Friday, April 21, 2006

"It's the most wonderful time of the year "

Yeahhhh!!! It's my birthday!
This morning my Mother woke me up with a birthday phone call. Not such a bad thing to wake up to considering I got to open my gift with her on the phone (although I did have to listen to her sing me Happy Birthday....just joking have a beautiful voice).
When I arrived at school and walked through the doors all of my students and coworkers were waiting for me with a cake and more "happy birthday" wishes. It was wonderful and I was very surprised!
My students were really cute about it...when I told them I was 27 they looked at me in awe...then they compared me to how old their Mother's are (thankfully I am still younger then their Mothers). I remember my first grade teacher (Miss. Jones) and she was 24. I remember thinking how old....I could see that same thought cross the minds of all my 5 and 6 year old students. Funny how our perspective of age changes.
Anyways, it was a fun day. I got some gifts from my students (perfume and things for my hair) and coworkers (a nice bottle of champagne...ohh la la) and plenty of cake. Today was also the day of our schools monthly birthday party for the students. So I got to share my celebration with 6 little wee ones. It certainly helped to put me in good spirits.
I spent this evening going to my Yoga class and gym...trying to revamp my body and stay away from 'the drink' (or shall I say, over consumption of 'the drink') and all the bad things that come with it.
Anyways, I will be celebrating with a small beverage and food session at my local pub on Sunday night with some friends and coworkers. Below are some photos taken from the party we had at school.
Thanks to all my fabulous mates for your birthday wishes, e-cards and emails.
I love you all!

My student Amy and me
(Her birthday is April 12th, but the party was today)

My class....look at all the food!! Yummy!
(they could barely keep their hands off it while
we were taking the photos)

Amy posing for a photo. (It was like a sea of little kids....
we have a total of 68 students now in our kindergarten

Making wishes... Posted by Picasa

Monday, April 17, 2006

Here is a photo of the cottage we stayed at called Green SketchPosted by Picasa

Happy Easter

I love Easter!!!
Not just because it is the first real holiday of the year, but because it means spring has indeed arrived.
My school had planned a full day of Easter celebrations on Friday, which meant I didn’t have to teach (well, at least not my Kindergarten class) and we got to play a lot of games, sing songs and eat a lot of candy.
Although my students were incredibly hyper (I blame the candy) we still had a lot of fun.
After the Easter party at school, all of the teachers (16 of us ...including my director and his wife) boarded a bus for Nami Island. It is a beautiful area and is located in Gangwon Province, about 1 ½ hours from my house.
We spent the night at a beautiful cabin by a river, surrounded by mountains and enjoyed plenty of good food and drink (there was even a Nori Bang...karaoke the complex). It was my coworker’s birthday, so we also had a big cake for him.
Everyone stayed up late singing and drinking.
The next day, we woke up early to begin our workshop (the purpose of this little extracurricular excursion). It was a great opportunity for everyone to share teaching techniques (what works for us/what doesn’t) and brainstorm ideas of how to make our school curriculum even better.
After our workshop, we made our way to the ferry terminal where we took a short ride across the river to Nami Island. It’s basically a big park with restaurants, gardens, and even a small museum. Nami Island is also famous for being the set for one of Korea’s most popular TV shows called “Winter Sonata”.
So for the next few hours we ate lunch, walked around, and enjoyed the scenery.
Then we headed back home. Everyone was pretty tired from the night before, and I think slept the entire bus ride home.
It was a great time and I am very grateful to my director for planning such a fun trip. It certainly was nice to spend some time bonding with coworkers and also a great opportunity to see some more of Korea.
Today was Easter Sunday and I spent my afternoon at Hwagyesa Temple, listening to another Dharma talk.
The weather was a bit cool, but very sunny. In a few weeks there will be a large celebration for Buddha’s birthday. It should be an exciting time!
Anyways, I am off to bed soon...need my beauty rest.
Next Friday is my birthday, and I had originally planned to go down to Ulsan to celebrate with some friends, however, being that I am so cash-conscience these days, and trying to get fit, I figure that I might be better off staying local.
Happy Easter to everyone at home.
I love you and miss you all...enjoy the photos below.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Easter at Boston Campus (photos)

My Kindergarten Class: (Left to Right)
Jay, Kevin, Austin,Brian,Betty,Amy,Lisa,Joon,
Jimmy and Andy.
They made the bunny ears and baskets earlier
in the week.

