Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Cheny's Birthday Party

Today we celebrated Cheny's birthday. She came to school in a very fancy pink and black dress, complete with matching pink hair bow. Her mother brought a snowman cake, birthday hats and pre-packaged trays of food for each student. We had muffins, candy, yogurt, cake and orange juice. After each student was full, Cheny opened her presents. She got lots of art supplies, hairbows, pencils and stockings. We had a great day and it was a nice way to celebrate before vacation.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Jingle Bell Rock

Here is my class singing Jingle Bell Rock.

Fred's Christmas Song

Here is Fred's class singing Up on the Housetop by the Jackson 5. Two of his students left for the day right before we started singing so they were down a few key members.

Santa Comes to LCI

Today Santa came to LCI. Each class got to see Santa and get a present from him. They were all very excited and full of Christmas joy. After a visit from the young Korean man dressed in a Santa suit, who was speaking and acting as if he was 85 years old, we all went back to our classrooms to practice our Christmas songs. After lunch we all got together for our Christmas song competition. I am sad to say that neither Fred or I placed in the top three! Here is a video of the entire Kinder population singing Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer in Korean at the beginning of the song competition.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Staff Christmas Party

Last night we had our staff Christmas party. After work we all headed to Jeongja, an area near to Suji, for dinner. We rented out a huge room at an American style Chinese restaurant called Rok'n'Wok. We had eaten at this restaurant before and it worked perfectly for our event. We have been exchanging secret santa gifts over the past few weeks and last night we gave our final gifts. Fred had one of our supervisors, Joanne, who also had him. He received movie tickets to go see "The Tourist" this Tuesday night. I had another supervisor, Michelle. Our head supervisor, Lucy, had me. She gave me a very nice set of fur lined gloves. After dinner we went to a Noreabong which is Korea's version of a karaoke room. It was a wonderful night and a great way to celebrate together for the holidays.

Fred and I at dinner

Me, Lucy and Michelle

Joanne and Fred

Michelle, Ann, Me, Maria, Britney

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Middle of December

It is hard to believe that it is almost the middle of December. The past few weeks have been really rough at school. We have struggled with our classes and our daily life at LCI. There has been an overwhelming feel of exhaustion within the office. We are all getting worn down by our lack of positive reinforcement at work and our overall workload. Fred and I have questioned if we made the right decision on coming back to LCI. However, things are now looking up as we only have 9 school days left until we go to the Philippines for 9 days.

On Friday after work we headed to a western style buffet. There were great salads, pizza, gnocchi, pasta, steak, soups and desserts. It was so nice to fill up on food that reminded us of home. Today we went into Seoul in search of new cameras for our trip. Fred ended up buying a new digial Panasonic and I got a Canon DSLR camera. I do not know a lot about high quality cameras so I chose a model that is easy to use and takes great pictures. I upgraded the lens so I have one nice lens and will not have to switch lens while taking pictures. We are excited to try out our cameras and get some great pictures from the Philippines.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Saying goodbye to students

This past Friday both Fred and I had to say goodbye to a Kinder student. Kevin, in Fred's class, left LCI because he is moving to Japan. His mom came into school on Friday after lunch and their class had a going away party. Many of the students in the class were crying and avoiding having to say goodbye. Fred's class has been together since they were 5 years old, for a total of three years. They have a pretty tight bond and it was hard for them to lose a class member.

