Tuesday, June 26, 2007


ON A POSITIVE NOTE... I have one student (American 6 year old) that is visiting from the U.S. (New Jersey) and is in the school for a month or so to learn Korean (my kids get one hour of Korean class a day - writing, reading etc. and the younger kids get mostly Korean). She seems to have taken a liking to me and enjoys following me around talking to me (which can get a tad annoying at times, but isn't really so bad). Almost every day so far, she has mentioned quite matter of factly that I look like a teenager. lol.

X-rays etc

I'm getting so tired of this. I changed hospitals to be closer to where I work (and so that I could actually make appointments without having mess around with the school schedule, which doesnt' really work anyway). The new doctor seems very nice, and a bit more concerned about things than the other one. But it meant more X-rays. He said a few, only to help make a diagnosis. 20 X-rays is a bit more than a few. And I go in on Saturday for a full body bone scan. This is getting so expensive. I mentioned how much I was paying (since this whole problem started) and he is trying to help me as much as he can. He is a specialist, which means to see him it costs about about twice as much (or more) than a regular doctor. Well, he made it so that I am only paying the fees for a regular doctor. Nice. I also asked if he could suggest a good multivitamin. He reached into his own bag and pulled out a new box of vitamins and gave them to me, saying that his pharmacist had just dropped them for HIM. Many of the things that I mentioned that the other doctor had just shrugged his shoulders at, this one shook his head and said it was not good.
So, in the last year, I've had, I think, around 45 X-rays. YIKES!!! That includes the ones at the previous hospital and the X-rays at the dentists' offices that I've been to. I had one X-ray taken yesterday at the dentist, and then again today, as the machine malfunctioned and squished the picture up a bit so that you couldn't clearly see what was what (computer image xray). They had to readjust the machine and retake the X-ray.
It is getting quite expensive. The dentist is quite cheap here compared to back home. At least, some things are. To get a wisdom tooth pulled, it cost me less than $10, including the X-ray and medicine; about $25 when it was a bit more intensive and I had to have a couple of stitches. The problem I have now, is a bit more extensive. The dentist says it is probably due to the medication I've been taking, that my immune system is down and so I am more susceptible to things (which is what I had already thought of). Anyway, it is some sort of gingivitis or such. I needed a teeth cleaning anyway, so he is doing that at the same time. He is also doing a bit extra for me because he feels bad, he is charging me for the regular type of scaling, but using the laser scaling. It will cost me a total of $400, being done in 4 sessions - one quarter of my mouth at a time. Each takes about 30 minutes. He used the laser to clean my teeth and I think he was cauterizing my gums a bit, as I have been having a bit of problems with them bleeding. With my mouth numbed and my face covered, all I could do was smell the burning what ever. not nice. 3 more times I have to deal with that.
So anyway, this hasn't been the best day. 2 hours at the hospital and almost an hour at the dentist's office.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

my birthday

I guess I could tell you that my birthday was also this month (June 8th). I hasn't really been a big deal these past few years. Being in Korea, especially with most of my friends in another city, all working different hours, makes it difficult to really do anything. And there are so many birthdays here in June. On my actual birthday, I rented a movie, came home and just relaxed. I did go out for a drink on Saturday with Revo to BricX in Itaewon. I love BricX. It has such a great atmosphere.Very cozy. We were going to get a sheesha but there was a 2 hour wait, they said.My gift - a beautiful gold necklace.

June's birthday party at Starters

Yes, once again it's a little late. I show my kids their pics on my blog sometimes (I use the net for teaching) and they absolutely love it. Since I had pics of the others so far, to be fair, I sort of have to keep it up. ;)This month's birthday was HyunSang. His mother sent in fried chicken, pizza, juice, and a HUGE cake. Yummy!!!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

so sick of being sick.

Well, my tonsillitis is all of a sudden back. I started to feel feverish Monday night. The gums around my last wisdom started to bother me again, so I began to wonder (last time I had it, it really affected my gums there). Then yesterday, my throat was killing me, as were my gums. My tonsils are inflamed again, with the white guck on them. Yuck. I went to the doctor and got medicine for 3 days. I'm crossing my fingers. Recurring tonsillitis is definitely not a good thing. He was already starting to talk about surgery the last time I had it, as it was taking so long to go away (I had it for over 2 weeks!). Today all of my gums are a bit swollen. My throat hurts, and is irritating (it feels like there is something stuck in my throat) and my gums are killing me. My whole mouth feels strange. This sucks.


