Archive | February, 2011

Back to School

21 Feb

Now that our new school schedule is out, classes have started in full force.  Here’s a few choice quotes to kick off the week:

After reading about Martin Luther King Jr.:

Student: “So teacher, in the 1930’s, you only played with other white children?”

Me: “No, James. I wasn’t alive in the 1930’s.  That would make me more than 80 years old.”

Student: (Blank look)

Me: (sigh) “Ok, fine. Yes, in the 1930’s I could only play with other white children and I was very sad.”

Student: Nods head and looks satisfied.

From a book report:

“In the old days, people didn’t have toilets. So they dug a hole in the ground for their poo. Then in Rome, people made public baths. This was very fun. Because now people could talk to their friends while they pooed.”

During our debate class, this week’s topic being anorexia:

Me: “Can boys get married if they’re fat?”

Student: “Yes! My dad is fat. Because my mom likes fat boys!”

And lastly, an image of Cla Teacha losing her damn mind:

Student: “Teacher, I didn’t bring my books.  And I don’t have a pencil.”

Me: “You didn’t bring anything? You realize you’re at school right?  OK, who can give him a pencil to borrow?”

Students: No answers, eyes shifting suspiciously

Me: “OK who else forgot their pencil today?”

4/7 students raise their hands: Please keep in mind this is one of my most advanced classes and on a random Thursday, more than 50% of them forgot to even bring something to write with.

I promptly threw down my pen and walked out of the class.

I hope your job is equally fulfilling and hilarious – have a wonderful work week!


Scenes from a Saturday

19 Feb

After an adventurous 2 days spent battling food poisoning while working with children, I finally felt better today and headed out into the sunshine (weeps with gratitude) to run some errands.

I ended up at our local Aveda salon, conveniently located across the street from my apartment (continues to weep with gratitude).  Luckily I got a walk-in appointment, and was promptly set up with Milo, a fierce Korean guy who spoke impeccable English.*

*A note about our “little village salon” :  This salon requires that not only must their employees be able to do amazing hair, but they must also look like models. All the guys (are straightno really) and dress like GQ models. The women do your hair while rocking mini skirts, patterned tights and 6-inch stilettos.  It is also a teaching salon, so there are always 2 or 3 nervous apprentices running around doing the bitch work – they are required to wear the 20-year-old equivalent of a school girl uniform.

The salon itself is modern and minimal.  They play American pop music, serve delicious coffee, and do on-point hair.  The salon is definitely the cool, hipster haven of  Hosu Village.

But I digress.

While Milo worked on the modern-day tragedy that was my split-ends, I learned that he spent a year in Chicago, and this lead to a discussion of what makes America and Korea so different.  Namely, the cost of living.

We also discussed why Americans are so loud, yet so unfriendly, Korean liquor, and the sheer volume of pretty girls in New York.

In short, this was one of the most surprisingly enjoyable hours I’ve ever spent in a salon. (and I’ve spent a lot of time in salons) This is just one of the million reasons I love living in Korea: otherwise boring errands can quickly become an adventure.  Milo was genuinely interesting and full of cross-cultural insight.  And my hair looks great.

And just because I can’t help myself: At one point, Milo told me that part of the reason he didn’t like Chicago was because he was “very ronery.” This of course made me laugh. Because I’m an asshole.

Here’s hoping you have a fabulous and relaxing weekend y’all!

Cram Sesh

15 Feb

Picking up where we left off at the end of January, Ms. Ryan left and life trudged on.

And after battling the pain, humiliation, and overall smell of my cast for 3 weeks, it was at last removed. . . revealing a sickly little leg and deformed ankle in its wake.  I have finally resumed my daily walks to/from work (and we walked a few miles on the beach each day in Boracay), so I have eliminated the dreaded “cast cankle,” that I had for the first week.  It’s still a little sore and motion is limited, but things are really looking up and I even wear 2 matching shoes/socks now. Every. Day.


