Friday, December 31, 2010

Time Machines and (Re)Potty Training

Me:     “If you could go anywhere in a time machine, where would you go?”

Student:   “Mom.” and she points to her belly.

Me:      “What?”

Student:    “Mom.”  Then makes a pregnant belly shape with her hands.

Me:      “In your mom’s stomach? When she was pregnant?”

Student    “Yes.”

Me:      “Why?”

Student:    “Daddy,” she says with a smile.

Me:       “Not how. Whhhhhyyyyyy?”  As I am barely able to hold myself up from laughing so hard.

Student:    “Oh. It’s warm there.”

Monday, December 20, 2010

I Shaved My Legs For This

All the ladies, and a lot of men, know the gross razor part of a pedicure. While removing dead skin is an important hygiene issue, it’s still gross.  SoKo has outdone the nasty-ness but in such a cool way.  Fish.

It’s called Dr. Fish and it’s quite the trend around Asia.  You have calluses on your feet?  Too much dry or dead skin?  No worries, the fish will take care of it for you.  20101218_141549

Thoughts on Blogging

I’ve never been a blogger.  I’ve never thought of myself as a writer. Honestly, I’m not a very funny person. At least not on purpose. I can make myself laugh better than anyone but making other people laugh is a totally different ballgame. Much to my surprise, I am finding that I very much enjoy writing and I very much appreciate all the compliments that have been sent my way over the last few months. By no means do I consider myself a writer but I do think writing is something I want to pursue. The word writer is reserved for people who actually know the difference between dependent and independent clauses.  I don’t.  But I think writing has given me an outlet that maybe I’ve always needed.

I have a point, I promise.

With my overload of free time that has developed here in the Eastern Hemisphere I have been reading blogs from people all over the world.  Some are amazing (http://coffee-helps.com/) and some are incessantly ridiculous and boring.  I hope to make this something that you enjoy reading.  Some entries are funny, some are… less funny.  Some are serious, some are sad, and a few are purely for my memory book and will likely bring you very little entertainment.  These writings are my thoughts, my opinions (of which I have many), and my experiences.  While they are censored, some things should not be published on the internet, they are, in the best of terms, me.  Silly sarcasm, poor punctuation, and emotional breakdowns all included.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Two Months Down…

snowy dayHas it really been two months already?  That’s seems unbelievable but it’s what the calendar says so I must be true.  I honestly forget on a daily basis that I am living in South Korea.  That’s how normal it is here.  It feels more like Christmas this year than it has for me the last 7 years in Orlando.  The lights decorating store windows, the music playing in  the coffee shops, the snow… It’s Christmas time in SoKo.

On a side note, I think I’m losing my marbles.  Maybe it’s all the snow and Christmas music. Maybe it’s because my class schedule had a complete overhaul this week and my students have been bouncing off the walls. Maybe it’s starting to occur to me just how fast a year abroad can really fly by.  Or maybe just too many English Breakfast tea lattes.  I’m way above my average coffee intake.  Whatever the cause, a few of my classes have come this week expecting me to deliver on promises that I have absolutely no memory of making. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Bibimbap and the Ballet

NutcrackerWhat a lovely Sunday.  I love the ballet so when I found out The Nutcracker was in Daejeon, for this weekend only, I had to go.  I had four days to figure out the venue, how to get there, how to buy tickets, and hopefully some people also interested in going. I had a mission. I was not going to miss this show. After spending thirty minutes trying to understand the bus map I gave up and took off on the subway. There is a stop remotely close to the theatre, I’m smart, I’ll figure it out.  A short subway ride and a LONG walk in the cold later I found it.  And thanks to Facebook I was able to find 5 lovely people who also wanted to go.

 

Pizza, With A Bow On Top

Updates… what you have I not told you, my little public diary???  It’s been kind of quiet actually. 

