Sunday, December 21, 2008


On November 12th, we had a field trip to the Hilton Hotel for the annual Manners Luncheon.All of the 7 year old classes (meaning all western age 5/6) from all of the school branches were there to learn and practice proper table manners and etiquette. With up to 9 students at a table with one teacher, as you can imagine, it was quite interesting.[my table]
We spent a fair amount of time getting up to help the kids with what ever they needed.[Monica's table]I think it might be the most expensive field trip of the year. The tables were set with white linens, silverware, and all.The starter was some sort of shrimp salad. The food was brought out and then a speaker went up to the front to talk to the kids about what was on the table, which fork or spoon to use for what, which bread plate etc. belonged to whom. It was amusing to watch how all of the kids dealt with not being able to use their fingers, and not being allowed to use a spoon for everything (Koreans use chopsticks and spoons for everything). Some did very well. A few resorted to using their fingers (trying to be sneaky about it) every now and then.Jane was trying her hardest not to use her fingers. She had no idea what the green vegetable was that was decorating her shrimp salad, and was determined to get it off. The main course was specifically made for the kids, and not a normal dish that would be served at a proper event. It was hamburger steak and omelrice (thinly fried egg around a ball of rice) with ketchup on top.Ashley did so well using the knife and fork, even though she could barely reach over the edge of the table. She could actually comfortably rest her chin on the table (which she had done when we first arrived and sat down).
The kids learned how to properly dab the napkin at the corners of their mouth.Alvin was so cute trying to do it exactly the way the presenter showed. Really, Alvin needed to wash his whole face (which applied to a quite a few of the students).The desert was half of a banana with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, with whipped cream and chocolate syrup drizzled on top. Yum!! The kids enjoyed the fact that they were finally allowed to use the spoon that they had been eying since they started eating (though some did sneakily use it for the main dish).
All in all, it was a fun and exciting field trip for the kids, and an interesting (and busy) one for the teachers.
I'd imaging cleaning the linens afterward would be quite the chore.

Friday, December 19, 2008


At a country hof/restaurant with little cabins, each with a fireplace, filled with wooden tables and chairs and at least half a dozen large fire pits between cabins, around which the patrons can sit (though there is no service at these outside fires).

turkey trotter

[sorry the front one is a bit blurry. It is hard to get kids to stand still and in trying to get him to stand still, I moved a little. This was the best of them.]

Monday, December 15, 2008

12 Days of Christmas

A warm up to Christmas.
This is Jinny. She is in my 5 yr old after school class (meaning she is 4 years old western age). Her regular class is doing this song for their Christmas concert and she loves it. She often starts singing it at random times during the class. She is one of the sweetest and cutest kids ever, really!!

winter hiking

On the 6th I went on a hike with Adventure Korea to (대둔산) Daedunsan (san=Mountain) in Jeollabuk-do (do=province).It was an early start as we were picked up at the Gangnam Bus terminal at 8:30 AM. It was SO cold that morning, a windy -10 Celsius (or so). After a few hours on the bus we arrived at the mountain. It had warmed up quite a bit and the air was clean and fresh. Korea is mostly mountains, with something like only 25% of the land being usable. Most people live in a few very large cities (the largest being Seoul, of course). I love the countryside in Korea.
As it had snowed in that area just before the weekend, everything was still crisp and white. Beautiful. It certainly wouldn't have been the same if there was no snow. It would have been all just brown.
You can either hike up all the way, or take a cable car a huge portion of the way up (which was of course what we did).
[view from the cable car landing][sign says "A Path up a moutain, An Observatory, Boarding Gate]
Then the hike up starts with stairs. A long ways up, we reached the first suspension bridge.
Scary.[looking down - down in the center you can see people going up stairs][above the first bridge]Then more climbing and more stairs.[looking back down][looking back at the first suspension bridge][So glad there was snow!!!][view of the stairs from the side]
Further up we reached the second suspension bridge, which is in the form of very steep stairs. VERY scary. Not only am I afraid of heights, I also have a fear of stairs. I, of course, was the first one to go up.
A sign at the base of the bridge:
1. The 60 person is the maximum number for passing over the girder bridge at a time.
2. Don't shake and trifle on the girder bridge.
3. No passing the old, the weak, the drunken and the children.
Headman of wanju country.
The bridges both moved quite a bit.I was shaking quite a bit by the time I got to the top of the stairs bridge.From there it is still a ways yet up to the peak.Such beautiful views the entire way!!!
Then it was time to hike down. All the way down. Some people chose to take the cable car back down, most chose the hike.It was about a 2 to 3 hour hike to the bottom, going up and down following the ridge, on icy slopes,rocks, a few stairs, and along trails through the bamboo underbrush(bamboo is evergreen for those that don't know).What a wonderful day!!!
Thank goodness for the spikes we got for our shoes!!!!!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Busy, Busy, Busy

