Monday, January 31, 2011

Lunar New Year

Today we celebrated Lunar New Year (Chinese New Year) at LCI. All of the Kinder students came dressed in their Hanboks, traditional Korean clothing. We spent the day taking pictures and playing. After lunch all of the students bowed to us and told us Happy New Year. Respecting your elders is very important in Korea so they did this as a sign of respect. After they each bowed, we gave them 1,000 Korean Won (about 90 cents). They were all so excited to show off their Hanboks to their friends and the teachers.

My class and I


Juliana, Judy, Audrey and Cheny

Jacob, Young and Johnson

My class

Fred and his students: Kelly, Issac and Eric

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sad Times in 7-3

This past week was sad for Fred's 7-3 class (meaning the kids are 7 years old and in their 3rd year of English). Four of his eight students left LCI for another school. They are all changing schools together as they prepare to become first graders. On Thursday we said goodbye to Hailey, Sally, Kevin K and Chloe. It was sad to see these kids say goodbye to their friends that they have been studying with for the past 3 years. Fred spent the day playing and taking a lot of photos. Friday was very interesting, as his class could now all sit around one table. His remaining students are Kelly, Ann, Issac and Eric. They will all become very smart students over the next month based on their small class size.

On Saturday Fred, Steve, Josh, Ann and I headed bowling. We have passed this bowling alley many times but we have never gone. Yesterday was the day. We entered the 14 lane bowling alley and had to wait for about 10 minutes for a lane to open. It was exactly like at home but there was no restaurant/bar for food and drinks. We were put in a lane next to some very intense Korean bowlers. They were fun to watch yet intimidating at the same time. After bowling a few games, we went to dinner than came home. This morning we headed out for lunch and coffee. It has been a very relaxing weekend. Tomorrow we are celebrating Seolnal (Lunar New Year). The students are going to wear their Hanboks (traditional Korean clothing) to school. Then Tuesday is our last day for the week due to the holiday. I will post pictures tomorrow!

Chloe and Fred

Ann and Hailey

Fred and his class

Fred and his class

Kevin K and Hailey

Monday, January 24, 2011

Danny's Birthday Party

Today we celebrated the birthday of Danny! He is the cute, quiet yet tough, and loving boy in my class. He is loved by everyone even though he sometimes is a little rough with the others. He showed up today with a stylish t-shirt. He walked up to me and said, 'Teacher look at my shirt.' My response was, 'Wow Danny! You have a necktie!" He looked at me very seriously and said, "No teacher. It is a necktie picture." He was right. I was wrong.

After lunch we had a great party. His mom brought a chocolate cake, juice, strawberrys, rice cakes and individual boxes full of treats, cookies and school supplies for each person. Each box had our names on them with hearts and a large bow. We all filled up on the treats then opened our presents. As exciting as the party was, it was also bittersweet. This is Dannys last week at LCI because his family is moving to Seoul. When I started teaching this class Danny did not know the alaphbet and he could barely write his own name. Now he can read, write and speak in full sentences. He is quiet in class and based on his observate behavior, he had become one of the best speakers in class. I am so proud of all of his achievements over the past 9 months. He has improved the most out of the class. I will truly miss him and I am sad to see him leave!

My class and I

The food

Johnson and Danny

Judy, Danny and Juliana

Jacob, Danny and Young

Cheny, Danny and Audrey

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Kevin's Visit

Fred's dad came to visit us for the weekend. Last week he was in China for business and was able to come to Korea for a day and half before returning home. We picked him up at the airport on Friday after work. One of our Korean friends, Yumi, drove us. It was so nice of her to take us because we didn't have to worry about taking buses. Once we got back to Suji, around 11:30pm, we headed to Batman Bar. We met up with a bunch of our foreigner friends and then headed to a Noribong. A Noribong is a kareokee room. After being out for a few hours, we headed home.

On Saturday morning we took him to all of the Suji hotspots (school, our favorite Korean restaurant Tomato Place, Lotte Mart, etc.) and then headed into Seoul for the night. We went to Insa-dong, which is Seoul's art distict. Next we tried to get into Gyeongbukgung Palace, but it was closed when we arrived. We then headed to a tradational Korean tea house to warm up. We all enjoyed delicious tea and green tea chocolate. We decided to grab some Korean barbeque for dinner, then went to Itaewon for the Iran v. Korea soccer match. After watching the game, we headed to the airport. After seeing him off, we came home and slept for most of Sunday. It was a really fun weekend and I think he enjoyed his time. Maybe he will be back soon!

Batman Bar

Gyeongbukgung Palace

Korean BBQ

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Meet Juliana

This week my class welcomed back Juliana!

Juliana was with my students when they were five years old then her family moved to Greece for a few months because of her fathers job. She is now back in Korea and back at LCI. Her speech is very good, at the top of the class. She has a hard time identifying each letter so her writing and reading are behind the others. However, she is very sweet and she is always focused on the classwork. I am confident that soon she will catch up to the others.

Jacob, Judy and Johnson

Cheny and Juliana

All of my girls: Audrey, Juliana, Judy and Cheny

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Sunday lunch

Fred and I woke up pretty early today and Skyped then we headed to lunch. We decided to go to our favorite Korean restaurant near LCI. I took a few pictures to give you an idea of what we normally eat.

A bowl of Kimchi: fermented cabbage

Mondu: Korean style dumpings filled with meat, noodles and veggies

Tuna gimbap: Tuna, veggies, egg and rice wrapped in seaweed

Doenjang Jijae: Tofu and zucchini soup with rice and mushrooms

Ann's Birthday Party

Ann celebrated her birthday on Tuesday. Her parents and older sister stopped by the classroom and brought tons of delicious food for everyone.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Zipline Video

Here is the video that I took as I was on the zipline in the Philippines.

