Thursday, May 31, 2012

Dear...

Dear coteacher,
If you're going to sit silently in the back of the classroom and play with your phone, you should just not come to class. Watching you text your husband while I struggle does nothing but frustrate me.

Dear 1st grade,
You're lucky you're so cute. Especially you Ben. I'm no doctor, but I'm 98% sure you have ADD.

Dear Forever 21,
Thank you for making me look good all week. I have worn new clothes every single day.

Dear Seoul,
I love you, I miss you, but you have exhausted me.

Dear Hugh Jackman,
Why are you on a Korean cooking show right now? Is this what your career has come to after X-men?

Dear coffee,
You are the only reason I got out of bed this week. Thank you.

Dear Mad Men,
I've never watched you before this week, but so far I like you.

Dear exercise,
You have been neglected this week. Maybe next week I'll make it up to you. Maybe.

Dear bus stop,
You have taken away the TV that tells me when my bus is coming, and I do not appreciate it.

Dear June,
How did you get here so fast?

Dear Hawaii,
72 days :) 


Monday, May 28, 2012

Seoul

Monday was a national holiday in Korea, Buddha's birthday, so my friends and I took advantage of the long weekend and went to Seoul.

Seoul makes my heart so happy. I feel like I can breathe there. And I know that's backwards, people are supposed to feel better when they leave big cities, but I feel better when I get there. Nobody's child points at me and says omma...wayogooken. Strangers don't say hello and then run away giggling. No one gasps in shock when I walk into a room. When I'm in Seoul I don't feel like a foreigner, I just feel like a regular person in a big city. I feel free to be my American self.

And the people are so great. They have style. They're not all trying to look exactly like each other. Clothes say so much about a person, and in Ulsan they all pretty much tell the same story. Diversity is refreshing. And I realized I was staring at everyone's tattoos all weekend...oops. I'm just not used to seeing them anymore. 

I don't even try to speak Korean in Seoul, because even if I do, people switch to English for me. I should feel guilty but I don't. The subway and the bus stops are all in English too. Life is way easier when you don't have to think about translating all the time.

We stayed in a hostel. These are the things I realized I miss about living in a house: multiple rooms, carpet, and a dog in the backyard. One morning I tried to play with the dog, but he was pretty big and wanted to jump all over me and he didn't understand the words "down" or "no" in English. So...end of play date.

Want to know what I ate? I'm sure you do. Saturday night I had a burger and fries. Sunday I had french toast and bacon for brunch, and nachos for dinner. Monday I had Belgian waffles for brunch and Subway for lunch. There were lots of lattes in there too. I did not use chopsticks once all weekend. Success.

And the highlight...the shopping. Oh the shopping. Forever 21 in Seoul has 4 floors. 4. After about 3 hours and 50 items in the dressing room I bought a dress, pair of shorts, skirt, 4 shirts, and lots of jewelry. At H&M I got 2 more dresses and some feather earrings. I'm that girl now. And at Zara I got mint colored jeans. I dragged my poor friends to about 4 stores looking for these pants...apparently every woman my size in Seoul has them already.

I'm smiling as I sit here writing this. Trips to the big city are always fun and exciting, and I can't wait to go back.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Vacationnnnnnn

This summer I'm going to Hawaii! I'm SO excited, for lots of reasons

1.  My family and my friend Ashley will all be there. Last year the fam came to Korea, this year we're meeting in the middle. Ashley thought about coming to Korea to visit, but the only days I won't have
to work I'll be in Hawaii, so we decided it would be stupid for her to come to Korea, and we'd have more fun together in Hawaii

2. It's Hawaii. Who doesn't want to go there?! And I love the ocean more than anything...I think I might be part mermaid. I want to go snorkeling, do a little hiking, see Pearl Harbor, and lay in the sand.

3. Not only is it Hawaii, it's America. In between climbing volcanoes and eating pineapples I can go to Target and eat at Applebees. I can talk to anybody I want. I'm going down a day before everybody else,
and my plan is literally to spend time on the beach, in the grocery store, and in some target/wal-mart type store. I had a dream about it last night,and it was awesome.

Only 82 more days until I say aloha :) haha

Friday, May 18, 2012

Teacher's Day

Tuesday was teacher's day. The 6th graders were lined up outside the front doors, and they clapped and cheered as all the teachers arrived. I was told teacher's day was on Friday, so I was super confused at first. I wasn't sure if somebody important was coming behind me and I was stealing their glory, or what.
 By lunchtime I had acquired all these goodies: bread, chocolate, flowers, and oragami
 All balloons should be shaped like hearts
And at night class I got flowers :)

Monday, May 14, 2012

My week in pictures


 A drawing of me from one of my girls. It's nice to know that someone sees me as a Disney princess :)
 Happy mid-terms kids
 Crunky bar from a student
 Buddha's birthday lanterns
 Morning tea in a winky cup
 Yellow dust has arrived
 Pastel truck
 Rain rain go away
I was given a rose wand from a student

And some things I didn't take pictures of:

Friday was field trip day for everyone except the English staff, principal, and some secretaries. We had to stay at school all day. We started the day with a kimbap and chicken wing buffet at 9:30. Then principal wanted to take a group walk, but everyone except one person managed to avoid that. I booked my Hawaii flight (I'll tell you more about that soon), spilled brown sauce and orange juice on my white shirt, and spent an hour playing ping pong.

I saw Avengers! Amazing. I wish my hair was as beautiful as Thor's. I went with my friend Paul and I think we were the only 2 foreigners in the theater. The movie was in English with Korean subtitles, and the humor didn't translate well because there were only 3 times the whole theater laughed with Paul and I. And it was a funny movie...we laughed a lot. I think most of the sarcasm gets lost on translation. I wonder if they thought we were crazy? 

