Monday, November 10, 2008

Korea Update 4

Hello Everyone,
I appologize in advance that it has been a few months since I have updated so this email will be a little bit longer than usual.
Since I last emailed I have had my birthday, gone to the dmz, started a new term teaching, started Korean class and some random things :) I hope all of you are doing well.
Work-- I have started a new term teaching which meant that I had some new classes and am now the leading Social Studies and Science teacher which is good and bad at the same time. I m currently working on writing curriculum for Grade 5 and am overseeing corrections to the curriculum for grades 1-4. It's good because I have some experience leading other teachers but it gives me a lot more to worry about and that kind of thing when being responsible for other teachers. Overall, my kids are great! They do have a tendency to get a little rowdy but that is because they are kids and they spend a good portion of their day at school, academies, and studying/ preparing for the next school day. I really enjoy working with my students, though dealing with the two new teachers can sometimes be difficult. My wall space in front of my desk is now covered with pictures drawn by my students which is nice. I feel like I am starting to establish a routine and my kids now what is ok and not ok to do and we have our routine down. In December we will be starting intensives again. I love and hate intensives all at the same time. I thankfully got time off to come home for Derek's wedding and will be home Jan. 1st through the 5th. Its going to be a short and quick trip. I am very excited about that.
Birthday-- So the week of my birthday (August 26) I had the week off. On my birthday I went to go get a manicure with my friend Niki and we had lunch over her lunch break. That afternoon my friend Leit and I went to the Korean Folk Village in Yong-in, Suwon. It was really hot, but it was still interesting to look at all of the different types of architecture and what not. Over my break I did some different things like:
Ate a traditional Korean meal
Tried Jellyfish, octopus, and shushi that was salmon with fish eggs
I tried shabu shabu ( a Korean Soup)
I was on location for the filming of a popular Korean television show (quite by accident)
I ate birthday cake with chopsticks
I read Harry Potter books 3-7 in one week
Thank you to everyone for the birthday emails, cards, and the birthday presents they were greatly appreciated. My pictures from Ethan and Jonah are hanging up on my closet door. :)
September was a really boring month here I just worked and on the weekends I stayed home trying to get caught up on the housework and sleep which never seems to happen during the week. I did purchase a winter coat and hat. I think that I am going to need to start using them soon. It is starting to get really cold. I just need to pick up mittens and I think I will be set, I am not sure if I will need boots or not yet. Though, I did go to the casino for the first time. I didn't bring very much money (less than 25 dollars) and had fun playing the slot machines.
October-- I have been working a lot. I have also been sick a lot this month with the weather changing and working with little kids. I had a horrible cold one week, then the next week I lost my voice. Trying to managed kindergarten classes without a voice is quite difficult. It slowly started to get better. Though my students thought it was quite hilarious when my voice started to come back because it was very low. My students kept telling me that I was a man teacher or they would call me adjooshe (the Korean word for an elderly man) because of my voice. Though, it was harder to teach my students were very sweet and were very helpful. They were very good and they kept giving me water and other advice to help me feel better. They kept telling me: "Teacher, no talk. I sad that teacher sick." I have completely fallen into the role of "teacher". It is very sweet when they get so excited when they see me in my neighborhood, Yeongtong.
I have also voted in the election this month, I voted the first week in October to make sure that it would get there in enough time.
An acquaintance friend of mine has passed away in Korea which has been difficult, because if someone passes away overseas its a lot of paperwork and it can be very difficult to get any information out of anyone. I have been acting as a sounding board for my friends who have been dealing with the paperwork and the American embassy.
Last weekend I went to an foreigner information fair with some friends and then we went to the Seoul Museum of Art. There was an interactive media and light exhibit. It was really interesting to be there and see the exhibits as well as see how people act and interact with each other at the museum. It was also nice to get out of Suwon for awhile.
As I said I started Korean class a couple of weeks ago. Its nice because it gives me something constructive to do and it will be helpful in me learning to read and learning to speak the language. I went on the class field trip a couple of weekends ago. It was really nice we went to this Confucian school and museum. It was really interesting to learn about how Confucianism has impacted Korean culture. I also visited my first Buddhist temple. It was interesting, we pretty much hiked up a small mountain to get up there. Once we got up to the top the landscape was really nice.
November is going to come and go before I know it too, I am celebrating Thanksgiving on the 29th of November (Saturday) since I am going to be working on the actual holiday. But thats ok because it will keep me from getting homesick. I am doing alright though :)
Here are links for pictures-- I have pictures up from the field trip, dmz, my birthday, and other things.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Lack of blogging

Hello everyone,
I appologize for the inablity to blog every week. There has been alot going on, but I promist I have not forgotten about you. :) I willl be posting about what I have been up to lately. I am also going tosay that I will be home in Willmar Jan. first through fifth (I leave for Korea the afternoon of the fifth).

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Death seems to inevitable, as I have said before and as everyone knows. Though, it is always sad when a life is taken away so young. This past Saturday a friend passed away here in Yeongtong, and even though I wouldn't say he and I were exceptionally close, he was still part of a group that made up my first friends in Korea. He was 33 years old when he passed away. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends at this time.

Im sorry I haven't posted for awhile. Things have been hectic and I have been feeling like I have so much and so little to say all at the same time.

adios, amigo, adios

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

goes Political?

