Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

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.

Pink present!
Out and about in Time World.
An angel, devil, ping pong players, present and soju bottle.
Snookie, present, ping pong players.
The full effect of my outfit.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


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!

My classroom
Happy Halloween!

*It's not stopping me from getting dressed up! Pictures to come. Clue to my costume: GIANT bow(s) and hot pink...

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


I just learned that the song, "Like a G6," is the first Asian group on top of the Billboard charts. I didn't even realize Far East Movement (FM) was Korean.

Living in Korea, I've grown to absolutely love K-pop. The best part about it are the group names.

Best Group Names:

  • After School
  • Sistar
  • 2PM
  • 2AM
  • *Orange Caramel (definitely top three)
  • Super Junior
  • Big Bang (one of my favorites)
  • Secret
  • 2NE1 (pronounced 21)
  • SHINee (shine)
The list goes on and on, but I'll stop there.

Stage Mom in Training Pt. 2


  • 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.

I spy something in the sky.
I spy three planes in the sky.
I spy four birds in the sky.
I spy four kites in the sky.

Peace, love and jazz hands.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Christmas Spirit

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!

Yay. I love the holidays!

Hong Kong by Numbers

  • Number of different flights: 4
  • Number of different airports: 3
  • Number of different hotels: 2
  • Total amount of hours in the Beijing Airport: 3
  • Number of times on the HK metro: Uncountable. HK has the most efficient subway system I've ever been on.
  • Number of different forms of transportation: 9 (KTX, bus, plane, taxi, subway, cable car, trolley, airport shuttle, ferry)
  • Number of different types of food consumed: 5 (American, Chinese, Mexican, Italian, Irish... mmm, sauerkraut)
  • Number of minutes we had to spare making our flight out of HK: maybe 3
  • Number of times I ate dim sum: 0... I know, it's basically a sin.
  • Number of pink dolphins I saw: Z-E-R-O
  • Percentage rate of seeing a pink dolphin: 97% positive
  • Level of typhoon that hit HK: 3
  • Number of times we went to Delany's Irish Pub: pushing 5, 6, 7, 8?
  • Number of hours we waited to see the (non-existent) fire dragon: about 2

The Happiest Place on Earth

Finally... my first Hong Kong post!

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!
Space Mountain!
Disneyland wouldn't be complete without a picture with Micky and Minnie.
Chip and Dale
The castle with 3-D fireworks in the background.

Copy Cat

"Often imitated, but never duplicated."

Three words to describe my handwriting would be: bubbly, swirly and loopy. Ever since teaching, I've noticed an increase in bubbly, swirly and loopy handwriting from my students. I love it. Pretty soon they're going to be saying OMG, XOXO, and totes def.

Frequent Flyer

Education is the top priority among Korean students. Many kids go to more than one hagwon (private academy) to get extra practice and help in their academics. It's not uncommon for students to go to an academy until 10:30 at night. Sometimes I feel like they're missing out on being a kid because they're always studying or in school. Last week, one of the projects they had to work on was creating their own talent show. When people think of talent shows most people picture singing, dancing, comedians and musical talents, however, when I asked my students some of their talents, many of them said studying.

Today, one of my students told me his brother was in the US studying for two years. I actually taught his brother a few months ago and he mentioned the same thing to me. He's probably about in the fifth grade and I found out he's living with one of his teachers. I asked him if he was going to go visit his brother in California and he told me that his brother is going to fly back to Korea every three weeks. Not only does that sound expensive, but the flights from CA to Korea are not short. I wish him well and hopefully this experience will be beneficial for him.

Rock out the Show

Saturday was the first annual Daejeon Rock Festival. The actual music was a little underwhelming, but there were some international food vendors that served delicious food. I sampled some Indian and Turkish food which was a nice change away from Korean food. I hope everyone had a nice weekend and how about those Spartans?! I came home from a night out to an email updating me on the final score! I'm so excited that MSU is ranked so high in the BCS standings and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they will keep it up! Woohoo! Go Green!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Run Forrest Run

Shout out and a huge congratulations to Emmy for completing the Denver Marathon! So proud of you! I wanted to post a picture of us, but it has seriously been :::insert ridiculously high number::: of years since we've been together and I couldn't find any via FB. I can't wait to (potentially) see you over NYE. Love you!

Squeak, Squeak

Have you ever seen these before?!