I've been keeping myself quite busy, sort of.
There's work, of course. Then there are a couple of after work gigs. Add onto that an attempt to go to hot yoga, doctor appointments, dinners with friends and/or the boyfriend, weekend trips and evenings out, and I am BUSY!!! When I am home, I don't feel like doing anything. At home I've been downloading music (had to find some for work) and looking for Christmas movies to download - after the Christmas concert I'll bring my computer to work and my class will watch Christmas movies for the rest of the day (and maybe the following day as well!!).
Work is nuts these days, in preparation for the Christmas concert. Unlike last year's concert, which was only a month after I started, this one is a lot of work. Last year, they had already started teaching the songs and one of the songs the kids already knew because it was used in the Parent's Night show. Also, the concert was just upstairs in the gym, only 3 classes in a concert. This year, we can't use our Parent's Night song, because the moms all saw it. And the concert is in some hall or place with a stage, half of the school in concert at a time. My class is second last the second day, with 4 classes up before us. We were told we had to have them doing 3 songs (choreographed) and a poem. Well, I didn't like any of the poems and decided my kids would do a 4th song instead. I'm glad the school agreed. They thought it was a great idea as all of the other classes were doing poems, which can end up being a tad boring.
So, my kids are singing : I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas, Little Saint Nick by The Beach Boys, All I Want For Christmas Is You by Mariah Carey, and Happy Christmas (War Is Over) by John Lennon. Many of the kids already know the words to all of them (or most of them) and most of the dances as well (which I made up with a little help from my co-teacher). Our assistant teacher is now making the costumes that we decided on - a vest (red for boys, green for girls) with a reindeer face on the front and their names along the bottom. Very cute.
We had our first demo today with the supervisor watching. She was impressed with how much our kids knew. I think some of the other classes changed their songs or are just starting some of them. Our kids just have to practice. And we have to start practicing with the bells for All I Want for Christmas is You and glow sticks (glowing hearts and star wands) for Happy Christmas.
We have 2 weeks left before the concert. We'll be ready.
I'll post some videos of the kids practicing sometime in the next couple of weeks. They are so good!!!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Chori Chori

Do you remember Snow?? (No, not the white stuff that falls in winter.) I was listening to some Persian songs and came across this... It is a Bollywood/Persian mix of a song and had me nearly rolling on the floor!!! Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha!!! Certainly not what I expected. I kinda like it, actually. Listen and you'll know what I mean.
Chori Chori by Aneela and Arash

And here's the original.
Informer by Snow

Lyrics [from A-Z Lyrics]:

