deep waters. So adorable. I went down and hung out for a bit and the boys joined the second time after I told them how awesome it was (they were busy modeling for each other...).

The bridge


Facing Ori.


Water "park"


Pretty.



After the teensy trip to the water "park" we hung out on the bridge in the breeze and sun and talked for a good long time. Then, when I realized my Reeses were melting, we decided it was time to head on home.

All in all, a great weekend. I really enjoyed Jeongja. Such a cute little place. Really. I want to go back and actually wander around more. :)

The end. I've been a bit homesick... I miss and love you guys!

Oh! My parents have started their overseas adventure, too! Right now, they are on their way to Pakistan with Seester. Seester will be there for two weeks and the rents will be there for a month before they make their big move to Kuwait for two years! Craziness...

Love.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

American v. Korean Culture

The following chart explains the difference between American culture and Korean culture.

MONOCHROMATICE CULTURES POLYCHROMATIC CULTURES


  • Take time commitments seriously
  • Time commitments are an objective to achieve, if possible
  • Adhere religiously to plans
  • Change plans often and easily
  • Emphasize promptness
  • Base promptness on the relationship
  • Short-term relationships
  • LIfetime relationships
  • Do one thing at a time
  • Do many things at once
  • Respect for private property
  • Seldom borrow or lend
  • Reciprocal obligations
  • Borrow and lend often and easily
  • Low context (one says what one means)
  • High context (words are not the full picture)


North America, UK, Germany, Switzerland & Scandinavia France, Italy, Latin America, Spain, North Africa, China, Japan, Korea

Sunday, July 18, 2010

This Weekend

I did nothing. :] Well, sort of. I was supposed to go to that Mudfest thing, but opted out. Jason Teacher decided not to go to save money and Katie Teacher and I had been kind of eh about it, which is weird considering a couple weeks ago I was so excited for it... Eh, anyways. So, I was eh about it and found out from the person planning it that it was okay if I didn't go as long as I paid her for my train ride (that I wouldn't be on. Had to pay because she already bought everything, so it's only fair... Plus it was less than 40$, so whatevs). So yes. One of the reasons I didn't want to go is because I wikipedia'd it. Not my scene. Really. It just seems like a big rave... eh numero uno. Then it was raining all day Friday and the weather center said it was supposed to rain all day Saturday (aka the day we'd be there), eh numero dos. And then I was just like I don't really feel like drinking... apple juice :) Eh numero tres. I feel pretty good about that decision just because I was nervous about it before I even got there. I already had these preconceptions about it and yea. So yup! I stayed in Ori this weekend :)

Anywhos. Yesterday, Jeremy and I went to AK Plaza at Seohyeon, which is a couple stops up from our stop. It was pretty sweet. Burger King, KFC, and a book store with a whole English section. Needless to say, I bought three books. YAY! And today, I was going to go to Costco with Jason teacher and Ted, but I'm not sure if that's happening anymore, so I'm going to start cooking! :) I also bought yellow rainboots today for 35$. Originally a little more, but I got a 10% discount and a free tshirt. Say whaaaat. Love this customer service, man.

And a youtube video, just for you Ryan T Alley, sheesh:

Kickin' it in Geumchon by EV Boys

Also! I looked into a couple volunteer opportunities around Seoul. I'm stoked. I sent out at least 4 or 5 emails to the organizations, so hopefully I'll be hearing back by the middle of this week. Yay!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Working on 7 Weeks

This will be a brief update since I'm being super lazy.

So last week we went on a field trip to a summer camp/water thingie. I guess you could call it a summer camp type of thing. We played with bubbles, played in the pool, went down a giant hill on tubes (SO much fun!) and the kids played in these blow up pools. So cute. It was so much fun. Everyone had a blast. The kids were pooped afterwards, though. Actually, now that I think about it, so was I! A couple of the kids wouldn't wake up when we got back to the school. I picked up Alex 1 to set him on his feet hoping he'd wake up, but no, he just collapsed into my arms. Funny.


The past couple weekends we haven't done too much, just stayed in the Suji/Ori area hanging out with friends/saving money for our upcoming trips. This weekend we are going to Mudfest. As far as I am aware, it's where a bunch of white people go to drink and get muddy. We'll see how it goes. I've heard that it's something you should do when you are here, so I'm stoked! Then we have our summer vacation that is from July 29th- August 4th. Jason, Katie, and I are leaving on the 28th right after school to fly down to Jeju Island and we'll be staying there til the 1st, I believe. Then from there, we are flying to Busan to meet up with Sara Brown til the 3rd. I'm excited! Travels! Yee.



I've also just found out that we have a break in September. It's some sort of holiday from the 21st to the 23rd. Some schools take off the whole week since the 21st thru the 23rd is in the middle of the week, but we're not completely sure of our school's plans yet. I'm hoping I'll be able to do some out-of-country traveling for this junks.

Anyways. I've been here for almost 7 weeks. Craziness. Time flies by for the most part. I've been playing host to a bit of homesickness recently, but it's nothing outrageous so that's good. It's really only times when I miss the States that I get homesick, so that's good! Because I've been feeling sorta down, I decided that giving my fingers "tattoos" would be an awesome idea. It has cheered me up quite a bit, actually. Take a lookskii:

Aw, my fingers love each other! *smiles*

I have been trying to keep myself pretty busy, it's kind of hard to do, though, because I am always so exhausted after work! But I try, I try. :) There is so much more of South Korea than I ever thought there would be, so I'm excited to get the hang of traveling so I can do some myself. Yupyup. Anywhos, that's about it for now! I am so sorry for the delay!

Hugs n kisses!