Thursday, March 29, 2012

Crazy Thursday

Oh where to begin?
Well this morning was fun mainly because I got to speak to my mom and aunt Leesa. While I was doing that I heard a weird noise coming from my window and I look over and see this:



Just a reminder I'm on the eleventh floor, it came as a shock and Aunt Leesa and mom were just cracking up. No worries though the guy was just calking the windows and I'm happy I was kinda decent.

Another reason today was really crazy was we started the achievement tests. Which just means more work and unnecessary stress. Actually it wasn't that bad, I got through most of the tests and except for my last one I was late on so I was trying to speed up the last student. How the test is set up I just listen to the student and find out if they are at a certain level, they don't actually have to answer all the questions. Well because I went quick with one of the students, his parent who randomly decided to come to class today got mad and this gave Director Lee a reason to pull me aside and tell me to give more questions to that student. Fine! I'll let the student have a longer test he'll get the same score he was originally going to get, but whatever! It made no sense, but I did get out of teaching my last class and yeah I get to do this all over again but this time with more students. Joy...
The good news is that I cooked my own fish today and it was tasty and I feel like some kind of an accomplished cook even if the meal wasn't even close to be balanced. I like protein and burnt stuff. It is balanced to me because the protein is heavy and the burnt stuff is light therefore it is balanced. My logic is undeniable. :)
Now I will show you a couple of examples of how Koreans can't park or at least there are no rules here about parking so people park anywhere they please. And all we can do is laugh.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sick Days are here to stay

Guess what I'm sick....again. Gosh I am sick of being sick. This time around though I think I will get past it a little quicker. But that is not the reason I'm posting today. The real reason is that I had the most awesome saturday this last saturday!
I had been invited by one of my member friends to go with her to Geoungju. This was the ancient capitol of Korea. It was pretty awesome, but lets start at the beginning of the day.
When I was first invited my friend said that we were going to spend the night in Geounju and so we would not be able to go to church on Sunday. This made me sad and I've been plotting on how to get to church the week before we left. Well the day of the trip came along and I had this weird dream the night before telling me that the trip had been cancelled. So when I woke up in the morning I naturally thought the trip was cancelled, then I got a call from my friend and she said that the trip was still on but she had cancelled the condo that we would stay at so that we were coming home at night. This meant that I was good to go to church the next day which made me happy but this also meant that I was late in meeting her. So I told her I would be at our meeting place in thirty minutes (20 minutes past the time we were originally going to meet). Everything turned out okay though and we caught our bus just fine.
The bus to Geoungju was about two hours and I spent half of that sleeping. It was cool to see the countryside and everything. When we arrived at Geoungju we caught a cab and went to a free museum, this museum focused on the Silla empire and the ancient age of the Koreans. It was cool to see all the old artifacts and also at the end of the tour there was a stamp that you could stamp your brochure saying that you've been there. I stamped my sketchbook cause it was cooler that way :)
Here are some pics of the museum:



After the Museum we went to a Buddhist temple, it was gorgeous. All the buildings were painted and it had some pretty cool monuments. My friends name is Jeonmin Lee, she and her brother were my tour guides/photographer. It was a great trip! Here are some of the photos of the temple:











After we explored the temple grounds for a bit we decided to go and see the tombs of the great kings. They were buried in gigantic mounds of dirt, you can see them in the following photos in the background:



After we saw the tombs we caught a bus home and that is when I started feeling weird, I kept coughing but for no reason really. And the next day I had a fever. Blah I hate being sick, I think the reason is because I was outside all day long on Saturday and it was windy! Like Rexburg windy. I think I am going to just take it easy for the rest of the week.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Week 3

Wow can you believe I've been here for a whole three weeks!?!
Well I can't, it strangely feels longer. As though I've been here like almost a month :) (I hope everyone caught that joke)
Anyways, this was a good week, I've been having residual effects from being sick but everyday I am getting more energy and becoming more productive. I am actually going to post to illustration friday, so expect a post in my art blog :)
The biggest change for this week is that I started a 'study group' with a college student. His name is Carter and he came up to me last sunday and asked if I would tutor him in English. Tutoring is illegal for me, if I was caught I could be sent home and yeah deported. So I told him that I can't but instead what we could do is I will help him with his english and he will teach me Korean in exchange. He wanted to pay me but that would cross into that illegal area. So I figure it is a fair trade. So we meet twice a week and right now I am learning the alphabet. I am catching on pretty quick which makes me happy. I find the whole situation funny, though.

