Thursday, May 13, 2010

Men Would Never Have This Problem!

Its spring finally!!!! And b/c the weather has been gorgeous, I decided to wear a dress to school today.....I discovered that I have some very pasty WHITE legs....especially after my legs haven't seen the sun for about 8 months! But thankfully I brought along some nice tan pantyhose that make my legs look significantly tanner! I was looking good today! As I made my way to work I was really enjoying the weather, and I even stopped to get some oranges from the street fruit stand guy. After I had been walking for about 10 mins. all of sudden I feel my pantyhose start to roll....then I take a few more steps, they roll some more.....I am walking down a street with a lot of people and everyone is looking at me as they pass b/c....I'M A FOREIGNER!....And then my pantyhose start to slide down my legs.....THEY'RE GETTING LOW FAST!!!!! I couldn't just hike up my skirt pull up the hose and continue on, b/c all these people were around sooooo......I did the only thing I could do at that time.....walked like a freakin duck!!!!! I had so many people laughing at me as I tried to make it down the street, but my hose were well on their way down my legs and its the only thing that held them up mostly. Finally I see a little alley with a covered building at the end, so I bolt down the alley.....Just as I get to the end, my hose are nearly at my ankles! At the back of the alley I see that there is just enough room for me to squeeze behind the building....So I squeeze back there slide off my shoes followed willingly by my hose, then slide back into my shoes and squeeze out from behind the building.....Just as I'm about to come out a kid comes back there to get his bike, and I startled the poor kid b/c I walked out of completely no where! After I walk passed him I see him walking back to where I was (behind the building)....I can't even imagine what he thought about that! maybe b/c of that experience he now thinks its magic....b/c a foreigner magically appeared from a brick wall! lol! I love to keep life interesting! :-) Maybe I should just avoid wearing skirts and dresses in Korea.....that's where everything seems to go wrong! Men, would never have this problem! haha!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Difficult times

This last week has been a long week....a lot can happen in that span of time.

So, in case you are wondering, this story that I am about to tell is not about my self but it is, however, about someone who works at a Chungdahm Institute and is one of my good friends that I went to college with and then they came to Korea with me.

My friend came to Korea only a few weeks before me. We knew that we were working for Chungdahm Institute, but it wasn't for certain if I would be in the same school or even city. Thankfully when I came I was sent to the same city, but not the same school. From the very beginning my friend's school was giving her grief about very petty things such as not dressing up nice enough, or wearing heels, or make-up. Then shortly after, they started to critique her methods and teaching styles very harshly....but their opinion about her techniques and methods kept changing, one day she'd be just fine, then the next she would be told that she needed to do something different (generally the something different would be things that they told her not to do, BUT now they want her to do them.) They were very inconsistent and constantly rode her case about absolutely everything...spending 5 mins longer on a specific part of the class, making a trouble-maker sit at the front of the class, not speaking clear enough, etc...After 6 months of dealing with this she decided to turn in her 2 month notice that she was quitting (yes, two months, that's how long it takes to go through the quitting process with CDI). The branch manager, accepted her notice, but asked her to stay 2 weeks longer than her original two month notice....that way they could finish the semester with the same teacher and not change teachers on the students near the end of the semester. She accepted that along with the last full month of her pay. Well, it has been a little more than a month since she turned in her notice and her branch manager caught her before she left her class on friday April 23rd, 2010. Her manager told her that they had found a replacement and instead of waiting until the end of the semester, they were just going to bring them in now! She was also informed that tomorrow (sat.) would be her last day to teach at Chungdahm. On top of that, she was told that she had one week to move out of her apartment and she better take this one week and apply at as many other schools at possible if she still wanted to teach in Korea.
My friend called me in tears wondering what to do, and how could they just up and do this....Well, apparently, if you turn in your 2 month notice to leave a hogwon, they have the authority to only have to keep you around until they find a replacement. To them, they are just granting your wish of freedom from them..?? Right??...?? possibly? I don't know for sure, but when you are expecting to be teaching for AT LEAST another month, it is a huge shock to find out that they no longer want your services, and you must move out ASAP! You are in ANOTHER COUNTRY for crying out loud!!!! It's not like you can just go crash at mom and dad's place for a little bit....but thankfully my friend found someone who would let her stay at her apt. for a bit....and store her stuff. Now we just had to pack....I helped her pack a little on Tuesday after work, then I went over on Wednesday to help her do some more packing...Then she told me how all week she had been receiving phone calls from her manager, asking if she had set up interviews yet and reminding her that she only had a few days left....Also, her manager told her that she still had to pay back the training fees from nearly 8 months ago and her plane ticket (That I knew was coming b/c it is stated in the CDI contract- if terminated or you leave for any reason without completing the 1st year, then you must pay...nearly an entire months pay....that's a warning to any of you who may work in CDI's....READ YOUR CONTRACT!!!!) ANYWAYS ....Then on Wednesday afternoon she gets a call from her manager again telling her that she needed to be out by Thursday no later than 5PM. May I remind you that this is not a complete week......I know that this isn't happening to me, but I can empathize....Not only did she lose a job and her home in a foreign country, but now she also had to act all happy for the many interviews that she went through. I am so glad she stayed strong and found a new job!

