Fantastic Weekend!

14 03 2011

This weekend was awesome!  Nellena and Peter came over from Sokcho for a visit.  When they got here on Saturday evening, we were all hungry, so we found a Korean Barbecue restaurant near our house after walking around and getting to know our neighborhood a little bit more.  The foot was super yummy, and the company in ENGLISH was great!  Sunday was refreshing, quite an experience, and a bit painful all at once!

On Sunday morning, we woke up, got ready for the day (four people, one bathroom, one bedroom, and that’s it).  Then we had church.  We worshiped to Chris Tomlin, and read through Judges about Samson.  Then we ate breakfast, and headed out on the train for Seoul.  We found a teacher who spoke pretty well in English, and he helped us plan our rout and stayed with us as long as he could.  Then we went to the international district in Seoul to check it out and do a little shopping!  Both Jeremy and I got backpacks, which is something we really needed.  I have been taking my HUGE beach back to and from work every day, and it is just very large and bulky.  Surprise, I got a purple one, and I think it is turning into my new purse for a while. It is not huge, but will hold most of what I need it to for a day at work. I think I got a great deal on it too!  It is the same brand as our luggage, and He went down from 40,000won to 25,000, which is about $25 bucks. For a brand made by Samsonite, I was willing to pay $25.   I also got a pair of Crocs at the crock store so I have a pair of house shoes.  My feel flared up really really bad while we were out today, so I could not walk as much or as far as I might have wanted.

While trying to find a mexican restaurant (that we saw on a map) we found an international store.  It was a little bigger than a convenience store, but not really a grocery store.  in that store, we were able to find tortillas, salsa, and the white gold of Oregon…PEPPER JACK TILLAMOOK CHEESE!!!!  A while ago, I facebook chatted with Tillamook and they said that they don’t ship to Korea, so we assumed we would be without the entire time we were here.  Well, we also found Kirkland brand cheese, which is actually what we saw first.  I looked a little, grabbed pepper jack, and decided we could atleast make Mexican food for dinner, if we could not find it.  I had chicken and veggies at home that needed to be eaten anyway.

Of course, as soon as we got down the hill, back to the street we were on, we found a restaurant called Los Amigos.  We decided to go to lunch there and still make burritos for dinner.  Nellena and Peter have not been able to find tortillas since they have been in Korea so this was a real treat!  Jeremy and I shared a nacho at the restaurant, and Nellena and Peter shared a burrito.  they were very good.  After lunch we came home.  It was getting dark, and my feet were really acting up.  They were super swollen and really not doing well.  Nellena and I got off the train, and went straight to the apartment. I sat down on the bed, and took pain meds and iced my swollen feet (also used my massage ball).  The ice helped a little, and by the time we went to sleep, the swelling was going down.  We sent the guys to the store to buy a few more things we needed for dinner (like spice for the tacos cause I just moved in and don’t have any spices yet).  They also got some drinks, and some plane yogurt for sour cream.  The burritos were heavenly.  I felt really bad though, that Nel and Peter cooked at my house, while all I could do was sit down on my bed and chat with them.  Then we watched music and lyrics and went to bed.  They woke up really early this morning and went home.  Short weekends are hard for traveling when you work so late on Friday. You wind going home on Monday, and they made it with less than an hour to spare before they had to be at their school.  That is a bit of a close call!  It was just so nice to see them though!  Now back to a work week where I only work 10 hours, but sit here for 8-10 hours a day…Thus the writing the blog, and hanging out on facebook.  My one and only class today is at 8:45 pm.  It is currently 4:30.  :-(

Anyway, I am going to try again to figure out pictures and get going.  I think I have a little work I could be doing.  :-)  Talk to you soon!





March 9, 2011

10 03 2011

March 9, 2011

Today was a good day!  It started with finding out that we are not the only Americans in our apartment building!  There is a guy named Kyle who lives one floor up.  Maybe we can hang out sometime?  Didn’t totally seem like who we might normally hang with, but we live in the same building, speak the same language, and are all teachers…that works for me!  Then we went to our new favorite hangout, Holly’s Coffee Shop, and chatted with Nellena and Peter for over an hour.  They are going to try to come when Peter is feeling better (we are all hoping this weekend).  Then I talked with my mom for a while, and then I chatted with Marie.  It is so nice to feel at least a little connected to home!  Mom got our background checks back today, and is mailing them tomorrow.  I am so relieved.  The longer it was taking the more worried I was getting!

