Friday, October 29, 2010

Halloween at School

Finding a good Halloween costume in Korea isn't easy.  I decided to go with a classic.  I found a witch hat, wig, and some face paint and I was just about set.  I bought a skirt for less than $5 and cut it up along with an old shirt.  Wrap a scarf around me and I'm set.  Definatly not the best costume I've had, actually one of the worst...and certaintly the least creative costume I've had...but it's about all I could do in Korea.

I'm the first foreigner at my school; therefore, no one has ever dressed up for Halloween in the school.  Both students and teachers alike enjoyed it.  One teacher even said, "wow...this is a true, real, American costume.  I've never seen one before...only in the movies."

It's just an ordinary day for Koreans, but because there are so many foreigners in this country...so many of us will get together in some "foreigner neighborhoods" in Seoul.  I need to switch up my costume a bit before tomorrow...but this worked pretty well for the kids.  I went door to door to the classroom during lunch so they could tell me "trick or treat" and get some candy.

I hope this sparked some interest at school so that next year they will be able to have some sort of Halloween party.  Other than the trick-or-treating and the musical chairs to Monster Mash that I did during my classes...that's all the Halloween these kids got...so sad...some of my fondest childhood memories come from Halloween.  I loved seeing my cousins at Grandpa's when Dad would take me trick-or-treating until my feet were frost biten and all the fun of dressing up and doing the parade in elementary school.  I remember the anxious, excited look my older brother had in his eye when I got home from trick-or-treating...he always seemed to trick me into giving him more candy than he deserved.

But anyways...here are some pics from Halloween at school.  These are my afterschool kids.  By this time, my face painting was peeling off my face in big clumps!
Snack time!

Tiffany was pretty excited to show me this pumpkin she made at school:)

I hope I haven't overdone the Korean Kid Cuteness since the last few blog posts were about my students....nah...impossible to overdo...right?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Monday, October 18, 2010

Another Dose of Korean Cuteness...

Are you needing a little more cuteness in your life?  Well...look no further.  It's been a few months since I blooged about my students.  No matter how frustrated I may be, these students really know how to put a smile on my face!!
6 year olds in Lemon Tree Class.  Poor Sunny never really smiles:(  Matthew is the little guy of the class and Alex is trouble!
 Matthew is such a cutie!!  Quite a while ago, Matthew cut open his finger and had to get stitches.  I teased him and said I bet a bear attacked him.  Then one kid in the class said with a smug grin, "ya, a TEDDY bear!"  They are so clever.  I love it when they can make jokes in English.
 Bini attacking Samuel  because he didn't want to take his photo with a girrrrrlll....
 Nice photo, Samuel...I'm sure the ladies love that smile:)
 The babies...5 years old.
 The elevator is always packed...we can get over 30 kids in there!
 Laura and Alex.  Laura is very, very smart.  Everyday she says, "I love you Katie Teacher, I'm happy to see you!"
 Eileen and Bob.  I call him, Bob-o.  I don't think I've shared this story on the blog yet, so here it goes.  When I first started teaching this class was on level 5:  fruits and vegetables.  The verb 'cut' is also in that level so the kids would say, "cut the pie, cut the cucumber, cut, cut, cut."  One day, someone said cut the cheese.  So I told them what that meant.  Several months later we were sitting on the story carpet and Sally said in a disgusted voice, "uuuhhh, Bob...did you cut the cheese?"  Bob is sitting criss-cross-applesauce on the carpet with a big grin and says, "I cut the cheese everyday."
There were a lot of birthdays in Palm Tree Class this month.
 Luna.  Luna means "moon" in Spanish.  There is a Juanes song named after his daughter, Luna.  I always sing it to her...but I have to be careful so she doesn't mix up Spanish and English.

 Happy Birthday Andrew!
 Sally (we have a lot of Sallys) drew a picture of me and her.
Big bows are not uncommon around here.  You even find grown adult women wearing them in the grocery store.
 His name is Leo...but we call him Lego.  The kids gave him that nickname:)
 Eric and Jay.
 Oh....Joannna....what a princess.  Sometimes I call her Kissy because she is always kissing me...ALWAYS!  She's one of those kids that latches on to you and you didn't even see her coming.
 Katie Teacher...help!  Shiny is so beautiful!
 Jerry.
 Louis...I call him Louie.  He loves to come up behind me and massage my shoulders...I swear, I didn't put him up to this!  Don't let this act fool you...he's a good student and loves his teacher!
 Jay.  He is going to brilliant things in his life someday.  He's very smart!  He always tattles on the other kids when they're speaking Korean in class...
 Jack.  Silly, funny kid.  He really is able to use his English skills to make us all laugh.  I call him, Jack-in-the-box or Jack O'Lantern.
 Daniel is a sweet kid and tries hard.  He's better at English than he thinks...just like his older brother whom I also teach.
 Steven is a sweet boy that always brings a smile to my face.  He is very shy...so it is so rewarding to get him to speak in English.
I took this photo this summer.  We don't wear shoes in our school and the after school kids throw off their shoes and run to class.  Do you think they like Crocs?
Well...that's it for now but you can guarantee there will be more photos later.  These kids make the weeks fly by.  I'm so proud of their accomplishments.  I never thought being an English teacher would be so rewarding:)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Busan International Film Festival

