Friday, December 31, 2010

Korean Hockey

Are you surprised to hear that hockey is a sport in Korea?  Well...don't get your hopes up tooo high, it's not that popular.  But...they do play internationally.  So we headed about 20 minutes up the subway line to Anyang to see what Korean hockey was all about for the Korea Halla vs. China Dragon Game.  It was a special night so all you had to do was give a free-will donation to some charity and the entrance fee was free.

As you can see from the stands, the arena is small and there aren't many fans.  A good majority of the fans were foreigners...as were some of the players.
 This was my Irish friend's FIRST hockey game EVER.  Not too exciting of a game for it to be here first one:(
 Just like at home...except not as much violence.  Not gonna lie, I enjoyed the hockey music just as much as the game.  Reminds me of my days at SCSU!!
Korea Halla won!  Don't ask me why they are called that??
 So...apparently there is the Asia Hockey League where Korea, Japan, and China play eachother.  Someone pointed out to me that's not very many teams to call it the "Asia" League...
 I didn't realize I missed my days in the "dog pound" at SCSU until now.

Christmas Party at School

On Christmas Eve we had a Christmas Party with the kids at school.  We all gathered in the Main Hall where each class had a short performance.  Santa even came!

Here is Apple Tree Class performing a song on the harmonica.
 This is Palm Tree Class.  The song was in Korean so I didn't know what they were singing about...but I call it the Kim Jong Il Song because of the actions.
 Ahhh...Lemon Tree Class is so cute!
 The kids usually wear their uniforms unless it is a special day.  They got to wear whatever they wanted to school for the Christmas Party.  I asked him to show me his suit and this was the pose I got, lol!
 Some kids wore suits, some kids dressed up as Spiderman...
 Super Mong?  Is this a type-o or is there a Super Mong out there?
 Me and my sweetie, McQueen.  I wore red and green and a red ribbon in my hair.  Everyone was complimented me telling me I was so beautiful and "new hairstyle, new hairstyle!"  It's JUST a ribbon!!
 haha...Tommy tried on my new earmuffs which are extremely popular in Korea.
 LOVED Dennis' bow tie:)
I LOVE this video.  Most of the kids sang Christmas songs or played an instrument; however, this class danced to K-Pop!  You can recognize this class from a previous blog where the girls sang and the boys danced.  This class loves to dance!  I think the boys are more fun to watch than the girls...and if you watch long enough, you'll see even Santa knows the dance.  I've had this song stuck in my head ever since Christmas Eve...thanks Maple Tree Class!
Lastly, this class put this performance together in two days.  p.s. I give props to those out there who actually watch the videos of my students:)

Christmas in Korea

Christmas away from home can be rough but with the right attitude and a little creativity, it can be...not-so-bad.

Ovens are hard to come by in Korea.  These days more and more people have ovens in their homes but it is still not common.  English teachers in Korea usually live in tiny studio apartments with no oven.  So...I was so happy to see a new grocery item at Homeplus a few weeks ago!  If it's Christmas, it's okay to eat the whole package right...these are MY Christmas Cookies.
On Christmas Eve I went to dinner with another teacher from school.  She is Korean but her family lives out of town so we enjoyed a nice bulgogi dinner.  Bulgogi is a sweet beef mixed with vegetables.  Forgot to take a photo:(

Going to a bar on New Year's Eve night has never been something I thought I would do...but when my friend called and said, "You aren't just gonna sit at home on Christmas Eve, are you?"  I got my butt out of bed and joined them at our favorite local bar, D.C.T. (which stands for Dreams Come True, haha).
Always love a good fire show at DCT.
There's always gonna be "that guy" on Christmas Eve.
On Christmas Day we headed to Seoul for the Nutcracker Ballet at the Universal Art Center.  It was FANTASTIC!  I had never gone to a ballet before and was thoroughly impressed.  Of course, photos weren't allowed during the performance so I always sneak one at the end.  I figure I've already seen the performance in case they kick me out.
The theater, itself, was beautiful.
After the ballet it was pretty late and nothing seemed to be open on Christmas Day.  We found a fantastic restaurant in Gangnam called, Captain's Hook.  Naturally a Peter Pan themed restaurant seemed appropriate to share a nice Christmas dinner away from home.

This is a photo of my Christmas dinner...chicken quesadillas...and they were delicious!  A rare find in Korea.
We all shared some nachos.

And potato skins.
I think this explains how delicious it was!
Afterwards we played some games.  It was so much fun and the waitstaff was VERY confused at what we were doing which made it even more fun.  We played until 2 a.m. when the restaurant closed.
The lovely ladies I spent Christmas with.
I am lucky enough to spent time at home a few days after Christmas.  I am currently riding this blog while being "iced in" at my mom's house on New Year's Eve.  Can't control the weather in Minnesota.  I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas...and maybe I'll see ya soon!

Friday, December 24, 2010

메리 크리스마스 to my Family from the Kids!

Merry Christmas (메리 크리스마스) Family and Friends!!

I gave the option to a few of my classes to make a video for you...and of course they all wanted to.  This is totally un-rehearsed...as you can see there are videos where you catch the kids picking their nose or making their Katie Teacher mad by talking too much!  But generally most of them got pretty shy in front of the camera when it came to speaking...not when it came to being naughty...haha...kids will be kids.

