Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Fireworks and Football

I realize I haven't written about my awesome trip to Thailand to see Stephanie, but those photos are at home, and my students are taking standardized Korean tests all morning, so I've got a bit of free time. Sure, I've got some journals to mark, but that's not nearly as fun.

This past weekend, Craig and I headed down to Pusan (Busan if you're new to Korea or Fusan if you're really old) for the FA Cup final between Suwon and Pusan. I didn't get around to booking the tickets until mid-week, so left with the choices of 7am or 10:20am, I went with the latter.

We got into town around 1:30 and headed toward our Saturday destination: Gwangalli Beach, which was having a fireworks festival. After the longest cab ride I've ever had that didn't begin with me taking the wrong bus to parts unknown, we arrived at a strip of sand which seemed to have been named "beach" by the same folks that have labeled every hill in Korea a "mountain". At any rate, we were ready for lunch and could see the ocean, so some seafood seemed in order. I was cold, of course, so I wanted soup.

So, the local Nolbu Budaejjigae seemed a decent choice. I don't eat spam, so budaejjigae wasn't an option (to me, anyway, I think Craig was game). Fortunately, they had dak kalbi with seafood. Not soup, I know, but warm, delicious, and containing seafood, so it met our requirements. It turned out to be a great choice. There were mussels, shrimp, and baby octopi aplenty. I went for the first two and generously saved the cephalopods for Craig. I have agreed to try san nakji with him, but no need to rush things.

Once we'd eaten until we were ready to hibernate, we braved the cold once more in search of a room. The one place we'd looked at before lunch had posted a sign announcing they were booked up. Fortunately, one street back from the beach was all yogwans, so we were confident we wouldn't be sleeping on the sand. As soon as we saw some people standing on a roof, we knew where to check next: the Hilton/ Hill Top (depending on which sign you read). They had a room, and so we were set. Of course, once we saw what our (by which, I mean, Craig's) 100k had bought, it wasn't much of a mystery why they still had rooms available.

Yep, that's a round bed. See that thing that looks like a mattress pad? Under there was enough hair that it looked like someone had cleaned their brush. We slept on top of the covers.

After our eventful morning of sitting on the train and eating lunch, we were ready for a little rest. So, in the early evening we set out to find a place to sit and enjoy the fireworks. Since people had already been staking out their territory before we had lunch several hours earlier, we thought we might have a fair task in front of us. As it turned out, most places had reserved all their good seats. So we ended up at a "beer garden" (the sidewalk in front of a bar that had been roped off and set up with lawn furniture) which was offering their tables for 150k at the lower level or 200k on the deck. We went for the lower level, and this is what we got:

Well, that plus one more pitcher of beer. Yes, that's two glasses you see. I helped Craig by having half a glass of beer. I live on the edge, I know. I hope he doesn't think I'm a lush now... Being a more adventurous eater than I, Craig tried a bite of the dduk kalbi (my kids complain bitterly when they have to eat it at lunch, so I wasn't too tempted, even with the honey mustard sauce). One bite was enough for him, and we picked at the fries until they were nearly refrozen in the night air. We ended up leaving the soju in our yogwan fridge-- something to help the next occupants overlook the standard of housekeeping. The Pepsi and Cider we left behind, because who would even drink that for free?

After a couple of hours, it was time for the main event: fireworks. By this time, the beach, the road, and the sidewalk had been filled to capacity to the point that the entire waitstaff was standing guard pushing the rabble out of the roped off area. Meanwhile, we sat in comfort (I was even lent a blanket by the bar).

After a pitcher or so of Korea's finest ale, I don't think Craig was feeling the cold as much as I was.

The fireworks were launched from barges literally right off the coast, probably less that 100 yards or so from the beach. They were also launched quite low, so most of them seemed to be right over our heads. We had planned to meet another group of people, but at the last minute, they decided to watch the show from Haeundae Beach. I haven't had a chance to confirm my suspicions that the fireworks were not nearly so spectacular from even that short distance.

It's kind of dark, but you can see the ropes the hoi polloi are jammed up against, as well as how low the fireworks were. From my seat, I missed some of them completely, because they were aimed to line up under the bridge right off the coast.

