Thursday, August 25, 2005

Everything will be different when we get back....

So a lot of changes have been happenning back home. First of all, our family dog, Molly passed away. She had cancer and we've had her for 13 years.

Also, my parents just putn our house up for sale. We've lived in that house for 26 years. That's a long time. I'm sure it will go fast and by the time we get back my parents will be in a completely different home. maybe a different city.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Beautiful Day

It was a beautiful, sunny, clear day in Seoul but for some reason I was feeling down. Feelining like I was trapped into the same routine. Then jamie and I met this Korean man. He said "hi" and we started talking to him in English. He's 73 years old and he talks to a lot of the foreigners around the area. He told us about the history of Tadpol park and the shrine. He had this rad journal in which he kept all the names of the foreigners he met and the country they're from. We were 149 on his list and he asked us to put a motto in the journal. "Dance like no one's watching" is what we put.


Some of my students.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Thoughts, insights and frustrations

Well, it's been awhile since I've expressed myself through words. Let me indulge you with the things that run through my head on a daily basis. Living in Seoul is really great, don't get me wrong. But it's next to impossible to fit any worthwhile actvities into my 3 hour window between the time I wake up and the time i start teaching. As great as the subway system is, there is simply not enough time to do anything from 10 am to 1:30 pm. One time i tryed to actaully DO something. So i hopped on the subway and went to Dondaemoon to look for some stuff. Before i knew it I was lost and I had to be home in a half an hour. I ended up taking a cab home, which ended up being very expensice since I was on the other side of the city. So to fill up this time, i might join a gym and just work out in the mornings. Either way, when Lydia and Nathan narrive, because they live so close to us we can hang out with them during our breaks too.

Another thing is that because I orientated myself to the Subway system, which is mostly underground, i really have no clue where i am except for in relation to where the subway exit is.

With teaching, i am enjoying it for the most part, but sometimes I get frustrated with the language and culture barriere. The other day my middle school kids were laughing at me for the last 10 minutes of class. Apparently my fly was low (according to another Korean teacher whom they told). Why didn't they just tell me? Either they didn't know how to say "teacher your fly is low" or they were too embarrased to do so.

So Jamie and i slept in yesterday and missed church--we are SO bad. We wanted to go to this Korean church in the afternoon but we couldn't get a hold of Kevin or Dan with the directions. So we ended up going to Youndinaro and taking a boaat tour on the Han River.

Ok, well i have about 45 minutes to spare before I have to run to class and I still haven't been outside yet today.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Happy independence day Korea

At the apartment

New fabric from the Cloth Market in Dondaemoon.

Our bedroom before

Our bedroom after

Our living room after redecorating

Our living room before


Sunday, August 14, 2005

random thoughts and shots

"Bapu Ghandi says, 'All religions are true.' I just want to love God." Life of Pi, p76

Seoul is the greatest city in the world

Well, we're into our third week in Seoul now. The longer we live here, the longer we are convinced that everyone and their dog should live in Seoul, South Korea. Jamie and I did some amazing things this weekend (don't take this comment the wrong way now..). We explored the Hanok Folk Village: a complete replication of kings and queens' homes as well as some amazing history.

Then we went to Seoul tower. We took a cable car (similar to the tram on Grouss Mountain except a hundred times cheaper) up the mountain. At the top of the mountain you can see a 360 degree view of the city. Pretty amazing.

Then we saw an English movie at the Chungmora theater: The island. Finally something we could understand. Sometimes it gets really frustrating to not understand what's going on, because of the language barriere. This especially sucks when you get lost. For those of you who know Jamie and I well, you know we get lost ALL THE TIME.

Today after church we went to this really amazing lake in the North West edge of the city. It reminded me of being at Stanley Park or somewhere in Vancouver. So this is it for now. i will post more pictures after our boat ride on the Han river and outdoor synphony concert on the lawn on the lawn of city hall (free concert).

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

My thoughts on Korea and teaching so far......

Jamie and I have been in Korea for almost 2 weeks now. Koreans are interesting people. It is so vastly different here that I don't even know where to begin. Here in Seoul, the people seem to be overtly materialistic. Everyone and their dog has a cellphone/mp3 player/camera (sometimes all three come in one package). Just the other day on a hike, it was not unusual to see people hiking and talking on their cell phones. We have met some very kind Korean people who care for us a lot. After Jamie hurt his knee, Ottilia (one of jamie's adult students) has called everyday since to make sure he is okay and she offered to take him to the hospital to translate.

The streets are lined with market venders selling fruit, veggies, socks, smoothies, sandwiches, CD's...just about anything. It kind of feels like downtown Vancouver with a rural twist. The food is great, but sometimes it'/s hard to get used to eating Kim Chi 24/7..I still don't understand why it's such a staple product here. Most of the time, I feel like I'm at home here in Seoul because of the friends we have all around us. We have about 5 friends one subway stop away from us. We also have friends on the other side of the city, but we see everyone at least once a week at church and sometimes during weekend gatherings. The social mosiac is really rich--think about it...lot's of young recent University grads with lot's of searching questions about the meaning of life, about spirituality, about our future. It's really great.

As for teaching, it has its ups and its downs. i usually teach about 6 classes per day and at least 3 or 4 of them are decent, but the ones that are a flop really mess me up sometimes. Some kids you love and some you love to hate. Teaching is not a science--often the classes I prepare more for don't go as well as the classes I put little effort into. There are many challenging with teaching ESL. The obvious one is the language barriere, but sometimes an even more challenging wall is the cultural barriere. In Canada we teach freedom of choice and positive reinforcement. In Korea, you are TOLD what to do and what not to do. You are punished when you are bad and nothing is said when you do what you should. Silence is a gift.