Sunday, March 19, 2006


Sorry I haven't written in friend Nicole is here! Yay!
She arrived a week ago on March 10, and will be here until March 25. My aunt and uncle arrive on March 24. They will stay for a week.
It's great having a friend here. Last weekend we went to Busan, which is a city on the east coast of Korea. I got to see the ocean (the East Sea). It was beautiful!
Today we are going to the Korean Folk Village. It's supposed to be a great replication of how life in Korea used to be (probably a little like "Old World Wisconsin", if you're familiar).
The weather here has been gradually getting nicer. Yesterday was in the 50's. It feels SO good to have spring on the way!!
I will write more soon.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Namsan Park/Seoul Tower

Wednesday, March 1 was a national holiday here. I think it's "Freedom Movement" day or something. Anyway, I had off of work, so I decided to do some sightseeing. I went to Namsan Park, which is a huge park at a mountain downtown, where at the peak is Seoul Tower. It sort of looks like the Space Needle in Seattle. You can take an elevator to the top and have an unobstucted view of the city. I thought I was taking the right way to reach the cable car to the top, but evidently I was wrong. I ended up walking up the whole mountain. It wasn't bad, but it took me about 2 hours to get to the tower. It has been getting warmer here (maybe 40-50 degrees), but on this particular day, it had snowed the night before and in the mountains it was even colder and snowier. The weather was fine actually, as I was exerting myself walking up that mountain. It was quite a foggy/smoggy day, so the view wasn't the best, so I need to go back when it's clear. But here are some pictures of the city...and the mountain trail.
One thing I found funny was that at certain points along the way there would be gazebos for people to sit back, relax, and enjoy the view...well, many of the gazebos also featured full-length mirrors. HUH? You're out in nature, climbing a mountain, and bam! there's a mirror! (I took a picture of it)
It's a testament to just how appearance-based this culture is...mirrors are everywhere. And did I tell you I had to submit my picture with my resume/job applications?? Sooooo illegal back home. Gotta love it.

Kindergarten Graduation??

Hi everyone...
It's been awhile since I've written because things have been busy here. The new semester in Korea for all students is March, so that means I will get new classes and new students. Some of our kindergarten classes have graduated, and our school held the most extensive kindergarten graduation that I have ever witnessed. It was more elaborate than my university graduation, I think. Everything is for show here, so god forbid an occasion goes by without a big hoopla surrounding it. The kindy kids (all of them, not just the ones who graduated) were involved in memorizing lines from songs, acting skits, and memorizing speeches. No kidding, I had to help 2 of my 4-5 year old students memorize a speech that went a little something like this "Hello everyone, and thank you for coming. Our friends have prepared a wonderful performance for all of you today. Please join us in watching them show off their talents to you.Turn off your cell phones, sit back, and enjoy the show...etc..." YEAH. Come on. Then they had to stand in front of a crowd of like 200 people and give their speech.
The costume changes were unreal. Every skit/song had a different outfit, so picture 7 foreign teachers who don't speak Korean and 7 Korean teachers helping 50 kids in and out of their clothes every 10 minutes. It was crazy. The little kids were soooo cute, but they were like programmed robots or something. Plus, they were wearing stage makeup, even the boys. The kids on stage even wore those little headband microphones, that sort of wind around their face. They looked like tiny pop stars. Check out the pictures...they are just so cute, but why do they work 'em so hard???