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Showing posts from September, 2006

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.

No Sleeping, Just Teaching

Well, it has been a busy week for the A-D team. We are now covering all of the morning classes as the two other foreign teachers have left.

We will be paid overtime, although I'm not sure it will do us any good if we are dead from exhaustion by the end of the month, which is when we're being told we will have new teachers.

There are many more thing that have taken up the week but it's not appropriate to go on and on about it here, at least not until we have new teachers in the school.

The snakes have shed their skins and we're are being treated pretty much like gold, as anyone who can read between the lines can imagine.

Without us at this stage, there really isn't anything 'foreign' about the hogwan.

We're hoping to also push for a full week off in October as opposed to the Tuesday, Thursday Friday that we were supposed to get off for the Korean Thanksgiving, Chusok.

I think we'll need it after the next couple of weeks.

To top it off, the strange hayfever-…

Snakes in the Grass

Yes, you may have forgotten this popular saying with the Snakes-on-a-plane talk going on all over the internet - and I can only assume it's in the papers and on tv, some new thriller with Samuel Jackson and the craziest gimick title ever.

Yes, the oringinal snakes in the grass has been coming to my mind over the last week.

To coin another movie phrase, Houston, we have a problem.

Living in Korea can sometimes make you feel like you're trying to avoid a snake in the grass at all costs. Or maybe it's more a wolf in sheep's clothing.

On the outside, all Koreans are courteous nice, polite and welcoming. Always wanting to make you feel at home and shower you with hospitality.

I've read to be careful of those wanting to give you something as it's never something for nothing. So, I know, free dinners, free drinks, free anything is not actually free.

This is true everywhere, but there just more subtle here.

And that's not to say they are insincere. Sometimes by just being…

There is a Season Turn Turn Turn

I got my house back! I finally live again in a house. There are multiple rooms.

I was so excited about this fact that my body actually woke me up AN HOUR EARLY which enabled me to sit in my LIVING ROOM leisurely reading my book.

I don't know how people live in bachelor apartments. I really don't. I have lived in a very small one bedroom apartment (with another person, so this goes to show you how close we were, also considering people were taking bets on how long we'd be friends after squeezing ourselves into the place for a year).

Yes, so small tiny apartment is one thing, one room is another.

We're also getting set to go through another adjustment. Our American friends are going home. Their contract isn't up until February but the girl, L, has serious back problems and they're just not going to get better on the old beds provided by the school.

So, we know their leaving and now we must wait to see who the new teachers will be.

We've kinda gotten into a good gro…