Friday, November 14, 2014

Strange Korean snacks

A friend posted a video on facebook titled "Americans try Korean snacks for the first time." I assumed it would be pretty entertaining so I clicked on it, and it did not disappoint. And guess what? I've eaten everything they've eaten, minus the fish sausage, because why would you ever do that to yourself? Watch!

Wanna know what I think about all these foods? Good.

Milkis - Really good carbonated milk flavored drink. I avoided it for a long time because it sounds like something that will make you throw up, but it's not. If there's no Coke Zero around I'll drink it.

Squid chips - I'm not a seafood fan so I've only had these once intentionally and a couple times accidentally. It looks like a brown cheese ball but it doesn't taste like one.

Fish sausage - No. Just no. Sausage should not be made from fish, it should not look like string cheese, and it should never have chunks in it. For some mysterious reason my students love these. They buy them at the market before class and just watching them eat it takes away my appetite.

Rice cake - Yum! When I worked in public school they would serve these for lunch on special days. They're really chewy and they have lots of different fillings. Red bean is not the best, but I admit it's grown on me.

Fish shaped ice cream sandwich - Anything shaped like a fish is fun in my book! And there's that red bean again. My first year here my friends and I called red bean "sneaky bean" because you find it EVERYWHERE, particularly places where red bean does not normally belong, like pastries, donuts, and ice cream. And because it's dark and in dessert food it can easily be mistaken for chocolate. Until you take a bite. Red bean used to taste like disappointment, but now when I see dessert I assume it's not chocolate and just don't get my hopes up.

And there you have it. Now do you understand why I miss American grocery stores?

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


Earlier this year I started teaching babies and it has had its ups and downs. I prefer teaching older kids because I can reason with them and joke with them and give them some responsibility, and that is just not this age group. But, I am happy to say that after a few long hard months the little ones have learned almost all their abcs, all their colors and shapes, they can write their names most days, and they're starting to learn how to read words. I'm proud of them and even more proud of me! They've also colored quite a few pictures during the last 10 minutes of class when they've reached their learning capacity for the day and I've reached my teaching capacity.

Last week one of them came in with a stick-on tattoo of an angry bird on her hand, and the others were jealous. One girl stuck out her had and said "bird" and I drew her one, and she LOVED it. Ever since then it's become a fun game we play. They come running over to my desk and say all the English words they know, and I give them beautiful tattoos, and then we can start class.

I am obviously a talented artist. 

There's something so endearing about these moments. Our communication is very limited - they babble to me in Korean and I actually understand a lot of what they say, but I can't converse with them the way I do with my other classes. This is one small way that we can have fun together and I get to enjoy being with them without any kind of struggle. 

Until the day they ask for a drawing more complex than a shape - then it's game over kiddos. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

A blast from the past

Friday was a holiday and we had no school, so I took a day trip with some friends to my Korean hometown of Ulsan. I haven't been there since I moved away almost 2 years ago. While I lived there I didn't particularly love it because there wasn't that much to do, but I was really excited to go back for a visit. It felt the way it feels when I go home to America - some stores were gone and new things had taken their places, but overall everything was exactly the same. It was really familiar and comfortable. I pretty much remembered where everything was, how to get there, what things were called (which is a big deal for me...I'm not so great with directions). I still don't really have that in Busan - this city is massive and spread out and I've got friends who have lived here much longer than I have so I just end up following them around when we go out. It was refreshing to be back in a place I knew so well.

 I completely forgot about this ferris wheel, but it was my landmark in the beginning when I was trying to find my way around. If I could see it I knew I wasn't lost.

We stopped for coffee at a cute little cafe decorated like a living room.

The people I was closest to in Ulsan have all moved away and scattered, and it was fun to look at places and remember who I was there with and what we did, and think about where we all are now. We had some really good and fun and stupid and hard times trying to figure out Korea together, and as cheesy as it sounds almost every street and restaurant brought back some kind of memory. I probably wouldn't have made it without that initial group of friends.

