Teaching English in Daegu, South Korea!

Archive for the ‘Living in Daegu’ Category

Snow Post acting as a Snow Dance.

Snow. You always want it when you can’t have it, and want it gone when it persists. Here in Daegu, snow is somewhat rare. Not counting last year where it snowed quite a bit and for an extended period of time… None the less, I want some snow! I want to walk and see my foot prints. I want to make a SNOWMAN! I want to see the city turn white. I want to see it slow down a bit. I explained the concept of a snow dance to a couple of 5th graders yesterday…I hope that they really understood me and did their part. I certainty did.

School is out, but the kids don’t really get a break. I see kids out and about, at school, heading to their hagwons. None of them are just playing or relaxing. Neither am I! I have 3 weeks of winter camp and I have already finished 1. It went really well. I am starting to get the hang of camp! It is now week 2 where I am teaching the beginners alone. They are all 3rd graders with a few 4th graders. We are studying about winter. Today revolved alllllllllllllllllllllll around snow. We read this book:

This book is about how a little boy begins to see a few snowflakes but everyone around him is doubting the snow. As he says “Snow doesn’t listen to the radio. Snow doesn’t watch T.V.”

Counting the snowflakes.

The kids listening to Snow.

So I am hoping that this post acts as yet, another snow dance. As I started this post it was snowing, tiny little flakes. Since then it has stopped : / We got a few hours of snow on New Years Day but it didn’t stick anywhere except peoples cars. If you have snow please, send some my way!!! Next weekend I will be going up north in Gangwon province to an Ice Fishing Festival. It looks really exciting and FULL of snow! Jeff might even jump in freezing water to go fishing…aka CATCH a fish. ahh!

 

UPDATE: 10 minutes after writing this post THIS is what I saw out of my window…   ; )

Outside of my bedroom window. : )

Can you see the snowflakes in the light?

It’s so Pretty Outside!!

Fall in Korea is really beautiful. There aren’t drawbacks like strong winds, rain everyday- like Spring. Spring is pretty but man, its hard to be outside with the beautiful-ness when you feel like you’re going to get blown over or you don’t have a paddle boat or something. So yes, fall wins. The other morning I was walking to school along my students, practicing English and whatnot. I just looked up and realized how beautiful this morning was. I had to capture it.

The view from my building. That mountain is Apsan (front mountain, har har)

This beauty is in the front of my school.

I had to blog about fall before it goes away. Its a matter of days now. The rain will come and all of the leaves will be gone, so I am enjoying it while it is here! 🙂 To Palgonsan I go this weekend!

From 1:08:56 to 1:03:13.

I like running. Whoa, it feels weird to even type it, let alone say it aloud. Since moving to Korea one of my friends (Bridgette) somehow got me into running. Waaay back in November she proposed that we run the Daegu marathon together. I, naively agreed to this proposition. I didn’t even know how long a marathon was to be honest. I can tell you that when I did find out, I nearly pooped myself. So I settled on running the 10k. I had 5 months to train for a 10k- more than manageable. The only thing was that I hated running. Every time I got on that treadmill I was only thinking about WHEN I COULD GET OFF OF IT.

Daegu Marathon April 10, 2011.

The week prior to the Daegu Marathon I was a wreck, I was really doubting whether or not I could complete the 10k in under 1 hour and 30 minutes. Although, by this time I actually am enjoying running- I’m still a beginner! Luckily, Lana came to Daegu this weekend to support me and she kept me from going insane.

The day of the race I got really pumped up~ the vibe around the race was so exciting and it felt so good to be a part of it!

Daegu International Marathon. He is the Daegu man!

With a little help from my ipod and this little magical gel and all of the adrenaline from the cheerers on the sidelines I was feeling really good during the race.  I paced myself with my friend Bridgette who is a runner and we finished together!!!! 1 hour, 8 minutes and 56 seconds!

The short shorts girls leading stretches!

 After a group stretch led by girls in very short shorts we made our way to the race line. “The Daegu running crew” which consists of my friends Erin,  Bridgette,  Kristen,  Ann Marie and Jezebelle stood at the starting line for what felt like an eternity. (Although Kristen wasn’t participating because the day before she ran a FULL MARATHON, her spirit was with us!)

Deagu International Marathon.

Before the race...

My first 10k!

Bridge and I finishing the 10k together!

We got a medal!!!!!!!!!!

Seongju. Sunday, May 22, 2011.

