Sunday, March 29, 2009

Lights, Camera, Action!!!

I just wanted to share this with all of you. I just happened upon a few videos on my computer from back in the summer before I left home. I was mostly trying to figure out how my web cam worked, but I got a few with my family and Cullen in them. This is one of my favorites. I love it when Cullen says, "Amer's sillwe." Also, if you pay close attention you an hear Scott ask Mom something about insurance in the background. Oh the images and sounds of home...I love them all :)
video
You'll have to scroll down to the bottom of the page and pause the music to hear the video. Then push the play button and hopefully it will work!!!

Here's to Productivity

Wow, it has been an extremely productive weekend! I'm not really sure how that happened. I had no intentions of being productive this weekend; I figured it be like every other weekend.

Yesterday, we were gonna go skating because one of our students told us this was the last week we could ice skate in Ulsan. However, we ended up going to the open market, and buying a lot of food and then coming back, cooking and watching TV. Normally, I don't relax well. I have a tendency to get bored and need something to do. I guess there was quite a bit that I needed to do around the house that I hadn't realized. I started looking over my resume and I made some adjustments and updates to it. I think I'm going to start sending it out to some personal contacts pretty soon, and in the next few months, I'll actually start sending it to businesses. We still have a while left in Korea, and I'm really not sure which direction I will go in once I get home. However, I'm trying to start thinking about my options. I'm also seriously considering pursuing my master's in business. It's just that the job market is pretty rough right now; so, I know that it would be advantageous to go on and get my MBA while the economy is in bad shape. That being said, I went on and started the application process in case I decide to go that route. The downside of starting school is that I won't have any time to adjust to being back in the states. The program would start a few days after my plane lands in the US! I'm sure this would make my life very stressful in the beginning, but it would cut down on the "downtime" of the transition. I'm pretty sure I've asked before, but I will ask again: Please, please, please say a little prayer for me if you think about it, as I have a hard time when it comes to these kinds of decisions!!!

On a different note, I'm sitting at the computer, drinking my tea and blogging in a nice clean house!!! I spent all afternoon cleaning. I hate cleaning, but I love a clean house! Solution...hire a full time maid-- I'm not gonna lie, if I ever get rich I'll pay someone really, really well (because I know it's a hard job and not fun for anyone) to clean my house. Unfortunately, I don't see that scenario becoming my reality anytime soon...darn :) Either way, it's extremely satisfying to be in a tidy habitat! I'm off to do a little more laundry...I'm washing my sheets! Don't you just love that first night of clean sheets....AMAZING!!! I miss being a kid and having those nice clean sheets without the effort of having done them myself:) Thanks Mom, you really are the greatest, and I mean it!!!

P.S. I also tried to spice up my blog a little bit, hope you like it. The pictures are some of my favorite things about Korea!!!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

~Tokyo here we come~


I'm so excited!!! I had to tell the world...we just made arrangements to go to Tokyo next month!!! I can't wait. We're not exactly sure what all we'll be doing there, but we've got a month to figure it out. If anyone has been there and wants to make suggestions, please feel free. Here's a picture of Mt. Fuji in the background of the skyline!!!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

