Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I love a good knockoff!

KicKers...almost like KitKat, but not quite...a bit more chocolatey and a little less wafery

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Introducing...Sungmin Kindgergarten!

Here are some pics of the Kindergarten where I work.  The best part of the school are the cute kids running down the hallways...but here are some pictures of the building...

The Outside...it's pretty big!
A typical English Immersion Classroom
Hallways...I love the beautiful floor...
I love, love, love this!!  I need to find out the history on where they got this, they have two...they look like they come from South America.
Happy Sungmin Teachers!  Julia, a Korean English Teacher and Ji-Hee, a Regular Kindergarten Teacher.
Okay, so this pic doesn't come from inside the school...we went out for dinner and it was the Principal's Birthday (notice, the birthday hat)...so this is me and the Principal of the Kindergarten in Suwon.
These crack me up everytime!!  They are the 12 months of the year...In January, mommy and daddy get married...and by December they have a beautiful new baby...forget pics of the seasons or holidays for the months...let's just be practical...
I'm really enjoying my job so far.  It is VERY EXHAUSTING...but a lot of fun!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

St. Patrick's Day

Who knew St. Patrick's Day could be so fun in South Korea?

On Saturday night I went to a St. Patrick's Day Party at the Dublin Bar in Seoul.  I went with my friend, Kailey, who teaches for another Sungmin Kindergarten.  It costed 50,000 won (approximately $44) for all you can drink and eat...as well as great Live Irish Music and a U2 Cover Band:)  It was a blast!  It's crazy how many people from Ireland are in South Korea.  Below are some pictures of us celebrating with the Irish...and Swedes...and Americans...and Canadians...and Australians...and South Africans...and just about any other English speaking country...oh, and a few South Koreans too...
Me and Kailey...yikes, at the time I thought this was a good pic of me!
Who knew there were Irish Dancers in Korea?
One amazing Korean Irish Band!!!
HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Night Out With My Co-Workers

On Friday night, the English teachers from my school went out for dinner.  It was a lot of fun to get to know eachother outside of work.  First we went out for "traditional Korean" fried chicken and beer.  It was delicious.  They had a sweet and spicy sauce to put on it that I loved.  This, like many restaurants in Korea, is one where you sit on the floor.  Instead of central heat, Koreans use circulated hot water under the floor.  So it is usually quite nice to sit on the floor.  My favorite is to step out of bed in the morning to a warm floor.

These are my co-workers.  From left to right - Kelly, Chris, Julia, Kate, Joy, Danny, Danny's son, Ann, and Me at Jimni Chicken
This is my supervisor, Kate!

Then...we went to another restaurant for SNAILS AND OYSTERS!  It was delicious!!
Lastly, we ended up at a coffee shop.  Unfortunately Kelly has a very tough class.  One day while teaching her class, I decided to make goofy faces to catch their attention.  (I have her class right after lunch which is the worse!)  They decided that it looked like I was Batman.  So EVERYDAY, during the ENTIRE 40 minute class, the kids yell...."BATMAN PLEASE, BATMAN PLEASE!"  But with their accent, it is more like, "BOTMAN PLEASE BOTMAN PLEASE!"  While talking with Kelly, I found out that the kids do that ALL DAY, EVERYDAY!  I feel horrible to inflict such pain on her day!  One teacher, Danny, tried and tried and tried to make the Batman face...but it didn't work out so well...

I'm really lucky to have such great co-workers.  They are a lot of fun and help me out a ton!

Hope all is well back home!  Miss you!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

First Weekend Fun!

I cannot believe the weekend is almost over!

On Saturday night, I took the subway to Seoul for the first time.  The recruiting company I went with, Adventure Teaching, was hosting a party for their teachers.  It was a great time.  I met a lot of cool people.  I even met a Korean who has been to Rochester because his sister lives there!  And his friend is originally from Guadalajara.  It is a small world around here!

So...I guess Koreans can be just as pushy with religion as Americans can be.  I met a lady on the subway who was trying to get me to go to her church.  She distracted me so much that I missed my transfer station.  So I had to go back and it took forever.  I almost had to take a taxi home because the subway was closing. 

Today, one of the head teachers from another Sungmin Kindgergarten took me around Seoul.  First we looked around at some tourist-y places to shop and then ate a delicous traditional Korean meal.
Then we saw a Palace...I cannot remember the name...but I'll get back to you on that one.  It was raining pretty hard so I didn't get very many good pictures.  There was an amazing museum alongside the Palace that explained a lot about Korean history and culture during the Joseon Dynasty...when this Palace was built.  The museum opened only a few months ago.
These stones are put in front of the Palace to "guard" the Palace.
If you are pregnant, you are supposed to rub the nose of this stone statue...if you do, tradition says you will have a boy...
I took this picture to show how modern and traditional culture are intertwined in South Korea.
It began to rain pretty hard so we decided to part ways.  I thought I'd stop at the bathroom in the subway station before heading home...when much to my surprise...
This was waiting for me inside the stall.  I just couldn't try it it.  So I took a picture and left.  I am pretty sure I don't have what it takes to manage this squat.