I went to Busan last weekend for the Pusan International Film Festival.  PIFF is one of the best/largest film festivals in Asia, if not THE best.  There were 306 films and 182,046 tickets sold.  I saw three really great films:  Children of the Green Dragon from Hungary, Portraits in a Sea of Lives from Colombia, and Floating Lives from Vietnam...Floating Lives being my favorite.  We tried to see a Korean movie on Sunday but couldn't make it back in time from the fish market.  There were a lot of opportunities to meet with directors, actors, etc...  The list of movies was overwhelming to go through and I didn't get a chance to check out which films were going to have the director and/or actors there.  If I make it to this film festival in the future, I will know more of what to expect.

I've been asked whats the difference between Busan/Pusan.  The b/p sound is blended together to form one sound in Korean...so sometimes you see it written in Roman letters as a P or a B.

One of the theaters was in "The World's Largest Department Store."  I guess I can cross that one of the list of things to see...(haha).
There were a lot of people doing photo shoots...but I didn't know any of them...
We stayed right by the beach.  It was beautiful.
The beach at night.
No matter where you are in Korea...the English doesn't make sense.
And, no matter where you are in Korea...there will be many interesting things.
ahhh!!!  I wanted to take these cute little guys home with me!!  There is no room for big dogs in Korea, so you will only find these tiny little ones.  They are so adorable.  If I wasn't gone so often on the weekend, I would have taken one of these guys home with me:)
On Sunday we went to the famous Jalgachi Fish Market.  I went a little crazy on the photos.  I hope some of them aren't too distrubing.  I had never felt so bad for fish before in my life.

Koreans loved dried fish and seafood...not my favorite.  You will find squid, fish, etc hanging to dry all of the place.
I love shrimp...however, Korea doesn't cut off the head and peel it nicely like they do at home.  So...I haven't really eaten shrimp since I've been here.  The cook at my school thinks this is hilarious.
This tank was stuffed with crabs...there is even one guy waving to us for help:(

There are so many things that I wouldn't even know how to eat.

These things gross me out whenever I see them:(
I felt so bad for these fish.  They only had a few inches to swim in:(
This guy wanted me to take a pic of him.

These clams were so fun.  I'd never seen them alive before.  They kept opening and closing and squirting water up 8 inches or so.
Everything was constantly draining on the floor which made for a pretty slippery surface.  I'm so lucky I didn't fall.  However, I wore long jeans where the bottoms got soaked in fish water...smelled delicious!




 This lady was hammering away at these shells(??).  I don't really know what they were and how you would eat them or if you don't eat them, what sort of value they hold?????
 Does anyone know what these are?




 bleh!  The ladies were skinning the eels...at least that is what I think they are.





 Why not dry your clothing along with the fish and squid?
 Bringing fresh seafood to the market.
 You can find dried squid just about anywhere in Korea...the convenience store, baseball games, on the street corner...
 Dried anchovies.  Another favorite.  We have these at lunch...a lot!  They are usually fried with sugar.  The first time I ate them, I thought it was some sort of fried, crunchy plant until I looked down at my plate and saw little anchovy eyes looking at me.
In case you haven't ate clams, this is what is inside. I think they are delicious. But this was a first, I'd never seen them dried before.
Lunch time!  We went upstairs to enjoy some very fresh fish.  Here are our sidedishes.  Crab legs (my favorite), shell things??, sweet potatoes, fish, kimchi, seaweed, peapods, and some salad.
 I had never eaten these before...I don't know what they were.  They were pretty good though.
 Fish
 crab legs
 Seafood in Korea can be difficult to eat at times because they don't really serve it, "ready-to-eat."  There is a bit of work involved.  There are no tools given with the crab legs.  Here, Rozalia is trying to get some meat out with her chopsticks...haha.  This is when the Koreans look at us funny and laugh.
 Korean Seafood Pancake...love these!  I have to figure out how to make them!
 Shrimp.
 And now for the main course...sashimi...raw fish on a bed of noodles.  I love the fake bonsei tree for ambience.
 I like this photo because it looks like the man in the poster is joining us.
 Dip the sashimi in the sauce and eat...delish!
 We also had barbequed fish.  Again, it never comes "ready-to-eat" but I've learned to de-bone my fish with chopsticks quite well by now.
 You use a toothpick to pick out the "meat" in the shell...
 Korean food often ends with some soup.  Here we have a delicious fish soup.
 I saw this building on the way back to the hotel.  I guess they can get away with it because no one really knows what it means.
Well, that about wraps up my time in Busan.  Busan is the second largest city in Korea and is located in the southeast.  It is a huge port city.  I really like Busan because it is a big city that has everything you need, beautiful beaches, and it isn't as fast-paced as Seoul.  The people seemed a bit more friendly and not so high-strung.  I hope to make it back to Busan.