Thursday, April 30, 2009

Good Bye Myung

Myung told me she was leaving on a Monday due to personal reasons and by the next Monday she was replaced. I was really sad to see her go but I was happy that she got a much deserved break. On her last day she asked if we could still be friends and of course I said yes but it was cute that she asked me that. Last week Myung took me to dinner we had Korean Pizza (it's like a egg pancake with a lot of vegetables and meat). My new co teacher's name is Hyelim she barely speaks English so I have taken over teaching the 3rd and 5th graders. She is very helpful when it comes to translating when the students don't understand me, the activities, and or the games. Teaching has become like a game of charades with hand movements and constantly repeating phrases to make sure the students understand. It has been a real test of my patience but the kids are so cute and funny it's hard not to be. On top of that I am teaching an adult English class, an advanced Math and Science class in English so it has been a quite busy around here. I want to apologize to all my teachers in the past for talking and acting up during class (sorry dad). Teaching is a really hard job how do you get a class size of 35 3rd and 5th graders interested in learning English when half of the class is advanced and the other half can barely say the alphabet? Overall, the kids are very well behaved but I do have a few that act up and I make them sing a song in front of the class and it's funny how their behavior quickly changes. These two weeks have been a real challenge but it has been fun getting to know the kids and teaching. Our five year plan of having kids just got pushed back one more

P.S. I am learning a little bit of Korean to get the students att. ention everytime I say something in Korean the are so shocked that they stop talking

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


So yesterday Latanya participated in her school's sports day. She played t-ball with the faculty. Not only did she do a great job, she was also named MVP. She batted .500and made several great defensive plays in center field. When she told me the news I was so excited. I am so proud of her. I can't help but say, I taught her everything she knows. For her MVP trophy they presented her with a giant size lemon flavored Gatorade. She was cheered to give a speech afterwards. She made sure to thank all her teammates for their support. I could just imagine how much fun she had.
On a sad note for the day, LT went to the dentist and was told she needed to have her wisdom teeth pulled. Boo! :-( She is bummed out about it. They take them out tomorrow after work. The doc said all four must go. It's good she is doing it now though, because we have a long weekend and she will have time to recover. It looks like I will be playing nurse for my soon to be chipmunk face.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Update Our Updating

OK, so yesterday I went onto the blog site and noticed the difference in blog posts from March compared to April. It has come to my attention that Latanya and I have become less communicative this month. So, I decided that I will make a more conscious effort to post more often. Even if it is something short and sweet. We do have 27 followers, and I know I do not want to let them down. From now on I will update every chance I get. Expect to see more short comments and experiences with the occasional long story.
Starting today, I woke up and the sun was shinning bright in the sky. There was a cold chill in the air, however it was most crisp and refreshing. After getting ready, I decided to get some breakfast at the local convenient store. It was a doughnut. I know I know, bad choice. I took my normal 25 minute walk up hill to school. Today I have no class. My 6th graders are going on a three day excursion, I think camping or something. I have the office to myself and plan to watch the Dodger game in its entirety. Yeah! Other than that, I have a five day weekend starting Friday. Lt has a four day weekend. It's Buddha's birthday. We don't really have any plans. I think we will play it by ear. That's it for now.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Field Trip With My 5th Graders

