Tuesday, May 5, 2009


Here is the video of the story created by my top 6th grade class. Please understand that we had very little time and resources to film this...We had only three 40-minute sessions to film so I didn't require students to memorize their lines. Also, no props, sets, costumes, etc...but the kids had fun with it and I do believe their English has improved as a result which is the point anyway right? All that to say, I hope you enjoy! ;-P

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Most Innovative--aka Weirdest--Pick-up line ever

My first full night in Thailand, the gang and I got dressed up and went to downtown Patong in search of some good nightlife. Eventually, we found a bar (which I can't remember the name of) with live rock music...I think it was called Rock'n'roll Bar or something...Anyway, we were all sitting at a table talking and enjoying the live music when this kiwi walks over and plucks out one of my hairs--a hair that was still attached to my head, I might add. My (obvious) response? "OW!! What's wrong with you?! What are you doing?" (but also laughing b/c it was probably the craziest way anyone's ever introduced themselves before) "Well, I liked your hair...and I wanted to meet you..." Ok so really idiotic I realize, but he totally cracked me up...AND he was super attractive AND had a gorgeous New Zealand accent...so I didn't mind so much and spent the rest of our time there talking to and dancing with him...Good times! 

I've got no pictures of the Kiwi (sad), but I did get a few shots from that night, as you can see above...

A short story

Namoon. It's one of my favorite places to wander and people watch in Korea and it's only about 10 minutes walking from my house. This last weekend, a couple of friends and I decided to browse the market, looking at everything from live eel and baby octopus to hats and gloves to whole pig heads...and feet...and ears...and every other pig part. Anyway, that's beside the point...So we were wandering around and decided to stop for some street food...a fried pancake-type thing with brown sugar or cinnamon/sugar or something in the middle, but it also had onions and stuff...sounds weird but really quite good. So we were standing there eating our pancakes--I was making a mess of it, I might add--the brown sugar stuff was dripping all down my front...Anyway, then a camera man from OBS channel 13 came up to us and just started videotaping. Then he left. Then he came back with another guy and filmed each of us eating our pancakes individually. Then one of the guys had me say it was delicious in Korean to the camera...(Sounded like "Hot dog moshi-soyo" but I know that's not how you spell any of what I said...haha) Anyway I was amused so I thought I'd write about it! :D Sorry I don't have any pictures; I didn't bring my camera along that day...silly me. What was I thinking?

The Quarter-Life Crisis

The quarter life crisis is an all-too-common malady that plagues so many 20-somethings. It's that (oh so frustrating) stage between college and real life where you're trying to figure out what the heck you're supposed to do next. It's the time when all of your friends have spread out across the region, the state, the country, the world, even...

It's the time when half of them have gotten married and a quarter of them have had or are having babies...and your own love life has hit a dead end without a prospect on the horizon. You get stuck in relationships because they're comfortable--even if you know they're going nowhere...or you just date all the wrong guys (or girls) because the right one is taking too long to show up and sweep you off your feet...or you simply decide to stop dating because you just get so fed up with the pettiness of it all. And the relationship stuff isn't the toughest part.

The worst of it is figuring out what to do with your LIFE--that little thing called work. It's that stage where you get stuck working at a job you don't want to do so you can pay bills you don't want to pay. And you have those dreadful nagging thoughts that constantly plague your mind: "What am I supposed to do with my life? I know it's not what I'm doing now, but I can't quit 'cause I gotta pay my bills...But it doesn't matter anyway because I have no idea what I want to do in the first place! Aaaaaugggh..." Yes, these are the rantings that once occupied my mind. But the rantings finally stopped! They began to decrease when I left the world of sales and were completely silenced when I got to Korea. I never realized how fulfilling teaching could be! A big part of me wishes I would have done this straight after graduation, but then another part of me says the timing would have been wrong. 

Life really just kind of sucked between the time I graduated and the time I left Wells Fargo, so three years ago I probably wouldn't have appreciated it as much, nor would I have had some of the life experience (like living alone) that I brought with me to Korea. Everything works together...At any rate, I am in such a good place now and am so thankful to God for it. 

All this to say, for those of you facing your quarter-life crises, I'm sorry. I know it sucks. But hang in there; there is a light at the end of the tunnel. You will figure it out, and in the end, somehow, all the crap you're dealing with right now is not going to seem like such a big deal in the grand scheme of things. In fact, you'll probably be thankful for the journey; as tough as it was! I know it's cliche, but "What doesn't kill you can only make you stronger."

Sunday, December 14, 2008

My First Wedding!

(Let me clarify, not MY first wedding, but the first wedding I WENT to in Korea...)

