Sunday, June 27, 2010

Months in Review...

It's only been two months... oops! So, these past 8 weeks or so have been great and horrible at the same time. Great- Jeffry Peter Ball came to visit. So, great to see a familiar face, Summer sun has finally shown itself, baseball season is among us and the beach has been an eventful hot spot. Horrible- I broke my toe about 6 weeks ago, hence no movement, or lack there of. I was in a cast for about 4 weeks, and have since been hopping along, attempting to get back to my normal range of motion. Many a things have happened, and since I am horrible at writing down such, but great at taking pictures, I will now attempt to update you (pretty much just Claude and Jane) through some pictures I've capture in the past 8 weeks. Enjoy!!
Brittany, Christina and me at Torie's B-day.
Co-workers after a never ending night of "Membership Training."
Dinner at "MT."
Korea lost :(
Beer and chicken after work to watch the game!
At the first Korean game- we watched it on Haeundae Beach.
The thousands of fans sitting on the beach watching the game.
Outdoor BBQ with the boys.
One of many sandcastles at the "Sandcastle Festival."
Sparklers on the beach.
Lanterns at the Songjang Temple.
Jeff and I with ladies in traditional Hanbok.
BBQ with the girls.
JEFF!!!
Art at the Busan Museum of Modern Art.
His first meal in Korea. Icy noodles.
Cinco de Mayo party with friends.
Jenny and wedding presents from the parents.
Can you find the broken toe?
"Suh-tah-buk-suh-cah-pee" in Seoul.
Typical street in Seoul.


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Spring is Springing

Once again, I fail at updating. My apologies to everyone!!

Life has been truckin' along. I'm enjoying my life here; there is something new everyday. I discover things that I assume I should have discovered a long time ago. Also, I am soon to hit my half way mark! I've been a resident of Korea for 5 and a half months now. I cannot believe it. Since my last post, school as been going great. I have new classes, new students a decent schedule. Finally, I have higher level kids. It's great being able to joke around, have a conversation and interact more casually with these students. It amazes me everyday how smart my students are. Even those that are in the lower levels are little geniuses. Their ability to balance being a kid with the pressures of 4 or 5 academies a day is truly remarkable. On the other hand, I feel bad- I'm supplying a chunk of their homework, disabling the possible hours of freedom they may have each day. I keep rewinding my life, revisiting the days of childhood and am so, so, so grateful I was able to play outside, participate in sports and be silly without the knowledge of the word stress. Not to fret, I do love my job (despite the spurts of guilt when handing out pages of homework).

Spring has sprung. Which only means one thing in Asia- Cherry Blossoms! A couple weekends ago, my friends and I headed about 2 hours outside of Busan to Jinhae- a small town with a huge Cherry Blossom Festival.
The day couldn't have been nicer. The sun was out, it was dry and people were buzzing all o
ver the streets.
Vendors at the market came from all over Asia. We ate traditional Korean food, bought silly things at the market, took tons of pictures and raced up the 365 steps to the top of the Cherry Blossom "mountain." The view from the top provided an amazing view of the city. Most of the spots on the top of the mountain had a sign forbidding pictures to be taken. There is a military base in Jinhae, and from the top, you could clearly see it. Unfortunately, I abided and didn't take any pictures of the base. After relaxing for an hour or so in the much missed sun, all of posed for some pictures.
Near the top of the mountain, there was a HUGE heart made from flowers, and like the rest of the tourists we couldn't resist taking several pictures with it. Several more were taken with the boys... posing. They never fail to make me laugh, and they've made it much easier to adjust due to their antics.
Once we had gotten our share of rays, we headed back down to the market to enjoy some more wandering, food eating and music listening. After a couple hours, we were exhausted and all decided to navigate our way back to the bus station. After 30 minutes of wandering, we found the station, hopped on the next bus and headed back to Busan. After about 20 minutes ALL of us had passed out. We were spent from the days events. After getting back to Busan, we all went our separate ways and called it a night.

