Friday, December 31, 2010

The Aqworium

My desire to have children of my own is not very great. That is until I go with my students to a museum or an aquarium. If I had my own bebes, we would be doing something like this all the time. I just love how their minds and curiosity go into overdrive at these places. Mentally stimulated cutie patooties! I actually did pretend that Joy and Lauren were my own little twins.

Looking for clams, Harry?

First touch pool

Annie and Alex

Joy and Lauren

Fish!

Second Touch  Pool

A shark ate Joy!

My "chirren"


Thursday, December 30, 2010

Happy Tol!

The day after Christmas, I tracked back down to Anyang for Baby J's Tol. Rick and Joo's beautiful baby girl just celebrated her first birthday.

The adorable family

The super sweet spread

Such a proud Papa!

Lighting the birthday cake candle

A baby's first birthday in Korea is very significant. If a baby reached one, it survived possibly the hardest year.

Here's a clip of Baby J's Toljabee. (Click on the link to get Wiki-schooled on what a Toljabee is)

video


The reason why I'm cheering is because the guests take part in a pool to predict what Baby J will grab and I chose the money!

Anyang We Have Heard on High!

our Xmas Eve spread: bacon wrapped scallops, shrimp cocktail, eggplant tapanade, nuts, olives, and cookies!

Trying to pull of Kris Kringle but coming off as Zeus

Wake Up!! Santa came!!

Mindy played the role of Santa

Justin played the role of spastic younger brother

Jamie wondering where the mistletoe is at

Santa or Hugh Hefner? You decide.

We really got dolled up for Christmas portraits
What did Santa bring me this year?
  • tights
  • leggings
  • chocolate
  • a book about animals as unlucky in love as i
  • the most traditional christmas one can have whilst living abroad

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Merry (Late) Christmas!!

Our Christmas Concert went off without a hitch (almost). Our cheap Casio tape decks weren't working properly and our CD began to skip. My Orange Owls, being the seasoned professionals they are, looked nervously at me like, "what the @#^! do we do?!!?" They did their cover of "All I Want for Christmas" acapella and dammit, Mariah Carey herself would have been proud.

Here's their version of Silver Bells



I really am so proud, they worked their tushes off and never complained. This Grinch's heart definitely grew three sizes more seeing them do their song and play.








Hope you guys had a good Noel! More to come before the year's end!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Tale of Two Thanksgivings

Friday night was spent with the Pension Gang (aka Angelique, J.O., Charlie, James, Neville, James, Charlotte) at Angelique's home near Itaewon. Angelique slaved over the stove all day and prepared an amazing spread (even the delicious sweet potato/marshmallow casserole!). It was a cozy, familial occasion that would warm the heart. And although I lost Family Feud I still had a wonderful time.
Angelique's Feast



Saturday was spent in Anyang at Jamie's, this time with Jamie, Mindy, Justin, Laura and about 20 other people. The food again was mahvelous and we had a fierce round of Trivial Pursuit going for a few hours. Not to mention we capped off the evening with some good ol' noraebang.

Pulling off meat from a turkey carcass
Happy Slapsgiving!

The surviving bunch of the night
 I know I may be a little late in saying this, but I am thankful for my life, my friends, my family, my health (although my damn lingering cough is going absolutely nowhere), and the experiences that I've had these past 27 years. You can't and shouldn't know exactly where life will lead you. If life's surprises stop coming, you'd eventually run out of things to be thankful for.

it's da bomb?

Last week, those cray cray NKers shelled Yeonpyeong Island resulting in 2 casualties and about 20 injured. Not cool, guys. Not cool.

The world was all:












But we were like:




 As you can see, it ain't nothin' but an SK thang.








 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Letter to the President

Dear Mr. President,

Under normal circumstances I would be totally psyched for your visit to South Korea. Like last time, when you came to Korea and I told my students that the great thing about being American was that if you were in a foreign country at the same time as the President, you would get together with all of us expats and we would have an awesome pizza party (Yellow Class is STILL jealous). However, you could not have chosen a most inopportune time.

I have unsuccessfully (thrice!) attempted to get a replacement phone for the one that fell out of my bag. The first time, the "nice" folks at LG laughed in my face when I tried to get them to hook up Liz's old SK phone. The second time, I went to Yongsan, starving and cold (remember the ol' Teal line?) I walked away with my head in my hands crying in a cab. Now tonight. I was all set with a fierce determination to "get 'er done."

As I headed out of the YBM building, a portentous sky over head, rain pouring down and lightning flashing mere feet ahead of me, I braved the rain and wind to get onto the 730 bus to transfer to the 405. I would go to the cat shelter first and then head to Yongsan after. My Ugg boots have soaked through and I've got soggy socks.