Ulsan was a great first city for me to live in. It eased me into living in this country and gave me a good taste of Korea without being so overwhelmingly big and busy. I had great schools and coteachers, and I made some dear friend during my 2 years there. It may not be the most exciting city in the world but it has a special place in my heart.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Spying on my neighbors

Summer is winding down in Busan- the humidity has died down so you don't sweat walking everywhere, most days I'm wearing jeans instead of shorts, and I can turn off the air conditioning and leave my windows open. So can all my neighbors, and guess what? I'm learning quite a bit about them all! I must live in a building full of night owls because I don't hear anything in the morning/early afternoon before I go to work, and even when I get home it's pretty quiet. But around 11 the party gets started.

There's a family lives below me that sounds like a grandma, mom, dad, and pretty young baby - I'd guess around 1 or 2 years old. The baby cries a lot, probably because grandma and mom yell at the poor little one. I'm glad I don't understand what they're saying because it sounds very harsh and I think I would cry too. It makes me crazy listening to them because they're just making it worse. No child will be calmed by an adult yelling at them. I thought that was common sense? Dad, on the other hand, is very soothing. I hear him singing and the baby giggling a lot, and it's so cute. I hope mom and grandma catch on soon.

Another guy gets home around midnight and he always brings a group of friends with him. There are usually 3 or 4 voices and lots of laughing and glasses clinking. The other night there was a pretty big crash and it sounded like he broke all his dishes. Bear started barking and growling when he heard it, it was pretty funny. The guys upstairs were't too pleased either. This one has the potential to be very annoying, but usually I can tell they're having a good time and it makes me smile.

By far the weirdest is hearing my fellow English speaker. I've met him in the elevator a few times so he's not a stranger, but I wouldn't call him a friend either. With everybody else it's pretty much white noise - I hear but I don't comprehend so I can just keep doing what I'm doing. But the English speaker I can't tune out. Sometimes I feel so uncomfortable I get up and close the window. He doesn't say anything bad, but it's like I'm eavesdropping from within my own home. It freaks Bear out too. Unless there's a loud noise he just sleeps or plays with his toys, but when he hears this guy his ears perk up and he'll go over by the window to try to find where the sound is coming from. I think it's funny that he can distinguish English from Korean. Good job Bear!

And of course I have to assume that if I can hear them, they can hear me. They've probably heard me laughing during my shows, and they might have listened in on a skype call or two. They've definitely heard a lot of conversations with Bear. I don't really speak out loud in my apartment unless I'm talking to him, so if they can understand at all they must think I'm crazy.

In a few more weeks fall will arrive and we'll all close our windows, but until then I'll just keep spying on my neighbors.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Happy Korean thanksgiving

This past week was Chuseok - Korean thanksgiving. It's really pretty similar to ours - everybody goes to their grandma's house and they eat fried fish and rice cakes, and we don't have school! It was so so so nice having a 4 day weekend. It's always refreshing to have a break in routine and a few days off from the kiddos. Saturday I didn't leave the house (minus waking Bear) until I met a friend for dinner and then we met more friends for a movie. Snowpiercer, have you seen it? It was good but we watched some of it from behind pillows and were very bloody. There were hatchets :/

My stay-at-home buddy

Sunday was the usual church activities, group dinner, and cafe. It was so nice knowing there was no work Monday. Everybody stayed and chatted because no one had anywhere else to be. We sat on the balcony of a cafe overlooking the beach and a full was beautiful, and a little chilly but the view made up for the temperature. 

Monday was my favorite - beach day! Hands down the best thing about living in Busan is having 3 really nice, close beaches to choose from. We got ourselves some Starbucks and snacks and spent the day laying in the sand. There were other people there but it definitely wasn't crowded, the sun was out, and there was a little breeze so we weren't sweaty all day. Perfection.