Last Saturday the Lokomotiv Goyang football (soccer) team had a barbecue to celebrate their win and for their awards ceremony. They are the league champions. That group is always great fun! After things wound down on the roof, a bunch of us headed to a local bar, Torros.[eating, mingling, etc. - this pic borrowed from Dairin][food - the salad table][mingling][Watching the awards ceremony][some of the award winners - Sophie and Dairin won the Best Supporters Award][the team after the awards ceremony][Dairin and I][Kieran and Eamon][at Torros - this pic borrowed from Dairin]

Parents' Participation Day

Today was Parents' Participation Day for the Milky Way classes. We had it set up as a cooking class. We made little heart shaped pizzas. The kids and their parent(s) made 2 little pizzas each. Stephanie and I each made a bigger one to show how it's done.[my second pizza]It was basically a performance by Stephanie and I, including a couple of songs sung by the kids - Baby Bumblebee and Today Is Monday. The kids and Stephanie and I all had aprons and hats to wear.[Lisa and Sarah]We had to to the whole thing twice. Milky Way B class and then Milky Way A class. Other than a few pauses trying to remember lines, it went quite well. The boss was happy, and so sent us (Stephanie and I, our 2 Korean teachers - Jinah and Jessie, and Miss Han, who is sort of the boss' assistant). We didn't eat our pizzas that we made, or the spaghetti that the cook made for lunch. Instead, we went out to a nice little Italian restaurant around the corner from work. It was soooo good.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

my class

Jinah and our kids during play time. They really do get a lot of play time.Sarah, ChaeYeon and Lisa pretending to eat (they are pretending the sticks are chopsticks, of course).Sleepy-head. Jin usually arrives at the start of lunch time, after attending a larger, international kindy for the morning. He is often sleeping when he arrives, or very tired.Steve eating his lunch. Unlike kids back home, many of the kids here PREFER their food all mixed together. There is always soup and rice and then meat/fish or tofu, and some side dishes of vegetables and, of course, kimchi.HyunSang finishing up his lunch. We have them completely clean their dishes. They usually don't need any prompting and scrap up every last bit of rice and drink the last drops of soup. This one, though, is usually the last to finish, as he prefers to talk while everyone else is eating, and then gets upset and angry at me because he doesn't get playtime when he finishes, like the others do.Some of the kids' artwork. Jinah is an art teacher for the after school classes and always comes up with such cute little projects for our kids to do.

Lantern Parade

May 24th was Buddha's birthday. In Korea, on the Sunday before, there is always a huge Lantern Parade. It lasts for 3 hours. I only saw the last hour or so of it. There were huge lit up floats (some pushed by hand, some by motors or attached to vehicles), hundreds (maybe thousands?) of people all dressed up and carrrying candle lit (most) or battery operated lanterns, dancers, drummers and other musicians, etc.one of the Guardianswomen in traditional Korean Hanboks with one of the many kinds of lanternsBuddhist monks came from all over the world to participate in the week long Lantern Festival.more ladies in the parade - carrying lit up flower pinwheelskids carrying lanternsone of the bigger floats in the paradethe women from the big floata series of smaller floatsKorean Turtle Ship floatKorean Turtle Ship float in actionfirst dragon float - with moving partssecond dragon float - also with moving parts.
After the parade, there was a concert with a few very famous Korean singers. KLON was one of them. I'll post a little video of that next time. There were also traditional Korean songs and dancing. During the concert, little bits of pink paper were blown into the air. SO MUCH that the ground was completely covered by the end.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

blowing bubbles

A few weeks ago, we had some very nice weather so Jinah took our kids outside to play with bubbles. After I finished teaching the 5 year old classes, I went out to join them and take some pictures.Jinah and most of our kidsAnnieSarahLisa

I think the animals out there were a bit confuzzled by the bubbles. :PMr. TigerMr. ZebraMr. Monkey

Monday, June 04, 2007

My kids doing a froggy dance

They are soooooooooooo cute. It is a song called Keemo Kymo that is on one of the Internet sites that I use. The kids love it and always try to imitate the frog in the song.

