The all female Amazing Race teams dominated this season. I was rooting for Brook and Claire, but they definitely made their mark in the Amazing Race history books (I wonder what their final kiss count was ha). Hopefully we'll see them in The Amazing Race: Unfinished Business (Feb. 20th)! Anyways, I just wanted to point out the last three pitstops on The Amazing Race.
Hong Kong: check
Los Angeles: incomplete
I think it's a sign that Los Angeles is my next calling.
Saturday marked my one year anniversary of being in Korea. I've said it before and I'll say it again... I can't believe it has been a year. I literally remember every detail of the night before I left: Glee season 1/part 1 finale, BW's Most Fascinating People of 2009, my mom repacking my suitcases for me (good call and thanks), a huge snowstorm headed towards the midwest and a sushi tray from Meijer (not so glamorous last meal). I've had one of the best, most fun-filled years and it's not even over yet!
Soj Countdown: FOUR DAYS!
Shanghai Countdown: 10 days!
USA Countdown: 15 days!
PC Reunion: 17 days!
The ladies before my last night out in Time World!
Everland is Korea's version of Disneyland. I've never been to a park around the holidays so it was fun to see it decorated for Christmas. Even though it was a bit chilly, we still managed to go on some rides, pose with characters and I even had sauerkraut!
I didn't really have Thanksgiving in December, but I'm just now getting around to writing about it. Erin and Lucas were gracious enough to have a bunch of people at their place in Seoul for the weekend. Even though I wasn't surrounded by family, it was comforting being in an amazing (understatement) apartment, filled with delicious food, friends, and Taboo. It was a great kick off to the holiday season!
The last Thursday in November without family, food, my fat pants on, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, an afternoon nap, and games just didn't feel right. I'm heading to Seoul this weekend to celebrate with friends so hopefully that will make up for the lack of turkey I had today.
I hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday!
P.S. Happy (belated) Birthday to Scott and Happy (early) Birthday to Soj!
Its been awhile, but I'm back in action... making kids cry that is.
It seems like all of my students are extra sensitive these days.
One boy was playing around with his pencil case and distracting the rest of the class. After asking him to stop and put it away (a few times) I took it away from him. He got so upset he burst into tears.
Lining up is obviously a huge deal. On this particular day a boy lost at rock, paper, scissors (it was supposed to be fun) and was last in line. Boohoo.
Perhaps it's only child syndrome, but this one girl didn't get the part she wanted during acting, pouted, and started to cry. I did not let her change parts... I'm so tough (ha).
Today, all I heard was "TEACHER! John laughed at me! (put her head down) and waaah."
I used to compare living in Korea to living inside a video game, but now I feel like it's more of an amusement park and far away land: bright, flashing lights, k-pop music, random carnival games on the streets (punching bags, claw machines), characters aplenty, balloon animals, and to top it off a corn dog stand just opened outside my apartment building. The Galleria department store is also decorated like a carousel (see my birthday post) with tons of pretty Christmas lights surrounding it. All that is missing is a little disco dust (TCJD anyone?!), rainbows and unicorns. La-la-la-la-laaa.
If you remember back in February I mentioned that I was randomly spotted on the busy streets of Seoul by an old friend I used to go to church with. Well, two weeks ago I ran into him again! It's still hard to believe we met the first time let alone a second time in Daejeon of all places, but like before it was so nice to see him after all of these years.
My student, Silver (seed 2, miniature stature, says "huh" after everything), made this portrait for me. I made it extra big for you to see all of the details on it. Kids always ask me "Teacher, do you have a boyfriend/husband?" or "Teacher, are you married?" and the answer is always no.
How am I ever going to find a significant other when I look like this?!
This week my Sprout 2 lesson was about a lion who lived at the zoo. He had to pass a variety of hunting games so he could go to Africa to see his parents. Obviously, the story reminded me of "Christian the Lion" so I showed all of my classes a YouTube clip of it. This one's for you Ehoel. XO!
The other day I joked that I should do PR for the Daejeon Aquarium because after telling everyone about their grand opening and pink dolphin, everyone was planning to visit this weekend. Seriously, though. My students asked what day and time I was going because they wanted to go at the same time. How cute.