They are shoes for babies and toddlers and with every step they make, they squeak. I think it's more of a tool for keeping track of where your child might be running off to, but I've seen so many kids wearing them. Every squeak sounds like a dog toy and makes me cringe. Whatever happened LA Gear light up shoes? They are much more appealing to the senses and just as affective.

Stage Mom in Training

There's this new tool at April called the Creative Cafe. Every other week I upload my students acting videos to this website and all of the branches in Korea are able to see the videos, make comments and rate their performances. Depending on the ratings, number of comments, and number of views the best videos get points, prizes, and recognition. As of this past Saturday, one of my classes was in third place! Today, the video dropped to sixth, but I know they'll get back to the top three again. If they move up to the number one spot, I'll even get a special, Best Director, award! I better start preparing my acceptance speech now.

Instead of acting, my youngest class performs a song. I really wish I could show you the video because it is quite possibly the.cutest.thing.ever. Even though their actual singing was only mediocre aka silent, their motions and dancing that went with it were adorable. To top it off, the whole time my students were on stage, I was standing in front of them performing the motions full out and mouthing the words as big as I could. I definitely felt like a stage mom.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I Wanna be on the Cover of Forbes Magazine

I'm always trying to come up with new ideas that will eventually make me my millions. One of my many genius ideas were moppers, slipper-mops. Why hurt your back, bent over mopping the floor when you can do it standing up?! I already had visions of my infomercial and my "but wait, order within the next ten minutes and receive an extra pair of moppers!" line, however, that bubble was burst when I realized they already existed. I have a few other ideas up my sleeve, but they're top secret.

Anyways, my next mission is to bring cell phone charms back to the US. They are so popular here, very versatile, and it just makes sense. It's a great way to showcase your interests on your phone, have everything in one place, and they can even double as subway cards! I hope this trend catches on internationally and I hope I can have a piece of the profit.

There's a First Time for Everything

For the first time in ten months a cab driver actual understood where I wanted to go without:
  • Asking me to repeat it
  • Kicking me out of the cab
  • Showing him a piece of paper with the Korean written on it
  • Showing him my ARC card with my address on it
  • Having someone else say it
Unfortunately, my Korean is not improving. I attempted to learn how to say "I do not speak Korean," but I failed miserably. Instead I have learned how to say "meguk" which means "American" and "molayo" which means "I don't know."

I enjoy pretending to speak and understand Korean. For example, at Home Plus when I check out they always ask "Do you have a point card?" along with 100 other questions. I always just shake my head no and for all I know I could've been the one millionth customer and just turned down $5,000.

Desperate Times Call for Desperate Measures

Last week at dinner, I noticed a cute, little boy sitting in a high chair next to me. Suddenly, his mother rushed over, pulled him out of his seat, set him on the floor, and pulled down his pants. Out of the corner of my eye I saw that not only his pants were pulled down, but also his underwear. His mother grabbed a cup off of the table and literally had the little boy go to the bathroom into it. The father kind of stood behind them to block everything that was going on, but I happened to be sitting right next to all of the action. I literally turned the other way and asked myself out loud if this was really happening. It was. It was the oddest situation and let me tell you, I did not drink out of the cups for the rest of the night.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Songnisan National Park

Gretchen and I decided to take advantage of the gorgeous weather on Sunday and took a day trip to Songnisan National Park. We were a little worried about getting there, but it was only an hour and a half bus ride away and we figured it out like pros. After wandering around the cute little town, we ended up having to follow people who looked like they were going hiking to find the actual park. We were able to see a bunch of different temples, a giant standing Buddha, and a drum and dance performance. There was some kind of ceremony going on, but we were never able to figure out what it was for.

After conquering the summit at Seoraksan National Park aka Mount Everest, I figured I could handle any other hiking I ever planned to do again. Luckily, the trail I went hiking on this time was all paved and it had a gradual incline. It's so funny because Koreans take hiking so seriously. While Gretchen and I were sporting tank tops and leggings, everyone else (literally) was in full on hiking gear from top to bottom. This included hiking boots, hiking pants, windbreakers, gloves, bandanas, visors, hats, backpacks and the best part... hiking sticks. I mean I understand using them for rocky mountains, but the trail we were on was paved. Anyways, it was nice to get some fresh air and explore another part of Korea.

So cute!
I love the details and colors of temples.
One of the many temples there.
This was the first standing Buddha I've seen.
Here's the entrance to the park. The little boy in front is making the funniest face.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

I'm in a Spartan State of Mind

Go right through for MSU... let's kick some major UM boo-tay.