The grand finale seemed a little like someone had a look at their watch and realized they had run over time. All in all a good show and a good time was had by all, or at least the two of us, with chairs, food and drink, room to breathe, and a blanket. :-)

The real reason we had gone down south was for the FA Cup final, which didn't start until late Sunday afternoon. So, we whiled away the morning with some cultural pursuits, namely the Pusan Museum followed by a stroll around the UN Cemetery. As it turned out, it was UN Day or some such, and we arrived just as a group of important-looking military officers were gathering for a ceremony.

If we'd stayed longer, we might have seen a 21-gun salute. We left just as they were playing the Korean national anthem, and headed to our final destination: the soccer ground.

Since the World Cup and the many new facilities built for it, the host cities mostly have at least two soccer stadiums (stadia?) now. We had a bit of luck and arrived at the correct one on the first try. Upon arrival, we were offered free tickets. After seeing Seongnam for free earlier in the week, I was feeling a bit spoiled and happy to be a foreigner.

After not meeting up with the other group the night before, I was looking forward to seeing them at the game. About five minutes after kick off, I got a panicked call from my coworker which I could barely hear over the announcements and cheering crowd. I thought I heard, "My friend is dead. He's coughing up so much blood." I later learned that one of the guys in the group had had more than his share of refreshments and in his haste to get to a bathroom, he tried to jump across a partition and fell several stories. He survived, but needless to say, they spent the game at the hospital, where he is now recovering.

Our outing was much less eventful. We had also planned to meet up with a guy Craig sometimes goes to matches with-- you know, ones he wants to watch with someone a bit more knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the game. He arrived late, though, and ended up on a different tier than we were on. So, despite initial plans to watch the match with ten other people, we ended up on our own.

We headed back to the station after the awarding of the various medals and the cup and I got home with six hours to spare before my school day started.

Edit: I'm not sure why the photos suddenly disappeared, but I'm trying to fix it.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

How I Spent my Summer Vacation

It has been brought to my attention (repeatedly) that I haven't updated my blog since May. I would say I've been busy, but really I haven't been busier than usual.

The semester came to a rather rushed conclusion, filled with field trips, "experiences"-- to use the Korean teachers' lingo, and swimming and dance lessons. I have some video of the latter which I may post, if I get around to it.

I stayed here for the summer and it was pretty quiet and routine for the most part. As I *may* have mentioned, I live in an old house with "creative" wiring. So, I don't have AC. Summer in Korea is hot and humid and fans don't always cut it, even for cold-natured freaks like myself. So, a fair amount of my vacation was spent reading at Starbucks. I live on the edge, I know.

Mama and Anne came to visit and that was fun. We read at Starbucks together for a week. :-) They missed their flight out, because it was outrageously overbooked, so we made it to Insa-dong and they did a little shopping. Since I was able to stock back up on socks with pictures of crap piles on them, it wasn't a wasted trip for me, either.

The night they were supposed to leave, I stayed out all night. Mama tried not to seem shocked. Hehehe. I felt like a middle-aged rebel.

That was pretty much the high point of my vacation: shocking my mother.

I also did a lot of other stuff, that I would normally think about doing, but then punk out at the last minute. I've been seeing someone for three months now and he not only makes plans (which I'm good at), he does them (which I'm not so good at). If you want to read about all of the baseball and soccer games I've been to, look here. He wrote about the 17 km coastal hike which I managed to both survive and enjoy, too. I will admit that my favorite part was the hotel room with a giant window overlooking the beach, though.

Sorry this is such a boring post, but four months is a lot to cover, so Cliff Notes it is. At this point I should probably make my usual promises to post more regularly... I will at the very least try to get a couple pictures posted.

I haven't been knitting much. I've been into lace lately, and I need peace and quiet to knit it without making a ton of mistakes, so no subway knitting for me. With Craig living all the way across Seoul, that's a lot of knitting time that I haven't been able to make use of. I got an iPod Touch on my Chuseok holiday in Thailand and I've been watching TV instead. Yes, highly productive use of my time.