Now, I do want to tell you, even though my friend went through a really really tough time....this does not mean that ALL Chungdahm's are like this! I love my branch and my manager is AMAZING!!!!!! My manager speaks English very well, is easy to talk to, cares for her teachers at the school, and tries to help us in what ever ways she can! For this reason, my school gets along pretty well and we have ourselves a tight-knit little family between the teachers and all of the Korean staff!

Where ever you teach, there will always be differences. Don't let the experiences you read from the blogs make your decisions for you. Go. Try it out. Make your own decisions!


Today my kids were dancing around the classroom on break and they kept saying "Boobie, boobie!!!" I asked them to stop, and they said, "Why teacher? It's just a song" and I asked them what this song was for....apparently it is the name of the newest cell phone here in Korea..."B-U-B-I, bubi, bubi" Now I need one just so I can say that I own a Boobie Phone!

Friday, April 30, 2010


Living here in Korea has been a change and often times I miss home. There is not a day that I leave my apartment that I am not reminded that I am not a part of this culture, that I am a foreigner! Many of my experiences make me smile or laugh and others leave me thinking...."Gee, that is so strangEE!!"

Everyday as I make the 10 to 15 min. walk to school or the subway I am passed by kids who look at me, and then a huge smile comes across their face. Then they usually wave to me or say "hello." Very few of them can actually have a short conversation with you. Then my favorites are the very young kids who don't know any English yet but still want to say hello. So they will very cutely do a full bow (nearly to the ground) and say "anyunhasayo"(the formal way to say hello in Korean). Then there are the kids who are riding bicycles who see me and nearly wreck b/c they are waving and looking at the foreigner! haha! I like it most of the time when kids do this to me.

However, there is a huge difference between kids doing this and adults. When adults see me, they don't usually say hello...instead they intently stare at me as I pass them. If they see me on the side walk, many times they will completely stop in their tracks stare at me and continue to stare at me as I walk closer to them, as I pass them, and sometimes they will stare until I am out of their view.....That's rediculous!!!! I know that I am taller, wider, lighter haired, different facial featured, and probably many other things, but seriously......MUST YOU STARE???? That creeps me out! Its mostly the older men and women who do it, but sometimes it is people my own age who are staring at me! So StrangEE!

So, all of those previous things should of prepared me for what happened last week on my strangEE scale! On Monday as I walked to school, the sun was shining and it was beautiful weather.A man is driving a van towards me. Just as he gets closer, he slows down. His jaw drops and he stares as he's driving past me. Weird! Then Wednesday or Thursday, I am coming home from work and it is raining hard. Suddenly a truck drives towards me, stops completely, rolls down their window....(may I remind you that it is night in the pouring rain...I'm kinda creeped out at this moment)....As I attempt to walk past the truck that is stopped in the middle of the street, all of a sudden I hear a deep mans voice say "hello" (Creeped out I walk a little faster to get past the stopped vehicle) Then just as I am about even with the truck then two kids come flying across their father through the open van window and also say "hello!" I felt a little more relieved to see the kids, so I said "hello" back to them, waved and continued my journey to get out of the rain. Lastly, about a block from my apartment, a man on a motorcycle drove past me, pulled over to the side of the street, took off his helmet, then proceeded to stare at me as I walked by. I tried to avoid looking at him as I walked by b/c it thoroughly CREEPED ME OUT! Then after I was out of view he drives up closer and then slows down as he passes me. So STRANGEE!

