Tuesday, July 31, 2012


There's a place near my apartment called Shinhwa village. Last year (I think) a movie was filmed there so the art department came through and painted everyone's houses. They're all different colors, some have murals, and people still live in them. It's pretty awesome, it feels like a mix between a gallery and a neighborhood in South America. 

 One of my favorites
 So cute. He sits on somebody's roof
 I think every home should have a pink flying whale...

 I'm not sure if they're fighting or friends

 Another favorite
 This was the best wall
 A working phone booth. Totally necessary in a country where 5 year olds have smart phones....


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Somebody gave me their baby

I went out to dinner with 2 friends tonight and there was a baby at the next table that kept staring at us. He especially loved my friend Lauren. He didn't smile or laugh or really react to anything we did, just stared. His mom turned his chair around and around and he kept turning his head, like an ice skater. I think when he grows up he's going to have a foreign girlfriend. 

Towards the end of the night his mom just wheeled his chair over to our table and he sat between Lauren and I for a few minutes. I didn't really know what to do except laugh...no one has given me their child before. I've gotten used to a lot of things in Korea, but this one was a first. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Writing games

I played a "writing game" the other day with my students where I gave them words and they had to write sentences with them. I love that I am still able to make them believe anything is going to be fun by calling it a game and talking about it in my excited teacher voice. Here's some of what they wrote:

Don't touch.

The student is perfect.

I don't think so.

My leg is long.

My grandfather is scary.

Wow fantastic baby.

I have a eyes.

I don't like you.

My house is airport.

I have perfect sister.

Morning is terrible.

Me is young boy.

My test is perfect.

Airplane can rest at airport.

I'm younger than teacher.

I remember english words.

I speak english perfect.

My fishing pole is wonderful.

My mom is old I'm young.

Australia is kind of country.

Wow! You are great programmer!

Last year I bought my glasses.

I remember your phone number.

This morning is shiny.

I don't love sports.

Grandfather is handsome.

Fishing pole is very clean.

I don't have white board.

I want long chopsticks.

The elephant is long nose.

I have anything.

I like crazy man.

I don't have airport.

Wash my hand.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Stranger danger

This morning I was walking to school, and I saw a black car slow down and stop on the side of the road about 10 feet in front of me. I thought "I bet that person is waiting for me." Sure enough, when I got close the guy rolled down his window and yelled something at me. I looked inside for just a second to see if it was a person I actually knew, but it wasn't. I continued walking and he did the slow drive behind me for a few feet, then honked and drove away.
I learned a few things as a child:
Rule #1 - never take candy from strangers
Rule #2 - never EVER get in a car with a stranger
I don't know who you think you are sir, or who you think I am, but I am not about to let my life become an episode of CSI. Although, if that show has taught me anything, it's that Mac Taylor will find the smallest piece of evidence and he will catch the killer in one episode. So at least I've got that going for me.

Sunday, July 15, 2012


It's officially monsoon season in Korea. That means I carry my umbrella every day and wear my rain boots every other day. I've stopped checking the weather forecast because I just assume there will be rain at some point every single day.

Yesterday was the worst storm I've experienced in Korea. I stepped out of my apartment and there was at least an inch of water gushing down the street. No exaggeration. I got to the bottom of the street and there was probably 4-5 inches of standing water already. From my door to the taxi stand is about a 5 minute walk, and even with an umbrella, in those short 5 minutes I got soaked. Soaked. Good thing I didn't spend much time on my hair.

It rains a lot here but there is never thunder and lightning. I've heard thunder twice in a year and a half. The first time was about a month ago, and the second time was yesterday. I was standing outside waiting to cross the street and there was a huge crack of thunder. Everybody around me froze, like they had no idea what was going on and were afraid to move. I just smiled. Then there was some lightning and I think I heard a woman scream.

I took the train to Busan for church yesterday. This is what the train tracks are supposed to look like:

And this is what they looked like yesterday:
We sat there for 45 minutes. I think maybe the conductor was waiting for the water to recede, but that obviously didn't happen. Eventually he just went for it and we were fine.

And while I was on the train this was happening in Busan:
This is the main road right in front of our building, and this is my pastor and 2 others wading through at least 3 feet of water. Thank goodness that was gone by the time I got there, because I might have just turned around.

Monday, July 9, 2012

baby you're a firework

I did a 4th of July lesson with all my classes that, of course, included glitter fireworks. Even though I talked about it all day, it didn't feel like the 4th of July. I was at work, not out on a boat somewhere eating, and there were no fireworks to look forward to. It was kind of weird. But the kids and I had lots of fun. Unexpected - they all freaked out about getting glitter on their hands. They'll literally roll around in the dirt outside, but gold sparkles are just too much for them. 

 double fisting the glitter

 the one child not concerned about being messy
 too cute

 it's been about a week and there is still glitter everywhere. the 4th of July lives on forever!

 I told him to smile and he did this...
 ...and she did this

 ...and he did this

I hung out with some adults in the evening. We grilled at the park, got yelled at by a mob of Koreans for grilling in the wrong place, and ended up buying lighter fluid to get the charcoal going. Happy birthday America!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Going to the chapel

Today was my old co-teacher Yuri's wedding. Prepare yourselves, I took a lot of pictures. The bride and groom rented a bus because the wedding was out of town, which was very convenient for me. Every 30 minutes somebody would come by with food. We got to the wedding hall, which I like to call the wedding factory. There were at least 4 chapels. When we arrived a couple was getting married in Yuri's chapel, and when we left the guests for the next wedding were hovering outside the door. Nobody brings gifts, you bring cash. You give somebody your cash and they give you a meal ticket. You don't pay, you don't eat. Before the ceremony the bride sits in a little room and all her friends take pictures with her. 

 Such a princess dress
 I felt weird sitting on her dress, but she said it was ok

 Most of the Sun-am staff
 They had one of their engagement pictures on display. It belongs in a magazine. They dress up in different wedding clothes for the engagement shoot.
 Chapel, complete with runway and colored lights
 He's a high school math teacher, and after the pastor did his thing 3 of the students sang a song and the rest of them brought Yuri flowers.
 There were piggyback rides. Yuri looks unsure.

 Family portrait. They do this immediately after the ceremony, and about half the guests stuck around to watch and take pictures, and the other half went upstairs to eat. 
 Friends group picture

 The bouquet toss is completely staged. Yuri chose a friend to stand about 4 feet away and tossed it directly to her, while we all stood behind and watched.
 They had some dresses on display
 My English-speaking date
 Alexis, Lily, and me
 After the ceremony the bride changes and they have a traditional ceremony with just family.

The party bus. The TV was enormous. On the way there we watched a show about dogs and birds, and on the way back we watched a Korean drama.

Weddings here are way different than weddings at home. Because they take place in a factory the bride and groom don't have to do much planning; the staff doesn't have time to change the decorations in between each ceremony so they stay the same. The bride's dress is rented. The staff plans the menu. People generally looked nice, but some were dressed pretty casually. There weren't enough chairs for everyone so about 40 people were standing in the back. It's acceptable to talk during the ceremony. There was an announcer plus a pastor. It's kind of obvious that there's no rehearsal because nobody really knew what to do - the staff stood off to the side the whole time and told people what to do and where to stand. But it was beautiful. You can tell they really love each other, and they were both so excited and happy. I'm glad I got to be a part of her day.