My classroom ....very excited about Easter!
Each of the students got to 'color' their
own egg.
We had a scavenger hunt for chocolates
and candy. This photo is of my student
Austin....he was saying "Teacher...look at my
candy!!!" Posted by Picasa

Adventures at Nami Island (photos)

Bianca and Zach getting ready to board the bus

Bona enjoying a little BBQ

Joseph and May taking a shot of Soju.
Actually, Joseph had a shot with each of the teachers.
Let's just say he was very happy after 14 shots.

Me giving Joseph a big kiss. Posted by Picasa

Adventures at Nami Island Part 2 (photos)

My coworker Zach and Me..Happy Birthday Zach!

My director, Joseph, showing us how
a Nori Bang is really done!!!

Zach shaking is up at the Nori Bang

Amanda and Kate ...doing their impressions of Shakira Posted by Picasa

Adventures at Nami Island Part 3 (photos)

River View

View of the dock from our cabin

View of the river from our cabin
Eating breakfast inside the cabin Posted by Picasa

Adventures at Nami Island Part 4 (photos)

Nami Island pathway

Ok...This photo made me laugh so hard.
Perhaps it was the hangover, but when this
old man scurried into the frame, both Sue
(who was taking the photo) and I couldn't stop
laughing all day. (Thank you ajeshi)

Ostriches at Nami Island.
I think this was my first close encounter with an
ostrich....and they are HUGE!

Delicious, but very spicy Makkuksu
(noodles, veggies and lots of hot sauce) Posted by Picasa

Boston Campus at Nami Island
(This is everyone I work with...and me)

Walking to Hwagyesa Temple

Spring has arrived!!!
Hwagyesa Temple, Easter Sunday 2006 Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

A little about myself

Ok...apparently I have been 'tagged' by my good ('ol) friend Michi...whom I have known for a very long time, but only met for a brief time while working in New Zealand. She lives in Vienna and is a teacher and a published writer (among other things).
I will be honest with you. Normally I scoff at these sort of things ( heard me...scoff), but considering I fell asleep after the gym tonight ...around 7pm....and just woke up....2:30am....I figure I have some time to waste before my first class.
So here it goes:

The Four Things about Me

The Four best jobs I've had in my life
1. Bookseller at a 'Smith books"
2. planting trees and other
laborious activities in
Gros Morne National Park (Newfoundland)
3. travel agent
4. English Teacher (Extraordinaire)

The Four worst jobs I've had in my life
1. Serving Coffee and
donuts at a little $&it hole called 'Coffee Time'
2. Selling Newspaper subscriptions (door-to-door) on one rainy day in North Sydney (I quit after 4 hours ...I was soaked and had sold nothing....figured I wasn't going to make 'top salesman' that week...or ever)
3. travel agent (it was a love/hate kind of job)
4. cooking sausages outside of a butcher shop (early summer job)

Four movies I would watch over and over

1. African Queen
2. It's a Wonderful Life
3. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
4. The Princess Bride
(all kind of sappy love movies...but those are the good kind to watch over and over)

Four places that I have lived
1. Peterborough, Canada
2. Ottawa, Canada

3. Ulsan City, South Korea
4. Yongin, South Korea

Four TV shows I love to watch
1. The Daily Show (Jon Stewart cracks me up)
2. friends
3. Lost
4. Desperate housewives
(Note: living in South Korea, the T.V pretty much sucks, but thankfully we can download most things....helps to keep me sane)

Four places that I have been on vacation
1. Australia and New Zealand (same trip, so it counts as one)
2. Japan
3. Vietnam
4. Mexico
It's really hard to pick just four I chose my top four places

Four websites that I visit daily

1. Google
2. CBC
3. The Seoul Times
4. Lainey's Gossip page - Hey I love the smut!

Four places I would rather be right now
1. Asleep ( is almost 3am now)
2. Lying on a beach somewhere exotic ...sleeping
3. Asleep (did I already say that one?)
Travelling, travelling , travelling (but stay tuned folks...cause I might just have a surprise up my sleeve) now you know all about me!! Well as much as you can gather from this pathetic excuse for a blog entry. Hope it was as good for you as it was for me.
I am off to bed....again!