On Thursday my 5th graders and 3rd graders were going on a field trip. The 3rd graders were going to a farm and the 5th graders to the Korean National Museum. I was invited to tag along and semi chaperon the 5th graders. All together the 5th graders consisted of four classes of 33 students or so. A typical size for an elementary school. This was the first time I had ever been on the opposite side of a field trip. I was always the one being chaperoned. It was a little different experience for sure.
I was so excited for the trip. I had been looking forward to it all week. Mainly because I love going to museums, and this one just so happens to be the biggest in all of Korea. Also I got to spend some time out side of the classroom with my students and their teachers.
Here in Korea it is customary and almost demanding that whenever someone leaves campus, including the faculty, that they must report to the vice principal and the principal before leaving. So Grace and I stopped by the their respective offices and said that we were leaving. They approved and we went outside.
It was 8:40am the kids and teachers were all gathered on the playground where the school principal gave a short speech to the kids. I don't know exactly what he said, but I am sure it was something encouraging to the kids. Something like, have a great day, be on your best behavior and learn a lot, maybe. Once the little assembly was done we all headed for the chartered buses.
We went with the 5-3 class and got on their bus. The bus was nice, equipped with a huge flat screen plasma and water cooler. They also provided Gatorade for everyone. Pretty nice huh? The drive took a little over an hour because of traffic. It was not too bad. But we were all glad to arrive. We made our way to a big open area and organized all the kids. And of course did a head count. We then went inside. The Korean National Museum was pretty big. It's also new, built within the last five years. We took the kids through one exhibit and then let them go on their way. They all had a worksheet the had to complete. I think the worksheet helped them learn a little bit about the different artifacts.
I too was given free time at this point and decided to take my own route through the museum. I learned so much about Korean history that day. Korean history is very long indeed, about 4,000 years or so. I had a difficult time keeping all the different periods in a chronological order. Mainly because their were multiple kingdoms in any given period. Also Korea had been taken over several times by the Chinese, the Mongols and later the Japanese. I found it all very interesting and enjoyed looking at the different displays of each period. The calligraphy section was interesting. I learned about it as an art form and not just a way of writing. My favorite part of the museum was the history of Korean map making. Since I love maps, I enjoyed reading about the process and development of accurate mapping and scaling. I could have stayed in that section for hours but unfortunately we all had to gather for lunch shortly. I visited the last section of the museum and then headed out to meet everyone. Oh ya, throughout my museum stroll all the students I passed from my school would always say hi, every time I saw them. Also students from every other school in the museum would also say hi. The other students would typically ask me my name and where I was from. They also loved to say, what's up. It was flattering at first but then got old after a couple of hours of it. But I was 1 out of 5 non Koreans at the museum so I can see why it was unusual for me to be there. I am assuming not too many foreigners visit the museum during the week because of work and school field trips.
I met everyone outside and we gathered all the kids and took them to the park adjacent to the museum. We found a grassy area and the kids all got comfortable and laid out their little blankets and broke open their home made lunches. The kids for lunch mainly brought Kim-Bap (Rice and Kimchi wrapped in seaweed), some sort of fried dumpling with rice in the center, a piece of fruit and a drink. The kids had me try some of their food. I could not resist, it looked delicious and it tasted delicious too. After all the kids began eating the teachers and I all got together. Some of them had made a picnic lunch for us. Grace asked if I like Sushi and my eyes lite up, I most certainly said yes. I love Sushi. Lt and I were just talking the day before how we were craving Sushi but did not know were to get it around our place. They spread the food out on the picnic table and we all dove in. It was so good. They provided soy sauce with wasabi already mixed in, just the way I like it. We had fresh cut up oranges and melon, they also had some grapes. All in all it was amazing.
After lunch the kids were given free time to play and run around. They were playing games similar to elementary kids back home. Like, a go and stop freeze game. Also a duck, duck, goose variation. Instead of tapping the kids on the head they held a scarf and dropped it behind the a kid's back and then started running around the circle. The kid picked must pick up the scarf and chase the kid running. It was a lot of fun to watch. After free time it was time to head back to the buses. We met up with some other kids who went back into the museum. We all got back on the bus and headed back to Baekbong Elementary School. Grace, the 5-3 teacher and myself all fell asleep on the way back. We were exhausted following the kids around. We got back at about 3:30pm, so it was a full day. I loved it and can't wait for the next field trip.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

This is why I need to learn Korean

I probably would never share this story but it was so funny that I just had to repeat it. Daniel and I went out to dinner at Outback Steakhouse (we really can't escape this place) our server didn't speak much English but the menu was in English so it was fairly easy to order. As an appetizer we shared some hot wings and ranch which were bomb and they tasted the same as back home. The soups, salads, and side items reflected the Korean culture like pumpkin soup and fried rice. As for the main dish the steak was bland so we brought it home to add some of our OB seasoning and horseradish. Overall, it was a great experience. Before we left the restaurant I had to use the restroom, I go upstairs and open the stall and there was this fancy inspector gadget toilet staring at me. When I finished I turned around to flush the toilet but there were so many buttons and pictures to press that I picked the one that I thought was to flush the toilet. Next thing I see is a thin long tube pop out of the toilet and it starts squirting me with nasty toilet water. I was in such shock that I just stood there for a few seconds. I finally moved out of the way only to watch the water squirt in the air and fall onto the floor making a huge puddle. I was hoping that the water would stop but it kept going. I stood in front of the toilet waterfall trying to stop it, out of the corner of my eye I spot a huge red button that I assumed was the stop button and luckily it worked. I ran out of the bathroom so fast only to have to explain to Daniel why I had this huge wet spot on my I swear this kind of stuff only happens to me.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Beer Factory!!!

So first off we must say sorry for not keeping up with the blog lately. It seems that we have been busy.
So the Beer Factory. It sounds like heaven on earth right? Well yes it is. Last Saturday we arranged with some friends and took a trip to Guri. Guri is a city on the way into Seoul. It's considered a suburb of Seoul. Us in Namyangju are considered a satellite city of Seoul. It only took about 15 minutes via bus. We were told about this place called the Beer Factory. We saw another one in Seoul the previous weekend so we were familiar with it, at least from the outside. Well the part best was that at the beer factory they a happy hour of sorts. From 5pm to 8pm they have a deal, where you pay 10,000 Won or about $8 and you get to drink as much beer as you can. You read correctly AS MUCH AS YOU CAN!!! I was so excited. Not only was this awesome with the price but the beer was actually good as well. It is definitely a place we will go back to. I made sure to drink my $8 worth. The only trick was you had to buy some food. But the food was cheap and we all just shared an appetizer and some fried chicken. I can't wait for the next visit.

Friday, April 10, 2009


In the picture: Me, my co-teachers Grace and Kate, and the P.E. teacher at my school (sorry I can't say his Korean name much less spell it).

