Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Busan or Bust

Since I survived shark diving, that same weekend I was able to see a few other must-see's in Busan.
  • Jagalchi Fish Market: It's the largest seafood market in Korea. Even though it smelled really bad, it was amazing to see rows and rows of different sea creatures. You actually pick out your own underwater animal and they cook it for you.
  • Busan Tower: It's the highest structure in Busan and has the best views of the city.
  • Haedong Yungungsa Temple: It was right on the water and had numerous temples, statues, and Buddha's.
  • Fuzzy Navel: Mexican food is so rare in Korea, but this place hit the spot.
  • Busan Aquarium: Obviously, the best part of the aquarium was shark diving, but it had some other interesting exhibits and who doesn't love penguins?!
Jagalchi Fish Market
Busan Tower
Haedong Yungdungsa Temple
Golden Buddha
Inside a temple. I love the lanterns that filled the ceiling.

Mission [Im]Possible

I think I spoke too soon when I told everyone I was going to see pink dolphins in Hong Kong. I was looking forward to go pink dolphin watching during my visit there, but due to a level three typhoon (no big deal), I was unable to see them. It's still a very touchy subject, but my pink dolphin dreams may still come true and it doesn't even involve another trip to Hong Kong.

My dive instructor happened to be from Daejeon and he confirmed that the rumor is true. The new aquarium in Daejeon IS going to have pink dolphins! This so-called new aquarium was supposed to open in August, so now I'm just crossing my fingers that it will be complete and filled with pink dolphins by the time I leave Korea.

Monday, September 27, 2010

People are Friends, not Food

Diving with sharks at the Busan Aquarium is just another thing I'm able to cross off my things to do list while in Korea. According to my Lonely Planet book, it's one of the top ten things to do in Korea and I'm happy I had the chance to do it.

Before the dive, I kept psyching myself out by looking at ridiculous pictures of sharks and watching Expedition: Great White (horrible idea), so I was super nervous going into it. We had some brief classroom training and then learned the essential skills in a practice tank. Besides learning how to breathe with the mouthpiece and tank, we also had to learn what to do in a few worst case scenarios.

The first scenario was what to do if your goggles flooded or got foggy. The instructor showed us what to do and what NOT to do in this situation. However, when you're underwater, breathing through a tube, then suddenly have water flood your mask and are unable to see, it's not always the easiest situation to solve. The first time I tried to get the water out (I still don't understand how it works) I had a minor freak out and did exactly what he told us NOT to do. I eventually passed the underwater test and then had to learn what to do if my mouthpiece fell out. This one was a bit easier, but it was still not the ideal situation. I guess it's good to know what to do in those worst case scenarios, but to be honest, I just crossed my fingers and hoped I wouldn't have to deal with a flooded mask or defective mouthpiece.

After freaking myself out by watching YouTube clips from Jaws, little did I know that the sharks were the least of my worries in the tank. There were sand tiger sharks and black finned sharks in the tank, both of which were totally nonaggressive. However, our instructor warned us about the giant groupers and sea turtles. The groupers were about eight feet long, not the most glamorous looking creatures and had mouths about the size of well... me. I think I laughed out loud when he mentioned the sea turtles because I immediately thought of the chill, surfer dudes from Finding Nemo. The previous day both the giant groupers and sea turtles were a little aggressive towards the divers. Luckily, during my dive, the groupers were pretty tame and the sea turtles were locked up in a different tank.

Once in the tank, it was a whole different world down there. The sharks were literally inches away from me and I even found a shark tooth! It was cool to look out and sea (ha) all of the people watching us from the outside. The actual dive was about 30 minutes and walking around on the bottom of the tank felt like I was walking on the moon (assuming what that feels like).

I'm still unsure if I'll ever get SCUBA certified, but I'm happy I had the experience of diving.

Pre-dive smiles.
Thumbs up!
Real shark... rawr.
First entering the tank. I look terrified.
One of the many GIANT groupers in the tank.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


I survived shark diving! I have all of my fingers, all of my toes, and even a certificate that proves that I did it. Unfortunately, I'm not feeling well and want to get better ASAP (see below!) so I'll write more and post pics from my weekend in Busan later.

I also just booked a last minute trip to Hong Kong! I leave Sunday and on the list of things to do includes HK Disneyland and a river cruise to see pink dolphins! No big deal. Eeek. I'm so excited.

Friday, September 10, 2010

:::Insert Jaws Theme Song Here:::

Many of you are concerned that I'm going diving with sharks on Sunday. Thousands of people have done it before and have lived to tell their tales*, so no need to worry. I just signed the release, rules and regulation forms and I assure you that I'm in safe hands. To put you at ease (ha), here is a list of some of the rules I have to follow:

  • Do not spread out and do not walk off by yourself.
  • Do not, under any circumstances, touch any of the animals.
  • When in the shark tank, keep your hands and arms close to your body.
  • Do not wave your hands or arms around at any time.
  • Do not bounce or do somersaults (darn).
And the best one...

  • If at any time during the dive you are told by your instructor to exit the water, please do so immediately in a calm manner.
I'm looking forward to this adventure. Many pictures to come.

I'm crossing my fingers that the sharks I encounter look like the one on the left.

*Some missing arms and legs.


I'm (slowly) in the process of redesigning my blog and while doing so, I came across the Stats tab. I didn't realize how many statistics were actually being kept until now. There's information about which posts have the most views, traffic sources and even where people who read my blog are from (shout out to Brazil, Germany and Belarus).