I let my students sign my cast the day before it came off. It mainly says "Don't be sick teacher!" Translation: "Don't hurt yourself again teacher, because we are so-over helping you carry stuff. Mkaythanxbye."

February brought brand new (and better) classes, making the days a little more exciting in the rush to finish lesson plans and learn new textbooks and students’ names. My better class schedule also lead me to believe that my boss doesn’t find me totally incompetent. In fact, 2 days a week I now teach a debate class with my coworker/bestie Ashley.  The kids get a new topic each week, and so far things have gone well.


February also (blessedly) brought Lunar New Year, and a truly perfect vacation to Boracay – but that will be a separate post to come soon.  Spoiler alert: it’s amazing, you’re going to be jealous, and you should already be planning your next vacation there.

And last Friday,  a few of the teachers and I headed up to Olympic Stadium in Seoul to see Ms. Taylor Swift in concert. And dammit if she wasn’t the most adorable little American thing I’ve seen in months. The concert was smaller than I thought (they didn’t use the stadium seating) and we actually sat for most of it. It was about 50% Koreans and 50% military families/couples. We sat behind 2 little American girls who were seriously having the same reaction as all those teenaged girls in the 60s when they first saw the Beatles.  But we forgave them and their high-pitched screams because the concert was good: lots of sparkly outfit changes, lots of hair flipping, lots of gracious dialogue, and lots of (live!) singing.  She sounded good and we had a great time – it was strange, because I actually felt like we were in America during parts of the concert.

In semi-hilarious news, I began ballet classes today with 2 of the other teachers. (I affectionately call us the Has-Been class). And while the ankle isn’t exactly at 100%, it felt great to get back into a dance studio – although not that great getting back into a leotard. (pictures to come – eventually) We are taking classes from a studio in our work building, 3 times per week in the mornings – and we lucked out and got a private class. It’s just us and our perfect ballerina instructor, who I’ve taken to calling Korean Princess Grace.  The first day went great, and I’m sure there will be much more to report in the coming weeks.

And although this is totally mundane, I would just like to say that our weather has been offically upgraded from “kill yourself freezing” to just “cold.”  Yongin is rocking temps in the low 40s this week – AND I’M SO HAPPY ABOUT IT!  After an entire month of 5 and 10 degree days, 40 feels downright balmy. And the sun is out. And the ice finally melted off those damn sidewalks.  Decent weather + no cast = practically skipping to work these days.

I’m finally catching up with everything now that my post-vacation hangover has subsided and life has returned to normal. We are now entering the grind: 4 months of normal work and life in South Korea. No more whirlwind vacations to plan or holidays to celebrate. Just some time to relax, explore new parts of Korea, and save some money.

But fret not, I’m positive I’ll be able to sufficiently embarrass myself/entertain you during this downtime.



14 Feb

While we have much to catch up on from the past 2 weeks (Boracay! Cast-off! Ballet!), I first and foremost must tell you about an opportunity that recently presented itself to me.

A former editor at my college newspaper, and fellow nomadic lady, just launched a series of guidebooks aimed at solo female travelers/volunteers called the Go! Girl Guides.  I follow her blog/travels, and immediately e-mailed her to see if there was any way I could get involved; mainly because this is exactly the type of guidebook I would buy before moving to another country.

And luckily, she found some room for me. While she is off writing the first book in Thailand, I am now part of the Go! Girl Guides blogging team. So I will be submitting a weekly blog about my travels/South Korea along with 6 other women, based all over the world.

OMFG I’m so excited! There’s nothing like a handful of really inspiring, adventurous women to get me motivated about writing and traveling.

And maybe this will lead to bigger things (cough* guidebook! *cough).

While I still don’t know “what I want to be when I grow up,” I’m pretty sure this is a big step in the right direction. Because I do know what I’m passionate about . . . and the short list includes travel, writing, and empowering women.


This is my empowered face.


So start checking the Go! Girl website, which you can find here.

And check out my stunning picture/bio here.

More to come soon, I promise! Happy Valentine’s Day y’all!