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Showing posts from 2006

Merry Christmas, Everyone

So, I'm a bit late with my well wishes but MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY NEW YEAR to everyone.

D and I are off to Tawain tomorrow evening and I can't wait. I probably won't be posting while I'm away so this will be the post 'in your face' until I return.

And, the joke that never gets old, see ya next year.

I'm So Excited...and I just Can't Hide it


People, HOW GREAT is it to walk?

Last night, I was given the a-okay from the doctor to walk again.

"Good" he said "All finished'.

That's allI needed to hear.

I shreiked with glee, shook his hand and wished him a Merry Christmas. And I wanted to hug him. But instead, I just kept saying 'gamsahamneeda' and Merry Christmas, through a gigantic grin to all the hospital staff.

And although there is still quite a LOT of pain in walking (think of the entire bottom of your foot badly bruised. Then walk on it) I am amazed at how the ache is not affecting my ability to smile with each step I take.

I am me again. I haven't felt like this in awhile. And I can't tell you how grateful I am for the mobility. I suppose you can get used to anything and if I ever permanently lost the ability to walk, I know I would turn lemons into lemonade but just waiting for the cast to come off was more than I could bear.

I have a pe…


You know that feeling that you get when you've been at work too long? When you know you need a break? When it's the little things that are driving you crazy?

Like, you're pretty sure you aren't NORMALLY this pissed off at an elevator that stopped to pick people up? Or the sound of your coworkers voice is becoming just too...much...too...bear?

See? Similarity. We are the same. Or I'm just the same crazy as I am everywhere else.

I suppose I'm lucky to get a week off at Christmas as our Korean teachers are only being given like 3 days - not really even enough time to jet off to Jeju Island - although, with tempertures trying their hardest to hit zero (people: I can't resist. I now have WINTER to complain about again), I can't imagine why anyone would go to an island.

That being said, D and I are set to spend a week in Tawain. Not exactly the Thailand I was hoping for but definitely a good deal since we only found out about 2 weeks ago that we would actually be…

Hite and Soju

I am now the proud owner of the tiniest fish you could every imagine, named in honour of all that makes Korea great, Hite (the beer) and Soju (the drink).

They were a housewarming gifts from the two Brit boys, B & M, who, after many late night trips to Homeplus, decided they needed to purchase something a bit more substantial then cabbage and soju at the superstore

I feel very lucky to have found such wonderful friends in such a short period of time.

Our house party was a magical night, full of laughs, drinks and unfortunately for my guests, TOO much Christmas music (Thank you DJ B for reasoning with me and getting some music that EVERYONE wanted to enjoy).

Plus, I have two little swimmers to remind me not only what a wonderful night we had but also, what great people there are on this planet.

Oh the Weather Outside is Frightful

But at least the sun is shining. And there isn't any snow.

But there certainly is snot somewhere in Korea because all my kids keep skipping school, only to return days later to say, "Teacher, skiing' or "Teacher, snowboarding". A bit surreal when there's no sign of the white stuff where I am.

I am getting a little more giddy about Christmas, if only because our advent calendar has gotten to the point where there are TWO chocolates each day which means I get one too and not just the chocolate monster I live with.

Also because I'm around kids all day and they're getting excited - so much so that they never sit down for more than 5 minutes and are continually saying 'game teacher game' or 'free time'.

Yes, free time. Trust me, I'd like some more free time too. But that will not help you learn english. And the nerd teacher in me is far too dilgent, even for a Friday afternoon.

So, I'm finished for the week and am ready to leave my cold…

Radioactive? No Problem!

You can never really get through a day in Korean without someone saying something is either 'good for health' or 'bad for health'.

They seem to be a culture obsessed with being healthy. That and if you're a woman looking younger and being skinny. So, not far off from Westerners then.

Except perhaps things that I've always learned make the most sense to stay healthy.

Like washing your hands before you eat. And after you go to the bathroom. Not sure what bathroom sinks are meant for as Korean women are usually stood in front of them, preening themselves, looking ready to pounce on you if you need to get through to wash your hands.

