Tuesday, December 16, 2008

had it been another day i might have looked the other way

Hello!
Christmas is getting closer and closer.. which means so is our break!! And we are soooo excited!! We are thinking of going to Busan, Korea for the weekend of New Years! Bsan is in the south at the beach! Hopefully it will work out! And our trip to Japan is in a month and a week! I am so happy that I will get to see Elijah... and Japan of course!

Katie and Jen came to Seoul for the weekend and we had such a good time! I was so happy to see them! We had lunch at the bulgogi restaurant, the one Heather and I ate at our first day in Korea. Then we hng out out at the apartment and Chinchu met up with us! After that we went out for awhile and ended our night at noraebang... or karaoke for those of you non-Koreans! It was unreal singing to Weezer songs with HP, Katie and Jen... when I closed my eyes it felt like being in the cube singing Weezer on Rock Band! I also found out that Rachael is planning on joining us in Korea! Very exciting!

I am really looking forward to having Christmas! On Christmas Eve Jen, Katie and Chinchu will come back to Seoul so we can all spend Christmas together. That will make it much easier on us being so far away! I know i will miss being at Aunt Sharon's on Christmas Eve and at Granddaddy's on Christmas day! I will miss watching the boys open presents the most! I miss those little boys. I talk to Seth the most and he is the only one that just about bring me to tears when I talk to him! The other day he was telling me about his birthday and how he would be five, then six, then seven, etc. So I told him he was not allowed to get any older and he said, "Anna, you can still hold me when I am five!" I need to give that little boy a BIG hug! The time difference makes ot very difficult to talk to friends and I miss my friends so much! Well, there are lots of people I need hugs from! I just make my kinders hug me all the time! Luckily they are little and still love hugs! One of my little boys, Jack, cried last week and it broke my heart!

We went shopping this weekend in one of the outside markets. I really like them! All the carts sell the same things but I still look at all of them! It is strange for it to be so cold outside and still be absoluetly surrounded by people shopping! Anyway, I don't have any new pictures of Korea to put up, but i have some pictures of all of us this weekend! And you can see my new short hair! Miss you all!!


Love!! Heather and Chinchu at karaoke!!!
Jen, Katie and Me!! Reunited!!

This is for Carly! I am being sweet and Chinchu is being mean, but we both miss you sooooooooooo much!! Love you sissy!


Outside market at Myeong-Dong




This is me and Jen at lunch!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

i look around, leaves are brown, and the sky is a hazy shade of winter

I know I said I would do this last week, but... well, I'm me! But I am doing it now!!

We has our first real snow!! It was very exciting! But It was gone by nightfall! We had a really good weekend! Friday night we chilled at home and decorated our apartment for Christmas! AND we talked to jen!! Saturday, we finished our Christmas shopping! We went to Itaewon, which is a super touristy part of Seoul... with tons of foreigners. We shopped for a couple of hours and visited the Hard Rock Seoul. Then Sunday we went to Starbucks to read and watch it snow! Then we went to a DVD room. For 10,000 Korean Won (about 9 bucks) you can rent out a private room and a DVD. They had a ton of really good movies to choose from... even some movies in Spanish! So that was fun!

Not much else has been going on... Well, I got a haricut. And I mean a haircut,,, I don't have much more hair than Ali! The picture I gave the hairdresser had longish hair with long bangs... my hair it short! With actual bangs, not just the swoopy kinf I always have. I was horrified at first, but it is kind of growing on me. I mean, my hairstyle was probably all the rage in.. 1942 maybe? We'll see. I am kinf of scared for Mama and Daddy to see it!

Well, I hope you all are doing well! Hopefully you will be getting Christmas Cards in the next week! I got a card from Ray, Stacy and Connor today and it made my day!! (THANKS!!) So, send me Christmas cards!


Oh, and I am kind of bummed because Elton John and Billy Joel are touring together and they will be in Atlanta in March! What a rip! They will probably come to Seoul the week after I leave!


Love, love, love!!!