I suppose I should follow up this post with one on my trip to Thailand. I probably will... I signed a lease yesterday on a fine home in HBC aka the foreign ghetto, so I should write a little post with some photos so you can see how charming and cozy it is. I think those are the proper real estate euphemisms for old and small.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Why I Love Korea #295

You never know when you'll be treated to a bit of street theater.

This morning, I was on my way to work, just a blah Monday morning, when I came upon today's surprise performance: an ajosshi fight. When I came around the corner of the grocery store next to my school, I saw the dwarfish, slightly slow man that sweeps the delivery area pulling a man in a suit off a delivery driver (OK, I'm not sure he was the driver, but there was a truck and he looked truckerish). The man in the suit was clearly walking his very young daughter to her bus stop. He started to walk away, but then changed his mind and came back to yell at the guy for a bit. If I were Karl, I would have stopped to record it, but they were yelling and being pulled off each other and I have kids to teach.

I have to say, seeing that girl, I felt a bit robbed. My dad was a golden gloves champ, but I never got to see him stop on the street to fight some random guy. Hmmm... my family is campaigning to get me to move back home, maybe I can negotiate something... but I digress.

My point is, even on a drizzly Monday morning, you never know what to expect when you are out and about in Korea. Maybe you'll see a group of teenage boys waiting for the bus with their arms around each other looking like they are posing for a hair product ad. Maybe you'll see a group of ajjumas fighting to be the first in a shop when it opens. And maybe, if you're lucky, you'll see a dad in a suit get pulled of a much-larger working class guy by a slightly oversized dwarf. :-)

Happy Monday!

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Blades of Blood

is a new Korean film starring that guy with the vampire canines that does all of the commercials that Jang Dong Gun doesn't do. I'm sure he has a name, but I just think of him as "Teeth."

Anyway, it was a historical drama from the time of Lee Sung Shin. Usually, I only hear about him and what a godlike man he was, what with the turtle ships and all. This movie only mentioned him in passing and focused on the political drama going on at the time. So, I that was my favorite part. I'm not sure what percentage of the movie was historically accurate (the political stuff, I mean, not the main plot lines), but it was good. There was a completely unnecessary storyline with a gisaeng, but I'm sure someone thought the movie could use a pretty face.

Spoiler alert: the movie has a very depressing ending and there is a lot of blood (first decapitation happens within about the first 5 minutes. Notice I said "first.") Overall, I'd recommend it, though.

It's showing at Yongsan CGV with subtitles and presumably select other locations have subtitles, as well.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

No Sleepy Sunday for You!

Promptly at 7:00 AM the heavy equipment got rolling. When I got home last night, an excavator had been parked for the night on the side of my house, but it was too dark to get a good shot. So, I'll let today's photos of my gate and from my gate suffice. Note: objects are exactly as close as they appear.

In order to actually go through the gate, I've got to step over all of the rusty pipes being replaced. Hopefully, they will take those with them today... I didn't get a picture this morning, but when I went out, there was an open pipe coming out from under my bathroom. Nice-uh. I can only hope that it is the shower drain, and that it has now been attached to something.

Monday evening update: The pipes are laid and covered with dirt. Hopefully asphalt will follow tomorrow. The heavy equipment and pipes are no longer surrounding my house, but the workers are still here. They were yelling at the teenage girls to stop talking so loudly as I walked up the street on the way in from work. Pretty rich coming from men using jackhammers and excavators at 7AM on a Sunday. I also noticed that a small chunk of the side of the house has been knocked out. Fortunately, it's just cosmetic. And not my property. :-)

Saturday evening update: After a short period on Friday during which I was trapped in the house, because a ditch had been created, equipment was blocking the gate, and safety lines had been erected to prevent crossing the ditch, had I been able to catapult over the gate (since I couldn't open it). My landlord to the rescue: he came and yelled at the construction guys and they poured the cement and covered it with dirt within about two hours.

I'm not sure what they got done today, because it pretty much looks exactly the same. I did see worshipers trying to leave the temple next door this morning faced with the same ditch. So, the workers are slowly moving down the street, but they can't possibly be done, so I'm not sure why they moved on.

