Monday, December 29, 2008

Koreans in the nudey

Being sick is getting rather boring so I decided to sweat this darn flu out of me the traditional way and head to the Korean Sauna. Otherwise known to foreigners as the "naked sauna".
I was given a pair of uniform shorts and t-shirt and sent off to the women's area. The amount of naked Korean minge that was around was initially quite confronting but I changed quickly and moved to the common "clothed" area and lay in some sweet cave like saunas. My favourite was the salt room where you lay on big rocks of salt and I felt like I was in a incubator. There were also a herb room, coal room, a lovely scented peppermint room and a cold room.
So it seems that Koreans go to the spa and just chill out and sweat, watch T.V., eat some dinner, go to the gym - all in one big communal family fest. Then the women and men separate, get all naked, scrub each others backs then sit in the spa. It was quite a bizarre feel but quite relaxing - I don't know if I'll ever quite get used to the nakedness.
Alas, taking photos in this room would be extra creepy so imagine these drawings but then like x100 women.

Afterwards I felt so warm and sleepy I feel I must go back. I am also building up the confidence to get a layer of my skin scrubbed off my a sheer underwear wearing ajumma. mmm sexy.

Also, I have decided I have a fear of going to the doctor. In case of hospitalisation. So at the moment I am sticking this thing out in comfort of Dorm Room 208.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Sick face

Here is a list of movies I have watched while sick in bed over the past few days...
- Charlie and the chocolate factory
- Willy Wonka and the chocolate factory
- Because I said so**
- Love Actually
- Ocean's Twelve*
- Click*
- Mozart and the whale*
- The flying scotsman*
- The perfect man**

*Not worth watching
**Really not worth watching

The good news is I am feeling much better and I am almost ready to reimmerse myself back into the Korean air. Especially now that I have my face smells of aloe vera!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Xmas!

I've just spent Xmas day in bed in a horrific fluey coughing mess. Ugh!
I can not explain how much I love Skype - I was on the phone/computer most of the day speaking to my friends and loves across many time zones and I even got to watch the Queen's Message with Ash and her family: 
It didn't feel like Christmas one bit so I wasn't too worried about being sick for the day. I'm just so glad I didn't have to teach feeling like this!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

sled time

Oh man this was so fun! Imagine the soundtrack being 1979 by the Smashing Pumpkins.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Korean Antiquey Places

Last weekend we went to an amazing antique market. If I was a millionaire (in dollars) with a house to decorate - I could have gone crazy. Not that everything was too expensive, but now is not the time for my obsession with vintage clothing to turn into an obsession with antique furniture.
Anyway, every nook and cranny was crammed full of ornately painted dressers, intricate wooden screens, old cameras (I completely ignored these for my wallets safety), birdcages, vases and of course sitting amongst these treasures were gorgeous ajummas.Where is this market? I have no idea - well, it is in Seoul somewhere. But I was in one of those following, not paying attention where we were moods. But I do want to go back. So I will find out where we were later...

Friday, December 19, 2008


Being a teacher is certainly an interesting job and something that I never thought or imagined myself doing. I am learning very quickly the joys and difficulties of being a teacher and to be honest, sometimes it it is just exhausting.
I have this class of 4 boys that are definitely not the brightest stars in sky and this is not about them not being able to speak english. (Between the 4 of them they chose Russia as being Korea on a map - they're 10 years old).
By some unknown power they have managed to pass up 2 levels of G.E.C. by barely being able to read the alphabet. So, between the lessons being too difficult and them generally being cheeky wee shits they get bored and beat each other up. Every lesson. OR they spend the lesson asking me to play Big Bang! on youtube.

Even when I give them the answer I get zilch. Today we were learning desserts in the Quiz Room and they were given a flashcard with the word "Sundae" on it. They had to copy the word directly from the flashcard onto a white board with magnetic letters.
I got this:

But there is nothing I can really do, except adapt the lesson plan as much as possible to make it easier for them while teaching what I am told to teach - they have passed their test and they are Junior 1 students. I'm working on it.
It also doesn't help when there is a ringleader. This one spent most of today's lesson like this - the others actually work better if this kid is not distracting them.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

All I want for Christmas...