However, we get to Seobingo and there is a hemorrhage of cars and police blockades everywhere. Seobingo is impossible to penetrate, our bus driver makes a u-turn into the other direction. Somehow I make it into Itaewon and after a nourishing meal of nachos supreme, I look out the window and see a stream of Korean police, in their riot gear and bright neon yellow outfits. W.T.F. I go to a cab and try to hail one to Yongsan and he tells me to get on the subway. I go to the subway and there are policemen blocking the exits. Defeated I get into a cab and head back home to Seocho.

Luckily I had an awesome cab driver who lifted my spirits. God bless these cab drivers. Honestly. We converse about the G-20 summit, the reunification of Korea. Kimchi chiggae, noraebangs, Peperro Day. How Korea is the best (out of China and Japan). Texas Rangers.

Back to the point, Obama. If it weren't for your dang Veteran's Day speech to the troops on base at Yongsan, I might be home with a replacement phone that has been more trouble to get than it should be. Korea is the land of KONVENIENCE! So why the heck is this so impossible? Because of YOU, Obama. Because of you.

 I'm sorry, I didn't mean it. Tell you what, if you want, I can still show you the most awesome place to get spicy bulgogi and then we can go get some Vinyl tomorrow night ok? Just play hooky with those boring old foggies and we'll call it even. Oh wait. You can't call me cuz I don't have a phone. Guess you'll have to email me like EVERYONE ELSE.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Pe-pe-pepero!

Happy Pepero Day,


Our friend, Wikipedia, says that Pepero Day " is an observance in South Korea similar to Valentine's Day."

So in addition to Valentine's Day (adopted by most young ROKers) and White Day, there's another holiday added to the roster where cutesy presents and gifts can come out in full force. Not that I'm bitter though, because I know all my students are gonna get me all hopped up on chocolate. See, that's the great thing about being a teacher. I get 10 dates instead of one... :-p

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Tick. Tick. Tick.

Dear Korea,

So I guess we'd eventually come to this point, but I just wanna give you a big, huge, monumental middle finger right now. I think I'm getting sick. I don't have a phone. And I cried in a cab today. Are you happy?! I cried in a cab!

I don't think this Southern girl is going to ever get used to the lightening speed temperature changes you have. And lord knows I'm not getting any younger so you need to be a little kinder to this body right here. I do not appreciate freezing my red butt off at Ichon Station to get to Yongsan (I'm looking at YOU friggin slow TEAL line. Teal line. ha. what a joke). I especially do not appreciate freezing my red butt off when said trek to Yongsan is fruitless.

I know it was my fault for losing my phone. Well honestly, it was the cute messenger bag's fault that I bought at YOUR store, Accessorize. Who knew that zippers are more function than form? I've been trying super duper hard to get a replacement phone but you are making it more than impossible for me to do this. Cut. me. some. slack.

My poor cab driver thought I was crazy. Would he think that correcting me on how to properly say, "Turn right after the subway stop" would set waterworks off on his fare? Doubt it, otherwise he wouldn't have. But he did. And it set this girl here, the one who has been madly in love with you, off like a bomb. Then he tries not to look disgusted as I give him soggy money that I used to wipe my nose.

Is this just the delayed crest of my prolonged honeymoon period? Or is it a signal that it's (finally) time to go home?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Better Daughter




Sometimes in the morning I am petrified and can't move
Awake but cannot open my eyes
And the weight is crushing down on my lungs
I know I can't breathe
And hope someone will save me this time
And your mother's still callin you insane and high
Swearin it's different this time
And you tell her to give in to the demons that possess her
That god never blessed her insides
Then you hang up the phone and feel badly for upsetting things
Crawl back into bed to dream of a time
When your heart was open wide and you love things just because
Like the sick and dying

And sometimes when you're on
You're really fuckin on
And your friends they sing along
And they love you
But the lows are so extreme
That the good seems fuckin cheap
And it teases you for weeks in its absence
But you'll fight and you'll make it through
You'll fake it if you have to
And you'll show up for work with a smile
You'll be better
And You'll be smarter
And More grown up and a better daughter or son
And a real good friend
And you'll be awake
You'll be alert
You'll be positive though it hurts
And you'll laugh and embrace all your friends
And you'll be a real good listener
You'll be honest
You'll be brave
You'll be handsome and you'll be beautiful
You'll be happy

Your ship may be comin in
You're weak but not givin in
To the cries and the wails of the valley below
And your ship may be comin in
You're weak but not givin in
And you'll fight it you'll go out fightin all of em

Monday, November 1, 2010

A Haunted Crackhouse

Usually you think of a crackhouse when you think of a house filled with about a hundred garbage bags, shredded toilet paper, and blood (red paint) everywhere, amright? But no, these were the materials we had, as Tim Gunn would say, to "make it work."

