Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Poking around...

I learned Korean poker tonight. I am terrible at it. No way am I going to quit teaching and become a professional poker player. Just thought I'd share.

I have parent teacher conferences the next two days. Wish me luck! Round 1 of Korean parents.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Hot Air Balloon Festival

There was a hot air balloon festival in Daejeon this weekend and I went with some TCIS friends, a new friend from CA (I'm stoked to have a fellow Californian!), and some German guys we met in Cheju-do. We had all imagined that we were going to see a ton of hot air balloons and a neat airshow. Instead, we got there and the man at the info booth informed us that there was too much wind (seriously there was not even a mild breeze... it was just plain hot and still). There were a ton of people, but the sky shows were scarce.

Here was the sole balloon in the sky:

Don't blink, this was the 3 pm airshow.

I have to say that the aviary highlight would be these men in gliders who flew over us and threw handfuls of ginseng candies. Old men shoved to grab the falling candies. I managed to get one myself. Unfortunately, I missed all my picture opportunties. I was too busy chasing flying ginseng.

While there were not many adventures in the sky, we found plenty of fun on the ground. There were a ton of booths and we entertained ourselves trying (or scoffing at) random Korean foods. First some of the ones I refused to eat:
Boiled silk worm larvae:

Chicken feet:

Either "butt holes" or "gizzards"... we got two different translations:

And my adventurous moment, conchs:

Anyhow, blogger is having uploading issues so I can't upload any new pics. I should go to bed soon anyhow. Who wants to eat after these images?

Miss you!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


My brain is dead. This probably won't be coherant. I'm sorry in advance.

I'm done! I have graded a million essays in the last two and a half days (grades were due today) on the randomest topics and my brain is fried. I have read about everything from color psychology, to the unique qualities of Halo, to the history of Broadway, to the effects of second-hand smoking, to the laws of attraction...
Since essays have been my life outside of school, I feel like I should share some of the funniest moments:
-One student proposed the following thesis statement in his first draft: "Without alcohol, 50% of the world would commit suicide." (a. not so objective for an expository essay, b. what!?!)
-Another student wrote on the reasons that teens are attracted to particular clothing lines and was writing about how teens had body image issues. I told the kids that they could conduct informal research as well and so this student did that-- she interviewed a few classmates. So in the middle of her paper she starts listing (by name) her peers who think they are too fat. I get where she was going, but not exactly the way I would have illustrated the point. How would you like to be the person quoted as the fat example?

One last school thought and then I'm done... students here are crazy dedicated. I had a big short story project due for my English 10 classes and was blown away by the assignments I got. Students had to make creative components for a number of aspects of the story to go along with oral and written pieces. Many came in with numerous highly creative items: multiple oil pantings with sculptures, symbolic items, music, mobiles, shadow boxes, etc. This was the major assignment for the quarter so expected a lot, but I couldn't believe how much time and effort my students put into the projects! Only in Korea...

On a different topic: this week is Spiritual Emphasis Week at TCIS. What does that mean, you might ask? It is basically a 3-day high school vacation Bible school. There are no classes, students are in random groups, the school flies in a band and speakers, we have Bible studies, play games... the whole deal. I am a small group leader and am getting to know 15 students as we move through activities together. It is very interesting because about half of the students at TCIS are not Christians. In my group, almost 75% are not. It makes conversations about faith (specifically focused on Christian ideas) very interesting. It is neat to be a part of.

Last weekend I went to visit Sarah in Seoul. It was the first time I had been up since I started school. It was really good to get away and also to see someone familiar. A nice break from grading and school-ness. We spent most of the weekend shopping and finding ethnic food that doesn't exist in Daejeon. It was nice to feel comfortable in Seoul. It also reminded me how much I appreciate that Daejeon is a little smaller than Seoul. There were people EVERYWHERE in Seoul... this is great sometimes but it is never quiet even for a moment. I like that Daejeon has some space (well, a little bit at least...)

One final really random thought. Today I was coaching elementary soccer. There are 4 teams at TCIS with 4 different coaches. Each team has a small handful of girls on it. The other coaches are mostly male. Well, in the middle of practice today, one of the male coaches pulls me aside. Before long I am surrounded by a group of 3rd through 5th grade girls who were scared to death of chest traps. I had to show them how to do it properly so they wouldn't get hurt... the 5th graders in particular were very nervous that if they trapped wrong it might hurt "it" (they would not call their breasts anything except "it"... not even "them"). The innocent ackwardness of these girls was so cute-- none of them even have developed chests yet! But they were so concerned and nervous to talk about it... who would have though soccer coaching would turn into sex ed?

Enough of my ramblings. I need to get sleep. I think I'm calling it an early night. Miss yall lots!