I've also noticed that other houses had larger chunks knocked off the bottom edge by the excavators. I wonder if any of them will get compensated...

Tomorrow, I'll try to get a shot of the street as it currently looks. Due to the widening, the electric poles are now in the middle of the street. Nice-uh. I've seen too many concrete barriers get taken out by cars trying to get on (or off) the sidewalks to think that those skinny little poles are long for this world.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Open Class survived, now on to Field Day

Last week, I had Open Classes for the parents to observe me in action. For the past while, I've had increasing issues with the chattiness of the class. Of course, for the Open Class, you might have thought they had taken vows of silence. The other 4th grade teacher and I had planned what we thought the parents would like to see: reading, speaking, and writing in one class. The reading was limited to phrases (the students were given cards with phrases on them to hang on the wall to match to the correct category) and the writing was a group effort on the board. The speaking was a non-starter. No one wanted to risk making a mistake in front of their parents. Later, my partner teacher told me that the parents would have liked the kids to play a game. Seriously? I don't recall playing too many games in elementary school, and am pretty sure my mother wouldn't have taken that as a sign of good learning going on if she had come to observe.

That was last week. This week, we will have a Field Day on Saturday. All day. 8:30-3:30. To "prepare", we are taking the first 90 minutes of school each day this week to practice. The students have to stretch and then practice the prescribed cheers and hand jive. The stretching is clearly a routine they know well, which is a good thing, because when we got started yesterday, I found out that I was supposed to lead my class. I "led" by watching what my students were doing. The students also had to practice a relay race which was run by two teams made up of one boy and one girl from each class. There are about 20 classes. By the end, I felt like I was watching a marathon.

Tomorrow, the kids have midterms, so I won't have any classes. One of the moms will come to proctor, so I just have to sit here quietly. Next week, we only have a full day on Monday. Tuesday, we have Children's Day ceremony, then the rest of the week off for Children's Day.

I like time off as much as the next person, but I've got a lot of material to get through this year, and I'm already skimming over most things far more than I would like.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Nothing Says "I want my kid to succeed" quite like this

I've got a few posts I've been sitting on, mostly because I haven't uploaded the photos from my camera, but here is a quickie, thanks to my phone camera.

My students had to bring plants in a plastic bottle planter for their Korean science class. Most of the kids brought water bottles or soda bottles, but one kid (whose name was not on the bottle) brought this:

That's right, a two-liter soju bottle. Hehehe. If it were for my child, I might just go out and buy a bottle of soda (or water), so it wouldn't look like the only two-liter bottles lying around my house were ones which previously contained grain alcohol. If my frugal nature prevented such an extravagent waste of a dollar, I would at least have removed the soju label to pass it off as a cider bottle. But that's just me.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I'm Not Exactly Sure What Happened, But I Definitely Gave Something

I went to the hospital and gave "blood" which involved me being hooked to a machine with multiple bags and an alarm that went off about every 90 seconds for the nearly two hours that I was attached to it. I felt really bad for the nurse, because I arrived as they were all scooting out the door and she had to stay. Then it took two hours (plus rest time after and set up time before, so really, over two and a half hours). She couldn't even get anything done because she had to babysit the machine. I didn't look at it, but apparently my blood did not look normal, but all the tests were fine, so whatever. I guess I'm an alien. In addition to whatever issue was causing the machine to beep incessantly and ever-more-urgently.

So, I roll up at home just before 8PM (I went to the hospital at 3:30), and... NO KEY! Grrr... So, I called my landlord, who lives upstairs. No answer. So, I sat there for TWO HOURS until the upstairs light turned on. They had been napping or something (wink wink nudge nudge) the whole time. I called again and they quickly ran out with the spare key. From the embarrassed look on my landlord's face, they had either heard (and ignored) my previous call, or I hadn't interrupted a nap, if you know what I mean. Today, there was a video announcement with a child holding my key, so it is now safely in my bag.

The Ministry of Ed folks toured the school today, so we were warned a week ago to dress up. Of course, I remembered that as I was clocking in. All of the male teachers are in suits and all of the female teachers are in skirts or otherwise dressed up, and then there is me. I decided to wear jeans today, which I do about once every other week. Of course. Go me. So, I've been hiding all day.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Have you heard the one about the yellow dust?