So, none the least.....I still feel like a foreigner in this land! :-)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Kids Kids

Working with kids has proven to be difficult at some times but I have experienced more good times than bad in the classroom. One thing that I have started doing recently is writing down funny things that they say......some things are even funnier to me, because they are just learning to speak the language, and they tend to come up with unique ways to explain things.... Such as: one of my lower levels were trying to figure out a word, so they ask me. "Teacher, what's the name of that guy? Uh...that big guy? Uh....You know him? That, uhhh....big sky guy?!" ......Have you guessed it yet? Yep, the word they are trying to figure out is God!

But not all of these funny things happen the same way. Sometimes a few students know actual slang words while others don't or they mispronounce something. For example another one of my younger class students were reading aloud and came across the word "tidy," but he pronounced it "titty." One of the other students in the class starts cracking up and I'm trying not to laugh also. But in this case I just told the student how to pronounce the word and we moved on with class. However, in one of my more elite classes we have a 30-40 min. section where the kids work together as a group to work on a project. On this particular day they were supposed to choose a certain kind of job and write the requirements for it and explain why they said that requirement. After I got the projects going I went back to my desk to enter in a few more grades while the kids worked on the project....but I couldn't help but listen in to this one group. Here's the conversation they were having:
Robert: "I think one of the requirements should be- 'After 5 years of marriage"
Jack: "Why?"
Robert: "Because if not married, then they will be chasing girlfriends and never be home. But if just married they will only want to play in the house. So, after 5 years they will not just want to play in the house anymore."
Jack: "What is 'play in the house'?"
Robert: " are too young to know!"
Jack: "But what is it?"
Robert: "Ask Teacher"
Jack: "Teacher...."
Me: (since I had been listening in to this convo, I was already cracking up and I knew what the question was, so I cut him off and just said...) "Ask your parents!"

Not all of the funny things happen in class. Sometimes it is in their homework or on their internet forums that they post online. This week while I was checking the class forums I came across my highest classes forum. The students in this class are very close to being nearly completely fluent in English and many of them could probably go live in an English speaking area and be able to survive easily. So, it is not too often that this class makes mistakes, but sometimes they forget a word and use replacements such as this student who was discussing the forum topic of human cloning. She talked about how she is against cloning. This was one of her reasons why: "If we clone humans we will devalue the meaning of the human life. For example, a mother has a hard time laying the baby, but if we clone the babies, it has no meaning for the mother to do the hard process of laying babies." That day when this student came to class I had to point out to her that chickens lay eggs and humans give birth to babies!

I have to give you just one more reason for why I have so much fun with my students. There are many times where my students ask me what a word means. I try to follow with an easy to understand definition of the word. But sometimes the topics that we get in class bring about words that I find a little difficult to find an appropriate answer for the classroom. During this class the topic was the different types of love. In this class I have only 4 students and they are all 12 Korean yrs....which means that they are 10 and 11 yrs old in America. When the topic of all of the passages is Love then of course the word "mating" has to be of course there is the student to ask the question: "Teacher, what is mating?" I stopped, and I stuttered a little bit and didn't have an immediate answer like I normally do.....But today, one of my other students had the answer. She stood up so proudly and said, " I know what it is, it is the process of eating meat!"

Geeze! I love my kids! They make me laugh a lot!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Ahhhh, Pure Embarrassment!!!