This is one of the sites that I use. It has songs and little videos. The little picture of the cat with the 'C A B' is games. The castle is little videos. The gramophone is songs. The picture of the flash cards (apple, etc) is other things including other songs, videos and games. My kids love the "Are you okay" video/song in that link. I haven't used the other little links much but they are all kinda cool with other such things.
The site that has the frog song (Little Fox) requires a password, which I don't remember (it is saved in all of the computers at work), so I can't link you to the actual song. If you want an idea as to what the site is like... the links at the top are - bubbles left to right: videos, songs, games, stuff I don't use.
Another site I sometimes use is the Yahoo Korea kids English site. It has a bunch of songs, videos and games as well.


This is an email that I recently received from a friend. It is an interesting read. I don't agree with all of it, but much of it is very true. But what can be done about it???

On this vein, you should all make every effort to see a German movie currently being screened at selected theatres. "The Lives of Others" It is a must see movie.
I don't know who the original author of the following is, but it should be a wake-up call for us all.
A man whose family was German aristocracy prior to World War II owned a number of large industries and estates. When asked how many German people were true Nazis, the answer he gave can guide our attitude toward fanaticism. "Very few people were true Nazis" he said, "but many enjoyed the return of German pride, and many more were too busy to care. I was one of those who just thought the Nazis were a bunch of fools. So, the majority just sat back and let it all happen. Then, before we knew it, they owned us, and we had lost control, and the end of the world had come. My family lost everything. I ended up in a concentration camp and the Allies destroyed my factories."

We are told again and again by "experts" and "talking heads" that Islam is the religion of peace, and that the vast majority of Muslims just want to live in peace. Although this unqualified assertion may be true, it is entirely irrelevant. It is meaningless fluff, meant to make us feel better, and meant to somehow diminish the specter of fanatics rampaging across the globe in the name of Islam. The fact is that the fanatics rule Islam at this moment in history. It is the fanatics who march. It is the fanatics who wage any one of 50 shooting wars worldwide. It is the fanatics who systematically slaughter Christian or tribal groups throughout Africa and are gradually taking over the entire continent in an Islamic wave. It is the fanatics who bomb, behead, murder, or honor kill. It is the fanatics who take over mosque after mosque. It is the fanatics who zealously spread the stoning and hanging of rape victims and homosexuals.
The hard quantifiable fact is that the "peaceful majority" the "silent majority" is cowed and extraneous.
Catholic Rome and Spain were silent when Christian fanatics raped, plundered and murdered thier way across South America. The 'Silent Majority' looked away, convinced that the Church knew what they were doing.
In Australia the 'majority', both here and in England, were silent while fanatics were mixing poison into the flour and sugar handed out to tribal indigenous people, and when thier children were been taken away into slavery/servitude. It has been estimated that one million aboriginal people died during colonization.
Many in the west were silent when Irish Catholic and Protestant fanatics were killing the innocent in Northern Ireland.
Communist Russia comprised Russians who just wanted to live in peace, yet the Russian Communists were responsible for the murder of about 20 million people. The peaceful majority were irrelevant.
China's huge population, it was peaceful as well, but Chinese Communists managed to kill a staggering 70 million people.
The average Japanese individual prior to World War II was not a warmongering sadist. Yet, Japan murdered and slaughtered its way across South East Asia in an orgy of killing that included the systematic murder of 12 million Chinese civilians; most killed by sword, shovel and bayonet.
And, who can forget Rwanda, which collapsed into butchery. Could it not be said that the majority of Rwandans were "peace loving"?
Today the 'majority' is silent while Israel bombs refugee villages and camps in Gaza, Southern Lebanon and the West Bank, killing mostly innocent women and children. All in the name of 'peace'.
History lessons are often incredibly simple and blunt, yet for all our powers of reason we often miss the most basic and uncomplicated of points: Peace-loving people have been made irrelevant by their silence. Peace-loving people will become the enemy if they don't speak up, because like my friend from Germany, they will awake one day and find that the fanatics own them, and the end of their world will have begun. Peace-loving Germans, Japanese, Chinese, Russians, Aboriginees, Rwandans, Serbs, Afghans, Iraqis, Palestinians, Somalis, Nigerians, Algerians, and many others have died because the peaceful majority did not speak up until it was too late. As for us who watch it all unfold; we must pay attention to the only group that counts; the fanatics who threaten our way of life.
Lastly, at the risk of offending, anyone who doubts that the issue is serious and just deletes this email without sending it on, can contribute to the passiveness that allows the problems to expand. So, extend yourself a bit and send this on and on and on!! Let us hope that thousands, world wide, please read - think about it - and send it on. Go confidently in the direction of your dreams, live the life you've imagined.

