Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Just some photo updates from the past week.
Sue's birthday party on Saturday night was a lot of fun - basically another night full of debauchery that has killed too many brain cells for those in attendance (note the photo with the Korean stranger who kindly bought Sue a shot of 'fire water').
Also some photos of the kiddies snowsledding. Good times.

Life continues to be on the upswing:
I got a new fridge on the weekend (yeah) and the ants have vacated the apartment , be it temporary or not - Death to Ants!!
Jon has booked his flight to Korea for Easter weekend - another 'yeah'!!
and I woke up this morning to a beautiful snowfall....assah !! (Korean version of 'yeah')

Let the good times roll.


Sue cuddling up to a bucket of Tiger beer at Outklass

Everyone was having a lot of fun !!!

Dana warms up with her cool hat

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Life is good. I mean really good.

I am trying hard to find the right words to describe how I feel without making you lose your breakfast on your laptop...so please be patient.

I’ll start with ‘really good’ for now.
Jon came for the long awaited visit. It was just 5 days, but it was amazing and in retrospect it felt like a lot longer (which is a great thing).

I admit – the fact that I had to work 3 out of the 5 days is not terribly exciting but we did get to spend a couple of our days together touring around Seoul and I got to introduce Jon to a few of Korea’s cultural highlights.

Jon was really incredible with the fact that I had to spend more then half of his vacation at work. He actually came to school with me for 2 days and met everyone I spend my days with: coworkers, students and my bosses.

My students loved meeting Jon, especially the boys who forced Jon into playing soccer with them at every chance they got (yep – Jon you were such a good sport).

He was even there for our monthly birthday party and even joined in with ‘show and tell’ on 2 occasions: the highlight which was a stuffed rat, which still remains nameless despite my best efforts.

Friday night we met some of my coworkers for drinks at our local ‘pub’ – which really isn’t a pub at all...more of an ugly restaurant that fills with loads of Koreans sucking back soju and eating what can only be described as bar cereal (think fruit loops mixed with beer nuts and ringos....surprisingly yummy).

On Saturday we spent the day in Seoul sightseeing around Gyeongbokgung palace, Insadong and finished the day off with some Mexican food and drinks in Itaewon (the foreigner area of Seoul). Although it’s hard to find good Mexican food, the margaritas did not disappoint.

Apparently there was an earthquake Saturday night – but it must have happened while we were at the bar – because the only thing we noticed was that photos had fallen from my wall when we returned home ...I actually didn’t learn about the earthquake until Monday morning at work. (yep –slightly disappointed I didn’t get to feel it).

Sunday we returned to Seoul and spent the afternoon in the infamous Dongdaemun Market and then met my friends Sue and Justin for some veggie food and drinks.

Jon left Monday night to return back home to (dare I say... snowy) England.

Despite too much Kimbap and not nearly enough time together, it seems that Korea (and I) have made quite the impression, because Jon is planning to return for a long weekend over the Easter holiday – which will mean not only that we get to spend more time together, but I will get a chance to show him around my favorite Korean city: Busan.

So stay tuned for more ‘romantic’ updates.

On another note, the ants – which seemed to have disappeared for a few days have come back in full force. I actually looked around last night and saw only a few stray ones climbing along my kitchen wall – BUT when I awoke this morning the army had somehow organized itself into a mass of ants that appeared determined to overtake my apartment once and for all.

So having just purchased a combo ant trap/ ant spray kit I feel totally ready to take back my apartment. It isn’t very ‘Buddhist’ of me , but as I am sure you understand, this ant thing has gone on for far too long and it’s time to put my foot down , or in this case spray their little butts to death.

Sorry to the ants, but my compassion only extends so far. You have crossed the line.

Besides the juicy love life and the official war cry directed toward the ants in my apartment, there isn’t too much else going on.

Sue’s birthday is tomorrow and we will be celebrating over the weekend. I am sure there will be some good stories to tell. (Happy Birthday Sue!!!!)

My class is also going snow sledding tomorrow – I have fond memories from last year’s sledding adventure.

I have added some photos below for you to pore over.


Jon and me enjoying a Korean version of Indian food.

Not the best photo of me (might have had a bit too much to drink the night before)
- but this is us at Gyeongbokgun Palace

Jon waiting for the bus
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The rat: Contrary to popular belief I do think he is cute.

Aileen and me celebrating her birthday

It was David's birthday too!!

Saturn class looking ready to eat some cake.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Life has definitely settled into more of a routine now, and after 4 months of travelling it is kind of nice to be staying in one place for a while. The ants and I are still sharing my apartment, and my fridge has not been repaired - but it's home.
My new class is doing really well, although I don't feel as connected to them as my previous students. But considering I taught my previous class for 12 months, it is easy to understand.
In another month the class I am teaching now will graduate and the students will attend regular elementary school. This means I will be getting a new class of little ones, but for now these 10 kiddies (see photos below) are all mine.