What would life be like if we had never embarrassed our self before??? The last time that I felt true embarrassment was when I was a senior in high school in the spring of 2004! I was the class Valedictorian and it was my turn to go to the podium to do my speech. That day my head was in 50 different places at once, and for some reason the one thing that I forgot at home today speech! So, I casually got up and approached the stage. My heart was pounding and I was excited and scared to stand in front of these hundreds of friends and families that had come to watch us on this special day. I was so excited and scared that I completely forgot that there was an extension cord running across the floor to the podium. As I got closer to the podium my foot caught the cord and...yeah, you guessed it.....I fell to the floor! This did not happen, not at all. I fell completely out on the floor, losing my cap and the two bobby pins that were holding it in place. I wanted to just stay down on the floor, but I knew that couldn't be an option right now. Especially since I am lying in the middle of the stage at this moment. I brought myself to stand up and collect my hat from the floor. Since I was in front of everyone, I didn't have time to fix it and put it over my hair. So, I just plopped it on my head and looked at the podium...the empty podium. Right now, I was wanting to cry, or laugh, or scream, or something. So many emotions running through me at this moment and I had to start my speech. So, since I didn't really want to cry and the whole audience was stunned that I had just fallen....I did the only thing I could....cracked a joke about falling. As they laughed, I tried desperately to smile and to try and remember something from my speech. Just then, as the laughter was dying down, a girl comes running into the building across the gym floor toward the podium. While the audience is probably wondering who this girl is and why is she running in here during the ceremony, I am relaxing now and very relieved at the sight of my sister-in-law running up to me with my speech. So, thankfully I am good with words every once in a while and I made it look like this was all planned to happen, and I think I convinced nearly everyone! Thank the Lord that this all worked out and my speech went smoothly!

I have been really good at avoiding embarrassment and making events look like they were intentionally supposed to happen.....well, I had been good at it until recently. I am teaching in an English Academy (Hogwon) for children from 8-17 years old. I have been working here for a little more than 6 months now. I like this academy, and I really like that we are one of the more advanced schools. When the students are in the classroom they are only allowed to speak English. However, many of their parents either speak a little or no English at all. Every once in a while the parents come to talk with the faculty. When they are at the school we were told to greet them and say either "hello" or do a bow and say "Anyunhasayo." This specific day I was looking very nice because the weather outside was beautiful. I had on a flowy skirt and a nice shirt, I felt really pretty today! After the first hour of class we get a five minute break, so I ran to the restroom real quick. Then I talked with some of my students who were in the hallway. As I walked through the main lobby there were three or four parents waiting to speak with the faculty. Being the good teacher that I am, I bowed and said "anyunhasayo." I smiled and they smiled and I started to walk away....then one of them caught my attention "Ya...Ya!!" I turned back around and walked back to them and they pointed to me, so I walked closer. None of them speak English and then one of them gives me the motion to put my hand on the back of me....I know exactly what she is motioning to me now....My skirt has been tucked into my underwear! AHHHHH! Pure Embarrassment! But at this moment I can't help but laugh because now I have just mooned several of my students' parents and probably the students too!!! lol! What an experience! I was laughing so hard that I had to stop by my manager's office and explain the story to her before I returned to my classroom! Really, what would my life be like without truely embarrassing moments that make you look back and laugh?

Friday, March 26, 2010

I hit the 6 month mark for the day that I started teaching! Wow! I can't believe it! Time just flies! I still feel a little homesick every once in a while, but what's sad is....I don't feel home sick for family, but homesick for my best friends that I left at home. They might as well be called family, lets just say sisters. I miss not having that really close friend to rely on, especially when things go bad or you just need to talk. The good thing is that SKYPE is absolutely amazing, b/c through SKYPE I can either talk to them for free if they have a SKYPE account and I can see them "face to face" or I can directly call their cell phones for however long I want to talk. It's far cheaper than using a cell phone in the states! lol!

Besides being a little homesick, I can't say that a lot has changed in how much I enjoy being here and the fact that I still don't speak hardly any Korean so not much in that case has changed....or at least, I don't feel like a lot has changed.....HOWEVER, I have grown accustomed to many things happening around me....things that I wouldn't find in the states....such as using chopsticks for every meal....and I think it is funny when Koreans try to offer me a fork. Several of my teacher friends here in Korea put together a list and I would love to share it with you all... are you ready? Here it is...

