Tuesday, November 20, 2012

What Was I Waiting For?

For close to the last year I've had an on and off ache in my right neck and shoulder, i'm fairly certain it started and stems from sitting at a desk all day.  Usually a few stretches or days away from the computer would help but over the last few months it only got worse. In the states my go to would be a full body massage (using my shoulder as an excuse for full body indulgence) but I wanted to try something new.  After hearing some mixed opinions but overall positive reviews I decided it was time to give oriental medicine a try.   

pen pals

I started this post a few weeks ago and then put it aside, and now i'm lazy so it'll probably be a short one.  Just another opportunity to gloat about how awesome my students are.  An old friend from high school contacted me about doing a pen pal activity with some of her students she is currently teaching in Milwaukee,   I immediately thought of my grade 1 advanced level class and knew they would love the activity. The letters finally arrived and the students were pretty excited, especially since they were accompanied by pictures of the students.  My friend Jess's students are only in sixth grade so they, of course, still have some errors in their writing.  It was funny as my Korean kids were picking out spelling and grammar errors as they read through the letters, but believe me this does not mean theirs were perfect.

I'm hoping we continue the pen pal project however some of my students may do so regardless as they were giving out their email, Kakoa ID and even phone numbers to their new best friends.  Here's a few excerpts from some of my favorite letters:

"Did you eat rice?? It is very very delicious, if you eat rice you never regret about rice."

"Very important sentence! --> Dokdo is the republic of Korea's island AND NOT Japan sea but East Sea"

"My mother is 40 but she looks like 23 years old"

And this one just continued to make me laugh:
"School is very terrible...I'm sure Korean students are the most unhappy people in the world. School starts at 8:30am and ends at 10:00pm. It's not over. We study myself until 1AM. but, don't worry. Except that Korea is the best country in the world...I like E-sport, Korean students spend their spare time playing e-sport (online game). If there aren't e-sports in the world, life will be like hell"

"Korean mothers are very zealous for the education of their children"

oh yeah, and my all star student that introduced himself as "The Korean Justin Beiber - please don't fall in love with me"

These kids are awesome, how will I ever say goodbye?

Friday, November 9, 2012

D-Day 2012

I wanted to write about this last spring but thought i'd wait until a more pertinent time.  The clock in our office included a row marked "D-Day" and finally yesterday it reached 0. I'm sure most of you are confused and curious as to what i'm referring to.  Yesterday was THE day, at least for the third grade high school students (seniors), it was the day that would decide their fate.  You think i'm kidding? It may sound a bit extreme but trust me...

Yesterday, 660,000 students sat down to take the 9 hour college entrance exam (think ACT/SAT), hoping their years of arduous study would finally pay off.  The results of the exam significantly impact the students future, commonly used as the determining factor for college admissions, thus affecting their future jobs, it's a big deal.  Don't believe me?
"The most crucial test seen as a deciding factor in an applicant's choice of college and subsequent career"  ~The Korean Herald  ]

Monday, November 5, 2012

The good the bad and the ugly

things i'll miss about Korea
1. The food - cheap, delicious, variety
2. Rice and Kimchi (you think i'm kidding)
3. Transportation
4. Red bean donuts
5. Call buttons at restaurants
6. My shoe-box of an apartment
7. The fruit guys on the corner
8. Being told i'm beautiful 230948 times per day
9. Kimbap and Mandu / any and all street food
Okay well that list makes me look like a fatty...

and the things I won't
1. The noises - spiting, clearing throat, roosters at 3am, dogs
2. random text messages that I can't understand
3. Ajumas shoving me (bus, train, subway)
4. Transportation
5. Being treated like a small child
6. The lack of good beer / wine
7. Not having a car
8. $5 apples (okay that might be a bit of an exaggeration)

Korea, You are Beautiful

Close to a year ago, when I started telling people that I might be moving to Korea I got tons of varied reactions, but among one of the most often heard phrases was "oh my god, it's such a beautiful country". Fast forward a few months and there I was arriving to a cold, brown, dirty town. Umm where is this beauty you speak of?  Just be patient said the little voice in my head, after all it was the dead of winter.  I was soon rewarded with the blossoms of spring, cherry blossoms and sunshine galore.  Then came summer with it's lush green forests, everywhere, literraly my dad was blown away by how green the country was, and we're from Greendale!  I quickly understood what all the fuss was bout and low and behold the country continues to amaze me.  Exhibit A:

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Celebrate We Will

The temperatures are slowly dropping, thankfully a bit slower than back home, crisp fall mornings have begun.  The frigid air has added a new twist to my morning runs, although I do enjoy the head nods, thumbs up of approval and "초워요!!" coming from the soccer players.  I must admit I love the change of seasons: changing of the leaves, cute layers and snuggly sweaters, fall treats (okay this are kind of missing in Korea - pumpkin spice latte please?), and most importantly - the holiday season! To kick off the season we have nothing better than, my birthday of course!