Sunday, November 21, 2010

Open Class

This past week was insanely busy. We had Open Class, video taping, International Food Day, birthday parties, New Teacher training, and several more smaller but just as tedious tasks to complete. A couple of coworkers are leaving so I had to spend a few hours helping create a new schedule and walking the new people through the routine. I will do more of this next week.

Im glad its the weekend, but am not ready to go back to school. School is draining lately, and I just try to make it through until the weekend so that I can rest and recover. I cant wait for Xmas to get out of Korea for  a bit and see Paris!! If anyone has been there and has suggestions for things to see and do, please let me know. I, of course, will do some of the big touristy things, but want to see lesser known attractions as well.

Friday, November 12, 2010

30th Birthday

Ive been pretty busy getting through my "thrisis", that is, the crisis of turning 30! Not only am I hitting this milestone, but Im doing it away from lifelong friends and my family. I had a great time having dinner with my new friends in Korea, but everyone back home was surely missed!

Mary and Jessica came up from Bundang for dinner, which I appreciate very much. They traveled nearly an hour to see me on a Wed night. My Korean teacher, Nammy, made it out as well as Se Min, and my corworkers, Zach, Ryun, and Kerry. My friends Anna and Kangmin also helped me celebrate at dinner. I couldnt have asked for a better time as all of my different groups of friends, coworkers, and classmates helped me celebrate this "dreadful" day!

On Sunday, Mary wanted to take me to a Folk Village and to Everland (a large theme park). I was supposed to arrive at 8:30am to meet her. That means that I need to wake up at 6:30am just to make sure Im on time! I get there before her, and we proceed to wait for over an hour for a bus that never comes! I also found out that her coupon to the folk village had expired, so we were only going to Everland. As it turned out, that was a great thing as we spent all day running around the park. We rode some rides that made me feel old since I never used to get motion sick as a youngster, and then bravely took on the T-Express that had a huge drop, straight down. I found out that Mary has a fear of heights as well, so I had to conquer my fears by myself at first.

Everland also has a Safari World where you can take a tour of many "wild" animals that are able to hop on top of the bus.  The bears wound up doing tricks and it was a great show. On our way out of the park, the cutest little 3 or 4 yr old girl kept staring at me. As always with Mary, she kept egging me on to speak in Korean with her and to play "Paper-Rock-Scissors". This wound up being very entertaining as this girl couldnt get enough of playing the game with me. Her parents were laughing too, and I think they enjoyed the free babysitter. I kept trying to lose, but somehow this girl was NOT good at it! She even kept throwing out "rock" behind her back without even looking at what I was throwing. It was hilarious!

Overall, I had a great day with Mary and look forward to another one of our adventures together. We always seem to have a great time and amuse/scare/annoy the people around us. You know Id have it no other way....

Monday, October 4, 2010

Sickness and baby's

Well, September is certainly predictable no matter what part of the world Im in. It never fails that the first week of Sept, I will get sick! Ive had a cough for a month, and just now starting to get over the bug.

However, I did have great news in September... On Sept 21st, my brother Joe and his wife Hallie gave birth to a beautiful little girl, Lenny Rene! Shes the first girl born into the family in forever, so you know she will be spoiled and well protected! Lord have mercy on the boy that tries to date her! haha

My laptop charger also went out last week, and I finally went to Yongsan Station and got it fixed. In the process, I had the guy install a Korean program on my computer that enables me to type in Hanguel! He also gave me a free set of stickers and spent 15 minutes applying them. He was pretty happy that a foreigner was willing to type in Korean, that he didnt charge me for anything. 승리!

Im busy trying to get everything ready for Paris at Christmas time, and hoping to go to Taiwan and Hong Kong for my birthday in November. Until then, its off to the Folk Village and Seoul Land before it gets too cold!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

DMZ

On Saturday, I went to the DMZ with my friend Mary.

We had a great time and got to see a lot of history and feel the tensions of the present. While we were gazing over into North Korea and looking at the flagpole, I noticed a large movement of vehicles moving from under a bridge towards the South. I alerted the soldier nearby and asked what the large movement was. He then called on to his commander and they scouted it out. He was quickly told that it was just the South Korean industrial workers returning from the 3 week stay in the North Korean industrial zone. He says the workers stay there for 3 weeks at a time and have to leave and come back together. There was over 100 cars coming back, all in a single filed line that stretched a mile. The soldier said it was a rare occurrence for any civilian to witness this. I guess we just had great timing!