A couple weekends ago, my friend Milo came into town, so I wanted to take him to the very famous Jalgachi Fish Market in Busan.
After a walk along Haeundae Beach, we headed to the other side of town to check out the masses of seafood that hangs out on the back streets of an area called Nampo Dong. There were so many people out, walking around and checking out the fish. After walking through the market, we headed into the town center where they serve the best Ho-Dok. This is one of my favorite Korean foods. It's a rice cake p
ancake that is deep-fried and stuffed with peanuts, sunflower seeds and type of syrup. It's amazingly delicious. Nampo Dong is full of street vendors with delicious food from Ho-Dok to french fries, corn on the cob to Ddok-Bok-Gi. This is another one of my favorite dishes. Again, made from rice... it's rice cakes drenched in hot red sauce. In addition, there are small pieces of fish cakes. Surprisingly enough, I enjoy eating those as well. I never thought I would. All in all, I've had a great time here. More will come... I have a lot to catch up on, and have been keeping a journal, so nothing has been lost. Cheers from Korea ^^

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Starting off the Lunar.

So, this last week has been fairly uneventful; other than the ending of our Winter semester. The new semester starts Tuesday- with a new schedule, new students and new grade levels. The entire structure of Avalon's (my school) curriculum is changing, so it's time to adjust. Before, we were given almost all of our materials- books, activities, tests and quizzes. Now, we are only provided with books. So, now, much more prep and thought is needed to be put into the classes. Which, I quite enjoy. I know I will be spending more time worrying about class, but it will also make my life a little more interesting- at least while I'm at work. I have much more freedom and room to work. I'm really excited. Also, I'm teaching higher levels this semester. Before, I was teaching fairly low level classes and the material I was teaching was boring for me. Now that I get to teach higher levels, the material will become a bit more interesting for me. Also, I have been given the opportunity to teach a Middle School preparation class. I'm very happy about this. I want to teach Middle School in the states, eventually, and with this, I will be able to catch a small glimpse of Middle School curriculum.

Friday night was a blast- since the semester is over, and a couple of our workers are leaving (one is getting married in May and the other is moving to Canada for an English internship) so we were all treated to a lovely dinner at a Korean BBQ joint. I could eat this stuff everyday. It is called Sum Gyup Sal- or BBQ pork. Super delicious and generally inexpensive. Although, it didn't matter because Avalon was paying for it. I had such a great time eating good food, drinking some soju and being able to converse with my Korean co-workers outside of work. They are all incredible, fun, and great people. I think we had four hundred photo-ops. And, of course, I forgot my camera... but stole some pictures for those that took some. Dinner was fantastic and afterwards we headed to Kyungsun University to meet up with other friends. We even convinced two of our Korean co-workers to join!

Yesterday, Sunday the 28th was the first full moon of the Lunar New Year. And on Haeundae Beach, there is a large ceremony dedicated to this day. People in masses gather to write their dream on a paper house and add it to the large fire. Unfortunately, my friends and I missed the initial ceremony, so we weren't able to burn our dreams. But we caught the burning of others' dreams. The fire was massive. I have never seen a fire so large. It was amazing; positioned in the middle of the large beach... looking over the water and under a full moon. It was awesome, and we all really enjoyed it. Also, a new friend- Jahanne brought sparklers. So, we stood in a circle and lit up our little fireworks and pretended to be 8 again. It was fun.

Cheers till next time!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Experiencing more.

My apologies for the lack of blogging. I've enjoyed my February so far. My birthday, the Lunar New Year and soon to be a change of classes. Spring semester starts next week... SPRING!!! That means warmer weather, longer days and a more accessible Busan. Although, I can't complain about how easy it is to travel around this city.

Korean Positive: he ability to travel relatively cheap, fast and clean. Subways are the best thing ever. Although, I put 10,000 Won on my subway pass on Saturday morning (which is a cute, pink smiley face!); and after my weekend adventures, I only have a lonely 3,000 Won left. I was able to see a majority of the second largest city in Korea, I was annoyed only once, stared at about 4 dozen times and listened to 37 songs on my ipod... all for only a mere 7,000 Won (about $5.00). I cannot stress how clean this country is.

Korean Negative: Shoes. In America, I'm an average 8.5/9. I knew coming to this country that I would struggle to find clothes- all the girls here (as noted earlier in my blog) are model-sized. But c'mon Korea... whenever I was down in America about my failure to find a pair of jeans that I liked or a perfect dress, I could always wander over to the shoe sections with my mom (because, we all know Jane loves shoes) and find a perfect fit. Korea has killed my dream of shoe shopping- at least for now. I can always fall back on purses; they don't discriminate.