In the time between the Daegu race and the Seongju race I hit the gym for realz. I was determined to beat my time. Seongju is where my friend Jez lives just outside of Deagu, so we all took a trip to run in her town! It was a beautiful, sunny day- perfect running conditions!

Seongju Chamoe Melon Festival,

Stretching before the race!

PIGHTING!

The Half Marathoners!

The 10kers.

Ann Marie finishing strong!

I wanted to stop running so bad.

Erin finishing with her friend she made along the way.

Kristen finishing with an impressive time.

Jez finishing her first half marathon with her friend she found along the way! haha

THE ONLY PEOPLE CHEERING IN THE WHOLE TOWN!!!!

Seriously, the biggest difference from the Daegu race and the Seongju race was the LACK of people cheering for you!! It was so eerie, but we were the loudest people in the town haha. Cheer!!! Its a race!!

arrrrggg.

During the Seongju run I was able to shave off 5 minutes off of my time! I couldn’t be more proud and it only makes me want to keep improving and keep running!! : ) Next up, Jeju-do marathon.

Recently…

Instead of reading something about my rambling on and on, I am choosing to tell a story of what has been going on or what I have been doing for the past…while. I REALLY want to blog more often but sometimes I am so very tired at the end of the day. Anyways, I am alive and well just surviving the yellow dust season- it just started so..

Recently, I ate.

Steak...with cheeseeeee @ Hoban on Suseong lake.

Eggs Benedict @ Daily Bread in Downtown Daegu.

Red velvet cup cake among others from Hello Cupcake, I believe. Downtown Daegu.

Recently I went outside…

Pooch down the street.

Spring came for a day and went away for another month.

Duryu Park.

Speck of yellow dust and a sun set.

Recently, spring came.

Hello, Spring!

Zingin in the Springin!

Suseong Lake.

Seusong Lake!

Also…

I got a package (some swag) from the Daegu Marathon People. Daegu Race is soon...

Just for fun.

Can you find the foreigner?

Seongdangdong.

Truck load of shrimp.

 

Lost Footage: My New Roommate-Moldy Molderton.

A few months after I moved into my apartment I began to feel really happy with it. Hanging pictures up, rearranging things to optimize my space. I started think “oh my, this apartment is so cute.”

One evening, back in October, Jeff and I were eating dinner and I was looking past his head and I saw a black mark on the wall. I assumed that I had bumped it with something that was black. I got up to take a closer look at it…

it was black…

it was fuzzy…

it was alive…

My first sighting of the mold.

Another view of the black mold growing on my wall.

There was mold growing on my wall. Before coming to Korea I was frightened by the prospect of mold growing in my apartment after reading about Jimmy and Rachel’s experience on their blog. (Strangelands.) They had a mold problem but theirs was more of a mystery about WHERE the mold was.

The black mold was cramping the style of my beautiful, flower wallpaper as you can see.

After my discovery, I was so shocked. I didn’t even know what to do next. It wasn’t even hot outside! How could there be mold growing on my wall? In an open area, really? I decided not to touch it or else it might want to release mold spores and get in my lungs to make them bleed! …thats worst case scenario… I also had to hurry to Korean class downtown so I couldn’t handle it just yet. During class all I could think about was what that mold was doing in my apartment. Was it throwing a party? Was it growing bigger,  bigger and BIGGER!? On my way home I picked up some clorox bleach and a few other gadgets to try to work some anti-mold magic.

The result of my purchase…

 

I tried to kill it with bleach but all I managed to do was find out that there was more underneath and ruin my wall paper.

Gah, I just felt more scared after splashing mold on it and trying to just ‘grab’ the mold. IT really didn’t work that way. I ended up doing anything I could to try to get rid of it. I have never really dealt with this type of a situation but I am sure that this was not right. To add another factor in- I have  an allergy to mold so I was really scared about my breathing. So, I did the only thing I think of. I used plastic.

 

My attempt to NOT breath in the toxic mold fumes was to put a piece of plastic around it and SEAL it off. Ultimately it became a really great breeding place for more mold.

 

Yeah, so I found more mold. Yeah, so it might not have been the brightest thing to do but  I was desperate.

 

Breeding ground.

 

 

 

 

 

I broke down after this, I called my coteacher. I might have sounded panicked and hysterical. (note to self don’t ever do that again.) She said that she would come to my house the next day.

The next day…

My coteacher seemed really short with me, and was kind of avoiding me.  She didn’t want to discuss the mold whatsoever. Actually, she thought it was very funny that I was reacting so strongly. I tried my best after that to be as calm as possible, but come on, it was my health. At the end of the day we headed to my apartment. After taking a look at it (through the plastic barrier) she went to get the landlord. The landlord came to look at it and didn’t really believe it was mold. She needed her husband to take a look at it, so he would try later that night or the next night. It was the next night.