So I can't really hide from it anymore. It is an election year back home, at least Im not inundated with commericals and radio advertisements. They really annoy me and I find myself changing them faster than you can say: "SALE!". But being the responsible citizen that I am sent in my request for an absentee ballot this year, we'll see if it actually shows up.

Since I am such a responsible citizen I have been researching the candidates a little bit, and will probably be researching more as it gets closer. Which means reading the candidates websites, and reading news sites, and articles about them... trying to get as much information to get a picture that is less baised. I realize that this is politics that we are talking about is next to impossible to get unbaised information.

Senator Obama's slogan of "Yes we can!" is catchy and gives voice to the desire for change in the United States, we are a bit of a mess as a country, but I don't think that Washington really is the place to start change. It always seems to fall through or be pushed aside for a more urgent agenda. Personally, I believe that the change that we desire to see should start as a grassroots movement, there is power in the masses, but it seems that everyone desires change is not enough to actually get them moving. They want someone else to take care of the problem, which landed us where we are now in some of the situations.

I know that are important to me right now, I realize that what I think is important will probably change in the next four years, but I don't really know what they would be so we will deal with them the next election.

Though I'm optomistic, I am not convinced that I won't be screwed over as an unmarried twentysomething, reccent college graduate that happens to be a teacher, no matter who is elected.

So the issues that I am most concerned about (They are not in any particular order):
Making higher education affordable
Reforming our current education system for grammar schools through secondary education
Conservation of resources
Alternative Energy Sources
Human Rights
Protecting the country's Constitution

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

New Pictures

I have posted new pictures! Just follow the link:

It is from my trip to the Korean Folk Village on my birthday.

I am doing well, work has been really hectic since we started a new semester on Monday. Everything will eventually fall into place. I hope you all are doing well.

New Pictures

I have posted new pictures! Just follow the link:

It is from my trip to the Korean Folk Village on my birthday.

I am doing well, work has been really hectic since we started a new semester on Monday. Everything will eventually fall into place. I hope you all are doing well.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Third Official Update

Greetings all,

You guessed it, its approximately time for your monthly update all theway from Korea!! As promised I am emailing you because all of my academy reports are done, and work is starting to slow down... just one week until I get to enjoy my hard earned week of paid vacation! My last day of teaching for the week is August 23rd. (After the 23rd the office won't be opening up again until after the 31st. So if you are wanting to send boxes, it would probably be best to wait until after vacation, because it takes 7-10 days by the post office, and even longer through UPS.)

These past 3 weeks have flown by for intensives,and I am sure the next couple of weeks will fly by as well. It is strange to be working during the day, as I teach at the academy in the afternoon and evening. I am kind of starting to miss my vampire-like schedule, in Korea its much harder to get things done when you work during the day because hardly anything is open before 10 am. I think Iam just going to hang out in Korea over my holiday go see some of thethings to see in my province. There is also the issue of there not really being any set hours in Korea, even for international franchises. The subway here has been completely closed down twice now for a total of six days. I don't think that this would be able to happen in the United States. The owner decided to go on vacation or whatever and so she closed up shop. The owner is a very nice woman.

This Friday was all of (North and South) Korea's independence day! August 15th, 1945 is the day that Korea finally got rid of Japanese rule in their penninsula. The Koreans are very distrustful of the Japanese. Not to say that I blame them since they did take over their country and outlaw the Korean language and customs. I have read many different essays about the Japanese from my students, which is very interesting. It is customary to to hang a flag out of your window which of course the landlady did. I of course worked all day, but Iam getting paid overtime because it is a Korean holiday. So Happy Korean Independence Day Everyone!!!!!!

With August also comes my birthday! There are no offical plans yet, as it is Korea and we don't really plan super far in advance. But there are rumors of going to the horses races next weekend. I have never been to the horse races before-- so it would be a new adventure. We will also go out for a nice dinner. I will have to let you know more about what I did for my birthday in the next email.

The school that I work at is a hogwon, which basically means that its an after school academy. Korean children only get one month off for summer and so a lot of the academies like to have them come more often than the would normally when school is in session. This is to give them extra practice etc. There are academies for practically everything.

My academy does what is called intensives... where students of all levels except for Kbridge who are very tiny students (they are ready to be working with an English speaking teacher, but they are too young to start K1 phonics) K bridge, K1, and K2 are all kindergarten aged children between the ages of 5-7/8. They are also have the lowest levels of English as a whole. Kinder classes (or Kinderbabies as they are sometimes called by the foriegn teachers,because they are so tiny) have reading and phonics classes. In Phonics we teach students to recognize letter sounds, beginning and ending sounds, and vocabulary words. For whatever reason almost every kinderkid knows "delicious" and "cot" by the time they start working with foriegn teachers... as well as the ever important "water" and "bathroom/ toilet". Though one should never send more than one kinder kid out of theclassroom at the time because they get distracted by their desire to play. They also get introduced to reading. The books are boring but they have lots of repetition that students need and we work on things like names of transportation, names of food, colors etc.

A group that is even younger than the K1 kids are the activities kids. Activities kids come once a week during Intensives to work with a foriegn teacher. These kids will most likely be starting K1 in the fall, though I suspect that some of them may be starting Kbridge because they are so teeny tiny. I believe that there are activity classes on Wednesday so that students can practice their English. It is also so that they aren't terrified of the foriegn teachers when they startclasses.

