Thursday, December 27, 2012

Teaching in Korea

There are so many things I have to say on this matter (and I haven’t blogged in a really long time) so I’m going to try to keep this as focused as possible.  My apologies in advance for the many tangents that I am going to have on this one.

First and foremost, teaching in Korea is in no way comparable to teaching in America for a million reasons. First, the majority of us are teaching at hagwons (after school academies – think Sylvan Learning Centers for the upper middle class). These in no way compare to the intensity of public school teaching in America. They aren’t supposed to.  Also, we are hired more as cultural representatives/well-behaved local celebrities than English grammar teachers.  I don’t know anyone that teaches grammar actually.  Most of us teach speaking and/or writing.  Why do we teach these subjects?  Because it encourages (read:forces) our students to talk to us and practice/learn proper pronunciation and conversational English. We are hired to be entertainers, encouragers and paradigm shifters with a bit of experience in crowd control. We are hired to be the face of the cultures that they only read about in books and see on TV. We are the all singing, all dancing teachers of Korea.  But we are teachers and have the opportunity to be amazing ones within this construct.  If you embrace that, you will love your job.  If you don’t, best of luck to you. It’s gonna be a rough year.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Letters From Students

Three students left our hagwon today.  Three of my favorite students.  I’m super sad about it. Being that this is Korea and we have school 5 days a week, 52 weeks a year, I don’t really ever deal with elaborate goodbyes or end of year sadnesses.  Most students just sneak out the door on their last day and don’t come back. Today was different. It was sad.  I did get a couple really sweet goodbye letters and a really sappy goodbye from an eleven year old boy though.  But for being Halloween, it’s been a really emotional day.

Both these girls are finishing up 8th grade. They are best friends and would come hang out with me often in between classes. Letter one is from a student name Kate.  She is smart but she was impossible to get to speak in class. All she does is giggle. She also works daily as the English/Korean translator for the author of the second letter.  (Click the pictures to make them larger.)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A 20-Kilometer Day–Part 2

After Becki and I finished our mountain 5k and picked up our awards, we grabbed a taxi over to the Shintanjin side of Gyejoksan.  Here we met Lee Ann and Lydia for the 7k Barefoot walk.  I did this last year as well but this year went much smoother. When you arrive, you check your shoes at the bottom of the mountain and begin your hike. It’s about 2.5km up to the ridge for the 7km.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A 20-Kilometer Day–Part 1

In all honesty, I’m a little surprised that an ambulance wasn’t called yesterday. I definitely over-scheduled myself.  Me being me however, I just assumed I could do it without really working out the specifics.  And I did it.  And then slept for about 16 hours.

20121014_075338First on the docket was a mountain 5k at 8am. We really didn’t know when we signed up for it whether that 5k was actually on the mountain or on the street next to the mountain.  I was happy to find out the race was on the mountain because I’m really familiar with this particular one and like it an awful lot. And, now I can say that I’ve done a race on a mountain. Who else can say that? However, I was forgetting one very major  obstacle.  To do a race along the ridge, you must first climb the mountain. A mere 300 meters.  For you none-hiking folks, that’s like climbing 1,685 stairs, or the equivalent of about 112 staircases, and then arriving at the top 15 minutes before you begin your run.  Awesomeness.

The picture is blurry, sorry.  My number was my birthday backwards. That could only be a positive sign, right?

Sunday, September 30, 2012

School Lunches in Korea

This blog posting has been brought to you by:

Blogcrastination - noun.

The act or habit of, putting off or delaying blog posts.