Living in Korea... maybe you don't speak the language, or fully understand the culture, but still, you're comfortable here. You may even call it home. It took a while, but now...
You know you've been in Korea too long when...
1. You notice your English has gotten worse, but your hand gestures have gotten better.
2. You don't think it's noteworthy that everything is good for stamina, well being or your skin.
3. You're thankful for the mirrors that are everywhere, and actually use them.
4. You use your floor heating as a clothes dryer and know exactly how many articles of clothing will fit on your floor.
5. In a restaurant you turn down a fork, are shocked to see a knife on the table, but are unfazed by the scissors.
6. You don't notice the appearance of corn in unexpected places.
7. You like the randomness of the things you get for free.
8. Your standard of western food has dropped so low that what was once ok is now
9. You aren't surprised by
sweet pickles and know it’s a sign you’re eating “foreign food”.
10. You take your shoes off when you walk into your house, and put shoes on to walk into the bathroom.
11. You rarely eat a meal without rice in some form.
12. You don't notice people in couple outfits.
13. You no longer notice you're being followed in stores.
14. You aren't bothered by being stared at.
15. You think it's normal for cars to park on the sidewalk.
16. You're not bothered by not getting what you ordered because the waitress didn't understand you.
17. You go to a restaurant and are impressed if you are given more than one menu for your party of ten.
18. You tune out the fruit vendor trucks, the store opening trucks and everything broadcast from a moving vehicle.
19. You no longer believe in waiting in line.
20. You finally realize polite has a different meaning.
21. You know the questions to ask about the state of the public restroom.
22. You don't expect to get hot water in a public building.
23. You automatically give and receive things with two hands.
24. You accept that waffles are a dessert item and not just for breakfast.
25. You find the genius in the way everything is individually wrapped and packaged.
26. You find the toaster oven has become an integral part of how you cook… and an ingenious way to bake.
27. You can finally discern the alphabet on signs.
28. You are no longer distracted by the loud music playing as you shop.
29. You recognize each store's theme song and know that each store has it's own theme song.
30. You know there is no such thing as copyright.
31. You actually understand the appeal of 'Big Bang' and the '
Wonder Girls'.
32. You know that “Crack” has a completely different meaning here.
33. You know more about the current hot drama than about world events.
34. You eat seaweed at least 5 times a week and don't find it strange.
35. You've seen a vending machine sell both mentos and condoms and think 'useful'.
36. You own and use a pollution or yellow dust mask.
37. You know everything can be made take out, delivered in 15 minutes from the time you call and are surprised when you don't get real plates and flatware.
38. You accept you're going to be considered odd if you're not married or currently dating.
39. You know that “orange” (light brown) is a hair color and straight perms are a way of life.
40. You realize cute is timeless, and everything can be made cuter.
41. You understand that the stationary store is the equivalent to the toy store for
Korean kids.
42. You notice when a person doesn't have a cell phone charm and wonder why they don't.
43. Your 5-year-old student has a better cell phone than you and you're not bothered by it.
44. You think it's normal for high school students to go to school until 10 pm.
45. You claim you can't sing, but still break into song at the Noo-rae-bang.
46. You no longer notice the Korean subtitles at the bottom of English TV shows and when you do, you find yourself trying to follow them.
47. You don't expect the check to be automatically brought to you at the end of a meal.
48. You know that chopsticks aren't just for eating with, but are an essential tool with many uses.
49. You no longer notice you're the only foreigner in a place.
50. You speak in “Konglish” (saying some words in Korean and other words in English in one sentence).
51. You think of squid and kimchi for a 4th of july bbq, but hot dogs never occur to u.
52. You use words like "fighting", "cunning" and "fishing" but have now adopted the korean meaning for them.
53. You have adopted korean holidays as your own.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

This was just a forward that I received but I really liked it!!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


So.....In case you didn't figure it out yet.....I passed all of my tests back in September! I am officially a certified ESL Teacher..... however, only in the country of Korea!!!

Since I have been dropped off here in Daegu, Korea everything has been going by so FAST and there have been sooo many changes! As soon as I get completely used to doing things one way, I get new classes of students who I don't know and they have no idea who I am. So, once again I have to start fresh with each group.

Lets take you back to the beginning............

A long time ago, in a land far far away, lived a fair maiden.....Wait, wrong story!
My first week was pretty easy, all that I did was observe my co teachers. There are only 7 teachers: Shaun and Stephanie (Stevie), Jake, Jason, Mikey, Melissa, and Angela. I took over for a person who left b/c they didn't like it here. Then Nicole took over for Jake after a a few weeks. That weekend was Chusok (Korea's Thanksgiving). If I had only known back then that that was going to be my ONLY 2-DAYS OFF IN A ROW for the next YEAR.....then I would of tried to travel someplace, but instead I stayed in Daegu thinking that I would eventually have other times to travel......WOW was I mistaken!!!!!!!!! (I'll tell you more about that later).