Tuesday I met a friend for lunch, watched Friends at her house all afternoon, then got pizza for dinner. To sum up, Chuseok for me = eating, laziness, friends, and sun. Not bad :)

Wednesday I had to go to work, and I was pretty much the only one. Public school and universities had the day off, but us hagwons didn't. I knew it was coming and I wasn't bothered until I woke up that morning knowing everybody else was sleeping in. It turned out pretty good though, we had less than half of our kids and therefore watched movies and ate ice cream that my boss bought because she felt bad for us. I only has to teach one class, and nobody showed up for my last class of the day so I got to go home early! I basically had a 2 1/2 day work week. Happy thanksgiving to me! 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Rain, rain, go away

I've been meaning to write about my trip home, and I still will, but first I need to tell you about the crazy storm we had yesterday. I've never seen anything like it. We have monsoon season in Korea that is technically "over," and yet we got 9 inches of rain in an hour. It poured all morning and most of the afternoon. I had my rain boots and umbrella for my walk to school, but by the time I got there my pants were so wet that they looked dry. Water was actually shooting out of the drains like little fountains. Cars driving past sent up huge sprays of water, and none of them bothered to slow to keep us poor, already miserable pedestrians from getting wetter. The kids all came in soggy and scared too - rain is common but thunder and lightning are not - and they jumped at every loud noise. While the kiddos were busy with a worksheet and I looked out the window and saw this:

That is supposed to be a road. Our school is on the middle of a hill, and at the top of the hill is a mountain. Dirt and branches and water were running down the mountain and turned our street into a river. A few minutes later I looked out again and there were huge chunks of road floating down the river. Not good. About that same time my boss came in and said the van (most of our students get picked up and dropped off in the school van) couldn't get through because the roads around of our school were closed. She quickly called the parents and told them to keep their kids home, and then we had to figure out what to do with the ones that were already there...they obviously weren't going home on the van. Some of the moms parked a few blocks away and walked over in ponchos. One of our teachers walked some kids home who live close by, but he said he ended up piggy-backing them because he was afraid they were going to get swept away.

By the time the last kid was gone the rain had stopped and the teachers got out of there before it started again. On my way to the subway all the shop owners were out with their brooms and shovels and buckets trying to clean up. Everybody was working hard and working together to try to fix what they could. Across the street they're building new apartments, and all the construction workers stopped what they were doing pitched in too. It was actually very sweet.

I have a feeling they'll be busy filling in potholes for a while - or who knows, maybe they'll just leave the craters as a souvenir of this fun day.

Friday, July 11, 2014

This is what Friday morning looks like

All week it's been rainy and windy and gray, but today the sun came out to play! I basically live for the beach in the summer and I haven't been in a few weeks because of weather and busy-ness, so today Bear and I made our long-awaited return. 

Bear learned how to swim this morning! He really hates baths so I assumed he wouldn't be a big fan of the ocean, and I was right. I dropped him in and he paddled straight for shore and then ran out and started digging holes, like he could tunnel his way to safety. I tried again a while later and he did the same thing. He's afraid of almost everything in the beginning and then after a while he realizes it isn't so bad, so I hope after a few more times he'll think swimming is fun. Either that or he'll grow to hate me. We'll see. 

Look at that cute face full of sand

While we were drying off this man walked over and started throwing seaweed towards my umbrella. At first I wasn't sure if he was aiming for me or the dog, but then I realized he wanted Bear to eat it. No thank you, we'll stick to treats. I saw him wander over to a group of kids and try to share with them next. When their teacher said no he tied it around his head like a crown and headed off. I thought we were done with him but he showed up later with a huge pile of rocks that he dumped very near my towel. Summer always brings out the crazies. 

All in all it was a great morning, and as always, I can't wait to go back!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

I skipped work for a latte

Today the stars aligned and all the kiddos from one class were absent!  Kids are gone all the time, but very rarely are all of them missing from the same class on the same day. And today was one of those days. I did a little prepping, a little cleaning just in case somebody showed up late. And once I knew nobody was coming I was outta there! I stuck my head in the office and said "Hey, nobody's here so I'm going to take a Starbucks break. Ok?" And my boss said "See you in an hour."

Look at that beautifully empty classroom

 It was a hot sunny day, and I took a stroll through the market to the coffee shop. I sat in there and sipped my latte and enjoyed the peace and quiet while checking facebook, and I didn't have to tell anybody to sit down or raise their hand, and I didn't have to answer any questions, and it was glorious.

 Let's hope it happens again tomorrow. 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

When life gives you lemons, move!