Okay I now want to take this time and complain about the atrocities that are the cars here and those terrible drivers who are blind to all around them. I am surprised that no-one has been killed in front of me yet. First off, if you are a pedestrian here you do not have the right of way. Those cars will mow you down so fast it is scary. And if you think that if you have a 'green man' telling you can go, I would still check both ways before venturing out. I was almost taken out halfway through the intersection by some psycho who didn't pay attention to their lights. It is a nightmare and enough to give you anxiety attacks just for putting a foot on the road. Actually even if you are on the sidewalk I would still be paying attention to the cars around you. The other day I was walking down the sidewalk minding my own business when a car pops the curb and starts driving straight towards me. This place is crazy!!! Another thing, because there is no lines for parking, everyone just parks where they darn well please. This results in cars all over the place and on corners and you never know which car is waiting for a light or parked. So if I die here more then likely it is a result from a automotive accident. I hope not though, that would suck. And don't get me started on mopeds.

This was a get well gift from my coworkers, my first sushi experience :)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Sick Days

So you guessed it, I am sick and let me tell you being sick in Korea is not fun. If you don't want to know every gory detail skip this paragraph. It started on sunday, I had a scratchy throat. I knew that it would turn into a cold but I didn't realize how severe it would end up. Monday rolled around and I definitely had a cold and was starting to feel like I had a fever too. I forced myself to go to work though because I knew that monday was one of my heavier days and I didn't know how to call in sick. Well I got through most of the day and near the end my throat was giving out and I just wanted to pass out. I hoped that it would blow over the next day after a good nights sleep. No, not even close. The thing came back with a vengence. I was feverish, chilled, head ached, coughing, soar throat, and exhausted. I was trying to force myself to go to school but alas my body wouldn't move. So I called into avalon(my school) and talk to Director Lee. She didn't recognize my voice at first but in the end she informed me that in order for me to take the day off I needed to come into the school and she would take me to the doctor. That was annoying and it took a while to get moving.
The doctor visit was fine, it went like most doctor visits, even though it was slightly unnecessary. At the end of it they gave me a shot...in the butt. It actually wasn't that bad, what was funny though was that in my confusion I thought she wanted me to strip down completely so I already had my pants down when the poor lady tried to stop me and told me that she only wanted me to slightly pull them down, enough to expose skin. I'm sorry but the only foreign medicine I am familiar with is french and in France you kinda strip when told to even when it is not necessary. Anyways we went to the pharmacy and they gave me enough drugs to sedate an elephant.
I went to work wenesday even though I had a pretty bad fever. I survived the day but barely, during that last class I was sitting and just barely holding on.
Last night I decided to not take the mass of pills that the crazy pharmacy people gave me and instead took a couple of ibuprofen, drugs that I know and trust. And guess what, this morning I am finally feeling better. Go figure.
For those you who want to know about the french dinner I had on sunday. It was great, I spoke french with the little kids. The elders brought a investigator who was not at all shy about saying how he wants to learn english and marry an american girl. He also said he was like seventy or something, he didn't look that old but he was older and kinda creepy. So I focused on the kids and was um decent towards him. With the kids, it was so fun, the little girl kept petting my face and telling me how beautiful my face was. I thought it was funny. The meal was really good too. The father asked me if the food was good because he hasn't had any other french food to compare it to. I assured him that it was great.
At the end of the meal, I was escorted home by one of the members that was at the dinner. He invited me to one of the single activities. I don't know how well I'll do without knowing the language. But we will find out.
okay picture time :)
this is my desk at school
Here is the alley I go down to get to school
This is my school

This is the street that I live on

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Saturday!!!

I climbed a mountain today!!
I went with my buddy Joel and we took a bus out over to haepsongdong which is a little north of Masan. There we met up with a girl named Alison who I contacted about a week ago about hiking trails. She knew a good trail and so we met her over in her side of the city. It was an awesome hike and so randomly placed. There are just trails going off into the mountains everywhere in random places too. The hike was great, fairly steep at times but totally relaxed compared to any of uncle Stan's hikes. I am still going to feel the effects of it in the morning. heck, I'm feeling it now. Hear are some awesome pics and a video :)
This was where we came off the trail, just some random stairs off the road




video

After we got off the mountain we all went out to eat together and Alison was a sweetheart and treated us. When we got back into our part of town I quickly got changed into a skirt and speed walked to church. This weekend was stake conference. The Stake president was from Japan, so they were doing translation into Japanese but we had one of the English missionaries translate for us. I say 'us' because there was a guy there too who works in the shipping industry. After the meeting I was walking back home and ran into the French family and they invited me over to dinner tomorrow. I am super excited!
Today overall was an awesome ride!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Tues, Wed, Thurs