Sunday, April 09, 2006

cold beer, yellow dust, hot haircuts and good karma

Although lately I have been working hard to save money, this weekend I decided to get outta the damn apartment and have a little fun.Friday night I went for a few beers with my coworker Sue, Justin and Jon. We ended up drinking beer and bamboo soju until the wee hours of the morning. Good time was had by all and I am sure we raised a few eyebrows at our local pub.

On Saturday, I was severely regretting my activities the night before, but figured it was nothing an afternoon at the hairdresser's couldn't fix.
As I stepped out of my door I could feel my eyes and nose beginning to it wasn't the hangover. In fact, what I was experiencing was yellow dust. Yep....although I had experienced only a little bit last year, it was nothing compared to Saturday's event. The sky was a murky grey color and I could barely see the apartment buildings across the street.

According to KBS
Spring has brought with it an unwelcome guest. Yellow dust, called “hwangsa” in Korean, is an annual phenomenon. Yellow dust is an annual phenomenon caused by strong spring winds carrying dust from Mongolia and China across Korea.

But as far as I was considered it meant that I could barely breathe and had to withstand burning eyes, a congested head and sore throat for hours. OUCH!!!! Even after getting to my hairdresser's I could still taste the sand.

Anyways, as traumatic as this might seem, I survived and managed to enjoy my afternoon getting pampered and beautified by the magicians that work at my local salon. I was a wee bit nervous because I told them I wanted bangs...and since the last time I had bangs I was riding a tri-cycle...but they did a fabulous job! (See photo below).
One of my Korean coworker's, May, was also at the salon when I arrived, so it helped to have someone translate exactly what I wanted.
After our hair appointments , I went with May and her boyfriend for a bite to eat. Her boyfriend used to live in Toronto, so speaks English very well. He also works for Starbucks (the corporation...he doesn't make lattes) and gave me a free coupon for a drink and some food. Very sweet!!

Today, I went to Hwagyesa Temple, which is located in Suyu (north Seoul)...or in my case a 2 hour subway ride from my apartment. The Zen Center offers a Sunday afternoon meditation class year-round. These classes include meditation instruction, and a Dharma talk. It was very interesting and there was an opportunity to ask questions and talk with the monks after the class finished.Next weekend the lecture is being given by Hyon Gak Sunim, who is a bit of a celebrity in Korea. Myself, my coworker Sue and her husband are planning to go back next Sunday for some further insight into Zen Buddhism and its teachings. The lectures are free, but as always , it never hurts the karma to give a little to the monks.

After the temple, we walked around the neighborhood, looked at all the georgeous magnolia flowers that are beginning to bloom and grabbed some bibimbap, eggs and mandu for dinner.
Fantastic end to a great weekend.

Next Friday, my school is taking all of the teachers on an overnight get-away to a lake district north of Seoul. Apparently they have rented a cabin and will be taking boats across to the island where we will be staying. It sounds beautiful and I am sure I will have plenty of photos and stories to share. It is also Easter next weekend, so happy Easter to everyone and I hope you get lots of chocolate!!!

P.s. It was so warm today I was wearing capris and sandals....sigh. It was fabulous!

Hwagyesa Temple, Home of the
Seoul International Zen Center

The little puppy that lives near my apartment
(I took this photo Sunday morning....he is sooo cute
and I just had to share his picture with you)

My hot new haircut...oh baby!!

Yellow dust storm over korea (as seen from space) Posted by Picasa

Yellow dust cloud over Seoul
(photo stolen from

A Magnolia tree beginning to bloom

Cherry blossoms trying to bloom

Posted by Picasa