Sunday, May 10, 2009
My blogging slackness in Korea was somewhat shameful, I know... but now that I`m on the road again, I`ve have started a new blog with my travel buddy, Claire, which we hope to update with some semblance of regularity.
Follow us as we blow a years worth of hard-earned cash on our Asian adventure through Japan, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Nepal and India. We`re hoping that our savings will last us for 5 or 6 months... we`ll see how that goes...
Anyway, check out our new blog at www.amyandclaire.blogspot.com
Monday, January 19, 2009
I'm sitting here on my bed in my itty-bitty apartment where I can see everything I own without even having to turn my head (just a slight movement of the eyes just about does it), I'm sipping on some bad Korean rice wine, my foster-dog, Elvis, is snoring on my feet and I'm watching my favourite Korean boy-band on TV... I love it all and can't help but think how sad I'll be to leave this place when the time comes.
Technically, I'm supposed to be out of the country today, but I've known for a while now that I wouldn't be ready to leave just yet... so I've extended my contract to the end of April - which, coincidentally (or not coincidentally at all), is when Claire finishes up too. Our post-Korea plans are to spend 5 or 6 months traveling around Asia - Japan, China, India, Nepal, Cambodia and Laos. We've partied a lot of our money away here, but we've also managed to save enough to ensure ourselves a fairly a decent trip - whoot whoot whoot! It's my hope that traveling will take the edge off leaving Korea, but as excited as I am about hitting the road and seeing the sights, I really do get a lump in my throat when I think of what I'm leaving behind... Far and beyond, the two things that will be the hardest to leave are my wonderful friends....absolutely amazing, hilarious, unforgettable people that they are, and, of course, my students... some of the cutest kids I've ever had the pleasure of yelling at/reducing to tears.
(for some tear-free pictures of their Christmas pageant extraordinaire, see http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=199354&l=4211f&id=892645136)
Anyway, in no apparent order, here are a few pics (read 'many') from the last couple of months... I'm sure you can see why I'm finding it so hard to leave.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Let me explain Chester a little first. Chester is adorable. He often wears matching outfits... which look remarkably like pajamas. Last week, for example, he was wearing a light blue terry-toweling cookie monster tracksuit... he's 11. Chester has a little crush on me and always manages to maneuver his chair to the point where he's sitting flush against me... he constantly 'drops' things so he can lean over me to pick them up and sometimes he just flat out tries to play footsies with me or hold my hand. Chester is my number one offender when it comes to 'Konglish' (Korean-English)... if he were to read the sentence "I like going to the movies" he would say it like "I-uh like-uh to-uh going-uh to-uh the-uh movie-uh". Chester is a smart kid who has been learning English for YEARS, but just can't seem to grasp the grammatical structure of the language in the same way his class mates (or my 6 year old kinder kids) can.
The topic this week was: "Write about times when you were sick or you had health problems. Give some ideas on how to keep healthy." Here is what Chester came up with...
"The nosebleed, don't lean back and two fingers on nose and a sunburn, Put some lotion on it, and Don't your hot going. a sore shoulder, Put hot towel and Don't fix the hands. an insect bite, Don't scratch it and going hospital. I'm ideas is nosebleed spoon on your nose and sunburn idea in your paper is not sunburn and insect bite idea you put the rad color paper bees is don't like rad."
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Anyway, I thought rather than spend years trying to make a million posts to get things up to date, I'd just add some links to my facebook photo albums... after that's done I promise to make a concerted effort to blog more often - which should be a little more manageable now that the weather is distinctly more winter-like.
Not surprisingly, my blogging slackness coincided with two things; 1) Claire arrived in Korea and 2) the weather warmed up to a point where weekends away upped in frequency, so first up I'll start with some links to albums from said weekends away.
I guess the best place to start is way back in... well actually, I can't remember if it was May or June.... but we'll kick off with an impromptu weekend away in Yeoju with Claire, James and John. http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=124774&l=9bd90&id=892645136
Next up, was one of my favourite weekends to date - The Boreyong Mud Festival where group of 10 of us spent a crazy July weekend at Daechon beach covering ourselves with 'therapeutic' mud and generally just running amok... who knew mud could be so much fun?? http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=151128&l=75c8c&id=892645136
A week or two after the mud festival I was lucky enough to get a week long visit form my lovely sister Cathy and her Gyles. It was SO awesome to see them and equally as cool to be able to share my life here with someone from home - at least now someone will know who/what/where I'm talking about when I get back, plus now they won't be able to tease me and say I was really in a mental asylum for a year or something...
