Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St. Patrick's Day Fun!

In my new Saranbang (evening) class, which is everyday from 6-8pm, we talked about St. Patrick's Day. I am really lucky because I have the advanced class this semester. It's much more fun because they understand so much more which allows us to do more activities.

After talking about the basics of the holiday, I taught them what a Limerick is. For those of you who don't know, it's an Irish poem that began in a pub in Limerick and are often crude and dirty. But they have a definite structure. It is made up of five lines. Line 1, 2, and 5 all rhyme with each other and contain 7 to 8 syllables. Lines 3 and 4 rhyme with each other and contain 5 to 6 syllables. It was hard to find examples for the kids that weren't dirty or the words were to hard to understand, so I had to write the examples. The first is mine, followed by several of my students. Most of them got the concept...and others...well, gave it their best shot! It is typed how they wrote them! Enjoy!

There was a big dog named Jean.
His fur was the color of green.
He would run really slow,
and at night he would glow.
If you weren't really nice he'd be mean.

A girl named Jamy likes to play,
Thursday is her favorite day.
She likes the sea,
So she saw the sea,
And she had a great day
When I was young I saw a bee,
The bee saw that I see.
I run away like a bee,
The bee follows me.
But I hide in the river, OOPS!

My friends like a very cute dog.
I like a very cute and pretty cat.
My fren like play piano.
I like too play piano.
My friends and me likes going on a picnic

There was a small cat named Berry.
Her favorite fruit is a cherry.
She wears a green hat,
She is white and black,
Her other friends name is Marry

There was a big bear named Joon.
He was like the red balloon.
It was on his head,
But it was not red,
So he painted in the noon.

The one girls loved a brown bear.
The bear is like seat on chair.
And likes to play with key.
And he likes to eat peas.
And brown bear likes to draw square.

There was a one young girl name of Mery.
The girl name Mery want to fly.
She going to dream.
And a night was come.
Then Mery was fly in the sky.

The young boy name was a Joy
He is very cute and kind boy.
Joy has a little bird.
Little bird know many word.
Little bird and Joy say bye!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The New Semester

Second semester has come to an end, and March 2nd marked the start of a brand new school year at Hakseong Elementary School. It has come with plenty of changes that I am getting use to. I thought I would spice up this blog with a poetic tale of how the first week went, enjoy :)

It is March 5th a new year has begun,
Not sure what to expect, but it better be fun.

The new year started off in a brand new room,
But we’re kinda cramped there’s no room for a broom.

It’s nice and new and not like the old closet,
That was our old office filled with dusty deposits.

I no longer have third grade, but fourth, fifth and sixth,
Another new co-teacher to throw in the mix.

The kids call her Sunny and she seems really sweet,
Perfect for making the English teacher's complete.

Twelve teachers left and fourteen new came in,
Two from America it’s an English win-win.

The teacher’s move schools every four years,
Not really sure why but it’s ‘cause of their tier.

New teacher Dorian, his skin color’s black,
‘Obama’ he’s called by kids to his back.

My new classroom has a smart board and big screen TV,
Not sure how it works but the kids scream in glee.

On Wednesday March 2nd the staff took a bus,
To drive for an hour through the mountains and dust.

“We’ll hike to the top and then have a good meal,”
I was told nothing more not sure what to feel.

As the hike started up, the hill was not steep,
Then twenty minutes passed by, I wanted to weep.

It was muddy and slick all at the same time,
I was not prepared for this torturous climb.

When we reached the top I imagined a view,
Nothing but trees and the sky a faint blue.

Some teachers kept going while some stayed back,
Then there were stragglers still far from the pack.

Those of us tired and ready to eat,
Walked in the ‘restaurant’ and felt our defeat.

We took off our shoes and sat down on the floor,
Anxious to chow on what the hiking was for.

There was kimchi and rice and some veggies too,
Then came the pot of a chicken type stew.

It was nothing more than a bird in hot water,
Just its neck gone it must have been quite the slaughter.

We ate and we talked and some teacher’s toasted,
To a new school year while the principal boasted.

It wasn’t ‘till later I found out why he smiled,
He was shooting liquor which makes him quite wild.

It was nothing but smiles as we all left the tent,
Dreading the dark and unstable descent.

