Tuesday, July 31, 2007


Off to Langkawi, Malaysia. Doubt I'll get a chance to post from there but expect lots of pictures upon my return. Until then!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Sports Update

Iraq beats Saudi Arabia to win the Asia Cup. Iraqi football coach, Vieira, will be leaving his position and is in talks to take over the South Korea national team in place of Pim.

After multiple riders were booted from the Tour de France for doping charges, a Spaniard won. Montana boy, Levi Leipheimer, took third place.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Lazy Sunday

I didn't do anything today. It was wonderful.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Wasted Welcome Dinner

Well, almost wasted. We still had a good time.

The entire teaching staff come over to my place to await the arrival of the new teacher. Fifteen minutes late...twenty. We finally called our supervisor who said that he had missed his plane.

We had planned to go out to dinner so we went anyway and then went into the city for some salsa dancing. I am a little tired this morning because I danced every dance for more than two hours.

Some of the girls we a lot of fun to dance with. My favorite dance partner is one who will follow me. A pet peeve of mine is when girls try to lead. Ladies, even if he is a bad dancer, let the man lead....please.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Summer School Begins

It seems like we just get comfortable in our schedule and then it changes. Yesterday, we started summer school and many students who come in the afternoon now come in the morning and we've started new classes in the afternoon. It is confusing to figure out what we need to teach.

Only occasionally we have the curriculum we need to teach the classes. Today I had to teach theater to 24 students with no script, no stage, no props, no nothing. I still had fun. Hope they did.

The nice thing is that science classes are going a lot better now than they did in winter school. The experiments are easier for the kids to understand and consequently easier for me to explain.

Next week, no kindergarten. It'll be weird not to see them for a whole week. When they do get back, I'll probably have a new student. That will make 11. Definitely a handful.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

S. Koreans in Afganistan

**News Flash**

Twenty-three South Korean Christians were recently kidnapped by the Taliban. On Tuesday, one of the hostages was unfortunately killed. It is really a shame.

Iraq beat South Korea in the Asia Cup semi-finals. Their reward? A bomb in a crowd of celebraters killing and wounding 135 people.

Me? I'm Waiting on the World to Change.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Best Laid Plans...Spoiled

So, the new teacher will come on Saturday. The Chinese teacher wanted to move back in on August 1. I was jockeying to maintain my position in not sharing my bathroom (and not dealing with people who on the best of days are annoying).

I made up all the bedrooms and spent considerable time cleaning the apartment. I rearranged furniture in anticipation of the new and returning housemates.

I told the Chinese teacher that the new teacher was moving in. She decided she wanted first dibs on the bedrooms. So she started moving in today. She wanted the bigger bed. I had previously moved it to her bedroom across the apartment. Now she says that she wants the closet.

I wouldn't normally care what room she took except for her annoying husband. Why doesn't she just move in with him? She tried that and it worked for all of two weeks. Now she is moving back in. It seems to be their goal to make everyone around them miserable.

I think I am getting the shaft on this deal. I am just too nice to say no. I don't have a logical reason for what I want just a personal reason. I definitely am not helping to move the bed back.

This post might be little bit negative but after a relatively good day, I'm not in a good mood with the roommate situation.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Best Kind of Surprise

Our boss sprung a surprise on us today. A new teacher will be coming on Saturday. He'll be hear just in time for a five day vacation. I'm not complaining. We'll probably take him out for a traditional welcome dinner and then we talked about going salsa dancing afterwards.

Thursday we start summer school. I am the science teacher again. I think I've got it figured out this time around. Summer school classes also include theatre, chess, speech, and story telling. Remember, these classes are on top of the ones we are already teaching. Scheduling all of this is a nightmare. I am so glad I don't have to do it.

Also, one week until Malaysia! I am really getting excited. I hope the rest of this week goes by quickly.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Avoid the Internet!

It has been so hard these past few weeks. A short while back, the worst kind of Muggle hacked into the publishing company's computer system and began posting spoilers of the 7th HP book. Shortly thereafter, two online book sellers accidentally mailed 1200 copies of the book early. Now with the release of the book official, everyone is fair game to post spoilers.

Being in South Korea, I won't be receiving my copy of the book until the first of next week (Thank you Marie for being my Barnes and Nobles middleman). I will be avoiding the Internet at all costs. The plague of spoilers might otherwise ruin my enjoyment of JK's latest release.