The day after Cath'n'Gyles left Korea, my summer holidays started (typical right?)... oh and by vacation, I mean 4 days and a weekend off work... bullshit excuse for the word 'holiday' if you ask me, but something was definitely better than nothing, and Claire and I took the opportunity to beach-bum on the north of the east coast of Korea in a great little place called Sokcho. The beach rest was welcomed with open arms, and when the weather turned on us (as it is known to do in the middle of rainy season), we took the opportunity to check out the beautiful Mt. Serok - we didn't actually see much from the top due to some crazy cloud cover, but it was pretty all the same... http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=160153&l=b1446&id=892645136
Korean thanksgiving (Chuseok) fell early in September this year, and Claire, Jeff and I decided to take advantage of the one public holiday where the whole of Korea WASN'T heading to Jeju Island, by heading to... yup - Jeju Island! Jeju has been likened to a lot of places ranging from Hawaii, Australia, Disney Land and just straight up Paradise... I think that the last two give the most apt description of Jeju -(you may understand the Disney Land part when you look at the first few photos... at times it was a bit bizarro). It was a great long weekend - even if the rain did spoil our hopes of another 4 days of beach bumming. Instead of tanning we went to the circus, rode funny bikes, looked at waterfalls and bypassed security so that we could climb Mt. Halla in flip-flops (it's Korea's tallest mountain I'll have you know)... http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=165125&l=a4603&id=892645136
The most recent and last long weekend before Christmas was at the start of October - our lovely school gave us 4 days while everyone else got 3 (whoot whoot!) so my travel buddy, Claire, and I decided to check another few places off our list of things to see. This time we headed South East to the country's 3rd largest city, Daegu. There we perused the traditional herbal medicine market, and some other smelly markets and hung out with old men and random wild animals in a community park. Then we made our way to the ancient Silla era city of Gyeongju. This place is stunning and should be on every must-see list in Korea... we spent days strolling around ancient tombs, serene ponds and beautiful temples. Check out the photos to see for yourselves. http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=173477&l=6ea73&id=892645136
That wraps up the weekends away - and if you weren't already starting to get the picture as to why it's been so long between entries... well you just should be. I'll leave you with another few links to a few other facebook albums I put up (Mama, Pa and Dad, I hope you know this link business is almost entirely for your benefit as you are just about the only people I know that don't have a facebook account...) Anyway, here is a link to some pics of the kiddies at school - little angel-faced monsters that they are... http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=158536&l=7e900&id=892645136
This one showcases the latest installments in the world of EngRish... http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=171567&l=92b1e&id=892645136
And last but not least, the extravaganza that was Halloween - first for the kids, then for the grown-ups (if you can't figure out what Claire and I went as, we are dressed as our kindergarten children - complete with our school backpacks and all)... http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=179533&l=49c19&id=892645136
Well, that brings me pretty much up-to-date with life in the dong of Youngtong... I'll try and keep on top of things a little better from now on... but just remember that I said try and not promise. xx
Sunday, July 20, 2008
In our mighty wisdom, we decided to take a night bus from our local inter-city bus terminal in Suwon... and in even mightier wisdom, we thought it was a good idea to include alcohol in this plan.... so we met at the Now bar for a few pre-drinks, then headed to the bus station armed with bottles of soju for our 1.30 am departure. Note to self and anyone who cares to listen - don't liquor up before a 5 hour bus ride... particularly when the bus doesn't have a toilet.
After our little tour of ye-olde-stinky-fish-market we headed to Gwangalli beach to find a hotel for the weekend. After walking around attempting to secure a cheap room (and consequently discovering that our combined Korean skills were incredibly poor), we settle on this little number....
Over the course of the night we were lucky enough to witness 3 or 4 Korean birthday parties with the special twist that only this particular soju hof seems to offer... basically it goes like this; birthday girl is presented with a cake. bartenders perform some impressive bottle-twirling with the grand finale involving a heavily shaken bottle of champagne. Bottle is opened and champagne goes everywhere. Girl is instructed to down a glass of champagne - if she does, she is given the bottle to drink at her leisure, if she refuses, the entire bottle is poured on her head. Sheer hilarity (particularly as the Korean girls are incredibly, erm, attentive to their appearance).
Our last day was taken up with hung-over attempts to find an adequately greasy breakfast before heading back to the bus station to catch our toilet-less bus home.
Sunday, June 29, 2008
The success-failure rate of these techniques vary greatly due to a high number of random variables (time of day, weather, sugar intake, severity of teachers hangover etc etc). The temporary nature of success yielded from the above trials left me searching for more effective techniques, so I decided that it was time to get creative (and maybe even a little bit mean). I am pleased to announce the discovery of one technique with a much higher success rate than previous attempts... it goes a little something like this: Kids are being bad. After unsuccessfully trying to quiet them, leave the room. Return with mobile phone. Pretend to dial a number- this usually distracts at least one or two of the rascals from their naughtiness.... but this is all you need for the trick to be effective. When the one or two are watching you, say loudly into the phone "Hello? Police? Hi, this is Amy Teacher. Yes, Erin/Lewis/Nick (insert name) is being very naughty in class today..." To this the kids generally shit themselves and stop the bad behaviour instantly.
This worked in my favour for a few weeks, but then I had to mix it up a bit to keep them on their toes... my new phone conversation starts like this: "Hello? Santa?...." You've never seen kids sit down and shut up so quickly - it's brilliant. The kids now believe that Santa is my good friend - I told them that we met in Australia a few years back while he was taking a much needed beach holiday post-christmas present deliveries. We hung out on the beach and I showed him around Melbourne. We've been great friends ever since. Santa has also allowed me to put little video cameras in the fire-sprinkler system in our classrooms so he can always see who is being naughty and who is being nice. Santa is my best friend.
Anyway, I figured it was time for an update on school life...
E.C.C. MARKET DAY
Until next time.