I'm happy to announce my blog has reached more than 1,000 views (1,084 to be exact). Even if 1,000 of those views were from me, that's ok.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Dropping the Kids off at the Pool

Wednesday is now the longest day of my week and I'm happy I made it out alive. I recently got an another class added to my schedule so instead of teaching six classes, I have to teach seven. It's an extra reading class, but it's less structured and there are only three students in it, so it's not so bad.

Anyways, in between classes, the students have a five minute break which is just enough time to get a drink of water, go to the bathroom and switch classes. I was about to begin class and noticed a backpack next to an empty seat. After I took attendance, I realized that Cherry (great name) was missing and I asked the class if they knew where she was.

Brian (the boy who looks like Randall Weerns, who is actually a very nice student) clenched his fists, scrunched his face, and proceeded to make a grunting noise. He was obviously implying that she was in the bathroom taking care of her business. I held in my laughter, but it was pretty funny. Poor Cherry. Brian had the whole class thinking she was going number two, but she walked in a few seconds later with library books in her hand. Oy.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Something new we had to do this term was create a mini bio of ourselves for the parents to see in the monthly newsletter and for the students to see on the bulletin boards at April. I basically talked about my class expectations and my favorite part about teaching. As much as I wanted to quote "Wicked," nothing seemed just right, so I made up my own quote to sign off with. It went a little something like this...

"When you dream big and think positive, you can achieve anything!"

I thought it was pretty inspirational, a little cheesy, and I might've even sparked a Hallmark making card future for myself.

It's not Goodbye, it's see ya Later

I just got back from a farewell dinner for my Korean co-teacher, Naomi. Friday is her last day at April and I'm sad to see her go. Both of our classrooms are on "the other side." Some people call it an annex or addition, but I call it the reject hall* (just kidding). Since we were both on the other side at April, we shared the majority of our classes together. Not only was she a helpful teacher, but she also acted as our travel agent on numerous occasions. Naomi helped book flights, hotels, and transportation through Korean sites and got us some great deals. She will definitely be missed.

Naomi is the one wearing red in the middle.

*I really shouldn't call it the reject hall. The classrooms are newer, nicer, and quieter.

New Term, New Names Pt. 2

Even though Music Bank, Fire Dragon, and Ice Dragon are no longer my students I have a hand full of entertaining ones with just as amusing names.

-Megatron: Character name from "Transformers."
-Silver: Just the color.
-Shine: She wears pastel purple glasses.
-Ice Dragon: Not the original, but another one.
-Hans: I've mentioned his name before.
-Curi: At first, I thought it was pronounced Suri, like Suri Cruise, but it sounds more like 'curry' than Suri.

I also have a student that looks exactly like Randall Weerns aka the tattle tail from Disney's "Recess." The first week I knew he looked familiar and after a few minutes of searching old school cartoons on Goggle, I finally figured it out.

If Randall Weerns was a real person, he would look exactly like my student, Brian.

The Kids are all Right, but Something is Wrong

On Saturday, I had a nice girls day out filled with a trip to the movies and TGI Friday's. I've been craving western food, so TGI Friday's was a treat.

We saw "The Kids Are All Right" and it's a movie I'd definitely recommend. There were five of us so one person just paid for all of the tickets and we paid her back. I was standing behind everyone and the lady at the counter pointed at me and asked how old I was. Ok, so this could go one of two ways, neither of which are ok.

1.) She thought that I was young enough to qualify for a kids ticket (ok, saves me a few bucks), but that means I looked 12 and under.


2.) She thought I wasn't old enough to see an R rated movie which means I looked 17 and under.

For those of you who lost track, I'm 23 years old.

I'm hoping that this whole age thing will eventually catch up to me so I figure by the time I'm 50 people will actually think I'm 40 which is the new 30. So there.

Happy Labor Day!

Labor Day weekend is an annual Curtis family (plus Whit and Ki) reunion and this year marked the first time I wasn't in attendance. Luckily, I was (finally) able to catch everyone on Skype just a little while ago and had a nice catch up sesh with them. My two little cousins are now in second and fifth grade and they looked so grown up! Baby Adam also made a cameo appearance and I saw my first smile from him. So adorable. I also let them know what I'm up to next weekend.

Gretchen and I are heading to Busan for a mini get together with some people she went through training with and on Sunday we're swimming with SHARKS! I keep psyching myself out by looking at pictures, but you can check out the details below.

My dreams came true when I swam with dolphins a few years ago so this year I decided to step it up a notch and swim with sharks! Eeek. More details to come.

I hope everyone has a safe and happy Labor Day! And to everyone who went to the Eminem and/or Lady Gaga concert in Detroit over the weekend... I wish I could've been there.

Watch Out Korea...

Soj officially booked her flight and will be here December 17th! Eeek. I can't wait!

On the Banks of the Red Cedar

College football season has begun and there was a victory for M-S-U on Saturday! Woohoo. Go Green! I feel so old thinking that I've already been out of college for a year! Here are some of my favorite tailgating pics with my besties.

This was actually from basketball season, but we can pretend it was football season.
At UM for the MSU vs. UM game. I actually went to this game at the Big House and MSU won. No big deal.
Love this pic.
I believe this is the first mention of the trio in The Real World: Korea. UD lifers, coloring champs, and Whitney Houston fans. xoxo.