Ex. She dearly loved to blog, yet her blogcrastination led to very sparse posting indeed.

definition “borrowed” from 


Onward to the subject of this blog.  Think school meals in America are rough?  Try Korea.  Yes, if you are Korean, or a foreigner living in Korea, this food seems quite normal and causes zero (or mostly zero in the case of foreigners) apprehension.  However, I thought this would be great for all you teachers and parents that read this.  Threaten your kids with this menu and see what happens!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

E.T. & Teddy Bears

I lasted almost two full years but it appears that I’ve now almost completely fallen off the blog bandwagon.  My apologies.   I’ve been super busy studying for the GRE, running 10k’s, and planning and plotting.  I have photographic proof for those that don’t believe me about the running thing. If I wasn’t the one doing it, I wouldn’t believe me either.

Last weekend was rough.  I signed up for a 7k leisure walk with the Daejeon Walking Federation Saturday night.  It was a nice walk by the river with a few friends and a few hundred Koreans.  I did this with the goal of “loosening my muscles” for the 10k race the next day.  It was a great time until I had to wake up at 5am, still having shooting pains in my feet from the night before.  This was not my best idea but I survived. As I always do. I need to buy new shoes.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Ojeong Market


I’ve recently decided that it was time to try out this whole adult grocery shopping concept.  Personally, I’m the girl that will drop $200 on an impromptu visit to the grocery store but then forget I did it and not open my refrigerator for the next month.  Once I finally do, everything has gone bad.  That’s gross and an awful lot of wasted cash. 

Lately, many people have been talking about a market in Daejeon that is about 1/4 the price of super market goods.  And a fun time to boot!  The last few weekends a small group of us have been going on Saturday morning to collect our produce for the upcoming week. Now, to be fair, this is one of many open markets in the city. After a few accidental run-ins with identifiable, though dead, pigs, cows, fish, chickens, and more, I decided that the Asian market concept really wasn’t for me.  My heart can’t handle the little empty eyes staring back at me.  Many times the animals (fish and otherwise) are still alive when you are choosing what you want for dinner that night. I’m not built for that.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Things That Make Me Smile

Pop Culture Edition.

First, I love this commercial.  Love.  Korean advertising normally confuses me ever so slightly (probably because I can’t understand what they are saying) but this one is very straight forward.  And even though it’s for a diet company, who hasn’t felt like this?

I call him “fat baby” and I think he’s absolutely adorable! 


The second one is a new pop song that is making it’s rounds around the world. It’s called “Gangnum Style”, referencing an upscale suburb of Seoul, and sung by a gentleman named Psy.  CNN and other major news outlets have been covering it because of it’s widespread popularity. 

You can’t not love the “horse riding dance.”  Or maybe you can. I don’t know.  But, my students sing this all the time even though I think the lyrics might be a little PG-13.  Note: This is what ‘sexy’ means in Korea.  Everyone is fully clothed and no dirty dancing!  It’s such a nice change of pace.

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Choices We Make

With every choice we make in life comes a certain number of sacrifices.  Sometimes we are giving up very little and the decision is very easy. But, sometimes we are giving up a lot and it makes those decisions so much more difficult. Sometimes, to get your own life in order, you have to be willing to give up (or postpone) other things that may be of nearly equal importance.  Ideally, a good decision is about making the best possible choices with the information provided to you at that moment. Now, I’ve made an awful lot of bad choices in my twenties (you’re lying if you say you haven’t) but as they say… Sometimes the bad decisions make the best memories.  And I agree. I have the best memories.

Editor’s Note: This blog is not intended to be a rant, more just observations about living in another country.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A Rainy Morning

I wake up a few minutes after 8 to the less than soothing sounds of my asthmatic poodle. I hate 8 am. I always have. In my sleepy stupor I decide that this is the day I’m going to go pick up my new alien registration card.  After all, it has been ready for two weeks.  I spend a few minutes checking email and then I start to get ready.  I still hate 8 am.

When I head to the bathroom to brush my teeth the poodle joins me.  He’s been here long enough that he’s learned my routines and the last few weeks he’s been resorting to emotional blackmail every time I get ready to leave.  He begs to be picked up, buries his head in my neck and breaths heavily.  He’s like a congested, grief stricken toddler.  He has not yet learned that I am immune to puppy blackmail.  I carry him around as I finish getting ready and slide into my flip flops. Then I leave him at the door.  He’ll be fine.