After the movie we went to a new restaurant. Either they didn't have picture menus or the waiter was too lazy to bring us one, because we were given a piece of paper with a list of food and we just picked something. They brought us meat and it was good. Then they brought us cold noodle soup, then they brought us rice. Then some waitress came over and asked us if we were supposed to have all that food. 1. We are foreigners. We didn't even see a menu. We don't know. 2. You work here ma'am! It is your job to figure it out. They ended up taking it all away, which was fine because the meat filled me up. 

Ohh, 1 more picture

This is the view I have from church :) My new church has a new location. We are now meeting in a bar on the 14th floor of a building, and we get to look out at the city and the beach.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Sometimes traveling makes me crazy


Friday Bethany and I left for Seoul for our church retreat. And it was an ordeal. Anytime you travel in Korea, it turns into an ordeal. Public transportation is great and you can get literally anywhere you want, but you will probably have to take busses and trains and taxis and subways and airplanes.

I took one bus, met Bethany, and together we got on a different bus. That bus got stuck in a lot of traffic, and we arrived at the train station at 7:39. Our train was supposed to leave at 7:41. We had a printout confirming our tickets, but we needed to get actual tickets, so we pushed our way to the front of the line, but of course the 3 employees were already busy with 3 super needy customers. Luckily Jesus sent us an angel in the form of another employee, and he asked us if we needed help. We told him our train was leaving in literally 2 minutes, and he said “follow me” and started running.

We ended up in some back room employee offices, and he kicked this lady off her computer to get us our tickets. Then he said “follow me” again and started running even faster. We were running through all these secret passageways with our purses and bags, trying to keep up with this guy. He sprinted up the escalator. Sprinted. He took those stairs 3 at a time and was already at the top when I was halfway up and thinking “I can’t do this anymore.” My legs were burning. Bethany was behind me, and some other latecomer was behind her and he was pushing her up the stairs. We got on the train, sat down, and one minute later it pulled away. And we were laughing SO HARD. The people around us for sure thought we were crazy.

Plus we were in first class with all the serious businessmen reading their newspapers and writing on their ipads. Why were we in first class? Because Thursday evening Bethany realized our tickets were for 7 AM on Friday instead of 7 PM, and the only 2 seats left on the train we needed were first class seats. Upgrade! Except it’s really not that different. There are less seats and they’re slightly bigger, but that’s all.

So after 2 busses, a train, another bus, and about 5 1/2 hours, we made it.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Video #1

Oh the stretching. Every day after lunch this song comes on and the kids are supposed to stop what they're doing and stretch. They also do it before gym class and on sports day. Watch the 2nd boy in the blue shirt...he either has no idea how to stretch or just doesn't care. And knowing him, it could be either :)

video


The best school day

Sports day was just as fun this year as it was last year. The weather was BEAUTIFUL…we couldn’t have asked for anything better. The kiddos played a lot of the same games, but there were some new ones. My fav was a running game, and while they were running around the track they had to jump rope with a hula hoop, do a somersault, jump a hurdle, and limbo under a pole. Dangerous? Absolutely. But luckily nobody got hurt. Several kids did get stuck halfway through their somersault though. One kindergartener just laid there until somebody came and unfolded her. I had to man the hula hoop station so I don’t have pictures, but trust me that it was as funny as what you are picturing in your head right now.
And to top it all off, vice principal let us go home after lunch! Originally she was going to make us sit there until 5:00 even though the kids were gone, but she must have been in a good mood, and I was home by 2:00. 


 Me and the co-teachers, Lily and Seo Ah
 National anthem
 Their shirts were 2 people running a 3-legged race saying "We are the best." I need one
 Running in a line
 2-sided card game. Blue team was turning over the blue side, and green team was turning over the red side
 I got to play the fishing game with the parents :)
 I won toothpaste
 My fav game made a re-appearance

 Snack time
 Make sure your shoes are tied

 Arrow throwing. It's harder than it looks

 Hula hoop jump rope
 Kick your shoe into a hoop
 Whole school relay race
These 2 cried because their team lost :( Poor babies. We all laughed a little

Stay tuned for videos tomorrow

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Tidbits

For lunch one day school served potato soup, pork, rice, kimchi, and some veggies. Great meal. But as I was eating I thought, for probably the first time in my entire life, "this isn't spicy enough." I have officially changed.

I found good kimchi. I almost hate to admit it. We were at a restaurant and we tried to ask the owner what he does differently. I think he said he cooks it...normally they ferment it. We're still not totally sure, but we ordered seconds.

One of my 3rd grade girls asked me if I had a boyfriend, and I said no. She goes, "but teacha, you are pretty" and I thought "awwww you're so cute" then she said "teacha, I have boyfriend and you don't." Good feelings gone. But we did have this convo in Korean, so at least I've got that going for me.

This weekend I went to a whale festival, which was so fun. We met these characters. And I got sunburned. I'm not so excited about the burn, but I am happy that it's finally warm enough to get some color. One of my co-teachers actually told me I'm too white, and they think pale is good...

On the same day I went to the bamboo forest, which I've been meaning to do pretty much since I got here. Katie and I would always say "let's go next weekend." I finally did.

Most of the foreign teachers had to be at a training for 2 days. We didn't learn much, and all my friends were in different classes than me. But they did give us lots of 10 minute coffee breaks and really long lunches. I was the typical American who wanted McDonalds :) I had my first bulgogi burger, which is not the same as a hamburger but it's not terrible either. 

Tomorrow is sports day! Unfortunately it's sports day at both my schools, so I'll miss out on Sun-am's because I'll be at JangSaengPo. But my camera battery is charged and ready :) And after that Bethany and I are going to a retreat up near Seoul with our new church. Happy weekend everyone!