Monday, January 28, 2008

From the Mouths of Babes (or Hands)

We've been giving our students timed essays over the winter camp and this is what two of my second-graders wrote to answer the prompt, "If you could by any age, what would it be and why?"

So, one wants to be 33 to experience the joys of cooking and cleaning (aim high!) and the other wants to be 34 to by-pass the "ouchy"-ness of childbirth because having a baby is like having a monster cut out of you. Days like this make me truly love being a teacher. :-)

Friday, January 18, 2008

Free Beer and Animal Hats

My local grocery store has been running a Heineken campaign lately, which means, what else-- free beer samples. Today, I finally decided to play the crazy foreigner card and take a photo of the Heine Girl.

I've also been taking photos of one of my students this week. He went to Everland ("the Disney World of Korea" hahaha) last weekend and got himself a stylish hat collection. He happily posed for pics, but wouldn't arrange the lemur hat to show the nose. Brat. ;-)

Winter camp is now 60% complete, which means... two weeks until vacation!!! I'm starting to wish I had bought tickets for somewhere. Oh, well, I'll stay here and torture my kitty with static electricity nose kisses.

Saturday, January 12, 2008


On the way home from the dentist (again!) today, my coworker and I stopped at Moran Market to see the dog stalls (for dog meat, not pets).

I saw dogs which were crammed in far worse than in this photo, but the vendors know that there's only one reason foreigners go there and they aren't happy to see us. So, this was the best photo I could take on the sly.

I also saw goats, birds (some of which were packaged in mesh bags-- like for onions-- still alive), and cats. Next to the cages were prepared cuts of meat. One cage had a partially processed dog lying on the top of it, waiting to be butchered.

I wanted to get a photo of the dog restaurant with a smiling dog on the sign, but we were stopped and questioned by some unfriendly types and thought it best to head back to the main road.

At the dentist, I finally got the tooth fixed that I chipped in October. After the Summer of Dental Repairs, I was pretty used to some nice discounts, so I have to admit I wasn't too pleased to pay $100 for the repair, since it literally took 5 minutes. Yes, I am completely ungrateful, I know, especially since that tooth now looks better than the ones around it.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Would it be wrong to steal from a student?

This awesome product made its debut in my classroom today. I whipped out my camera and had my student pose. This was too good for a surreptitious photo.

Check out the link if you want to learn the secret to the ultra-delicious-ness of Korean pizza. This is the guy I do the podcast with. Lest you think it's just a joke, let me assure you, products much like this are available at any bakery (and some "pizzarias"). Yum!

Monday, January 07, 2008

Now, take these scissors from Mommy and run as fast as you can...

For nearly ten years now, I've been watching Korean parenting with one hand covering my eyes. While mothers in the US may at times seem to think children can die of a stubbed toe, Korean moms tend to behave as though their children are bullet proof.

I've grown accustomed to kids jumping on and off curbs while their mothers look for the bus and toddlers wandering unattended in shops. Usually, the mothers are just oblivious to their children's near brushes with death/ dismemberment/ doom. Yesterday, I actually saw one applauding her child for his death-defying derring-do.

So, I was walking through Kangnam Station in Seoul, which as usual was so packed a person could probably die and just be swept along by the crowd. A little boy and his mother were completely lost in their own world, though. He was pirouetting on one foot while practicing his roundhouse kicks with the other all while eating street food (served on a sharpened stake, of course) all at the same time. His mother was competing for parent of the year by... cheering him along.

I really wanted to hang around and watch for the inevitable, but crowds like that make me want to hurt people.