As I said, I travelled all over Busan this weekend. I met up with Torie DeLung- a friend from high school who recently moved to Busan and our Korean friend Amy. We shuttled around the two larger parts of the city. First Seomyeon- lunch, shopping and people watching. Then we headed to Nampo-Dong. A bit further away from Jangsan (where I live). There, we visited Democracy Park. It is a memorial for all the Korean men that died in The Korean War. It was gorgeous and atop the park was a gorgeous view of Busan. Breath-taking. I enjoyed getting out and experiencing more of a cultural aspect in Busan. I'm intending on doing that more from here on out.

Cheers till next time!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

My Favorite Class

video
This is mainly for my parents... but here is a video of my favorite class from this semester!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Dear time, please slow down.


Time will not stop speeding. I guess that's a good thing- I'm enjoying myself here. I'm making memories, friends, money and gaining lots and lots of experience. One thing I need to start doing more is writing down all that I encounter. At the time, I say to myself, "well Abbie, you can't possibly forget this... why write it down?" And then, boom, I forget. So, step one this week- start writing things down. I brought a journal, and it's a quarter of the way full, but I intend on filling more than one while I'm here. I'm discovering so many new things, meeting so many new people and seeing things I never thought I'd see. So, I need to document, or poof... everything will be gone before I know it.
To jump start my new intentions, I'm writing again to tell all of you (a hand full of friends and a bucket full of my mom's friends that read this) an over view of my time here, in Korea. I haven't written in almost a month, so there's a lot to catch you up on. Basically, I've been super busy with work, molding young minds and improving my own. Other than that, I try to explore a little bit each weekend. New Year's was a blast. I enjoyed the extra day off. And January has treated me fairly well. Intensive classes are a bit stressful an annoying. And on top of extra classes, I have had a pretty intense cold since the beginning of the year. I always ignore being sick- I feel as though it is mind over matter when it comes to small health issues. Just pretend, you're fine, and you will be... right?? With that said, I pretended to be well this last weekend so I could see Mara and Amelia. It was worth it. They came down from Seoul to enjoy a weekend in my "hometown." We had a blast. Explored the city and strolled along the beach. We got Mexican food and met the entire Seoul University building body team on the streets of Busan. Without hesitation, I can say it is always an amazing time with those two- refreshing and fun. They have this sense of spontaneity that I need to adopt. They approach random people on the street just to take pictures with them, make jokes with store owners and flirt with bartenders for free drinks. Bottom line: I had a blast with them.
As for cultural experiences, I'm attempting to indulge myself as much as I can with the small amounts of time I am given in between work and sleep. Korea has turned me into a 14 year old girl again- pop music and the boys that sing it make my knees weak. I feel as if I am in line, waiting for a new cd by 'NSYNC every time I turn on the TV and see a famous Korean singer. I am slightly obsessed. One of my favorite groups is called BigBang. Feel free to jump over to Youtube.com and check them out! I'm also slowly gaining a larger Korean vocabulary. I'll soon be taking lessons- and I am very excited. I will let you know how that goes, once I start. In addition, the girls and I went to "fish doctor." Which, my mother informed me, costs $40 in the states. BUT in Korea, it's only about $1.85!!! Plus, all you can eat pastries- can't get much better than that.
That's about all for now... I will try my best to continue to write down my experiences and document them with the camera. Cheers from Korea ^^
행복한 일
-Abbie

