Thursday, August 27, 2009

Here they are: The Kiddies :)

Well, I’ve had a CRAZY few weeks! Since my last real post: the internet was lost and then regained a week and some later, I’ve been through exams, report cards and lesson plan making for the kids, I’ve created my portion of a unit test, corrected countless homework pages, made a multitude of paper caterpillars, flowers, bumble bees and trees, and have been had one of my fave afternoon classes canceled… and replaced with 7 new kindergarteners teaching the most intro of English courses availible. Oh, and I’ve lost two kids from my IK support class. But I’ll talk more about that later :) For now, here they are~ My Intensive Kindergarten ‘homeroom’:

Korea 010

(Left to right: Sue, Alan, Michelle, Me, Harry P. and Harry L. is the kid doing the peace sign :)

For our August fieldtrip we went to the Coex Aquarium in Seoul. I’m convinced that I didn’t even look at a single fish – with five kids to keep track of and the inconvienent truth that all Asian children look alike from behind, I prayed constantly I wouldn’t lose one of them in the mass that was *seven* kindergarten schools combined into one fish museum. Yes, it seemed to be national fieldtrip day… and it didn’t help that most of the schools seemed to have the white and blue uniforms in abundance. We made it out alive, with the kids enjoying themselves and the teachers trying not to panic.

Korea 012

These are the typical looks of Harry L. and Harry P. Their characters are accurately reflected in this shot. Harry L. is the serious, contemplative thinker of the group. He is going through the lovely “why?!” phase, and uses this favourite word at least 10034 times per class. Harry P. loves attention and spends his time trying to look cute. When he’s not looking cute and being brilliant he’s usually crying because someone wants him to share 2 of his 23 blocks. These boys weren’t getting along on this day, and it’s awesome that they calmed down enough for this picture… thank goodness for the girls:

Korea 024

Sue and Michelle. Just wonderful kids. Sue wants to be a doctor when she grows up and spends class time being the mother for everyone else. Getting the boys tissues when they cry (Harry P. and Harry L. are both still growing into their manhood), and patching up Alan after his latest collision with ____insert any object that’s sharp here____. Michelle wants to be an artist. She is a true perfectionist when it comes to arts and crafts, spending a record hour and twenty minutes making one paper bumblebee. Sue made three bees in less than half the time. They welcome me each day with smiles and “KATIE TEACHER!!!!” enthusiasm :) Looooove them.

The next shot was taken between “teeeaaachhhheeer. we’re hunnnnnngrrrryy / I doooonnn’t waaaannntt toooo waiiiiiiit” whines. As much as I sympathized with the little dudes, I found their looks of total dispair to be at least slightly amusing, and proceeded to photograph them. In all their anxiety, Harry L. at least managed to pull himself together enough to form his traditional “peace” sign. Classy.

Korea 025

And then there was Alan. He rarely complains. He’s a huge cuddler and is always asking for/giving hugs. In the midst of his classmates whining, he took the opportunity to poke me and say “teacher, picture.” What a good kid. This was his chosen pose:

Korea 026

Once I got them all fed and watered, the boys calmed down and my entire class was willing to offer me happy smiles :)

Korea 032 Korea 033 







Korea 031

Korea 034 

Korea 035

Well… except for Harry P. He was trying so hard not to grin it was great :)

Then, in the midst of all the complaining children, and exhausted teachers, you have moments where the kids just win your heart:

Korea 038

and there is no place in the world you would rather be than sitting next to them and smiling so much your cheeks hurt for hours afterwards :)

Korea 046 

Next to my homeroom kids (who are called my ‘core’ class), there is another homeroom class (Anthony’s) who serves as my ‘support’ class. While I teach both my kids and Anthony’s kids Language arts five times a week, Anthony will teach his class and my class a combination of Math, Science and Social studies. Essentially, I see these kids quite a bit as well:

Korea 030

The tallest guy is obviously Anthony. He’s a great partner teacher :) The smiling boy next to him is Justin. He’s a brilliant, hyper kid. Then we have Draco. He was my star student, acing anything that was thrown at him in record time. Below Draco is Will. Will is insane. He’s fully capable of mass manipulation and he’s a true leader in every sense of the word. Luckily, Anthony and I seem to have gotten on his good side (another teacher alegedly got on his bad side and ended up quitting after a month due to stress). and in general he’s managable. Then we have Rachel sporting the stylish glasses and hair bow and Kelly. 

Korea 047

  For complicated reasons Justin and Draco ended up dropping out of GDA and heading off to another place. They will be missed!