The next night, I dropped my keys off to the landlord and headed for Korean class. I asked my co teacher to please explain HOW important it is to keep the plastic on. whether or not that plastic was doing anything, the placebo effect was working on me. After class I came home to the plastic on the floor along with little bits of mold. It was basically just ripped off and exposing itself to the rest of the apartment. Thanks. They were unable to do anything else until the next Monday so I stayed away from my place for the weekend.

Monday ( a week from the first sighting) the job was going to get done while I was at school. As it turned out, the prior tenant wanted to hang a picture up on his wall, thats fine. The only catch is that all of the walls are solid concrete. Oh, this didn’t stop him. He took a nail and a hammer and he hammered that nail in nice and good. So good in fact that it was rest in a water pipe. That puncture to the water pipe had grown bigger and water was running into the wall, causing mold to grow from under the wall paper.

 

The crack in the wall from the previous tenant who wanted to hang up a picture on a concrete wall with a nail.

After they 'patched' the leak in the pipes and re-cemented my wall.

Currently, over this giant patch of exposed concrete hangs a picture that Jeff and I painted together in Jinju at the light festival. Thats my Moldy Molderton tale, and I hope to never meet him again.

20 3rd grade Korean Students. Me. 2 6th grade Korean ‘Teachers Aids.’ Ahh Winter Camp ^^

Winter vacation is over and done with but it was a whole mess of fun. The whole month of January and most of February Korean students and teachers are on break. Aside from the couple of teachers who come to the school to “keep it from being stolen,” no one comes to school. This is where Native English teachers come in handy. We are required to come to school everyday whether or not you have a class to teach. You might be asking yourself- what do you do then? Well my friend, welcome to Korea, where deskwarming is a part of our professional job. Many people have blogged about this before, my friend Erin talks of her deskwarming conflicts in her blog. Anyways, this is not the point- but I am deskwarming RIGHT NOW.

During Winter vacation I did not have to desk warm because I was crazy busy with my own winter camp.  I was given full responsibility for 3 weeks of winter camp. I would not have a Korean teacher there for those tough language barrier experiences. Well, I had a KT there twice a week, but…she saw it as my camp so stayed away. Whatever. I was determed to show my entire school that I can teach. Before WC started I got so many looks of pitty. “By herself?,” they would say. “Oh good luck.” “How will you discipline?” “How will you blah blah blah…?” The same way I do with every class- make sure they know what their expectations are. I had a week before WC started officially at school and I was busy rearranging the room from a rigid in rows type of feel to a group vibe.

One group. Yes they are still in rows.

Wall of helpful phrases. This saved my life- I used it too!

I was able to set up the room pretty much however I wanted. I wanted groups, stations and an accessible library. I set up a system for game check out and gave students about 30-40 minutes at the end of the day for some choice time.

 

My co teacher and my four 6th grade assistants helped me to compile this list of useful phrases. My co teacher wants to keep it during school- yay! So onward I went for 3 full weeks of camp from 9-12:10 every day.

Week1- 3rd graders. Oh boy was I nervous for the first day of Winter Camp. It’s not like I hadn’t overly prepared for it but I really didn’t know what to expect. I had prepared something for them to do when they showed up, so the students had something to transition themselves into camp. They all learned how to write their names in English by the end of the week because every morning they practiced writing their name about 10 times. The theme for this week was- me, me, me! Some highlights from camp can only be followed up by their adorable pictures. My words wouldn’t do them justice.

Tracing each other while studying body parts, they thought I was CRAZY for suggesting this.

Self- portrait from the beginner camp.

We had a nice batch of snow : ) We wanted to make a snowman together!

Don't be fooled. She wanted to throw that at someone.

Studying 'likes' and 'dislikes.'

I do not like what...

Oh, I don't like bags= bugs!

I know its crooked, but he does not like crows...he hates the sound that they make.

This song was learned about different ways to answer the question- "Hello, how are you?"

The first closing ceremony of Winter Camp.

I didn’t want this group to leave. By Wednesday we were all in a groove and I got to know them all a lot better! Even though we had a language barrier we all had our laughs and little class inside jokes. It was a nice feeling. I miss having one group of students to teach all day- makes me really miss Mrs. Taber and our 2nd graders last year. I didn’t have too much time to think about how much I would miss this group because I had to get ready for the 4th graders next week!