So I said that I would start posting only once a week right. I figured Thursdays are good days to post. Though, I might post on different days according to my leisure or if I'm really really bored or just want to laugh/complain about something.
I actually got through a full week!!! well after friday I will have gotten through a full week.
So, update, because that other teacher quit, I picked up another class. So now I teach 23 classes per week, that still isn't as bad as some of my coworkers. One of the other teachers has 27 classes. The reason I only have 23 is because one of my classes got cancelled and I would have seen that class three times a week, so I would have had 26. Oh well I am happy for more breaks.
I feel like I am still in one of my classes and I am saying all of this in a slow mechanical way. So sorry if this post sounds strange.
The classes themselves are straight forward, I teach from a book and the subjects vary from listening, reading, writing, and speaking. I think I like the speaking the best because I get to interact with the students the most. Writing class is easy but boring. All I do is tell them when to go onto the next section.
I've turned a little mean at some of the classes though, I didn't think I was being too bad until one of the other teachers said he overheard me yelling. He also said that he wouldn't want my class because he knows that group and he knows they do not stay on task and often get chatty. I feel like I have pretty good control of most of my classes and a few of them I am excited to work with. It gets harder in the evening though because as I get tired I get a bit impatient and cranky. Oh those poor students who have to deal with me. And I am not all against being labeled the 'mean teacher' as long as the students do their work and stay on task. (If they would do just that, I would be nice)
I think the most stressful moment I had was when in one of my classes I held up the workbook, and all the students had a different workbook then mine. So during class I quickly went to the office and found the right one and basically winged the lesson. Everything worked out in the end.
That is it for tonight. I'll probably write more this weekend :)

Monday, March 5, 2012

Monday

I finally feel like I can deal with this.
I had my first full day of real teaching, and it was a breeze and a half. I had five classes today, three were the younger kids and the other two were high school age. The younger kids were rowdy but at least they were into the lesson. While when I was with the older kids, I felt like I was dragging every answer out of them. They were very non responsive, they other teachers just told me to get used to it and continue teaching. I just want them interested in the subject, is all.
I was able to quickly set up a lesson plan and make-up some homework for the kids. Along with a quick meeting with the boss and my day went fast.
One crazy thing was one of the other teachers just up and quit today because she was getting too stressed with work and studies (she is apparently getting her masters degree). It came as a shock to all of us. When I spoke with one of the other English teachers he said it was normal for many of the other teachers to just quite or get better jobs. I find that slightly a concern. But I was again assured by the other English teacher that it was normal and what else can I do really.

I still feel pretty good about all this though, I'm excited for the weekend. I contacted one of the other English teachers in Masan and we are going to go hiking together. I am also excited to get to know the rest of my classes; oh and it is raining again.
okay goodnight everyone :)

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Sunday

Awesome Sunday even if it did rain all day long.
This morning, I walked to the church building which took about twenty minutes, my skirt kept riding up (it was very annoying and everyone kept giving me weird looks). But when I got there I have to say I surprised the Elders when I walked through the door. The Bishop was standing there too so I was able to meet him as well. I introduced myself and the elders translated for me which was nice and then the elders were able to sit next to me in Sacrament meeting and translate for me as well. Yay! The bishop even announced that I was there and that I was from Washington DC, oops, I spent the rest of the day trying to explain this wasn't true.
Guess what! There is a french lady at my church. She also was super excited to meet me and find out that I spoke french. She is from la Reunion, it is a French island off the coast of Madagascar. She served her mission in Hong Kong and somehow ended up in Korea where she met her husband and she has two kids. I think we are going to be great friends.
The other meetings went just fine, everyone was very nice and there were people always around to tell me what scripture we were in. Still can't read Hangul. They made me stand up in Relief Society and introduce myself. I think the funniest thing happened was when I took off my jacket and only had a t-shirt on, they were all like 'aren't you cold!' The heater was right next to me so no, not even close to being cold.
I walked home with a girl named lee juennin. We exchanged numbers and she wants to hang out more, I'm totally up for it. I like friends.
I napped and read for the rest of the day but I was visited by some missionaries from another church trying to tell me about the Lord God Mother. I told them I didn't want to waste their time. Their English wasn't too terrible, I might invite them in one day or give them a pass along card.
that is all for today :)

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Special Saturday

Well saturday was a special day,
I tried to go find a hiking trail so that I can get a good view of all Masan. On the way I did run into little garden area, complete with koi pond and falling water. It was pretty, pictures can be found below. I continued up the road that I was on past the garden because I really wanted to get to the top of the mountain. I couldn't find a trail though and I ran into the University which had no trails past its perimeter. I couldn't find the top, and gave up when I realized I had to go to the bathroom and I wasn't ready to try out those squatter toilets. The rest of the day I stayed inside because it was raining and I'm lazy. Though next saturday I'm planning to go to the early market. Yeah fruit! Besides that, tomorrows post will be better.
Picture time:









This is the highest point that I could get, but a not terrible view of the city. At least you can see the mountains okay.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Friday