In the elevator, I am greeted by a Korean man. He asks if I am going to work.  I say, no, just running a few quick errands.  He understands and asks why I don’t have an umbrella, after all, it is raining outside.  Darn it.  In an effort to conserve energy I have been keeping my curtains closed.  I fail daily in remembering that we have entered Korea’s rainy season.  “Is it raining hard,” I ask.  “No, just a sprinkle,. But you know rain, it can pick up at any time.  Are you going to the grocery store?”  He is unaware of the absurdity of asking me that question…  “No, I’m going to the Immigration Office.” Our conversation continues until we hit the first floor and we decide I should take a taxi because of the rain.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Paragliding in Yangpyeong, June 23rd

My friend Lily recently moved back to America and for her goodbye extravaganza she wanted to try paragliding.  I jumped on this idea immediately. I went hang-gliding when I lived in Orlando so I was eager to add this to my list as well. We used a company called ParaLove Paragliding School and you can access their website here. (It’s all in Korean.)  You can also email Jay-J, the owner, as he speaks excellent English and will help you set up an experience.

On June 23rd, Lily, Becki and I spent a Saturday morning traveling up to Asin station which was nearly two hours west of Seoul. Once we got to Asin station, Jay-J sent one of his employees to come pick us up.  In a mustang.


Monday, July 2, 2012

My Favorite Essays

Their essay topic was to describe one of their close friends.

My friend Amy is particularly funny. She can speak “아니요”, “안녕하세요”, and other Korean words. She also sings Korean songs.  She has two beautiful blue eyes. She has wonderful gold hair. My friend Amy is particularly funny because she can speak Korea, has blue eyes, and has gold hair. She also sings Korean songs.


My friend Amy is particularly funny. First, she can speak Korean like “아니요” and “안녕하세요”. Moreover, she reads Korean but can’t speak it very well.  Second, she has golden hair and is tall.  She is tall and has a small face.  Third, she can sing a Korean song well. She often sings Bad Girl good Girl with male students.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Herb Hillz, Daegu - Take 2

A few weeks ago we went back to Herb Hillz in Daegu.  For those that remember, this is the same place that I celebrated my birthday last year.  I have been dying to go back since last year and we finally made it a few weeks ago.

The park has grown substantially from last year. We didn’t have time to play after our obstacle courses were over since we had train tickets waiting for us but they’ve definitely added a lot. Now there is a petting zoo, animal shows (this place is obviously right up my alley), and a few traditional theme park attractions and shows.  I do hope to go back again soon to see the other experiences this place offers.  But now…on to the obstacle courses!!!


Friday, June 22, 2012

To Do List–Take 3

I am slightly over my halfway mark in my three year Korea plan so I figured it was time to sit down and reassess what I have done and, more importantly, what I have not done.  Let’s start with the check marks that are already officially in place.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Daecheon Dam 10K & Team AH-mazing

I completed my first 10K a few weeks ago. Like, my first 10K ever. I believe the last race that I partook in was a one mile race around Capaha Park when I was…hmmm, 7 years old?  And I’m fairly certain that I came in last for that one.  I’m still not completely certain why I decided to do this one but I did do it.  And that’s pretty awesome, I think. 


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Cheongju, Subway, & Buddha’s Birthday

I’ve seriously been slacking on the blog thing.  I’m working on catching up. I promise.

May 28 was Buddha’s Birthday. Bet you didn’t know that, did you?  In the Eastern Hemisphere that qualifies as a national holiday so I get the day off to explore a little more of this fascinating little country. Last Fall, my friend Lily moved about 40 minutes away from Daejeon to Cheongju so we went to visit her and see her new home.  I didn’t have my camera that day so all the following pictures are stolen from my friends’ facebook pages.  Thank you in advance.