And then, there's the temperature. It's always cold. I have seen women in the saunas throw down cold water where they walk or where they were sitting after they leave, in an effort I can only guess to 'cleanse' the area so that someone else can sit in their place.

But, it's...cold...water. You can't freeze the germs a…

Cast Day - Not to be confused with Cast AWAY

People of the world
Every boy every girl

(Spice Girls? Anyone? C'MON who DOESN'T remember girl power all packaged up in skimpy outfits?)

Today is the day I go visit the doctor to see if I can become cast free.

I'm not getting my hopes up - as D and teacher B have been telling me all week, along with scolding me for any pressure applied to the foot by myself - so I'm really just looking for some finger crossing.

I have been a very good girl for the most part and have done minimal walking...I please, Internet, if you could all cross your fingers and your toes that the TINY TINY FRACTURES will now be healed.

Either way, a big glass o' red wine is in order for this evening.

My Toys are Books

When D and I had a roomate P, I remember one of the running jokes was 'I didn't have any toys. Books were my toys.'

They used to say it in this voice that made it sound much funnier than it now looks on screen and I'm sure it was passed down from many a night with his O-dot friends but as with many of their jokes, I can never really remember who started what. I'm sure neither can they.

But the phrase struck me today, as I was observing one of my classes in what we call the Block Room - essentially a room full of oversized Legos and a great place to give the kids a 10 minute break from the insanity. Yes, because it's the kids who need the break from the insanity. Uh huh.

So, on this much needed break I happened to observe one of my bright young ones, Little B, kinda looking around at the other kids, nose scrunched, mouth curled, as if someone had just offered her the most disgusting thing to eat.

Me: Little B, what are you doing?

Little B: Teacher, no block room.

Me: …

Korean Drivers Manual

1 - First and foremost, you are the only car on the road. Please drive this way.

2 - Be sure to keep a tally of the number of pedestrians you hit. 10 points for old ladies, 20 for young children (they can run faster you see). You can also add 5 points for each near miss and pat yourself on the back for trying.

3 - Red lights can tend to get in the way of your driving. Simply proceed through them if you need to. Honk your horn to make sure the cars that actually have the right of way know you'll be sailing through the intersection.

4 - Signalling is recommended but your car does not have blind spots. Just go ahead an change lanes.

5 - It works best if you keep one foot on the gas and one foot on the brakes at all times. This will allow you to continually pump the breaks all the way down the street avoiding 'other cars' while still revving your engine and going at the speed of light during those intervals when you are not slamming on your brakes. (By 'other cars' I mean …

Happy Anniversary M & D

When I was in my teens, I would get the occasional guilt pinge (well, as much as a self centred 16 year old can get) of not really DOING anything for my parents' anniversary.

I heard of friends buying lavish gifts, organising dinners, putting together surprise parties and I suppose I thought, 'am I sucking at this daughter thing?'

On her anniversary, my mother always used to say, "It's not today that matters. It's the other 364 days of the year."

Part of me thought that was a score for me - (my mother is the least guilting person in the world and we actually have to REMIND her that sometimes, as the person that laboured not only to bring us into this world but also to raise us right, she is, on occasion, entitled to throw some good old mother guilt our way.) Part of me wondered, oh my god, will Chris sit next to me in music class? (did I mention I was 16?)

But most of me didn't realise exactly what she meant until I fell in love with D. That it really is…

What's Up With These Scary Animals??

I found another cheeky monkey:

Another day of kid pics - you'd think I was getting a bit broody? Ha ha... Mostly I believe it's because I'm thinking of Little Miss NA, my middle-namesake, who has been very ill over the past couple of weeks - she scared a lot of people back home with menegitis and I wish I could be home to give her a great big hug. But I hear she's getting back to her normal little cute self and for that, I'm very happy. Fingers and toes crossed she continues to keep smiling.

And the pics are back...

Check out this cutie:

Welcome little Miss SC. Thanks for brightening my Friday.
You look pretty hip in this outfit:

I actually bought this for you when I was still living in the land of Green in Belfast. I had forgotten all about it but remember picking it out. You look even sweeter than I could have imagined the outfit looking.
And it was just the shot from back home I needed.
Keep up the cuteness!