I spent 7 hours Christmas shopping in the freezing cold on Saturday.  It was warm, respectively speaking, at one o’clock when I left my apartment.  Not so warm at 11pm when I returned. Needless to say, I was not dressed appropriately once it hit about four o’clock.  By the time I returned home I was surprised to still be alive, much less with all my fingers and toes still fully attached.  You don’t fully appreciate having a heated car until you’ve walk for miles all day in the freezing cold.  I could have taken cabs but each of my stops were only a few blocks from last so it seemed silly. But trust me, the temptation was there.

On my way home I felt I deserved  a treat so I broke the seal and ordered my first pizza.  Mr. Pizza is one of the main pizza joints but it gets mixed reviews from the foreigner crowd, the people who actually know what good pizza is.  It’s in my building and my students constantly talk about the amazing thing that is bulgogi pizza so by process of elimination, that’s where I went.  I already know that I like bulgogi because my lovely friend Matt took me out for Korean food in Orlando before I left.  Bulgogi, which translates loosely to “fire meat”, is essentially just marinated and grilled meat that would pretty much appease even the pickiest of eaters.  But bulgogi on pizza?  Maybe good, maybe not.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Someone Loves Me…

I’m just not sure who.  Someone is also playing a prank on me.  I’m sure of it. 

Even though my classroom is “my classroom” other people use it while I’m not there.  I don’t care, it’s not about that.  The Korean teachers work much longer days than us foreigners do and my classroom has a projector and screen while most others don’t.

Here’s the thing… Everyday when I get to work something is changed in my room.  At first I thought I was making it up but it’s literally everyday.  They are subtle changes but changes nonetheless.  My podium will be moved, desks rearranged, trash can in a notably different place, new markers for my chalkboard…little things. Everyday for almost two months now. Then I got this…

20101206_161632

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Exploring in the Eastern Hemisphere

Rule #1 - if all the Koreans get off the bus, you probably should too.

Yesterday Marisol and I set out on an adventure.  We knew our destination and I vaguely knew how to get there. You can get there by bus, by subway, or by taxi.  Because I had first seen this “attraction” while taking the bus we felt it safest to repeat our steps. (My destination has to remain a secret because it was for a Christmas present, sorry.)

Since neither one of us has much experience with public transportation, Marisol chose to follow my direction since this little excursion was really for me anyway.  That was a bad idea. We took a taxi to Lotte Department Store to catch the bus.  With what little I knew about public transportation, I did know that buses run the same circle all day long.  What I didn’t know is that the “circle” is really a line, and that yes, it does matter which direction the bus is going when you get on it. That’s how we ended up here…

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Kimbap = Kid Sushi

Everyone hesitates when I call it this but I don’t care, I think it’s true.  It’s super good too.
 
After hearing Marisol talk about her local kimbap shop I decided I needed to find one of my own. How exactly do you go about finding a good kimbap shop?  Ask kids.  Kids always know where the good food is.  They even drew me a map.
101202-215454

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Laziness in Korea

I’m lazy by nature.  I love to sleep.  I love to spend an entire weekend in a warm bed with my dog and do nothing but watch TV and eat Chinese food and pizza.  It’s even better if it’s been delivered.  I don’t think this is a secret to anyone who has ever spent more than just a few minutes with me.  Here’s the problem…

SoKo is like one reeeeeally long weekend.  I’ve been here a month and a half and I still feel like I’m on vacation.  A working vacation, but vacation nonetheless.  There are stressful days at work but nothing traumatic like would happen at home.  I don’t come home from work completely exhausted and mentally depleted from the day.  I have gotten exactly what I came here for.  A job I enjoy. An apartment I love.  New friends I adore.  And an incredible city and country to learn all about and experience.  All while leaving behind the distractions and drama that plagued me in Orlando.  Life seems so normal that it's often I even forget I am in South Korea.  I’m happy here.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

These Children Exhaust Me

Despite what the title of this blog might suggest, I finally feel like I am starting to hit my stride with teaching. Well, as of yesterday I did. Today brought on a whole new set of concerns. Of course there are difficulties everyday, the main one being the language barrier, but I finally feel like I am getting in a routine with each of my classes.  I’ve been with most of them about a month, so that’s 4 - 5 classes with each of them.  They are starting to understand me as a teacher and hopefully that “testing the new teacher phase” is mostly over with.  Thank goodness.