Grades 1-5 are pretty much like those that you would find in theclassrooms in the United States. The especially since our Science and Social Studies books come from publishing companies in the United STates. The students learn Science, Social Studies, Writing/ Grammar, and Trophies(which is vocabulary building and reading). I teach Science, Social, and occasionally will teach Writing/ Grammar.

The Global Leaders are the oldest group of students (they are middle school students) they have grammar, news/ current events, reading, andTOEFL test preparation. I teach 2 test prepartaion courses, and grammar along with the current events class.

So that is basically what my students are like!

My average class sizeis 7 students, but that can change fairly easily. Students are not going to necessarily show up on their own day. They like to move around a little bit because sometimes their schedule changes. Right now the smallest class I have is 7 and the largest has been 12. I am kind of anxious for the day when classes aren't so large anymore-- because we get less accomplished and its a little more stressful.

What I have been up to mainly consists of working and sleeping, and I have managed to read a few books besides. I highly recommend The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. It is very interesting and I think alot of you would really enjoy it, especially uncle david. I have purchased a few more books than I normally would in the past few weeks.

So yesterday after work I went home and was kind of chilling out whenI recieved a call from friends that they were going to go get Vietnamese for lunch. After lunch they were going to to the bookstore in Gongnam. I did of course want to go along. So after getting lunch we went to the bank, and afterwards went to the bus stop. The bus from Suwon to Gongnam is about a 40 minute ride. It had started to rain and of course my umbrella had decided to break. So now I have no umbrellas in Korea. When I go to buy water today I will have to pick up an umbrella. You don't drink the water in Korea and everyone knows it. If its boiled it is of course fine. Every restaurant has a water cooler so don't worry.

It was in Gongnam that books in English were purchased. They of coursehave a fabulous selection of English books in many different categories. That is not something that you can't find in a lot of places in Korea. But on the way there it was very rainy and my umbrella decided to no longer be functional. All of sudden an older Korean man was there sharing his umbrella with me. It was very nice of him. After I we were done looking at books (Richard, Nickie and I went) we decided that it was not so bad anymore and so we went by metro to Insadong to go check out culture street. We didn't find it right away so of course we pretty much wandered through the area, but it was kind of nice-- we discovered a park. Which we walked through and we watched the old Korean men play agame that is very difficult to understand. It has black and white circular pieces that are put on coordinates. I would like to find outwhat the name of the game is and then try to play it. This weekend was the first time that I had actually seen people wearing traditional clothing also known as the hanbok. It was in Insadong that we also found a Starbucks, they are just as expensive as at home. I don't drink "yuppie coffees" very often because they can be hard to come by and they are also very expensive. In the spirit of getting a treat I also purchased a piece of New York cheesecake which was fabulous. Well, worth every penny of it. Though it was slightly expensive.

After our refreshing break we were ready to do some shopping there were tons upon tons of stores and shops. There were some beautiful pieces there. I bought a scarf, two necklaces, some postcards (which are next to impossible to find in Korea), an older man bought me a fan as a gift.... a bag, and a hard rock cafe t-shirt.

Nickie and Richard were looking at a map of the area. The space where they were was already crowded and so I decided to not crowd in and look at the map. Instead I was looking at these hand painted fans that a street merchant was selling. When an older man (Nickie and I later found out that he was 60) asked if I was American. I'm always slightly nervous when that question is asked. When I said yes the man said "America Good, U.S.A. good." and gave me a thumbs up. He saw me looking at the fans and he picked one out for me, and had a man stamp it (add his signature to it) and he gave it to me... It was at this point that I wished that I knew Korean. He was a man that fought in the Vietnam war along side American troops (That is my guess anyways). It was also in Vietnam that his leg got shot off. Which he proudly showed us, and on his hat he has different pins from the military and patriotic pins. One of the pins had two flags, one Korean and one the U.S.A flag. Koreans are very patriotic, especially the men. I cannot say if thisis true in men of my age, because I don't talk to a lot of Korean men my age.

It was at this point that we finally found culture street-- Wevfound things from all over Asia. There were some beautiful pieces ofvartwork! There was pottery, and hanboks and all sorts of wonderfulvthings. I mainly stuck to the smaller shops and street vendors. After walking down the street we were starting to get very hungry. It was at this point that we decided to head to Itaewon to get dinner, because we were too hungry to make it back to Suwon. We took a cab there, it was then that I stumbled across the Hard Rock Cafe-- Seoul. We were off in search of the Mexican Restaurant. In true Nickie fashion she was off blazing ahead (not that it is a bad thing)... I called her name and we stopped. I told her that we could just stop and see and if it was really expensive and that we didn't have to eat there. Well, we did eat there and they were both amazed by it. Neither of them had been to one before, I have been to a couple. :-)

Overall it was a fun day, and by the time I got home I was exhausted and ended up falling asleep very soon after I laid down. :-)

In September I am starting Korean classes, which I am really excited about!

Scott Update ----> Scott and I have now dated for a year. :-) He hasbeen very busy this summer with his classes, and his two jobs. Scott and I talk as much as we can on different chat mechanisms, we talk on skype, and we send emails back and forth. We communicate with each other in some form or fashion everyday. Though my intensive schedule and the time difference it has been a little morechallenging. He is planning to come and visit me.