My one class today went well.  This is one of my more energetic classes.  They all try to have English names, and one of them chose Shiny.  Not really a name, but she likes that it means twinkle.  Another girl chose Lawa.  I think she was going for Laura, but when Koreans say it, it sounds like Lawa, so that is what came out, and the teachers who agreed to the name didn’t know any better either.  I don’t know whether to correct that or not, after everything has that name on it.  They were all excited about games after the lesson.  We played a Clifford spelling game I found on pbskids.com, and I read  To Root To Toot To Parachute: What is a Verb with them.  Then we played an action verb game with them that Jeremy found and ended in hangman.  Every student engaged in the class, and all did a great job!  Today was the start of my new points system in the classroom, and my first class earned all 5 points today.  YAY.  At the end of my one class I asked if I am supposed to leave at a specific time, or if I can leave when I am done teaching.  Granted I went out with my jacket on, and my bag ready to go.  Maybe I should not have done that!  :-S  They said I can leave when my class is done, so I left.  It was early enough that I went to E-mart and started grocery shopping.

After work, I went to E-mart.  I broke about every rule known to the walking kind when I was grocery shopping!!!! I had my big bag, but it already had my computer, and a few other things from work in it.  I bought vegetables, a big bag of rice, soda pop, LOTS of veggies, some large things of fruit, pasta sauce in jars, hangers, an alarm clock, and a few other things.  Okay, I was sort of measuring size wise what I thought would fit…but didn’t really consider the weight.  I learned my lesson quickly!!!!  I made it home with everything but barely!!!  My bag was so full, I had to stop every ½ a block or so to readjust or switch shoulders, and with the other hand was carrying some frozen dumpling things, the soda, and a package of hangers.  I was starving by the time I got home, and very jittery and sore.  I really didn’t feel like contending with my kitchen to cook one of the meals I just spent W 100,000 on and I promised Jeremy pizza for dinner.  So I walked over to pizza hut once I had calmed down a little.  I ordered the same pizza we had before, stuffed crust, ½ bulgogi, ½ pepperoni.  There was a misunderstanding in the crust order though.  They gave me cheesy, sweet potato crust instead.  Instead of crust, this pizza has cheese rolled up in crust, in little bite sized chunks that you pull off and eat.  Only the rolls have sweet potato puree in them also.  I was really not expecting that, and it is kinda icky.  I didn’t mention anything about them making the wrong curst because I didn’t know about the sweet potato until I got home.  Then they were closed and I was to sleepy to care.  I added some pineapple to the pepperoni side and made my favorite kind of pizza, since I got pineapple at the store also.  They did not seem to understand when I wanted to add pineapple to the pizza at pizza hut, so I just did it myself.  Okay, that has been my entire day.   I ate my 2 slices of pizza (full after that many slices!), and am so ready for bed.  I am curled up, waiting for Jeremy to get home.  I can’t wait until tomorrow; I actually have a few classes!!!

 

 





March 5, 2011

10 03 2011

March 5, 2011

I am super frustrated at the fact that we don’t know who to talk to about getting internet at our house.  I am frustrated that we have to walk a few blocks and go to pay to get online when we could be paying a monthly fee and be done with it.  Nellena is supposed to be coming today, and I don’t even know if she decided to come or not because I could not find good directions from the train station to my house.  I need to go pay to have internet again just to see if she decided to come or not.  I wore my new dress shoes yesterday, so my feet are hurting a little bit. Oh boy I don’t need another flair up!  I better stick to my tennis shoes for a bit again.

Another frustration is our trash. We don’t know what to do with it.  We have to buy special trash bags, but I could not find them at the store, and we have to recycle everything else.  I even saw something online about composting…but I don’t know if we do that here.  I need to look up the words trash, compost, and recycling on google I guess.  I was hoping Nellena could help us with that.  Today was trash day based on all the trash that was downstairs last night and we could not get anything out.  Man I have to figure out what the trash bags look like so I can throw stuff away!!!!!  Apparently recycling is HUGE and you have to do it.  We have been here almost a week and our little room is overrun!

My feet both decided to flair up!  My right foot got bad!  The entire front of the arch up into the ball of my foot and all the way over is swollen.  We are going to walk around tonight and see if we can find a church.

