Monday, September 30, 2013

School snapshots

Here are some snapshots from my school....some things I see on a typical day.

You will see these in buildings all around Korea, and I love them.  The blue is for cold water (and it is usually ice cold), and the red is for hot water.  We have one on the 3rd floor of my school, which is where my classroom and office is.  I use this several times a day.

I'm picky about my water.  I like it ice cold.  I had been using a plain old water bottle, but my water wasn't staying cold.  So...I bought this nifty little thing for about 20,000 won ($20) at eMart, and it was the best $20 I've ever spent.  I love it!  It keeps it cold for hours, and that makes me happy.

This poster displays all the equipment that blind students use.  At least I think that's what it is...

The stairs obviously... If you look closely, you will see the yellow lego-looking floor tiles in front of the first stair.  They are all around my school to signal the people with blindness.  You will see them at the bottom of stairs, heading outside, heading inside, etc.

The boy on the left is blind, and the boy on the right is leading him and helping him down the stairs.  Interesting tidbit...the boy on the right is also the one that gave me such a hard time in class a couple of weeks ago.  He thinks he should be the class clown and very loud.  So it was pretty cool to see a different side to him.  Students and teachers are always helping each other out here.  That's one of the reasons I like this school.

Heading to the cafeteria for lunch

The hand rails leading into the cafeteria

This is a typical lunch, but it's not in same ways.  Let me explain.  On the top right, there is kimchi.  We have a form of kimchi every single day.  It's supposed to be one of the top 3 probiotics, but I just can't seem to like it.  I guess I need to keep trying.  I've heard different stories where it took 6 months to a year for people to like kimchi.  We shall see.  There is always soup.  There might be noodles in the soup, bean sprouts, fish, etc.  There is always rice.  The reason why today's lunch is different is because we had bibimbap today, which is an all-in-one kind of dish with bean sprouts, vegetables, rice and meat.  Bibimbap literally means mixed rice.  Bibimbap is one of the few Korean dishes that I have found I like.

If you want to read more about bibimbap, here is a link:

You mix it all together, add the red pepper paste for a little kick, and then dig in.  This is one of the dishes where you get to use your spoon and not look like a use chopsticks to eat everything else.

You eat chopsticks to eat your apple!

This is where we take our trays after we're done.  We combine all the food into the soup bowl and put our utensils in the red bowl.

Heading back to the main building with all the classrooms

The 3rd floor hallway (where my classroom is)

Looking outside the windows from the 3rd floor

Koreans LOVE clean teeth.  So everyone (teachers and students) brings their toothbrush and toothpaste to school (we just keep an extra one at school), and everyone brushes their teeth after lunch.  I quite like this tradition.  I wouldn't mind doing this when I get back to the states.

I am: sitting at my school desk with the windows open
I feel: tired after our Costco run last night and training
I hear: birds chirping outside my window
I love: finding a new artist I love - I just recently discovered Madilyn Bailey

Madilyn Bailey does acoustic cover songs, and she is fabulous.  Check out one of my favorites:
Is she not awesome?

Playground fun

My co-teacher, Gayong, told me to meet our afternoon class on the playground.  I had no idea what we were going to do.  We ended up walking around the track a couple of times and then playing on the playground.  Several of these students are completely blind, so we had to lead them around.  This is a middle school class, and there is even one adult in the class.  You would never expect middle school students to play on the playground, but they did and they loved it.  I did too.

I had so much fun.  It was so awesome to see Gayong playing and interacting with the students, and it was great to see them outside of the classroom setting.

The seesaw was great!  It was a four person seesaw, with 2 people on each side.  It was made of heavy metal, and it had a tire underneath so your butt wouldn't hit the ground every time you came down.  We all loved it!
 We all took turns going down the slide too.

It's days like this that make me LOVE my school.  I can see it being the unique school that it is, and I embrace it.  It's days like this that make me feel blessed that God put me here.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Busan...the end

On Friday night after hiking all day, we met up with the group for dinner.  We took a taxi to another area right on the area.  Some people had seafood (mussels, shells, etc), but some of us (including me) didn't want that, so we went on a little hike to find something different.  We walked up a steep hill to find a Japanese restaurant.  The food was magnificent.   Like OMG.  Wow.

At Haeundae Beach, walking to meet everyone.

Where we had dinner.

Walking up the hill to find a different restaurant other than seafood.

Yeah!  We found one!  They didn't speak English or have an English menu, but they had a Japanese menu, which was great because Ryan lived in Japan and speaks Japanese.  Actually, Ryan and his wife, Anna, met in Japan when they were teaching there.

Getting our mats to sit down on the floor. her!  She was in my lesson group at EPIK orientation.  We hit it off right from the start.

So there was this scaly thing.  No one knew what it was.

So she smelled it.

And then Ryan tried it.  Love the look on his face.

The salad was really good.

We grilled the meat right at our table.  Of course, we had to put the garlic on the grill too.  Yum.

After dinner, we headed back to Haeundae Beach and walked around.  You could buy cocktails to go, and they would put it in a baggie for you with a straw.

I chose to get Baskin Robbins instead.  And then what do you do with friends in Korea?  You go to a norebang!  If you don't remember, norebang is Korean karaoke.

This place looked like Grandma's basement from 1964.  And it was in the basement.

Lauren, Liz, and Anna
Check out Liz's hair! 
Jenny, Lauren, Liz, and Anna
Kali banging her "cowbell"
My favorite part about Korean norebangs is the videos they play with the music.  The videos never ever go with the song, and it is so funny to see it.  

For example, check out Nemo and the sea anemone for Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance".  When you sing that song, do you think of Nemo?  I know I don't.

This one is even better.  It was an eel-like ocean creature sticking his head out of the sand.

I loved, loved, loved Busan.  I can't wait to go back.  In fact, I HAVE to go back because I got the worst migraine on Sunday and ended up getting sick.  I missed out on the Busan Aquarium.  If you know me, you know that I love sharks.  So I was really, really looking forward to going to it.

Until next time, Busan....