Monday night I was sitting on the floor watching tv when I noticed water trickling down from the ceiling. I'm all about waterfalls, but not indoors. It created a small puddle on the floor and it was near an outlet, which scared me. I called my friend and asked her to call my landlord (times like this is when not speaking Korean is really hard) and he came over and looked at it. He poked around for a while and then said "I'm sorry, I don't know." He promised a repairman and left. 

Tuesday, no repairman. Wednesday, no repairman. So I called my friend again before work (thanks Mina!) and she got the landlord over. He told me the upstairs neighbor's air conditioning drain was leaking into my wall and in order to fix it they need to rip the wall open. But good news - the apartment next to me was open and I could either move in temporarily or permanently if I wanted. Bear and I went over and looked, and it was great! Bigger, more open, better layout. So I said I'd take it, and by bedtime I was all moved in. Sometimes I know what I want and I don't want to wait, and this was one of those times. 

Everything about this is so great - I love settling in to new places yet I hate the process of moving. But it doesn't get much easier than carrying things next door, especially when you have helpers. I didn't even box anything up, we just grabbed handfuls and walked. I now have a seperate living area with space for a loveseat, instead of just my bed in my old place. Which means furniture shopping, yay! The dog has more space to play, my bathroom is bigger...I could go on and on. I'm not completely satisfied yet - there's still some shopping and reorganizing to do, so stay tuned for photos :) But overall this was a very fun, very unexpected surprise. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The joys of being a dog owner

It's been 6 months, and I'm having trouble remembering what my life was like before I got Bear.

I think I used to wake up to an alarm clock, but now I either wake up to a dog whining "it's time to play so let me out of this kennel," or a tongue licking my face if I didn't lock him in the night before.

I didn't used to go for 3 walks a day, sometimes in the rain, sometimes in my pajamas, sometimes carrying a bag of poo. I didn't have to avoid around all the scary manhole covers or motorcycles, and I didn't have pockets full of plastic bags at all times.

Yeah, he's vain

I didn't used to have dog treats and rope toys in my basket at Home Plus, or feel guilty for not having treats or toys and coming home with lots of things for me but nothing for my animal. 

My schedule didn't used to revolve around someone else's bladder. 

And I definitely didn't used to have teeth marks in my baseboards.

But I also didn't have somebody yipping with excitement every time I opened the door. 

I didn't have a little friend to play with and talk to (like he's an actual person that can be reasoned with...oops) and sit next to me while I watch TV. 

I didn't have a buddy to walk with me to the beach or the bank when I didn't want to go alone. And I didn't have anybody to make me walk 3 times a day and lose 10 pounds (thanks Bear!)

I didn't have anything to take care of besides myself. It may seem silly, but it's really satisfying knowing this creature is alive and healthy and happy because of me. If I accomplish nothing else in a day at least I know I fed my dog. 

He has made my life very different, that little Bear. He's a little bit needy, a little bit naughty, but even when I'm mad at him he's pretty cute. 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

All I know is...

Last time I was at the beach there was a Kindergarten class playing in the sand, and they all lined their shoes up in this cute little row.

I haven't felt like cooking all week. I had a bowl of blueberry wheats for dinner and it was so satisfying.

I usually don't mind humidity (weird I know) but it has been really intense and draining lately. I keep drinking instant coffee at work to fight off the sleepies.

Bear must be feeling a little neglected because he keeps trying to lick my hands as I type.

Speaking of Bear, I bought him a ball that has a bell inside and he was afraid of it until I held him in my lap and waved it in front of his face for a while. Does that make me a bad dog mom?

One class had some writing homework this week, and a boy came in with all these sentences about Cindy and Andy that he had clearly copied from an English book. And then he got upset when I didn't give him any points. 

There is a man that drives a truck around my neighborhood selling watermelons for about $5, and the only time I see him is when my arms are already full of things or I'm on my way to work. I want a cheap watermelon!

Tomorrow is Friday and I might just play games in all my classes. Most of the kids decided to be really difficult this week and they don't really deserve game day but I deserve a break from teaching them.