Here's a funny video of a very smart baby... she cries every time she hears the UM fight song. So cute.

Woohoo! Go State!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

So Long Sweet Summer

As much as I love the heat, sundresses and picnics outside, I've come to realization that summer is officially over. The biggest difference between my summer in Korea and a summer spent on the beach in Michigan is my lack of tan lines and sun kissed cheeks. Korea's mentality is the whiter the skin, the better.

Oversized sunglasses: Out
Oversized visors: In

Everyone wears these silly looking visors that cover their whole face. They also carry umbrellas around to shade themselves and instead of tanning lotions, they sell skin whitening creams. In the long run, they age slower and skin cancer isn't as common. I hope my summer of paleness will cancel out 22 years of prickly heat, sun poisoning, and peeling skin.

I told you it's a new trend. Juicy Couture is even on board with oversized visors.

Travel Bug

I saw "Eat, Pray, Love" last night and even though it wasn't my favorite JR movie, it was still inspirational and made me want to travel the world (and eat real spaghetti and margarita pizza). My mom and I are in the process of finalizing our trip to South Africa in January. It's the type of situation where I won't believe it until my tickets are booked, passport is stamped, and I see a real elephant in the wild. I'm so grateful I've had the opportunities to travel and I'm no where near being done. I feel like every day I add another place I want to see and something new I want to try to my never ending bucket list. The people I've met, things I've seen, and cultures I've lived in have opened up my eyes to a world outside of the bubble.

Baby Love

I've noticed that mothers in Korea have the craziest baby carrying contraptions.

Exhibit A: This past weekend I spotted a lady with a full on terry cloth wrap around robe and somehow in all of that fabric, her baby was also in it. She had her baby placed on her front side, but the picture below shows that it's very versatile. The best part about it are the animal ears on the hood. I mean it's cute and everything and I suppose you can get a variety of them in different colors and patterns to match with your outfits, but is the full body robe really necessary?

Exhibit B: Similar to the full body robe from above, this next one just boggles my mind. It's literally a blanket with a tie. How does the baby stay attached?! This is definitely the most common baby carrying device, but I still don't understand how it works. It looks like the baby would fall right out of it. Also, similar to the one above, is the full body wrap really necessary? Just thinking about sporting this in the heat of summer makes me sweat.

Aw, who's that?!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Rise and Shine

I'm rarely up early enough to see the sun rise, but I caught these pictures on my way out to catch my flight to Hong Kong (which I still need to write about). I thought the sky looked so pretty!

Shake it Like a Polaroid Picture

...the title really has nothing to do with this post.

Kids really do say the darndest things. I wish I could remember all of their little comments that make me laugh throughout my day, but here are some that stuck in my head from the past few weeks.
  • "Teacher, you look like a ninja."
  • "Teacher, do you like God? I like God. Well, my school likes God so I have to like God."
  • "Teacher, he took my sharp." (sharp = mechanical pencil)
  • "Did you find a husband this weekend?"
Side story #1: Today, I had a new student so I obviously asked what her name was. She said Lena and I thought that was cute and called her Lena the rest of class. It wasn't until I was inputting grades at the end of the day that I realized her name was really Rina. Koreans have trouble saying 'r's' so I heard Lena instead of Rina. Oops.

Side story #2: One of the topic discussions last week was about helping others. Together, we made a list of people we wanted to help and how we would help them. Somehow North Korea made it on the list. There were a few questions about North Korea so I briefly had to explain the differences between North and South Korea which made for an interesting and semi-awkward conversation. In the end, their presentations were so touching and heartfelt all about how they wanted to help people in North Korea.

Another thing that I've noticed is that my students mix up the words 'fun' and 'funny' all the time. No matter how many times I explain 'fun' is like woohoo! and 'funny' is like haha, they just don't get it.

Totally Bangin'

Guess what?! I got bangs (sounds like the line from Legally Blonde)! I wanted something new and that was that. The pictures below are pretty small, but you get the idea.

Hello Kitty slippers- check; Hello Kitty mug- check
Neon green bow- check

Friday, October 1, 2010

Like Woah

Hello October. Where did you come from?!

It's hard to believe that it's already October. It finally feels like fall minus the football, cider and doughnuts (sigh), but I'm getting excited thinking about my Halloween costume(s).

Short and sweet.