Is this bike:
and my number one xx
If this can be organised it would be greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Gimpo Glass Museum

I have now been on my first field trip as a teacher (taking kids out of the school building - very scary). And as foreigner teachers we did what we do best - we were foreign. 
We travelled out to the Gimpo Glass Museum. We listened to a Korean silver fox talk about glass (I think - it was in Korean), painted designs on wee glass planes, we blew glass vases and wandered amongst the glass sculptures while the sun set. Beautiful! and we didn't lose any children!
Today I was delivered my plate! It is now my kiwifruit dish (this is not a lame reference to being a New Zealander - I actually eat kiwifruit alot).

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Student of the Day: Tracky dack and Sandal Boy

Whatever the weather (well, in the past few cold weeks) - this large, cheeky boy is constantly dressed like a 40 year old man from Caversham.

Monday, December 15, 2008

She strikes again!

If my student Ellie were to write me an email everyday it would make me so happy! 

Hi~!! Miss Jenna.

How was your today, would you fine?

I wish you will be fine everyday~! ^-^

Oh, I've a massage for you.  

We decided the Christmas Eve party at the "Gal-Bee-Sung"  with you and all together.

( ...except one person, she's rainne, cause she should go to exercise chorus at the Church, she said sorry for you.)

For that day, I reserveded the restaurant  in Christmas Eve at 11:30.

How about you ? And,would you like that?

^_^ You would like that, say us later ~ , please.

On today, have you good dinner and your good times, Miss.Jenna!

See you next day on tuesday.

 - From your prettty student Ellie ^-^ -

PS : Also today, I wrote many confusing sentences or missed spells, I guess. ^_^

       Would you smiling at that! 

       And, thank you so much teaching us on every day!

And then I received this straight after:

Oh, I sent you the worst word!

Oh, I've a massage for you.  

-> Oh, I've a message for you.

 Hi Hi Hi, sorry !!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Student of the Day: Bowl Cut Boy

It took me two full lessons to figure out whether bowl cut boy was actually a bowl cut boy or a bowl cut girl.
But here is bowl cut in all his glory - including an action shot.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Student of the Day: Brace Face

OK this may be a little harsh. and I have had a few sojus BUT what else can you say? His braces are his face! (and one day they won't be and this makes me happy).
He also has a lisp and this is how our first meeting went:
Me: "What is your favourite subject?"
Bracey: "Sthience"
Me: "What do you want to be when you grow up?"
Bracey: "A scthiencthist"

Seriously, I love him.

Bideo for you: Hangman

Hangman either works or it doesn't. Most of my older classes hate it - but the younger ones are OBSESSED with it and it is an amazing  game if you happen to have 5 - 10 minutes spare at the end of class. I always choose the most antsy, A.D.D kid to be the first to be the "teacher" - it means:
a) I don't have to teach for a bit
b) I can gage I bit more of the kid's personalities in observing how they interact with each other.
c) It's a good review of the words we learned that day - especially if there are several words spelt with the same first letter.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Bideo for you: Big Bang Cutie

As you may know, I am not the biggest Big Bang fan. But I am a fan of one of my wee boys dancing to them. What a cutie!
You can read a great blog on K-Pop on Rachel's blog. Please watch the 2 videos - they are HILARIOUS and I think the second one really shows a great side of the Korean sense of humour.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Ode to J.P.

One of the coolest things I have done since I have arrived at G.E.C. is being able to write the art program for this semester.
This was quite a creative challenge because I had to: 
a) Develop a lesson that could be taught over all levels of english and art skills.
b) The activity has to be completed in 45 minutes.
c) As all other teachers have to teach this lesson - it had to be something they won't hate me for after teaching it 12 times.

I had a million ideas swirling round in my head but settled on what I thought was a relatively boring subject - Jackson Pollock/Abstract Expressionism - it has worked out to be easy to translate and fun for the kids. My favourite thing about this this lesson is that it forces the children to make their own decisions. The students are really into copying things to get it correct and it seems the process of getting to the final product doesn't matter (last semester they learned about Picasso and you would just get a bunch of "Portrait de Jaqueline de face II" replicas.) But you literally can't copy Jackson Pollock and the students get to express how they feel at the exact moment they apply the paint which is the object of Abstract Expressionism - their paintings will never be wrong. Lesson achieved!
Giving a class of 12 students syringes* and paint is a scary, scary thing and if this class was not approached correctly it could turn into chaos. But I was confident with the right methods the lesson could work smoothly and it has worked out pretty well so far (though I am yet to teach my class of 12 ten year old boys eeeeek!) Ahhh using my degree in even the most minimal way is so satisfying.