Today was supposed to be a very easy day for me so I was looking forward to getting in some good planning time. Lesson plans are pretty much already made but I do like to try and find fun activities or videos that I can share with my students to make our 80 minutes together more fun.   Today’s scheduled went something like this…

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thanksgiving - Korea Style

Because I’ve been living away from home for so many years the idea of the not being home for holidays isn’t as traumatic as most seem to think. I love my family but I don’t think anyone can truthfully say that holidays are the happiest of times together anyway.  With the great company and great food comes great stress and inevitably great arguments.  (Every family is like this, don’t act like yours is any different.) I made it a point to spend a few good days with everyone in my family before I set off to SoKo a little over a month ago, so I’m ok with spending my holidays with a huge group of foreigners (literally and figuratively.) 

Monday, November 29, 2010

Lessons From My Students

The things you don’t learn in American schools…

1. A Korean “Kick Me” sign
HPIM0452
 때렸
It actually translate to “hit me” 10x, but the objective is still the same.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Koreas

Most importantly, I’m fine.  The area where the most recent North Korean attack took place is very, very far away from me.  For those that don’t know the geography, I’m in a country about the size of the state of Indiana and I am located almost perfect center.  Yeonpyeong island is very far north, and depending on which news site you subscribe to, it’s only 2-6 miles from the North Korean border. According to the South, they have owned this island since the Korean war.  According to the North, they have owned it since 1999.  The North doesn't like the South practicing miliary drills on "their" island.  That's what this is all about.

The most notable part of being here through this is that the country just kept going after the attacks. No one skipped a beat. I think that shows how much this is just a part of their life here. I was at Disney when September 11 happened and it felt like the entire world shut down.  Walt Disney World closed it’s doors for one of only a handful of times in their almost thirty year history.  Universities, airports, and a multitude of companies shut down for the day.  The country literally stopped when the twin towers were hit.  As a testament to the terror it invoked, almost 10 years later I am still getting emotional thinking back to that day even though I was only 20 years old.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Nature’s Gym

I worked out in the park today.  I know you don’t believe me but I really did. And here is video proof…

Sunday, November 21, 2010

My Life Has Been Forever Changed

And not because of the reason I expected.  It’s far greater.  It’s called Noraebang and it’s the Korean version of karaoke.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Healthcare - Korean Style

So healthcare here is pretty awesome too.

After being here a month I finally had my health check. This is required of everyone when starting a new job in Korea, alien or citizen.  Most importantly for me, I need this to get my alien registration card, and subsequently get on payroll, get health insurance, open a bank account, etc.  The hospital we went to was so pretty. The waiting area had these huge purple comfy leather couches, and the beds were all outfitted with colorful blankets and pillows. I am told there is quite a bit of competition between the hospitals so each will spend a considerable amount of money making sure their’s is not only the best medically, but also the most attractive and comfortable, far above American standards.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Hamburgers and Cupcakes

What a fancy lunch. 

I met a new friend, Lee Ann, for lunch today.  She was kind enough to come to my neighborhood since I am still learning my way around.  We decided on a little hamburger joint nearby called My Father’s Sandwiches. 

Shopping…

After a rough last week I have fallen back in love with my new city.

The last few days I’ve done some exploring to see what the shopping is like.  Truthfully, I was on a quest for make-up and a hair dryer because the voltage conversion blew mine up last week. Nevertheless, it has been an exciting few days.

I was walking to Time World on Monday and I started to hear loud sirens.  I figured it was police, ambulance, etc, but then it didn’t stop.  It continued for at least ten minutes and even though I couldn’t decipher which direction the noise was coming from, it seemed to be stagnant wherever it was.  As I approach Time World (which is this massive and fancy shopping area) traffic had been stopped in all directions. Most people had turned off their engines and there was a person on each corner with big yellow flags signaling to everyone.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Happiness

047
I woke up Sunday with a To-Do list that was a mile long and my priorities firmly in order.  After spending Saturday up in the mountains with temples and monks, and being exactly one month to the day of my arrival in SoKo, it was my mission.    If nothing else got accomplished that day, I would still make sure that I found my happy place. And find it I did. 