Me at the Led Zepplin bar!!!


Heather and eating Thanksgiving Dinner with chopsticks!


Thanksgiving in Korea! Chopsticks included! Although, we had Hoegaarden and champagne and pringles (courtesy of Scarlet!) at our dinner!


This was the dinner we made! Chicken, Mac and Cheese, mached potatoes, sweet potatoes, sunchips and pringles!! The green bottle is Soju... that was a gift from Cinderella!



Our dinner companions! Cinderella, the director of our school, Heejoo (julie) the teacher who is moving to Canada and Scarlet!


I took this at the Hard Rock! You know how I love my Fleetwood Mac! Oh, and I no longer have hair this long!
Our Christmas decorations!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

time to play b-sides

Sorry I've been so terrible at updating! I knowe this would happen though. I'll try harder!

Things are still going well here! We were really busy last week because we had finals. We spent two weeks making tests for all of the classes. Now we have to make report cards, but then things should be pretty easy at work. Julie is gone now, which is really sad. The new teacher is Melissa... she seems pretty nice. Also, some of the classes have changed a little. One of my classes now has eleven kids... I know, I know, its really not that much. But I am assuming it's easier to control a bigger class when you speak the same language. So, this class is pretty big. Each class room accomodates 9 students and a teacher so we are squeezed in. 5 of the kids were kids I already had.. they just combined two of the 3p.m. classes, so 6 of them I have never taught before. They seem pretty good though.

We are starting to get excited about Christmas here! There are Christmas decorations and music everywhere you go, so that feels like home! We were hoping to go to Thailand during our break, but with all the protests going on there it looks like we will be staying here. We are actually not that bummed. A break sounds nice! As long as we stay somewhat busy so we don't have time to get sad. We have eleven days off of work!!


My old roomate Jen is now in Korea!! And Katie should be here in the next week! That is so exciting! I can't wait to see them! Jen called tonight and it made me so happy! Heather and I are currently in the process of decorating our apartment for Christmas and we are excited about doing it! We are coloring and cutting and pasting like kids!

Well, it is getting very close to my bedtime so I will leave you for now... with pictures!!

love!


The view of Seoul from Namsan Tower at night!
Namsan Tower

This is a vietnamese dish from the restaurant that Heather and I always go to! It is so good! And sooooooooo spicy!!


Merry Christmas!!



Heather and I hung out with Chinchu!! Chinchu is Carly's friend from back home who is living in Korea now!

I actually have some pictures of our Thanksgiving dinner! That was very interesting! They are still on my camera though, and I am tired. I will post them tomorrow!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

cause i'm steeped in this pleasure

south korea is cold. and it's only novemeber. this may be a hard, long winter!

video

i took this video a couple of weeks ago. it was really cool to watch! they are imitating the traditional korean warriors. i thought my little boys might like to watch it! well, i bet the big boys will like it too! love, love!!!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

she said, she said

well, it is saturday night here in seoul and here i sit updating my blog. we needed a break! last weekend was so busy that it didn't feel like a break at all! by thursday heather and i were so tired!! we had a lot of fun though! last friday night we went to itaewon, which is the "foriegner" part of seoul! it was the first real culture shock i have experienced! after spending so much time only around koreans, seeing americans was weird! it was halloween night though so it was really busy. we went to one restaurant and had a few drink waiting for a table but we finally left. then went to another restaurant thinking we would eat there. which we did not, just more drinks! by the time we finally got home we were so hungry! but it is nice to know that if we long to see americans and speak english we can go there!
halloween was fun at school! few of the kids dressed up which was cute. i was a witch, not much of a costume besides my broom and witch hat, but i got to wear my graduaton dress again which was fun! the kids liked seeing me dressed up! one of my classes, who are all 11-12, have called me witch for the past couple of weeks, so they had the best reaction to my costume. one day in class james said something and i laughed. the he said "witch!" but i thought he called me bitch, so i said "WHAT??????" and he said, "teacher, you laugh like a witch!!" so he got a kick out of my costume! "teacher!!! you really are a witch!!!!!"
saturday we finally found a mexican restaurant.... mexican food is so great because it is so cheap! even as a fulltime student with a crappy job you can afford mexican... but not in seoul! it was insanely expensive! after dinner we went to a halloween party for english teachers, we talked to a few people and had a good time! then on sunday we went to the art museum in seoul to see the 20th century latin american artist exhibition! i am a big fan of deigo rivera's work so i was excited! there were tons of people there, which surprised us!