Okay, there's no punchline. The yellow dust has lingered for over a week now. The worst is over and the sky even looks blue at times, but my throat has been sore for over a week now and when I go outside, I get a nice film of grit in my mouth, even when it's closed. That's got to be healthy.

Things have been busy but good in the Jennifer Teacher household. The KOTESOL Seoul Chapter Conference was this past weekend and it was the most successful one yet. More importantly, the elections were held and for the first time in about 6 1/2 years, I am not on the executive. So, now I just have my secretarial duties for the National Council. So, I should get on those...

School is still awesome, one month in. :-) The other 4th grade teacher and I really see eye-to-eye on what is important to teach the kids, so we've been having a lot of fun planning activities and themes to do with them.

Today, I have to go give blood for a kid with cancer. I have long half-joked that if I ever get in an accident, someone needs to put me in a cab and drop me off at the gates of an Army base. It's a half-joke because Koreans generally do not have Rh negative blood. To the point that many Koreans don't know that such a thing exists, despite their near-obsession with blood type (they use it like a Western astrological sign as a predictor of personality and for matchmaking).

So anyway, a friend of a friend of a friend... has a teenager with lymphoma that needs B- and no Koreans have it. So, I went and got typed last week, because what he needs is more specific than that. I'm a match so I have to go donate today. I'm really not looking forward to it. As the father messages me one text after another, I am trying to keep in mind that he found out his child has cancer last week. But really, I said I would do it. Does it really require reconfirmation every 20-30 minutes? Apparently so. I'll give all the bloody details later. See what I did there? Yeah, pretty clever.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Pat's er... PTA Meeting Day

Well, they've got the same letters, so they should be equally fun, right? Yeah, I didn't think so, either. Apparently, my homework load has been getting complaints. So far, I've given out 10-15 minutes per day, plus one to three writing paragraphs for chatting in Korean or talking louder than me when I'm speaking to the class. Cry me a river. I doubt any kid has had a full hour of homework yet.

How little homework should I be giving? Under ten minutes a day? Under five? Maybe that's why these kids have gone to an immersion school for four years and still can't write a sentence with a subject AND a verb. We won't even talk about articles, because that's a pipe dream.

Seriously, my new job is awesome, but these kids need serious work on their English and osmosis has pretty well been discounted as a way to learn. I'm pretty much living proof-- I've lived in Korea for over ten years, but I speak English at school all day, then come home to my English Batcave, and my Korean still sucks. If I were paying big bucks to someone to improve my Korean, I'd be pretty angry at the return on my investment.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Open House

So, today was my Open House presentation for the mothers. I was pretty stressed out about it, because a) I hate meeting mothers, and b) I've never done a PowerPoint presentation before (try not to hurt yourself laughing). It went fine, though. The Assistant Director/ Office Manager/ I really have no idea what her job title is translated my slides and everything I said as I spoke and made me feel like a diplomat of some sort. It doesn't take much to amuse me, does it?

After, the mothers of two of my three problem children (pretty Uber-Problem Child's mother didn't attend) asked me how they were doing in class. I was more honest than I normally would be, but I've been laying down the law pretty severely, so I wanted to head off potential complaints at the pass. I told both of them (truthfully enough) that their boys seem to get the material very quickly "so they may get bored at times." By that, I meant they are rambunctious and distract the ones who don't get it so quickly. Both moms seemed to have gotten my drift. :-) One child has apparently complained that I make students wash their hands after they sneeze (into their hands). His mother even went over ways we can cough into his sleeve so as not to have to leave the class. This is the same child that asks to leave the class at some point every day, because he "forgets" to go to the bathroom or get water during a break.

Otherwise, things are rocking along at the new school. Tomorrow, they have a five-period long test, four of which were my classes, so I only have one class. One class got cancelled today for First Grade Welcoming Ceremony Number Two. Since the crowning ceremony last week wasn't enough, I guess. Today, they got leis made of candy and suckers and had to run the gauntlet between all of the other students. An entire hour. Lost. One week in, and I have yet to have a regular school day with them. It would be pretty cool, if it weren't already painfully obvious that we're never going to properly cover all of the material this year. Grand plans of projects and presentations have been washed away by the cold, grim reality that they are the level of the lowest students I taught at Elite. One week in, and we haven't even cracked open half of the books.