Anyways, the topic of this week's thinking project was good and bad luck charms. Because of all of the pink dolphin excitement, many students made pink dolphins their lucky charm. The pictures were actually really good.
It's hard to see, but she drew a red bow on it. P.S. This is the student who loves Hello Kitty and asked if stars had babies.
Such a good little artist, but camera shy.
Left: Alex. His sister lives in Chicago; Right: Peter. He's going to California next summer.
As many of you know, over the past few months I've been bragging about seeing a pink dolphin. I was first supposed to see them in Hong Kong and now at the Daejeon Aquarium. After a student told me a detailed story about his pink dolphin adventure at the Daejeon Aquarium, he had me convinced that it was open. Then finding their web site online, really had me convinced it was open and pee-my-pants excited. I got a big group of people together to go to the aquarium and marvel at the pink dolphin with me. We were supposed to meet in the lobby at noon today...
It's 12:05 p.m. and I'm sitting here writing this, not in the lobby, not on my way to the aquarium. Last night a Korean co-worker told me that on the Korean web site it says it's not open until next month. I really didn't believe her so I made her call the aquarium this morning just to make sure and...
IT'S NOT OPEN!
I still can't believe it.
I don't want to talk it.
I guess I shouldn't keep getting my hopes up because my pink dolphin sized heart can't handle all of the ups and downs of Operation: Pink Dolphin.
Until further notice, I'll be pouting the rest of the day.
Pepero Day is like Valentine's Day, but in November. The stick shape resembles the number one so Pepero Day is celebrated on 11/11. The past few days my students have forced Pepero sticks upon me and I just couldn't resist the chocolatey, crunchy "yummy." These sweet treats come in a variety of flavors and sizes and I may explode if I eat another one today. All of the convenient stores have had huge displays of Pepero sticks in anticipation of this popular holiday.
However, Korean age is always a year or two older than western age. When you are born you are automatically one year old. They count the pregnancy period as one year. They also count another year on the Korean (Lunar) New Year. So if you are born right before the New Year, even if you are only a few days old, after the New Year you will be counted as two years old. So in Korean age, I could potentially be 26 years old. Oy.
My birthday weekend started off with cake at work. It was funny because I left to grab some coffee so everyone was waiting for me. I had no idea until Gretchen texted me that we were having a meeting. I really thought we had a meeting, but then everyone surprised me with cake and champaign (well, sparkling cider). It was really thoughtful and the cake was delicious!
I had two friends visit from Incheon on Saturday. We had dinner, made the bar rounds and ended up at norebang. A few of my students gave me little stickers, a planner and even some of their pens and pencils! Once they'd see one student give me something, they'd dig through their pencil cases to find something to give me. It was so cute. Overall, I had a wonderful birthday and it reminded me how lucky I am to have such great friends and family!
Green, as in environmentally friendly (and Michigan State, of course).
Escalators- They don't start until someone passes through the sensors and steps onto the escalator. If no one is there, it won't move.
Recycling- At Costco, Starbucks, and fast food places the trash is divided into separate categories such as waste, straws, cups, lids, etc.
Color Coordinated Bags- Each type of trash and recycling has a different color bag. You also have to pay for your trash bags to help reduce waste.
Electricity- At hotels, in order to turn on the electricity you have to stick your key in a slot near the door. Not only does this help save energy, but it also minimizes your risk of losing your key.
Paperless Bills- I know this is common now, but it's very convenient to have your bills automatically taken out of your account or paying them online or through an ATM.
Paper or Plastic- I noticed a sign at Home Plus the other day that said, "As of :::date::: we will no longer sell plastic bags." Many places charge you for a bag, but now it's a thing of the past. Anyways, it's so much more fun to have a cute grocery bag than a brown bag.
I finally watched "The Sound of Music" reunion on Oprah and absolutely loved it. In honor of celebrating 45 years of this classic musical, here are a few (more) of my favorite things about Korea.