not in the job description

I told you we had an eventful weekend! YES...this is me a few students...AT MY APARTMENT!On Sunday afternoon, four of my students showed up on my doorstep...now this gives new meaning to the phrase "taking work home with you." Thankfully, they were really nice students, and we had a great time! I just never ever imagined that they would come to my house. Here's how the whole ordeal began: Last week, I was waiting for my bus, and a group of students walked by on their way home. They stopped and talked to me and asked me where Chris was. He was still at school, and I said, "You wanna come to my house and cook me dinner?" The girls of course responded, "Yes, teacher, yes!" Then, Friday at school the same girls asked what floor I lived on. I told them I lived on the 5th floor, and they said, "Ok we'll come to your house on Saturday." I thought they were joking, and I quickly told them I wouldn't be there because Chris and I would be in Busan.
Sunday rolls around, and I'm just watching a little TV when my phone rings. It's Julie, a student from my TOSEL Jr. class(in Korea foreigners don't get caller ID, so I had no clue who it was), "Teacher...insert long pause....Teacher...it's me Julie, you know me Teacher." By the way, "Teacher" is my actual name these days. I know Julie, I know about 15 Julie's because all Korean kids have the same English names. "Teacher, I'm on the 5th floor." Ooookkkaaayy...what the heck do I do? First of all, how do all my students seem to mysteriously have my cell phone number, and second of all, how did she know where I lived...I didn't even tell her the name of my apartment building!!! I went to the door to look and see if this was for real or a joke. It was for real. There they were, four cute little Korean girls standing in the hall way! I felt very awkward in my polka dot pajamas and zit cream still on my face, but let them in regardless. I wasn't sure exactly what was going on, and I'm pretty sure they had never just shown up at a teacher's house before from their timidness in the beginning. All Koreans bring some kind of gift when they come to your home; so, the girls came bearing gifts of chamchi gimbap (a Korean appetizer) that evidently I had said I liked in class at some point. We ate our gimbap, and then I asked them what they wanted to do. I didn't really like the idea of them being at my house because it just seemed kinda odd. So, we asked them if they wanted to go to an arcade down the street. Their response was that there mothers did not like them going to arcades because of all the smoke in the atmosphere.... hmmm...sounds a little fishy to me, being that all Korean kids practically live in arcades. I'm pretty sure they told their mothers this was some kind of study session because they all had their books for class. Anyway, Chris and I been planning on going to Ulsan Grand Park soon, and the girls loved the idea! We weren't sure what bus we were suppose to take, and the girls, though they are Korean, could not figure it out. I have to often remind myself that they are children, even though they know a lot more about surviving in Korea than we do. Thankfully, Kristen (a foreigner friend) came walking down the road just as we were in the midst of our confusion. She told us what bus to take and where to get off, ahhh...I've gotta email her a big thank-you, I think I may have just ran off without saying bye. Everything just seemed so chaotic and stressful because we were trying to keep up with four kids, and we weren't even sure that their parents knew where they were or that they were with us. I think I've mentioned before that Korean children are much more independent than children in the US, and parents often allow their children to go places by themselves. It seems so odd and irresponsible to me, but things are just very different in regards to safety here. As far as I know, things went really well. We made it to the park, and the girls played while we carried their bags and coats. Well, that's not entirely true...we had some fun of our own, too! I know God didn't make me pint size without expecting that I take full advantage! The trip was even a bit educational because at the park their was this science fair going on so we walked through and let the girls do some of the activities. I have the girls in class today. I can't wait to see if they act different after being to my home and also see what in the world they say to the other students. They made sure to take pictures on their cell phones so they could prove that they had truly been to my house. Once again, only in Korea does your work hop on a bus and seek you out at home!
As funny and suprising as it was to have the girls show up, we really did have a lot of fun with them. Hopefully, they will realize that we're really not that old, and we've both still got a lot of kid left in us. Notice the Korean woman looking back at Chris like he's crazy!!! I love it :)


Hope all is well back home! I miss you guys like crazy!!!




~Am :)












Sally sells seashells by the seashore...


Oh...what a weekend!!! The weather has been nice and there's a hint of spring in our parts of Korea. Thus, the beach was calling our names! We made our way to Busan and enjoyed ourselves very much. A couple of hours were spent just relaxing at the beach, and then made our way through the food stalls right behind the water. We were really tempted to eat lobster at one of these little places, and we'll definitely go back soon to follow through. However, all week long we had talked about a certain Mexican restaurant that we were gonna visit but ...when it came down to it, we changed our minds :) The place we had planned on going looked more like a bar than a restaurant, and we were really in the mood for a hearty meal. I'm sure we will end up going there at some point because Mexican does still sound amazing, but this weekend we ended up eating Turkish again. We really love Turkish food! Chris is a fan because Turkey is in such close proximity to Greece, and me, well...I just love all food in general. Not to mention, the quality of lamb seems to be better than the quality of beef in Korea.
Busan is nice because the city is about 3 times as big as Ulsan and has many more options for food and entertainment. There are also a lot of foreigners in Busan, which is kind of nice, but very different considering we are no longer use to seeing many people that resemble us. The best part about Busan is the beach!!! I'm such a beach bum, and I can't wait until the weather is nice enough to lay on the beach and get in the water. Speaking of which, Chris made a friend on the beach that called himself "the Korean Jay Leno." He was pretty much crazy. At first, I didn't know what to think of this man, and then he referred to me as a "foxy babe" and Chris as a "boyish Hugh Grant." I mean seriously, what the heck do you say to that? Finally, I realized that he was trying to get a reaction out of us when he told us that, "Making love to a mermaid is no fun." What...did I hear this man correctly? Yes, judging by the look on Chris's face, I had heard him word for word. I just went with it....I think I laughed more during this 30 minute conversation than I have in a very long time. I had to take a picture, not that I would ever in a million years forget this man, even if I tried. Naturally, Chris threw up the peace sign because this is what so many people do when they take pictures in Asia, and Jay says, "What the heck does that mean...VICTORY?" O wow...I still don't know what to think of this man!!! I'll let you be the judge :)

By the end of the night we were absolutely exhausted. We made our way back to where we take the direct bus home, and we saw our bus pulling away. Chris thought he was gonna be the hero of the story, and so he jumps off the curb and almost out in front of the bus. We see Koreans do this all the time, and it never works for them! I'm not sure why he thought it was gonna work for him. I almost had a heart attack thinking he was gonna get hit by the bus, as the bus driver honks his horn and keeps driving. Thankfully, we look up and saw another bus sitting there waiting for us to hop on and take our seats. Usually at night they turn the lights off, but for some reason, this bus driver left the lights on all the way home. Whatever...I already get stared at everywhere I go. Why not wear my sunglasses at night?