And true to Amy form, nothing else got accomplished that day.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Gyeoryongsan

HPIM0431I decided that now that I have been here for a month that it was time to start doing the things on my Korea list.  The list that I had been writing for the six months leading up to my new life. 

Autumn in the mountains - CHECK!

Care Packages

I need to start by saying that I don’t expect a care package from anyone. Several people have been emailing to ask so here is a list of suggestions if you would like to send something. Please know that anything you send is very appreciated, whether it is included in this list or not. Also, to cut down on the shipping cost use the “if it fits, it ships” boxes from the USPS. They have a weight limit for international travel but it seems to be much more cost efficient. UPS might also be good, not sure yet.  Mail takes 7-10 days to get to me so keep that in mind also if you are shipping food. Lastly, I am not putting my address on here so if you would like to send me something, and I have not already sent you my address, please email/comment/facebook/etc me and I will get it to you.

Pepero Day

Amidst all my dog drama Korea celebrated a holiday last week. November 11 is known as Pepero Day. If you take a look at the date, November 11th, and use the number “11” in lieu of the month’s full name, you’ll notice that you have four “1”’s all in a row. In Korea that’s all you need to create a popular holiday. It’s a spin off of Valentine’s Day from what I can tell, but I think it’s considered more special.

It’s the day of all 1’s so it’s celebrated with Pepero, or as it’s known to me, the chocolate covered cookie stick you eat with coffee.   There are several myths about how the holiday began in the mid 1990’s but it’s believed to be a corporate contrived holiday, as many of them are. Lotte is a huge corporation over here, something like a mix between Wal-Mart, McDonald’s, and Pepsi Co. They seem to have their name on almost everything from an enormous department store, to a fast food chain, to a bag of chips at 7/11. Lotte is also the largest supplier of pepero. A lot of people deem it a conspiracy theory on behalf of Lotte to capitalize on a signature item created almost solely by them.  I think that’s genius.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Wiener Dog Resolution

I think.

After work last night I went out with some co-teachers.  One of them had recently tried to move into my building and learned they have a firm No Animal policy.  She has two dogs herself so she was unable to move in.  Yet they told me to just ignore the letter. This isn’t ok. 

I’m not the type of person that intentionally breaks the rules.  I’m not the person that orders water at a self-serve restaurant to then get tea or diet soda.  I’m also not the person that opts to use the automated ticket machine at the movie theater so I can take advantage of the senior discount.  And I most certainly am not the type of person that lives in a building knowing they are blatantly against having pets on the premises.  Especially not in foreign countries. I am not ok with this.

Wiener Mutt Update

Let me start this by saying that I have a firm policy against putting any naughty four letter words in print. I refuse to sound like an uneducated tool (or possibly offend) people of which I haven’t spoken to in years, or potentially have never met. The rest of you reading this know I’m not a tool. Plus my mother taught me to always be a lady. Well, on paper at least. However, if I didn’t have such a policy this blog would be written differently. VERY differently.  

My director stopped by around noon and brought my new Korean cell phone (yay!), my first paycheck (in cash!), and some news about my illegal animal.  Apparently in Korea passive aggressive is the way to go.  Apparently in Korea it is ok to threaten the life of my animal with no intention to actually follow through.  Apparently in Korea it’s all a contest of who can scream the loudest.  A contest of which I have never lost by the way.  But I’m in a different country now with different rules…

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Korea: The Meltdown

It was bound to happen.  I knew it was just a matter of time.  But for Korea to take the dog route is a punch way below the belt.

I got home from work around 11:15 Monday night and there was a note under my door saying that the building does not allow pets.  Not only does it not allow pets, but that I have 4 days to remove him from the premises or else he will be “disposed of” by legal force. Maybe that’s a translation error, but that is NOT OK. It also stated that “any death of the animal due to legal disposing” was my responsibility.  Commencing meltdown…

Monday, November 8, 2010

I ♥ My Friends

I have the best friends, really I do.  I received my first care package today and Allison, you rock.