Happy almost weekend everybody!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Sometimes you just need a nap

I know little one, I'm tired too. Unfortunately I'm not allowed to take naps on the desk because I'm the teacher and I'm not 5 years old. But lucky for both of us it's a 3 day weekend! You will probably watch cartoons and color pictures and run around like a maniac and make your mom tired. And I will go to my beloved Seoul and eat all the Mexican food I can find and buy everything Forever 21 has in my size. And we will both probably come back on Monday and want to sleep on the desk.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Teaching babies is hard

Wrong, but so sweet

At the beginning of the month my bosses added a class of 4 and 5 year olds. I think they thought I'd be thrilled, but they were wrong. They were very wrong. Teaching kids that age is so hard - not because the content is difficult, but because you have to make them sit still and pay attention to what you're doing. And in order to make them pay attention you have to put on a show. But the show can't be too entertaining, otherwise they'll get too excited and forget to concentrate on what they're supposed to be learning, and you'll end up with a classroom of screaming 5 year olds. It's a very delicate balance and I just don't have the patience for it.

Kids that age learn in a strange way too. For weeks and weeks you do the same things over and over - you sing so many versions of the alphabet song, you practice the flash cards, you write your letters in every color of the rainbow, yet they retain nothing. Yesterday I had them writing T on the whiteboard, then they had to go to their desks and do a letter T worksheet. During the walk from the whiteboard to the desk they completely forgot what letter we were practicing and what sound it makes. It was like a vacuum came and sucked all the English out of their little minds, and I had to start the lesson from the beginning again. And then finally one day in the distant future they'll come in and recite their abc's perfectly, and you're so proud but also so irritated because what took you so long?! I'm impatiently waiting for that day to arrive.

There are some older kids that stick around after their class is over to do homework or wait for their moms to come pick them up, and they are captivated by this class. I always catch them peeking through the window or walking up and down the hallway. Yesterday a girl actually fell into the classroom when I opened the door to go make copies because she had her ear pressed up against the door. So I decided to let them join in, and oh my gosh it's so great! These 3rd graders are so excited to sing the abc song with the babies and help them match their letters and color pictures together. It's adorable, and their excitement is starting to rub off on me. Having them in there also helps me keep my sanity a little bit, so win-win.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

I love my mornings

This week I was thinking again about how awesome my work schedule is. My bosses are very laid back and never gave me set hours - they trust me to do a good job and they let me decide when I come and go. I work hard but I also work smart and I usually don't spend more time than is necessary at my desk. And I love it so much.

I love that I can stay up late because I don't have to wake up early.

I love taking my coffee and my Bear to the beach while the sun is up.

I love that I can do all my errands in the morning and just be free when work is over.

I also love that people are at work when I go to the store, and I can usually get in and out really quickly. 

I love coming home to a clean apartment because I had time to tidy up before I left.

I love being able to meet friends for coffee or brunch.

I love that my commute isn't hectic because most people are already at work when I leave.

I love having time to sit at Starbucks and read. 

I love being able to skype with people back home and not feel rushed. 

And so much more. Life is good friends. I'm lucky and I know it. 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The little things

Oops, it's been a while since I've written. Lately I've been feeling like I don't have much to say because nothing seems super exciting. Which, I guess that in itself is something. I think a little while ago I reached the point where life in Korea became less of an adventure and more ordinary. My home feels cozy, I have great friends, my routine is set, I even have a pet. At times it's easy to forget that I look different and sound different because most days I feel very comfortable and confident doing what I do and going where I go. I used to feel like an outsider every day, but not anymore. There are definitely moments where I get a fresh realization that I'm a foreigner, but those are not the norm. It's interesting - in the beginning I never could have dreamed that one day I'd feel this way. 

Over the weekend a friend had a 90s themed birthday party. I went out and bought a scrunchie, and we spent the evening reminiscing about polly pockets and American girl dolls and skip its, and listening to all the boy bands we used to love so much. It was awesome, and so good to celebrate a fun friend. I knew her in Ulsan, then we both left for a little bit, and now we're both here in Busan.

