Friday, March 24, 2006

Well... I got my hand phone set up today... and my bank account.
Tomorrow morning, my new fridge will arrive, my Internet will be installed, and my home phone will be installed. Yay.
My boss, Jennifer, spent a lot of time today on the phone, trying to find me the best deals for everything.
I will be going on a teacher field trip April 7th(?). My boss at the Wooil (the kindy) told me about it this morning. All of the teachers (or most of them) will be going. I am not sure where we are going, but we are staying somewhere overnight, drinking, singing, dancing, eating, etc. Basically, an extended work dinner.... the whole deal.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

ballet slippers, smoking grannies, etc

Yesterday when I got to work, one of the Korean teachers gave me a pair of ballet slippers to wear around the school. Real ballet slippers. I think there is something to do with ballet somewhere in the school (it is on the website). How cute.
Last night after sitting in a PC Bang (net cafe) for a while, I went for some kimchi bokumbap (kimchi fried rice) and outside the window there was a little old granny (think... posture is bent over at a right angle) smoking on the street. In Korea, that is not a normal thing... in general, (Korean) women don't really smoke in public. They smoke in the bathroom if they do. To see a little Korean granny smoking is quite an oddity.
When I arrived in my home my first day here, my bosses asked me if I needed a new fridge. I said if the one there worked, I didn't care, that was fine. I spent a while on the weekend cleaning it out (it was pretty gross inside). Today, when I got to work, Jennifer, the boss, said she ordered me a new fridge... a very nice fridge. Yay!!! They also ordered me all new bedding when I got there. It arrived the end of last week, so up until then, Jennifer lent me some of their bedding.
The number of students at LCC (my hagwon) has gone up a lot since I got there... I think it is higher than it has been before, or at least higher than it has been in a long time. Jennifer is very happy. Last week there were 79 students (I think). New students keep arriving. Kelly (the main Korean English teacher) and I interview each new student and decide what class to put them in. There are only 7 English classes at LCC.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

St. Patricks day and such..

Well... I had a pretty good weekend. Friday night I went up to Ilsan, near where I used to live, to meet some friends that I hadn't seen since I left Korea almost a year ago. Kieran and Dairin are an Irish couple that have been in Korea for about as long as I have been (on and off). They got back from some travelling not too long ago. They hosted a little St. Patty's day party at their place. I was surprised that so many of my friends are still around. A lot have left, though, and there were a few new faces. As I mentioned before, most people only stick around for their one year contract and then move on, so things are always changing.
After the little party, we all moved on to a club in Ilsan called Soul Train... a mostly foreigners dance club. Great fun. Haven't done that in a while. I crashed on Anthony's sofa at around 6:30 or so in the morning.... a fairly normal time in Korea on the weekend.
Saturday night was another big party night. An Irish pub in Seoul hosts a huge all you can eat all you can drink (Guinness on tap, draft beer, wine or some sort of cocktail punch) party every year for St. Patty's day (for 60,000 won). Most of my friends were there, as well, of course.
I spent all day today cleaning... and cleaning... and shopping... and cleaning... and shopping... and cleaning. The shopping part I dont' mind, at all.... but I HATE cleaning. Still trying to make my place look half decent (as I mentioned before (I think) it was DIRTY when I moved in). It is taking a while, as there is so much to do, and my back complains if I do too much at a time.
poor me.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

cleaning??? Ugh.

At my hagwon (my afternoon school) I have my own classroom. What that means is that I have a desk in the corner and I start out each group of classes in that room. It also means that I get to clean it every Tuesday: vacuum, mop, dust, etc. fun stuff.
I taught my first day at the kindy school today. It went okay, but I still don't quite know what I am doing. No one could really tell me, because no one really knew. I am to read a book and sing songs with the students, but the book is to last a week, I think. The book takes maybe 5 minutes to get through... and that is stretching it. I don't know the songs yet, so that doesn't help. It is not actually all that easy to fill even 15 minutes. I had to improvise a bit. Really, though, it doesn't really matter what I do, as long as I am speaking English, and the students aren't falling asleep. I also wasn't at all prepared for today... I had the wrong books until about 2 minutes before I started, and I don't have any breaks until after I go through 8 classes.
Oh.. and there are classrooms on the 3rd floor as well as the outside (roof) playground. I will never remember all of the students names at the kindy, because there are so many in each class and I don't really have enough time with them (except for those that go to the hagwon afterwards). It is a good thing that they all wear name tags!!!!!

