Korea Livin'

this is a new chapter in my life...let's see where it takes me...

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Tis the Season

To get the common cold....
Korean pharmacy at its finest!!
After battling with my co-workers for the last couple of weeks about going to the doctor, I finally gave in...KINDA! I went to the local pharmacy...as you can read, I STILL didn't go to the doctor...stubborn? Maybe. Does it sound just like mom and dad? MOST DEFINITELY! My friend, Keith, is in the Army and was going to get me some "American" drugs to help with my cold, but when they try to get cold medicine, they are asked a lot of questions...SO I decided to swallow my pride and head to the pharmacy today. When I walked in, they were immediately willing to help. A man that worked there got the attention of another worker that spoke English. She asked me what I needed and I tried to explain my symptoms. Looking at me a little confused, I pointed at my nose and throat. Then she asked, "Common cold?" After I nodded, she grabbed two things, some pills and little packets that looked like a powder you add to water. She explained to me that after I eat, I need to take two pills and one packet. I needed to do this three times a day. YIKES!!

When I ate lunch today, I grabbed my medicine goods...I took the two pills as instructed. But then I got to the packet of powder....and realized I did not ask her HOW I needed to consume it. What the heck do I do with it? Whelp...Jessie to the rescue...I walked down the hall to Jessie's classroom and asked, "Jessie, what do I do with this?!" She looked at it and said, "Oh no, you're still sick?" LOL She told me that I needed to put it all in my mouth and as it dissolves I need to drink warm water. Jessie got some warm water for me and said the taste was very bitter so I needed to do it fast. Immediately I was reminded of Nyquil tasting like black licorice...GROSS!! BUT...I did it!! Not a good taste...it's like eating chalk...but within a few hours, at least I was feeling more awake and normal. The medicine in Korea, that I know of so far, is AMAZING!! I have taken my second set of pills and powder and feeling okay at the moment. I think that this combination along with my Tylenol PM will help me sleep well tonight. Wish me luck!!

I will make sure to send an update after my Thanksgiving celebration this weekend.


Sunday, November 6, 2011

A Lazy Weekend

My weekend has been amazing! Saturday when I got off work, I was going to go into Suwon to see Amy but I was too exhausted...it was a good week, but a tiring week. Instead, I had dinner with co-workers then turned in early.

Sunday, I had lunch with Jessie, my elementary Korean co-teacher, at her house with her mom. Her mom's Korean home-cooking was delicious!! She was very honest when telling Jessie I am horrible with chopsticks! LOL Jessie told me her mom wanted to talk more but was nervous because she cannot communicate with me. I let Jessie know that I would LOVE for her to help translate because I want to ask millions of questions. It is a win-win-win situation. Jessie gets to practice her English, I get to hear Korean (and know what is being said), and her mom gets to hear more English and is able to ask me questions too...Jessie said next time she will do that. Her mom said I was welcome any time which means I did okay with Korean etiquette. Also, during lunch, I was asking how her mom cooked the food and we got on the conversation of a microwave for rice. Since I do not have one, Jessie's mom offered to let me use their extra one. Hesitantly, I accepted graciously...like I said, they are SO kind here, always trying to help. I can't wait to have a microwave!!

After lunch, Jessie took me to the place where she gets her hair cut. It is a 5 minute walk from her house. We enjoyed our conversation, getting to know each other on a friendship level, not just as co-workers. The lady that cut my hair did an AMAZING job. Not only did she cut it, she styled it, and gave me tips on how to treat my hair with humidity...she could tell my hair is not used to the weather here...what we call leave-in conditioner is called "lotion" here. She was SO nice...I will definitely go back!! AND it was only 10,000won!!! $10 for a cut and style, DEAL!! I looked at Jessie in amazement and she asked, "Is that too much?" I had to explain to her what haircuts cost all of us in the states...and then if you add color...sometimes $100 or more. Her jaw dropped and then she understood why I was so shocked at the price. I know I get an AMAZING deal in the states with my friend, Amy, but I don't think anyone can beat $10!

Jessie had church at 4pm so we parted ways after my hair cut. I went to Daiso (kind of like a Dollar Tree, only better) and bought some things for my apartment; picture frames, jewelry box, basket for my makeup, bowls that match my plates and coffee mugs, wine glass for the occasion that I have a glass with Em, and a few other things. I saw an ADORABLE little girl while I was shopping. She kept staring at me and then followed me around the store. When I made eye contact with her, she got a big smile on her face and said, "Hi!" When I said Hi back she said, "Nice to meet you." Her name is Sarah and I could tell she was eager to speak English but was nervous. Her mom greeted me as well however it was Korean. Then I saw a boy with two ladies, one looked like the mom and the other the grandmother. He kept looking at me so the women told him to say Hi. Apparently I am very interesting to kids. LOL They were very nice and spoke a little English. ANYWAYS...after I got home, I cleaned a little, and set up some of the things I bought. Oh, I also bought a cute dry erase board for my future grocery list and some candles (Mark was not excited to hear this but I reassured him they are no where near my curtains and that they will only be lit when I am in the room). The dinner I made was DELICIOUS!! I must say, eating a lot of Korean food has helped my cooking skills!! I enjoyed my dinner and a movie solo. It was nice and relaxing. Then I was SPOILED by getting to talk to Mom & Mark, then Dad & Denise. Still waiting to catch Sue on Skype.