One of the students told me on Friday that the Uber-Problem Child would be quitting, but he was in class today. Sigh. In writing class, we did a group brainstorm to make sure they new how to do one, and then they wrote a single paragraph. That just about did most of the kids in, but for UPC... At the end of class, he had written selective parts of the brainstorm on his paper (which I repeatedly told him he did not need to do) and... nothing else. There were less than a dozen words on his page, all copied from the board, and that took him the entire time it took most of the students to complete the assignment. Then he told me he didn't do his homework (again), because he's going to the French school. That should be interesting. I hope for his sake that I misunderstood him, or else that he has a hidden talent for French.

The rest of my kids are pretty awesome, to varying degrees. I can't wait to have a regular full day of classes to see what they can really do.

In other boring news of my life, if you're still reading, I had a national council meeting yesterday. It wasn't as horrible as it could have been. That's the best thing I can say about it. Maybe during the big test tomorrow, I can get to work on those minutes...

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Don't Miscarry in Utah

I clicked on the link to this article, because I think that a lot of students kind of fart around and mark time for their senior year, and the kids that need to be there could benefit from a culling of the herd, so to speak. A focusing of resources, if you will. However, the real subject of the article is proposed legislation in which miscarriages may become a prosecutable offense in Utah.

So, 12th grade may become optional because the government is broke. But it's not too broke to investigate/ prosecute/ imprison women who have miscarriages, if the mother's actions may have been the cause.

What about giving birth to a child with health problems? Will the mother's prenatal care be investigated? Where will it end? While I'm not above giving dirty looks to pregnant women I see smoking or drinking, I'm not sure this is a road the government should go down. In fact, I'm pretty sure this road is a very, very bad one which should be avoided.

Several women close to me have suffered miscarriages, and I can't imagine them dealing with that emotional pain while facing a criminal investigation into the events leading up to it. Not to mention, how horrible would it be to lose a pregnancy and be judged to be at fault for it? How many women go through that in their own minds already, thinking about what they could have done differently and if it would have changed anything? Now, compound that with a police investigation and, possibly, a criminal trial.

I realize that is not the intent of the law, but since the police cannot actually read people's minds, you have to think that at least some women found criminally responsible for their miscarriage would have simply been guilty of poor judgment. OK, I think that's enough of a rant about a proposed law (which one hopes will be quietly dropped from consideration never again to see the light of day) in a state through which I have never even driven, nor do I have any future plans to visit.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The End Draws Nigh (as does a new beginning)

Tomorrow is my last working day off of work, if that makes sense. I've been to my new school several times to clean up and moderately decorate my new classroom. OK, thus far "decorations" have been limited to classroom rules signs which I have posted. :-) Just trying to live up to my reputation. When I interviewed, I was asked how my director would describe me. When I said I might be considered a little strict at my school, he laughed and showed me the notes from his conversation with said director: the first word was strict.

Since it is the end of our rather unproductive vacations, Stafford and I have planned to do things which we should have done at a leisurely pace throughout the past two weeks. I still haven't convinced him to accompany me to the robot art exhibit. :-( Hopefully, the French comic exhibit he chose will be just as good.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Laundry Time

So, as I may have mentioned, my month off of work has been rather slothful. My cat is making a silent, but pointed, statement about the laundry pile on the floor. He has pushed all of the clothes into a semi-circle around his head and upper body. He is now slowly rolling from side to side, stopping at each item to touch it several times with the nearest paw. It's like watching some kind of weird geriatric stretching video. Or, maybe if the subject of an episode of Hoarders came out with a line of exercise DVDs...

At any rate, I will grudgingly take it as a sign that it's time to make the two-block trek over to the laundromat. Stafford has some super-exciting product launch to attend tomorrow, but I suppose washing clothes, dropping some pants off to be altered, and going to Korean class will be just as awesome. Not that I'm bitter that he didn't even try to get a plus one. What kind of party requires everyone to go stag? Hrmph.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I am Legal!!

