Thursday, October 29, 2009


Not too much is going on here. One of the highlights of this week was that last night for dinner we went to a beef barbecue. Beef is hard to find here, and when you do find it isn't the best quality and it's very expensive. However, a few of our friends found the only 'cheap' beef restaurant and we finally got to try it. It was good enough, but the portions aren't very big and it's still about twelve dollars a person. I'm glad I finally tried it, and it will do in a pinch, but I was still a little disappointed.

Right now we're getting ready for Halloween. We're one of the few schools that are celebrating it - we are having parties instead of normal classes for all of the younger kids/'fun' classes (though a part of the party includes having to take a quiz, so it isn't all fun). While we were in Seoul I got my 'costume' - I'm going to be Waldo (of 'Where's Waldo' fame). I barely have to dress up, and it was the easiest costume I could think of. I just hope the kids know who it is.

And I hope that at least half of the kids show up. The flu has struck the school kids hard over here, and there are kids absent (about half of them) in all of my classes. While it makes it a lot easier and less stressful to teach, it's going to be hard for them to make up all of the classes they're missing.

The other big news is that for the winter semester the other girl and I are probably switching schools. There's a new LangCon opening up in the northern part of the city, and because Jackie and I are 'experienced' they wanted us to help out there. We won't have to move apartments, but it is quite a ways away so we'll have to take the school buses to the school. I'm kind of sad, because I've established a routine here, but on the other hand it will be exciting to meet new people, see a new part of the city, and have the chance to 'start again.' Also, it will be interesting to be the 'experienced' ones in the office, and to help another school start up their program.

I've been taking a ton of pictures (we went to the river and the statue park last weekend to take autumn shots), so as soon as I upload all of my Halloween pictures I'll be sending out links.

I hope everyone has a happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

On strike

Last weekend was filled with shopping. I didn't do much of it, I was mostly along for the ride. We tried to shop in the cheap underground mall on Saturday but encountered only problems. Apparently foreigners aren't allowed to try on clothes in any stores.

So we decided to go to Seoul on Sunday, just for the day. It was a good time. I got to meet up with my friend again, and even found a Halloween costume.

Today has been my relaxing day, since we did go on strike. From what I've been told, the private schools are all striking against a government proposal that changes the hours that hagwons (private schools) can stay open - from midnight to ten p.m. I guess I mostly agree with the government on this one, because it already seems like the kids are in school long enough each day, but as I am only a visitor in the country and have no idea about politics here, I'm just going to be happy with my day off.

However, the DMZ trip is definitely off for now, since I have to make up today's classes on Saturday. Only a couple of hours and eight kids, and we're the only school I know of that's having a make-up day, and it's doubtful that all of the kids will come anyway. Needless to say, we're not very happy about this. Oh well. We'll just reschedule for another time I guess, even though it won't be as fun (we were planning on going with a really fun, big group of people).

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Almost halfway through October

The first weekend of October I finally went to Seoul to see my friend who recently arrived. There isn't too much to tell about the trip, because it was the holiday weekend and there weren't many people or even open stores, so there wasn't a ton to do. We mostly just walked around a bit of the downtown, and Itaewon, which is the 'foreigner' part of the city (because it's near the U.S. Army base). At the very least, my friend and I were able to catch up a bit, and I figured out all of the logistics involved in going to and from Seoul.

This last weekend was a bit crazy, but I had a good time. We were even able to drag ourselves out of the house on Sunday afternoon to go to the last soccer game in Chuncheon for this season. I bought a team scarf and the small group I went with was up on the jumbo-screen at least five or six times.

The weekends have been more and more important since I'm starting to get a little frustrated by some of the work stuff going on. The biggest thing for me is having kids who are either so busy or tired that they just don't care about the class. It's hard to teach anything in an environment like that, and it makes me not care about teaching when they don't care about learning, which is not a good thing. I'm working on it, day by day.

My other highlight of this week was that I got my very first paycheck! It was getting kind of desperate and I had had to borrow a fair amount of money in order to not go into my U.S. accounts, so it was the biggest relief when I checked the ATM after work. We then went out to the giant grocery store and spent a ton on food and cleaning products. I'm most thrilled about the 3$ bottle of Dran-O I found, because now I can take a shower without having to wade around in a lake for hours after (remember when I said that there was no stall for the shower - yeah, after the shower clogged it was just gross).

In other big news, it seems that there is going to be a country-wide strike coming up next Tuesday, which means that we have to make up classes on the following Saturday, which means the DMZ trip has to be temporarily suspended. More on this as it develops.