Today is Monday...I talked to Matt, Juju & Carson this morning when I woke up which was an awesome way to start my "Sunday." I headed in to work to grab a couple of my books so I can lesson plan today and when I got there, everyone informed I had ANOTHER piece of mail. This time, it was from Bella!!! Yes, Bella is my cat for those of you that don't know or remember...LOL...my mom helped Bella sign the card with green food-coloring paw prints!! I can only imagine the trouble my mom had doing this. At least mom can torture her since I can't be there to do it!! It's with love though; that's the important part. Now I am in a cafe, just finished eating a half sandwich and drinking a delicious vanilla latte. I need to start lesson planning before I head to Lotte Mart (kind of like a Fred Meyer) so I can pick up a few groceries. I am hoping that I can go with Joe and Steph to Costco soon so I can buy some things in bulk (chicken, frozen veggies, fruit, etc).

That is all for now...below are some pictures that will illustrate my weekend for you!!


First haircut in Korea!!

Still working on the decor but it's a good start...

my hard earned money bought me this very comfy couch! the back rest folds down to make it a bed...will be perfect for mom's visit...and if friends need a place to sleep when they come over.

my delicious, korean inspired dinner i made!

While enjoying a vanilla latte and half sandwich in a cafe, I read my card...from Bella!! And she even "signed" it!! LOL The front of the card: "Not much going on here without you. Just keeping out of trouble...." Inside the card: "Hey you don't think the two are connected do you? Miss you!" PERFECT card!!! Wish I was home to torture Bella and make her mad...as much as she hates it, I know she misses it!!! =)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

My Korean Kids

Each day I am amazed by my kids. Not because they say the darndest things...well, that is one reason...but they continually challenge me, in a good way. When I am tired or my voice is hoarse and I am feeling sorry for myself, I can walk into a class, look at all of them, and immediately, I have a reality check.

My kids wake up between 6-7am every morning. They have Korean public school all day, then come to English private school in the evening. They study their vocabulary and grammar in between classes or breaks, and finally get home between 11pm-12am. When they get home, they study and do homework. By the time they are done, they are finally tucking in for the night around 2am just to repeat this the next day. 6 days a week they go to school. Their one day off is Sunday which they spend doing MORE homework, going to church, reading, or getting to be what we call a "normal" kid by going outside to play soccer or baseball in the park. Not ALL kids have this schedule, but a majority.

My elementary kids have the best spirits. I try my best to not have favorites...but it's inevitable that it happens. They are so full of life and excited to learn English. Middle school students are a little different. They are more challenging for me. There are some students that are awesome and like speaking English, but a lot of times, middle school students just want to speak Korean because it is comfortable for them and a lot of times they are there because their parents are making them. It is my job to keep them entertained while teaching them speaking and writing. This is my biggest challenge...which usually candy as a reward for speaking a lot in class, giving new ideas or using vocabulary, and NOT speaking Korean works wonders!! When the boys say, "MaLeah teacher, you look pretty today," they KNOW they are getting a piece of candy. Hey, if I have to bribe them to speak English, I'll do it!! LOL Now that I have been here for a month (at my school - Suji Campus), the kids have warmed up to me and I only have an issue occasionally. I am quickly learning the tricks to trick them into liking class!!

As much as I hope to teach them how valuable it is to know another language, especially English as it has become a common language, I also hope to learn from them. Sometimes, outside of class, I will ask them questions about how to say something in Korean. Taking interest in their world has helped build their trust. They love listening to me mess up my Korean, another way of entertainment. Our two worlds meeting is an amazing experience. They teach me their norm as I teach them mine and they are my constant reminder of how lucky we are in the states.  =)

He gave himself the English name, Kimchi! He is laughing because he just farted very loud!! And I called him out on it!! Kimchi's twin brother is also in the class. These boys are ALWAYS talking a lot in English, doing charades if I do not understand...always an interesting class!!

Elementary students on Movie Day 10/23/2011. I was in charge of the contest after the movie. There were 10 questions...each question, we brought 6 students on stage. They had 10 seconds to answer the question. If they got it right, they won a prize (DYB stationary)!! My voice was non-existent after this!!

Em's middle school students coming into my elementary class on Halloween. They knew if they said "Trick or Treat," we gave out candy. LOL

One of my elementary classes. After our classroom auction, we made Halloween masks. They are grades 3-4.

Mario reading what he wrote during an activity. After this, he said, "Why are you so beautiful today MaLeah tr.?" Of course I gave him a piece of candy after. They know how to butter me up...I'm a softy...