You'll notice this post is starkly devoid of all links that might carry you to the related news articles. It is purposeful so that I might therefore avoid the aforementioned plague.
Hopefully the mail exchange and delivery between the USPS and the Korea Post is expedient, particularly this week.

Like everyone, I have my theories of what will happen in the Deathly Hallows and I can't wait to discover the story, secrets, twists and turns that await me in this masterpiece of literary fiction.

Once in hand, guaranteed I will not put it down until I've turned the last page. Happy reading!

Sunday, July 22, 2007


After Survivor, we started rafting. I was surprise by how little they said or did to prepare us for the river. No safety training, no instructions, just a little calisthenics. Fortunately, most of us have rafted before.
It was an overcast day and so the temperatures never warmed up. In addition, the water was not exactly warm. We had water fights with the other boats and it was down right cold!
Our guide had us working hard. There was only one class three rapid and the rest of the river was pretty mellow.
We stopped along the banks of the river to have a snack of kimchi pizza, ramyeon, and dongdognju. Dongdongju is a traditional Korean rice liquor that is creamy, kinda fizzy and really packs a punch.
We had a short boat ride to our take out after lunch.
After rafting, we were going to ride ATVs but it had started to rain. The guide said it would be too slippery and so we boarded a bus and headed back to Seoul.

Saturday, July 21, 2007


Stupid Tourist Saturday!

We left Gimpo at 5am to start our adventure. We went two hours to East Seoul and boarded a bus to southern Gangwon province. We went to Jecheon were our Korean helper teacher - The Amazing Yoon Teacher - grew up. She had some connections with a local guide who would hook us up with paintball, rafting and ATVs.We started out paint balling because it was too cool to raft first. They call paintball Survivor and we got decked out to shoot each other.It was a lot of fun but the games went by fast. It would have been better to have a bigger playing field but we still had a good time.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Hotel Samsung

The Hotel Samsung is now closed. This past week I've hosted not only my Mom but also AJ's parents while they were visiting Korea.

I think everybody had a good visit but it is nice to have the apartment back to myself. I'll try to enjoy it while I can because in August, the Chinese teacher will be moving back in. Then maybe one day we'll have a new teacher to join the perpetually diminutive staff.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Constitution Day

I got Mom off to the airport early this morning. It was a sad farewell. The week flew by when she was here! Too short of a visit.

Yesterday was Constitution Day in Korea. I had a chance to question my adult class about it tonight. Some of them forgot it was Constitution Day (shame on them).

"Constitution Day-July 17 marks the day in 1948 when the Republic of Korea's Constitution was proclaimed. A day of celebrations and memorials recognizes the cornerstone of the new republic."
My adult students taught me about the Korean constitution (last changed in 1987), about the national assembly and their representative system. It was really interesting.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Lucked Out

It poured rain yesterday and was cloudy this morning. But...the luck of the tourist is with us because we had a beautifully sunny, yet cool day to visit Suwon.It is two hours away via bus and subway but I new my way there and so the commute went smoothly. We started out at Paldalmun (the southern gate) of the Hwaseong Fortress. From there we hiked up the stairs and then explored the length of the wall.
We rang the bell for gratitude to the parents, family health and harmony, and the realization of dreams.Finally, we rode the dragon tram back to our starting point before heading home. Mom's final meal in Korea was iPorky's. I'll take her to the airport tomorrow.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Christmas in July

When Mom came, she brought me lots of presents that I've only been slowly able to delve into. I had purchased a new laptop and to save the customs fees, she brought it to me personally. I am loving my new Gateway laptop. It is a wonderful upgrade.

My folks bought me a new Pentax camera that is waterproof. It is a 7.2 mega pixel. Small, versatile. I am really excited to play with it on our trips to Malaysia and Beijing.

Mom also brought me a new backpack. I'll be able to use it for hiking and traveling. It is very spacious and I'll be able to pack a lot into it.

In exchange for all the goodies that Mom brought me, I get to load up her suitcase with stuff that needs to go home. I can't believe I am starting to think about packing up and moving back to the States. Just a little bit more than four months and counting....It'll fly by, I know it will.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Seoul, Day 2

Our first stop was the Korean War Memorial museum. This is a beautiful building with amazing grounds. The exhibits are not outstanding but it really gives some insight to Korean mentality.
After that, we went to Itaewon for lunch at Pharaoh's restaurant. We walked along the main drag of Itaewon and then headed to church.After church, I took Mom up Namsan to Seoul Tower. We rode the cable car up and then went to the viewing platform. It is really fun to be able to pick out different parts of the city and different buildings.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Changing of the Guards 2

Sight See Seoul in 2.5 Days!

