Tag Archives: reading town

Adorable monsters and more snow

Today I woke up to a terrible terrible thing :

nooooooo

so much snow! And there was NONE on the ground yesterday. It started snow/raining (snaining, if you will) late last night, but wow. This morning, everything was covered, as you can see. I’m not so happy to be in another damn winter wonderland-last week I didn’t even have to wear my winter coat anymore, and I nearly put it in a box that I sent home. But now…F. Lame.

In other news, I had my camera on the way to work this morning, so I decided to take pictures of my baby class whilst at school. They were cute, as usual.

This one is the devil.

Lucy

Her cuteness helps her a lot.

And Edward.

coloring the shit outta something

They are quite the pair.

she's going to eat him

lego lego lego lego lego

OH. And then little Daniel got in trouble and Marisa Teacher made him stand with his eyes closed-common and effective (and hilarious) punishment in Korea. I took a picture.

poor little man-baby

9 days until America’s sweet sweet embrace!

Please don’t eat the magnets, children.

Let’s talk about my life. Some new updates around these parts!

A new girl moved into our house. Coincidentally, her name is Ashley (like me) and she hails from Winnepeg (like Marisa). So now our house is like some sort of damn venn diagram. It’s slightly crowded, although that’s a fairly selfish thing to say. The roomie and I have spent the entirety of the past 12 months living in a 3 bedroom apartment, while another teacher from our school lives a few floors below us with her husband, mother-in-law, and two daughters in a space identical to ours. I think it’s fair to say that by Korean standards we have more than enough space. But still, the three of us now share one shower- which has been a problem since she got here last Monday and we’ve been working the same hours, hence waking up to take showers at the same time. Good thing for these ladies that I basically need 20 minutes prep time, max, so I always take the last shower.  And I don’t really believe in washing my hair too often. Maybe I’m over sharing…anyway. The fact that we all go to work at the same time has been an issue, until today.

Today I started my new working hours. 11:30am-7:30 pm. Yes, two weeks before I fly back to that magical land of America, the school has given me a new position, where I teach half Little RT classes to the kindergarten, and half Big RT classes to elementary kids.  I can’t say I particularly enjoy it. The word I think that best describes it for me would be “hollow”…I have no homeroom, so no real responsibilities to care for the children outside of the classroom. And the big kids rotate in then out of the school every hour and a half all evening, so there is little, if any, interaction outside of my 45 minute classes with them. Yeah, I can sleep in a little bit, but if this morning is any indication, I mostly just sleep an extra 40 minutes, then wake up alone in my house and putter around reading/showering/internet-ing until it’s time to go to work. Then I work till late and fill like I’ve missed out on something, although I haven’t.  Also, it’s pretty strange to start my day teaching a pair of 3 year olds (the only students I currently teach in the kindergarten) and ending it teaching a class of ten 15 year olds. All in all it’s interesting, and there are some positives-less prep work for one, the older kids have a very rigid schedule and tons of workbook busy work-but I think I prefer the old job and all the craziness of being in charge of my own class of the babies. But that’s not my choice. And I’m leaving! So there.

Let’s talk some more about my little tiny babies on the Little RT side. When I say I’m teaching a pair of 3 year olds, I’m really not exaggerating. They are in the “5” year class (kindy is only divided into 5s,6s,7s) but with *Korean aging they are definitely only 3. Barely.  They are adorable, and I teach them every day before and after lunch. It is equal parts amusement and utter frustration-they are far too young to be in school! These two should be in day care, scribbling with crayons and sipping juice boxes while watching Sesame Street  (the Korean equivalent, obviously). Edward and Lucy, while arguably two of the cutest children in all of humanity’s existence, are being thrust into that crazy Korean education machine, and they can barely speak any Korean, let alone English. I know, I know, I am the teacher, that’s my job. And of course they have malleable little 3-year-old brains, which works in my favor. However, I’ve spent the past week of this new school year holding  the pencils for them, taking the “letter A” magnets out of Edward’s mouth when we were trying to learn the “ah, ah” sound, consoling them/handing them off to a Korean when they start screaming for Mom, and conducting 3/4 of my class in Korean while plying them with chocolates to make them color things. And no, I am not fluent in Korean. But I’ve been using my shallow reserves (maybe not that shallow, I’ve studied a lot this year!) of their language to get them to do things like sit down, stop eating the picture cards, don’t say poop, etc. So far, they can kind of say their own names, plus girl, boy, bug, and ball. Well, not really bug, so much. The other ones for sure.  Score! I can only hope that the next teacher that comes just loooooooves little babies like I do, or they are going to be MISERABLE.