A Brighter Day

After a great weekend of mild socialising, a great movie and a Korean wedding I feel fantastically refreshed.

Now, if I could only get this new blogger to allow me to post pictures!! I think it partly has to do with the computer I'm on at work but it is only giving me a blank box with no editing functionality.

So, the cute picture I was going to post today will now have to wait another day!

The Korean wedding - mostly like a western wedding except that all of the guests have their picture taken with the bride and groom and immediately after the ceremony, people just eat.

There's no waiting for the bride and groom - they didn't even EAT in the room we were in. There's no speeches or fond farwells or boo hoos. There's just eating. A LOT. This wedding had EVERY SINGLE KIND OF KOREAN FOOD available for you at the buffet.

And of course hobalong couldn't really browse properly - although I must admit I did try and put a little too much weight on my foot I'm sure (but …

Bad Foot Blues

I have been humbled by my recent foot injury. I am shocked and amazed how it seems to be taking it's toll on me.

A few things come to mind:

Of late, I have been an fairly active person. In Belfast, I went to the gym quite regularly. Not only was this good for the muscles but (and here comes the broken recored) it was good for my mental health as well.

Recently I've started exercising again and was feeling so much better, so level. Not irritable, not cranky, not anxious, not weepy. Just plain good.

I have also always been the type of person who does actually appreciate the fact that I CAN walk. That perhaps is sounds a bit more pretentious then I mean it as I can't really reach into everyone's brain and see if they perhaps have the same feelings but what I mean is simply this.

Whenever I would contemplate NOT going to the gym, I would simply motivate myself and say 'Well, at least you CAN run. Think of all those people that can't exercise as easily as you can' an…

A Bit o TV

D and I are lucky to have purchase a DVD player when we first got here and now, watch mostly TV shows that we haven't had time to watch over the past 4 years what with the travelling, and working and oh well let's get serious the DRINKING.

When we ventured up to Seoul the last couple of times, we headed to the electronics market, near Yongsan Station to stock up on movies and full series of shows. Can I tell you HOW MUCH I'm loving Sopranos and Six Feet Under? Both were shows that I would only catch on and off over the years and it's great to actually watch them back to back. Like a show is meant to be.

Next, I'm determined to stock up on Sex and the City, the West Wing and that new fun one Big Love.

(As I read this back, who knew I had something to say today? Sadly it's about television. At least I haven't mentioned the WEATHER in awhile...which if anyone is interested, is quite crisp but not yet that cold that I'm feeling like it should be DECEMBER TOMOR…

Keep Up the Great Work!

I'm discovering yet one more teacher task that is much more difficult than I could have ever imagined.

Do you remember when you would get your report card? If you were a big nerd like me, you were waiting to read all the insightful and poignant words that you teachers would have written about you. Waiting to hear how they thought you were a 'genuis' and felt 'immensley fortunate' to have such a 'incredibly studious' student among their presence.

I'm in the middle of doing the kindergarten reports and I'm realising there are only so many ways to say 'you're kid's doing great' or 'you're kid needs to practice more' or 'your kid needs to stop punching all the other kids so he can avoid spending the entire class in the corner and then maybe he could actually LEARN something'.

Here's a few phrases that I've been using - translated from teacher speak to teacher thoughts in case any of you can't read between the…

You're It

Well, I've been tagged. Basically like a chain mail except it's from another blogger that I read.

I've seen these before but have never acutally found one interesting enough to respond to. Not sure many people actually care what my favorite colour is or whether I like vanilla or chocolate. Then again, perhaps no one cares about the below but I suppose I'm partly posting for my own reflection in years to come...

Do you like the look and contents of your blog?
Some days. I read back on some entries and think, 'could I BE more boring?' I suppose part of me would love more pictures but part of me likes to create a image with words - how often that happens, I'm not sure. As for the look, orange and blue are my two favorite colours so couldn't really see it any other way.

Does your family know about your blog?
Yes, they do now. Since I've been in Korea a lot more have been reading. And I must say, makes it easier than the group email sometimes! I don't rea…

It Could Have Gone Terribly Wrong

When it comes to 'stuff', a lot of it is important to children.