We all made it down and only one teacher fell,
She was a good sport and was muddy as hell.

We piled back on to our escorted ride,
Hard to stay awake and keep my eyes wide.

When I made it home I told Andrew this news,
And picked off the mud that was stuck to my shoes.

I hope our next dinner is far less demanding,
And hopefully involves some food that’s outstanding!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Guam: Where America's Day Begins

Oh...what can I say. Guam was glorious! Andrew and I took a restful vacation compared to the 'tourist attraction mayhem-must see everything- always on the go' Beijing, China trip we went on in December. I know what you're thinking...another vacation already?! How can I get that job? Well, with the way the Korean school system is set up, their "Spring Break'' is during the last week of February because the new semester begins in March. So, it just seems like we had two awesome vacations back to back...but really...we had a lot of teaching hours in between...remember the English Camp post, 3 weeks, 11 hours a day, getting punched in the face? Guam was the perfect place to get away and enjoy a little American culture for a change.

Andrew and I set off on our sunny beach bound vacy on February 20th. We decided to fly out of Busan instead of Seoul this time. It's about $50 more, but MUCH less of a hassle. So we boarded a bus at 7:00am and rode for an hour to the airport. Our first flight took us to Narita, Japan...a small little city in Tokyo. We purposely scheduled a six hour layover so we would have the chance to leave the airport and explore a little. Everyone says that Japan is a lot like Korea, except that it's outrageously expensive to get to but also to tour. It's about a one and a half hour flight, but costs about $500.

I had previously done some research on what to do in Narita (my typical Type A personality self) and found out that there is a cute little town and temple just a 10 minute train ride from the airport. So once we landed, all we needed to do was to find the train station. Well lucky for us, there was a stop at the airport! We paid about $6 for a two stop ride and it couldn't have been easier. We made a quick stop at McDonalds so Andrew could have some nuggets, and then we were off. As we made our way down the long street, we noticed that it was just a bunch of little shops and restaurants. Having nothing but time to kill, we made our way in about 90% of them just enjoying the beautiful weather and tourist gimmicks. Being slightly more adventurous, I decided to try a local snack from a street vendor. It smelled of syrup and calories and I just had to try it. Turns out, it was a pancake type doughnut with red bean filling. Ahhh...we have stuff like that in Korea. And even though it's put inside a pancake, the red bean taste is disgusting in both Japan and Korea.
About an hour or so later, another food vendor smell caught my attention. But this time, it was a salty aroma. It looked like a giant round pretzel and sounded delicious. Again, a disappointment. They covered the snack in soy sauce and seaweed leaves. It was ok for the first few bites, but it was just so salty we couldn't eat anymore. But hey, at least we tried. We decided to see the temple on our long layover on the way back so we would have something to do. Well stupid me, looked at so many flights on the way to Guam I got the times mixed up. On our way back to Korea, our Japan layover was only two mistake and I'm still bummed about not being able to see the temple. We live and learn I guess.
We made it back to the airport with about two hours to re-check in and hang out before our flight to Guam. Check in was a breeze and they told us our flight was overbooked but we didn't think much of it.

Much to our surprise, we we went to our gate to board the plane, the attendant handed us a new boarding pass and said since the flight was overbooked we had been upgraded. Andrew and I were like "OK," and went on our way down the hall to the plane. What the attendant failed to mention was that our upgrade was to Business Elite! And wow...all I can say is that we wished the flight was way longer than three hours. This is the part of the plane that we normally just walk through in awe on our way to the 'cramped-middle seats-between two screaming babies and-smelly men' that we are use to. But not this time. We were treated like royalty. As soon as I sat down we were offered champagne and we had nice fluffy pillows and HUGE seats that reclined to a bed position. We each had private screens to pick our own movies and it was like a dream.

Then, a stewardess came around and draped white linens over our tables for dinner. Andrew and I were handed a menu full of salmon spring rolls and beef kabobs and custards and salads. We just looked at each other afraid to get our hopes up not knowing if it was free or if we were going to be charged outrageous prices, (clearly a rookie mistake). Andrew shyly asked when the waitress came around and said, "Mr. Lacy, what will you have for dinner?" He replied, "Does it cost anything?" She rolled her eyes and shook her head "No." He then quickly replied, "I'll have the beef." It was amazing. I need to make a lot of money in the future because that is the only way to fly!

