Saturday, April 26, 2014

Seven for Saturday

This week was a good one.

I'm doing something a little bit different with this post. What do you think? I'm calling it Seven for Saturday. I'll tell you 7 things about my week....on a Saturday. Just in case you didn't get that. LOL!


ONE


On Wednesday, I had not one but two pleasant surprises. 


First surprise, my co-teacher and I sat down and had a wonderful conversation about our teaching together. We collaborated and came up with some ideas and solutions for our students (they are not on grade level, yet we must use the grade level textbook). It was so good. I will admit that my heart started pounding a bit with excitement. This is HUGE people!


Second surprise, while walking home from school, a random Korean woman approached me and asked me if I spoke Korean to which I responded very little. She then tells me that my Korean is very good (I don't speak a lot...trust me), asks some more questions (where is my family and am I religious). Afterwards, she gives me this big hug (hugs, especially from people you've just met are simply not done). Korea, you surprise me sometimes. I sure do like surprises. 



TWO


I saw this picture on my friend's Facebook wall and realized that actually I do know how this feels.




How exciting is that? 


Up until several months ago, this was totally me! I would sleep 9 hours and then STILL wake up exhausted. And I would wake up often in the middle of the night with restless legs. If you don't have restless legs, you're lucky. They are a pain in the butt.


However, it's not me anymore! Now, I go to sleep easily, stay asleep, AND wake up refreshed...often after only 6-7 hours of sleep.


I never knew how great it could be.


I started taking Plexus in November, and it has totally changed my sleep. Woo-hoo!! I LOVE it!



THREE


I finished The Office last week and had asked for suggestions for the next TV show to watch.


I normally LOVE crime, murder, and mystery shows, but I was in the comedy mood.


My cousin's husband suggested Parks and Recreation.





So I started watching it.

I LOVE it! Each season gets better. I am now on Season 5. I feel like Ann and Leslie are my friends.


Does that make me weird? Wait...if the answer is yes, don't tell me.


Have you seen it? Do you watch it? If not, you absolutely must start. I absolutely LOVE it! It literally makes me laugh out loud, and not many shows do that.



FOUR


I am now 2/3 done with my year. That's just crazy! Can you believe it? I sure can't. I want to seize every day that I can while I'm here. Now that spring is here, I am loving it. Absolutely loving it.



FIVE


I'm not sure if you have had the chance to check out my teacher blog, but I have been working hard on it. I have started a Pinterest page...JUST for all my teaching and education boards. They were taking over my personal Pinterest page, and I sure do like having separate, detailed boards. Please check it out. And if you're a teacher, be sure and follow me!


http://www.pinterest.com/southernteachin/boards/


I also have just started instagram with my "teacher personality". I just got started, so I don't have many pictures yet. But I will. Don't you worry. I'd love you to follow me!


http://instagram.com/southernfriedteachin



SIX


On Tuesday night, I was walking home from the subway at 11:00 pm. I was joined by a big group of middle and high school students walking home from their hagwons. 


Many students go to their hagwon (private schools) after a long day at public school. No football. No band. No drill team. Nothing like that. It's all about studying for the big exam. 


I cannot imagine growing up like that. I simply can't imagine it. Would you have wanted to study from 8:30 am until 11:00 pm or even midnight every night?




Since my students are blind or visually impaired and most have learning disabilities, they do not go to hagwons, so I don't know the ins and outs of them.


Also, unfortunately only the rich can send their students to hagwons. They are expensive and run like a business. If you're poor, you're just out of luck. That's why many schools have now started to have after school programs, but they still just cannot compare to hagwons. Some of the classes at hagwons are English, music, art, etc. If you learn to play an instrument, you'd probably learn it at a hagwon.


My friend, Ashlee, says it the best...

As soon as kids hit middle school, any form of a LIFE goes out the window. I believe this is a reason the standards for males and females when searching for a significant other is so ludicrously high - their sense of reality when it comes to the real world and real world people is severely warped. There's a reason most Koreans go to Jeju Island on a honeymoon (many of them know NOTHING of sexuality before seeing the sex museums on the island). It's somewhat bizarre, but moreover sad.
Students RARELY made their own choices in response to their futures not that long ago, but that DOES seem to be slowly changing.
What's even more bizarre, though, is that most individuals here choose to dress, act, and live in the exact same way as their fellows (it's a VERY communal society), so the vicious cycle of high suicide and low college entry rates continues to fester.
This country truly is marvelous, but there are some things that just seem incredibly and unnecessarily unfair for these kids.


