I'm heading to Seoul this weekend to meet up with Cyndi, a friend from home who is currently visiting other friends living in Hong Kong. I'm soooooo excited to get away from the regular weekend happenings of Gimhae and have a breath of fresh air (not literally, but socially:) Anyway, I'm allowed 10 vacation days ~ 5 are fixed, 5 I can choose. Well, I've chosen this coming Monday as my first vacation day and it is turning into a huge fiasco. First off, I put in my request at least a month in advance as per my contract and yesterday as was busy preparing for my Monday classes my Director asked me why I looked so rushed. I reminded him that I wouldn't be in on Monday and he looked at me like I had just started speaking in ancient Greek. He then began to sigh heavily as if this was a major problem and told me I was a bad teacher. He then proceeded to chuckle. I however, did not find this funny at all and retaliated with calling him a bad director, followed by my own (very sarcastic) chuckle. I understand that I need to have my classes prepared for whoever fills in and I've completed this task to a tee including all the necessary handouts and step by step instructions for each class. For some reason, he then found it necessary to call me into his office and say, "Kimberly, the best thing would be for the teachers to teach, the 2nd best thing would be for tests". This was my turn to look at him as if he had just spoke in ancient Greek because I had (and still have) no idea what on earth he was talking about. For starters, the sentence doesn't even make sense! Basically I said, "look, I don't understand what you're trying to say, if you need to say something, please ask one of the Korean teachers to translate it for me, I've provided all my lesson plans for Monday and I'm not sure what else you really need from me". Maybe it was a bit harsh, but a vacation day is a vacation day right??!! I shouldn't feel guilty about taking 1 DAY OFF!! The academyshould still be able to function perfectly without 1 teacher. HE SHOULD BE PREPARED FOR TIMES WHEN TEACHERS NEED A BREAK OR A SICK DAY RIGHT???? (siiigh).
I just don't understand why one day off has to be such an issue, especially if it's written in my contract...I told him I should have taken 2 days off...but I didn't, that would have just been snarky.
Of the many times I've been to Florida, or other such sunny family destinations, I've seen a lot of paraphanalia decorated with the phrase, "(person) went to (place) and all I got was this stupid (thing)". I always thought these things were rather stupid and much preferred silly sea shell figurines with wobbly eyes that had something equally as stupid prhase on it like "Florida" or "Gulf Shores" (I was a really cool kid if you didn't know)...
Anyway, two of my students (Cathy and Betty) are cousins and Betty's father just returned from a business trip to Malaysia. Yesterday, they were so excited as they told me he got each of them gifts. How cool is that? To get something from a far off land?? I remember how I always got excited when my parents went on a trip and brought me back some goodies.
So today, Cathy walked into class with a big smile on her face and proudly held up her new gift...a protractor!! Now, if my parents or relative went away to another country and brought me back a protractor...I would be less than enthused and probably wouldn't even be able to fake my excitement very well. I don't really consider myself an ungrateful person...but a protractor??? I guess this shows that Korean children are driven so hard academically that they receive gifts from other countries to keep them excelling in their studies...poor babies.
Well...not really, but I am now the proud borrower of a beautiful yellow bike...fully equipped with a basket, a bell and a lock. Last week Friday, a few teachers and our director went out for dinner after work and I had mentioned that I would soon be in the market for a bike. I figured it would cut down on my bus usage (ie: bus fare) as well as travel time. My director offered to lend me his daughter's bike while she studies in Russia. I was apprehensive whether or not to accept...I know a few stories of people's bikes being stolen/lost and I'd hate to be responsible if my boss' daughter's bike fell into, or rather was snatched by the hands of an unknown person. On the other hand, accepting this generous offer would save me 70-100 bucks on buying a new bike so I decided to take it on the conditions that if it is stolen/lost I will replace it~ basket, bell and lock all new...
My ride to/from work is about 25 minutes and there's a decent path along the river...by river, I mean gross smelly stream that is drying out and littered with trash...well, it's not that bad, but it isn't a river by any definition I know. My friend who lives in the same area as my academy also has a bike and we have decided to start a bike club. Our goal now is to figure out our uniforms and we're thinking of denim jackets with dragons screen printed on the backs (I keed). Eventually, our plan is to give bike tours of Gimhae and once we make some money, we'll expand them all the way to Busan. The plan unfolded as we were huffing and puffing from my neighborhood out to hers and basicallywe were mocking our lack of biking abilities despite our constant efforts at the gym. It will come though, before you know it, we'll be mountain biking to the observatory. Until then unfortunately, my bum and legs can only handle the straight and level ride to and from school...