Umbrella Bags- You know when it rains and your umbrella gets all wet and then you go inside and it drips all over?! Well, Korea has this problem solved. At the entrance of all buildings they have umbrella sized plastic bags. You just have to put your umbrella in a bag and wahlah... no water. It's a lot more convenient than it might sound.
Cell Phone Charms- If you are a frequent The Real World: Korea reader, then you know about my love for cell phone charms.
Keyless Doors- You don't have to worry about carrying or losing your keys ever again. I have a nifty (yes, I just used the word nifty) key pad that opens and locks my door. It even talks back. Thanks to my advanced translating skills I'm guessing it says: locked, unlocked, wrong code, and when the battery is low.
Call Buttons at Restaurants- Wrong order? More water? Ketchup? Just press the button and someone will be at your service.
Elevator Buttons- Have you ever been in an elevator and a kid (or yourself) pushes ALL of the buttons and then you have to stop on every floor? In Korea, if you mis-push a button, just push it again and it comes undone. Also, the close door button actually works. If you push it, the door really does close!
K-Pop- Perez Hilton recently posted 2NE1's latest video on his blog. Love it.
There was this silly rumor going around that there's a shortage of kimchi in Korea. I guess because of the typhoon that hit awhile back, many kimchi farms (?) got destroyed and weren't able to grow kimchi. Let me set the record straight. The rumor is false. I have yet to experience any kind of kimchi shortage. Until then, bon appetite.
I hope everyone has a safe and happy Halloween! I went to a few Halloween celebrations and my pink present costume turned out exactly how I wanted it to. Here are a few pictures from last night's festivities.
Out and about in Time World.
An angel, devil, ping pong players, present and soju bottle.
Halloween is one of my favorite holidays and even though it's not celebrated here*, there's a small section at Home Plus filled with Halloween goodies. To spread the holiday spirit I put up a Happy Halloween banner in my classroom and the kids loved it! Unfortunately, this week they have to take achievement tests so there's not much time to have any sort of Halloween party, but they will be getting a special treat from Teacher Michelle on Friday!
*It's not stopping me from getting dressed up! Pictures to come. Clue to my costume: GIANT bow(s) and hot pink...
My Seedbed 2 "musical" is still in first place for week seven performances.
They're in fifth place in overall videos of all time for their level.
Their video has more then 240 views.
Keep in mind this is for all of April's in Korea. Yay! I'm so proud of my little kiddies.
The bad thing about "musical" weeks is that I constantly have the songs ringing in my head. This particular song was quite catchy. It went a little something like this and you can only imagine the motions that went along with the words.
Peter [Pan], a boy in one of my classes asked me the cutest question:
"Teacher, do you believe in Santa Clause?"
I obviously said yes and then I got all excited telling him about some of my holiday traditions. In another class somehow the subject of Santa Clause came up again. This class is a little older so they're at the age of believing vs. non-believing. Then (a different) Peter said this:
"If you believe in Santa then he's real. If you don't believe in Santa then he's not real. I believe in Santa, so I think he's real."
I thought that was a very profound statement.
Confession: I listened to Christmas music the other day.
I also saw that GLEE is coming out with a Christmas album!
Moments after landing in Hong Kong, our first stop was Disneyland! It actually worked out really well because we were able to get night tickets and since the park is so small it was the perfect amount of time to do everything. It was also the kick off to their Halloween themed park! All of the characters were dressed in Halloween outfits, there were zombies roaming around Main Street, special 3-D fireworks, and the most evil villain of all time, Maleficent, took over the park.
Gretchen used to be a character at Disneyland and one of her lifelong goals is to visit all of the Disney Parks in the world. Gretchen to Maleficent is like me to Elphaba. She's obsessed. Hong Kong Disneyland had all of the classic rides like It's a Small World (my favorite!), Space Mountain, Dumbo, the Teacups, and the new Buzz Lightyear ride. The best part about it was that the park was nearly empty so we never had to wait in line. I had a great time and it was the perfect start to our Hong Kong journey.
Welcome to HK Disneyland!
Some of the zombies roaming the park.
Donald Duck in his Halloween gear!
Disneyland wouldn't be complete without a picture with Micky and Minnie.