Take crayons, for example. Or should I say colouring pencils as they are now referred to. They have been upgraded since I was in love with the 124 colour wheel by Crayola (r).

They are now full fledged pencils.

I was doing a craft today with my little kindergarten Peach Class. My craft consists of colouring, cutting and pasting. Listen, people if TEACHER can't do the craft, then TEACHER looks a bit like an idiot so TEACHER chooses crafts wisely.

Things were going well. No one was fighting over whose colouring pencils were the best. No one was trying to make trades - say their 'nude' for someone else's 'sea blue'. No one was yelling (in Korean) at other kids for stealing/hiding/eating their colouring pencils. All in all, it was a good day for crafts.

Then it happened. Generally sweet and innocent, little K asked little R politely AND IN ENGLISH I MAY ADD if he could please borrow her brown colour…

A First Time for Everything

I spent the first quarter century of my life in a land with ample amount of ice to slip on. Never once did I break any bone.

Now, on the other side of the world and NO ICE to be found and guess what? I've actually taken a tumble, worthy only of ICE RIDDEN STREETS and broken my foot.

I was taking a quick break from class to stock up on some Vitamin C drinks (which you need I find GREATLY as you are constantly around kids who seem to pick up EVERY SINGLE COLD GOING!!) when suddenly, I lost my footing.

It was one of those really good falls too. One you wished you had videotaped so you could watch later along with the rest of the people who bit their bottom lips, stopping themselves from guffawing.

One of those arms-flailing-legs-balancing trying anything in your power not to go down and praying all thos crunches and plank poses you did will definitely how pay off and save your back.

Being a certified wuss, I don't know if it counts when I say the pain was un-real.

I'm thinking I ne…

It Only Takes One Trip

I have a longer post to write, although it may not be until Monday.

I don't want to alarm anyone who may actually know me but for the first time in my 30 years I have broken a bone.

Nothing exciting, just slipped and fell outside the Family Mart and cracked my foot.

What we thought was a sprain turned out to be a break and now, half cast and all, I'm the hob-along-teacher, bossing children all over the place to carry my books and get me water.

If I knew the royal treatment I would get, I would have broken my foot months ago.

Mother Ship and family posse - never fear. Will talk to you tomorrow.

Rude and Crude

When shopping for shoes on Saturday, K and I encoutered the most horrible lady I've ever met.

After saying our 'anyongasseyo', as politely and most accurately as we could, she just grunted.

I pointed to the bottom of a shoe, which had the shoe size I wanted, and she sort of just grunted again.

Moments like these make me want to scream 'DO YOU WANT ME TO SPEND MONEY HERE OR NO?'

But I was calm. I figured it was simply a culture miscommunication and so, I patiently waited for her to undo the plastic bag (no shoe boxes here) that had the pair of shoes I wanted.

I slipped on the shoe, which was most comfortable and actually had an open back that I thought would be easy and comfortable for teaching.

(Note: It seems many Koreans buy these types of shoes. I finally realised that the number of times they have to remove them to sit down in restaurants or going into homes, what's the point of laces and backs of shoes?)

K and I assessed the shoes a few more times and I realised …

Oooo Ahh It's Friday..

When I was growing up I used to listen to a radio station in Toronto called 680, which was basically a top 40 station that included not only the most cheesiest songs of the day ( can you say New Kids on the Block and old school Maria?)

In my small town we never really got great reception so I can distinctly remember straining through the crackles just to hear 'the best' DJs - being 'the best' because I was like 16 and I wouldn't listen to like anything that wasn't like the best like c'mon are you crazy or what? du--huh...

One of the DJs' names was Tarzan Dan. If you're from around Toronto - or any small hick town that might have gotten the least bit reception - you may have heard of him.

I can't really remember much of his schtick when I was younger, I just remember his name, remember that EVERYONE loved him and that someday, if I could (sing it with me now) make it there in the big T. Dot, then I would have as fabulous life as he did. Or at least …

Some Potty Talk

We all do it - just perhaps a bit differently in each country.

I'm hoping to eventually get a shot of a public bathroom here in Korea but I think I will save that for a picture day.

