Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Photo A Day: February 22-29

Feb 22 - Some "Love Letters" from my kindergarten kids. They are super cute that I needed to share them. 
Feb 23 - Today is one of my best friends birthday and I am unable to celebrate with her. So I made a sign for her and my kids wanted to say Happy Birthday too! I Love You! 
Feb 24 - My kids graduated from kindergarten today. I didn't think I would cry because I will still be there teacher when they are in first grade, but when I started to give my congratulatory speech, I started crying. Then, when Becky gave her speech and said goodbye, I cried some more! 
Feb 25 - I'm turning Korean! I got a perm today! I love having curly hair and so I finally decided to get a perm. They had to plug in the curlers to make them hot. Thank you Sue for helping me. 
Feb 26 - Needed to go to the foreign food market today in Itaewon. I needed to get my supply of American food! 
Feb 27 - The E-Mart sign. A beacon to guide me home each night! 
Feb 28 - I worked on my spring classroom decorations for the first part of my day. Here is a little preview of some of my cute little friends, so far. 
Feb 29 - Some of my 6th grade students!

Saturday, February 25, 2012


Yesterday, two of the kindergarten classes graduated. They will be starting to go to public school on March 5th and will be in 1st grade. The whole day was kind of sad. I didn't think I would get super sad or even cry but when I got up to give my congratulatory speech to my kids, I started crying. It came out of nowhere. I honestly did not think that would happen. Then when Becky, the other foreign kindergarten teacher, gave her speech, I started to cry some more. It was Becky's last day as their teacher because she is going back to the states. So not only did she have to congratulate them but also say goodbye. For me, I will still be there teacher in our after school program, so I will see them again. Congrats boys and girls!

All the little graduates
There graduation photo taken a month before graduation.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Photo A Day: February 15-21

Feb 15 - Playing with my new photo app on my iPod. It is called pudding camera. Thanks Minju for introducing me to this app! 
Feb 16 - Birthday lunch! This month are the birthdays of two of my kiddies; Leo and Diana! 
Feb 17 - Alison bought some Korean wines at E-mart for us to taste. They were all interesting but not super good! 
Feb 18 - Went to see Star Wars Episode 1 in 4D. I'm even representing with wearing my Star Wars shirt. The movie plot and acting were still bad but the 4D part was awesome. The chairs were moving all over the place during the pod racing and all. Even at the end of the movie, during the celebration, the movie theater was filled with bubbles. It was fun! 
Feb 19 - Made some baked macaroni and cheese for dinner with some steamed broccoli. Also had a glass of rosé wine with it. Then for dessert I had a chocolate dipped waffle. It was a good meal. YUM! 
Feb 20 - Went to the post office today. Needed to mail some stuff to friends. 
Feb 21 - Went to a new restaurant in my neighborhood. Had some bulgogi (and this is what bulgogi really is). It was really good.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Photo A Day: February 8-14

Feb 8 - My kindergartner's are a crazy bunch of kids. Diana was trying to tickle me with the finger pointer I use during class and then Leo is wrapped around my left leg in this picture. On another note, even though they are graduating soon, I will still be their after school English teacher. 
Feb 9 - The park I walk through everyday to work! 
Feb 10 - Welcome to Korea Tom. Tom drinking an ice beer at the pirate bar! 
Feb 11 - Made some delicious cookie monster cupcakes with Minju. They are so cute! 
Feb 12 - Tom and I staring at each other like the statues are staring at each other! 
Feb 13 - Koreanized Americanized pizza for dinner with Thomas. It has shrimp, onion, black olive, green peppers and I think sausage. And instead of a red sauce it has like a teriyaki sauce. The crust is also stuffed with sweet potatoes! Yum! 
Feb 14 - A Valentine's card I got from a co-teacher. It made me crack up laughing when I first read it. It was a good start to my day. Oh Becky, you are such a sweet talker! I love you too! <3

Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is very popular here in Korea. I have to say it is probably more popular here then it is in the states. A couple weeks leading up to the hallmark holiday, the grocery store already had a huge display of chocolates for people to sell. There are also supplies for people to make their own chocolate molds. It is definitely a big holiday for all the couples in Korea.

I decided that I was going to make small hearts and tape a candy on it for my kids. I love giving gifts, so it was no big deal for me. I didn't realize that everyone would be doing something similar to me, even my students. I received a lot of candy, I'm not sure how I'm going to eat it all. But it was sweet for all the kids and my co-teachers to think of me.

All my sweets from my co-teachers and students
A card from my co-teacher. I read it when I first got to work and made me crack up laughing.

A Friend from Home Visits!

I have official had my first visitor from home come stay with me in Korea. My friend Tom, from university, is travelling around Asia and his first stop was Korea. When he first got in, it was a Friday night, I took him to a local western bar in the area where they have ice beer. The beer is put in a plastic cup, that is then put in cup of ice. Then once you are finished drinking the beer, you throw the ice cup at a bulls-eye to try and get something free. Neither of us won anything but it was still fun catching up.