SEVEN


The last thing I want to mention is the ferry accident here in Korea. I'm sure you have heard all about it and watched the news. The country is in mourning. School trips, school events, city events, etc have been postponed. This country is a very collective society...they are all about community. By canceling or postponing events, it shows that you support the community.




My friend posted this on Facebook, and it had me in tears.


http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/boy-and-girl-on-korean-ferry-drowned-with-life-jackets-tied-together/article18182140/


Please read this article. You will definitely have some questions. Possibly some questions that don't even make sense to you. Why in the world would those kids stay in their cabins if the ship was going down? That doesn't make any sense at all. You would want to get OFF the ship, right?


You have to understand how it's done in Korea. Remember when I said that it's all about community, and they do things together?


If someone tells you to do something, you do it. You don't question it. It's hard to explain, and I'm not doing a good job of explaining it. There is no going against the flow here. It's all about the status quo. So maybe that helps you understand why most of the children stayed in their cabins. The people in charge (granted they had NO safety training) told them to stay in their cabins. So they did.


Please join me in praying for these families. 


I'm curious to know who all is reading my blog. I would LOVE to get some comments! I LOVE comments! 


I have even met some friends here who found my blog on the internet and then sought me out on Facebook. How cool is that? 


One girl from Rowlett, Texas found me on Google. She and her husband (and 2-year old son) were going to move to Daejeon, Korea because her husband was being transferred. She friended me on Facebook, and we met up for dinner on Tuesday night. She had seen my pictures of the awesome House Grill burgers and wanted to go there. I think it's pretty darn awesome that people other than friends and family are reading my little blog.


So....hellloooooooooooo! Stop by and say hi! Or howdy! Or annyeong haseyo! Or hola! I'm not picky!

Friday, April 25, 2014

My new favorite spot

I found this little hidden gem in my neighborhood the other day. I couldn't get over just how beautiful it was...and it is just 5 minutes from my apartment.

On the way to my spot...



And here we are...


It's behind buildings, so you wouldn't find it easily. There are walking trails all around this place. I absolutely love it. I plan on coming here often during my last 4 months. Possibly bringing a blanket, a picnic, and a book.






















Isn't it absolutely gorgeous?

Here are some of the flowers close up...








I thought this place would be THE perfect spot for some portraits. So I posted on Facebook that I wish I had a child to take pictures of, and my friend, Caroline, commented that she would volunteer to be my model. So we met after church last Sunday and walked back to my neighborhood. Here are some of my favorites...







Now can you see why it's my new favorite spot?

Clothing Exchange

A couple of Sundays ago, I went to this Clothing Exchange just for women. It was on the other side of Daejeon, so it was a trek. I took several bags of clothes, shoes, and books.

You just laid your stuff out and then walked around the room, taking whatever you wanted. I thought it would be a lot bigger, but I did find a couple of shirts and books.





Since it's sometimes hard to find clothes that fit in Korea (we're not all size 2's and 4's), these clothing exchanges are wonderful. I wish we had them more often, but this was the first one I'd been to and unfortunately it will be my only one since they won't have another one for 6 more months. Bummer.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

My birthday celebration

So I turned 41 a couple of weeks ago. What? What? Wow. 41. Definite reason to PAR-TAY!

I organized a little birthday shindig at a Mexican food restaurant in Dunsan, Don Enrique. Now it's not my Tex-Mex, but it was good. If you're wondering what Korean Mexican food looks like, here you go. Notice all the cabbage...


I had a really good group of friends show up. I am definitely blessed in the friendships that I have made here in Korea. Honestly, I was a little worried before moving over here if I would make some good friends. I didn't need to worry at all. Thank you God!


So because it was my birthday, the owner of the restaurant came over and gave me a tequila shot. I have never in my life had a tequila shot. I know. I know. 

So...what better place than to have my first tequila shot?


Emily said I was a pro. Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

After dinner, I persuaded (I didn't have to beg too hard) several friends to go to a norebang with me. James, Alicia, Michael, Katie, Emily, and I found this little norebang near the restaurant. None of us had ever been there. It was quite an interesting place. There were drawings of naked women all over the place. Interesting, I tell ya. We didn't pay much attention to them though because we were too busy singing and dancing!




We paid 30,000 won for an hour and a half, but the dude kept giving us more time. And more time. And more time. We got there I think at 9:00. At 12:20 am, he gave us yet another hour. But it was after midnight, and we all had school the next day. We probably could have stayed there another 2 hours for free. Oh well. There's always next time! And yes....there will DEFINITELY be a next time!
It was one fabulous birthday. One that I will never forget!

I've been here in Korea now 8 months. Can you believe it? I only have 4 months left, and I plan on living it up as much as I can!