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Only in Korea

How in the world do the weekends go by so fast when those weekdays drag by so slow? I guess I shouldn't complain, but it's a bit sad to be so close to Monday again... ah well. It was a good weekend, but not a lot of news to report. We did the usual: went out to eat, shopped a bit, and I finally got to redeem my free coffee at my favorite coffee shop!!! I know, it's sad that a free coffee was the highlight of my weekend:)

We were on the verge of a little more excitement. Yesterday, Chris went looking for his long lost friend. Remember when I posted the picture of the dog that he wanted so badly to make his own? Well, we were back in that same area, and Chris decided he would go try to find the dog. There was a gate that was closed half way, and it was behind this gate that we had seen the dog the last time. So, Chris opened the gate and walked down beside this florist. I tried to warn him to come on, but you know how men are; he didn't listen to me! Just then, the owner of the florist came running out of the shop and started screaming Korean. Once the angry Korean man saw Chris's face (from the back he is often mistaken for a large native), he kinda laughed a little. Then he took his cell phone out of his pocket and without dialing a number said, "Police, police." This was followed up by the man throwing his arms up as if he were holding a shotgun and firing at Chris. It was a bit humorous, and the funniest part was Chris turning bright red and bowing to the man in attempts to express his regret for invading the man's personal space.

That's the best I've got for now :) I promise to bring you all more interesting news as soon as the weather is nice and we can get out and explore. For the time being, you're stuck with the simple stories of our everyday lives and occasional "Only in Korea" stories!

White Day

Ok...for those of you who despise Valentines Day, you would hate this country. There are 4 different holidays dedicated to romantic relationships in this country. There's Pepero Day; this is when couples give each other pokey sticks. A pokey stick is a cookie stick dipped in chocolate, and they're very tasty. They also celebrate normal Valentines Day on Feb 14th, but in Korea, only girls give guys gifts and such on this day. Then, there's White Day, which is today...Happy White Day!!! This is the day when guys are suppose to do something special for the ladies. We'll see if Chris goes all out for White Day. I'm guessing not, we both think it's crazy that there are so many love holidays. The last of these days is actually called Black Day, and it's the funniest to me. This day is for those people who are single. It's a "screw you, Love" kind of day, hence the name "Black Day." Anyway, at school yesterday, I got a number of gifts, mainly candy and a rose, from a couple of different male students. It was so cute and funny at the same time because it was so obvious that they hated to give me something for fear of what there peers might think. Their mothers were clearly the ones behind the thoughtfulness of the gift, way too cute!!! I had to get a picture of one of my favorite students, Ed, as he presented me with his gift. He was so embarrassed, and the picture made it worse. Oh well, I couldn't help it!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Travel bug!!!

I know what you're thinking...Yes, I'm not in the states, but it's just that being in one place too long really calls for some kind of trip. Maybe it's all this talk I've been hearing of cruises and Florida vacations that really makes me wanna lay on a beach all day long. The weather is gradually getting warmer here in Korealand, but it's not time to break out the swimsuits yet, DARN! Either way, Chris and I are thinking we're gonna get out of the city for a day or two very soon. Unfortunately, this weekend the weather is gonna be a little cooler than we had hoped. So, we'll probably wait and go somewhere next weekend. We've been hearing about an amazing Mexican restaurant that's in a town pretty close by, maybe we'll go there. Either way, we're gonna take a little Spring Break of our own. Oh college, why did I not realize that you were so amazing...is that you that I hear calling my name?

Speaking of college, I'll leave you with a picture taken a couple of years back about this time of the year. Chris and I were both still in college, and he was about to leave to go to Australia; so, we bought a bunch of junk food and headed down to the lake to watch the sunset!!!

Friday, March 6, 2009

a new discovery after a very bad day...


Well, I'm not going to put you all through the misery of all the details from my awful day at school. I will just say, there were tears and if Chris had not been around to calm me down I would probably be on a plane back to the US right this minute. Anyway, after a long day I refused to cook so we ate out at the restaurant in the building where we live. Afterwards we made our way up to the 17th floor because I had been wondering if our building had roof access. Chris swore that there was no way there would be access to the roof on the 17th floor, but I am pleased to announce that HE WAS WRONG! In fact, there's a sky park up there. We have lived here for 7 months now and we've just discovered this...where have we been? I don't think anything could have possibly made me happier after such a grueling day. As you can imagine, the city is ver polluted, and the air seemed so much cleaner from 17 stories high. Chris was not quite as enthused about the sky park as I was. He has an extreme fear of heights; so being up there made him a little nervous. How I ever convinced him to skydive is beyond me!!! I took a few pics from up there...so the pictures are of Muego Dong...the area of Ulsan where we live. After our little adventure to the sky park, we made our way to Paris Baguette (a Korean chain bakery/coffee shop that just opened up across the street). We got a couple of desserts and then we walked home, only to turn around and go back for more cream puffs...these things are so stinkin good!!! There are two sitting in the fridge right now that are tempting me oooo so badly. I'm trying to resist because Chris said we should take them downstairs to the little old woman and man who own the restaurant that we ate at, but I'm thinking that they sound really good as an encore to the 2 bowls of Special K I just finished!!!!

Well, I'm out for now, but I'll try to update you all on what the weekend holds. Happy Saturday!!!

~Am