Well, I was supposed to observe all of the first week, but I wound up having to start teaching classes by myself on Wednesday. I was thrown into ALL English Chip(E.C.) classes....but I hadn't been trained in EC, so I felt completely lost for the first week and a half....but thankfully E.C. is a pretty easy class to teach....I just didn't really know how it worked or how to control my kids, it was all a matter of adjusting to everything and getting a feel on it!

Let me tell you my weekly schedule:

Monday: 4PM-7PM: Jr. EC3
7PM-10PM: Sr. EC4

Tuesday: 4PM-7PM: Jr. EC3
7PM-10PM: Sr. EC4

Wednesday:4PM-7PM: Jr. EC4

Thursday: 4PM-7PM: Jr. EC3
7PM-10PM: Sr. EC4

Friday: 4PM-7PM: Jr. EC3
7PM-10PM: Sr. EC4

Saturday: 10AM-1PM: Jr. EC4 or Late Sat.'s are 2:30PM-5:30PM

On about my third week I was feeling great and had it down to an art, so I took my first day trip to was very unorganized and I went with Brianna Swaim and Nicole Cubillas and we wound up just sort of wondering through the streets....then we saw a sign that showed a picture of a touristy looking, we followed the signs.....and we followed the signs ......AND, we followed the signs....for about 3 miles! lol! We finally got to this little area with a buch of little shops along the street and a bunch of little statues....then we saw an escalator that went up to a higher part of the hill.....we were curious to find out what was at the top of the escalator so we took a little ride. At the top of the first one was a Buddah standing about 8 ft tall and we thought that was cool and we took pics....but there were still more escalators to follow we got on......and got on another.....and another......and finally another......We were at the top finally and there was a Korean style outdoor gazebo looking thing and then statues of Dragons and some famous Korean soldiers and at the very top there was a tower that took you above the whole city....I wanted to go, but one girl was ready to go and the other we kept losing!!! lol! We took many pictures of the city from the top of that escalator hill!!! I am very glad that our curiosity led us to something pretty cool! When we finished we were hungry so we all left Busan and headed to Miryang to visit my friend Akhee(from Oklahoma, here visiting her husband) who had prepared us a very large dinner! We had a good time just talking and eating and taking pics! Then they called us a taxi and since none of us spoke Korean Akhee's husband told the driver to take us to the train station. Then we caught the last train back into Daegu. it was a good trip!

The following week at school was all testing, because it was level up tests! Very easy to just hand a kid the test and proctor while they took it! I like being the teacher when that's all that I have to do!!! hehehe! Then the WEEKEND! It was Oct. 31st Halloween....I wanted to dress up, but I behaved and didn't!!! lol! Instead for Halloween Nicole and I went to go watch the Opera Carmen which was in Daegu.....It was interesting....and they changed the ending.....they didn't kill the male lead! Only Carmen! I was surprised! But Nicole didn't understand what I was complaining about! lol! I guess I will forever be a music nerd!!! hehe! The next morning Nicole and I took a day trip to Seoul to go visit our friends Julie and Suzy! We went Norebonging and made complete fools of ourselves passing the microphone around and singing all crazy like and dancing around our little room....I'm quite glad that nobody else could see us!!! HAHAHA!!! We wound up singing and playing around until about 4:30 AM! lol! Time flies when you're having fun! lol! On Sunday after we woke up we decided to head back into the main part of Seoul and wander around some more....When the sun went down we headed to the City River Walk to go see the Lantern Festival! It was very pretty filled with many lights and awesome and elaborate lanterns in the water!

Jason is back at the school so I have to give him back his E.C. classes and now I have a brand new bunch of classes for only 3 weeks....then I will have another new bunch of kids. But now Jake is gone, and Nicole has taken over most of his classes and we have a new guy. His name is Alex Feinberg. He seems like he will be an interesting addition to our small group of teachers! My classes now are a couple Memory Mega and Giga classes Jrs and Srs. and then I have Par listening, which I was ACTUALLY TRAINED IN!!!! lol....and I also have a couple Birdie Reading classes! 30 hrs per week, not including the prep that takes MUCH longer than prepping for E.C. classes!!! haha!

