Teaching English in Daegu, South Korea!

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Don’t Offend Rice.

Rice, it’s everywhere.

I repeat, don’t offend rice. Recently, I have been trying to cut back on my rice intake- 3 times a day may work for some but personally for me that is a whole lot of rice. One day after lunch my co teacher’s and I were chatting THEN one of them brings attention to the fact that I did not finish my rice! *GASP*

A typical school lunch. (Clockwise from top left: kimchi; stew of pork, onion, cabbage, hot pepper, potato, including blob of gochujang; boiled cabbage with sauce of soy, sesame oil, chopped garlic, hot pepper, scallions; soup of fermented soybean paste, seaweed, scallions, greens; rice.) See the amount of rice!

(picture above by Blake and his blog about his school lunches here.)

They grilled me about why, what was wrong with me?? So, I told them one of my reasons for cutting back on rice…I think it’s making my butt big!

… the looks on their faces.

shock.

horror.

disgust.

“Korean people believe that the rice is the most healthy thing for you.”

“My husband, and me included, believe that you should rice for breakfast, lunch and dinner to stay healthy for your whole life and to lose weight.”

Now, some may disagree and say things like; “Look at the Koreans they are so skinny and they eat rice 3 times a day.” I have thought about this and I have come to the conclusion that my body may not work that way. Eating 3 + helpings of white rice a day, not for me.

I have my personal reasons, more than my giant butt. It could also be the late night pizza in a cups, or the fact that I sit on my ass at a computer for 5 hours a day. Whatever the case may be I think that my cutting back on  rice intake is my decision…

Currently, I am being monitored at lunch about how much I eat. With comments like “Oh, aren’t you hungry?” I appreciate their concern but seriously!!

I would just like to reiterate that I don’t think rice is the sole reason for my giant butt. I do think that there are a lot of benefactors to having rice in your diet. I am not quitting rice, just taking it easy for a while. Just to show that I am not prejudice against rice I would like to refer you to Free Rice to donate rice to the World Food Programme.

Also, a cool site I found among my surfing was this blog, about school lunches around the world!

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New Years in Busan or Pusan.

Here is South Korea December 31st isn’t as exciting as Lunar New Year. A lot of the teachers were dreading this day because when it turns to 2011 from 2010 that means that they are not a year older already. Birthday shmerthday, in Korea we all turn a year older at the same time! So my friends and I went to celebrate our birthdays in Busan on Haeundae beach.

We made our way to Haeundae beach and ate amazing Mexico food; something that Daegu NEEDS.

My burrito. I know that my dinner is not that exciting but I miss this food so much.

At midnight Sean said that there would be a fireworks show on the beach. We all rushed to see that there was a fireworks show on a different beach somewhere in the distance haha. Luckily Jeff and Kyoung Ok had bought some fireworks for us to use!

Happy New YEAR!

Fireworks on the beach.

Oh Matt, happy new year!

By now, we all have fireworks and our fingers are about to fall off because it was so freaking cold.

We had a great time with the fireworks show we put on but that is not the main attraction for this beach. Haeundae beach is famous for the sunrise on the 1st of January. Something that all of us were striving for seeing. Unfortantely, I am an 80 year old woman and definitely did not make it until 7:34 am. Some of my friends did though- My friend Franki and her crew stayed up to see the sunrise. She explains the struggles and successes in her post about A Guide to New Year’s Eve in Korea.

Some photos of the sunset from Haeundae from my friend Dave- –

Happy 2011, now that its almost February…

RingDingDong and Gee

Okay. So the girls who clean my room in the morning wanted to switch up the English music that I play for them for a Korean band. I agreed. This was the first song they wanted to listen to…I am kind of obsessed…

RingDingDong by SHINee

THEN, they wanted me to play this song by SHINee…

As I turned on the song I had a feeling that it may be saying naughty things. Then I looked up the lyrics in English and TURNED IT OFF!! Below are the lyrics-

Yeah, my girl

I’m an idiot
Your unforgettable love,
The final tears
Are ripping away at my whole heart
It’s ripping away,
(I’m Sorry) I’m so sorry

I thoughtlessly walk
Wherever my heart takes me
It seems I am looking for
Those that look similar to you
I’m still standing at the same place
It almost seems like you just tapped my sagging shoulders
And hid from my sight
Why are you not there? can I not see you?
Are my eyes looking too far?
I trusted that I could love again
Still you stay, branded in my heart unmoving.
What do I do?