Cheongju is a substantially smaller than Daejeon but still boasted a nice little downtown area.  The city was really clean and a lot greener than Daejeon.  More trees, more flowers, more grass. It also contains three (yes 3!) Subway restaurants.  Daejeon has zero.  Yes, that was my first stop after we got off the bus in Cheongju.  Pizza sub!

Being that it was Buddha’s birthday, we decided it was a appropriate to visit a temple after lunch.  I’m told the temple we visited is closed most every day of the year so we were really lucky that the gates were open that day, probably in observance of the holiday.


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Enjoy Chewing!~♥

Two words that you never want to see on your bottled beverage. 

Tonight I tried a new drink with my dinner.  Lychee juice.  I’m not a fan of lychee’s necessarily but I find that their flavor is pretty mild so I wasn’t too concerned.  And, I was sucked in by the pretty label and the pleasant pink color. DSCN3113

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Patbingsu (팥빙수)

Korea takes “seasonal foods” to a whole new level. There is a long list of “Korean traditional foods” that quite literally are only available a couple months each year. Frustrating as that can be for foreigners, this particular food still makes it in my top 5 favorite things in Korea list. I also think it is responsible for my recent weight gain but that’s another story altogether.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Street Cred at the Kimbap Shop

In most countries foreigners tend to get a bad rap and Korea is no exception.  There are dozens of stereotypes (both good and bad) related to us foreigners and I’m proud to say that I think I broke a few last courtesy of Wikipedia

A friend and I had a late dinner at a kimbap shop near my apartment.  (Kimbap shop equals inexpensive restaurant that serves most Korean foods.  Kind of like Korean fast food, but healthier in comparison to our view of fast food.)  Being the delightful person that I am I make friends almost everywhere I go, especially in Korea. At this particular kimbap shop though I have have not really made any friends. They are always polite but I really don’t think they care if they have my patronage or not.  They just take my order (several times a week) and hand over my food, generally without a smile. Making assumptions here, but I think it’s a thing with foreigners there.  This particular place gets a lot of expat business because it is 24 hours so they may just be generally unimpressed with us as a whole.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

My Favorite Purchase

Possibly ever.

Let me begin this blog by saying that I am NOT one of those people that carry their dogs around in little purses/bags. No disrespect intended to people that do but I always felt that I was not one of those people.  When I leave the house the boys stay home.  I don’t take them recreationally to shopping malls, restaurants, and other places they really aren’t allowed.  However, a few weeks ago when I traveled to Jindo, with both dogs medically unkennelable, I had limited options.  I left Charlie with the dog sitter (he’s a bit big for a 5 hour bus ride) and went shopping for a travel bag for Messi.


Korea’s fashion sense (even in dog supplies) is unique.  It’s very 80s retro with a very ‘more is more’ mentality. The more colors, bows, ribbons, sequins, layers the better.  Simplicity isn’t really big here. And what I found was nothing short of amazing.DSCN3012

A bright orange purse screen printed on a gold bag.  It’s gorgeous.

Can read the words on the bag?  Let me zoom for you….


That’s right… It says “Amy Loves”. 

Absolutely spectacularly Korean. I love it.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Korean Horror Flicks

Pre-Korea, I had taken about an eight year break from scary movies.  While I have always loved a good scary movie, The Ring was so frightening that I took an indefinite leave of absence from the horror world.  Being that Korea is so well-known for having bizarrely twisted and gory thrillers, I have made a conscience effort to start tiptoeing back into them. 