We arrived in Guam about 12am Guam time which is an hour ahead of Korea. You could feel the tropical humidity in the airport as we waited for our bags. The hotel sent someone to pick us up and we went to sleep as soon as we got in, anxious for the day that awaited us.

Guam is a lot like Hawaii. It feels foreign, yet it's still the comfort of American soil. The water was crystal blue, the beaches a sandy white and the temperature was a perfect 85 degrees. It was going to be a fantastic week. Andrew and I were pretty lazy. We laid at the beach pretty much all day with the exception of lunch time when we usually made our way down to Subway for some much needed turkey sandwiches.

On our third day there, Andrew and I scheduled a 6 hour island tour. The tour guide took us all around the island and the famous sights. We saw beautiful beaches and Guam's own Statue of Liberty, ruins of buildings from before the Japanese invaded during WWII, naturally made tide pools with a view so beautiful, my camera couldn't even capture it, and several other WWII memorial sights.

Our first stop was a local attraction called, Two Lovers Point. It is Guam's version of Romeo and Juliet. After being banned to see each other, the two lovers tied their hair together (not sure why) and leaped to their death from a high cliff so they could be together forever. The story was tragic, but the scenery was beautiful, well worth the stop.

We got to stop and try some local coconut! It has a very mild taste and I was a big fan, it would have been great in a smoothie! Andrew wasn't too fond of the flavor but he was a good sport anyhow.

One very interesting story was about a Marine named John Gerber. He walked this sign 26 miles down their main road called, Marine. He was so determined to get the street renamed to 'Marine Corps Drive,' to show respect to the the fact the it was the Marines that were the first to arrive on Guam when the Japanese began to invade. He was successful and has since opened up a museum, "The Pacific War Museum," and restores old military vehicles for display. We got to go to the museum and it was so interesting. One side was all about the USA troops, and the other was about the Japanese. Each was filled with personal stories and memorabilia and pictures and it was just really educational and gave Andrew and I a much better understanding of what happened.

We also got to meet one of Guam's mascots, a caribou named Bessy. She was bathing at the time we saw here but we were able to feed her bananas with our hands (while big Joe fed her with his mouth) and I even got the chance to take her for a little walk. We were at the site of Magellan's landing point and as you can see, the scene was beautiful!

The last stop on the tour was one of the most beautiful scenes I have ever seen! We climbed to a lookout point and words/the camera can't do the view justice! The mountain behind Andrew and I in the picture is the worlds tallest mountain if you include both above and below sea water. It is decorated with crosses because every Easter, Jesus' walk with the cross in re-enacted to the top.

The next day, we just relaxed by the beach again. We did a little reading, some sunbathing and some snorkeling...just another wonderfully relaxing day. Then that evening, we went to Chamorro Village. It's where the natives and tourists of the island gather on Wednesday nights. It's full of booths selling souvenirs and local food, there is also live music and dancing and just a really cool relaxed atmosphere with an island vibe.

Our last full day was Friday the 26th. Andrew and I decided to rent a car and just drive a long the coast at our own speed, stopping when and where we wanted. Our first stop was to Wendy' had been way too long and it was a very delicious lunch! Next we went to a fish observatory that was underwater so we could view whatever exciting creatures decided to swim past the windows on that day. We didn't get to see any sharks or turtles or even an octopus, but we did get to see a few schools of fish and a couple other really colorful straggler fish. All in all it was interesting.

Our next stop was to go back to the scene of the tide pools. They were just so beautiful that Andrew and I wanted to take a few more pictures and really take in the scenery. After all this, our six hour rental was up and it was time to return to the hotel.

Our flight left at 6am Saturday morning, so we were up at 3:30am. Sadly, we were not upgraded and Andrew and I were separated from each other and in middle seats. I guess the airline knew we had it to good on the way to Guam that they really wanted to stick it to us on the way home.

The Taco Bell picture was stuck in there because when I look a it, Etta James' song, 'At Last' comes to mind:)
Great Trip. Great Company. Great Food. Now we are planning our next vacation! Bali anyone? We are looking into it!