That's pretty much all of the news that I have. Though, I did go through my first typhoon. It was really windy and the power was kind of flickering. I didn't really go outside though. But I am anxiously awaiting news from everyone.

Miss Bookworm

Friday, August 8, 2008

Crazy Busy

Hi All,

Just a quick note to let yoou know that I am alright. I have just been really busy with intensives the past couple of weeks, big test days this week, and now academy reports! I will be sending out an email after things have calmed a little bit again and all of my academy reports are turned in. I also appologize for being really bad about responding to messages lately... Eventually, I will get back to you I promise :)

Sunday, July 27, 2008


So lately it seems like there has been a lot of talk about death, by both family members and friends, this past year. I'm really not scared of death because I am secure in my relationship with Christ, and when you start to fear things you stop living, and you stop trying new things. So my point of view is the fact that eventually everyones number is going to be called up and I just need to live my life the best that I can and show love to everyone I meet (even those I would consider unloveable.) Am I perfect? No, I am not. There are times when I fail at this miserably but the only thing that you can do is keep trying and to pray for strength.

But I have created a list-- I call it my Lifes To Do List. (I know I'm kind of obsessive about lists... but for me they work.) My list is divided into five different sections Personal, Educational/Professional, Cultural, Travel and Misc. I thought I would share parts of my list with everyone.

be there for the premiere of Scott's first feature/full length film
learn more about my geneology
Come to appreciate the outdoors
have a stress management strategy
Memorize the New Testament
Create a personal budget and stick with it
get organized and live simply
Be content with who I am, and where my life has brought me

Master Basic Car Maintenance/Care
Learn how to invest
have a favorite author, and know why he/she is my favorite author and read everything by them
learn to play the paino
relearn cpr and the heimlech maneuver
Learn how to throw a punch
Learn to play chess
Get my master's degree
Get a doctorates degree
Read all of Shakespeare's plays
Learn Quecha
Learn Latin
Learn Ancient Greek
Relearn French

become worldly- choose four other countries to learn about the language, customs, cuisine, art, folklore and history
See a play on Broadway
Go to all of the major art museums the met, the Prado, the Louvre, the Van Gogh museum, the Corcoran etc.
Go to a performance of the American ballet company
Live in Mexico
Live in Ireland or the U.K.
Live in France
Live in South America
learn how to ballroom dance properly

Go to Europe
Backpack somewhere
Go to the Cannes Film Festival
Go on a Safari
Explore the Galapagos archipelago
Visit Temples in Asia
Go to New Orleans and just look around
go to a baseball game at every baseball stadium in the U.S.
See the northern lights
Go to at least 25 of the 50 states capitols :-D
Go the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
Visit the 7 Wonders of the World
Machu Picchu (Peru), The Coliseum (Rome), Petra (Jordan), Christ Redeemer (Brazil), The Great Wall of China (China), Chichen Itza (Mexico), The Taj Mahal (India)
Visit the Lascaux Caves in southern France
Go to Paris for a week, and just go to the museums, and the sights
Go on a trip with my Mum
Go to New England to go to the sights of famous American authors such as Emily Dickinson and Nathaniel Hawthorne
Go to Kenya
Find the village in Switzerland where the Hauptlis originated from
Go to New Zealand
Travel to 6 of the continents ( I think Antartica is unecessary)
Go to Japan, Cambodia, Vietnam, Bali, Indonesia, India, China, Mongolia
Go to Costa Rica

Feel Comfortable using power tools
Live more green/ environmentally friendly
develop my scrapbooking skills
play one card game really well (I almost always loose)
take up photography
Collect tea cups
Learn to Grill
have a signature drink
Become a master gardener and have an herb garden
Design/Build a house
Own a Convertible
Go Rock climbing
Have a nice holiday house somewhere tropical

This is just a partial list, but I encourage you to think about things you want to do and then start doing it... But love to all!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


So I have changed the look of my blog... what does everyone think?

Other than that I have been busy getting ready for intensives to start next week. It is going to be a very long four weeks, but I think that its going to be going by fast. I looked at the calendar yesterday, and today is my 11th week in South Korea! It really doesn't seem possible, but I guess it is. The next 41 weeks will probably fly by just as quickly.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

"Its Not Always Rainbows and Butterflies" -Maroon 5

I have been in a really positive mood today, I have accomplished a lot today! I went grocery shopping, and I did two loads of laundry, and I am in the process of cleaning/organizing my apartment. I have done a lot of things that I have needed to do. I was looking at the books that are with me in Korea and they are definitely a wide assortment-- but one that made the trek with me is a devotion book called Hindsight I will be honest i don't really remember where it came from it was just hanging out on my bookshelf but it seemed like it would be an appropriate book to bring with me on this new venture. I am horrible with doing devotions, even though I desire to be better at it. But I was flipping through it looking at it, and this verse spoke to me:

Be made new in the attitude of your minds;
and put on the new self, created to be like God
in true righteousness and holiness.
Ephesians 4:23-24
The reason that it spoke to me was the fact that the last week or so I have been in a bad frame of mind I have been frusturated, irritable, doubtful and been struggling with my identity. I know all the basics like my name, and my age and what my college degree is-- but with my identity in terms of who I am within this big scary world. I have been in such a huge funk and have just had a bad attitude and didn't feel like I had anything positive to contribute and so I decided that I would just not say anything.
I realize that I still have a contract that I need to fufill but if the rest of the year goes as fast as it has these last two months I am going to all of the sudden be facing this dilemma about how I am going to get everything home :-) So I feel like what I want to do is something that I have to start thinking about. Its actually something that I have been kind of obsessing about lately-- THANKS SO MUCH AMANDA AND SCOTT!!! I REALLY APPRECIATE YOUR KIND EARS AND SUGGESTIONS! MISS YOU!!!!!! Amanda and Scott have been really great about empathetically listening to me, even with me sometimes being kind of whiny, and providing suggestions of how to figure out what I want to do. I think I have it narrowed down to a few things. Now comes research, and figuring out what I really want to do, i.e. more narrowing down. Though I am going to still do my student teaching Fall 2009 at SCSU and get my teaching license even though I am not convinced I want to teach in the school system.
But all of this is connected in my head as to how it relates to the verse in Ephesians... attitudes are everything and as my mum tells me "attitudes are contagious" so even though I really don't know how I fit into this world exactly and I am pretty sure that I had hit a rough transitional period with a little bit of culture shock all mixed together I need to stay positive and enjoy my time here in S.K. and get to know more about "my new adult self" and more about South Korea, my current home country. I think that during my week off I am going to travel through S.K and see some of the sights and learn more about this beautiful country.
Thanks for all of the support and the prayers you guys! Love to all!!!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Second Official Update

Greetings Everyone!
I hope this email finds you well, it is around 11:30 am on Mondayhere. Im starting off my week with doing laundry and having a bit ofyogurt for breakfast. I usually have enough clothes to get me throughWednesday, so if I do the wash on Monday then usually my clothes aredry by the time I need them. It is interesting not having a dryer, itcauses a need for a little bit more planning. I could of course takemy clothing to the laundry and they would dry and press my clothes,but honestly I am not that picky about them... and its kind of nice tohave hang dried clothes.
I haven't been up to so much since I last emailed... though this pastweekend we did go down to Boreyong/ Daechon during the Mud Festival.We (my group) chose to not get muddy, but instead to walk around andsee what is going on and to lay on the beach most of the day. This ishow the weekend went... we met up on Sat. at the train station, at7:45 am our train left at 8:02, and rode the 2-2 1/2 hours it takes toget there. After we got into Daechon station we went and took a taxitowards the beach where we walked around for approximately an hour tofind a place to stay for the night. We found a smallish hotel room andwe changed into our swimsuits and then we went in search of a cashmachine, and lunch. We ate at a tent restaraunt and had lunch... I hada cheeseburger with french fries and a pepsi. What I really don'tunderstand is Korea's love of mustard. So many things have mustard onthem. After that we went to the beach where we rented an umbrella andlaid out on the beach, and went swimming in the ocean it was verynice. We had bought some drinks at one of the convience stores. Around5 o'clock we went back to the hotel to change and shower and we met upwith some of Jason and Stephanie's friends at a galbi restaurant. Wehad Samgyeopsal-gui for dinner along with the side dishes, rice, andbeverages. I had a cola and had some plum wine with Stephanie. It wasvery good. If you come across Bohae Plum wine (and it says its Koreanon the bottle) I highly recommend it. After dinner we got some drinksand just hung out on the beach with a group of people who wereforiegners that lived in Suwon, some of them lived in Yeongtong (whichis my neighborhood). It was fun, we played games like bunnie bunnie,danga danga and categories while waiting for the fireworks. There wassome drinking going on, someone in the group had brought things tomake buckets (Thai whiskey, the Korean equivalent of red bull, andcoke) and there was beer, and I had purchased a wine cooler calledrock voc... it was frome australia. But the fireworks werespectacular. They put on a nice show... these fireworks easily couldbe put in the same category as the fireworks in Chicago over memorialday weekend when we did our girls trip. It wasn't too hot or too cold,the tide was starting to come in it was nice. The next day we got upand started packing up our things, showered and went to Lotteria forlunch (Korea's version of fast food) and then decided to head to thetrain station to see if we could catch an earlier train, we couldn'tand so we went to Boreyong to a coffe bar type thing and just hung outin air conditioning for the next couple of hours until we went backand caught our train and went to get dok galbi for dinner when we gotback to Suwon Station. It was at that point that I caught a cab andwent back home, tired and only had one shin that was severly sun burnteven though i did put on sunscreen and even reapplied. It was a niceweekend and when I got home I was completely exhausted so I got readyfor bed and went to sleep.
I have intensive starting in a couple of weeks, and those will run for2 weeks. I am trying to decide if I want to stay in Korea and do somesightseeing or if I want to go to Thailand for the week. Its veryreasonable to get to Thailand from here, and once you get there itsvery inexpensive. So I don't really know what I want to do. If youhave any suggestions it would be greatly appreciated. My next week ofvacation is in Feb.
Thats all I really have for now. I put up some pictures on facebooktoday. Here is thelink:

Monday, July 7, 2008

Jun 30th email update.