And lastly...on the way home I stopped at a convenience store called, "Gag Story" to grab a snack.  When much to my surprise I found...

 a much better surprise than the last one.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

First Days in Korea...

It has now been 5 days since I have been in South Korea. It has been very exciting and exhausting. I am neglecting unpacking in order to write this blog. Yes, that is right...I still haven't unpacked my suitcases...for a number of reasons. So here is a recap of my first few days in Korea:

Saturday, March 13, 2010 - Leaving the USA

I woke up at 3:45 a.m. in order to shower and get to the airport in time. It didn't even cross my mind that it was Spring Break and the airport would be PACKED. It proved to be an exhausting trip. I had two layovers with absolutely NO TIME in between flights. I was sweating as I was rushing to get from gate to gate. I will NEVER recommend flying into LAX for an international flight. I feel like I've flown enough to know myself around the airports...but I had to ask three people where to go. I had to wait for a shuttle to bring me to the International Terminal, wait in line AGAIN for ANOTHER boarding pass, go through security AGAIN, and I got to the gate just as they were boarding...two hours later.

I will say that planes have gotten A LOT better in the past few years. On the long flight I flew Asiana Airlines and they were GREAT. Everyone had their own personal t.v.s on the headrest of the person in front. You could watch new movies that weren't on DVD yet, play video games, listen to music, etc... One thing I liked was that there was a station you could tune to that had a map and it showed you where you were currently flying and how much longer it would be until you got to your destination. The flight attendants constantly were walking around with water/juice, hot towels, and they even had complimentary toothbrushes/toothpaste in the bathroom. Sounds pathetic, but if you've traveled, you learn to appreciate these things.

Sunday, March 14, 2010 - Welcome to South Korea

I landed in Seoul 24 hours after I started my journey. My driver took me to a Baskin Robbins where I was supposed to meet my supervisor. We were supposed to go shopping but she was running late. So here I am...with over 150 lbs of luggage in a tiny little Baskin Robbins, looking absolutely horrible from the trip, not knowing ANYTHING, and waiting in a Baskin Robbins in South Korea. Normally I wouldn't have minded this, but I was smelly and gross.  I'm sure I made a really great first impression to both Korea and my new supervisor.  My supervisor was really great...so maybe I felt more disgusting than I looked...eh, probably not.

Monday, March 15, 2010 - My first day as an English Teacher at Sungmin Kindergarten.

Things went much better than I had expected. All of the teachers in my school are really nice and helpful. Basically how it is set up is: Koreans called it a Kindergarten but really it is like a Pre-School. It is kids ages 3-5 who either are in immersion school OR Montessori school with 40 minutes of English per day. Each immersion class has an English and Korean Teacher. My job is to go to EVERY class to teach English so that they can hear it from a native speaker. So I have a very busy schedule and several different levels of learners. I teach 40 minute immersion classes and 20/40 minute classes in the regular classes. So basically I run around the school all day long singing and dancing and saying hello.

SO...

Since then...

Things have proven to be exhausting. Regular everyday things like eating...can become a challenge. But as the days go on...the easier things get. I cannot explain to you how exciting it is the more and more I familiarize myself with the area. Today I took a taxi ride and successfully got to point A to point B and back again with no problems!

I get to eat lunch at school everyday for free and I have liked almost everything so far. Koreans eat kimchi at every meal and I LIKE IT! It is spicy pickled cabbage. One interesting story about school lunches: We eat seaweed a lot...which I like...and the other day we had something that looked like some sort of sweet plant. So I started eating it and found it rather crunchy. So I asked what it was...it was dried anchovies fried with sugar. I looked down and sure enough there were eyeballs looking at me!!! I don't know how I had mistaken this...needless to say...my chopsticks didn't go near those again!

Some interesting Korean Observations:

~Koreans and Cleanliness
~You CANNOT, absolutely CANNOT wear your shoes inside because it brings in the dirt. I wear slippers at work...which are comfy...
AND
~Koreans where masks when they are sick...kind of like what a lot of people did when there was H1N1. But they always do this...even the kids. So much so that they have cloth ones with Disney characters on them.

But yet...
~the often share out of the same bowl/plate...I've even seen them sharing a plate when they are wearing their mask...they slobber on their chopsticks and then stick them in the bowl everyone is sharing out of...
~BAR SOAP. Ewe...I hate sharing bar soap in the bathroom...liquid soap, come on...I just find it disgusting to share bar soap in a public bathroom...

Also...the other day I decided to venture around and found a fast food restaurant. I got my food, sat down, and a gentleman came down and sat with me. I figured he knew English and wanted to talk. But he said NOTHING...and of course, I said NOTHING. So we sat there...eating our food...in awkward silence. There were other tables available...he just chose to sit with me...awkward!

So...this proves to be a long and boring post...I promise in the future...they will get more interesting. I just wanted to get this started...

I miss you all!!