Tuesday, November 27, 2007

All about the kids

At TCIS, we work a lot. I put in ridiculously long hours and devote huge parts of my time and energy to these kids. So here they are--my beloved students in photo form :)

First, just a few of my freshmen girls:

Some group shots of my sophomores:

These sophomore girls are in my class AND live right next door to me:

The place where it all happens: (notice the awesome couches and the 6 foot tree that was constructed by a student for a project... unbelievable)

I really like color and my kids make pretty (yet thoughtful) projects...

My soccer kiddos (this is an older pic but I don't think I posted it on my blog...)

And just for fun, here are a few other REALLY random pics:
I got a haircut (only about $30 for a cut, color, two shampoos, and a blowdry):

We like to call these the "Nore-closets" aka- tiny closet-like spaces where 2-4 people can norebong (or kariyoke). THey = fun times on a Thursday night.

Look, there was a whole chicken in my soup! (mini-chicken)Annette likes to tell me this soup is very healthy and what Koreans eat to stay well. There were ginger roots, dates, and other random vegetables stuffed into the chicken.

In public rest stops there is some educational reading in the bathroom stalls. On my trip back from women's retreat in Gyeungju I got to learn what to do if my car catches on fire. What this image didn't catch was the first step... first I am to set up a huge ring of cones around my blazing car. Aparently I will have a whole pile of cones readily available.

And last, but not least. Here's a rose from pepero day, AKA a day that a candy company (pepero) has coined as a holiday where people give pepero sticks to friends or loved ones. People went crazy with the giant pepero sticks (pepero are basically cookie sticks that are half-way sipped in chocolate). I got this rose from a friend with some nice peperos and put it in my pretty Korean vase :)

Anyhow, enough randomness. I must go to bed. Love and miss all of you. It's hard to be so far away for the holidays. Stay in touch!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Toto, we're not in Kansas anymore...

Peter called on Sat. and about half way through our conversation he asked me if I realized how strange my life sounded. I hadn't really thought about it until he said it (I guess I am adjusting), but he's right:

I was out in a random mountain area hiking with 10 or so friends and literally hundreds of middle aged hikers. Aparently all the young people migrate to the cities for the weekends. But we wehguukins (foreigners)stood strong among the throngs of older intoxicated hickers and admired the changing leaves. I have come to realize that it is not uncommon for mobs of old men to be visibly drunk off soju at 4 pm. As Pete called I was trying to make my way back from a massive (maybe 200 ft tall) Buddha statue. The sound of native Koreans and my western friends attempting Korean flooded our conversation in the background. As I hit the base of the mountain I discovered that a group of maybe 100 people had spontaneously broken out into a traditional dance. Drums were sounding and crowds were forming. I quickly hurried past so I could here Peter. As I exited the park and walked down the street, I passed a man with a monkey on one side of him and a dog on the other. My Korean-American friend translated the man's cries for me: he wanted me to pay to watch his monkey and dog box each other. Each animal sat, sedated, on either side of his owner. I kept walking and looked for a leash on the monkey. As I continued to walk people tried to get me to buy a variety of things: chestnuts, persimons, roots, seeds, merinated fish, soups, baskets,... Finally I had to hang up with Peter so my friends and I could try to bargain for our lunch: these omelette type pancakes filled with green onions and squid. We had 5 minutes to down our lunch before jumping on to a bus back to Taejeon. This time we got seats (the ride over we had tickets but were two seats short). I fell asleep as one of my new friends evangelized to a stranger. When we got back to Taejeon I stepped into a usual Sat night routine: we ate a Korean BBQ beef dish and went Norybonging (ie- karioke).

My how my life has changed.

FYI: I've added more pictures. I don't have time right now to add subtitles, but pics are of Daejeon, Songnisan (the park), and 2 separate weekends to Seoul (1 for a conference and one to visit Sarah).

Another random tidbit: I'm not coming back to the states for the holidays so I am living it up in Asia. I'll be with Sarah in Seoul for Christmas. Then I'm off to Bali with 5 friends (3 from work, Sarah, and one of my coworker's friends who lives in Japan). We'll be in Bali about two weeks then we stopover in Singapore for 3 days on our way back to Seoul. I'm stoked.