Greetings Loved Ones!
I hope you have all had a pleasant nights rest and are ready to starta new week. I am personally decompressing after work and willeventually be heading to bed (currently it is 10:36 pm).
It is hard to believe that I have been in South Korea for a month already, it is getting hot and we are well into the throes of rainy season here. I will probably have to learn to walk gracefully in heels so that my pants will not be in a constant soaking wet stage. It is rather uncomfortable and can be very distracting. Other than that andthe dangerous (when wet) marble that is everywhere, I am enjoying my time here and I am getting acclimated very quickly. I still am very much in what one would call the silent period if you study linguistics or language learning theory, but each day my "survival Korean" is getting better. I am hoping to be able to start taking Korean classes in September on Saturdays after intensives are done. But I am not scared even though everyone keeps telling me that Korean is a really hard language to learn. Its true it probably is but not any more difficult then any of the the other languages that I have tackled or will eventually get around to tackling.

I am starting to meet people and make friends, what is nice is thatthey are from all over the world, and they provide interesting insight not only about the world, but also about how Americans are percieved.There has been some very interesting discussions about that already. I am also beginning to understand why these stereotypes aboutAmericans exist... having met some of the stereotypes personally I am rather ashamed to be lumped into the same group as them. But this isall part of the change when moving abroad and dealing with the"culture shock" that is bound to happen. I do have culture shock moments-- some of them have to do with the food, and some of them have to do with things like common courtesy-- like not running down others while you are pushing your children in a stroller (it happens here alot) or trying to decipher what something is based on the pictures. Pictures can be terribly misleading-- if I can't figure out whatsomething is I usually don't buy it. And the red sauce here can belethal... so beware! Or being singled out because you are obviously not Korean.

But along with the negative things I have also had a lot of positive experiences like meeting people I would have never met before, feeling very succuessful when I was able to take a cab by myself for the firsttime (on Sat.-- even though he did take the long route and the fare was 11,000 won (the equivalent of 11 dollars)), I have gone to my first football/soccer match- it was the Queen's Peace Cup (women'ssoccer) New Zealand vs. South Korea, I have tried curry, sushi, Indian food, and have even eaten shrimp (though that was not the bestexperience). I am finding myself a little more independent each day and am becoming a little more bold in trying new things whether its asking for the price or wandering off a little bit farther than I am use to. The metros still kind of freak me out and I don't forsee myself going on them by myself anytime soon.

But as great as everything has been there has also been days that havebeen horrible and I have wondered why I even bothered to come here. But those days are few and far in between and for the most part I amdoing well with it, though I do miss people from home. But I do have a proposition for that-- I am trying to make my apartment feel more like home and with that I have a little fridge/freezer combo and a armoiretype thing that are in need of some serious decoration, so if you (or your kids) are inclined to write letters, draw pictures or send pictures I will put them up on either my fridge combo set, or my closet doors, and will email pictures with each update that I send...:-)

If any of you know of anyone who would like to teach English in SouthKorea for a year, there are two openings at my school in Suwonstarting the end of August. You do have to have a bachelors degree andthe school would reimburse you for your flight to and from SouthKorea, provides housing, pays 2 million won a month (which is about2,000 dollars), and pays a lot of heath care costs, there is a plan--and at the end of your contract there is a severence/ bonus, you get apension from the government. So if you know of anyone that isinterested let me know.

If you would like my contact information send me an email and I will make sure you get the information.

This turned out to be a long and kind of intense email. :-) If there is anyone that is not currently on this email list that you think would enjoy getting updates let me know and I will add them to my list.

Send questions that you have, because then I will know more aboutwhat to say in my next email :-)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

This is Where I live

If you follow this link you will be able to see pictures of my apartment, and read the descriptions :-)

Monday, June 23, 2008

Life Lessons Learned From Math

So today I was thinking about math, and this is what I came up with... the top five things I learned about life from math.

5. Following Formulas are Important

When you find something that works for you, you should follow that formula because you know that its going to work out for the best. That isn't to say that you shouldn't think outside of the box, but after there has been a disaster you can always go back to your tried and true formula.

4. When solving for x have all of the necessary information

When you are looking at a problem it is crucial to have all of the pertinent information so that you can adequately solve the problem without completely missing the boat.

3. There are always things you can count on

Whether it be your fingers or toes or your family and friends. Whenever you need some extra help there is always someone or something there to lend a hand.

2. Sometimes the Numbers Just Don't Add Up

When you think you have everything figured out and all of the components are present and accounted for there seems to be something hiding out that you are missing... and that's OK because eventually you will be able to figure it out. Though numbers not adding up on financial documents is more problematic

1. You have the skills you just lack the confidence

My math professor told me this, during my last math class (Yay!). Its true though you can have all of the skills necessary to be really good at something but if you lack the confidence you are going to be hindered from the start. So whatever you do, do it with enthusiasm and confidence and you will be able to do it well. :-)

Monday, June 16, 2008

Culture Shock

So lately I have been getting a lot of questions about culture shock-- and I don't feel like there has been any defining moments where I have been able to say: "wow! that was an episode of culture sock"-- In talking to other foriegners it is felt that its a lot of small occurances that can eventually turn into big issues for the individuals...

My issue that I have come across is when I am trying to express what I need to people- when they discover that I don't speak Korean they will either try to speak English, or they will call someone on the telephone who does speak English to act as a translator. The third possibility is what makes me the most angry is when they start yelling in Korean or they start yelling and acting frantic. I just don't see how that is beneficial. I know that there is a tendency for people to do this when speaking with "foriegners" all over the world. But I don't see how this makes anything better. Perhaps it has to do with my education and I have studied such things as languge and beneficial communication strategies...