And today was full of so many little surprises! I ended up with a free hour at work, so I got things organized and planned and even had some time to read my book. Then my boss' friend came in - she shows up about once a week to hang out in the office - and she brought me a coffee and a cookie! After that one of my boys gave me a Hershey bar, and then I came home to a pretty huge refund on my gas bill, which means now I have extra money to spend on summer clothes :) Life is good. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Letters to my students

Dear favorite student,

I like you a lot. Not because you're the smartest, or the cutest, there's just something about you. You have a great sense of humor. You understand jokes and sarcasm, which not a lot of kids get, especially in a second language. Good for you! You show up every day, you volunteer to read, and you're not afraid to speak up and potentially make mistakes. You're not mean to anybody and I don't think I've ever seen you in a bad mood. Everybody genuinely likes you and you set a great example for the other kids. I look forward to your class because you're such an awesome student. Thanks for making my day easier.

Thankful teacher

Dear funny boy,

You have a dry sense of humor and your funniest answers usually come out of left field. Sometimes you are very inappropriate and you seem to know things beyond your years - maybe ease up on the mature video games. But man, you make me laugh. Sometimes I should be scolding you but you catch me off guard and I can't keep a straight face. Luckily a lot of what you say goes over the other kids heads, and thank you for not explaining it to them. You make my days way more interesting and you've given me some great stories.

Entertained teacher

Dear unprepared child,

You. are. killing. me. News flash: you are going to need a pencil, an eraser, and your English book every single day. Quit acting like this is brand new information. I'm not asking for the moon here, I think this is pretty reasonable. I genuinely wonder what you're thinking as you walk to English class with nothing to use. Did you forget about yesterday when you needed a pencil and didn't have one, or the day before that, or the day before that? Do you think if you don't bring anything I won't make you do anything? Or do you maybe just not think at all? Whatever your reason is - do not bring a backpack full of shoes and snacks but nothing useful into this classroom one more time. Would you show up to soccer practice without a ball or cleats or orange slices? No you would not! Get it together child.

Baffled teacher

Dear mom of the boy who never does his homework,

It's the end of the month and your child has done his homework 3 times, literally only 3 times. He is definitely smart enough to finish it pretty quickly every night, so I have to assume he's just being lazy and you are a little bit too. After all you're the parent, and you see the homework sheet where your child writes down his assignment every day. He should be responsible and do it, but if he's not going to it's your job to make him. I don't know if you realize this but you're paying for this. Don't you want to get your money's worth? If he keeps this up you might as well funnel that cash into something more useful, like more smartphone apps. I bet your kid plays his phone games every day.  

Frustrated teacher

Dear English beginner,

I started teaching you 2 months ago and you didn't know half the alphabet. You made my job pretty hard because you were so shy and quiet, I could barely get you to practice making sounds. It was also really hard to tell when you did or didn't understand what I was telling you - I felt like I was talking to a brick wall half the time. But now! Now you can read! You make a lot of mistakes but you're doing it. You've learned how to sound out words and you stammer through anything I give you. It is very rewarding to see how much you've learned. You've tried really hard and you're doing a great job. 

Proud teacher

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Thanks for visiting Mom and Dad

My parents came to Busan last week! The whole family came to see me my first summer in Korea, and we did Seoul and Ulsan and a few day trips. This time around I obviously live in Busan and we just stayed around here. My bosses were great and gave me a few days off so I could spend time with my parents instead of my students. We had a lot of full, fun days. I got to show them what I do in a normal week and I got to do some things that were new to me too, which was great. I think my favorite part was taking them to all the different Korean restaurants. We ate a little bit of everything and they said they liked it all. They even used their chopsticks pretty well :)

Our first outing was to a temple on some cliffs right next to the ocean. It was unfortunately under some sort of construction/renovation/ugly transition time, but still pretty beautiful. 

Family selfie squinting into the sun. Mom closed her eyes in the good one.

One day we went to Busan tower, which I had never done before. It was a little cloudy that day so we didn't have the most crystal clear views, but still you could see buildings and oceans for miles. It's pretty impressive how they just built right around the mountains. And how a lot of the buildings look alike but at the same time are unique. We also spent a good amount of time watching tugboats go under a drawbridge. Never a dull moment in this family. 

Right after that we went to a very famous fish market. We saw this old lady with a bucket full of octopus that kept trying to escape and a crab that almost got out of his tank. Can you imagine if you were walking in the market and a crab ran up and pinched you?! That's the kind of stuff I think about in those situations. I did not take pictures there because I'm not a huge fan of dead fish, but I do like the boats the fish come in on. 