It can’t not be you.
I am so miserable
That I realized this now
The pictures
Make it look like I am still your love
The heat of your body and your face
I can still feel it
Deep inside my heart
Still I have romantic in my heart
I want to go back.

So many days I had
Everything of you.
But why is it (baby why)
That now (tell me why)
That I can’t find you?
I’m so frightened that
In the places where our memories are deeply embedded
That I may (I know) see you there with the perfect man.
I trusted that I would meet a love like you again
The pain of you branded in my heart is death
What do I do?

It can’t not be you
I am so miserable
That I realized this now
The pictures
Make it look like I am still your love
The heat of your body and your face
I can still feel it
Deep inside my heart
Still I have romantic in my heart
I want to go back.

I guess I’m exhausted.
Left alone I wander,
Looking for the love left in the empty space where you were.
I’m begging you to look at me.
Look at the one so similar to you
This ordeal is too much for me

It so much worse than simply waiting
I became so similar to you that I copied even your habits
There is more of you inside me than myself
I wanna be, wanna be your man
Let’s go back to the way things were
I want be reborn as a man that loves you
I won’t hurt you ever again
Can I go? I wanna be… I won’t let you,
Be your man

It can’t not be you
I am so miserable
That I realized this now.
The pictures
Make it look like I am still your love.
The heat of your body and your face
I can still feel it
Deep inside my heart.
Still I have romantic in my heart
I want to go back.

It can’t not be you
I am so miserable
That I realized this now.
(Your unforgettable love,
The final tears
Are ripping away at my chest
Leaving only scars that will never heal
Leaving me as my miserable self
I’m so distressed, what do I do?)
The heat of your body and your face
I can still feel it
Deep inside my heart.
Still I have romantic in my heart
I want to go back.
What do I do now?

Another song, my co teacher showed me that she likes which we later showed to a class of screaming 4th graders is by Girls Generation.

“Gee” by Girls Generation

Just for fun…here is a little 2 pm. The bad boy group. 2pm and 2 am used to be one group called…wait for it…ONE DAY. haha 2 am sings ballads and they are crying in the rain while 2pm pumps iron and splashes each other with water from hoses haha. The main guy is AMERICAN hahahahaha I love it.

Thats my K-Pop news for the week ^-^

JinJu Light Festival

A little back story to the festival.

“The yudeung (lanterns) that are floated along the Namgang River in Jinju commemorate the anniversary of the Jinjuseong Battles that took place during one of the most violent parts of the Imjinwaeran (Japanese Invasion of Korea starting in 1592). In October of 1592, General Kim Si-min gathered no more than 3,800 soldiers to miraculously defeat over 20,000 Japanese troops invading Jinjuseong. The ‘Jinjudaecheop (Great Victory of Jinju)’ immensely heightened the pride of the Korean nation and has become a much-celebrated part the country’s history, marked annually by the Jinju Namgang Yudeung Festival.”

http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/SI/SI_EN_3_2_1.jsp?cid=697197

I got a similar story while talking to my co teacher about this festival. She mentioned that during this invasion the Japanese soldiers would take company with Gisaeng (Korean women entertainers.) One in particular Nongae, seduced the Japanese General while on a rock that over looks the Namgang river. She attacked him and locked her fingers around his body and fell into the river- never letting go. She wanted to kill him but in return she sacrificed herself.

 

Nongae. She was very respected and now there is a shrine with this picture on the cliff where her and general fell in the river.

 

 

A painting of Nongae conquering the Japanese general.

 

On Saturday we woke up early and walked to the bus terminal (thats right by my house!!!) and hopped a bus to JinJu for 8,700 won. Aside from the screaming baby next to me, the fact that we were sitting in the very back in the elevated seats I slept and it only took about 2 hours.

Once we arrived, I don’t really know what was happening- I was just following my teachers who speak Korean. Jeff and I could relax and enjoy the fact that it felt like summer further south. Humidity was back but NOT nearly as bad as orientation. We stopped at a restaurant along the water and ate eel. I am pretty sure things got awkward as I keep hearing my teachers explain that “Eel is good for stamina.”

me: “Oh, well good!”

Co teachers: “haha well, Jeff you should eat more eel. See, men should eat more eel. For stamina like at night.”