You know say daddy me snow me-a (gonna) blame
A licky boom-boom down
'Tective man he say, say Daddy Me Snow me stab someone down the lane
A licky boom-boom down
Police-a them-a they come and-a they blow down me door
One him come crawl through through my window
So they put me in the back the car at the station
From that point on I reach my destination
Well the destination reached in down-a East detention
Where they whip down me pants look up me bottom
Bigger they are they think they have more power
There on the phone me say that on hour
Me for want to use it once and-a me call me lover
Lover who me callin'-a the one Tammy
And me love her in my heart down to my belly-a
Yes say Daddy Me Snow me I feel cool and deadly
Yes the one MC Shan and the one Daddy Snow
Together we-a love 'em(?) as a tornado
Listen to me ya better listen for me now
Listen to me ya better listen for me now
When-a e rock-a the microphone, me rock on steady-a
Yes-a Daddy Me Snow me are the article don
But the in an a-out (?) a dance an they say, "Where ya come from?"
People them say I come from Jamaica
But me born and raised in Etobicoke I want ya to know-a
Pure black people man thats all I man know
Yeah me shoes are-a tear up an-a my toes used to show-a
Where me-a born in-a the one Toronto
Come with a nice young lady
Intelligent, yes she gentle and irie
Everywhere me go me never lef' her at all-ie
Yes-a Daddy Snow me are the roam dance man-a
Roam between-a dancin' in-a in-a nation-a
You never know say Daddy Me Snow me are the boom shakata
Me never lay-a down flat in-a one cardboard box-a
Yes-a Daddy Me Snow me-a go reachin' out da top
Why would he? [repeat]
[MC Shan:]
Me sittin round cool with my jiggy jiggy girl
Police knock my door, lick up my pal
Rough me up and I cant do a thing
Pick up my line when my telephone ring
Take me to the station, black up my hands
Trail me down 'cause I'm hanging with the Snowman
What an I gonna do, I'm backed and I'm trapped
Smack me in my face, took all of my gap
They have no clues and they wanna get warmer
But Shan won't turn informer

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Happy Pepero Day!!! :)

For those that don't know, November 11th is Remembrance Day in Canada. Here in Korea, it's a very different type of day. It's Pepero Day. They figure 11/11 looks like Pepero sticks, hence the day. It is basically just a way for Lotte company to make more money (along with all of the other brands with similar snacks). Pepero is basically bread sticks dipped in chocolate. There are several other varieties of Pepero: [1983-chocolate Pepero; 1984-almond Pepero; 1994-strawberry Pepero, flake Pepero; 1995-cheese Pepero, coffee Pepero; 1996-peanut Pepero, hazelnut Pepero, bulgogi Pepero [really??? sounds gross... bulgogi is meat!!]; 1997-peanut butter Pepero; 2000-nude Pepero [basically inside out with the chocolate on the inside]; 2005-black Pepero; 2006-Cocoa Pepero; 2007-nude Pepero, lemon cheese Pepero]
And of course anything here in Korea wouldn't be complete without characters, e-cards, a song and animation.
I posted about Pepero a couple of years ago, so if you are interested in finding out more, check out that post.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

cream collon

Some Cream Collon anyone? Found these at a little import store. A Japanese snack.They are little tubes filled with cream. Hmmmm... Interesting name choice.

"I Like To Move It"

How I love my kids!!!!!! My co-teacher put on some music and on came the song "I Like To Move It". The kids loved it. Three of my kids started dancing. SOOOOOOOOOOOO Funny!!!!! Daniel is in the front doing to robot or what ever it is he is doing. Tony (back left in striped shirt) has quite the moves, and Ryan is back right.

Cutting pumpkin toffee

I always find these stands interesting. The giant scissors are used as both a tool (hammer?) and an instrument (to play along with the background music). Stands like this are fairly common in Korea. The pumpkin candy (like toffee) is nice. A bit chewy, though.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Busan Part II: Sharks!