*Koreans consider an infant to be one year old when they are born. Every year thereafter they gain a year. Depending on the month you are born, this means that Koreans are 1 to 2 years older in Korea than they are in the rest of the world. For example, a child born in October would be 1 year old on the day of their birth, then turn 2 only three months later, on January 1st. And the western world would still only consider them 3 months old.   I’m 25 internationally, but 27 in Korea.  How bout that!

Bye bye babies

Yesterday was graduation day for the 7 year old class at Reading Town. A room for the ceremony had been rented out in Hopyeong, and the parents all came to watch a) their babies graduate, and b) their babies sing songs and do various other entertaining things in English. The day was hectic, unorganized, and stressful, as usual. But the children were lovely. And I was so busy that I only had time to cry twice-which was maybe for the best anyway.

Goodbye my little ones. I’ll miss you.

My little Lions, all grown up (and graduating from kindergarten)

All the parts of my year that included these children were wonderful. And I will never forget them.

One Year!

One year ago today I got off of a plane and found myself in the *ahem* “Land of the Morning Calm”.  It’s been a crazy year, for certain, and anyone who has read this blog can see why. So I think I’m going to do a little photo re-cap of some of my favorite things that I did/saw this year. At the very least you can see how much my hair has changed. Really, it’s gotten a lot longer, and my bangs are almost completely grown out!

February 2009

The weather was quite nice when I first got to Korea-much warmer than Ohio. Unlike this year, there wasn’t a speck of snow on the ground (although we got an unexpected heavy snowfall in March, but that only stuck around for a few days). My roommates who were moving out did a wonderful job of showing me their hospitality, and took me on a little tour of our town. I wasn’t too overwhelmed back then, just excited and a little nervous to be living in Asia.  Oh, and impressed by the sheer number of neon lights that can inhabit a city block around here.

Downtown Pyeongnae on a Saturday morning.

March 2009

This photo is from my first field trip with Reading Town. We took a bus to Guri, a city about 20 minutes away from our school, to see the “children’s theatre”. I adored how absorbed the little ones were by the play we saw-I can’t remember much of it myself now, although I remember Lucy leaning over to me at one point to translate some Korean into English for me. “Teacher, it is ‘the sun and the moon’.” Sweet, sweet child.  She ended up being one of my favorites.

April 2009

April was when things started picking up around here. Our next class field trip (can you tell I love field trips?) was to a farm. Potatoes for everyone! The kids spent a significant amount of time trying on my stunner shades. Which was really cute. Here is Tony, who would eventually leave Reading Town, and who was an unforgettable character in my teacher-life.

I also went to see my first Korean palace, Changdeokgung, with Marisa, Jenny, and Gloria.

AND we took a trip to my favorite park in all of Seoul, Yeoido, to try to catch the blooming of the cherry blossoms. Only a few trees were really bursting, leading to a Korean bottlenecking of picture takers-everyone lining up to take their  photo in front of the sporadically placed foilage. Humorous.

May 2009

May gave me my first real holiday in Korea-Children’s Day! This meant no school, so the adventuress-es of RT (Marisa, Jenny, Gloria and I) took a terribly long bus ride to Sokcho. The weather was beautiful, the scenery was beautiful, and I fell in love with Seoraksan Mountain. I’m still disappointed that I never had the chance to go back in the fall to see the leaves change. I’m sure it was gorgeous.

