Tuesday, October 26, 2010

'bout as high as a building oughta grow

I stopped on my walk home and took pictures in four directions.


Back toward my school

Up the hill next to me

And across the street

This is how Jangyu manages to be such a small town with so many people!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Fire in the Sky!

Friday and Saturday evenings I climbed onto Autumn's roof to watch the Busan International Fireworks Festival. It's the biggest fireworks show I've ever seen.


This is the beach early in the afternoon. It is roped off at the tide line; otherwise it would be completely full. There was a huge crowd, and I was glad to be on the roof.

That's one of the barges used for the fireworks.

The view was only obscured a little bit by buildings.





And here's a half-minute video of part of the finale.

Friday, October 22, 2010

chop it down with the edge of my hand

Autumn and I went hiking a couple of weeks ago.


Geumjeong Mountain is a mountain in Busan. It has an old fortress at the top, and a cable car (um...aerial tramway?) to the top. We did not take the cable car and instead hiked to the top. I did not die. We took the cable car down and did not have time to explore the fortress (which is really a big stone wall... we will hike it another day!)


I didn't realize how far we had come until we hopped in the cable car to go back down. That bridge in the upper right is at Gwangalli beach, where I stay every weekend. And see the train track just to the right of the red cable-holder-thingy? We walked FROM THERE. There was no mid-mountain trailhead to which we took a taxi. Oh, no. We did the whole thing.

And then celebrated with milkshakes, like you do.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

telephonin' me

I know I haven't written in awhile, and I do have pictures of a beautiful hike I did with Autumn, and I'm still meaning to post pictures of both of my schools and all that, but today's entry is brought to you by my students.

I love my students.

I work at two large middle schools in Jangyu (small town of 100,000 people.) Each of my middle schools has a little over 1000 students, so my superior math skills tell me that just over 2% of the population of Jangyu are my students. The people on the street around my house after school are probably 60% my students. And it's great. Twice this week middle schoolers have taken time out of their day to help me with every day tasks.

First, on my way home Monday, in order to put some figurative soft, ruffly sunshine on my shoulders I stopped to finally buy the golden yellow ruffly scarf I've been fondling briefly on my way home each day. I asked the lady how much it cost ...and she didn't do the helpful "this many thousands" with her fingers and our misunderstanding grew and then one of my students said, "Hi, Emily" and I said "I want to buy this scarf. Can you tell me how much it costs?" just like any EFL dialogue I would use in my class. And then I bought a ruffly yellow scarf for 10,000 won and then the student gave me part of her donut, unsolicited!

Then, just now I got home to a "sorry we missed you!" sticker on my door from a courier. I'm expecting a package from my mom, and it looked like they were going to try and deliver the package again tomorrow. I went back outside where a few of my students were hanging out in front of a restaurant and showed them the slip. One of them called the courier for me and told them to deliver the package to my school tomorrow instead of my house!

Additionally, my students are funny.

Today in a lesson on giving advice, one pair of students submitted:
Problem: my pet dog is getting fat.
Advice: I think you should eat your pet.

Last week my students made telephone conversations. I told my classes to be creative, have fun, and stop threatening people with box cutters! Some gems:

Australopithecus called Homo Erectus asking if
he can make him a fire.

2MB called Obama to tell him that North Korea is
attacking and ask for help. And money after the
war is over.

(2MB is Lee Myung-Bak, the president of South Korea--2 sounds like Lee.)

God called the Undertaker and asks to wrestle.

God called a bee and asks it to the God-bugs
dance party that evening.

Spiderman called Obama and asks him to a

I hope my students brightened your day at least a fraction of the amount they brightened mine!

Monday, October 4, 2010

silver trays

I took a picture of each of my lunches last week, in the hope that I could show you a typical week of lunches. Last week was kind of atypical.

Monday at Neungdong Middle School:
(Clockwise from top left) Beef with peanuts in a sweet sauce, tempura-battered french fries with chili sauce, KIMCHI, spincach soup, rice with the occasional red bean (for flavor and texture.)

Tuesday at Neungdong Middle School:
(Clockwise from top left) Sweet rice dumpling filled with red bean paste, KIMCHI, Korean grapes (suck out the innards--don't eat the skin!) giant bowl of noodle soup with vegetables and egg, fried prawns.

Wednesday was the first day of exams, so I went out to lunch with the homeroom teachers after school closed early.
(Clockwise from top left) (Actually I don't know what a lot of this was) Onion and greens with chili sauce, garlic greens, fish cakes with chili sauce, garlic cloves and sliced pepper, (partially visible) steamed cabbage, whole fish with chili sauce, greens with sesame seeds, KIMCHI, more greens...with onions, salad, fish with a radish, and in the center, soup with tofu and mushrooms.
The piece of wood in the lower right is the lid to my personal stone bowl of rice. After scooping the rice into a bowl to eat with the side dishes, you pour hot broth into the bowl and put the lid back on. When dinner is finished you have soup from the rice that was stuck to the stone. It's good for digestion.

Thursday, at Naedeok Middle School:
(Clockwise from top left) Fish in sesame soy sauce, KIMCHI (cabbage and cucumber!) garlic greens and ground beef, soup (potato, carrot, big mushy white things,) rice with beans and corn.

Friday at Naedeok Middle School:
(Clockwise from top left) vegetable pancakes, KIMCHI (cabbage and...radish maybe?) potato and beef stew (spicy and sweet,) spinach soup, rice with barley bits.

Korean school lunches are about as representative of Korean food as American school lunches are of American food. Still, one big difference between the Korean lunch and an American lunch is the prominence of rice. Korean food is rice plus side dishes, while American food tends to be meat plus side dishes.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Dancing in the streets

Dancing at the bus stop in Changwon
Originally uploaded by omgmuffin

On Wednesday, I went to Changwon (the capital of my province) after work with some of my co-teachers. We tried fancy perfumes and had delicious food, and then there was a dance troupe at the bus stop being awesome. At the end of the video, I started to say "Aw. My bus just got here."