How do you see Seoul in two and a half days? Well, we are going to try. We started out at the Gyeongbokgung Palace near Insadong. This is the largest palace in Seoul and arguably the most impressive. From Gimpo, we took the 631 orange bus all the way into the city.
We arrived just in time for the changing of the guards (see video) and then had a nice leisurely stroll (battling the crowds) through the grounds. After the palace I took Mom to the National Folk Museum for a brief synopsis of Korean history. The exhibits were good with a special exhibit of Jeju pottery. But we were getting hungry so headed to Insadong for lunch (Italian). We got our fill of tourist shopping and we each spent plenty of Won. I bought a brush set, some traditional masks, and some honey confections. Mom bought some amethyst earrings, flower vases and t-shirts.
We then walked to the Jogyesa Buddhist Temple. After the temple we went to the Central Buddhist Museum just near the temple.

Upon returning home to Gimpo we went out to eat one of my favorite meals shabu-shabu. Mom is still trying to master chopsticks.
Finally, we finished the day by enjoying the new Harry Potter movie. HP5: The Order of the Phoenix might be the best HP movie to date. It was very well directed. Yes, they did leave stuff out from the book but overall, very good.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Average Ordinary Day

Today was really nice because all my students were on their very best behavior. With Mom sitting in the classroom, they were quiet and respectful (relatively).
The kids took right to her and even read her stories during library hour.Mom also enjoyed her first galbi meal. Taking off your shoes and sitting on the floor is such a treat!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Mom Arrives

I did some good people watching at the arrivals gate of Incheon International while waiting for Mom's flight. International arrivals are the best to watch because people have probably been gone for much longer durations. They are always so completely happy to be off the plane and greeted by a loved one. Love actually is all around.
Mom arrived as scheduled and we made it back to Gimpo with no problems. She'll come to school with me tomorrow and then Saturday we can sight see.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Superman's Mom Visits Korea

Soon after I post this, my Mom will be boarding a plane to come visit me in Korea. Safe travels to her as she'll be in route for nearly 22 hours.

I am excited to be able to show her around Gimpo and Seoul. She'll get to meet my classes, enjoy Korean food, and see everything that I've raved about (and struggled with) for the past seven months. My students are very excited to meet her.

One nice thing is that we have next Tuesday off of work. It is Korea's constitution day. I'll have three solid days to show her around and play tour guide.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Rainy Days

It rained again last night. This morning it was cool and really clear. The rain was nothing like last week. Check out these pics from last week. I got drenched walking to work and it was only a ten minute walk and I had an umbrella.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Dictionary of Jack: Negatives

Because English is so wonderful.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Monk Boot Camp

Stupid tourist Sunday!

Day two of our temple stay, we were awoken at 4am. We attended a morning prayer service and then went for morning meditation. My legs and butt have never been so sore and cramped! It is hard to focus on nothing when there are jabbing pains running through your legs in the half lotus position.

We attended a traditional breakfast function led by one of the practicing monks. There was 3o minutes of prelude to the meal, 10 minutes of actual eating and then 20 minutes of clean-up time.
Finally, we set out from the temple to go trekking through inner Byeonsando and up to Jikso waterfall.It was a really pretty hike but I was sweating in my monk suit.After the hike, we had just enough time to shower and shop for souvenirs before heading back to Seoul. I crashed hard on the bus ride home. My body couldn't take the 4am wake up call.

Saturday, July 07, 2007


Stupid tourist Saturday!

We left Gimpo early to make it to the bus and go on a Buddhist Temple stay with my favorite Korea tour group.

Three hours on the bus took us to central-western Korea on the coast and inside Byeonsando National Park. Our first stop was Chaeseokgang and a walk along the beach.
We saw starfish, hermit crabs and other tidal pool creatures. There was a nice (small) light house and man-made pier as well as plenty of natural rock formations. Upon arriving at the Naesosa Temple, we changed into our 'monk suits' and looked around the temple.
After an orientation, we ate dinner in silence which was very weird. They have a strict vegetarian diet. I was craving meat like no other when I got home, even after just two days.
In the evening, we made lotus lanterns from scratch and then had tea with the elder monk. Lights out at 10:30.