And make it work we did. We spent many hours erecting a maze using trashbags as the walls. We used lots of poster board and red paint. We were clever enough to use the shredded toilet paper from the Mummy Wrap activity an hour before. And behold, YBM's House of Horrors was born!!!

WATCH IF YOU DARE....

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Happy Halloween from Orange Class!

So. cute. right?!



Alex was not having this. The only kid who asked for a spoon. denied.

Zombie Orange Class

Thanks I carved this myself

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Ms. Casey battles the Pink Robots

Ba-Donk-a-donk Bonnie: I wish Ms. Casey was my mom.

Casey: Bonnie! Why? I would just give you homework ALL the time!

Ba-Donk-a-donk Bonnie: .... I don't care I like English homework.

Ah, I've programmed them just fine.

Speaking of robots

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Walking into Spider Webs

We checked into the Zebra Apartments on Monday night and our host was the lovely, Cindy Crawford. Yes ladies and gentlemen, Cindy Crawford.



 After having a much deserved rest after two days of straight travel, I woke up on Tuesday feeling slightly more optimistic about my stay in Taiwan. This won't be too bad I thought.

As I rolled over to turn on the light, I saw something creeping along the stark white wall underneath the top bunk about 2 feet away from my head. What. the. hell. is. this.

I had a staring contest with a spider. And I know we were staring at each other because I could see ITS EYES!! I COULD SEE ITS EYES!!!

Now we were both still enough for me to think, "do not panic and freak Mindy out" because I knew should there be a huge commotion, it would give Aragog a chance to scatter away. I leapt out of bed and began to whisper, "Mindy. Mindy. Spider. Spider."

Mindy promptly leapt out of bed and said, "OOOOH SHIT!"

We grabbed each other as I pointed to the wall where that arrogant arachnid just smiled defiantly and said, "Whatchoo goin' do bout it?"

The only logical thing I could think of was:

a) grab a camera
b) proceed to document the following events

Do you see that little reflective spot? That's right, those are the EYES! I tried to get some scale into this picture, it had the span of the palm of my hand.




All cute and dead now.



So a few days later, Ms. Crawford comes strolling in and was all, "So sorry, I hear about spider. So sad!"

Mindy and I look at each other quizzically and Cindy continues, "Yeah, I see her in there a few days ago so I just scoop her out and put her on tree outside."

I hate nature.

Hello Mudda, Hello Fadda

Monday, September 27, 2010

Happy Birthday Mommy!

"Thirty years have flown right past
Her daughters' starin' at all the photographs
Of her mother, and she wishes she could be like that"


Love you so much!! Hope you have a wonderful birthday!!

Trials and Tribulations in Taiwan Pt. 1

So, remember how I said I would be off to frolic in Taiwan for Chuseok? Yeah, that never really happened. Instead, Mindy and I battled a typhoon, a gigantic arachnid, trains, cab drivers, strange night markets, and Cindy Crawford. All in all it was an interesting trip, though not what we had in mind. Lessons were learned along the way, friendly faces were met, and an assortment of memories were created. I'll be blogging in detail further along but here's just a smattering of what's to come.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Happy Chuseok


You've terrorized me enough little ones... I'm off to frolic in Taiwan for a few days!

Monday, September 13, 2010

A Chocolate Love Story

"An amusing and sweet love story with chocolate."

Yes, you could say this is just a typical love story. I ran into the unexpected love of my life at a 7-11 stop in the subway. I saw you instantly and couldn't take my eyes off of you. You had everything I could ever ask for. Some would call you rich and smooth, others would be drawn to your effervescence and bubbly attitude. I was drawn to both aspects of you.

My first taste caught me off gaurd. It brought waves of nostalgia and the excitement of the unknown simultaneously. But I wanted- nay, needed- more. My friends just wrote you off as a fling. A one time affair. But I knew it was different.

Then, I had to leave you. And what a long 5 weeks it was. I capriciously flirted with Cherry Coke and Cream Soda. Carelessly going through each one. But in my mind, I just thought of you. Only you, baby, and of that rush I would get once I had my hands on you again. How you would taste when I would get back.

I came back to Korea and you were patiently waiting for me. And since I've been back, Chocolate Flavor Sparkling, it's only been getting better and better.

Friday, September 3, 2010

We Now Return to Our Regularly Scheduled Programming

After a month of R&R, I came back to Seoul refreshed, revitalized, re-energized.

The first day back was swell. I wasn't terribly jet lagged, my students were absolute angels and they missed me, I enjoyed my first wing night back with Mikey teacher. And then I went to my apartment.

I opened my purse. I could not find my key. I called Stephanie teacher (who at this moment was still cat sitting for me) and told her she'll need to board two Caseys that night.