Last night, a friend and I saw my second horror movie here, 미확인 동영상, or Don’t Click. Since I am in Korea, obviously the movie was in Korean with no English subtitles. It’s not difficult to grasp the plot though. There is an internet video that is being passed around and once you watch the video you die. (Sounds a little The Ring-ish to me…)  Anyway, for each person that watches it the video is a recording of their now imminent death, like a premonition but not really.  Does that make sense?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Inappropriate Conversations

The last few weeks there have been a ridiculous amount of 4-letter words and f*bombs in my classroom.  I have a sneaking suspicion as to why this is but I don’t want to risk getting any of my co-teachers in trouble so I will keep my opinion to myself.  Regardless of the reason, it’s difficult to be classy (and composed) when a ten-year old Korean child who can barely hold a conversation in English shouts out, “what the hell?” when he is asked to redo an assignment.  It’s funny.  And bad.  But mostly funny.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Time Management and Other Failures

Time management has never been a trait that I possess.  I could break this down to a fundamental lack of organization in my life (just look at my desk) and a slight case of A.D.D.  Basically, I have the complete inability to create an organized system, and even once I do then I can’t focus on any one thing long enough to actually complete it.

Anyone who has observed me trying to clean house can attest to this.  I wash three dishes, then hang my laundry, then straighten the book shelf. Next, I’ll wash a few more dishes, start an email, load the washer and mop the floor. Finally, finish the dishes, make my bed, finish the email, clean the countertops. etc, etc.  It’s not that I get distracted by the TV or telephone or anything else, I simply can’t stay concentrated long enough to finish anything in one sitting. Or standing as dishes may be concerned.  This is my self-diagnosed A.D.D.  It’s simply how my brain has always been wired and believe me, it frustrates me far more than it frustrates those around me. Hence, why I make lists. Things get done with a list.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Jindo Island, May 19-20

This past weekend, LA and I took a short trip to visit our friend, Jessica, who has relocated from Daejeon to Jindo Island.  I am going to write two entries about this because 1. The trip was amazing for me and 2. This little rural island in southwest Korea was a far different experience than anything I have seen here before.  This will be the fun vacation-y blog.

Because both my wonderful animals are currently being medicated for their respective ailments, neither of them were deemed kennelable (totally a word) by our vet.  I wasn’t willing to postpone the trip because I had already rescheduled twice on her for Charlie’s issues, so I had to make a decision.  Charlie stayed home with the dog sitter (and enjoyed lots of BK french fries) and Messi came with me.  I thought having the mommy/son bonding time would be good for us since we haven’t had that yet. He’s also about 1/3 the weight of Charlie so he travels much easier..

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Charlie the Immortal

It's no secret that I like to play this little "Charlie is immortal" game.  I know that he isn't but right now I need him to be.  So, yes, Charles the Amazing Wiener Mutt is Immortal.  I realize it's completely ridiculous and denial and blahblahblah....let me have this one, okay?


Recently someone has started interfering with my little immortality game. The past month we have spent a particularly large amount of time at the vet, much medication has been administered and he's spent an unfortunate amount of time rockin' the "cone of shame."  He's been a good sport about all of it, as he always is, but as of this morning, I'm over this.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


This story is a bit old but I never got around to writing about it.  This is one of my prouder moments in life.

I have this student.  We’ll call him Terry.  He can be an amazing student at times and at others he can be an absolutely hot-headed little terror.  Teaching him is always like walking on eggshells because he goes from amazing to terror in about 3 seconds flat.

One day, Terry had extra time before going home so he came to my classroom to talk with me, as many students do.  We were talking about what we were going to do on our upcoming weekend (him- study, me- animal shelter) when he just looked at me with absolute amazement and said, “Teacher, you respect Korea.”  Hmmmm. Knowing that what I understand that sentence to mean and that what he meant it to be are probably two very different things, I asked him to explain.

Charlie and Messi

Now that Charlie and I have had Messi in our home for a little over two months, everyone is settled in and I figured it was time for an update. 

I love these dogs. Love.