My class had to say goodbye to cute, troubled and social Annie. She is moving to Seoul. All of the students made going away cards for Annie and we spent most of the day playing and enjoying Annie's company. Her mom came at the end of day and brought cakes for the teachers and a present for me. Although Annie has caused stress in my life she is going to be missed. She is always cute and full of love and kisses. As teachers we know that our kids will come and go but that does not make saying goodbye easier. We spend 4.5 hours a day with these Kinder students and we really fall in love with them. It is hard to know that our classes will now each be missing a member.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

This past Thursday was Thanksgiving but being so far away from our family and friends made it feel unlike our usual Thanksgiving days. We woke up early on Friday morning (Thursday night in MN) to Skype with our families. It was so nice to talk to everyone but if left us both feeling very homesick. The day continued on and we focused on our own celebration. Most of our co-teachers got together on Saturday to celebrate. We bought two pre-made turkeys in Seoul and all got together at Steves on Saturday afternoon. Each person brought a dish to share and we ended up mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, pasta salad, corn, bread, pomegrante seeds, tomato-basil-mozeralla salad and apple and pumpkin pie. There ended up being about 18 people at the dinner. After we ate and watched football from Freds NFL package we all played charades. After the games we headed to our local bar. All-in-all we had a great Thanksgiving but we really missed our families. Now we are looking forward to the Philippines in about 3.5 weeks!

Our meal

Enjoying the food and football

Fred and I

Ann and I

The group at the bar

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

North Korea Attack

Just a quick update since the recent attack from North Korea. Yesterday afternoon the North attacked an island that lies near the border. This island gets attacked often however this time people were killed and injured. As of now the South says they will only attack if the North takes more action against the South. Everyone here is discussing this however most people are not too concerned as of now. We have heard more helicopters since the attack however we have not seee much else. Fred and I will keep you all updated on the changes. Here is a link to the most popular English newspaper out of Seoul. Feel free to look here for more updates from the South Korea perspective.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Apartment Update

Our apartment is finally feeling like home. It has taken some time, but now our home for the next 9 months feels like ours. Last weekend we orderd and received our new couch. We ordered it from a company near our area and had it delievered. It also folds into a futon for our hopeful future guests!

This past week at LCI was very hectic. Every 3 months we have to complete a detailed status report on all of our Kinder students to send home to the parents. We had to have them done by Friday which added a lot of work on top of our exisiting spelling tests, weekly Kinder reports and essays. We were all relieved to hand them off to our supervisors on Friday evening.

Today we headed back into Seoul and are now heading to see a movie. This upcoming weekend we will celebrate Thanksgiving on Saturday with our co-workers. It is hard to believe that we have already been back in Korea for 3 months! Only 4.5 weeks until we head to the Philippines!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

A few new photos

Here are a few photos of my Kinder students.

Danny and Judy

Jacob and Johnson


Audrey and Cheny

A great example of Konglish (Korean-English) that came on a plastic box full of oranges from Cheny

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Suwon Soccer Game Video

Here is a video from the last Suwon Bluewings soccer game.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Happy Birthday Kevin K.

Today there was another birthday in Fred's class. Smart, cute and loud Kevin K celebrated his 7th birthday (6th in America). To celebrate Kevin K's mom brought a chocolate piano shaped cake, rice-cake treats, mango juice, oranges, fried chicken and a special salad for Fred Teacher. Kevin K even gave away giant bottles of hand lotion to all of his classmates-a very unique party favor. Everyone enjoyed celebrating his birthday!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Relaxing Weekend in Suji

This past weekend was very relaxing. On Friday after work we had Korean BBQ for dinner then we headed to our local bar. Our friend Josh was having a concert at the bar. He played the guitar and sang to a variety of songs including all of our requests. Many of our foreign friends came out and we also met up with some of our Korean friends and co-workers. It was a very fun night.

Enjoying the concert

On Saturday we relaxed in the morning then spent the afternoon at a coffee shop before Fred got a haircut. We then headed to the store and got a few things for our apartment including plastic for our windows. I am hoping this helps keeps us warm! We then met up with Josh and went to dinner at a Mexican restaurant 5 subway stops away.

Christmas lights outside of the subway station

This morning we woke up and headed into Seoul. Josh, Steve and Fred wanted to get dress shirts so we all went to the foreign district. They went to a tailor that they knew about from other teachers and all got measured for custom shirts. Then we headed to the art district and shopped around for a while. We are now enjoying the rest of our Sunday night. Even though this weekend was low-key, it was nice to relax and enjoy one of the last weekends before it gets really cold in Korea.