Monday, March 13, 2006

Immigration and such

I made it to Immigration this morning. It took a little more than an hour to get there (taxi, subway, walking). At least I only had to wait around an hour for my number to be called. It should have been less, since they were on 47 when I got there and I had 57. Sometimes the wait is a lot longer than that. I have to go again on the 23rd to pick up my Alien card and my Passport. Yes, they keep the passport. My school wants me to get a bank account this week but I will no have to wait until after I get my card. I can't do much with our my passport or my Alien Card. kinda sucks. I have my cell phone but have to wait another week and a half to actually get a number. Argh. I hate using pay phones, especially if it is windy and cold. Also, I can't phone home or anywhere using the pay phone because it is WAY too expensive. C'est la vie.
My first class today was 16 students!!! They were the lowest level and the youngest at the Hagwon. I think that a lot of the students in my first two classes at LCC are students that I also have at the kindergarten. I am told that that class will shrink a bit, as some of them will change to Tuesday/Thursday classes. Large classes like that are difficult, especially when they know almost no English. Today I was supposed to give most of them English names, but they just stared at me or at the table and said either nothing or "no". It is hard picking English nicknames for a room full of kids, most of which don't want one.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

my life in Korea begins...

Well... I am finally back in Korea.
My home is quite nice. It is in a very old, more 'traditional style' building. It is not an apartment or villa (I was in a villa before) but rather, a "multi-family house". Basically, it is 3 floors. There is a business on the first floor, I have most of the second floor (there is a small one room deal on the second floor as well) and the owner is on the third floor. I have a bedroom with a double bed, dresser and closet. I have a very large living room with 2 dressers, a desk, a small table and a TV. My kitchen is tiny, though. My bathroom is very Korean... no sink, no mirror.... just the toilet in one corner, a washing machine in another corner, and a shower hose and tap coming out of the wall in between. The bathroom is not heated, so there is a little electric heater on the wall, above where the 'shower' is. I have A LOT of cleaning to do, as it wasn't cleaned by the last tenant. There are even dirty old shoes in the shoe closet by the door. Yuck!!!
I picked up Tokki yesterday. Tokki is a rabbit that I have adopted. His previous owner was the ex-girlfriend of a friend of mine. Tokki is so cute, but is a bit scared and nervous at the moment. I will take him to the Vet this week to make sure all is well. His toenails REALLY need some trimming. They are around a cm long!!! My friend, Anthony, has had Tokki in his apartment for the past week. He hasn't let the rabbit out, though, because Tokki really likes to chew things, and Anthony is not a big fan of little animals. As a result, Tokki has been very bored and restless.
My schools are great. Yes, there are 2, with the same owners.
At 10 am, I start work teaching kindy classes at a kindy school. There are up to 30 students and two Korean teachers in a class. There are several floors in the building. The first and second floors are all classrooms, each with a piano, TV, tables, play area, etc. The roof has a playground and a small swimming pool for summer. The basement has a larger playground/play area, and a Taekwondo school (part of the kindy school, or owned by the same people, I think). There is also a piano school within (also part of the same thing).
My job is to spend 15 minutes with each class, reading a book and then singing a song with the students. I go through 8 classes, and then there is a lunch break. The school has a kitchen and a couple of cooks. After lunch, I go to two more classes. I only teach at the kindy school 4 days a week. I get to choose which day I get the morning off.
Then I head down the parking lot to my hagwon, LCC. I start teaching there at 2 pm. I have 2 40-45 minute breaks there, and finish at 6pm. The classes are small and I am just teaching from books. (I have taught with most of the books already, my last time in Korea).
I have to go to the Immigration Office tomorrow morning to apply for my Alien Registration. I have to have my Alien card in order to get my phone and Internet set up.

Monday, March 06, 2006

going to Korea

Finally my flight has been booked. I leave Wednesday morning... VERY early.
I should get my passport in the mail on Tuesday (says the post office), and my plane tickets from Fed-Ex on Tuesday. It either are late, BIG problem. Not sure what will happen if that is the case.
I hate flying... still. I cannot even count the number of planes I have been in.... but I still hate it just as much. Flying scares me... no, it REALLY scares me. I just suck it up, though, because my desire to go places is much, much greater.
I will be in Korea Thursday evening. Next weekend I will be going to Busan with a friend.
As I wrote before, I was supposed to be in Korea on the 1st of the month. Things in Korea don't always go as one would expect. Things are changed last minute, and not everyone is told. Recruiters aren't so great to deal with (usually). My recruiter the last two times was great. Everything went relatively smoothly. This time, though, the recruiter is different... and she is doing things her way, and hasn't listened to the school or to me. That's the way things go in Korea, I suppose.
I had a couple of parties to go to in Korea this weekend, that I am obviously missing. A couple of friends are leaving and are having going away parties. I will not see them, now.
At least I am getting there. Better late than never.

cat nap

Wednesday, March 01, 2006


An ex-student of mine (in Korea) sent me this site. She says she is obsessed with dolls, especially dolls from LeeKe world.
I am not sure what I think. Some of the dolls are cute, I suppose. Others are just kinda creepy.