To start off our entertaining went well. It was nothing formal we just had some drinks and some snacks. It did not turn into a huge party, just a small gathering. It was good company with nice conversation. The most notable part of the Friday get together was when my co-teachers saw our wedding pictures and they said I look like Brad Pitt. I was not surprised by the compliment because I often see the resemblance everyday in the mirror.
So this past Wednesday Latanya and I had the day off. We decided to go into Seoul and check out one of the many markets. We went to the Namdaemun Market. It's a place full of people buying and selling just about anything. From food to clothes to jewelry and so on. We walked around for a few hours and stumbled upon a different shopping area. Latanya saw a bag from Forever 21 and asked where the store was. They told us where and she ran straight towards it. Not only does LT love this store but I was excited because they have a men's line here in Korea. Once we got there we tried to remind ourselves not to go crazy and buy out the store. They had a lot of great clothes and Latanya was so excited. I am not going to lie I was too. After we looked around the store for awhile and LT tried on some clothes we left and only bought a pair of sun glasses. We were so good.
We continued to walk around the area and found so many shops. We also saw a few American restaurants. There was a Fridays, two Outbacks and a CPK. The two Outbacks were seriously not but twenty yards from each other. We just started laughing. We can't get away. Well we decided to eat at California Pizza Kitchen and were a little reluctant because nothing taste the same as back home. We order our usual and were delighted to find out that it was delicious. After dinner we headed back home and called it a day. We sure did a lot of walking. It was all worth it though. We had a nice day trip and were ready to finish the short week.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

First Apartment Visitors

Tonight Latnaya and I are having our first guests over to our apartment. We are going out with some friends and we invited them back to our place for after dinner drinks. It sounds so grown up, I know. Tomorrow we are having some teachers over for a house warming party. It should be fun. Our place is so big we must not let the space go to waste. Wish us luck for our first Korean entertaining.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Korean BFF

Today at school the English department was given some time off in the afternoon for some teacher bonding. Unfortunately, Michelle could not join us so it was just Myung and I. I work directly with Myung and I am so grateful that I get to teach with her. Her English is really good and we spend most of our free time talking about our lives. She is a mother of a 16 month old boy, a wife, and career woman. I really admire her because no matter what is going on with her she always has a smile on her face. Myung has been talking about going to the movies for a few weeks now and today was the day. We were on a mission to see an American movie because the Korean movies do not have subtitles. We arrived at the movie theater around 2:30pm and just missed a set of movie showings and the next movie showings weren't until another two hours. Myung suggested we go to the DVD Cinema, it's a small cinema where you pick out a dvd and watch it in your own personal room. I suggested seeing a Korean movie and we decided on a Portrait of Beauty. Myung was really excited to see the movie she said it is a really popular movie in Korea. This movie was outstanding I followed it via subtitles the story takes place in 1758, it is about a woman disguised as a man who is a painter for the king and then falls in love with a peasant if you can imagine DRAMA. So the movie ends and I look over at Myung and she is fast She jumps up when she realizes the movie is over and is sad that she missed the ending so I had to explain the ending to her. Just when I thought our day was over Myung asked me if I wanted to meet her son. Of course I said yes. We went to pick up her son Kyu Min (큐민) from day care she was so excited for me to meet him. When Kyu Min saw Myung he ran to her with a huge smile on his face and just laughed. Myung introduced us and told him to say hello Latanya and he just giggled and smiled after a few minutes Kyu Min warmed up to me and before you knew it he was giving me high fives and waiving. We hung out until Myung had to go home and cook dinner for her husband (what a good I was so elated I got to spend time with her outside of school I can't wait for our next adventure.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Just Another Thursday Night

Last night after work I went out with my co-teachers for some dinner. We went to Pizza Hut and talked about our English program. We also got the chance just to talk. It was really nice. After dinner I met Latanya at home. We decided we wanted to do something a little different. So we decided to go to a local karaoke lounge. Latanya remembered where one was near by, so we headed out. We got there, rented a room and bought a pitcher of beer. It was all for about 15 bucks. We went to our room and went straight for the song list book. Of course our first selection was Don't Stop Believing by Journey. After our amazing duo Latanya got up and sang some N'Sync. I thought it was 1998 and I was at a live concert...not really, but she did a great job. We were drinking beer and eating the little snacks they provided. It was just the two of us and we had a blast. I really started to get into my own when I was signing Sweet Child O' Mine by Guns N' Roses. The machine judges you after each song and gives you a numerical score. We were in the mid 80's for most of the evening. Towards the end of our recording session the scores started to increase. All of a sudden we were getting in the rhythm and averaging in the mid 90's. I sang some Eagles and made a 98. I was just wondering if any music talent scouts were in the building because I was hitting my notes. What sealed our record contract was when we brought it home with Cry Me A River by JT. Our duo scored a perfect 100...Whoa!!! Finally after a couple of hours singing our hearts out we headed home and called it a night. American Idol you better watch out, because when we get back to the States we are making our run at the title.