Lanterns lining a stream in downtown Seoul

Street vendor

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Halloween Song Contest

Here is a video of my class singing "Witches Brew" for our Halloween Song Contest. We ended up taking third place.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Pajama Day

Yesterday was Pajama Day at LCI. It was the kick-off day to this years Halloween Spirit Week. Most of the kids came dressed in their finest pajamas, slippers and robes. The teachers were also comfy! Here are a few pictures from the day.

My class

Freds class

Seoraksan National Park

This past Saturday morning Fred, Josh, Steve, our co-teacher Ann and I headed to Sokcho, South Korea. Sokcho is largest northern most city on the eastern coast. Fred and I went to Sokcho in September 2009 and in February 2010. Even though this was our third visit, we were counting down the hours until our arrival. Out of all of the cities that I have visited since arriving in Korea in July 2009, Sokcho is still my favorite. It is on the ocean yet surrounded by a gorgeous mountain range and Seoraksan National Park. We took a bus at 7:20am on Saturday and arrived three hours later. Right away we bought our return tickets and headed to get lunch and find a hotel before heading to the park. We bought our park tickets and headed straight to the cable car. Unfortunately, the cable car, which goes every five minutes, was sold out for the entire day. We then hiked around the park, visited the large bronze Buddha and went to a temple. We then headed to Waterpia. Waterpia is an indoor and outdoor sauna and hot tub spa. Each tub is a different temperature or has added scents such as Jasmine.

Josh, me, Fred, Ann and Steve in front of the Buddha

After hours of relaxation we headed to Daepo Harbor. We went to our favorite restaurant that we have visited each time we go to Sokcho. The lady immediately recognized us and started chatting. Her restaurant was full so she started to run us around to other restaurants. We ran, literally ran, after her through the street of shops and restaurants as she dodged around people. Finally, we found place that had room for our group of seven. It was a little table outside of the restaurant, right on the main walking street. We had a front row view of all of the action and we sure felt like VIP's. After a delicious meal of stuffed squid and clams we headed to our hotel.

Seafood dinner

On Sunday we headed right back to the National Park. We again tried to get tickets but they were again sold out, for a cable car that goes EVERY FIVE MINUTES. We ended up doing a small 90 minute hike to a waterfall. The leaves were turning red and yellow and the mountain seemed to be gleaming with fall colors. After enjoying the view for a while, we hiked back down. We then headed for the bus to leave the park. I cannot explain how many people were at the park. We waited for a few bus loads before we got shoved on. Once the bus seemed full, the workers who were managing the bus lines, took wooden sticks and shoved us deeper onto the bus. Then they added a dozen people and repeated the process. Once we could not breather in deeply without pushing against another passenger, the bus left the park. We stopped for a snack then headed to the bus station. We got on the bus at 5:30 and arrived back at 10:30. It took us three hours to get to Sokcho and five hours to get back. The amount of people leaving the area were uncountable. The roads were literally stopped. Even though it took us a long time to get home, the trip was wonderful. It was very nice to get out of the city and to truly enjoy fall in all of its glory. I cannot wait to get back to Sokcho this winter!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Halloween at Everland

This past Saturday Fred, Steve, Steve's friend Justin, Josh and I headed to Everland. Everland is the largest amusement park in Korea and is in the top 8 or so world-wide. We had visited Everland last spring but we all wanted to go again and experience the Halloween Party. We met on Saturday morning and took two cabs to Everland. It is about a twenty minute ride from Suji. We got our wrist bands and walked right in. Right away we were able to see the Halloween transformation. The park was covered with ghosts, pumpkins, witches and other Halloween decorations. We were there all day riding rides and eating food. We stayed to watch the fireworks at 9pm then taxied back to Suji after a great day at Everland!

Entering Everland