Ten seconds earlier…


816 Meters

In the mountains, the shortest way is from peak to peak: but for that you must have long legs.”  Friedrich Nietzsche


816 meters = 0.507038893 miles

It seems so little when put into terms like that.  However, the irony of hiking up a mountain is the guaranteed bonus that you will have to climb down an awful lot in order to hike up to the top.  Clearly Mother Nature is not very linear.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Strawberry Festival Part Deux

and a Cloud Bridge.

About two days before the actual event, I decided to go the Strawberry Festival again this year.  Last year’s festival left quite a bit to be desired but a friend that I met over a year ago, wanted to come down for it and I definitely wanted to see her again.  This time we went with an organized group and we visited an Organic Strawberry Farm.  This made the festival, by far. 


For 10,000 won (about $9) we’re were able to graze here as long as we liked.  We weren’t able to take any strawberries out of the greenhouse but we could walk through and eat as many deliciously wonderful strawberries as we wanted to.  Because it was an organic farm there are not pesticides or anything unnecessary used in the process so we could eat them right off the plants.  As my dad would say, they were “DE-lightful.” 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Catching up….

I’ve been a terrible blogger so here is my attempt to catch everything up… I plan to write blogs for most of these in the very near future.

New Furniture

I got new furniture for my apartment right after I got home from my trip to America.  By *got new furniture* I mean that it was the product of a dumpster dive.  That’s how things are done around here.  I upgraded to a black leather (pleather) couch and chair. The pleather peels a bit but it’s pretty, I think.  Definite upgrade.


Steak Day – Korea Steak Day Part Deux, February 14, 2012

Steak Night

Monday, April 9, 2012

Corn Ice Cream

Is amazing. Period.

Once upon a time ago, I read a list of 100 things you have to do while in Korea.  Many of the ideas were mountains to hike, museums to visit, foods to try, places to go, and silly things like eating birthday cake with chopsticks.  Yes, I’ve done that one, too.  One quirky little idea that caught my eye was corn ice cream.  Interesting, I thought.  And I’ve since spent the last year searching for this, pestering my students about how to find this, and having absolutely no luck whatsoever. Until yesterday.

A friend and I had had a deliciously yummy lunch that left my mouth on fire. In support of my sanity we decided to stop for ice cream. We visited a tiny convenience store by my house and when we opened the ice cream freezer it was stocked with (***wait for it***) CORN ice cream. 


Schedule Changes

Every three months Korean middle school students have testing periods similar to the FCAT, MMATs, and every other state mandated test in America.  The paralysis that plagues most all Florida students grade 3 through High School once a year afflict Korean students four (4!!!) times a year. 

During this time they take intensive classes with the Korean teachers at my hagwon (private academy) and I get a month long reprieve from my middle schoolers.  Which is sad actually because I love my middle school.  It’s the elementary students that make me nervous.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Things That Make My Day

Volume 1:    Email from a past student who has moved to America.

Hello, Amy teacher!!

I'm Lucia ;) Do you remember me? I was your student in writing class. Right?
Here's news! I arrived here and I go to school here! My level test was good! I think because of you!! You were my best English teacher ;)
I miss you so much!

Bye and please keep in touch:)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A Kid in a Cone


I love my dog.  That’s an understatement actually.  Over the years  Charles has become my life, my love, my reason for everything I do.  I realize that sounds over-dramatic to those of you that don’t really know me or my animal, but if you do know us then you know it’s not dramatic at all.  In the world of dogs, Charles is one of a kind.

And now he’s in a cone.

Friday, March 23, 2012

It’s Going To Be A Good Day

They put a paper towel dispenser in the bathroom at work.  Like, real paper towels.