That was also the month we discovered that Korea has recreational trampolining areas where you can pay 2000 won for an hour of jumping goodness!

June 2009

The first true month of summertime brought wonderful hot weather and tons of things to do. It was a super busy time, with a Korean wedding to attend (and bachelorette party to organize), an in-honor-of-4-people birthday party to host at our apartment, a trip to that wondrous amusement park- Lotte World, and a weekend adventure to Everland and a traditional Korean Folk Village.

Happy Birthday Johnnie, Frank, Kimmy, and Jenn!

Bachelorette Party, Korean style.

July 2009

By now summer was in full swing. July was rockin’ with two big events: Mudfest and a huge 4th of July America/Canada loving bash that brought expats and Koreans from a 30 mile radius to a little rooftop in Pyeongnae. Mudfest didn’t go so well, fun, but rainy, and I got a severe case of flu. (Was this due to swimming in the ocean and in the rain at 5 in the morning and running around in wet clothes all night long? I really couldn’t say). The Independence Day celebrations-mine included a baseball game with some other Americans before coming back for the party-were a wonderful way to celebrate my swell country.

mud mud everywhere

USA! USA!

And then I went home! For one glorious week I went back to Ohio, saw my beautiful niece for the first time, and soaked up some time with all my favorites.

With my sister, my niece and my mama.

Taken via disposable camera. Ladies' 80s night at one of my favorite clubs in Columbus!

August 2009

My last summer month was full of frolicking. Lady Gaga came to town and put on an amazing show.  I took a trip to Busan to enjoy Korea’s South Beach. And Jenn and Colin bid us farewell as they flew back to life in Canada.

Lady Gaga!!

Busan's umbrellas for sale. Come buy a space!

strolling by the sea

Jenn and Colin's last night out in Seoul, Colin wasn't even drunk. Just silly.

September 2009

Autumn came, and school continued at its steady pace. Life chilled out a bit. The biggest events that I recall-going to the Dog Cafe with Jon, and heading for a lovely night out at a jazz club in Apjugeong to say goodbye to our friend Delanie.

The cutest puppy in the world.

Saying goodbye to Delanie with a whole lotta red wine and some salsa dancing (at a jazz club)

Also, Juan and I took this picture that night-it’s still one of my favorites of us.

October 2009

Who cares what else happened this month? It was my BIRTHDAY! I rang it in in style. On a boat. Then, when the weekend came, with dancing and snake-striped spandex.

That boat ride was really fun.

But there was more to October than my birthday. There was Chuseok, and the ensuing adorable child pictures…

And there was arguably one of the best Halloweens I’ve ever had. With definitely the best costume so far in my 25 years.

Panda vs. Elephant...dun dun dunnnnnnn

This was also when my lovely boyfriend bought me my own real live Olympus E-450, so I began to take both more and better photographs.

November 2009

It was nice and quiet. A few birthdays, a few goodbyes, a lovely cocktail party and a traditional American thanksgiving in my little home.

Lady Lydia at the cocktail soiree

Who loves to eat?? These ladies do.

December 2009

No matter where you live, December is a busy month. Gift exchanges, holiday parties,frolicking in the snow,  school vacation…it’s not slow for anyone. My Korean December was full of the above, plus a short jaunt to Hong Kong with the bf for Christmas. Pretty fabulous.

The Big Budha on Lantau Island

Christmas Day

January 2010

I brought in the new year with a few too many drinks and a Chinese dress. It was alright though, because Jon, Ha Young, and Dave with there with me-no taxi rides home!

New Year's Eve

Then there was pajama day at Reading Town….and the wine train…..and Phantom of the Opera

Henny on pajama day. Rarrrrrr

February 2010

Alright! So that brings me here. A full year later. This month alone has been super busy-birthdays all over the place, the academic school year ending this week, graduation ceremonies for the babies, along with some cultural explorations (i.e. DMZ tour) thrown in for good measure.  I’m not quite done with my Korean life yet-another month or so till I take another plane far and away-but it’s been one hell of an adventure, for better and for worse. And I’m still alive! (And I’ve developed quite a fondness for kimchi dumplings and spicy ramyeon. Uh oh.)