My favorite meal is gamjatang - potato and pork spine soup. The best. One of their last nights we ate there and then walked on the beach with some ice cream. A perfect way to end the trip. 

I'm glad you came to Busan parents! I'll see you this summer in Minnesota!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


I've been taking Bear to the beach and he loves it! We're going to have the best summer!

One of my 1st graders pronounces "elephant" as "lalaphant"!

I just finished re-reading the Hunger Games and I liked them even more the second time!

It's been in the 60s 3 days in a row! I think spring is here!

I had a sub a few days last week, and now that I'm back my students keep telling me how much they missed me and what a good teacher I am!

I found a new cute cafe overlooking the beach with a good hazelnut latte!

I get to teach 2 science classes a week now!

I found money on the ground and I used it to buy a snack!

I got a free microwave!

I did a Very Hungry Caterpillar project with the kiddos and they were more creative than I expected!

It wasn't completely dark when I left work tonight!

I have a box of Thin Mints in my cupboard! Thanks mom!

Only 2 more days till the weekend!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Lately I've been...

Lately I've been watching the Olympics. Non-stop. Cannot get enough. I even have an app on my phone with photos and articles and recaps and all kinds of other goodies. I'm writing this blog post in the middle of the night waiting for the hockey game I stayed up to watch to start. I just get so caught up in the competition, and it seems like every athlete has some emotional or inspiring story. The theme song alone excites me. I love it all. I don't know what I'm going to do when they're over.

Lately I've been re-reading the Hunger Games. It's so silly because I've read the series before and seen the movies - I know exactly what's going to happen but I still get so into it. Literally I was reading on the subway today, heart racing, and I almost missed my stop for work. Imagine if I had been late and that was my excuse.

Lately I've been walking little Bear several times a day. He made some bad choices last week that landed him in his kennel while I'm at work, so by the time I get home he has tons of pent up energy that needs to be released in the outdoors. Rain, sun, cold, or snow he does not care. Fun fact: after a rainy walk he hates being dried off with a towel. He cries like he's being tortured and I'm just waiting for my neighbors to come over one night prepared to rescue him from his cruel owner.

Lately I've been listening to nothing. Usually I like to listen to my music during my commute but I forgot my headphones a few days ago and I liked it so much that I chose not to bring them. It's kind of exciting being aware of my surroundings. The other night on my way home I heard a loud clacking sound and I realized I've been walking past a tap dancing studio every single day and never noticed. A tap dancing studio! How could I not know that was there? I'm sure it's either filled with little kids or old women, and I can't decide what would be better. I hope they have a recital one day.

Lately I've been so frustrated with one of my students. He consistently comes 30 minutes late to a 55 minute class. He hasn't done his homework since December and he brings his books and pencil less than half the time. He has given up, his mom has given up, and I'm very tempted to give up too. What's the point of me trying to get him to make an effort when no one else expects that of him? But at the same time if everybody lets him slack off in life what's his future going to look like? Ugh.

Lately I've been eating McDonalds often. Like once a week. They built one around the corner and I can't resist. Cooking is so much work and burgers taste so good. Don't judge.

And last but not least, lately I've been wearing my new heart socks! Thanks for the Valentine's package mom.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

A blog about Bear part II

Right now I'm pretty mad at Bear because 3 days in a row he's chewed up his puppy pad while I've been at work. I'm mildly concerned that he'll make himself sick, but mostly I'm annoyed and grossed out that I have to clean it up. If anybody knows how to make him stop please share the knowledge.  

He now weighs 6 1/2 pounds.

He got a new kennel. 

Bear really hates bath time. He gets mad and refuses to make eye contact and I just laugh at him because he's half the size when he's wet and I cannot take his anger seriously.

He likes to chase his tail and then hold onto it for a while after he catches it. 

He knows 5 words: Bear, no, sit, stay, and walk. 

Sometimes I hold him in the air like he's Simba.

Bear is afraid of the neighbor's bike in the hallway. I've tried to make face his fear because we walk past it on the way to the elevator many times a day, but he just runs as far away as possible. Baby.

We go on 2 long walks and sometimes a few short ones every day. Little puppy has so much energy.