The only good thing about their departure is that Will will now have two less hyper children to lead in his classroom domination. He also no longer has to compete for the girls attention. Recently he decided that he’s Rachel’s man though… he wrote all about this decision in his journal for me. Poor Kelly is losing her Draco. It’s a tragic world really.

Korea 049

Finally, in honor of my ‘co-blogger’ (that’s right Jen, you’re getting the half quotes – this is my challenge for you to actually make a post ;) we have her lovely class of 10 – that’s right, TEN – 5 year olds. If you count them, there appears to only be nine children in this picture. I can assure you there are 10. Asian kids are just amazingly brilliant at camouflage. Aren’t they happy looking? :) So cute though!

Korea 028   
Well, that’s all for now! I hope I’ve satisfied the requests for pictures of the kids :) I wish everybody a wonderful last week of summer, and a happy “back to school” for all!


Monday, August 17, 2009

Blog update coming :)

Don’t worry! I’ll be posting a new blog soon. The internet in my apartment has been down for awhile and shows no signs of recovery… I’m going to be talking with the admin at my school soon to see if they can call the company for me.

Being that I can only use the internet for small spurts of time while on break or stealing it from Jen, the blog entries have been put on a brief break. I’ve got one planned though! Perhaps once the internet has been restored I will finally be able to put up some pictures of the kiddies :)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Filled with hot air, doing loop-de-loops, kung-foo fighting and meeting Romeo.

Last weekend Jen and I had the pleasure of meeting up with some old ABU friends who are also living here in Korea. They were kind enough to teach us how to use the subways, bullet train and bus systems of Korea, as well as treat us to some great adventures and experiences. This blog will mainly be a picture blog… I’m horrible at remembering the place names and spellings of all these Korean places… and I figure that the pictures will be relatively self-explanatory. The following were taken in Daejeon, South Korea :)


After eating a wonderful Korean lunch, strolling through some sort of Korean market and then experiencing a nice downpour and thunderstorm, we arrived in Daejeon. As we were on our way to an amusement park we noticed this balloon. Who doesn’t love hot-air balloons? We were perhaps abnormally excited with our close proximity to such awesomeness, and proceeded to take massive amounts of photos. Eventually, we ended up continuing on towards the park when we heard yelling behind us. A nice Korean woman caught up with us and with a combination of broken English and gestures she communicated that the people working with the balloon wanted to take us foreigners up in the balloon. “We want to take pictures!” she said. Who are we to refuse a free hot-air balloon ride?!!? Very excited, we trotted back to the balloon, ready to have our photoshoot.

First up were Darrell and Shannon:IMG_0900

Next were Chelsea, Jen and I:


Below is a picture of the tour bus crowd that appeared beneath us. I wonder how many pictures we are in?! It was great fun, albeit a bit loud and hot what with the blasts of flames shooting up in the air. Just ignore the scorch marks and the rip in the balloon. It was all perfectly safe I’m sure ;)


Soon, we were on our way to the park. I believe it was called Kumdori Land or something like that. I’m not good with symbol reading yet:

Kumdori Land

While many delight in the big rides and so forth, we initially embraced the free amusements:


This is me being super short. Below we are being short AND stout. The little teapot would be proud.


Next I experienced alien fingers and extreme tallness:


And then met myself for the first time:


Jen had an alien encounter:


We considered the Ferris Wheel:

IMG_0923 But it was going super slow and the things were enclosed and strange. Instead, I tried out the Roller Coaster and the Viking Ship. Childhood was relived.

IMG_0934 Roller Coaster2 Viking I think we foreigners were the loudest people on the rides. Koreans are very reserved and apparently ride in nearly complete silence.

IMG_0924 Jen decided to stay grounded, and embraced… well, whatever this is:


And because everything in Korea is best described as “cute”, we were not at all surprised to find a love seat at the park:


Gotta love it.

Katie and Jen

Then we found this:


If you look close enough, you will note that the park was selling mace balloon things for kids… hahahhahaa.

Thank-goodness for road signs. We would have gotten quite lost were it not for this sign:

Earth Sign

“Earth. Straight ahead.”

We then continued on to dinner. And man, it was unbelievable. Soooo good. May I present “gal mae gi sal”:


We ate until stuffed, then moved on to a Noraebang. This is a sort of private Kareoke room that you can rent. Think somewhere along the lines of a soundproof room, complete with disco balls, tambourines, water to drink and a great many awesomely translated English songs.

Songs 2

It’s hard to pick the songs, but once you’ve chosen you get to stand up, dance and belt out some tunes like you’ve never belted or danced before!