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas time in the ROK

While talking to my family on Christmas, my beautiful cousin Jenny informed me that it's been too long since my last blog... and I agree. So, I'll attempt to catch up on my life in Busan. My last post was almost 2 weeks ago, and these days tend to blend together, but I'll do my best. Last weekend was super busy for me. I stayed in Busan, and explored a lot of the city. On Friday, I went out w/ a new friend. Her name is Becca and she is from Seattle. So, without really knowing each other, we have something in common. It's always nice to have someone around from your 'hood.' We met up late Friday night (since neither of us get off work till around 9). Headed out for drinks and had a blast. Made new friends and stayed out till the subway started to run again! That was a first for me, and surprisingly, I wasn't ridiculously tired. After attempting to sleep in on Saturday, I met up with a friend from Bellingham who lives about 2 hours outside of Busan. His name is Milo; we worked together at the Colophon for about a year, so I was super excited to see a familiar face. We met at Centum City- it's a HUGE shopping mall in Busan. After a typical Milo hug, we explored our surroundings and came across a super fun bookstore. We perused for over an hour in the stationary, etc area. The sentences that are produced due to lack of English ability is absolutely hilarious for a native speaker. After I get paid this month, I'll have to head back and buy some to send home, and to laugh at some more. After our many giggles, Milo and myself headed to find a record store in Busan's city center. Unfortunately, we came up empty handed and couldn't figure out where it was. So, sadly, we departed and he headed back to his small, rural town in the middle of the sticks of Korea. After talking to him about his adventures, I feel so luck to live in a large metropolis. I can't imagine living the way he does- I am really enjoying the large city I'm in. After I left him, I met up with work friends. We headed to Seyeomson ( the downtown of Busan) and grabbed dinner then saw Avatar. The movie was absolutely amazing, and I plan to see it again. We forked out the big bucks to see it in 3-D, and it was completely worth it. Post movie, all of us headed out to enjoy some drinks, laughs and photo-ops. I was exhausted, so I called it an early night (which, in Korea is around 3 am... who would have thought). The next day, I met up with a friend from high school- Tori. She JUST moved to Busan and lives about 40 minutes away on the subway. So, I venture out to her part of the woods. We grabbed coffee and walked around, caught up and I told her how excited I was for her to be around. I think we'll become pretty close this year. We hung out for a couple hours before I told her I needed to head back home to sleep; a department I was completely lacking in.After a week of work, the weekend arrived, which makes life fly by... I still can't believe I've been here for 2 months already. Friday was Christmas, so we only had to work four days, which was a nice change. I wrapped and brought Washington State calendars for all my co-teachers as gifts; they all screamed when I handed them a present. Korean's are very vocal about their thankful-ness. I really love all the girls I work with, so it was nice to see that they enjoyed my present. AND, I got to show them how beautiful Washington is. Christmas Eve, all of us ordered pizza, then headed out to drink out sorrows away! Not really, but what else is there to do while in a foreign country without family? We all had fun, headed to Haeundae and before we new it, it was 4 am. So, Tori and myself headed back to my place, she crashed on the couch. The next day I had to catch a train to Daejeon to meet up with Mara and her friends for a Christmas weekend. After a forty minute subway ride and a two hour train, I arrived and was picked up by Mara and her friends (Maximus- her Korean friend, whose house we were staying at, Gemma- another Korean, and Amelia). We headed back to Max's place to drop off my stuff, then headed to dinner with his parents. His family is Buddhist, so we grabbed Chinese food, said our goodbyes to his parents and headed out to do our own thing. The night was fun, I really enjoyed hanging out w/ several Koreans- their ability to speak both languages is very impressive... and it came in handy throughout the night. We went to several different places in Daejeon before stopping at a huge dance club. I never thought I would be dancing 'till 3 am in Korea on Christmas, but I had fun. After our night out, we were all exhausted and headed back to Max's place to pass out. The next morning we woke up late, semi- rested and ready to eat some good home made Korean breakfast. I couldn't believe the amount of food Max's mom made us. Eggs, kimchi, fish, chicken, soup, rice, veggies and tea... FOR BREAKFAST! Before I sat down to enjoy breakfast, I was able to skype my family in Mossyrock- my aunt lives there, and every Christmas we all meet up and have a wonderful time together on Christmas day. And, being in Korea, I wasn't able to make my way... so skype came in handy. I was so happy to see them and talk to them, but sad I couldn't be with them, drinking, laughing and playing Apples to Apples.
After breakfast, we all headed to grab coffee and then decided to call it a weekend. I was dropped off at the train station, and made it back to Busan around 7pm on the 26th. I was exhausted from a fun day and evening in Daejeon, so I kept it chill, watched Love Actually and fell asleep- super lame for a Saturday, but I needed to rest. This week, my school starts "winter intensives." This means, on top of our regular classes, we have extra ones. Students in Korea are on Winter break, but some take their vacation time to enroll in classes we offer. I would hate to grow up in Korea- the kids I teach have no life, no free time and are constantly worried about their education, grades and tests that they are required to take. So, my plate becomes a bit fuller starting tomorrow... which I'm not completely looking forward to, but the pay increase (for over time) will be nice. Cheers till next time!