Apple Tree Class
Apple Tree Class singing Feliz Navidad...in case you don't know...that's Spanish.  The kids had to learn this song for something else and the Korean teachers had to teach the song.  They were surprised when I told them this wasn't English...except for the second verse.
Afterschool kids.  Two kids are sitting on the floor, why?  Because they were fighting over a chair so they both had to sit on the floor.  And yes, Daniel is in the corner for fighting!
Lemon Tree class says Merry Christmas:)
Pine Tree class says, 안녕하세요(An-nyang-ha-se-yo = Hello).  They sang a song in Korean...can you tell which one it is?
This class can be a bit loud, you might wanna turn down your speakers.

If you couldn't tell, here it is in English...
p.s. I didn't teach them this song...they were reading it off a sheet I was holding up:)
Pine Tree Class is my wild class...but they've got a lot of spunk and I love seeing them everyday.  Tony forgot I had the camera on.

Maple Tree Class.  This video is typical of this class.  The girls like to sing nicely and the boys love to dance and act goofy.  They are hilarious to watch.
Maple Tree Class says hello!
And last, a song from the afterschool kids.
 Merry Christmas from me and the kids!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Ice Skating in Korea...

I went ice skating last weekend in Seoul.  It was a beautiful outdoor rink...and like anything in Korea, it was crowded!  It only costs 1,000 won (about 85 cents) for admission and skate rental combined!  You can't really go fast because there are so many people but I definatly improved on my weaving in and out of traffic skills.  I was lucky not to be taken down by anyone.  Several innocent ice skaters were knocked down by beginner skaters.  Just part of the fun of living in a crowded country;)

My skates...put them on just like rollerblades...genius!  I hate lacing ice/hockey skates!
 Skating in beautiful downtown Seoul with a beautiful Christmas tree
CROWDED!

Monday, December 20, 2010

A Korean Wedding...

I went to a Korean wedding a few weeks ago.  This is the second Korean wedding I've been to.  The first time I was pretty new to Korea and hadn't gotten a chance to know the teacher getting married very well.  This time I know the bride pretty well as she is in one of our immersion rooms.  She doesn't teach English, but she helps me manage the little rascals when they aren't listening.  Actually, she has probably the most well-behaved class in the school.

Here is the business of the wedding.  Usually a few uncles of the bride or groom (not sure which or if its both) do the "book keeping."  When you go to the wedding, you put your money in an envelope and hand it over to this gentleman where he carefully records your name and the amount of money given.  This way, when your son/daughter gets married, they will look at how much money you gave and must give the same amount.
 While the business is being dealt with, the bride waits in a small room so that people can see her and take pictures with her.  In this photo, Ann (the English teacher in the bride's classroom) is on the left and I'm obviously on the right.  The two women in the middle taught at our kindergarten last year.
 The bride's dress is gorgeous!  Luckily, in Korea, you don't have to purchase any of the dresses or tuxes.  Very few Koreans get married in a church.  Most get married in a wedding hall where they do everything.  You pick out your dresses/tuxes, they do the hair and makeup, they have several staff that tell you what to do and where to go, etc...

This is one of those times where I wish I understood Korean...haha...don't know what they were talking about.  These are several Korean teachers from my school.
 Sung Hee and Ann...co-teachers.
 Sung Hee tried to keep the wedding a secret from the kids so that no one's parents would feel obligated to go and give money...but a few found out anyway.  Little Miss Shiny came to the wedding.  She's adorable!
 Me and Shiny!  You can vaguely see in the background a photo. There was a digital screen that scrolled through their wedding photos...this one is of them in hanbok with umbrellas (I don't know many American men who would take this photo).
 Ann and Shiny.
 Some more teachers from my school with the bride.
 And Miss Candy found out about the wedding and brought her sisters.  She was sooo happy to see her teacher.  She couldn't stop smiling:)
 Her sister wasn't so happy:)  I teach her too, she's 5 years old and Candy is 6 years old.
 The mothers in hanbok get ready to come down the aisle.
 The groom looks a bit nervous...
 Mothers bow.
 Sung Hee with her father:)
 One of their guy friends sang a song...Shiny wasn't a fan!!
 Our Korean teachers sang a song...Candy and Shiny helped out.
 Bowing to their parents.
 Mr. and Mrs.  In Korea, you don't change your name when you get married.
 Me and the Principal of our School.
 The bride and groom with their parents...and white gloves.
 Their family.
 Photographs are very important to the wedding.  Weeks before, the bride and groom take several professional photographs with several different clothing changes.  They are so beautiful.  I took a picture of one of them...didn't turn out very well since it was in a frame.
 Shiny was so happy to see her teacher:)
 Candy's oldest sister, Olivia, who I also teach in our afterschool program.
 Oops, I don't know how this photo got to the end.
After the wedding, everyone files into the dining hall.  Everyone has a ticket that they received once they paid the businessmen.  It is a huge buffet style dinner.  This wedding had particularly good food.  The dining hall is shared with several other people who are having weddings in that hall as well.  So sometimes you don't particularly sit with people you know or who went to the same wedding as you.  They usually have a big screen where you can watch whatever wedding is going on at that time.  If you aren't a close friend or relative of the bride, you usually just pay your money and eat.  For example, friends of the bride and groom's parents.  It's an eat and go kind of a thing.  There is no lingering...us, Heils would have a problem with that..we tend to linger and chat forever!

While everyone is eating, the bride and groom and their parents go into another room where they do the traditional Korean ceremony in their hanbok.  It's only very close family so I've never gotten to see that part...hopefully some day-I think that must be the best part!