Philippines 2010

During our winter vacation, Fred and I headed to Bohol Island in the Philippines with a few of our friends, Steve, Josh and Justin. We left on Thursday December 23 right after work on a 9:30pm flight from Incheon to Manila. After a very long layover in Manila, we took a 8:30am flight to Bohol Island. We arrived around 9:30am on Friday and headed straight to our hotel. We paid a little bit more money to be located right on the beach. It was worth the price! We walked right onto the white sand beach, Alona Beach, from our hotel. This is how our week went.

Friday: Once we checked into our rooms, we explored the beach. The hotels were a lot closer together than we imagined. They seemed to be stacked against each other in order to get the most out of the views of the beach. We also walked around and browsed in a few shops. Right away we had our hearts set on a seafood dinner. We went to a restaurant right next to our hotel for the night. Fred had a tuna steak and I had snapper. We also met a couple from Minnesota at the restaurant bar. The man had on a Twins shirt so we were immediatly drawn to them. It turned out that they live in Korea, about 8 subway stops from us. The woman teaches French at an international school. What a small world! It was a great way to start the vacation.

: We spent the day laying around the beach. The weather was very warm, mid-90's, each day. We took a Christmas dinner suggestion from our new MN/Korea friends, Maggie and John, and reserved a table at another restaurant. We spent Christmas night at a luau style pig roast. The menu had everything from pork, fish, Filipino steak, chicken, fresh veggies to curry. We were also joined by another new friend, Yann from France who had met Josh on Friday. We all enjoyed the dinner and music before a large display of fireworks filled the sky. This was by far the warmest Christmas we will ever experience.

Christmas Day on the beach

Enjoying Christmas dinner

Sunday: On Sunday we again enjoyed the white sand beach. We spent the day drinking mango shakes and tropical drinks as we tried to Skype with family members back home. In the evening, we all met for lobsters on the beach.

Monday: On Monday morning Fred, Josh and I woke up at 5:30 for a 6:00am dolphin watching and snorkeling tour. We jumped on the boat we hired and set off to search for dolphins. We saw a few swimming about 50 meters from our boat. From there we went to an island to snorkel. We got off of our big boat and got into a much smaller one, similar to a canoe. We took this boat to an area a little ways off of shore. The water was so warm and crystal clear. We were snorkeling in water that was about 4 feet deep however that soon turned into a huge dropoff. The coral ground literlly just dropped down at leat 50 feet. We were able to hold our breath and dive down however we could not see the bottom. We saw numerous types of fish and beautiful coral. Our guide even brought bread for us to hold under water to feed the fish. The fish would come right up to us and eat the bread. Some of them were so big that they made me drop some bread out of pure shock from their size. I really wish we had brought a water-proof camera! From there we went to one other island, that was basically like a large sand bar. Nobody lived on it. We walked around and drink out of coconuts. Once we got back to Alona Beach we met up with Steve and Justin. Later in the day, we ran into Fred's friend William and his girlfriend Andrea who lived in Pohang with Fred last year. We all spent the night together and had a great time.

On the snorkeling tour

Tuesday: On Tuesday morning we got up and changed hotels, as we could not find one hotel for all nine nights. We then met up with William and Andrea and spent the day on the beach.

Wednesday: On Wednesday morning Fred, Josh, Steve, Justin and I headed out on an island tour. First we went to a few historical sites including the second oldest church in the Philippines. From there we went to see Tarsiers. They are the smallest primates in the world. Next we went on a lunch river cruise. The food was ok but the sites were beautiful. There was a singer and guitarist who played during the one hour river tour. At one point they sang a Korean pop-song, which we all sang along to, complete with claps and smiles. Then we went to see the Chocolate Hills. They are dome shaped hills that are covered with plants which make them appear to be covered in chocolate. Then we continued on to a butterfly conservation center. We saw tons of different types of butterflies. After this we went to a hanging brige. The bridge was made out of bamboo and ropes. It hung over a river which was very terrifing. As we were clinging onto the sides, small local children would run past us, shaking the bridge and making us scream out of fear. Finally we moved onto our last destination. We asked our guide to take us to a zipline. The zipline was about 500 meters high, between two mountains. We were strapped in so that we were hanging like Superman. The zipline lasted about 1 minute and was very scary however it turned out to be our favorite part of the day.

At the Chocolate Hills




Hanging Bridge

Thursday: On Thurday we once again spent the day on the beach.

Friday: On Friday we relaxed on the beach and got one hour massages for about 10 dollars. To celebrate New Year's Eve, we went to another luau-pig roast at the same restaurant. We enjoyed the same delicous food before welcoming 2011 on the beach with fireworks!

Saturday: On Saturday we relaxed on the beach and had one last delicous dinner on the beach.

Sunday: On Sunday we woke up and headed to the airport. We had a one hour flight to Manila then a 3 hour layover before heading back to Korea. Our flight was an hour late leaving Manila so we made it back to Korea later than planned. We ran through the airport, immigration and customs in order to catch the last bus to Suji at 10:10pm. We made it by about 10 minutes and got back to our apartment a little after 11pm.

Our 10 days in the Philippines was exactly what we needed. We were able to relax and spend some time away from the stresses of everyday life in Korea. We were sad to be spending the holidays away from our families and friends however it was wonderful to be in a tropical paradise. We were able to be around people who spoke English, we could watch western TV such at the Discovery Channel, we ate delicous western food and seafood and we spent our time with great friends. It truly was a Christmas and New Year's to remember.