I needed a barker collar for Charlie because his behavior has to straighten out over here. The people here don’t appreciate it and honestly, I can’t expect them to.  It’s like being the person with the loud, out of control child that I always shoot dirty looks to.  Not because their child is acting out, young children lack the self-control  and understanding of society’s rules.  I glare because the adult has no control over their child, or concern for social etiquette, and that’s a problem.


I have become that doggy mommy.  That’s not ok.   He's perfectly fine in the apartment, it's just when we go out for walks that he gets noisy so I always carry him through the groups of people.  I'm hoping he can start acting right so I don't have to keep carrying him.  Twenty pounds is a lot to carry all the way to the park.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

It’s true what they say

You can’t run away from your past.  You can try. You can run all the way to South Korea if it so behooves you. But it will find you.  In a sweet and unintentional way it will pop up out of nowhere. And apparently it will only take three weeks.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Autumn

Sitting in an empty apartment has never done anyone any good.  Today was one of those days.  I had so many great intentions for today but when I woke up I just really didn’t want to do any of them.  After about three weeks of being mostly alone and in your own thoughts, your brain starts veering towards those places you promised yourself to never go again.  SoKo will do that to you, I guess.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Serenity

I've said it before, but life is easy here.  It’s probably because I’ve only been here a few weeks and haven’t had time to stir up any drama, but truthfully, it is easy. Of course there is the obvious “I don’t speak the language” thing, but that’s really only a problem if you allow it to be.  I haven’t had a functioning cell phone since I flew out of LAX on October 14 and I have tell you, I don’t miss it.  No drama, no stress. This is how it should be.  Maybe life was easier before we became so technology obsessed. I will get one eventually, but right now I just don’t want one yet.

Daejeon is one of the largest cities in South Korea, however they have an incredibly low foreigner population.  Unlike Seoul, I can walk around all day and see no other foreigners. I feel like I have complete anonymity here even though I have just the opposite.  I am the only blonde hair, blue eyed girl for miles.  Then add in the silly looking dog that tries to attack everyone and yep, I’m pretty much famous here. But in my mind I’m still completely anonymous. And I love that.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Thirteen Year Old Boys

Unscripted and Uncut.........

video

We had a very basic script written on the board behind my laptop.  What you can't see is the boys that went first were slowly erasing every other letter from each word.  By the time it got to the last student he just had random letters left up on the board and he couldn't make any sense out of it.

This poor new girl has no idea what to do in this class.  She's so quiet and shy that I think the boys scare her. Welcome to Middle School sweetie, they only get worse from here!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween, in pictures

Part of this whole Korea idea is to get myself out doing things that I wouldn’t normally do.  Halloween is one of those things.  I love the holiday in concept but I am not the dressing up and going out kind of girl.  I much prefer to help get the kids in costume, then play with trick-or-treaters and eat candy all night. 

My Kids

My students are starting a pen pal project with a teacher friend back in the States. This is one of my favorite classes. This was also my first video attempt so please pardon that it's not perfect cinematography.
video

Friday, October 29, 2010

HangMan

hangmanAfter playing HangMan most of today I am completely certain of one thing - these children have never seen Wheel of Fortune.  R S T L N E - The most popular letters in the English language, yes? Ask any 10 year old Korean child and the first letters they come up with are U, H, W, and G.  I’ve never seen a game of HangMan take so long. By the end, the little hangman guy had eyes, ears, a mouth, fingers and toes.  It’s absolutely silly.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Tale of the Tom’s

As you know each of my students have both a Korean and an English name.  I know them solely by their English names of course. Every day each class begins with a vocabulary test and I request they put both Korean and English names at the top of the paper.  I think this is a most basic request but yet it is met by fire every time I say it.  I don’t care. When it is time to pass the tests back to the students I am sincerely grateful for the English names so I make them do it anyway. They don't understand how much it helps me, but really it makes the process much quicker for everyone involved.  (Please note, the Korean name is not spelled out like Kim Soe Jung, it looks more like 접어들었, so yes, I think that’s a fair request.)