Just Kiding, I only had kids for two weeks then we had a new arrangement for the last week of the semester b/c the married couple didn't want to stay the ONE WEEK past their contract to help us out. So, now Shaun and Stevie are gone. Good thing or bad thing??? hmmmm? Here is our group now... (Left side of table to Right side of table: Mr. "fix it" the bus driver, Nicole, Michael, Angela, Vicki, "Buddah" the Boss Alex, his beautiful wife Erica-EC study mngr, Alice-Front Desk, "Pregnant" JJ- the Face of CDI, Gloria-Memory study mngr, Me, Mellissa-Head Instructor, "the new guy" Alex, and Jason-"the Super-Sub".....behind the camera is the infamous Kate our Branch Mngr.)

By the way....Thanksgiving has now come and gone.....but i'm in Korea......what did we do for the Turkey? They don't exist over here in Korea.....UNLESS.....You know someone on Base!!!! HA! Yes, we had a friend from the church that I have been going to, go and buy us a Turkey from base since he is a military man! We celebrated at a friend's apartment, who has an oven.....we call her "oven girl" or Caitlyn for short!!! haha! It was a big feast and a bunch of us church people and different English teachers from different schools all crowded inside Caitlyn's massive(I mean "massive" for Korea) apartment! It was fun and I got to know a lot of people that night!

Before the new semester starts, some of us decide that we need new shoes and clothes and just stuff....So, Caitlyn, Jenny, Hannah, Melissa, Angela, and I all take a trip up to Seoul. We get there Sat. night and Angela loves us and she has like a MILLION Points for upper class Hotels....SOOO...... she got us two rooms at the Rennaissance Hotel in Seoul! Very VEry VERY nice hotel! And very beautiful filled with tons of Christmas decorations and a beautiful Christmas tree! LOVED IT!!! Then the next morning we had a complimentary breakfast and we all went to a Church nearby....I really liked that church, I almost wish that I lived in Seoul so I could go there every Sunday! After church we checked out of the hotel and then went to Itaewon to go shopping! I got a really cute pair of "Ugg-like" boots! I was just happy to finally see my size shoes at any store!!! I miss having shoes that are in my size and clothes that are in my size.....none of that exists here unless you're a size 12 and under pant size, Medium sized top, or a size 7 & 1/2 shoe size or smaller!!!! It's crazy!!!! But at least I now have some warm boots for the cold weather!

New semester at Chungdahm!!! Yay! Its the first week of December now and it's a new semester. This means that I finally get to start fresh with a group of my own students! Not just a class that has been shuffled around from teacher to teacher, but ALL BRAND NEW CLASSES!!! Most of the kids haven't been together before so they should be fairly quiet the first week or so.....and this will give me a chance to lay down the rules and start my classroom how I want it! (This has actually worked out quite well until just recently---Jan 26, 2010)

This Winter semester I got some EC Sr. EC class only had one student and he dropped about 4 weeks into the semester....that was longer than what I was expecting him to stay without any other classmates!!! Then I also got 2 Bridge listening classes and 2 Birdie Reading classes.....both groups I have the Jr.s and Sr.s! The Senior classes I struggle with a little b/c I have a hard time getting them to interact not only with the lesson but also with eachother....they are at the awkward stage so they don't want to contribute to the conversations....they don't like it when I mix girls with boys for the thinking projects and without their interaction it makes it soo hard to get class rolling! Generally once we get past the first hr of class, then they start to open up and answer more questions. (Picture.....all three girls-Alanna, Tara, & Kelly on one side while Jonathan is on the other least they're close, now it's a matter of getting them to talk to eachother)