My biggest issue was when I needed to charge my phone (put minutes on it) so that I would be able to make calls, I could still recieve them but I could not make them. One guy tried to be helpful by drawing a picture of the sign that I should be looking for and then walked out the door and pointed which way I should be going.

I do realize that I should try to speak the language of the country that you are living in, and I am trying to learn the language... and I am trying right now I am working on picking up survival Korean, and am hoping to be able to start Korean lessons soon. But that will probably be after Intensives start, and I am not working on Saturdays anymore.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Me Looking Like a Drowned Rat

Here are what my clothes looked like after being caught in the down pour without my umbrella! What I learned is always have an umbrella, but this proves that everything happens for a reason!

God's Grace in A Million Places and Faces

Even in Korea I am seeing God's grace and am feeling his presence, which is truly amazing.

The light bulbs burnt out in my apartment bathroom and so I had to try and find a place in which I could purchase light bulbs (which would be Home Plus), but I couldn't remember how to get there because the last time I had been there I had sort of just followed the others because I was exhausted and completely disorientated... I had tried to find it on my own but had no such luck and so I ran into another foreigner named Jason and he was such a great help he pointed out landmarks to me and even walked with me a good chunk of the way so that I could get there on my own. It was greatly appreciated :-) Later that day I had to go back there to pick up my passport photos for my alien card and my physical results, and during the walk back it was pouring rain and I had not brought my umbrella because it was still drying out from the day before and as I was standing on a corner with my purse over my head, cursing the rain and my stupidity for not grabbing my umbrella Nickie approached me and asked if I was OK... and my response was I am alright but I am wet, and just trying to get home... She asked me where I was going and I pointed the general direction of my apartment she came over to me and shared her umbrella with me, and walked me mostly to my apartment.

In both cases of Jason and Nickie they had been so nice and helpful that it made me feel a little less lost and confused. Because what I have noticed is that foreigners are not necessarily going to help you which is extremely frustrating when you are new! It was that night that I went to dinner with Emma who I had met pre-physical and we swapped phone numbers and she assured me that if I ever wanted to hang out or if needed help with anything that I should give her a call, and so that night I had decided to call her to see if she wanted to go to dinner with me, because all of my co-workers were off to Saipan for their vacation time. Dinner was really nice we talked and she was very reassuring and it made me feel less lonely, because I felt like I actually had a change to make my own friends :-)

Here is the Ironic thing Nickie and Emma are co-workers and so when I was telling Emma about the girl who rescued me with her umbrella Emma knew who I was talking about.

But last night when I went to Now Bar with my co-workers I ended up sitting at a table with Nickie, Emma, and Lett and their friends which was nice. They made me feel completely welcomed and they introduced me to their friends and I never felt like I was imposing like I have in the past here.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

My Life in Korea

Answers to questions that my friend Angie has asked, that other people might be wondering about:

Its going well, I really like it here! I am adjusting though I am still in the throes of culture shock. I love my students, I like the politeness of the culture, I love that random children walk up to me and say "hi teacher! How are you?" Even though they aren't my students or go to my institute. I love that things are open later, and the Korean babies with mohawks are adorable!!! What I don't like is the rain, being pushed/ bumped while walking (its normal), metal chopsticks, or not knowing when I am going to see Scott again.

I live in Suwon, which is a city of approximately a million people. I am living by myself, in an mix between and efficiency and studio apartment. I really like it and am hoping to get more pictures up as soon as I am able to get my camera back in working order. I haven't watched a lot of t.v. because I have to get my alien card before I can get cable, but they have channels in English with Korean subtitles. There are also channels that are in Korean without subtitles.

On occasion there are forks but most of the time there are wooden or metal chopsticks. The wooden chopsticks are more of a disposable thing where as the metal ones are “fancier” or are for barbecue type restaurants, because you cook your own meat and then eat it off of the grill.

The work hours are great I work 3:10 to approximately 9:30 contractually but usually get home around 10 p.m. They (Korean children) do associate white people with being a teacher because most commonly a foreigner is a teacher, or millitary personnel. I am not responsible for planning lessons because I teach off of a “syllabus” which is nice. I do have supplementary materials that I plan but that is more of a “on the fly” kind of thing to check for comprehension and re-explaining information.

I have one class of k1Bridge phonics for two periods... they are the youngest students and are to young for k1 (level 1) phonics, but they are ready to work with a native speaking teacher. I have four classes in which I work with K1 kids teaching phonics and reading, I have 6 classes of K2 (level 2)doing phonics, and basic reading . When you get to the grades its the curriculum that you would see at an elementary teacher. I teach six classes of Grade one Science and Social Studies and one writing class, Grade 1 Bridge phonics and writing. Two secitions of Grade 2 Writing and Grammar, Social Studies, and Science. One section of Grade 3 Writing and Grammar, Social Studies and Science along with four class periods a week with the Global leaders which is the highest level and we work on test preparation stuff for the TOEFL test. I teach 8 classes a day, and it can get very hectic... Any questions you have about Korea let me know and I will be more than willing to answer them :-) This is just the beginning.