What I can tell you is that as easily as picking up chopsticks and not thinking about it has become, so too has squatting to take a piss.

For most comfort, Koreans sit on the floor. They have rubbery bending legs that allow themselves to sit in the frog position the majority of the time.

Or if they're not squatting, it's the crossed legged look, backs straight, legs intertwined.

As you get older - well as I'VE gotten older - sitting in this position has not really gotten easier but I am constanly amazed at the speed and gracefulness with which these Koreans fold-and-sit as though they were as limber as a kindergartener.

So it makes more sense to not have a toilet in most public washrooms but to have a squatter or perhaps the more polite term would be 'female urinal'.

This is perhaps the be…

A Whole Lot of Pointin Going On

Now that we've been spending time with other foreigners, I realise how LITTLE we actually know of the Korean language.

We have, for the most part, been able to get by with what we know (this seriously consists of 'thank you' 'hello' and 'yes') and I suppose one could continue down this path but I figure if people will take the time to speak English, the least I can do is try.

Numbers seem to be weird. There are two sets for two different types of numerical meanings. Great. So not only do I have to memorise the words that mean the numbers but I have to figure out whether it's talking about what time it is or what number of soju bottle I'm on.

The ignorant part of me thinks, hey, fingers work! 'I want 2 beers. Yes 2. See? I'm holding up 2 fingers. I can't imagine needing any more than 10 of anything at one time. I am blessed with 5 digits on each hand so I'm in a pretty good position to not have to master numbers.

But then the worldly part…


It was like a switch just went off in my brain and suddenly I just felt like I was at home.

Perhaps it was last week planning Halloween, a holiday that was so wonderful in my youth but was a bit lost over the past couple of years. Well, not so much lost as there was always a party but I hadn't really dressed up and didn't EVER see trick or treaters.

And I just suddenly felt like a kindergarten teacher. Just that.

Perhaps this is weird to say (or read) because well DUH isn't that what you do?

But it was like I no longer felt foreign. I no longer felt out of place or amongst strange people. It was like I have this job as a teacher and in the evenings I go home and watch English tv and on Wednesdays I meet up with other foreigners and on Fridays I meet up with them again and life just continues on.

This is the first time in years I've been hanging out with North Americans and I forgot how much easier it is sometimes to just be with people that have grown up similiar to you - e…

The Dragon, The Tiger and The Korean Lady

This is the scariest dragon I've ever seen. (Thank you E for sending me a shot of the Tyeger)

This Tiger might scare me a bit more if it could stop smiling with those cute dimples. (Thank you S for sending me a shot of Mini Skinner)

The scariest picture I could find this Halloween has go to be The Korean Lady:

This is me dressing up in Korea. The kids looked at me a little strange as to them I was not 'dressed up' but hey, could you imagine me walking up Yonge street in this outfit? Or perhaps down Boar Lane in Leeds? No, I know, DEFINITELY my shopping outfit for Castle Court in Belfast.Then it's off to White's Tavern for a pint of Guinness and perhaps some you think they have it?

C'est Halloween

It's been a long time since I've actually been excited about Halloween.

They don't really DO the holiday in the UK, except of course to have people dress up and get drunk at parties but that can happen on any random weekend so it doesn't really count. I think more and more kids are getting used to trick or treating but not in the extravagant way it happens in North America.

But this year, as last minute as any Korean event can be, we are gearing up for a big party and haunted house at the school...tomorrow. Too boring to explain why but the good news is that it gives us another day to prepare ourselves...since we only started planning YESTERDAY!!!

Needless to say, although it's tuesday I probably won't have time for a longer blog and thought I better get something up here since I haven't updated since last week.

Looking forward to getting dressed up, handing out candy and scaring the pants off little children.

Also battling the bird flu virus of colds (which is …

Panic Attack

So, I attempted to update my blog last night AND this morning to find that there was something up with the site.

It wouldn't have been SO bad if I hadn't just recently realised that I don't have a back up of the writing that goes on here and have only started to back it all up.

What weird karma it would have been if it was all lost just days after I decided to keep. The universe really works in weird ways.

So, I'm off to finish backing up all the content today, now that it's back up and running.