*blushing*

Co teachers: “Men will fight each other to be able to eat the tail of the eel. They believe that it is very good for them.”

me: “Jeff theres the tail! You’re supposed to eat it!! Eat it!!”

*giggles all around*

Before I spoke, I didn’t realize HOW awkward that was. I looked at Jeff and he was red, I could feel my face getting hot. I made them all laugh so that is worth something. ^-^

The rest of the day was walking around the festival and visiting the national museum in JinJu. While we were inside the museum there was a sudden DOWN POUR! The rain was reminiscent of the rain we saw in Seoul the day before Chuseok (which i still haven’t blogged about…) It was crazy- people were coming from the woodwork to stand under the roof of the museum.

After the museum, we walked across the Namgang river to walk under tunnels of lanterns that were lit up to represent 1 Korean soldier who had died during that invasion.

We were able to make wishes and attach it to our “Year of the (insert here)” We are both Year of the Tiger so we found what looked liked like a tiger and found a good spot. It was a really great day and even though it got super rainy and muddy and my shoes are probably ruined- I’d recommend it!

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NOA will be coming…soon?

Below is the e-mail I got…

Dear EPIK applicants,

EPIK announce that NOA will be issued starting this week. EPIK’s first policy is first come first serve and your document package will apply this policy as well. If you will receive NOA and final contract earlier than other candidate then you have passed interview and completed document screening process earlier than other candidates.

So now I am waiting. I am plaaayyying the waiting game for some more time. I recently joined a facebook group called “EPIK Fall 2010.” It has been so neat because I am meeting other people who are moving to Busan and everyone seems like so much! I am kind of sad because some of the members began receiving their contracts today- or at least an email with the tracking number. I am sad that I haven’t! I want it!

Well, I am getting really good at the waiting game soo…..

Sin Firmar

Grr!!!!!!!!!

Right when I think that it’s all Jeff’s fault for holding up our Visa processing pro-cess. I get an email today.

“We got a message from EPIK that they were doing the visa processing and found that there is signature missing and they are requesting you to send with hand signature on documents as soon as possible..

To make sure the visa processing keep going, you need to send me scanned one first via e-mail and send rest of documents to Korea directly as soon as you can..”

I mean, it only takes like 5 freakin days to send something from Portland Oregon to South Korea!!! ahhh I think all of this work will pay off, and make it so that our trip and school years start off really smooth.

So after a long day of teaching 2nd graders I was running back and forth between the office and my classroom scanning and signing papers! My recruiter received them via e-mail but now I must send the hard copies tomorrow. Sounds easy, but I am sure I will run into some sort of complication. : ) Wish me luck!

Document Terror

Oh vey.

This weekend I received quite a shocking letter from Portland State University. They mentioned that they were actually not going to register me for CI 515 (a required class) that I had some registration problems with. Without this class, I couldn’t graduate, get a degree at all, get a license, get my job in South Korea! This 1 credit class could seal my fate so quickly? I wasn’t going to let that happen. I emailed my professor and she was quick to respond (even though it was Mothers Day!) What I ended up having to do is creating another class CI 507 and it is a class that is equivalent to CI 515 BUT for some freakin reason they wont let me register for that! Now I will probably have to defend myself when it comes to licensing time and say that CI 507 is CI 515. Ugh. I look forward to this following me around all of my teaching career.

That was not the only document that I was needing to take care of. I was needing a letter from the Department Chair of my program  saying that I am on the right track to getting my Masters degree. Not only did I need that letter, but I needed to go to Salem to get it Apostilled. One good thing about that was that I got to see Jeff : )

Once I had that, that was the completion of my documents process- other than running them down to Joyce at PSU!

(a picture of Jeff and my completed documents!)

Once I was done apostiling my letter Jerf took me to lunch : ) Once I made my way back to Portland, I got a phone call from Craig and Joyce in the ballroom. I ran up the stairs and handed over my documents! It was bitter sweet. I found out that I didn’t attach things that I was supposed to, ugh, and I was supposed to have 2 pictures of my passport. I hope that it will be okay. If not I will be prepared to drive it to Joyce!

At the end of the day:

-I am registered for a reflective practice class (although sounds different is the same class)

-Joyce has all of my documents and she is sending them to South Korea tomorrow. She is saving Jeff and I a lot of money on postage : )

-I drank a margarita with Lana : )