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!!!