One of the less talked about (at least less blogged about) facets of Korea is the anxiety involved in using a public restroom. Will there be soap? Will there be a proper toilet or the dreaded “squatter.”  Will there be toilet paper or do I need to take my own?  If there is toilet paper, will it be inside each stall or one universal roll outside the stalls.  (Important to note, this isn’t a big deal unless you notice it after you’ve dropped trou. And then, Houston, you have a problem.)  Don’t worry, this blog isn’t about that. Just tuck that away as an important mental note that if you ever happen to find yourself in a public restroom in South Korea and you see real paper towels, you’re in a good place.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

House Grill

This place is amazing so I feel like they deserve some free advertising…

Craving a little of home and having heard rave reviews about this place, LA and I headed over to House Grill this past weekend.  We were immediately giddy just from checking out the menu.  8-10 different kinds of hamburgers (I had the mozzarella burger, she had the swiss), grilled cheese sandwiches, reubens, hot dogs with sauerkraut, chili, and chicken noodle soup.  In a land of kimchi and rice that all sounds so delicious.   (Yes, I know I can make these things at home. blahblahblah.)


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Living With Disabilities

Disclaimer: I am by means an expert on this subject and I most certainly don’t claim to be.  But…. I do think I have a significantly large empathy gene.

Today I taught a few classes where we wrote essays on people with disabilities.  Because Korea is not necessarily known for being particularly empathetic towards this part of the population, I appreciate any opportunity to teach on this subject matter.  They had just studied about a gentlemen named Rick Hoyt, who had cerebral palsy and his lifelong journey to overcome his disability.  While I could have taken the route of overcoming obstacles in your own life, I instead chose to take the route of “what if this was you”, “how would your life be different”, and “how can we help people in similar situations.”

Friday, March 2, 2012

Rock Wall Climbing

Before I say anything I have to admit that sometimes, just sometimes, I surprise even myself.  This was definitely one of those times.


Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Semi-Typical Day In Korea

Rephrase: A semi-typical productive day in Korea. Most of my days are highly unproductive.

This morning started out as an epic failure. I’m not a morning person. I’ve never been a morning. And I most certainly don’t pretend to be a morning person. And apparently my friend, LA, isn’t a morning person either.

Monday, February 27, 2012

I’ve officially crossed the line…

I’m admitting it.  I have no shame in what I’ve done. (Well, maybe a little shame.) We’ve all done things that we take great pleasure in but we aren’t completely proud of ourselves for doing. This is mine… I can say honestly that this is the first one of those moments that I’ve experienced since I moved to Korea sixteen months ago.  I’ve long denied that I am this type of person but now I’ve done something (rather, purchased something) that puts me in a situation where I can no longer hide in denial. 

In effort to be honest about what I’ve done below is photographic proof.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Introducing Messi!


I adopted a dog.  I don’t think that comes as a big surprise to most the people that read my blog about volunteering at the dog shelter. He’s a three (ish) year old poodle and his name is Messi. He’s absolutely lovely.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Little Tokens of Wisdom

My hagwon (Korean word for academy) recently started assigning weekly readings that all students have to read and write a short essay about their impression of the story.  I have been given the phenomenal task of grading these little jewels.  The first assignment they were given was a reading entitled “King Alfred and the Beggar.”  Here are just a few of my favorite quotes…

“But, I do not understand the prince. Why did he lose his money and honor? When I had this problem I just selected honor. The 21st century is all about competition.”

“He may seem like a hobo but he acted like a real prince.”

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Daejeon Paws

426830_10150525992435777_544505776_9373897_1766495587_nThis past weekend I did something that I’ve been meaning to do  my whole year and a half here.  I volunteered at the local dog shelter, Daejeon Paws.

Quick information about the shelter… Ms Jung (who is absolutely lovely!!!) is a pensioner who was forced to relocate herself and her dogs with very limited resources a few years ago.  They have relocated to a small house in Galma-dong, which is about 10 minutes from where I live. She actually lives at this house (which is only slightly larger than my apartment) with all of her animals.  Most of the dogs have been with her for multiple years.  You can learn much more about her and the shelter (and view dogs waiting for adoption!) at their website -

Never Say Never…

I never thought I’d live in a place where the sight of snow flurries dancing in the air (in negative temperatures) would make me smile.