In the meantime, I'll leave you with a few things weirder than the blogger karma that was bestowed upon me.

Lately I feel a bit spoiled for choice on what to write about here as I've got this energy back that keeps me observing things left right and centre. And of course, I'm not one to keep quiet about my observations!

But since I just uploaded more pics I thought I would bring you the weird wacky world of English Signage in Korea. Call in konglish, call it grammatic…

Another Lesson in Taking the Simple Things for Granted

I have never really been vain about my hair. I'm always quite confident that no matter what happens, I will like the cut and hey, if all else fails, it WILL grow back.

When I was younger, I would go for months at at time without getting it cut. This is why in many of the photos of me in highschool you'll see a very Crystal Gayle looking figure. That's until I got the Jennifer Aniston, which sadly, after most cuts, my hair seems to still look like after all these years.

(Ask my sister C about when I get my hair cut and I'm confident she will roll her eyes, smile and say, oh, so you're back to the Jennifer look again?)

I went through a dying stage but it was VERY brief as I suddenly realised there was UPKEEP involved. C'mon people UPKEEP. You mean I have to SCHEDULE IN hair appointments to keep it looking like this? I've now decided no dying until I see a gray hair. Sadly, I can't go by when my mother first started going gray because she was a 'natural&#…

That is So Typical Me

I have this annoying habit (okay I have many but this one of them) of simply trying to 'do things my own way'.

I have never been good at direction and for some reason I have this part of my brain that when I take on a task, no one else has ever done it before. Or more importantly, they may have done it but I can figure it out myself, without assistance.

Sans help.

Uno. Just uno.

Last night when we were out with a bunch of foreigners at this cheezy American style bar (which, we have discovered, has foreinger night not just on Friday but a good crowd comes on Wednesday and it so breaks up the week. Plus, D found not only dudes to play basketball with but their Canadian AND they walked in with hockey gear last night after some ice time at the local centre. And he wanted to go home after dinner....thank goodness for my rubber arm!)

So we're out with these foreigners and this lovely lady L who is 60 and has been teaching for probably about 40 years starts telling me about all these …

Some Random Facts about me Today...

Four jobs I’ve had:
* Babysitter
* Waitress
* Reporter
* Telemarketer
(funny enough in that order)

Four movies I can watch over and over:
* Office Space
* Dirty Dancing (of course I'm a girl from the 80s..or is it the 90s? Okay I'm just a Dirty Dancing girl)

Four places I have lived:
Ingersoll (okay, if people don't know my real identity now, I think I've just given it away)

Four websites I visit daily: - cause she's so crazy - cause Leta's just too cute - woo hoo! Canada rules!! - a bit o unbiased news...well, as unbiased as news can be...

Four places I would rather be right now:
With my family
On a beach
In a pub
In my bed

Four bloggers I am tagging:
Umm...I'm not sure any bloggers acutally READ this site but hey, if you do, go for it..

Get a Load of this Cute Face

How could you ever get angry at this one?

(And um yes, I'm talking about the kindergarten student. The Korean one.)

Fat Wrist Girl

Just thought I'd share with you all my most recent lowest of the low.

You know you need to lose weight when...the bracelet that once slid with ease up and down your forearm is now stuck in its place.

Oh dear. Too bad I all my fat pants are in a box on its way back to Canada.

Get a Life

The past week and a half have been so dramatically different than our 3 previous months here.

We have been out pretty much every night, not exactly Belfast style, but just getting out of the house and enjoying adult English conversation.

With our new teacher B and my new best friend K - she's a girl from Michigan who we met a few weeks back by chance and we clicked instantly. She's Korean American teaching here and lives right near our hogwan so it's easy to just meet up with her. Plus, she's a fellow Gemini and you know how us crazies get on - anyway, with their introduction into our lives it feels a bit like we now have some...lives that is.

I suppose that was one of the biggest adjustments. Not having a social life and not being able to switch off from work. D and I did a good job on the weekends simply saying that on Friday night, no more school talk. But during the week, we couldn't help but moan a bit about our days. And we had holed ourselves up in our apartmen…

I'm Such a Star Sign Junkie

Okay, my favorite crazy aunt posted her usual monthly horoscopes and I just couldn't resist posting mine. If you know me, it's not really that far off...