Life outside of school has also been going exceptionally well. As some of you know, I have finally met someone and he is fabulous.
What's the catch you may ask? ...nothing in this life comes easy ....
He lives in England ... yep...that's right.... England.
We met in India (you may remember me mentioning a 'Jon' in the desert tale blog) and have been talking, emailing and web camming (is that a verb?) every day since.
In the past I would have most likely refused to be apart of anything resembling a long distance relationship ...I remember griping in the past that I could never date someone from Hull because it was over the river and the bus service sucked (among other obvious reasons to not date French men....Kelly I am sure you remember 'the list'?).
But this is different -
and although I will be in Korea for the next year (13.5 months to be exact), we are going to try our best to make it work.
First step : Jon is arriving Wednesday for our first 'visit' - which hopefully will be one of many throughout the year.
It's all very exciting, romantic and yes, I admit.. a little crazy - but we're going for it.

Sometimes in life all the pieces start to move closer together - and it feels amazing.
I know that happiness is just moments of joy strung together - and there will be hard times ahead-
I am trying hard to enjoy the moment and ride this wave for as far as it will take me.

To the future and to finding a string of happiness


Everyone loves arts and craft's time!!
Raina, Dana, Ozzy, Robert and David making So-go's.
(traditional Korean drums)

Clare making a funny face

Saturn class showing off their finished art projects
(making So-go's was 'so' fun...hee hee)

Some of our students waiting patiently for music class to start.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

I have finally finished unpacking and hung some photos and pictures on the walls.
My little apartment is clean (well much cleaner then it has been in a long time), and is beginning to feel more like a home and less like a college dorm room - however fond my memories are of dorm rooms.

I know I am trying to keep positive this New Year but as wonderful as my new apartment is...there are a few (somewhat) minor issues that I can't help but note:

* It's really small...well , it's more like tiny, especially when compared to Canadian standards. (Remedy: must work harder not to compare things)

* my crappy view from my kitchen window looks out onto the street in front of my building and I can't help but notice the ever-growing piles of garbage just below my window.
(Remedy: stop looking out the window or at the very least, don't look down)

*my fridge leaks...a lot.
(Remedy: ???)

*the hot water only works when it feels like it

*.....and ....I found ants (yep...ants).
I actually found some ants when I first moved in, but today found even more - like a New Years present...yeah!

Don't worry Mom....I will be speaking to my director on Monday about the hot water, fridge and ants.

The good news....it's free and really close to work!!!
(that's all I can think of now for good points).

Enjoy the pics Posted by Picasa

Saturday, January 06, 2007

In full Swing

My first week at school has been wonderful. The students were all very excited to see me again and my new class has been working very hard each day ( a nice surprise). It has also been great to catch up with my coworkers and some friends over the last few days. I almost feel as if I have never left.

This weekend, my friend Helen has come up to help move my things that I stored at her apartment over the last few months. We spent last night unpacking and setting up my computer (yeah, I am online again) and then went out to meet some of my coworkers for a traditional night of debauchery.
It ended up being a late night, well for me at least - I think 4 months of traveling has ruined me for staying up past 4am - maybe that's not such a bad thing after all.
This morning we woke up to a snowstorm that seemed to end as quickly as it started.
It was really beautiful....see photo below.
Then Helen and I spent the day at the Jinjilbang soaking in the hot tubs and attempting to detox in the saunas. It was wonderful.
Since tomorrow is Helen's birthday we have decided to go into the city tonight for a girl's night of dancing.... I have a real rock'n roll lifestyle... non?
I know I promised some apartment photos - but things are still a bit messy here. When I get everything set up I will add some photos so you can see my place.

Snowy Day, January 6 2006 Posted by Picasa

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Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Years

Here I am - back in the land of the morning calm.
I arrived yesterday morning (December 31st) just in time to watch the sun rise over the mountains. It was even more beautiful then I remembered and I must admit, I have fallen in love with Korea all over again.

However my renewed passion for Korea was temporarily overshadowed by the fact that my luggage did not arrive on the same flight I did. I was told that it was 'stuck' in LA. After filling out the necessary 'lost luggage' forms and being reassured my bags were on the next flight, I arrived to my apartment with nothing more then my purse.
Luckily, after some help from my manager Scully my bags were delivered to my apartment. Thanks Scully. I also want to give a big thanks to the very helpful people at Asiana and to the (surprisingly) cheerful courier who delivered my bags at 3:30am this morning. I am very grateful.

So my New Years Eve was far less exciting then the past. I spent the night alone in my apartment watching re-runs of CSI and sleeping....hmm.
If it wasn't for Jon calling me at midnight from England I am sure I might have slept through the whole thing. Thanks Jon for making my New Years special (twice).

For the next 14 months, I will be living in Jukjeon.
As you know, I have returned to the school I worked for last year and I am excited to be reunited with my students tomorrow morning. Also, many of the same coworkers and friends are still at my school and it will be fun to catch up with them over the next while.

As 2007 begins I can't help but to reflect on things. I know I keep saying this, but I have had an incredible last 4 months - maybe the best times of my life (so far).
I have seen things, done things and met people who have impacted and changed not only how I see myself and the world around me, but how I see my future. My life is definitely on a new path and I am eager to see where it takes me.

I am also excited to get back to updating my blog more frequently. It feels like it has been a while and I have to admit I have missed it.
I hope everyone has had a great New Years and that you are looking forward to the next year as much as I am. I will be updating again more frequently and will have some new photos of my apartment and students in the days to come.
So stay tuned.

Ciao Colleen