I never thought I’d live in a place where a 2am stroll with Charles (in the aforementioned snow flurries) would include a stop by the local barbeque restaurant to pick up a late night galbi (beef) dinner for the wiener dog.

I never thought I’d live in a place where my most perfect wiener dog would get that same delicious freshly cooked galbi dinner 7 nights a week.

…a place where a 2am walk through a sleeping neon-lit downtown with snow flurries all around could be some calming and peaceful.

…a place where I have made fantastic friends from a handful of continents.  Some of those friends include the owners of the local convenience store, galbi restaurant, and flower shop.

…a place where I enjoy my job, respect my co-workers, adore my friends, and laugh more than I ever have before.  (And if you know me, that says a lot.)

…a place that while I know it isn’t a forever home, I can’t stomach the thought of leaving it just quite yet.

Never say never.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Screen English

Every three months as the middle school students are forced to study ridiculous amounts (I’ll write another blog on that soon), I have the fantastic opportunity to teach different and unique classes with my elementary students.  Many of these classes I have disliked, however this month I have had the fantastic opportunity to teach Screen English.  And I use the term “teach” incredibly loosely. 

Basically for seventy minutes, twice a week, for four weeks, I have around twelve students (4th-6th grade) and we watch a different American movie each week. We usually watch around 50 minutes of the video a day so one easily stretches out for both class periods. Their comprehension levels vary greatly so I tried to get movies that would appeal to all levels.

The first week I tried to be creative and get one of those terribly annoying children’s movies that they would love. Judy Moody and the Not So Bummer Summer

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Cupcake Class!!!

Most everyone that know me knows that I have a love affair with cupcakes.  This weekend (in Korea!!!) my friends and I took a cupcake class where we learned how to decorate cupcakes. It was awesome kinds of fun! 

We took the class in Eunhang-dong (은행동), where it is part of the Sung Sim Dang bakery and The Flying Pan restaurant. For those in Daejeon wanting to do this, it was held at The Oven Story which is on the third floor of The Flying Pan.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Never a dull moment…

I regularly seem to forget the most important advice I give to all newbies in Korea.  The moment you get homesick, anxious, depressed or just plain bored… go outside.  Funny things happen when you go outside.

Tonight Lee Ann and I met for dinner after work at our favorite bbq place, LA Galbi.  My best Korean friend, Chang Lee, greeted us at the door (as he always does) and led us to our seats.  After taking our order he asks if we would like Cola (Coke/Pepsi) or Cider (Sprite). (He always gives me free drinks. He’s a good friend.)  We tell him we would like 2 colas and he seems completely shocked. 


“Yes, 2. “

“2? Not 1?”

“Yes.  Du-gae. 2. “

“Wow.”  Hahaha. and he giggled as he walked off.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Me & My Cow

One of the biggest highlights of my trip home…gatorland_101

She’s was so sweet!  I wanted to take her home. The lopsided white one could have come home with me, too. 

Lessons for 2012

Hello.  I’ve made a habit of writing down my lessons learned at the end of each year but truly this year, I don’t think I have any.  Of course there have been little things along the way, but nothing blog worthy. 2011 was a pretty enjoyable year for me.  I have absolutely no complaints.  (I figure after surviving 2009 and 2010 with as much grace as I could possibly muster, Karma owed me a good one.)

Monday, January 2, 2012

Back in Korea Update

I've been ordered to blog.  Apparently, I've been slacking.  My apologies.

In chronological order....

1.  I had the most amazing trip home.  Words cannot even begin to describe it.  I've never been so at peace in St Louis in my 30 years of life.  It was simply perfect. I had two weeks with family there and of course, that still didn't seem like enough.  I could have happily stayed a month.  Other than celebrating Christmas a few weeks early and meeting my nephew for the first time, nothing really of merit happened.  I was just able to enjoy the relaxed company of family, slept, and ate (a lot).  It was bliss.  I love my family.