My camera's battery died before I realized it was too late so no pictures today. Sorry.
Well today was my first real day as a teacher. I had five classes the first four were all grade school age and the last was middle school age. It was an orientation day, so all we had to do was go over rules and the book. Yeah, that took about fifteen minutes. We had to make up the rest of the time on our own. Joy.
I did a 'get to know you' sheet for them to fill out and present, and this way I have something with their names on it. This still left me with 20 or 30 minutes to go. All I can say is thank goodness for EFY, I took some of the games we played there and changed them so that they were ESL learning tools. I had a ball of yarn and they threw it to each other but they had to say each others names and then after a while say phrases and sentences, (this made a web which translated to a cool object lesson which I think none of them understood). The game worked great for the first class and after the bell rang I had a massive mess of yarn to sort out. Yeah totally didn't see that coming.
The other classes went about the same as the first. One of my classes got canceled because there weren't enough students in it. Which was fine by me, I now have a good balance of 4-5 classes a day throughout the week.
My last class was the middle school group. One of the more seasoned teachers, his name is David, warned me that normally this age group is hard to get motivated and their english isn't as good as the others. So I asked around for ideas for another game that might interest them a bit more. The director suggested pictionary, I spiced it up a little and had them split into two groups and made a competition out of it. It worked great, the four boys really got into it and everyone had fun. The director came up to me afterward and said good job (I think), she kept going on as though she wanted the credit for making up the game, which is fine if she really needs to feel that way. I'm starting to feel she really lacks some basic 'boss' skills, but I'll get into that later.
The first day was a success, but very tiring and I didn't really eat anything the whole day cause I was nervous. So one of the Korean teachers invited us to out to dinner with her. And oh what a dinner.
We went to a seafood place and they first served you a big bucket of mollusks. Soaked in a spicy white broth with spring onions floating around. Then they opened up this hole in the middle of the table where they lit a burner and stuck a case full of clams, mollusks, abalones, and one very live octopus. The thing was trying to escape but then they put the lid on it and everything started to cook by steam. We kept eating the mollusks while we waited for the unfortunate sea creatures to cook. After about fifteen minutes, the server came out and opened the lid, and started to cut up the gigantic clams and the octopus. Everything was surprisingly tasty. I really enjoyed the octopus, it had a really interesting crunchy and slimy quality to it.
After we ate for a while and were almost finished most of the creatures, there was a lot of broth still at the bottom of the case. The server then came out and dumped a ton of noodles in so it made a tasty soup. It was kinda spicy though so I didn't eat as much as the others did. I am slowly getting used to the stuff. It was an amazing meal, though.
Afterward, everyone wanted to go out drinking, because apparently that is what you do here. Well, that might be a problem with me, so I told them it was time for bed anyways so I left them to their night and went home. Which was good because it was like one o'clock when I got home.
Definitely an interesting day.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Happy South Korea Independence Day



So today we had off and oh did I have a fun filled day of crazyness.
We were told by Mr Kim that he would pick us up around 9 to move us over to our apartments. Well I didn't set an alarm because I felt that I naturally wake up around 7:30am not a problem. Well I did wake up around 7:30, looked at the clock and thought I would snooze a couple more minutes. Well the next time I woke up it was from Joel knocking at my door, ten minutes to 9am. Well I never packed so fast in my life.
All in all, I got everything together and got into my new apartment. And it was super dirty! Yeah, major war with dust bunnies happened today!
I moved things from the wall and swept up about a half a small trash can worth of dust and grime. When I got to the bathroom.... uh well you see in the next picture, and that that was after I already started scrubbing.


I won't be surprised if I have tennis elbow tomorrow.
So here is my cleaned and newly organized apartment, it has cool wall art and everything. And it is clean :)





About halfway through the cleaning though I decided to go and find the church in my town. I had the address written down and had partial directions on where it would be relative to my apartment. So like Nephi I set out not knowing exactly where I was going. I actually got pretty close, but I went down the wrong street or went one street too far. In short I got lost in some crossroads and resigned myself to use my two words of Korean and ask for directions. The first lady just shook her head and walked away. Not dismayed (I have served a mission) I asked the next lady to pass and I thought she would just point me in a direction but the lady grabbed my arm and escorted me down the road. She stopped multiple people to ask for directions herself and she even called somebody on her phone. We finally stopped in front of a small restaurant and asked the owner where the address was I had in my book. After speaking with him and a few teenagers who new a little English but not enough to help, the lady grabbed my arm again and walked me down two other streets. In the end we got to the church building. I was very excited to find it and the lady was confused because it wasn't open. I thanked her a lot and she stalked away.



Here is a picture of her stalking away, she is the one in the center. Well that was at least very entertaining.

So I got home after that and finished cleaning and yeah that was my super awesome day. There were a lot of flags out because of the holiday.