Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
A view of the rice fields from my apartment window shows that production is fully underway. All the fields in the area are flooded and so that means the area is hot and muggy with all the extra humidity.Ever wondered what the 12 steps to rice production are? Click here to find out.
And let's not forget take-your-garlic-to-market day. With this much garlic it is no wonder why the food tastes so good and why so many people stink of it.
Monday, May 28, 2007
She's gone. Our new teacher that came just in time to keep us from drowning two weeks ago is gone. Without a word to anyone she sneaked out of her apartment on Sunday and probably boarded the first plane to America. We had all gone out on Saturday night and there wasn't any indication that she would leave. She had brought groceries on Friday and a variety of other goods that under normal circumstances would have indicated she would stay.
Sometime on Sunday she did a midnight run. No one noticed her absence until Monday morning. This is a huge shame and insult to the hagwon as they worked hard and spent a lot of money to get her here. And of course it really hurts the rest of the teaching staff because we have to try and cover her classes when we were already understaffed.
I guess she just couldn't hack it. Leaving a beloved pet, living abroad, working hard, working with kids, etc.
We've heard stories about the occasional teacher in the past who pulled a similar stunt and disappeared. We jokingly talk about the perfect midnight run scenario: 1) Stay for one month and get your first paycheck. 2) Ask for an advance on your second paycheck. 3) On a Saturday night close the door to your room and then quietly sneak out. 4)Board the first plane to the States.
I never thought anyone would ever do it though! And she didn't even get her first pay check. No matter how bad the situation is it, one year isn't that long. Despite any of my complaints, we actually have it pretty good and we make pretty good money.
The down side of a midnight run is that they flag your passport. If you don't get on a plane before they flag your passport, you can be detained. If you do make it out of the country, you can't return for a minimum of five years. Pretty light punishment if you ask me.
All in all it was a crappy deal. She leaves us with a ton of work. The school fronted a lot of money to get her over here and there is no legal action for them to take. It hurts the reputation of the school and it leaves the students without a teacher.
Every cloud has a silver lining and we might be able to get a temp until our next American arrives in the middle of June. Cross your fingers for us.
Sunday, May 27, 2007
My day was consumed with going to church and then researching airfare and hotels to Malaysia for our summer break. We've been talking about it for a while now and it is just a matter of deciding specifics and buying the tickets. Both of which need to happen soon.
Saturday, May 26, 2007
Friday, May 25, 2007
At the temple we were wandering around saying, "There is so much cool stuff to buy, I wish I had stopped at the ATM." Then we see it.
The pinnacle of the entrepreneurial spirit...the portable ATM machine. Wired into the Shinhan computer system, this ATM allowed us to step up onto the trailer and make our withdrawals. Thank goodness. I now had enough money to buy my Buddha's Birthday t-shirt.
After lunch we were close enough to the COEX mall that we decided to take a slight detour. On the second basement level of the mall, the Kimchi Field Museum is housed . By now you should all be familiar with this delightful food but if not, you can take the refresher course here, here, or here.
The museum was one of the most expensive I've been to at 3,000W and showed the evolution of kimchi. As it turns out, kimchi didn't progress to include peppers until well after Columbus's voyages to the Americas. Peppers are originally from the Americas. The museum showed the ingredients of various kimchi varieties and included a tasting room. The museum also chronicled the evolution of the kimchi pot from tree stump to clay to plastic. Cool!!After the kimchi museum we headed back to Insadong to visit the Jogyesa Temple. By the time we made it there is was raining heavily. The temple was packed and nothing had changed from Sunday so we left quickly. It was raining so hard shopping in Insadong wasn't even fun. I bought a nice wall hanging and then we headed home.
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
The festival celebrates the birth of Buddha and was started in the three kingdoms period (approximately 57B.C.). The festivities include lighting of City Hall, a traditional lantern display, the Buddhist street festival, a parade and various other celebrations. We went to the Jogyesa Temple and put our shoes with the hundreds of others at the door.
We walked in and took a bow to the three enormous statues of Buddha. A monk chanted a service which was blasted through speakers throughout the temple and into the courtyard.
People offered prayers as they poured water over the head of a statue.
The courtyard had two lantern displays, one of pure white and one rainbow. This is just a preview of things to come as Thursday we get the day off and will be braving the crowds to experience Buddha's birthday firsthand.
FYI: The lotus is a well known symbol of Buddhism for two reasons: for keeping its purity while blooming from mud; and for bearing a flower and fruit at the same time and demonstrating the laws of cause and effect.
Monday, May 21, 2007
We barbecued, visited and just admired the atmosphere. It is sad that they are leaving but I am sure they are happy to be returning to friends and family back home.
Sunday, May 20, 2007
We decided to go to Suwon to visit the traditional folk village. The commute was longer than expected because the bus we got on had changed its route since the last time I rode it. (The 9602 no longer goes from Gimpo to City Hall. It goes close but I suggest you get off at the palace and find a subway station.)
Then we had to catch a later train because the train...the cheap seats were all sold out. Finally, we boarded the shuttle bus from the Suwon train station to the folk village. By the time we got to the folk village, it was noon (we left Gimpo at 7:45am).
We had a very quick walk through the village and then caught a traditional wedding ceremony. The groom rode off on horseback with his wife in a bridal box.
We then watched the paper making process which they took a bamboo screen and then dipped it in water collecting the suspended paper fibers. The screen was pressed onto a mat. They continued this process, layer after layer until they had paper of the desired thickness. Check out the video.
We watched various artisans crafting spoons, weaving shoes, weaving silk, etc. We also saw a demonstration of some Korean equestrian skills. Check out the videos.
We even got to walk in the footsteps of the famous Korean actors of that oh so popular drama. You know the one I'm talking about.We left just as a troop of boy scouts and girl scouts showed up.
Saturday, May 19, 2007
Friday, May 18, 2007
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Here is a shot of the rainy street from one of the school windows. I hope it doesn't rain tomorrow because we have a field trip planned with the kindergartners. They already postponed it once for yellow dust and once for temperature.I wish there were more people who double majored in meteorology and education. The effect of a low pressure system on student attitude and behavior is astounding to witness. Has there been any research on this? Let me know if there has been.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Once again I am compelled to share a Dictionary of Jack creation from one of my favorite Tubers. Why??
1. I am lazy and not in the mood for a real blog post.
2. I am currently an English as a second language teacher obsessed with grammar and the proper use of words.
3. I had a request this morning to connect you, my readers, with even more brilliant, insightful, and comedic material.