About 4 days ago, one of the Korean English teachers invited me to her wedding. I said "Of course!" and asked when it was. "This Sunday," she said. I was taken aback a little when she told me it was so soon, but that is indicative of the culture here. Everything is conducted like a business--quick and efficient--get in, get out, get on with life. 

The wedding ceremony was beautiful, but I was very surprised at the "get in, get out" manner in which it was conducted.  The ceremony was maybe 15-20 minutes long, with many people casually standing, talking and taking pictures of each other in the back of the hall. After the wedding ceremony (which included the cutting of the cake while flashing neon lights illuminated the bride and groom), the couple took pictures with family (imagine "My Big Fat Greek Wedding") followed by pictures with all of the friends (myself included--pretty sure I'll stick out like a sore thumb! lol) 

After pictures, the guests were rushed out of the wedding hall and to the reception hall for a huge buffet-style lunch. In Korean culture, the bride and groom typically have two weddings: The first is more Western-style with wedding dresses, tuxes, and all the friends and family. The second wedding is traditional Korean-style with just family. While the second wedding is going on, friends and extended family fill their bellies with delicious Korean cuisine. When the traditional wedding is finished (about 30 minutes later), the bride and groom come say hello to everyone and then take off. And boom, it's over. Everyone leaves. No toasts, no dancing, not much socializing. Get it, get out. Make room for the next group...

Very new experience.

If and when I ever get married, I will most definitely be sticking to the western-style wedding--eating, drinking, dancing, and being merry (no pun intended). Not that I didn't enjoy the wedding, it's just not how I'd do it. Gotta have dancing! :D

Thursday, December 11, 2008

My first swimming experience in Korea...

Well, going for a swim in Korea was quite a new experience. First, I had to find the pool. I started wandering the streets and alleys of Suwon Station and quickly decided I'd never figure it out that way. I'd only seen the building the pool was in once, I saw it when it was dark-- I was still new to Korea--and, let's be honest, I really have no sense of direction anyway so there was no way I was going to remember where it was. So I cheated and went to the information center to ask--and was thrilled when the lady drew me a map and told me (in English) exactly how to find it! :D

So yesterday, I went for my first swim. First, I paid my 5,000 won and then proceeded to enter the ENORMOUS 2-story locker room. I found the locker they assigned me and threw my stuff in before heading to the pool (which I got lost trying to find, I might add...I got some help from some ajummas--old married Korean women--using my mad charades skills). 

Eventually, I made it to the pool--where there was a huge group of ajummas, and a few younger women, doing intense water hip-hop style dancing (??) to insanely loud Korean techno music, led by a young Korean woman who was dancing outside of the pool. Good times. I was about to get into the lap swim side when the Korean women started laughing and yelling something and pointing to their heads...I didn't have a swim cap. So I headed back through the maze of showers, soaking tubs, lockers and naked women to the front desk to get a swim cap. They didn't have any so I ended up borrowing one from a nice ajumma and finally got into the water and started swimming...

The rest of my time at the pool was pretty uneventful, although the Korean women were smiling at me, giving me thumbs up and talking to me like I understood what they were saying, I just kept nodding and smiling and saying "nay..." (korean for "yes") Oh, and at one point an ajumma passed me while I was swimming...but then she had just started and I had been swimming for an hour and was cooling down--well, that's my excuse anyway. At any rate, it was an experience and it was fun. I will definitely be going again and again as I realized just how out of shape I was...and how good it felt to be back in the water. 

Kids Say the Darndest Things...

Here is a collection of quotes I've taken from students (both essays and things they've said in class)...

About family...(4th and 5th grade, age 10-11 international age/11-12 Korean age)

My father is a housewife. 

My mom is fat and really funny, and is a nagger.

My father is fat. My mother is diligent. My sisters are the worst. I love my family, but my sisters are unpleasant.

My sister who is in 8th grade is irritable...Maybe she is in puberty. 

My sister is sometimes stupid, but she is kind.

About school life...(5th grade)

But I do my school try test weekend, so my mood is not very good. (I had my school practice test this weekend, so I'm in a bad mood).

Lunch is liberty hour. I'm fighting boys. But that's funny. (Lunch is free time. I fight with boys during lunch and it is fun).

I don't like social study and Korean, or when I get scrumbled from the teacher. (I don't like Social Studies or Korean, or when I get scolded by the teacher).

I have many friends. My nickname is sexy guy in the school.

I'm many have friends. But I have not girlfriend. Because many shes is ugly. (I have many friends, but I don't have a girlfriend because many girls are ugly.)

My teacher says to me, "Your brain is very good. But your mouth is very noisy."


Pandas are fat and round. My mother looks like a panda.

We don't need cats because cats just make humans unhappy.