Kung-Foo Fighting

Here I believe we are Kung-Foo Fighting :)

As for the rest of the weekend, we got up for church the next morning and enjoyed a great service. It was there that we met a young guy named Romeo. All of these awesome English names will never fail to amuse me.

Finally, we hit up Cost-co and Save-zone in an attempt to locate some dearly missed ‘American’ products such as cheese, coffee and hair conditioner. Then, Jen and I were off to find our way back home.


This picture was taken from the Bullet Train. We had to ride first class because all of the economy class tickets were sold out for the entire day. Korea certainly has some nice pretty scenery.

Overall, it was an AWESOME weekend. Thanks Darrell and Shannon for your hospitality and allowing me to steal some of your pictures for this blog :) We had a great time!

To all you back home, I hope you’re all doing well :) Send me some email updates if you want! I love hearing how everyone is doing!


Monday, August 3, 2009

“Greeting Card mishaps, getting lost, and being found” :)

Well, so much has happened since my last post and there have been enough adventures to cover two blogs.

AK Plaza

AK Plaza: I confess this picture was taken off the internet – it was PACKED the day we went and to have stopped for pictures would have meant being trampled.

Two weekends past, Jen and I set off on an adventure to a giant shopping centre known as AK Plaza. Upon reaching the facility, both she and I decided that neither one of us were big ‘mall’ fans, and attempted to find a more quaint area in which to stroll and observe Korean life. We ended up in a relatively large store which seemed to sell a bit of everything (reminded me of a cross between Chapters/Indigo, Michaels and Staples) with a small bit of a toy store thrown in for kicks. It was there that we discovered some awesome greeting cards, and were impressed to find an English card section. The only problem was that the Korean attempts to express themselves in English were a little off base… resulting in some rather humorous mistranslation of ideas:


“Beautiful people make beautiful love like flowers in a Garden. Thank-you for your love.”



And then there were the random language swaps, where a card would start off in English, and end in French (PS – Chrissy, this is your birthday card! I have yet to find a post-office so I can mail it! I hope you had a great one!):



“HAPPY Birthday; je te souhaite un heureux et joyeux anniversaire.”

It was also at this store that I found my travel mug:


A very blurry “loveing sky without wings.” Classic.

After stopping off at a local coffee shop we headed home for the evening.

The next day we set out on our 1.5 hour walk to find our English speaking church while in Korea. We only got lost twice! Eventually we found it and were pleasantly surprised to find that it’s a decent sized congregation – mainly English-speaking Koreans – who all seem really sweet. There was a great welcome centre type deal where us newcomers got to sit down with some other new people as well as meet the pastor and pray. There were a few other ‘foreigners’ who were extremely kind as well, and many people have offered to help us find our way around life in Korea. One of the young Korean girls offered to teach us how to use the subway system and got us an English copy of the subway maps. With her help we were able to get home much faster with only a half hour walk after getting off the subway. So far, Global English Ministry seems to be an awesome church, and we’re excited to be going back next week :) They also have some sort of orphanage ministry starting up again in the fall, and we’re super excited about that!

Later that week, I got a strange knock on my door. Very persistent, someone kept yelling “Annyeong?! Annyeong?!” (translated that means “Hello?! Hello?!”), at which point I would respond with “Hello?!”. The lady sounded confused and yet kind enough to warrant a response, so I opened the door. I’ve never seen Korean women look so shocked :) Eyes wide, they bowed and handed me this:


Having no idea what this was, I smiled and thanked them, returning their bow. Apparently they hadn’t seen too many foreigners before, and looked utterly perplexed at my presence. To fill the awkward silence, they offered another bow. As is polite custom here, I again returned their bow. Then they bowed again. Thinking that this was the final goodbye bow, I returned it once more and took a step back into my apartment… but they didn’t stop… they kept bowing. Not wanting to be rude, I kept bowing as well. Eventually, as time continued to pass, and no end was in sight, I offered “Komsumnida” (“thank-you”). They bowed again, I bowed again, I waved and backed into my apartment, closing my door behind me. Looking at the nifty pamphlet, I thought it was an advertisement for a fruit store or something… until I spotted this:


That’s right. Korean Jehovah’s Witnesses. Fascinating! I’ve never had any come to my door in Canada, and yet here in Korea they have already found me. Later there was a giant group of them meeting in the park outside my apartment. It was quite the sight.

Well, that’s it for today! We’re on vacation this week so sometime within the next couple of days I’ll have the next post up – this one will involve last weekend’s adventure in Daejeon: “Filled with hot air, doing loop-de-loops, kung-foo fighting and meeting Romeo.” There will be lots of pictures :)

Hope you’re all doing well!!!