Here I am again!! Thought I had crawled in a hole and died didn't you? Well, I am happy to inform you that I am very much a alive and well and enjoying life. It's funny how one day you can be so homesick and everything makes you cry and then the very next day, everything is great. You are content where you are and the world is at peace (or so the song goes). Well, that is where I am now. I am content, I am happy and I love life. Yes, I still miss my family terribly and I can't wait to see them at Christmas (yes, we will be in Florida in December so mark your calendars!), but I'm really ok now. Life is good. It's a big joke with a friend of mine about people who always feel the need to drop a "masters degree or PhD" in a conversation. Whenever we talk we make sure to slide in "when I was working on my masters..." or "while I was at seminary..." and we get a good laugh about it. Truth is, when that is all you are doing with your spare time, its hard not to mention it. If anyone asks what you did every night of the week, what do you tell them? I was sitting in a coffee shop... everyday for hours on end?! yep, I'm a bum. While in truth, yes, you were sitting in a coffee shop for multiple hours on end but you were fiendishly typing a paper and scouring a book for the chapter's content. Anyways, all this to say that I am embracing my new education and I thought it only fitting to graduate to nerd status:
Well, enough about "my masters..." (heehee I joke) on to other things...
Oftentimes the best places are found by accident. This was true with the amazing little authentic Korean Tea House we happened upon. And of course, anything is better with good friends so our experience was sublime.
It was a wonderful experience but my mint tea made me exceptionally sleepy so
going home offered a challenge :)
We were invited by some co-workers from Robert's morning school to attend a viola recital. It was beautiful music but all our late nights were catching up with both of us and it was a struggle staying away with the peaceful music going on. It was a great concert and then we grabbed coffee afterwards.
Every week our students are required to write a diary. I love reading what these kids write! It can be hysterical sometimes and other times it can bring you to tears because of their honesty. These two were just too good to pass up so I thought I'd share them :)
Kindy took another field trip and you know how much I love our field trips! Well, this was no different, except I was exhausted at the end of it. Perhaps some of you saw my facebook status about experiencing earthquakes, etc... this was the place. The building was massive and there were several schools being guided through tours and the guide did a great job with the kids, even though I couldn't understand him. The first part was learning how to use a fire extinguisher. There was a big screen with protective glass and a fire would "break out" on the stove and the kids had to put it out. They loved it!
This was just for fun, but they got to go on a "safety" roller coaster.
Next was the earthquake simulation. Now, picture this: The guide is talking for about 5 minutes on what you do in an earthquake, all the while I am simply nodding my head in agreement pretending like I have a clue. Suddenly it is our school's turn to go. Hannah grabs my bag off my shoulder and tells me I have to be the "mom" feeding my kids breakfast. I'm like "what?! But I have no clue what he said to do!" She said to just get under the table when the shaking started, so that's what I did... three times (hence, the three earthquakes I survived). One of the cutest things was little Mini. The guide had said to put your hands over your head to protect it against falling objects (I did pick up on that part). Well, I didn't have a free hand because I was busy "protecting" my kids under the table. So Mini, serious as ever, reaches over and holds her hand over my head. It was the cutest thing ever! :)
After the earthquake, we experienced hurricane and typhoon winds. Being the foreign teacher, naturally I am the one that should be in the pictures so I sacrificed myself yet again :)
Now that is what you call dedication :)
After the winds, we went through a smokey "office building" and I couldn't take pictures because I was helping Jack through the maze and he apparently thought it was real because the poor kid was wheezing and clinging to the wall as if he would die if he didn't make it out. I was the breathing and walking coach that got him to safety :) When we got out, he exclaimed very proudly "WE DID IT!"
Then it was time for a picnic lunch :)
After lunch we walked over to a free zoo. I was amazed how nice it was for being completely free to the public! The kids really enjoyed it!
In October, Kindy is going on a "family hiking" day, so the teachers (and their kids) set out last Saturday to survey the trails. It was a gorgeous day and the trails weren't quite as full as they usually are. Hiking in Korea is vastly different than hiking in the states!
There are many Buddhist temples up in the mountains.
Some of you were very curious about the Korean 1st Birthday. Well, let me tell you, when they said it was a big deal... that was the understatement of the century. First Birthdays in Korea are almost as big as weddings, literally. I will start from the beginning:
1. I had heard people talking about a specific gift, so I thought I'd better find that out. People buy the baby a gold ring... but since gold is more expensive this year, people are buying clothes instead. But I'm not talking about just onesies or a pack of diapers. I'm talking $50-70 clothes and shoes.... I didn't quite go that far, but I did find this adorable dress and the mother was thrilled (She didn't even expect the foreigners to bring anything anyway so I think I could have pretty much brought anything).
2. We had directions to the building that the party was being held in. It was about 2 provinces away so we took a taxi. We asked the man to drop us off at the light and then, thinking that there would be a crosswalk closer to the building, we passed up the crosswalk. Of course I had decided to wear some of my highest heels thinking we were just going to a small party and I would be sitting most the evening. Duh?! Turns out, there wasn't a closer crosswalk but by the time we were between crosswalks, it would have taken far too long to go back so we just kept walking to the next one and then circling back to the building on the other side of the street. All this time, my feet are cursing me. We finally made it to the building and we thought the text had said 4th floor, so we went there. We thought it was odd that anyone would have their baby's birthday party on the Cosmetic surgery floor with all kinds of pictures of reconstructed faces, etc. but each to their own, right? Finally we asked someone to read the text and discovered it was on the 7th floor. As we rode the escalator up we passed the dental clinic, a hospital with patients laying raying there beside us. It was so odd... Finally we see the 7th floor ahead and I see lights and hear lots of noise. As we walk up, there's a lady to greet us with a sticker to wear and I turn and see a room full of people with an MC talking on a microphone, a DJ, etc and my mouth literally dropped. We hurriedly found a seat and started to enjoy the party.
3. You know how in America the big deal about the 1st birthday is that most parents have not allowed the child to have any sugar and then suddenly they are given an entire cake to chow down on and its like a right of passage? "You are one... hence you should eat sugar..." Well, Koreans do it a tad differently. They basically plan out the child's future :) (not really, its just a fun game) Basically, they have things like money, a pencil, a microphone, etc and whichever item the baby reaches for, is what she will be when she grows up. This baby reached for money :)
I guess she will be rich when she grows up.
4. After we settled into our spot, we went out to the buffet line to grab some dinner. Literally, the food had to cost a minimum of $25 a piece if not more. It was a huge buffet with seafood, desserts, soups, rice, meats, etc... A-Mazing...
They had specially made clothes too for the whole family. They looked gorgeous!
(oh, and a professional photographer)
And we all got gifts from the baby :) I have these in my classroom now.
So, it was an experience for sure! So glad we had the opportunity to see it!
Well there you go... That's what has been happening in our lives these past few weeks. Sorry I crammed so much into one post. Fall is coming and we are enjoying the first few days of beautiful weather. Unfortunately, Korea's Autumn is extremely short and soon we will be bundled up for the bitter winter... not excited at all! I'm a Florida girl to the core. I'll keep ya posted.
Thanks friends for following this crazy adventure we call life...