 





March 4, 2011

10 03 2011

I think yesterday I finally got a real glimpse of my life.  I went to work at two, had two classes later in the day (like 5 and 8), and came home when I was done.  I was stuck in my cell of a classroom, and left only to ask questions or use the bathroom.  I need to ask today if I can decorate the room at all, because I will go crazy spending 9 hours a day in one stark white room, with a projector screaming in my face.  I think I figured out that I am not teaching many classes because it is a new school, and there are not many students in each level to teach yet.  I am okay with that, but poor Jeremy has been thrown in with 25 hours of teaching a week, when I have 10.  I think our contracts say that we should have 30 hours each, but they cannot pay us less if we don’t teach that many.  I guess I am okay with that.  My work computer has internet, so maybe I don’t have to pay for it all the time anymore until we get it at home.

Nellena is coming tomorrow, provided she can find the way here.  I am so excited to see her!  We need help figuring out things like WHAT IN THE WORLD DO WE DO WITH OUR TRASH!!!???  We are starting to drown in trash in this apartment, and we don’t know what to do with it.  This is a bit crazy! Tonight Jeremy is going out to dinner with all the teachers from his school, and his director is going to pay for it.

I got stuck in a back room at my school, next to the conference room, with no other kids, or teachers around me.  I feel a bit isolated.  I did talk to the other teachers for a few minutes yesterday.  I am wishing I had better social skills so I can really interact with them.  I really want to make friends, and with knowing that some of the other teachers teaching for the first time, it seems appropriate that I should be able to make friends.  I am just feeling a bit like I can’t even remember how.  Today, I am teaching three classes, all later this evening, one at 5 one at 8 and one at 9.  I should have some time to prep for them all, when the time I have to be at work is 2.  I am feeling pretty useless, and am wondering why Jeremy’s school took him, and my school took me, and not the other way around.  It seems that they would throw the experienced teacher full force, and the one that is not could be eased into it a bit.  I am grateful, and not to sore that I really maybe 20 hours a week with prep time, and am making $2000 a month, but after hearing that his school usually likes female teachers, I am wondering why it happened the way that it did.  Whatever, I guess I should go and do my hair for work.

Oh, the funniest thing happened to me today.  I had just finished telling Jeremy that I didn’t feel like taking a shower, and I walked into the bathroom to wash my face.  I opened the bathroom door, and the showerhead started spewing water at me!  What The Heck???  I looked and the door hit the faucet, which comes out of the wall right at the end of the door.  It turned it on, and I got my dry, clothes I had intended on wearing for the day all wet!  I dried off, we had a great laugh, and it was so funny.  Never in America would your door turn on your shower, since we actually have enclosed showers…lol  It was super great, and we both needed a good laugh.

 





March 2, 2011, our first work day in South Korea

10 03 2011

March 2, 2011

Our first day of work.  This is going to be interesting!  Jeremy and I were told to be ready at 1pm, so we were.  At 2 someone came to get us, and we sat for maybe a half an hour in my director’s office while waiting for the director of Jeremy’s school to come and take us there to get direction.  Jeremy was shocked to be thrown right into teaching 4-5 classes today, and given an office. I was a bit surprised after finding out that I was only teaching one class.  So, I came back, sat in the director’s office some more, only to be 5 minutes late for my one class, because no one ever even told me where it was.  So after, I was told that since that was my one class, I could leave, as long as I am back by 2pm tomorrow.  That was my day.  The learning material is nothing like what I expected.  It is actually American supplemental curriculum for kids to go through as a refresher for summer lag.  It is three weeks of curriculum that is needed to be stretched for 3 months!!!! I literally taught 2 pages today, and since one of their vocabulary words was whisper, we played several rounds of telephone.  I tried to sing twinkle twinkle little star with them, but that kinda floated like a rock.  I was even doing motions and everything.  I guess the bright spot in the teaching (I was literally done with the curriculum 15-20 minutes in), was that one of their vocabulary words was SPECIAL, and when I asked for a definition of special, one of the girls said “Your hair”.  It made me smile.  I kinda wondered if any of the kids would mention my curly reddish brown hair today.  A few of the kids pulled out their phones and took pictures of me to show their families I guess…It was kinda funny. I wish I knew what they were thinking.  They were very polite for the most part, minus the girl who decided it would be a great idea to start her other homework, but I just wonder that beyond my special hair, all they can really see is a big fat American woman, attempting to teach from a bear curriculum.  We better get internet in our house SOON!!!!  I need to start doing research.  I wish this school were even remotely as congenial as Jeremy’s.  I was lucky to get anyone’s names, and although they were not rude, they were by no means very helpful!  Jeremy was handed the curriculum for all of his classes, and a weekly schedule of what he is expected to teach and when.  I asked for something like that at my school and all I got was as “today is the first day, we may have that information for you later”.  They hated the fact that I asked if maybe I could take the curriculum home to work on learning it!