There seems to be a new Gimhae women's tradition forming amongst the waegook (foreigners) crowd. A few months ago a small group of women decided to gather for some red wine, delicious cheese and well, a proper gab fest. The second of these such gatherings took place this past weekend at Abbey's lovely apartment and while much of the same wine-drinking, cheese-eating and women-gabbing took place, it seemed to have taken on a new name with more people and it included an exercise class...
Wine and cheese night has now been dubbed "chat n' fat" by none other than the wonderful Eileen. Twice as many amazing women turned up...and.......Abbey decided kickboxing was the best way to host this gathering as she did not stop kicking up her healing foot all night. To my bewilderment, she still maintained perfect composure and managed to be the most hospitable host all while boxercising!! This then led into liturgical dancing by myself (cough cough, shame) which turned into playing each and every one of Dave's mixed CD's while dancing and singing at the top of our lungs...thankfully they don't have neighbors next door!!
Let the pictures speak for themselves. More to find at the yahoo photos link to the right...(unless you were there you might not find them too interesting...:)...also I've realized that dear Abbey seems to be the star of the show...he he he:)
A night is incomplete without the ever-nerdy triangle picture...love ya girls!!
Yes, this is in fact a Lionel Richie CD...however, it did not make into our rotation for the evening.
The spread: some cheese was already eaten and there was more in the kitchen...we don't mess around when it comes to chhhhhhhhheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeessssssssssseeeeeeee
Our "service" that came with our wine...it's a doll that unwraps into a blanket.
Last night a few friends decided to gather for a proper Korean bbq dinner. 4 of us headed to "restaurant street" as Ben has so cleverly coined (it's basically an alley with all restaurants on it...dah da dah!!) and landed at a bbq joint we've all frequented before. The food is always delicious and filling so it seemed like the best solution to my gargling stomach. I had eaten my share of blah blah blah galbi (marinated pork and pork ribs basically) and wanted some 물 냉 면 (water noodles). After doctoring them up with the proper fixings I began to fiercely cut my noodles with a scissors anticipating its glory in my belly. After are few jabs and cuts I noticed something that seemed inedible...as I slowly began to pull it up from under my deliciousness ~ otherwise known as noodles ~ I discovered a used bandaid that seemed to have slipped off a persons finger. How gross! I brought it back to the kitchen and watched the entire Korean staff swarm like bees hovering over my dish as if an alien had just popped its head up to say hello. The waitress' explanation was "ajooma" (older married woman) while she demonstrated a bandaid falling off a finger into a bowl...DUH! I get what happened...I understand that whoever made it had a bandaid on their finger and it obviously fell off into my dinner...if this were a game of charades we'd have won 20 minutes ago!!! This just made me really crabby and annoyed. To make it better, the waitress brought us a bottle of free cider (Sprite)...I don't even drink pop... Now, I've worked at a few restaurants at home and if someone found a used bandaid in their meal they would for sure get their meal for free if not the entire bill taken care of...plus dessert!! Not here.
I ended up leaving the restaurant kind of crabby (and kind of sulking a little bit) and decided to rent a movie. I took home Before Sunset. I know there are two movies with Ethan Hawke (After Sunrise & Before Sunset) but I couldn't remember which came first...I rented part 2. Needless to say, I really really really enjoyed the film and it put me in such a better mood. I have yet to see After Sunrise, it might give last night's movie a little more clarity...
My dear friend inspired me to post my New Year's resolutions. There's no particular reason for doing so, but maybe I will stick to them more if I have a visual reminder...we'll see.
here goes: 1. GYM GYM GYM 2. cut my friend James' hair 3. eat more fruits/veggies, less sweets and candy and snacky snacks. 4. drink less coffee, beer, etc. 5. read at least 1 book / month 6. budget better 7. buy a computer 8. buy a digital camera (funny how those two follow my desire to budget better) 9. enjoy life more 10. be more productive
Pretty basic I suppose, oh well, isn't that pretty normal when it comes to resolutions??
So I was teaching one of my upper elementary classes today when I started cracking up mid-sentence. I think Asia in general takes the cake for having really funny English sayings on shirts. My student Tom was sporting a nice long sleeve t-shirt with a picture of Poppey holding a bouquet of flowers. He had a speech bubble coming from his big ole smile saying, "My sweetie pie fell in love with an older woman". How random!! Sooooo. New Year's was great! Steve & MeiLi (friends from home teaching in Japan) came for a visit and we hit it up in Busan. We also met a guy (Chris) through one of my Gimhae friends who was two years behind MeiLi in high school (GR Christian High) and he and I figured out we were at the same wedding this past summer. Crazy how connected this world really is...NYE pictures will be posted later when Steve & MeiLi send some! Hope you all had a wonderful holiday season! Miss everyone!!