this week has been ok. we were tired, like i said, but also sad. julie (heejoo) my co-teacher is moving to canada soon, so we are sad about that! we will have a new teacher soon! we just hope that all of our classes stay the same! i have grown to like all of my classes, and some i absolutely love! when the kids are excited about learning it makes teaching the most fun job! it is very exciting to see something that has been confusing to them finally make sense!
today we went to an old korean village. it was pretty cool. we ate in this neat little restaurant that served traditional korean food, which was okay, but nothing exciting! then we went to seoul tower. you take a cable car up and down and get the most amazing view of seoul! it's like that ride at six flags but so much better! they were also having korean heritage celebrations which were cool! we saw some choreographed fighting which was my favorite part! we were, however, a little annoyed with cinderella! she rushed us through everything! and made us eat dinner at 4pm after we ate lunch at like 1pm!! we were not hungry, but you have to try and eat so you aren't rude! we didn't want to drink today, but cinderella ordered this rice beer at the first restaurant. it came in a bowl and you had to ladle it out into your cup. it looked like milk, it tasted okay, but it was thick. very weird! but tomorrow we have an absolutely lazy day planned! we are FINALLY going to have an american breakfast! heather's mom sent us pancake mix and syrup and we bought bacon and eggs! i don's even eat breakfast back home that often, so it's surprising how much i have missed it! along with mexican food! my first meal when i return to america shall be at monterreys!!

well, i feel like i have rambled on enough! i will try and update more often so they don't drag on forever!! i miss you all! but i am having a great time! what an experience this is! sometimes heather and i look at each other and say, "can you believe we are really here? we actually did it!" also, most of you met my roommate jen and i am so excited to say that she will be here within the month! about an hour away! and katie, my other roommate, will be following!! i am so excited to see them both! now if my friends would just start visiting me!! i love you all!!
love!!

this is steve! he is in my kinder class and he is the coolest kid! all of the kids at school love steve, even the older ones! he is so affectionate and always wants me to hold him! he is my korean seth!

this is me, in my witch costume, and my kindergarten class! and cinderella, the director! can you tell that i love the kinders the most?

this is a drawing of me as a witch courtesy of alice #2! she even drew the earrings i wear everyday!



i am a bad teacher!!

this is elizabeth! she is one of the sweetest!



this is jackson, aka harry potter! he is one of my favortes!

seoul tower


the view from the cable car



an old lady making candy!



jack playing



me and heather during our favorite time of day... recess!!!


me and heather with seoul behind us

Saturday, October 25, 2008

and your bird can sing

hello!
i am still having a great time in seoul! it's sunday afternoon and heather and i just wet to get some lunch. we have had a pretty lazy weekend! but yesterday was cold and rainy and gross. it has gotten cold here, like out of nowhere. so, maybe we don't get a fall here either... which makes me sad! although the leaves are all brown and falling and that is really pretty!

heather and i have started to try and plan our winter vacation! we definetely want to go to thailand... which i am super excited about! we may try and go to either vietnam or cambodia as well! we have a whole week off so we want to make the most of it! we also have january 26 and 27 off (monday and tuesday) and i talked to elijah (my friend who is living in japan teaching english) and he said that we could come stay with him! so we have a trip to japan in the works as well!

the kids have gotten better, and i have gotten better at teaching! my classes no longer end 25 minutes early! i was nervous that i would never get it! but now i feel a lot more confident! sometimes i even feel like a real teacher and not some kid pretending!