Today my 7th graders decided to play a trick on me.  I received the tests back and had 8 with the name Tom.  Coincidentally, I also have 8 little boys in my class.  That was cute.

It’s one of my more fun classes so all I could do was laugh.  I have to give them credit, they are the first class that had the guts to do it.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

B is for Blood Type

I kept myself up watching Sex and the City reruns until the wee hours of the morning last night so it was rough when I woke up early to visit the bank today. This was my first time having to exchange money here so I was a tiny bit nervous. When I first arrived I just did a quick ATM withdrawal, that was easy. On Andrea’s recommendation I went to KB Bank.
HPIM0292
I was more than concerned about how this transaction was going to take place given that I speak no useful Korean, have my passport but not my foreigner/alien registration card yet, and I still don’t have a bank account either.  Goodness knows no bank in the States will help you with directions, let alone financial issues, if you don’t have an account with them.  I couldn’t convince myself to drag someone to help me so early so I went alone.  

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Easy Life

Hi. I’m back. I know you missed me, it’s been a whopping 48 hours since my last post.  I’m trying to keep up with this as a diary to myself, but I hope that you are enjoying the story along the way.

This weekend was quiet, I didn’t do much at all.  I found a new park for Charlie so that was good. The one they originally showed me to take him to was all pavement and bricks, with a few park benches.  That is not a park.  While Charles has no problem, ummm, taking care of business on the pavement, I just don’t think it gives a good impression of us to the locals.  I did a little more exploring and found a very nice little park just a few more blocks away.  It’s still not by any means what you or I would consider a “park”, but I am living in the downtown district so it’s really the best I can expect. 

Saturday, October 23, 2010

First Week in Review

I flew half way around the world with my dog. A feat not to be taken lightly.

I have found the local Starbucks, KFC and Krispie Creme but I have yet to find a McDonald’s.  That’s a bit disappointing.

I learned my first Korean word.

I learned my first Korean cuss word too.

I ate real Korean food, sitting on the floor of a real Korean restaurant.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Lily

Thursday I got a new student.  Like new to the academy, not just new to me.  The fun part of new students is that if they don’t have their English name chosen yet I get to name them.

Each student gets to pick their English name when they start with our academy and they can choose anything they want.  There are several named Amy, Sunny, David, and Jon.  Those are the most popular from what I can see. There is the occasional Batman, Superman, and I have a Simpson in one of my classes.  Yes, named after The Simpsons.  They are hugely popular here. I also have a Harry P but I think that may be an unintentional reference.

Korea is like College

The part of college I never really experienced.

We all went out for Korean BBQ after work last night, all 35 of us.  It was pretty fantastic. As with most other places, you kick your shoes off at the door then go find a seat on the floor.  Here are some pictures…  Everybody likes pictures.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Korean Food

I did it. All by myself.  I was walking Charlie tonight after work and there was a street vendor set up right outside.  That was the first time I’ve seen them so I took it as a sign.  On our way back from the park I stopped to see what they had.  We played a short game of miming and back and forth “spicy?” “not spicy” and the wife played with Charlie. Then I walked away with food. 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Fresh. Tasty. Safe.

That was on the package of my lunch today.  The only three English words.  I think it’s time to go find that grocery store.

Today was great!  I am stupid-happy here.  It’s only been 5 days but I am absolutely in love with South Korea.  Of course it helps that I am doing my dream job, living the dream of a downtown high-rise, and adoring the people here. 

Teaching today was really fun. I am so thankful that I didn’t request elementary.  My youngest class is 2nd grade and it is two girls.  They are absolutely adorable but the speech is so limited that it was really hard for me. We read A LOT and they taught me how to count to 5 in Korean. I consider that a successful class.

Park It

“park it” (pahrk it) verb. - a request, usually from a parent or teacher, to put your rearend back in that chair right now! also know as - the English term I inadvertently taught my 7th graders today. 