Overall though, I am very happy with my decision!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

The Street that I live on

This is the street that I live on! I am not really sure what its name is or if it even has a name, but its my building and some restaurants, and if you look closely you can see the motorbikes for delivering food. Those people are mildly crazy and will run you down if you are not careful, but it makes me feel better that it happens in other Asian countries and I've seen them take out almost anybody.

My Apartment Building

This picture is of my apartment building. You go in the front door that has a security lock, and then you go up a small set of stairs. I am on the first floor of the building. My apartment is a nice size for one person, any more people than me and it would be very difficult to fit everyone. I have a little galley style kitchen with two gas burners, a bathroom, my main room and my antechamber. There will be more pictures to follow as I get more things organized and set up, right now is still fairly chaotic.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

I'm Back!

So I have been out of the blogging loop because right after graduation it became terribly busy and there wasn't a lot of time to get on here and blog... I am in Korea now.

This is a picture of my first breakfast in Korea.. There is my awesome Chocolate Chex (which are great with peanut butter), my tropicana grape juice and my itty bitty thing of milk :-)

Saturday, May 10, 2008


So today is the big day!!! Today is my commencement ceremony and it has been five years in the making-- it seems weird and exciting and sad all at the same time. I will miss college and all of the great friends that I have made as a result as we continue to scatter the world.

Today I need to finish packing up my room because my dad is going to be here with the trucks by 8:00 am and then my mom and I are heading to Chicago to go pick up my visa and do my visa interview and then we will be driving back Home and I will have approximately 24 hours to make sure that I have everything and will be leaving for Korea.

Currently I have 3 suitcases.... 2 of clothes and one suitcase of just shoes... Granted these suitcases are not going to stay this way, but I am a lady who loves her shoes :-)

Monday, April 28, 2008

Its Really Happening

So today I purchased my plane ticket... I am flying to Japan and from Japan flying to Korea. This is the real deal, and I am slightly freaked out about it. But its time for a change and I think that this will be a great opportunity to grow and learn, and have an adventure. I do really love adventures. :-)

Sunday, April 27, 2008


I am a little anxious about getting my visas on time, so that I can go to Korea when I am suppose to. I don't forsee any issues with my paperwork-- so right now its just the waiting game.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Taking a Break

Hello Readers--
I am working on packing up my apartment so that my things can be put in storage in my old room at my parents' house. I am not a huge fan of packing and have currently hit a packing plateau. I will have to go and purchase more boxes and tape and stuff, so that everything can be found upon my return... Woe is packing I am going to go hang out with friends and my boyfriend instead.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

So The Packing Continues

I know that to be able to go anywhere out of town it is imperative that you pack. I personally hate packing, I find it tedious, frusturating and it is necessary to make a lot of decisions.... and this is just for going somewhere in Minnesota or maybe on vacation... but packing for South Korea is way more stressful.

The packing that I have done is minimal, but at least its a start!

I have my movies packed to bring to my parents house, and I have sorted through my clean clothes about what is going to be going with me, and what will be staying at my parents house, and what should be gotten rid of!!! Thats something right? For me, getting rid of things is really hard, I am definitely a pack rat and am not looking forward to going through my stuff at my parents houseto decide what needs to be boxed, thrown, or donated... :-(
This is almost 23 years worth of stuff... OH MYGOODNESS!!! After getting my laundry done, its going to be time to go through that stuff as well, and decide where my clothing's fate is...

What makes it so difficult to get rid of things are all of the memories connected to things... An example of this is my khaki mini skirt... its not overly scandalous just shorter than what I would normally wear. But I bought my freshmen year of college while shopping in sioux falls with two of my best friends because i needed to be more adventurous... I have worn it my first couple of times out to house parties at my current university, and I wore before I spilled ice cream all over on my "first date" with my boyfriend (who is very relax about my klutziness, and is absolutely amazing). So its really hard to get rid of-- I know its just a skirt, but its my "just a skirt".

Friday, April 18, 2008

Preparing To Move

Greetings All--

So its quite possible that some of you have heard rumours that I am moving overseas or at least contemplating moving overseas. Depending upon what you heard you are probably mostly right.
I am in the process of moving to South Korea and my flight will be moving in less than a month. I have accepted a position teaching English at a Language Institute. I have mixed feelings about it... I am really excited about it-- it is definitely an experience of a lifetime, but I have never been this far from home before and have never had to pack up everything to move half way around the world. I will meet new friends, familarize myself with a new neighborhood, and learn more about myself and my culture but I will still miss my family and friends here in the United States. But alas I need to make a packing plan and all of that fun stuff and start trying to get all of the documentation I could every possibly need. :-)

That's all I have for now!
Miss Bookworm

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Hello World! I know that I haven't been around much but I have been busy and will be catching everyone up soon.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

The New Year

I will be perfectly honest about my ability to constantly blog-- it is non-existent. I lack the patience, motivation and everything else necessary to blog everyday. So I have decided that I am going to blog everyday, or at least attempt to. This year is one that I think that should document because it is going to be a year of change with graduation approaching, my first full-time job, and moving yet again do a location that has not been disclosed yet... (it hasn't even been disclosed to me). I am confident that this year will definitely be an interesting year of growth and change. I am young, and relatively adventurous looking forward to what is to come. Merry Christmas and Happy New Years to everyone both known and unknown :-)