Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving in Korea

This past weekend we had our own American thanksgiving celebration. Fred headed to Suji on Friday after work to join in our dinner and got here around 10:30pm!! After work, we (9 of the 11 teachers) headed to Alan's house for our dinner. Everyone brought a dish to share along with wine. We could not get turkeys here so we all pitched in and got a few roasted chickens. We hung out at Alan's for a while, talking, playing Wii and enjoying our feast. After dinner we went to a Noreabong. This is Korean karaoke. We sang and danced the night away.

On Saturday, Fred and I headed into Seoul. We went into the Insa-dong area which is known as the art district. We had lunch before walking around hunting for our Christmas presents. We snacked on a traditional Korea street food. It is basically a pancake filled with hot, sweet nut and cinnamon paste. We had this treat in Sokcho and were very excited to find it again on Saturday. On Sunday, we just walked around Suji. I ended up getting a new pair of glasses. Frames and lens for about $42.00!! Crazy! We then had a late lunch in a city called Jeong-ja, 3 subway stops from Suji. We then headed to the bus station so that Fred could get back to Pohang. As always, we had a great weekend together but it is always hard to say goodbye.

Tomorrow is December, which means we are almost at our 5 month mark! In about 4 weeks we will be off to Thailand!!

Our Thanksgiving feast
Christine, Shauna and I
Street performers in Insa-dong
Making art on the street

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Daejeon, South Korea

Fred and I decided to meet this past weekend. We chose to make a little vacation out of it and met in a city about half way between Pohang and Suji called Daejeon. It took me about an hour and 40 minutes to get there and it took Fred a little over 2 hours.

We both got there around 10pm on Friday and headed out for a late dinner. As we were walking it started to snow! Our first snowfall in Korea. We ended up having chicken and tons of side dishes for dinner.

On Saturday we headed to a very important temple, Beobjusa, about an hr away from Daejeon. It is in Mount Sogri National Park. The largest Buddha in Asia is here. There was also a very beautiful 5 story pagoda. After walking around the snow dusted park for a while we decided to head back to Daejeon. We could not feel our hands and toes it was so cold! Once back we headed to an Italian place for dinner and out for a drink after.

Today we got up and walked around town. We shopped a little, had lunch and coffee and relaxed before we had to leave. We both took trains back, Fred leaving around 5 and me around 5:30.

It was a very fun and relaxing weekend!

In front of the pagoda


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Britney's Birthday

Today is Britney's birthday. A bunch of us, Shauna, Christine, Britney, Gina, Steve, Alison, Matt and I went out in Seoul last night to celebrate. We had a great dinner and went to a few bars. We met up with a few people who used to teach at our school, and are now at different schools in Seoul for their second year in Korea. We also met up with a friend of Christine's from home who is teaching near Seoul.

This past week was very crazy at school. We are missing a lot of the students still due to swine flu. Even after our week break, many of the mothers have pulled their kids from LCI until December. The teachers and the owners had a meeting on Friday after school. We decided that we are not going to work on Saturdays or shorten winter vacation due to the swine flu break.

We spent most of Monday and Tuesday revising our class schedules and work because of the break. We are now trying to merge that work with our assigned work. This is making it very hard to fit everything in. The kids are stressed as well with the added work, making the week even longer. On Wednesday, during the lunch hour, one of my Kinder boys, Samuel (the smallest one) basically body slammed one of the girls into the floor sending her to the hospital. She ended up being fine however we were worried that she hurt her leg. This shows you how rough my class truly is!

We were also told to start decorating our rooms for Christmas. Of course, another song contest is involved.

The weather here is starting to get cold! I now have to have my heat on. It is hard to believe that it is already the middle of November! In a few weeks Fred and I will be off to Thailand for Christmas and New Years.

Shauna and I

Britney, Christine and Alison (she teaches at LCI in the city next to Suji)

Most of the staff on Halloween
Back row L-R: Alan, Michael, James, Steve and Blake
Middle row L-R: Michelle (Supervisor), Rebecca (Supervisor), Melanie (Owner), Gina, Janice, Me, Shauna, Jackie (Owner)
Front row: Britney and Christine

Sunday, November 8, 2009

More Philippines Pictures

A typical bus in the Philippines

4 year old crocodile

Starfish Island

Honda Bay

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Swine Flu=Philippines

On Friday after school we got the news that our school would be closed for a week due to swine flu. On Saturday another teacher, Gina, and I booked our tickets to the Philippines and we left on Sunday.

Our flight out of Seoul was delayed about 5 hrs so we did not get to Manila until around 6am on Monday. We stayed in Manila until our next flight at 5pm. We went to the Mall of Asia to waste time. We also saw a 3D IMAX movie called 'Under the Sea.' We then arrived on Palawan island around 6pm. We found a hotel a booked it for 2 nights. They sent us to this great seafood place for dinner. Everything in the Philippines is open. There is a roof but usually no walls. We sat outside and enjoyed our first dinner.

On Tuesday morning we went on a tour to an Underground River. We were picked up at our hotel around 7am and then we drove 2 hrs. Once at the ocean, we took a boat to the island where the river is. We then walked through a jungle area before getting into another boat. The river was in a cave. It goes for miles however to go past the first mile you need a special permit. It is known as one of the 7 natural wonders of the world. After the tour we went to a souvenir shop. We ending up meeting this wonderful couple (Virgie and Charlie) that owned the shop. They gave us great suggestions for dinners and things to do. We were talking to them about changing to a hotel with a pool. Virgie said she knew a place and took us there. We walked into this amazing four star hotel knowing that we could not afford it. Then she told us that we could use her corporate account, she is a realtor. We ended up getting the room at less than half price. We then headed to another great seafood place for dinner!

Underground Cave

On Wednesday we went on another tour, this time to Honda Bay. We went island hopping to 3 different islands. The first was Bandan Island. We were there for 2 hour. We enjoyed a great lunch and unbelievable snorkeling. We then headed to Snake and Starfish Islands. The water was pure blue and green. You could see straight to the bottom. We ended up meeting 3 Filipino ladies from Manila who we had dinner with that night. That night we also transferred to our 4 star resort for the rest of our trip!!

On Thursday we spent the morning laying by the pool. In the afternoon we went on a Puerto Princesa city tour. Our first stop was a crocodile sanctuary. We were able to hold a baby crocodile. It was a very cool place. We then headed to the oldest prison in the Philippines. It is an open prison so the prisoners are able to work and live freely on the prison grounds. It was a weird feeling to be walking amongst prisoners. We also saw an old congressman's house, a look out point, the boardwalk, a church and the capital building. After the tour we met with Virgie and Charlie for dinner at a restaurant floating on the ocean. It was very nice to be able to talk with them. They then took us out for iced teas made with Bandan leaves and honey.

On Friday we sat the pool before relaxing and getting messages and facials. For dinner we went back to one of our favorite places, Kanibuchs for more seafood. We then went to the bar at the hotel and listened to the live music, both in Filipino and in English.
Finally on Saturday we had to leave the Philippines and head to Korea.