Friday, December 21, 2012

Xmas 2012!

Merry Christmas everybody! We had a good time today at school having our christmas party and watching the snow fall. My camera died on me so I couldn't get as many pictures as I wanted but I got a few before it killed over. I'm the 9th grade homeroom teacher, so I had those kids in my class for most of the day, and my kids brought lots of snacks so I had other kids in and out. It was fun^^

There was another decorating contest this year, but sadly I didn't win. Whether I'm allowed to or not I don't know, but I gave my kids bonus points on their tests for bringing snacks and we had a PARRRRRTAAY!

Tomorrow I leave for Texas! Woot! Woot! The plan is to get ready in the morning and roll my suitcase down to the nail shop, where the nice Korean lady will try to hurry (bali bali) and finish my nails quickly. From there I'll catch a bus up the hill to the university, where I'll wait for the Airport Limousine to pick me up and take me to the airport in Incheon 1 1/2 hours away. Hopefully the snow will melt by then and it won't take too long.

By the way, I found out today that Asiana Airlines allows you to book your seat AS SOON AS you book the flight BUT NOT 72 hours before the flight. But US Airways does NOT let you book your seat until 24 hours BEFORE the flight. Isn't that ridiculous? So I waited until 24 hours up until the flight to book my seat and then found out I can't because Asiana Airlines has the opposite rule of US Airways. Everything in Asia is backwards from the American way! I'm not bitter, I promise.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Chinese Dumplings

There's a lot more going on in Korea than me eating Chinese dumplings, but they were so good I had to share. Too bad I can't literally share. There's a place in Seoul that has traditional houses, where the rich and famous own a lot of the property. It's extremely expensive to own a house here, because, well, nobody lives in a house here. Everybody lives in an apartment. So to have a house all to yourself and use the space it takes to create a house all for yourself is considered quite a luxury here. Being from Texas I take for granted all the space, but in a city of 12 million, space is hard to come by.

This area of Seoul is called Bukcheon, or Bukcheon Village. On a little backstreet there, not far from the traditional houses, are some small but very good restaurants. The Chinese dumplings were hidden there in a crummy little space in between some nicer looking places to eat. I have the opinion that a business that looks like crap is either excellent or the absolute worst. This happened to be one of the ironically excellent places. They are all handmade and quite delicious (and cheap too!).

The only reason I know about the dumplings is because of a friend who took me there, so shout out to that friend.

In other news, things are going good in Korea. I'm a lot busier this year what with having more friends and all, haha. I did change churches this year, but I've met some people in the new one. And this year I'm taking a Korean class in another part of Seoul, so I've met some really interesting people through that.

I've also started taking some K-Pop dance classes after the Korean class.  (If you've heard the song "Opa Gangnam Style" on the radio, that's K-Pop^^) I'm quite jealous at the moment of some girls I met in class who are from Poland and Russia who can speak almost fluent Korean. They came to Korea to study for PhDs and Masters, so they are taking intensive language courses. I wish I had the time to do that.

School is going great. I'm not worried so much and am able to give the students work that is more on their level. Last year when I went home I was so tired and my brain was fried so I didn't do much. This year I was surprised to find that I have energy when I go home, so I've been doing more productive things with my time and hanging out with people more.

Last but not least, I'll be coming home for Christmas! It's just for 2 weeks, but it'll be better than being in Korea for that time. Miss you guys!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Better Late Than Never...

Hey everybody, sorry it's been so long since my last post. I'm back in Korea and things are going great. This week we had the Secondary Retreat, where we hauled the kids up into the mountains and had a 3-day getaway and time to focus on spiritual things and to get to know one another. The pics below are when we did the zipline (kinda anticlimactic but still fun). The coolest thing was paintball (I shot at least 2 people!) but I don't have any pics of that. The other pics are from the road trip there and back. This sign is in Chinese and Korean and the last part says "ramyen" or ramen, like for Ramen Noodles, get it?

Pretty colors :) 

 Hey! It's an outdoor pool in Korea! Very rare and seldom used. 

Me and the girls beside me (and a coworker in the back) - see how they use their peace signs differently?

 I think this is the Han River but I'm not certain.

These are pretty much the only trucks I see in Korea. If you can't tell they're pretty small.

 Just an example of more Korean characters for those that are curious.

 I'll always be grateful to 7Eleven for providing me my first meal in Korea last year when I arrived.

 That's my bank on the right - Nonghyup. It's the closest bank to the school so I can run down there (literally) during the day if I need to.

An example of what the buildings in Korea look like. It's no longer a big blur to me. 

Getting ready for ziplining (2 of my coworkers in the background). 

Friday, June 29, 2012

3 Kids for 2 Weeks

I must admit, I'm not much of a dog person, but when the opportunity comes along for me to spend 2 weeks in a nice house with a break from the world, I take it. Of course it helps too that I get paid. For 2 weeks I'm taking care of 3 boston terriers for my new step-aunt and step-uncle.

When we went somewhere to get fresh eggs and she said, "This is my niece Julie," it totally threw me off. She is my mom's fiance's sister, but I still hadn't made the connection. The point is that I need to do a good job because I'm part of her family now and she's part of mine. As I write this my mom is in France getting married. Congratulations mom! (I'm bummed I can't be there.)

Anyway, back to the dogs. There are 3 crazy dogs running around this house, and one of them might be smarter than me. Her name is Minnie. She is very good at jumping up behind me and licking my face before I have time to react. And she likes to play chase.

This post is basically to brag on myself for breaking my mold a little bit, because I did something I have never ever done for the first time. I let a dog lick my lips! Let me explain.