Whoops. 

It’s incredibly easy to forget that all the expressions and slang that I have heard all my life are brand new to these kids.  I could walk into any rowdy American classroom, say “park it”, and every student would know the expectation immediately.  In Korea, instead of finding their seat the two students (and the other 8 in the class) all turned and stared in amazement.  They spend so much time learning vocabulary and pronunciation that they are so eager to learn the fun stuff- the slang and western expressions.  And this one was cool.  Apparently.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Training is for Rookies

Yesterday was my first day.  Around 12:30, Patricia, the girl that I am replacing came over to bring me some texts books that I could look through. She helped me with a few questions I had about my apartment and then told me she was leaving in about 12 hours.  I’m sorry, what?

Yep, first night and I was the teacher.  Awesome.

I went in today at 3 today, instead of 4, to get acquainted with the school.  I met Mrs Yu who is the director/head chief/something of the school.  She spoke very little English but was absolutely lovely.  One of the first things she said to me was ‘You were the one who worked at Disney World, yes?”  Disney.  It gets you the job every time.  She hugged me at least 4 times and told people, in Korean of course, that I seemed very nice and she was pleased.  Yay! There was also a staff meeting for all the Korean teachers so they wanted to introduce me to everyone.  I have no idea what was said but everyone was smiling and nodding so I think it was good.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Wiener Dog and the Case of the Missing Cupcakes

I should know better by now. Really I should. After 7 years together we are pretty well versed in each other’s weaknesses.

So after walking Charlie this morning I made a quick run to the store for things to make breakfast and we tried our first “trust (leave him out of the kennel) exercise”.  I came back to an almost empty box of cupcakes on the floor.  From the looks of it tiramisu was his favorite.  Funny, that was probably going to be my favorite too.

At the store this morning I was able to practice my new word, “hello” in Korean.  That went over well.  The clerk smiled and said I did “good!” I’m finding my way slowly. They definitely appreciate you more here when they can tell you are making an attempt at learning their way of life.

Oh, and the chocolate chip cookie the man gave me at the cupcake shop? It may have been the best chocolate chip cookie I have ever had. wow.

Day 2

Ok, I have to admit, I’m a bit stressed out that I’ve been here 36 hours and the only person I’ve seen since arrival is my director yesterday. And that was only for 30 minutes. My first day at work is tomorrow so that will definitely help but I guess this is the truest test of whether or not I can make it here on my own. This is definitely not for everyone.  If I hadn’t brought Charles I would have lost my mind by now. The blogging is definitely going to slow down once I get my internet set up and start work but right now I haven’t got much else to do.

Fearless

I guess it was the six months of planning that went into this whole Korea thing but I’ve never been nervous. I’ve had my moments of apprehension but literally they were moments never lasting more than a few minutes. I realize there are many of you out there whose initial reaction was less than trusting about this idea. I had my doubts too. Not about the stability of Korea, but about the stability of Amy. I mean really, I’m the girl that can’t be on-time to save her life, I lose my cell phone at least four times everyday, and my socks never match. Moving to South Korea, really?  and taking Charles?!?!  hahahaha

However, I’m also the girl that’s always been fearless.  Always.

The Trip Over, Part 2

The Asiana flight, all 13 hours of it, was pretty fantastic.  United needs to take some notes.  I was constantly fed, given slippers within the first 5 minutes in the air, and had an impressive selection of movies/music to entertain me.  Needless to say, I was pleased.

I was seated next to this woman likely to be in the  65-80 range, more towards the latter if I was guessing, and this woman is all Korean.  No westernization here. She obviously doesn’t know a word of English which is fine because I don’t know a word of Korean. Her clothes were 14 different kinds of mismatched and by the time I found my seat she already had her bright pink tennis shoes kicked off revealing her knee highs firmly planted at the ankles.  Language barrier or not, I knew right away that we were going to have a lovely flight together.

The Trip Over, Part 1

Several people have asked me to write about 30 hour trip over here.  About half way through, I knew I had too.  It was just too funny not share. This is probably going to be pretty long so I am breaking it up for ease of reading.  Nobody wants a novel/blog. 