The next day and 70,000 won later, I have a new key along with a brand new lock on my door. Yay. Welcome back.

The day after that, Typhoon Kompasu decides to shake things up. I wake to shrieking wind, and as I look out my window, roof tiles spin by and the satellite dish next to my window is knocked over. I take a minute to breathe a sigh of relief that these thick steel bars over my window will prevent anything from crashing in and shattering glass everywhere. Although, these same steel bars would seal my fate should I have a fire preventing my only exit out of my apartment. Back to apocalypse:

At 7:30 receive a txt from the boss lady: " u can come to school today at 11 because of typhoon"
Score. Meet Mindy and Steph at Coffee Bean in Gangnam to celebrate because, coincidentally, as soon as boss lady sends txt, the skies clear, the winds die, and the typhoon just makes an abrupt and quiet exit.

So this has been my first week back.... it's like I never really left.
My Texas cat, Bosie, thanks you for your time.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Home

In my first 24 hours back in Texas:

I had Japanese for lunch and then we went to a huge Korean grocery store... yes being back is like I never left.

Friday, July 23, 2010

You Stay Klassy, Korea

Korea,

Before I go. I just wanted to thank you for a few things. Thank you for:

  1. adorable little children who, despite being terrors at times, amaze me with their innocence, intelligence, and ability to always see the bright side.
  2. your amazing public transportation. I know I've missed my car, and I'll be able to drive to my heart's content, but I'm sure that after a month of having to fight road rage and pay for a month's worth of gas I'll come back to the buses and subways of Seoul Metropolitan Transportation with open arms. Consider this a preemptive gracias.
  3. being able to justify my copious amounts of Starbucks and Coffee Bean by presenting us with both at every street corner.
  4. embracing Western culture so that I (hopefully) won't fully gorge myself on things like fast food and junk food. I can get my fix of that right here, already!
  5. the adjussis and adjummas that huddle in groups at bus stops and in front of family marts, they share their laughter and chuckles unknowingly with a quiet observer.
  6. the friends who have come, gone, and come back again.
  7. the friends who have stayed.
  8. the friends who I've only met this time around.
  9. alright, also thanks for not completely sucking during World Cup.
  10. keeping the mosquitoes at bay for this long. You can take care of this situation while I'm gone.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

can't sleep

It's 5:20 am... I've been up for a little over an hour.

I didn't have any trouble falling asleep but as soon as my eyes opened (while it was still dark) they wouldn't shut. I'm pretty tired but Casey the Cat and I seem to be wide awake. I had a lot of thoughts going through my head but I mostly thought about being back in Texas for a whole month.

The thoughts running through my mind in no particular order:
Will I have to use my mom's (my old) blackberry as a cell phone? would it be possible to only communicate via facebook chat?What am I gonna eat first? Shall I plan all subsequent meals?
I'm gonna get to drive my car! Barnes and Noble! I can go to Sunstone Yoga whenever I want.
I need to look up the price for a month membership at Sunstone Yoga. What will I do with the people I'll see? Will Bosie remember me? Aw Bentley. Will I feel really old when I get back to Dallas? Food Network, Big Brother, VH1, E!, Bravo... What do I need to pack? How should I combat jetlag (I can't even have a good night's sleep here!)? I am seriously getting excite with all the Tostino pizza I'm going to eat. Braums. Good/Real Tex Mex. Seeing my mom and dad. Am I gonna cry at the airport? NEW ORLEANS! Getting to see family and finally meeting my cousin's sons! Getting down to Austin to see the girls. Shopping malls! Oooh Cinnabun.

I have a feeling I am going to have a few more nights like this... Unfortunately, this won't be all too entertaining for you, dear reader.

What do you look forward to when going home?

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Knot in a Good Mood

"I think I'm just gonna duck in and get my neck and shoulders rubbed..." I told my colleagues after leaving dinner.

An hour and a half later...


Leaving the massagey, I called Mindy and said, "I've just been back raped..."

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Finger Lickin' Good

To celebrate Andrew's birthday we went to Hey-Wha dong and had a delicious galbi dinner with a delicious ice cream cake from Baskin Robins.

But we still were not satiated. So to continue his tradition, Andrew took us all to an octopus (squid?) place where we all tried one of Korea's delicacies. I personally did not want any part of it, but ended up putting one of the sucky crawlers in my mouth (I will NOT be doing this again).

Antics ensued:

Do you ever think you would see so many foreigners stuffing their faces with live octopus?


Andrew also liked chomping on snails. I like mine with lots of garlic butter.


Liz takes the plunge.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

All Good Things






must come to an end. World Cup fever, you were fun while it lasted... I won't ever have to hear or say the word vuvuzela again.