When I arrived to take care of the dogs, they got all licky and jumpy and I was not ready for the onslaught. But then I saw how much my aunt was so loving to them and how lovey they were to her. They would run around the house and then jump up next to her for a kiss (yeah on the lips) and then get petted and then jump off the couch and keep running around.

Well, now that she's gone, that's what they want to do to me. They run around and then jump up right next to me, and it's clear they want a kiss because they lean close to your face and their tongues are going 90 miles an hour. So yesterday I just sucked it up, closed my eyes, and closed my lips real tight together, and let Minnie kiss me. And I embraced the grossness that I felt was all over me in the form of dog slobber.

And now I have stopped trying to resist the onslaught of dog slobber. It's on my face, my hands, my clothes, and who knows what else, but the dogs are happy. And that is my job, to make the dogs happy. Haha. Hope y'all are having a happy summer.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Curtains Up!

We did a couple puppet shows last Friday as an alternative project to writing a 2-page book report, which the students hate and there's usually trouble with plagiarism. One of the other teachers helped me get all the supplies I needed to make the stage (old science project poster boards and a scarf and some scotch tape).
The kids performed 2 books: 9th Grade - Great Expectations and 8th Grade - Old Yeller
I still don't have pics from Old Yeller but the kids were really creative making their puppets for that show. Last minute I invited the whole school to come watch because there so much interest in the shows. They weren't Broadway-worthy performances, but they weren't bad either. I thought it was a good start for some of them, and next year I plan to do more things like this.
Below is an excerpt from one of the scripts for Old Yeller I just had to share. Enjoy. (Oh, and if you didn't know, Old Yeller is set in Texas.)
Old Yeller Script:

Mama: Haven't you guys caught anything?

(Searcy, Lisabeth, Jed meets together)

Searcy: We've to be careful of hydrophobia. That may make our cows crazy - or even to death.

(Lisbeth talks with Travis about their dogs)

Lisbeth: I really want that boy's heart. However, he is only interested in my dog (saying to herself).

Travis: Yeah, Lisbeth's dog is very pretty. It plays with Old Yeller very much. But...I don't like Lisbeth
that much. She always talks too much.

Lisbeth: Ah...Tra...Travis?

Travis: Why? Do you have anything to say?

Lisbeth: I like U! Can you be my boyfriend?

Travis: Hmmm.... I think just staying as a good friend would be better.

The scene closed and then the student said on his own, "So sad..." It was hilarious.
Great Expectations - Mrs. Joe and Pip

Great Expectations: Joe and Pip

Great Expectations: Miss Havisham, Estella, and Pip

Great Expectations: Estella and Pip

Estella, Herbert Pocket, and Pip

Pip and Mr. Jaggers

Pip and Estella

Estella (known for her exquisite beauty)

a pic from the multi-purpose room


Monday, April 30, 2012

Bukchon Village in Seoul

Last Friday our school took a 3-hour walking tour of northern Seoul. It's one of the most affluent districts in the city, where apparently the current president of South Korea Lee, Myang Bak (I spelled it wrong) used to live. The houses are all traditional and there are several houses converted into museums. It was like looking at antique houses times 300 years or so at least.

My group of kids was great. We had a photo contest, so our strategy to win was simply to not smile in our photos. (I hope we win the contest, but if we do it'll be my 3rd contest to win and I doubt anybody wants me to win again.) But at one point we got to meet the owner of one of the houses (super cool) so we couldn't help but smile. Some of them weren't sure what to do though so they just stood there. ^^

In the pic of the owner of the house there's a little lady standing there. Her name is Kay and she was our tour guide. We definitely got the best tour guide of the group hands down. She was so cute. She explained everything with energy as if it was the first time telling it, and she was really patient with us. Enjoy.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Here Lately

We finally are in the 4th quarter at school! My 7th graders on the 1st day of the 4th quarter started saying, "Yay! It's the 4th quarter!! School's almost over!!" I thought about getting excited and yelling it with them, but then I thought maybe they shouldn't see I'm so excited too. ^^

Okay, quick lesson on smiley faces in Korea.
^^ = smiley face (see? It's just the eyes)
^-^ = smiley face with a cute nose
^_^ = This is the "not sure what to think but mostly happy" face
TT =  2 capital T's is 2 eyes crying
T-T = crying face with a mouth
>_< = angry face or "that doesn't sound good" face

I've embraced these smiley faces like I've embraced the peace signs everybody sports in pictures. I've also started involuntarily bowing to everybody when I meet someone new or walk into a store. I don't think I'll break the habit easily when I go to Texas.^^ Especially when I say thank you, I add a little bow to it to show my appreciation.

I miss Texas weather! Last week it snowed here. I've been dreaming about warm weather and I can't wait to come home for a visit. For those of you wondering I'll be heading back to Texas in late June and staying until mid or late August probably.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Pics from Skiing

Here are some pics from the skiing excursion I went on last month. It was a really good deal (only $50) and only an hour's drive from my apartment. I only skied for a few hours, but by the end of that time I was exhausted. There are a few random pics thrown in for fun. Enjoy.
The sign in yellow says "E-Mart".

These are the pastor's kids Joseph and Daniel, and the guy in neon is Thomas and the girl in grey and purple is Annie. I work with them at BHCS.

Left to right: me, Joseph, Grace (pastor's wife), Daniel, Pastor Lee, Thomas, Annie

My birthday cake! (I ate an ear off before I remembered to take a picture.)

This pic didn't turn out that good, but the view was awesome.

People from my church

These are the 2 people who helped me the most when I arrived in Korea. On the left is Sarah. She's the one I made kimchi with and we go to the spa together once a month and she helped mom and Dianna have a great time when they both came in December. On the right is Harry. He helped me get my trip to Japan together in September.

This is Junho. He teaches me Korean every week.