Meanwhile, I have our one house key, and Jeremy is being forced to ride the bus home tonight.  He has only a few thousand won ( a few bucks), and no phone numbers to anyone…not that I could help him if I wanted to.  I hope if he gets to lost he at least finds a cab.  I am super worried he will not be able to find his way home.  I was just about to head to the internet café, but I have no idea what time he is going to be home, so I don’t know what time I have to be back by.  So instead, I think I am actually going to try and cook a meal here.  I have some chicken and peppers, as well as some rice, and sweet pepper sauce.  Not a huge meal, but considering we have spent almost $200 on necessities the past few days, we don’t have much food around here.   Maybe tomorrow morning we will actually get some food!  I think I am going to close my eyes for a bit before Jeremy gets home.  Then we can go to the internet café together if he is home in time.  Chat more with you later!

 





Welcome to your new home

10 03 2011

March 1, 2011

Welcome home!

We got here late last night, and OH BOY!  Do you like our new home?  It is a studio with a sectioned off kitchen/entrance.  We had not eaten any dinner, and after an 11 hour plane ride and about two hours in the car, we made it to the town we will be living in, We were told that we could go out and eat, and that we would have to furnish all of our pots and pans, and everything for the apartment ourselves besides the bed, a TV without cable, a table with two chairs, a washing machine and a mini fridge.  We were NOT expecting that.  We did have a very pink comforter and two pillows.  Under the comforter is what looks like another quilt, and that appears to be our bottom sheet???  At least that is the best I can figure.  Jeremy is ticked because when one of his checked bags was searched, he found that they hadn’t re-packed his gnome as carefully as he had, and the foot got crushed.

We were told of a store to go to for our needs, and we took 113,000 won to the store with us (which what we can figure is about $100 according to the little gadget on my computer.  On top of food, we had to get essentials that we thought would be here waiting for us.  Towels, pots and pans, etc…and needless to say, we didn’t wind up spending much on food, and spent it mostly on the other essentials of living, like a trash can.  We do have a washer, but no drying rack.  Since we were low on money and had to walk, we put a hold on the rack and got a pack of hangers.  On our way home, I met my first English speaking Asian people!  They were Jehovah’s Witness Missionaries, who were ready with an English version of the Watch Tower for us.  We tried to ask what city we were in, because we still don’t know.  They didn’t answer, but we were not sure they really understood that we were asking.

After coming home and trying Cheese Raman (interesting…not bad, but not my fav), we got more money and went back out.  We found an internet café, and finally made contact with the outside world.  We also finally figured out that we are in Namyangju City.    I got to chat with mom for a bit, but I cannot wait until we have internet here, so I can chat with people, and skype with people again!!!

After we were done on the internet, we went to Pizza Hut, and wow that was an experience!  The waitresses had on tuxedo shirts, and nice slacks!  We were broght some pear and mango jello, a bunch of sweet pickles, and jalapeños to eat with our pizza.  We had ½ pepperoni, and half beef bulgogi.  It was pretty good.  A medium is a pretty small pizza, but turned out to be just enough for us.  When we get pizza at home, we can eat so much, but maybe with traveling, we had a small 6 slice pizza, and it was almost to much. The pizza was tasty.  And I had an Orange Aid.  This was almost just orange juice and soda water…complete with pulp.    It is petty good!   I was kinda hoping for orange soda but I liked it.  We came home to relax for a while, but need to make one more store trip tonight for food and a few more necessities like shampoo…I should probably take a shower before my first day of work!  J

Okay, so we came home to relax, and oh my goodness, we fell asleep at 6pm!  Woke up at midnight, again at 2 and again at 4.  Jeremy’s phone actually woke us up at 4.  How come Student Loan collectors can get ahold of him, but he cannot make any calls out?  That stinks!  We never made it to the store, so we have to go in the morning…later in the morning anyway.  It is 12:48 pm at home, and here it is 5:48 am.  I don’t know if I should go back to sleep and try and force myself on their schedule…I know if I don’t  9pm is going to come very LATE tonight (when I get off work),  but I have been in bed for about 12 hours now and I don’t  really want to sleep anymore.  E-mart opens at 9am, and we don’t even have breakfast food until we go there, and besides, I still need shampoo!  I guess I am going to try to go back to sleep for a few.  17 hours of time difference really stinks to adjust to.





Hello world!

10 03 2011

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