B-Day Celebration

Last Friday night I invited all of my co-workers out for a birthday dinner. It is common for foreign teachers to come; however, we have yet to have a birthday celebration with Koreans. The only time we see our Korean teachers outside of work is either grabbing a coffee before works starts at Dunkin' Doughnuts or occasionally, at the end of the semester, we will go out and have a dinner to welcome new teachers and say goodbye to those who are leaving. So, I was quite surprised when all of the Korean teachers showed up (except for the management).

It wasn't anything special, we went and had some galbi, a few drinks, and hung out. After dinner the Korean teachers went home and we all went to Ju-rok, our Cheers. We played a round of darts and then had an interesting walk home. Overall, a great night and nothing too crazy.

This past weekend I had to work on Saturday and teach an animation class. I got paid a little extra to watch Peter Pan for 50 minutes out of a two hour class. Then I taught the kids some vocabulary, we did a little comprehension, as well as some dictation. An easy day. After that, Spenser and I headed into Seoul to do some camera shopping. This is the great debate in my life right now - whether or not to purchase a fancy SLR camera or buy a cheap $100 camera. If you have any feedback, let me know. Needless to say, I didn't buy a camera. We met up with his friend Amarice, ate dinner, played some Bishy-Bashy, then Spenser and I came back to Suwon to finish the evening at O-ma's. I kept the Sabbath holy this week and just did a little R and R on Sunday.

This weekend I am headed on a hike, which hopefully will be beautiful, and to a cherry blossom festival. A few of my co-workers and friends will be on the hike so I'm sure someone will get some good pictures! Hope everyone is doing great!

(I'm not a fan of soju but this was a gift from Justin - a bottle of North Korean soju he bought at the DMZ)

(I don't remember what I said or if it was even me that said it, but whatever it was, I think it was funny - good times)

(Spenser, myself, and Lucy. Lucy sits directly across from me in the office so I talk to her quite a bit - notice her pose.)

(Spenser and I doing the 'Lucy')

(Liz sits next to me in the office and she is probably the one I talk to the most. She is super nice and super quiet. Plus, she had to work on Saturday so i was excited she came out.)

(Justin had a little too much to drink... actually, Erik spilled some sort of beverage on him.)

(Liz and Mindy. Mindy is great! She speaks slang English more than any of the other teachers and will say, "Hey. What's up?" and the like. Also, she doesn't hold anything back, which is another reason I like her.)

(From Left to Right - Liz, Mindy, Me, Grace, Ashley, and Lucy - the Korean teachers except for Chelice, Ellen, and Anna)

(Throwing Darts)

(The end of the walk home. I think I skateboarded for about 20 minutes with Spenser and Erik. It's a lot more difficult than it looks.)


Hiroko and Nabe, Another Missing Camera, and the Blue House plus Yaletown

So, anybody who follows the blog regularly knows I have not updated in quite some time. Part of it is my sheer laziness. The other part, another disheartening event in my life - I lost another camera (this time without even being intoxicated). I had some great pictures of the Blue House (aka the Korean White House, called the Blue House because of its blue tiled roof). Thus, I will have to eventually make the trip back to the Blue House so I am actually in the photo. Also, sadly, there were a lot of great photos from when Hiroko, my Japanese friend, came to visit Korea.

This is just a quick post to hopefully get me started again. The pictures are in no chronological order since it has been some time and I forgot how to put them in the correct order. Of course, I could cut and paste but that takes way too long. So, here we go:

(Oka-san and Otousan - Mom and Dad with their gifts. I just love Hiroko's Dad and Mom!)

(Famous King Seojong the Great with gate in the background)

(Gate/Entrance where we saw the changing of the guard)

(The changing of the guard Part I)

(The changing of the guard Part II)

(Blue House - woot woot. Now, if you could only imagine me standing there...)

(Lunch with Hiroko and Nabe, as well as their Korean friends, one of whom is Ian, the guy sitting across from me. Great guy and I look forward to hanging out with him more in the future!)

(NANTA - A must see in Seoul. I had a blast and the show was great. I was actually chosen to participate and married some women. Overall, it was a great show and they really get the audience involved. It's a show about 4 chefs who need to prepare for a wedding feast and use the tools of the kitchen as percussion instruments. A great show!)

(The first night we went to Seoul Tower with Hiroko and Nabe. Neither Katrina nor I had ever been there at night.)

(Typical Korean Street vendor)

(Me before we go into Insadong. Katrina needed to do some B-Day shopping.)

(Fun photo in Insadong)

(Hongdae Saturday market)

(The Loving Hut - all veggie restaurant we found. I guess Katrina had been looking for one and we stumbled across one in Seoul. So, that was a great surprise find.)

(Yaletown - I had heard stories of this bar and twice before I had tried to eat there without any luck. Spenser informed me this place had unlimited curly fries with the purchase of a burger. This place had become legend like in my mind. I spent all of Saturday wasting time so I could eat there. Sadly, I had expectations. I was thinking of the deliciously seasoned crispy Arby's fries. Soft and flavorless could best describe these fries. The burger was delicious but nothing you can't find at any other burger joint in Korea, including McDonalds or Burger King. They do have wings but I'm not sure I'll venture back.)