I went to immigration today and picked up my brand spanking new ID card. Once again, I was hit with the realization that it's not Korean Immi in general, it is specifically the Mokdong office that are the largest collection of idiots in the nation. This was the my third (fourth?) trip to the Jongro office and the difference is unbelievable. They know what they are doing! They do it!! In a timely manner!!! I use more Korean at this office, but seeing as it's the lingua franca, I guess I can make a minimal effort...

I had Korean class tonight-- we're into the third week now. I'm definitely not learning as much as the last time I took Korean classes, but that was 10 hours a week with another 10 of homework, compared to 3 hours a week with little to no homework. I could put in the extra effort on my own, but obviously I haven't done that the whole time I'm here, so why change midstream? That's like suggesting I socialize in Korean. I dislike socializing in English and that takes 1/1000th the effort. At any rate, I am learning some and I'm enjoying it so far.

I got an email from my new school today: I have to prepare a powerpoint presentation for the Open House. A what for the what?! Eek. I'm going in tomorrow to put my room in order and start getting ready for next week, so I'll have a talk with the principal about this Open House.

I can't believe my month off is nearly over. I have been so completely unproductive. Completely. I had a list of things to do, like go through all of my boxes in the storage cubby and throw out everything I don't need, organize my bookshelves/ drawers/ cabinets/ etc, organize my yarn stash... I think you can see a pattern emerging. Anyway, it doesn't matter, because my books/ shelves/ drawers/ cabinets/ boxes/ yarn are nearly as disorganized as the day I moved in.

I wish I loved exercise, cleaning, and organizing as much as I love sitting in my computer chair staring at my laptop screen. :-)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Signed, Sealed, and Delivered

As usual, way too long since my last post.

I finished up at Elite at the end of January and am halfway through my vacation. Today, after sweating for months when my FBI background check wouldn't (and still hasn't) come in, I went to immigration, and got my new visa with no background check needed. If only I had known that I didn't need to spend all that money and hassle (mostly my mother got hassled, with several trips around Baton Rouge getting my local check and apostille) and stress over the missing FBI check. I mean, four months?! Come on!

As for my vacation, I've been pretty supremely unproductive. I have knit two sweaters: Owls (still needs eyes) and Amused, modified into a hoodie cardigan (still needs closures). Both were quick and easy knits, although, I didn't really follow the patterns all that closely. For Owls, I basically only used the "owl" cable chart.

Over the Lunar New Year/ Valentine's Day weekend, Stafford whisked me off on a "staycation" at a hotel here in Seoul. He's so sweet! We spent most of the time watching AFN and going to Starbucks. He knows me so well. :-)

So, that's about all that's gone on over the past month. Not very eventful, despite big plans to get out and about and see all the things in Seoul I haven't seen before. Mostly, I've just seen a lot of TV downloads in my living room. There are two exhibits at two museums I do plan to see over the next two weeks, though. Staf's on vacation, so maybe I can drag him along...

Monday, January 04, 2010

Leading and Retreating

Once again, it's been ages since I posted, and I've got no real reason. I just got back from the KOTESOL annual Leadership Retreat, which was much more useful this year than in years past. I had my first council meeting as secretary, and don't think I missed too much. :-) We'll see when I send copies of the minutes around...

It's been snowing all day, so it took me three and a half hours (standing) on the bus instead of the usual thirty minutes. Sigh. There were men manually shoveling snow on the highway. So, we would drive a meter or two and stop and wait. I got there in the end, though.

On the PBMX front, he has decided that Korea was a great place to live and work and doesn't understand why I won't help him get a job. He still hasn't done anything about the divorce. So, I think I'm just going to have to redo the paperwork and file myself.

I guess the only other thing on the burner is ThaiTESOL's annual conference at the end of the month. I'm always so busy at the conference here that I rarely get to see many presentations, so I'd kind of like to go to another conference. The fact that it's in sunny Thailand is a bonus. We'll see if I can get organized and arrange tickets and hotel...

So, all caught up on the past month or so of my life in just a few hundred words. Sad, isn't it?