Flash back to two weeks ago when I received my itinerary.  3 flights.  ugh.  St Louis to Denver, Denver to L.A., L.A. to Seoul.  Leave St Louis at 6am October 14, arrive in Seoul 6pm on October 15 and then a 3 hour bus trip to Daejeon.  Not awesome.  I am flying to the other side of the globe and someone else is buying my ticket so of course I say “It’s perfect!” Now that I knew the airlines I was finally able to start researching how in the world I was going to get my animal here with me.  Long story short, airline websites are great!  Tons of information about traveling with your pet.  Just for clarification you should call the airline because they are going to tell you that everything you just read online was WRONG.  They will give you much more really helpful information.  Fun part is, when you arrive at the airport at 4am they will tell you that both sources were shockingly, very wrong.  Thankfully I had done so much research on  my own and I have a wonderful vet that helped with Charlie’s paperwork so I had everything perfectly in order.  Originally L.A.X. was supposed to be a food/potty/sedative break. The airlines had a different plan at check-in. Poor kid.  He just went from plane to plane with my luggage.  I left him 4am (Oct 14) in St Louis and didn’t see him again until 7:15 pm (October 15) in Seoul.  In real time, that’s about 25 hours in a kennel with only one 8-hour sedative.  He made it though, safe and sound. :)

Friday, October 15, 2010

My Pursuit of Happyness

I realize there are millions of people all over the world going through terrible struggles and heartache everyday and that most everyone, hopefully, is working towards finding their happy place. I would never want to compare my self-induced drama to other’s true and real devastations that are out of their control or their ability to fix. I can fix mine, it just takes a little bit of out of the box thinking.  It is very uncharacteristic of me to get personal on such a public format, well really on any format, but it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone reading this that the last 12 months in the world of Amy have been very difficult. Somewhere in between belting out Kelly Clarkson’s angry girl lyrics repeatedly and watching the public education system go up in smoke, I realized if anything were to change I was going to have to make it happen. It was time to make a decision.  Either 1. Give up the dream of what you were born to do (at least temporarily) and make a new plan or 2. Find a more creative way to do it. Enter Stage Right - South Korea.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The 3 C’s

Chinese food, a crappy hotel room, and cable.  I’m simply in heaven.

I’d be remiss to not acknowledge that my 7 year tenure in Orlando is ending almost exactly how it began-eating Chinese food somewhere in Georgia with everything I own packed up in my car and fiercely holding my breath until it’s time to make the next big step.  Last time it was only weeks after graduation and I was so anxious and excited to begin my career that I had been planning for so long…  This time it’s anxiety and excitement in unbelievable proportions as I prepare to adjust to life on the opposite side of the planet for a year. 

Sunday, September 12, 2010

South Korea

South Korea, huh? I know, you’re baffled. That’s ok. I figured you would be.


I’ve spent the last few months talking with people that are currently teaching  or have taught in South Korea and decided this was something I had to do. I desperately want to be in a classroom again and the reality of it is that I just can’t do it here right now. The last few months I have spent selling everything that I own, getting transcripts, passport, and apostilling things (I didn’t know what that was either.) The hardest part, however, was the application video. Really that was the only hard part. I have to give my friend Matt the sincerest of thanks for helping with that. I don’t think it occurred to him when he offered his assistance that he was going to lose an entire day of his life helping me with this video. (7 hours to make 2 minutes worth of usable material - it was really awful!)



Friday, September 10, 2010

Lessons Learned 2009

This is the same posting from January 2009 on Facebook. I’ll have a new one for 2010…. don’t you worry.  This has nothing to do with Korea, except possibly a window into  why I am going.


*************************************************************
Inarguably 2009 was a pretty awful year all around the globe. Here is what it has taught me. Some from my own personal experience, some from my beautiful and spectacular girlfriends, some from movies, and some from simply observing life. Many of these were inspired by multiple people or events. It’s in no specific order, but fortunately and unfortunately, there’s a lot. It was a very educational year…