(continued from Busan Part I)
In the morning, we got up (obviously) and headed to McDonald's for some breakfast. Then it was off to the aquarium at the beach. Shark time!! :)Me!
[this pic is from Michael's camera, posted on Scuba In Korea. I'm in pics 1, 2 and 5 on the October 11th dive]
[the rest of the pics are my own]I went on the shark dive 2 years ago and thought it was fantastic. Again, I loved it. I posted about most of the details the last time I went, so check it out if you are interested (including a lot of the things that are living in the tank). There were a few additions to the tank, including another sea turtle, much more aggressive than the 2 aggressive ones that were already there. Fun!! The new turtle was locked up in the double lock (the area we have to go through to get to the main tank, so it wasn't bothering us for the most part.[main tank from above - that is a glass bottom boat tour]
As I had gone once before, Michael had me join the first group, who all have their PADI. He went through a quick training with me to make sure I remembered everything, and then we headed to the 3 million liter, 5 meter deep main tank. Michael moved the new turtle into the training area and a few at a time went through the double locks to the ledge of the main tank, above the second tunnel. I was last in line to go through. While waiting, the turtle started pushing. All it took, though was couple of hard pushes on its 'shoulders' to get it away. In the tank, though, the other two turtles were right there, waiting for food. As Michael put it, they will eat and eat and eat until they throw up. Then a few seconds later, the'll be back and want to be fed again. If you don't feed them, they think you've forgotten and need to remind you. Since they don't have fingers to poke you with, they give you a bit of a nip. Well, luckily I don't think anyone was nipped, though one was close. Eventually, Michael got annoyed and tossed both of them into the double lock area. The first was easy, as it was right there. The second he had to wait for it to get back, then did a bit of turtle wrangling - had both fins together (behind its back?) so it couldn't move and pushed it in. Never seen giant sea turtle wrangling before!! :P
Michael is the first down to the bottom of the tank. Then we went down one at a time. It sometimes takes time to get down, as you have to equalize (pop your ears) as you go down. If they won't pop, PAIN! in which case you have to go up a little and then back down and try again. Going down, there is a rope to hold on to and you basically walk backwards down the side of the 2nd tunnel to the bottom. Once everyone is on the bottom, the tour of the tank starts. At one point we stopped to look for shark teeth on the bottom. I found 3!! In the tank, the divers are often the 'main attraction' (according to Michael). The Korean visitors watch the foreigners in the tank more than the sharks, I think. They wave and take many pictures. Of course, we can wave back (not wildly, though, for safety reasons) or pose for the pictures. I suppose I'm used to feeling like a bit of a zoo attraction (being a very obvious minority does that - people stare all the time, people sometimes ask to take pictures of you/with you, kids (and sometimes big kids) say hello, giggle and run away. LOL.After my group finished, we stuck around to take pictures of the 2nd group in the tank.
Then time for FOOD!!! A few people went for Mexican. The rest of us went for kalbi (meat). YUM!! and I suppose I could mention that soju and beer were also on the menu! ;)

Sunday, October 19, 2008


The Korean won is really hurting people these days. I hear about it every day. It really does suck. It's a little higher than it was a couple of weeks ago, though. I'm just hoping it doesn't go down any further. Not only that, there is too much going on in the news to do with North Korea. Not good.
South Korea braces for crisis fallout
From: The Associated Press Published: October 17, 2008
With its banks facing potential trouble, its currency and stocks reeling and consumer debt on the rise, the country's woes have stirred memories of the regional economic crisis that struck it more than a decade ago.
Now, amid criticism that officials have done too little too late, government leaders are racing to restore confidence in the country's economy.
Also, the country's broadest measure of trade — the current account — is expected to record an annual deficit for the first time in a decade, meaning South Korea is spending more on goods, services and investments from overseas than it sells abroad.
South Korean stocks have been no exception to the worldwide rout in equities spurred by the U.S. credit meltdown, falling 38 percent this year. They had already dropped 22 percent even before the collapse last month of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.
South Korea's currency was also having a bad 2008 even before declines against the U.S. dollar accelerated amid the crisis. The won has plummeted almost 30 percent this year against the dollar and had its worst single day — a drop of 9.7 percent Thursday — since Dec. 31, 1997.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

"What's up, my nigga?"

Every now and then I come across very interesting books for teaching English.This one might be part of some sort of series or group of books, as I've seen similar ones with similar names before.Incase you have a hard time reading the script, it says:
What's up, my nigga?
Gary: What's up my nigga? Long time no see. What have you been up to?
Joey: Nothing much, just been busy working and staying outta trouble.
Gary: Yeah, last time we seen each other we were locked up.
Joey: I remember that. I promised myself that I was gonna be good when I got out.
Gary: I'm glad to hear that you're staying outta trouble, keep doing good aight.
Joey: Yeah. Maybe I could hook you up with a job where I work at.
Gary: Really? If you can get me hooked up, I'd like that. Keep in touch.
Joey: Sure thing. See you around. Take care, man.

When I see things like that, all I can really do is laugh. I can't imagine a scenario when a Korean would actually be able to USE that this. Or anyone, really.