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Showing posts from November, 2006

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…

Click!

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 kimbap....do you think they have it?