i think i have also gotten a lot better about being homesick... i had a few really bad days this past month where i just was so sad! but now i can be sad but still be happy at the same time. i think i am just afraid of everything changng while i am away. most of my friends who haven't graduate will have by the time i get back. so i am afraid that they will all move far away and it will be impossible to get all of us together again! that is one of my biggest fears! so, guys, freaking stay in carrollton until i get back! i also miss my babies so much! i am afraid that they will hardly remember me when i get back. seth made me cry the other day when he told me that i "better come come soon!" he is so sweet!

i have kinders who are just soooo sweet, though! steve and abi! they hug me and sit in my lap suring class so they give me a chance to give out the hugs that i would be giving my boys!

we are going to a halloween party in seoul next weekend! it is for english teachers! so, hopefully that will be fun... although probably not near as fun as our halloween party we had in september! but it will be cool to be able to speak english to people! and hopefully meet some new people to hang out and travel around with! also, heather and i may be going to see billy joel next month!! YEAH!!! billy freakin joel! it's hard to get tickets to see him back home, so maybe we have a better chance here! i love him so that would be really cool!!

so, i made a huge mistake today! i tried to use an atm to get $70 out of my bank account... however, i am totally stupid (and can't read korean) and accidentally took out $700. yeah, well, there is definetely not $700 in my bank account! when the money came out i was confused and thought the atm made a mistake (ha!) then i looked at my recipt and saw that my account was -480KW(korean won) so, yeah. luckily we get paid this week so i will be able to open up a korean bank account and transfer the money back into my account! but when i walked out carrying a HUGE handful of bills and told heather i made a mistake she died laughing! i can't believe i did that!

well, i am going to go. we are going to clean up a bit and probably watch a movie... school tomorrow! hope everyone enjoys the rest of their weekend!

all my love!!
heather, the director (cinderella) and me at the Changdeokgung Palace


me and sweet little abi


heather and our favorite bar snack.. we have no clue what it is.





they have hoegaarten in korea!!! if you've never had it, try one!! they're great!


fruit soup! it's water, ice, peaches, a few slices of oranges and sprinkles... yeah, it is strange!

oh, so korean! PEACE!!!




rainy day in the park... so beautiful!




this a little pavillion thing right outside the park


this is a sign that the school made and hung up outside of the nearby elementary school... there is also one on the side of the van that picks kids up and takes them home. so all young deung po-gu can see our pretty mugs!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

one thing that really surprises me about seoul is how safe it is! parents let their kids walk to school and home from school alone, take the subway, go to the store alone! it's awesome! just a thought i wanted to share!

so, my kids are starting to get comfortable and act up... especially my kindergarten class! i had such a hard day one day last week, they were terrible! even my good kids... most of them didn't even get stickers! that's their bribe for being good! so julie told them that if they were really bad and made me really mad i was going to go back to my country and tell everyone how bad korean kids are!! they have actually been a lot better since then, ha! yesterday dylan said, "teacher, you leave korea?" i had no idea what he was talking about until julie told me what she said!

we had a school picnic on saturday and it was so much fun... it gave the kids a chance to get to know us! and to like us since we weren't yelling at them to quit speaking korean! i actually got a little nervous about being a teacher in the future. i thought that if i had trouble controling nine kids how could i handle a class of twenty four? i hope it's the language barrier that makes it more dificult!

the first week and a half when i talked to people on skype i really didn't get sad or anything... but now i am starting to get choked up! i called my family at monterreys last friday and cried when i got off the phone.. i guess it was talking to everyone at once. then i called my friend max today, and she was at a party in carrollton... and i cried a little on the phone with her! i do miss carrollton... and the wonderful people who live there!

the people here are really nice too, though! everyone has been really nice to us! i have been sick and james and dylan's mom made me some tea to make me feel better!! and when i said that i haven't really ever been around snow and that i have never been skiing james said they would teach me this winter! it's nice to feel like you have people looking out for you!