GEMINI (May 21 - June 21)My most favorite Gemini recently turned 62, cashed out all his stock in a Big High-Tech Company, and bought himself a brand new Corvette. HE IS SUCH A GEMINI. Hi wife, a darling Cancer, probably had a near heart attack. Geminis are always being characterized as impulsive and selfish. But I'm going to teach ya'll a great Southernism you must embrace: ya'll are just particular. It's not that you fly by the seat of your pants, always running afoul of the boring signs with your hedonism and impracticality. Ya'll are just particular, see? You have needs, and while they may not mesh with anyone else's vision of reality, ya'll just keep on down the path to crazybones because you know, you KNOW, that when you find happiness you better damn well be driving a fun car. Amen.

See? I'…

A Clear Head...almost..

Any of you who know me well, or perhaps have read this blog for awhile will know that I have recently (meaning in the past two years) become a fitness freak. Actually, FREAK maybe a bit harsh as i'm not the 5-hours-a-day type freak but I'm certainly one that feels my brain needs activity to function normally.

Our school has finally hired one new foreign teacher which has a) lightened the workload and b) given me a social outlet - two things I was in dire need of at the end of September.

A relaxing week of shopping, eating and drinking in Seoul didn't hurt my situation either.

But now, after waking up last night about 4 different times, I realise that I need to become active again.

Insomia is not a cool thing and mine stems mostly from anxiety which I seem to not have any of when I've got the good old seratonin going.

In Belfast, the gym was right across the street from my house AND had all these amazing classes that kept me interested and well, fit.

I'm not really that h…

And Then There Was 3

We welcomed another foreign teacher to the school on Sunday night. We went with our director to pick him up from the airport. And then in Korean style, we went out for food at 10pm.

I already feel lighter. Things feel like they're coming together.

To make matters even sweeter, he's from England, near Leeds and is everything I have missed about the old place. What a great reminder from the 'old country'.

We have a break after today and I don't expect to be blogging much. We're off to Seoul and then maybe to Busan on the weekend - I never turn down an opportunity to get to the beach.

Thanks to everyone for your emails, comments and maybe silent thoughts. Your karma and kind thoughts have lifted me just as much as the bloke from Yorkshire.

The Never Ending Quest to Save the Planet

This is a picture of our sink.

It's quite large in size and is actually much better than two sinks beside each other. (A's Kitchen Remodelling Tip #1.)

This is what you would assume is a garbage disposal - and what we assumed the first day we moved in. You should have seen how apprehensive we both were to put our fingers near it. Suddenly turning into one of those bad sitcom jokes where the dumb dude puts his fingers directly in the sink only to have them sliced and diced by the disposal.

Ah, but presto as in the magic world that is Korea, things are not always what they seem.
TA-DA! It's a removeable basket. So the food can collect and get all gunky in here as opposed to the pipes. Just another way you can SEE and SMELL the way you are making a difference.You cannot see from his picture but the deep cylinder in the sink has two holes along the side to let the water through. Well, that's after the water gets through the mesh.This is a must for the lazy cooker. Potatoe peel…

This is the Way Spa-ing it is Done

They have places here called jjimjilbangs that are essentially a little piece of heaven and are exactly what spas were meant to be.

Imagine 5 different whirlpools, all with different temperatures, a hot sauna, a wet sauna, various 'vanity' sinks at which you can sit and groom yourself and to top it off, two ladies at the back giving the best scrubs, rubs and massages you can imagine.

Massages and rubs that cost LESS than 3 gin and tonics at Morrisons in Belfast. That's only 2 hours worth of drinking...

Okay, now suspend belief a little while longer, try not to get weirded out and just simply take all your clothes off.

Then, just walk around like it's totally normal, because everyone else there is naked so there's nothing really to the fact that you're naked.

I'm think this may actually beat out Body Pump at the gym. I never thought I would say that.

But skin has never looked or felt better. I was so relaxed and yesterday, I could even feel the toxins leaking out …

What 5 Minutes is Worth

I decided I would begin to write a blog exactly when the class bell rings just to see how much I could actually write in 5 minutes.