Christmas has come and gone family got about 2&1/2 feet of snow! Sooooo strange for Oklahoma! I am sad that I miss it, and I am really really missing my family and friends has been 4months since I left Okla. I can't believe that I have already been here that long. For my Christmas I was supposed to have to work, b/c it was Friday and Christmas isn't widely celebrated in Korea....nothing like America where EVERYTHING shuts down for at least the day! But on Christmas Eve after I got off work I went and spent it with the girls from my lovely Bible Study Group and a few other people from church and CDI...Caitlyn, Paige, Jenny, Hannah, Melissa, Angela, Christiana, Josh, and Erin. We made a Christmas dinner and watched a Charlie Brown Christmas and read the Story of Jesus's birth...then while we were all doing our own thing, we each slipped out and put gifts into the stockings and at the end of the night we opened our stockings with all of the wonderful little goodies! Then the girls all stayed the night at Caitlyn's and we woke up Christmas morning and went downtown to watch a Sherlock Holmes in the theatre. After I left the movie, I went and caught up with some more friends and new people....I met up with Arfaq and we went in search of my friend Emma's apartment....after about an hour of trying to get there we finally made it and Melissa came and rescued us from the cold! Then inside was Chuck, Emma, Mikey, Amy, Dana and her BF, Alex, and some other people who I cannot remember their names!!! lol! It was a good time and dirty santa was very hillarious to watch!!! and you can see some of the awesome items that they "won" in the pics below!

The next week at school we start Intensives....what are intensives??? Well, public schools do not have classes during the month of January, so as an academy we take on more classes for the month of January. now we are not only working in the evenings from 3:30- 10PM....but now we have to work in the mornings as well from 9:30-1PM then a break until 3:30....but by the time that you walk someplace to get dinner and then eat, then it is nearly time to be back at, it kind of feels like I'm working 12 hr. days! UGHhhhhhh!!!!!! I see these students 3 times a week for 3 hours each morning and then some of them I see later in the day in my other classes! That's a lot of seeing that one student!!! lol!
Another schedule used to be wake up at about around doing errands or whatever, then go to work at about 2:30-3:00 Prep for class, 4:00-start my Jr. class and class ends at 6:55, 7:00-start my Sr. class and that class ends at 9:55 PM. finish up and get home at around 10:30 PM....Grab something light for Supper, then go out for a walk if the weather is nice enough, get home around laundry and check e-mails while I call friends and family back in the states (b/c it is about 9AM for them) then wind down and go to bed at about 3-4AM!!!! Then wake up at noon and do it again! Now that I have these early classes I have to change my sleep schedule....which also meant less talking to friends and family.....AND I've REALLY BEEN FEELING HOMESICK!!!! WHY NOW!?!?!?! hahaha! Its not that bad I promise!

The good thing: Intesives only lasted for a month....and during that month, we celebrated the new year and on the first day of intensives it snowed a few inches so all of us teachers went up to the roof to play in it!!! I also had my Birthday! I'm 24 yrs old.....seems soo wierd! I'm getting older but I don't feel like it, I still have the same body, I still have the same face, I still have the same mind....but I'm older.....hmmmm now I know why old people always say..."I may look old, but I don't feel old!" This year on my birthday my co-workers brought in a cake and lit the candles and popped the party poppers and then after work we all went down to a place called Billi Bow....they have this game where the set up looks like miniature bowling pins....BUT, you bowl them down with a pool stick and a cue ball! i like it a lot! b/c I can hit a pool ball straight, but I can't control a real bowling ball!!! haha! I enjoyed it, then a week later we went ATVing for my birthday! I'll have to get some pics from that! but I really did have a lot of fun!

The Intensives are OVER!!!!! I can have my mornings back to sleep in!!! :-) Now we are in week 9 of this "semester" so we are prepparing the students for their level up tests once again! Then Next week they will take the Level Up tests! so much stress for the kids...Especially from their parents...but for me, I've got two nice and easy weeks!!!

Let me tell you my weekly schedule now (even though its going to change very soon):

Monday: 4PM-7PM: Jr. EC4

Tuesday: 4PM-7PM: Jr. EC4
7PM-10PM: Sr. IRB (Interactive Reading Birdie level)

Wednesday:4PM-7PM: Jr. IRB

Thursday: 4PM-7PM: Jr. EC4
7PM-10PM: Sr. BL (Bridge level Listening)

Friday: 4PM-7PM: Jr. EC4

Saturday: 10AM-1PM: Jr. BL or Late Sat.'s are 2:30PM-5:30PM
1PM-4PM: Sr. BL or Late Sat.'s are 5:30PM-8:30PM

And that basically catches you up on my busy crazy 1 day weekend life!! I'll try to post more often!!!