well, i have about a million more things i want to say, but i am tired and i could really go on forever! i miss you guys!! be safe!! i will call soon!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

lunch break












it's monday morning/afternoon here and heather and i are at home on our lunch break! this weekend was really great. heather and i found a lot of stuff that is really close to our apartment.








yesterday was heather's birthday so we went out to lunch to this restaraunt called omu sweet. it sells a food called omurice, which is basically an omlette with fried rice inside. its pretty good. it come with a side of meat of your choice and it covered with honey mustard and some sort of gravy. sounds weird but it is really pretty good! then we went to a coffee shop and hung out for awhile. then we walked through the park... the park is huge and it is so close to us!!








so, everymorning before we start teaching our kinders they have a 30 minute singing time with the korean teachers. my group is younger so they have like 3 songs that i always hear them singing. but today i got a surprise! while i was in the teacher's office getting ready for class i heard my kids singing a beatles song! a really good song too, "i will" from the white album (if you care). so i got the to sing it to me again during class... so cute! i'm going to leave you with a video of my kindergarten class...




ben is in the green, dylan in the yellow, abigail in the white, sara in the pink, harry in the red, steve in grey and jack is in the green button up!








video





and a few pictures for you!!







This is me in the park





This is a little street off the main road


The mountains in the distance

Saturday, October 4, 2008

observations

so, these are just some random things about living in korea:

hearing everyone speaking in korean makes me want to speak in spanish! i guess i feel like if it isn't english it must be spanish! but it is a little hard to make myself not say "gracias" or "con permiso" i'm sure i'll slip up and say it to someone soon. also, sometimes i swear i hear spanish words when i hear korean. weird.

the kids call us either "teacher" or "anna teacher" it's pretty cute. for the older kids class is over at 50 past the hour, so around 45 past they start saying "teacher bye-bye" which is really annoying. i have a feeling that the word teacher might be insanely annoying by the time we leave!!

the kids in korea are also really sweet.heather and i have been exploring the past two days and we have had several groups of kids speak to us! i guess a lot of the kids have learned english. two of the groups were little girls and they were really cute.

south koreans love seafood... nasty sea food! there are tanks outside of a lot of the restaraunts full of octopus and eel and all sorts of funny looking fish. it's crazy! we are really hoping to avoid those restaraunts!

well, thats all for now. i took a lot of pictures today so i will post them soon!

Friday, October 3, 2008

I made it!!

me and heather with the director of the school


yeah! i've been in korea for almost a week now. i really love it so far! the school is really nice and the the other teachers are awesome! the director of the school is really nice, but she doesn't speak much english.
scarlet and julie are the other teachers and they have really made us feel welcome at the school. scarlet especially has done a lot for us. she has taken us to a few restaurants and done a lot of translating!
the kids are all so cute! and they all get an english name when they enroll in the school so it's easy to remember their names. i have a kindergarten class from 10 to 11:20 everymorning. they are insanely wild but very sweet. there are a few harrys at the school and they picked their name from harry potter, of course! and one of my older kids is named james... after james bond. i am really lucky with the kids that i have... only a few problems.
today (friday) is a holiday so we did not have school so last night scarlet took us out to dinner at this little bar type restaurant. she ordered this plum like liquor that you sip on and heather and i made her try hoegaarden... yeah, they have hoegaarden in seoul!!! then we went to a karaoke place. they have a surprising amount of english songs. they even had tons of radiohead and placebo songs!! and, of course, beatles songs!!

today heather and i went out exploring! we did really well and we didn't get lost once! my camera wasn't charged so i didn't get and pictures, but i will later. so i guess we may go out to dinner soon... but i am going to post a few pictures! i miss you all! and, in case you didn't get the email and you want to send me letter you can send them to the school:






Anna Walton
California Language School
4511 Shing Il 6-Dong
young deung po-gu
seoul, korea
















this is a park near our apartment





this is the view outside our apartment




our first breakfast in our apartment


heather's kindergarten class during the fall performance