Speaking of walks, he tries to pick up every piece of trash lying on the street. A few times I've looked down and noticed a wad of paper or a cigarette butt hanging out of his mouth. 

Bear is clingy. He follows me around and I step on him kind of often because he's always right under my feet. Give me some space dog! 

He's starting to shed. Boo. 

I still love him, even though he's naughty sometimes.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Pictures I sent InAi today

My lucky friend InAi received quite a few messages and pictures from me today. I thought I'd be generous and share them here as well :)

Picture #1

My afternoon beverage, because some days those kiddos just wear me out with all their arguing and getting out of their seats and asking questions I've already answered. Luckily Coke is full of delicious caffeine that helps me not turn into cranky teacher. But today the label didn't say Coca-Cola, it said I love you. Isn't that sweet. I love you too Coke, which is why I was almost finished with the bottle before I noticed the difference.

Picture #2

The other day a few friends were telling me about yarn bombing, which is apparently when people knit around large existing objects, like benches and statues and bicycles. It seems like a waste of time to me, although it is a pretty beautiful and impressive waste of time. Well on my way home tonight I noticed that the tree across the street at the pub had been yarned. It's funny when you talk about things and then see them in real life. I hope they finish the rest of the tree. 

Picture #3

Bear oh bear. It looks like someone got bored today and discovered the toilet paper. This is the first real mischief he's gotten into and I have to admit, it wasn't that bad. Even as I was scolding him I was laughing to myself because really? Who does this? You have actual toys you could play with, and you choose the toilet paper. His bone was even in the middle of the pile when I came home. I imagine he was chewing on it, then spied the toilet paper and thought, "Yeah, that looks like fun. Let me just gnaw on that like a chipmunk for a little while." All night he's been running around and coming back to me with little shreds of white stuck to his face. Having a puppy is not dull, that's for sure. 

Friday, January 17, 2014


I wonder what my dog is thinking a lot of the time. Like when he suddenly gets up and runs from room to room, and then calmly lays down again? Or when it's 2:30 in the morning and he decides to wake me up to play? I imagine his little brain says something like "Oh, she's so still, she must be bored. I should probably try to jump on the bed and liven things up." And why oh why does he continue to poo right next to the puppy pad?

And in case you're wondering what an unhappy wet dog looks like, here it is:

I wonder why my students show up to class with a backpack that doesn't have any books, pencils, or homework in it. Surprise! This is English class, and those are all things you're going to need to use today. And what are you carrying around if there's no school supplies in your bag?

I also wonder what my student was thinking when he drew this:

When we learn new vocabulary words I sometimes have the kids draw pictures to help them remember. As you can see, the word was bite but the picture was not. When I asked him what he drew he said it was Obama. Usually I can sort of figure out why they do weird things, but on this one I am at a loss for words. 

I wonder if it is ever going to snow in Busan. We're halfway through January and I haven't seen a single flake. Meanwhile everyone back home has pounds and pounds to play in. Share the goodness!

And probably most importantly...I wonder why I've had "Deep in the heart of Texas" stuck in my head all day. I have no idea where it came from. I don't often think of Texas, or hoedowns, or anything else that would make you sing that song. One of life's great mysteries I guess. 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A blog about Bear

Bear is about 3 months old and he has lived with me for almost 2 weeks.

He is honestly so cute. Every time I take him outside at least 3 people tell me he's cute or want to pet him.

His favorite toy is the ball.

He sleeps in a box that he recently learned how to jump out of. I need to upgrade to a kennel soon.

Walking is very challenging. At first Bear would go limp when I put his leash on. Then he would walk but decide to lay down in the middle of the street sporadically. He gets scared of every car and thinks every person is a friend, so he changes directions approx every 10 feet. And he just learned how to run, so he'll go from zero to sprinting in 2 seconds.

He gets the hiccups a lot.

He's pretty quiet, doesn't really bark except for sometimes at his toys.

I took him to the beach and he ate a lot of sand.

He plays for an hour and then sleeps for an hour. Being a growing puppy is very tiring.

He likes to look at himself in the mirror.

He weighs less than 5 pounds and half of him is just fluff.

I love him.