Thursday, June 25, 2009
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Monday, June 22, 2009
Monday, June 15, 2009
The opening ceremony was interesting, to put it mildly. We were told we were going to see a performance and then in walks three very scantily clad Korean girls with instruments which they preceded to "fake play" to recorded music while they danced provocatively. It was all a little much for a Tuesday morning, but hey, it's Korea. The rest of the time we attended lectures on teaching techniques and co teacher relationships and did some practice teaching. Some of the lectures were really interesting and I left with a lot of new ideas to use in the classroom. At night they played Korean movies and we just hung out and had a few beers. We watched a great movie called the Host which I highly recommend if you can get your hands on it. It was a monster movie, but minus all the Hollywood cheese. This one was funny, thrilling, sad, and satirical all at once.
On Friday we finished at 11 am and the sun was shining. I couldn't wait to get home and was extremely grateful for the half day. I had to unpack then repack immediately because I was off to Jeju Island for the weekend. Jeju is known as "Honeymoon Island" or "The Hawaii of South Korea", but I laughed off both descriptions feeling absolutely sure there was nothing even closely resembling Hawaii in Korea. It's located just off the southern coast of the country and I thought it was too far north to look the way it had been described to me. I was wrong, however.
Maddy and I had signed up for a biking trip through meetup.com and we were leaving early Saturday morning. Luckily, Maddy lives right near the airport, so I spent the night at her place, avoiding waking up before dawn.
The trip was absolutely amazing. The weather must have decided it owed me one, because despite forecasts of rain we only saw sunshine and blue skies. On day one we biked around Udo Island, a smaller island off Jeju's East Coast, then hiked up a volcanic crater for a nice view of the island. We went to ride horses after that, which was more of a kids' pony ride than anything. The horses trotted around for a while then ran around in circles on a track while I tried to hang on to both the saddle and the ridiculous cowboy hat they made me wear.
In the evening we headed to our lovely hotel by the beach for a BBQ (complete with tofu for us veggies) and a campfire under the stars. The next day the weather was even more perfect and after spending the morning at the beach, Maddy and I decided that we just couldn't bear to leave for the scheduled itinerary that consisted largely of being indoors. We opted to catch a cab and meet the others at the airport, so we spent the rest of the day lounging on the sand and eating delicious fresh seafood at a Japanese restaurant overlooking the ocean.
So Maddy and I had a delightful Honeymoon amidst the palm trees and blue green water. We came home refreshed and significantly sunburned and after two weekends away, I'm ready to take on the city again.
Enjoy the pictures below!!
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Thursday, June 4, 2009
For those of you not in Korea - noraebangs are a phenomenon that might be referred to as Korean Karaoke Rooms. They are absolutely everywhere and if you see some Koreans drinking soju you can bet they will be hitting up the noraebang shortly. In Korea, karaoke is done in private rooms. That way, you can make a fool of yourself and only your coworkers will see, not those pesky strangers.
I nearly died today at work when my friend Steve posted this video online of the comedic genius that is Flight of the Conchords doing up a noraebang.
Please enjoy. You can thank me by mailing me some Mexican food (really, please, I'm dying over here.)
YOU ABSOLUTELY MUST WATCH THIS VIDEO
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Presently, the storms have receded to nothing more than rumbling threats on the edge of my mind. They threaten my Saturdays but stay safely out of view. The sun once again fills the sky, spiking temperatures and causing restlessness all around. The heat has made my students much more difficult to handle, but also much more hilarious. My third graders have gotten in the habit of coming into the classroom calling, "Hello moto" like little parrots. The students have also been coming up with some interesting answers to my questions.
me: What do you call somebody who works in a pharmacy?
6th grade boy: Ummm... drug store human!!
me: What do you want to be when you grow up?
I also have a friend who asked his students what the currency in Mexico was and they answered "Nachos!"
I know, I know, its a common stereotype that you are tired of hearing about. Or wait a minute...
Apparently my coteacher's mother doesn't even like to watch American films because she can't tell the characters apart. So really, I can't blame my students, because that thirty five year old female scientist with brown hair could easily be my twin sister.
Also amusing was the day I wore a dress to school for the first time. Its taken three months, but I wasn't in the mood until the weather got hot. I had several conversations that day that went something like this:
Korean Teacher (with look of complete amazement): You look nice today.
me: Thank you.
KT: you are wearing a dress.
me: yes... I am.
KT: Oh, is it a special day?
me: No, not really. It's just hot.
KT: Oh, because you always wear pants.
me: Yeah, I usually do wear pants.
KT: But today you are wearing a dress so I thought maybe it was a special day.
me: nope, just a regular day
KT: Its just that every day you have on a shirt and pants....
Either Koreans really don't like change or I need to start dressing nicer at school.
On a totally different note I have some fun weekends coming up. I am going camping at the beach on the east coast this weekend, then next weekend will be biking and more beach on Jeju Island. Jeju is off the southern tip of Korea and is known as the country's Hawaii, however I am fairly certain there is nothing even slightly resembling Hawaii in Korea. It is supposed to be really nice though and Maddy and I are taking the trip with a meetup.com group so we will meet a lot of new people.
Then in July we have Mud Festival. Basically it's exactly what it sounds like: a big group of people (mainly foreigners) gather at the beach, drink, and throw mud at each other all weekend. What could possibly be better?? I mean that. Mud is the best. Oh, and I also have my bungee jumping adventure coming up the last weekend in June (see my poll ----->).
I have had a blogging lull lately now that I have settled into a routine. Everything that used to seem strange has become normal and all the things that used to be normal feel strange. I've been rambling on about nothing a lot but hopefully I will have more to say now that life is getting eventful again. Thanks for bearing with me (and if you bailed long ago you don't even know I'm writing this or that I am giving you the finger right.... now.)