The next day, I took him to my favorite restaurant (so far) in Korea. I take all my friends there. It is a type of bulgogi but with pork. It was also his first experience with cooking the food at our own table. We cooked the rolled pork and then wrapped the meat with some vegetables in a lettuce leaf. We would then shove the lettuce ball into our mouths. It is sooo good. Who would have thought that meat wrapped in lettuce would be so good, the Korean's apparently.

After we had lunch, we proceeded to head into Seoul. Not only was I going to be a tour guide for my friend but I was also going to be a tourist. All the places that I took him to where places that I hadn't gone to yet. The first place we went to was Bukchon Hanok Village. It is located between Gyeongbokgung and Changdeokgung. It is a Korean traditional village in the heart of Seoul.

A popular alleyway to take photos of
The rooftops of the village
When we were walking back to the subway, we bought a type of sweet that is sold by vendors on the street. It is called Bbopki. It is a traditional Korean sugar candy, in the shape of a CD. They are made with a design stamped in the middle. It taste like burnt marshmallow. It is really sweet but it is also really good. 

On out walk back, I also saw my first Starbucks were the sign was in Hangul. I have never seen a Starbucks in a foreign language, so that was fun. I, of course, had to take a picture of it.


We then headed to the 63 Building. The building is one of Seoul's most famous landmarks. It has an observation deck on the 60th floor. We got to the top of the building just as the sun was setting, so we were able to get a view of Seoul in the daylight as well as at night. Seoul is definitely more beautiful at night then in the day. The city becomes so bright with colorful lights, it becomes very beautiful. 

63 Building
Seoul at sunset
Night view of Seoul
It's me!
The next day, we first went to one of the palaces. We went to Deoksugung, which means Palace of Virtuous Longevity. It became a palace in 1593 when one of the kings moved in after all of Seoul's other palaces were destroyed during the Japanese invasion. The palace used to be three times as big as it is now. It was  definitely smaller than Gyeongbokgung; it was also less crowded.

We then proceeded to walk to the next palace that is located nearby, but we decided to make a detour and tour around Seoul Plaza first and the area nearby. During this time of year, Seoul Plaza has a huge ice skating rink for the winter. It was packed with people but if it wasn't I probably would've rented some skates and joined in. 

The Haechi Madang has been esablished as the symbol of Korea.
These are a cartoon version of them ice skating.

Walking around Seoul Plaza
We were also able to walk across the Cheonggyecheon Stream. The same place I went to during the lantern festival. It looked pretty during the day too. 

Chwonggyecheon Stream
We also walked past a building that had a statue in front of it that reminded me of home. Korea has it's own Hammering Man. At first when I saw it I though Korea was just being copy cats and taking the idea from Seattle, but after doing some research I found out it was done by the same artist. There are also several of them in various cities in the world. The one in Korea is the tallest at 72 ft tall while the one in Seattle is 48 ft tall. It is located near the Heungkuk Life Insurance building.

Hammering Man in Seoul
We also walked near the Seoul Museum of History. We didn't go inside but they had pieces of history in the small plaza in front of the museum. I will  definitely have to go inside next time the I am in the area.

In front of the Seoul Museum of History
We then finally made it to the second palace of the day. This one is Gyeonghuigung, which means Palace of Shining Celebration. It was built in 1617 and served as the secondary palace. At the height of its usage, it had more than 100 halls. Much of it was destroyed by Japan on two separate occasions and only a few of the buildings were restored. The palace is very small and quiet. There were hardly any tourist at this site.

Tom in front of the main audience hall

All of us with the palace behind us

Top part of the wall surrounding the palace.
After we left the palace we headed back to the subway station to head towards a market. I took Tom to Namdaemun Market. We mainly explored around the market but one of our main goals was to get some street food. We were able to enjoy some of the popular Korean street foods and enjoyed it was a bowl of rice wine. Yum!

Street food at Namdaemun Market
My friend was only in town for three full days, but on the third day I had to work, so he was able to explore the town that I lived in. It was fun to have a friend come visit me. I was also able to host him in a foreign country. It's strange being in a country were their native language is not my own and then having to be a tour guide. I have lived in Korea for six months now, so I was able to manage it very easily.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Photo A Day: February 1-7

Feb 1 - I enjoyed my beautiful walk to work this morning. Everything was covered in snow and it was a sunny day. I love the sound the snow makes when I walk through it! 
Feb 2 - Sam and Jack were both very happy about the structure they made with the blocks. They wanted me to take a picture of them with it. 
Feb 3 - This is one of my level 1 students, Sophia, who spelled out "I Love You" with stickers on her fingernails. I'm not gonna brag or anything but I'm pretty sure I taught her all three of those words. Hahah. 
Feb 4 - Saw this Wii Cafe in Anyang today. I thought it was funny that they have these here. I'm pretty sure my friends, Michael and David and Jeff and Jason, would like it. 
Feb 5 - First Costco trip of the year and Becky's last trip. It was a good day to go too. It wasn't busy and we were able to get in and get out. 
Feb 6 - Wearing my Doctor-Hoo shirt from Threadless Tees! This was a good buy especially because it was on sale when I bought it! 
Feb 7 - I'm starting to get a cold so I had to buy some medicine from the pharmacy. Hopefully I get better soon and I beat it!