Friday, December 31, 2010

Time Machines and (Re)Potty Training

Me:     “If you could go anywhere in a time machine, where would you go?”

Student:   “Mom.” and she points to her belly.

Me:      “What?”

Student:    “Mom.”  Then makes a pregnant belly shape with her hands.

Me:      “In your mom’s stomach? When she was pregnant?”

Student    “Yes.”

Me:      “Why?”

Student:    “Daddy,” she says with a smile.

Me:       “Not how. Whhhhhyyyyyy?”  As I am barely able to hold myself up from laughing so hard.

Student:    “Oh. It’s warm there.”

Monday, December 20, 2010

I Shaved My Legs For This

All the ladies, and a lot of men, know the gross razor part of a pedicure. While removing dead skin is an important hygiene issue, it’s still gross.  SoKo has outdone the nasty-ness but in such a cool way.  Fish.

It’s called Dr. Fish and it’s quite the trend around Asia.  You have calluses on your feet?  Too much dry or dead skin?  No worries, the fish will take care of it for you.  20101218_141549

Thoughts on Blogging

I’ve never been a blogger.  I’ve never thought of myself as a writer. Honestly, I’m not a very funny person. At least not on purpose. I can make myself laugh better than anyone but making other people laugh is a totally different ballgame. Much to my surprise, I am finding that I very much enjoy writing and I very much appreciate all the compliments that have been sent my way over the last few months. By no means do I consider myself a writer but I do think writing is something I want to pursue. The word writer is reserved for people who actually know the difference between dependent and independent clauses.  I don’t.  But I think writing has given me an outlet that maybe I’ve always needed.

I have a point, I promise.

With my overload of free time that has developed here in the Eastern Hemisphere I have been reading blogs from people all over the world.  Some are amazing ( and some are incessantly ridiculous and boring.  I hope to make this something that you enjoy reading.  Some entries are funny, some are… less funny.  Some are serious, some are sad, and a few are purely for my memory book and will likely bring you very little entertainment.  These writings are my thoughts, my opinions (of which I have many), and my experiences.  While they are censored, some things should not be published on the internet, they are, in the best of terms, me.  Silly sarcasm, poor punctuation, and emotional breakdowns all included.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Two Months Down…

snowy dayHas it really been two months already?  That’s seems unbelievable but it’s what the calendar says so I must be true.  I honestly forget on a daily basis that I am living in South Korea.  That’s how normal it is here.  It feels more like Christmas this year than it has for me the last 7 years in Orlando.  The lights decorating store windows, the music playing in  the coffee shops, the snow… It’s Christmas time in SoKo.

On a side note, I think I’m losing my marbles.  Maybe it’s all the snow and Christmas music. Maybe it’s because my class schedule had a complete overhaul this week and my students have been bouncing off the walls. Maybe it’s starting to occur to me just how fast a year abroad can really fly by.  Or maybe just too many English Breakfast tea lattes.  I’m way above my average coffee intake.  Whatever the cause, a few of my classes have come this week expecting me to deliver on promises that I have absolutely no memory of making. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Bibimbap and the Ballet

NutcrackerWhat a lovely Sunday.  I love the ballet so when I found out The Nutcracker was in Daejeon, for this weekend only, I had to go.  I had four days to figure out the venue, how to get there, how to buy tickets, and hopefully some people also interested in going. I had a mission. I was not going to miss this show. After spending thirty minutes trying to understand the bus map I gave up and took off on the subway. There is a stop remotely close to the theatre, I’m smart, I’ll figure it out.  A short subway ride and a LONG walk in the cold later I found it.  And thanks to Facebook I was able to find 5 lovely people who also wanted to go.


Pizza, With A Bow On Top

Updates… what you have I not told you, my little public diary???  It’s been kind of quiet actually. 

I spent 7 hours Christmas shopping in the freezing cold on Saturday.  It was warm, respectively speaking, at one o’clock when I left my apartment.  Not so warm at 11pm when I returned. Needless to say, I was not dressed appropriately once it hit about four o’clock.  By the time I returned home I was surprised to still be alive, much less with all my fingers and toes still fully attached.  You don’t fully appreciate having a heated car until you’ve walk for miles all day in the freezing cold.  I could have taken cabs but each of my stops were only a few blocks from last so it seemed silly. But trust me, the temptation was there.