That's fear on our faces at the DMZ

Angela on the 7 year olds' graduation field trip to Chuncheon

Valentine's Day with Jon on top of Namsan Tower.<3

Getting rowdy for Marisa's birthday- a night of dancing in Hongdae

Hey Korea...thanks for an interesting year!

Lunar Celebrations, take 2.

Yeah, let’s try this again.

So anyone who subscribes to this blog may have gotten an “update” which really just had the title and no blog…stupid wordpress. I’m talking to you wordpress! I had typed and published a whole wonderfully witty commentary on the New Year, pictures of adorably traditional-garb-wearing Korean children and all, and come to find out the very next morning that it was erased for reasons unknown. Maybe I’m too avant-garde. Yeah. That must be it. I’m being censored!

Back to business.

The past week has been incredibly busy. Last Wednesday was our Lunar (Chinese) New Year “event day” at Reading Town, where the children dressed up and we played traditional games. Thursday was the bf’s birthday, Friday I took the bf out for a fancy meal celebrating his 25 years of life, and the rest of the (long) weekend was spent enjoying that sacred extra day off. Busy busy!

So although we normally do our events for the children on Thurdays or Fridays, our director decided that we needed our special day to coincide with a visit to our school by an important lecturing man-word on the street was that he was the creator of Reading Town franchise. Big stuff! And of course, you know, why would you want children around in a school when parents are coming in? Yeah.  Thus, we rounded up the kiddies on Wednesday morning to trot on up to the kumdo academy on the 5th floor. First, we made pocket purse things for the traditional money-giving. More on that in a minute. Then Lisa and Steve (poor, American Steve) taught the children how to bow properly. A big part of this holiday is visiting one’s parents/elders and performing a ritual bow to show respect. Men and women perform this bow separately, and then the elder in question gives them money (to put in the special pocket!).  After this tutorial, we broke up the kids into classes and it was pretty damn adorable when all of my Lion children did their little bows and said “happy new year” in Korean. Heart-melting, really.

After the bowing we played the usual assortment of incredibly simple traditional Korean games. It amazes me that the same children who spend a ridiculous amount of time either studying or playing super graphic video games can be amused by activities such as these, but it pleases me to no end that they do. For our event day and the time allotted, we played four games. Unori consists of throwing sticks in the air and then moving accordingly around a board. I don’t know how to play, so that’s as far as my explanation is going to go. Chaegi cheogi is basically an old school version of hackey-sack. Then there were marbles-everyone knows marbles. And finally something that involved throwing a large, soft Lego at a tower of  Legos and trying to get it to fall down. Mind-numbing for all their simplicity, and this is what makes them happy. Yay!

Now we’ve got a 4 day week ahead of us, one of which is a field trip for me with the 7 year olds in honor of their upcoming graduation. My babies are all grown up and going to elementary school! Ahhhh!

And I’m giving up on trying to put pictures up on this bad boy. If you would like to go see heart-breaking cuteness, you can check my pictures on picasa here. I’d love to talk about the rest of my weekend-it consisted of a fabulous dinner atop a rotating tower, and a lovely surprise from my dear man, as well as some good pictures, but that doesn’t seem like an option right now. Ah well. I hope everyone’s Valentine’s day was full of love in whatever form you take it.

Pajama Party up in here

My day today:

Beautiful little Mary

Edward channels a frog

Mark...he has a lot to say.

My diva Cleo

Some of my Lion boys: Phillip, Willie, Kevin, and Steve

And my girls: Nicole, Cleo, Lucy, Nancy

Alex K, and Sunny teacher (who, you may notice, is dressed like a duck)

A massive game of balloon soccer

Little Annie gets comfy

Now I’m off to bed. Wine train on the morrow…and I have to wake up at 6:30 a.m. …le sigh.