We are now being told that as of November, we will have the same schedule every day and it won't include any breaks from 2pm to 7pm (or roughly there about). This is not including the two hour long kindergartens classes we have to teach in the moring. I guess we do prep time in our sleep????

But we WILL be given 10 minutes in between each class.

This is 'a lot of time', as per the new manager that started when we did at the school.

I'll be interested to see if this makes me more tired or if 10 minutes is really enough time to regroup and get your energy back in front of kids.

As usual, we weren't going to be told until the last minute. It was only because we asked for a meeting and because we impressed the importance of us having input into the schedule considering we do teach the classes.

Korean culture is very much 'do as your told'…

This is the Way We Compost our Food, Compost our Food, Compost our Food

(facinating how teaching kindergarten gives you this 'gift' to turn every normal sentence into a song. Sing it with me now people....early in the morning)

I thought I would give you a little glimpse into the Korean proceedure for disposal of your food garbage. When I first arrived from un-green Belfast (yes, I said it. Belfast is not green. I don't care what the leprecauns told you! them or Westlife!) I was at a loss to figure out just HOW I was going to manage all the extra time and effort it takes to actually NOT BE A TOTAL WASTER.

Now, it seems a bit like second nature.

In every household in Korea (or at least every KOREAN household as the foreign one we moved into was NOT equiped with the following device giving me an ever needed excuse to A go shopping and B spend money) the following bucket.

This looks like an ordinary bucket but I can assure you my friends, it is not. Watch as the magic unfolds:There's another bucket inside! This smaller bucket is where the food sit…

A Little Bit Fishy

We spied this beauty in a fish market near our house. I don't know if it really illustrates just how weird it is to walk along a vegetable market and come across this. A squirmy, squiggly, live octopus. Just out there. To be bought.

When I took this picture, the woman who runs the stand came over and started speaking to me in that-language-I-cannot-speak. My instinct was to get scare, as I always do when I 'get in trouble' and apologise for taking a picture of her wares.

D pointed out that perhaps she just thought I wanted to buy it. Umm ya, well I guess that would make more sense.

What brings me to finally post it today is that we have not only witnessed an octopus-to-eat live, we've EATEN it. Okay, well when I say 'we' I me D but since we do the highs and the lows together, I might as well take credit for his bravery.

We were out with the teachers the other day for a much needed bonding eating session. They took us for sashimi, kind of like sushi but without the…

Rainy Sunday

The weather gave us a gift this weekend. It was horrible.

We had planned to head straight from work on Friday to take in some sights in Busan, but the rain poured down and threats of a typhoon kept us away from the seaside town.

It was a blessing in disguise as what we both really needed was to do nothing all weekend. We are still covering off shifts which means we are working a lot longer with a lot more kids and that means more energy and time spent not only teaching but perparing.

By Friday, we were both so wrecked. We made a pact that there would be no negative school talk - sometimes we can't resist telling each other what our little ones do like when James tried to eat paste or when Alex kept 'cheating' all the other students - but it was more to keep the negative vibes of the politics surrounding the current work environment.

It amazed me how on Friday night, after a couple of glasses of wine and a hour of no negative work talk (NNWT), we felt refreshed.

For the next few…

Let's Lighten it up, People

So, I've had a few intense blah blogs and thought I'd lighten it up a little with these pictures:

Nothing says hot holiday like a tank top. This was in a historic village in Seoul. I could have hung out here all day. It was so peaceful.

Sleeping area - hmmm..not quite sure about that. Bascially a gym mat on the floor. No wonder they drink so much Soju here. Makes it easier to just pass out on the floor.
A little proud moment - our Canadian representation in the Korean War. This was at the War Memorial in Seoul. Such a fantastic museum.The gate of a tomb of some famous dude. I find the wood work facinating. After seeing it in pictures so many times over the years, it is quite surreal to actually see it in person.
The birthday boy's food spread. I'm telling ya, I'm getting to love all this food. And the whole chopsticks thing? Well, it feels TOO WEIRD to even use a fork now. Although, the Koreans are still kind enough to always bring them to us.