March 1st, 2011 - Interactive Art and the Hope of Curly Fries

This past Tuesday we got the day off work because March 1st is a National Holiday in Korea. From my understanding, March 1st, 1919 was one of the earliest displays from the Korean people showing that they wanted independence from the Japanese. On a side note, when I went to the Korean War Memorial two weekends ago, I learned the 38th parallel was an arbitrary line drawn by the US and Soviet Union determining which country had to clear out the Japanese armed forces in the region. Enough with the history.

I went to an art exhibit I had read about in a Newspaper which my kids in class had to read. It was an interactive art exhibit and the first time I have ever been to an interactive art exhibit. As you'll see from the pictures, it was quite entertaining and something I would do again. There were a few different sections: interactive artwork, a mirror section, a comic book section, as well as optical illusions and an Ames Room.

Afterward we had planned on going to Yaletown, a Canadian owned bar that serves their burgers with all you can eat curly fries! Exciting? Yes! Spenser told me on the bus ride into Seoul that not only did you get a delicious burger but also unlimited curly fries. I pretty much starved myself until 2 pm for the feast. However, when we arrived, sadly, Yaletown was closed and would not open for another 3 hours. We tried Outback but they had a 50 minute wait. So, we had Burger King instead. (Unfortunately, I must admit since this posting, I have been to Yaletown and I am not in any hurry to go back. The burger was alright but the curly fries were down right awful, soft, and a little sweet - nothing like the Arby's seasoned curly fries I had envisioned in my head.) Since I had the day off I finished it in Yeongtong and made Katrina dinner. And that folks, was my vacation. Enjoy the pictures!

(Ever wonder why the scream guy makes that face? Now you know.)

(Chagall needed a little help so I gave him a hand)

(I decided to add a few pounds to Da Vinci's Mona Lisa. In case you can't tell, that is a pump behind me.)

(I cleaned up Klempt)

(Erik was a bit upset as this fair lady chose me over him)

(Hilarious. This little girl, I believe, actually thought she was pulling on the picture and walked backwards about 6 feet. Her mom picked her up and set her back down again and told her to put her hands on the painting, which she did, but then started backing up again. Super cute!)

(This is how you were supposed to stand for the picture.)

(Optical illusion - What do you see first, vases or people?)

(The mirror exhibit may have been sweet but there were far too many people to get a good shot. You can see this kid, then you see him again in the mirror along with his father taking the picture. If you stood where his father was and took the picture it would look, in the picture, as though he were playing this woman in ping pong.)

(Comic book time. These pictures were massive. Here I am getting an axe to the chest.)

(I am boarding my boat to begin another journey)

(Erik pulls out a mortal combat move and smokes this dragon)

(The final battle against Satan himself)

(A place where you could actually be in the picture and it is supposed to look like artwork)

(The Ames Room - if you never knew, it looks as though I am taller than Erik. In reality, he's 6'4 and I'm 5'9)


3 Down 1 To Go (plus another year)

The Winter Semester officially ended on Monday. Tuesday, March 1st we had off for Korean Independence Day. March 1st 1919 was the first time Koreans stood up to the Japanese in an attempt to reclaim their country. So, on Tuesday, Spenser, Erik, and I went to a sweet art exhibit (I'll throw pictures up later) and then to Yaletown for a burger. Only Yaletown wasn't open so we went to Outback, which had a 50 minute wait so we dined at the always classy Burger King.

The kids last semester were great and I put up a few pictures so you can get an idea of the kids I am teaching as well as the class size. I just had my first classes of the new term yesterday and it seems as though it is going to be a good Monday, Wednesday, Friday group. Today, I have 3 of the same classes - JA, our highest middle level. They are a little bigger class size, 13 to 14 students in each class. Now, I know for the public schools that is tiny; however, for me, that is a large class size. I've taught a lot of the students before so I don't think we should have any problems. Nevertheless, with a larger class, you just never know. So, I hope you enjoy the kiddos from last semester!

(Nick in the front, Harry behind him, James2, and then Arthur in the background.)

(James1, Johnny behind him, you can't see OZ, and then Jenny, the only girl, in the back poking her head up)

(My smarties - Grant and Sebastian, the highest level students at this Avalon)

(Sally in pink and Bella next two her - two fantastic students, a little quiet, but fantastic!)

(Sally, Bella, and Emily in red. This is just to show you how tall some of the students are. When Emily sits in her chair, her feet dangle and it's kind of cute.)

(Me and Bang Bang Jack. His name is Jack but he always wears Bang Bang clothing, a brand, so I call him Bang Bang Jack. Right before we took the picture he said, "Yo Man!")

(Jack with Jenny behind him and Matthew next to her.)

(A lot of the students in this class really weren't feeling the camera; however, Brian, one of my favorite students told me he loved pictures - he's the one in the Camo jacket.)

(John John in the front, 12/28 or Helen behind him, Mary on the wall, and Dream in the back. Helen accidentally wrote the date where her name was supposed to be one day so I called her 12/28 and it stuck.)

(Isavel, yes vel, not bel on the left and Jane. Two great students who leveled up this semester!)

(Erica and Jack. Sadly, Erica is leaving this semester. She's one of my favorite students. I loved Jack too because he raised his hand to answer every single question.)

(Julia in the front, a sweetie, Erica, Jane, and Isavel in the back. This gives you an idea of the actual classroom size. There are two desks on each side four rows deep.)