KTX and Yongsan Station

The KTX is the high speed train in South Korea. It runs between Seoul and Busan (and a few other major cities) at about 300km/hour. What normally takes around 5 hours by train only takes a little more than 2.5 hours. Sweet! Last week, they had one of the trains (well, part of it) set up infront of Yongsan Station, one of the 2 stations in Seoul that has the KTX. It is a nice looking train. The front of the train is streamlined and meant to look like a shark.[KTX map from Wikipedia]

[the KTX in the news - even though it is all in Korean, it'll give you an idea of the speed of the train as well as some of the technical aspects of it (if you keep watching)]
In the middle of the steps up to the front of Yongsan Station is a bit of a water feature - basically, in the middle section, water runs from the top to the bottom and then disappears. The steps of the middle section light up. Yongsan Station is connected to 2 huge department stores, a very large EMart grocery store, and the huge Yongsan Electronics Market. To the left of it is the huge IPark Mall. There are too many things in the IPark Mall to list, but it includes a few floors of electronics, a floor or two of home decor, clothing, a 2 floor Sobics bookstore, a CGV movie theatre, and other things.

[The opening of the I-Park Mall in the news.]

(I find most Korean commercials to be silly or strange).
To the right is a huge Shinsegae Department Store with the E-Mart in B1 and B2. Shinsegae is a huge company in Korea that includes E-Mart, Starbucks Korea, the Chosun Hotel, and others. It recently bought out all Wal-Mart stores in Korea and turned them into more E-Mart stores. Sad. (Sorry, I know some of the sites I linked to are all in Korean, but you get the idea, I suppose)

Friday, June 01, 2007

Teacher's Day

It's a little late for this post, but I'll do it anyway.
May 15th was Teacher's Day in Korea. Some schools closed. Most were open. The government has been trying to reduce the effects of Teachers' Day as many parents (and teachers) have used it as a way to bribe teachers (I have heard) into giving special treatment to their children - the bigger the gifts, the better the kids are treated. It is also a bit of a show. The kids, however, just love to give things to their teacher, and the parents want to show their appreciation. My first year in Korea (at a hagwon kindergarten), I got so many things that I couldn't take it all home in one trip. Since then, the number of gifts has decreased for several reasons. The main reason, I think, though, is the types of schools I have been at. The second school was an after school hagwon (academy) with mostly elementary kids. So, it wasn't their main school, I wasn't their main teacher. Then I was at a Korean kindy were I basically just made an appearance in every class each day. Again, not the main teacher. This year, I have my own class of 10 regular students (and 1 half day). I got at least something from 10 of them. Most of them were brand name, big department store buys (translate to expensive).

I got a very cute card from Lisa, that she wrote in herself.

From YongKyu I got a little make-up pouch.

David's gift for me was a very fancy ETRO hair elastic, a bunch of giant muffins and a cheese cake (muffins (I only took 4) and cheesecake to be shared with his other teachers).

From SukMin I got a set of Aveda body cleanser and moisturizer (both 250 mL size).

Sarah gave me an umbrella.

Annie gave me a set of ORIGINS bath oil and body cleanser. If you can't read the note, it says, "Dear Laura teacher, Thank you for being nice and helpful to me! I love you and thank you for helping me when i'm sad or not feeling well. Your the best teacher! Ever!! I hope you have a great teachers day!"

ChaeYeon got me DIOR Placticity Anti-cellulite corrective gel.

Steve gave me a fancy handkerchief.

HyunSang's gift for me was fancy little rice cakes. The little note says, "Dear Laura, Thank you for your good teaching and take care of my sun. I know your very great teacher. Someday my sun said Laura teacher is very interested in good relationship with Starters children. Today is teachers day. I will keep your love for my child in my heart. Thank you Laura. From parents of H.S."

I got an umbrella from SeungWoo. It has a soft bag and a hard case. I didn't take a picture of the actual umbrella, as I ended up using it the day I took the pictures, and so it was hanging up to dry. It has the same pattern as the case.