On my way home I felt I deserved  a treat so I broke the seal and ordered my first pizza.  Mr. Pizza is one of the main pizza joints but it gets mixed reviews from the foreigner crowd, the people who actually know what good pizza is.  It’s in my building and my students constantly talk about the amazing thing that is bulgogi pizza so by process of elimination, that’s where I went.  I already know that I like bulgogi because my lovely friend Matt took me out for Korean food in Orlando before I left.  Bulgogi, which translates loosely to “fire meat”, is essentially just marinated and grilled meat that would pretty much appease even the pickiest of eaters.  But bulgogi on pizza?  Maybe good, maybe not.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Someone Loves Me…

I’m just not sure who.  Someone is also playing a prank on me.  I’m sure of it. 

Even though my classroom is “my classroom” other people use it while I’m not there.  I don’t care, it’s not about that.  The Korean teachers work much longer days than us foreigners do and my classroom has a projector and screen while most others don’t.

Here’s the thing… Everyday when I get to work something is changed in my room.  At first I thought I was making it up but it’s literally everyday.  They are subtle changes but changes nonetheless.  My podium will be moved, desks rearranged, trash can in a notably different place, new markers for my chalkboard…little things. Everyday for almost two months now. Then I got this…


Sunday, December 5, 2010

Exploring in the Eastern Hemisphere

Rule #1 - if all the Koreans get off the bus, you probably should too.

Yesterday Marisol and I set out on an adventure.  We knew our destination and I vaguely knew how to get there. You can get there by bus, by subway, or by taxi.  Because I had first seen this “attraction” while taking the bus we felt it safest to repeat our steps. (My destination has to remain a secret because it was for a Christmas present, sorry.)

Since neither one of us has much experience with public transportation, Marisol chose to follow my direction since this little excursion was really for me anyway.  That was a bad idea. We took a taxi to Lotte Department Store to catch the bus.  With what little I knew about public transportation, I did know that buses run the same circle all day long.  What I didn’t know is that the “circle” is really a line, and that yes, it does matter which direction the bus is going when you get on it. That’s how we ended up here…

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Kimbap = Kid Sushi

Everyone hesitates when I call it this but I don’t care, I think it’s true.  It’s super good too.
After hearing Marisol talk about her local kimbap shop I decided I needed to find one of my own. How exactly do you go about finding a good kimbap shop?  Ask kids.  Kids always know where the good food is.  They even drew me a map.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Laziness in Korea

I’m lazy by nature.  I love to sleep.  I love to spend an entire weekend in a warm bed with my dog and do nothing but watch TV and eat Chinese food and pizza.  It’s even better if it’s been delivered.  I don’t think this is a secret to anyone who has ever spent more than just a few minutes with me.  Here’s the problem…

SoKo is like one reeeeeally long weekend.  I’ve been here a month and a half and I still feel like I’m on vacation.  A working vacation, but vacation nonetheless.  There are stressful days at work but nothing traumatic like would happen at home.  I don’t come home from work completely exhausted and mentally depleted from the day.  I have gotten exactly what I came here for.  A job I enjoy. An apartment I love.  New friends I adore.  And an incredible city and country to learn all about and experience.  All while leaving behind the distractions and drama that plagued me in Orlando.  Life seems so normal that it's often I even forget I am in South Korea.  I’m happy here.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

These Children Exhaust Me

Despite what the title of this blog might suggest, I finally feel like I am starting to hit my stride with teaching. Well, as of yesterday I did. Today brought on a whole new set of concerns. Of course there are difficulties everyday, the main one being the language barrier, but I finally feel like I am getting in a routine with each of my classes.  I’ve been with most of them about a month, so that’s 4 - 5 classes with each of them.  They are starting to understand me as a teacher and hopefully that “testing the new teacher phase” is mostly over with.  Thank goodness.

Today was supposed to be a very easy day for me so I was looking forward to getting in some good planning time. Lesson plans are pretty much already made but I do like to try and find fun activities or videos that I can share with my students to make our 80 minutes together more fun.   Today’s scheduled went something like this…