Friday, December 11, 2015

Our last and final update!

Now that we are in the last two weeks of classes, we don't have much to report on...

On Oct 30th we had a Halloween party and an English festival that the students worked hard on since the beginning of the semester. Each of our classes performed a play, song, or recital of some sort all in English. Jacob did "Going on a Bear Hunt", our coworker did a Pinocchio play, and I did Taylor Swift's "Shake it Off" song with a dance. Overall, our performances went really well and it was awesome to see all the students have fun on the stage!

After the English festival, we had our Halloween party. I put together trick or treat bags with the kids and made a chocolate/peanut butter dessert and cookies for all the students. Jacob bought stuff for apple bobbing and or coworker had a dance party in her class. It was a great afternoon for everyone!

On Nov 25th, we had an open class, which afforded the board of education, parents and teachers an opportunity to see all of us foreigners in action! We found out a few days before our class that the local news station was also coming to film us and were going to do a 5-minute segment on our English Center. The pressure was high! At the end of the class parents were asked to fill out a survey and Jacob got RAVE REVIEWS. All of the parents in his class loved it and thought he did a great job. I think it's just cause he's the white guy... always gets special treatment...

The next day, Thanksgiving, was so lonely! Since turkeys are impossible to find in Korea, I made a chili and mashed potato dinner. We curled up on the couch and watched Ant Man, and then I cried myself to sleep. Well, not really, but it was a sad and lonely Thanksgiving!

We are now officially into December and just finished our final exams, are finishing writing our evaluations, and preparing for our closing ceremony! We have a lot to get done before the year is over, but I think time is about to fly! We have even started selling all of our belongings that we acquired at the beginning of this year.

Our tickets home are purchased and we will be seeing everyone on December 26th! Our flight arrives at PDX around 3:30-4pm and we are counting down the days! Although we are sad that we don't get to spend the Christmas holiday with family, we are so happy with our experience here and wouldn't trade it for anything!

We will probably upload a video of our year in review with a link to a photo album of all the photos (including ones that we didn't post here) as our farewell/final blog entry! Be on the lookout sometime during the New Year!

We finally got to check out Costco!
Female only parking space...Oh, Korea.
Checking out a great Mexican restaurant!
Gyeongbokgung Palace

Kimchi pots!
Behind the palace

Small doorway :)
Even smaller...
Kids all love touching my growing belly!
All dressed up for Chuseok
The hands to the face means "flower"
Fire drill/demonstration. Jacob was chosen!
Afterward, we took a CPR "class"
We found the Halloween decorations 

Dance party

Giving out candy
Our Thanksgiving dinner :(
Jacob met my birth family!
Shopping in Daegu
Korean-style discipline 
Jacob made this little one cry every time he looked at her! So funny.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

One semester down, one to go!

Monday morning after our vacation we were nose-to-the-grindstone! Classes started up again and we started getting back into the routine of things. We all rotated classes so we all have new students this semester. Our new schedules:

Seongnam 1st and 2nd grade
Seongnam Intermediate (3rd and 4th grade)
Elves (intermediate level after school class)
Writing club (advanced level writing class)
Adult Intermediate and Advanced levels

Seongnam 1st and 2nd grade
Seongnam Advanced (5th and 6th grade)
Hobbits (beginner level after school class)
Phonics (VERY beginner level after school class)
Adult Beginner and Intermediate levels

We finished the first full month of full-time teaching schedules when we got a four-day break for Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving), we got the weekend, Monday, and Tuesday to "celebrate with family" :(.

We spent our holiday hanging out at home. Apparently tickets to fly to nearby countries were sold out months in advance, and bus tickets to other parts of the country were also sold out. Instead of trying to go somewhere, we were going to take the opportunity to organize what we wanted to sell, throw away, and take home with us for our impending departure. Somehow, that didn't get started... or even thought about.

All weekend we did the usual go to a coffee shop and read, drink coffee, watch Netflix. Monday morning bright and early we went to Everland, Korea's knock-off Disneyland!

We arrived right as the park was opening and it was beautiful. Entrance tickets were much, much cheaper than Disneyland tickets, and the park was even doing a special for foreigners, 50% off! In hindsight, I'm really glad they were discounted because I would have been really disappointed with the experience had I paid full price.

The park is set up exactly like a Disney park with different "lands", Everland characters, foods from around the world, and even similar trash cans... weird I know. However, the rides the park had to offer were nowhere near Disney caliber, the ride offering was vaguely reminiscent of a county fair...

Entrance to Everland
What did I say about the trash cans?

The only ride Jacob went on...
Glad he had fun!
Stepped in a puddle and ruined my day.

Lion cub
Baby orangutan
Fenne fox
The little boy looked at me and then copied my stance. So cute!

Friday, December 4, 2015


We left bright and early on Tuesday morning for Bali! Our trip took ALL DAY. We didn't arrive in Bali until close to 9:30pm and we didn't arrive at the resort until after midnight. We were greeted at the resort with a nice cool towel and a glass of fresh squeezed lime lemonade.

The next four days were spent in pure paradise! We enjoyed ocean view buffet breakfasts each morning, fruit smoothies and huge, delicious dinners for a very LOW cost.  Our first full day in Bali, we arranged for a 4 hour spa-day that included manis/pedis, facials, body scrubs, massages, and a nice rose petal bath. The next day we mustered up the energy to go explore town! I wish I had done a little more research here, because "town" consisted of a very long sidewalk with shops and restaurants strewn along the roadside. Less than an hour of walking down and back, we finished our tour of Candidasa! We walked back to the resort and spent the rest of the day lounging by the pool!

The next and final two days in Bali we were picked up and dropped off at Andre Spa to get 90 minute full body massages! These massages were a million times better than our first massages from the resort.

We had an evening flight back to Seoul and didn't arrive back home until 8:30am the next morning. We spent that day unpacking, doing laundry and enjoying being home from a wonderful two week vacation!

On our way to Bali!
We've arrived!
Hello, paradise!

First morning... clearly relaxed\
View for all our meals!

Spa Day

Found this little place walking back from "town"

Fresh squeezed juice every morning.
Omelet Bar

Zen gardens
90-minutes massages at Andre Salon!

Disappointed to go back home