We also walked the 3rd tunnel that the N. Koreans had built to invade Seoul. The tunnel was very tiny and wet. I had to bend nearly in half just to fit.

Overall, I had a great trip and enjoyed the company. Im looking forward to going back, this time through the USO tour.

Pictures will come late when my computer decides to read the disc!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Surgery

So Ive pretty much been out of commission the past week since my surgery on Aug 27th. Ive just been relaxing and trying to recover.

I just got the stitches out today and am very excited that I can finally wash my hair again! No matter how much you wash your body, if your hair is dirty and greasy, then you feel disgusting!

We started a new semester at school and now that the stress has subsided, Im looking forward to the new classes and enjoying the work.

I will be headed to the DMZ with my friend Mary on Saturday (with Adventure Korea) and cant wait! I wonder if President Carter or Clinton will come rescue me once I invade the North?!? I am excited about getting the North Korean stamp on my passport too... 

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Update

There really hasnt been a lot going on that Ive needed to write about. Its been consistently rainy, hot, and humid. Its not unbearable and reminds me a lot of Missouri weather.

School is still going very well and Im looking forward to my schedule changing next week (more breaks!!). I recently purchased some new clothes and I guess they made me look too Korean. Ive been told by several people that my English is exceptional and asked me if Ive ever lived in America. They really thought I was Korean...! Always good for a laugh...

Well, tomorrow (Aug 27th) is the day I go in for my surgery. Its a little nerve racking having your first surgical procedure done in a foreign land. Its much cheaper though, so hopefully it turns out well and the scarring in minimal. I should only been down and out for a week though. Im trying to reward myself with the Iphone4 but have to sign a 2 year  contract. Thats not an issue, but trying to prove that Ill be in the country that long is tough. Oh well, could be a sign that I dont need it!

Wish me luck...

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Perhentian Islands...

We arrived in the Perhentian Islands around 6pm Monday night. We got settled into the Kesuma Guest House in the middle of Long Beach. it only cost us 80 RM a night (about $25). It overlooked the beach and was a great location. Only problem, no electricity from 7am-7pm! It was a pretty remote area and I loved it!

Tuesday morning, we went snorkeling and were able to swim with black finned reef sharks, hawksbill and leatherback turtles, and many other exotic fish! It was a great time and was my first real time snorkelling. I got a nice sunburn that lasted the rest of the week. One time during the trip, the guide pointed to a spot and told us to swim there, where he will pick us up. Well, I swam there and no one else was around and no boat either! As it turned out, I swam about a mile too far!

That night, I played a game of volleyball with the locals. It was a great finish to an awesome day. Each day after, I just took in the serene environment and let all stress and worries float away! I then played volleyball at 5pm with others on the island until it got too dark to play. We then went into the water to cool off (although the water was warm) and get the sand off. Then, it was time for dinner and some drinks at the local watering hole. I met some great people on the island from Spain, Holland, and France. We had great conversations, photo sessions, sharing travel stories, and  just learning from the experiences that life has brought each of us. I had an unbelievable time and loved making new friends.

After leaving the islands on Friday night, we went back to Kuala Besut to catch a 9 hour bus to Kuala Lumpur. While walking around this rustic old Muslim town, I happened across a pick-up game of soccer. They noticed me watching and invited me to play. I declined and we stood around chatting about the sport for a short while. Pretty soon, I was putting on an impromptu soccer camp and helping the kids improve basic fundamentals of the game. They were very good for their ages (ranged from about 8-14) but you could tell they had never had any real coaching as they were naive to the nuances and strategies of the game. They were just adept at dribbling and trying to beat people one on one instead of working as a team.  I loved how willing to learn they were, and how receptive they were to a little coaching. It is a refreshing reminder as to why Ive enjoyed the coaching profession this long!

I had a great vacation and cant wait until my next travel to a different country... Will it be Japan? China? Cambodia?? Only time will tell...