*without needles. However the office delivered a box of syringes to the art room with the needles and it was lucky they were spotted before we handed them out! Jeeez!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Beautiful Ajjoshis.

Here is a lesson in Korean culture for you:

Ajumma - is what you call a married Korean woman. But we usually use it for older woman (Prime example: the women in my previous post.)
Ajjoshi - is an older Korean man or "uncle"

I always look at Ajummas and Ajjoshis and wonder about how fascinating their life must be. Having their country change so rapidly throughout their life time is just mind blowing - I wish I could ask them all about it. Most of them have seemed to take it all in their stride and just chill out on their cellphones.
Here are 2 fine Ajjoshis that we saw in the weekend...
I just found out the most horrific thing about the man wearing the sign. Rachels workmate informed her it says: "Please help me I have heart conditions". We will be back to give him some mula. Oh I feel so guilty!

p.s. Please tell me if some of these Korean terms/spelling etc. are incorrect. I am only a beginner. 

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Kwangjang Market: A place where dreams are made

I love vintage. I love it so much that I almost didn't want to move to Korea because I would miss out on the glorious goodies that would come into Modern Miss.
Lovely Rachel had promised to take us to a vintage flea market in Kwangjang. We arrived at the market - we walked through the western goods section, the smelly food section and the hanbok section. Directions were asked. We walked through more hanbuk and some fabric. No one was under the age of 50. I started to feel sad - we had ventured out in -12 degrees for this?! (Yes, -12 degrees - the coldest I have been in my ENTIRE life. Even the Canadians were cold.)
But alas! A stylish young Korean walks out of a secret doorway, we sniff vintage and head up the staircase...and we are met with this:
Beautiful ajummas sitting (and sometimes sleeping) amongst beautiful clothes. I was almost hyperventilating I was so happy - I just didn't know whether I should concentrate on shopping or taking photos! A bit of both was achieved.
And lucky for you if you are my boyfriend - there is a FLOOR of vintage menswear, filled with extremely well dressed Korean men.
I never want to buy anything else. I want to go back every weekend. I am already planning the next trip. I am so satisfied!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Korea: More bulk than you can handle.


And I thought Home Plus was intense bulk purchase paradise. I have now been to Cosco. Which is intense western food bulk purchase paradise.

Was traveling 40 minutes each way to buy a $12 block of cheese a little excessive? No, I do not think so.  Cheddar cheese snacks anyone?How about some pepsi?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Cutey Cutey Adults

I LOVE teaching adults. It's a bit scary sometimes because they know when you are nervous or unsure and they can speak up when something is wrong. Last week one of my students Sunny came up to me last week and said she thought we spent too long on writing and wanted to speak more in class. This wasn't a big deal and I naturally assumed this is what everyone thought so I started to make the classes more conversational (not that they weren't before). I just woke up to this AMAZING email from my favourite student Ellie - man it is cute. I find her writing and confused grammar poetic - I'm quite sad I have to train her out of it!

Hi^-^, Miss. Jenna!

How was your today? It's getting dark today already, times are so fast.

Are you okay your health after in hospital?
I guess you tired on faraway your country, then I hope you with very health and have a good juney in Korea.

HiHi ^_^ 
Alaways, You teaching us, so we have growing up everydays. 
Thanks you so much to care of me, too.

I have a say for you, a little.
Yeterdays ago, A student(our classmate) told you about our type of English study.
...She asked you what we hope learn talk-study more then before.
But, I hope... , would you never mind her saying...^-^,
that's just one opinion. (I wanna you don't heartbroken at a advice. We like you,always. )

I (include the others in this class) love your teaching style is very well-fill and delicate for us.
I wanna you teaching us that like the old style ^_^ . 
Just ^^ my opinion, too.

Whatever, you are a good teacher for us..... !

 Oh, alreay 12:00 P.M....
Have your good time, today's last times 
and Take your good dreamland(=Good night)!

See you, next day ~!

PS : I have a lot of worst grammer or missing spells, will you smilling please?      Thank you for reading this.

- From your student Ellie ^-^ -

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

nom nom nom

I've always eaten Marmite - but I have never been obsessed with it but as soon as I had hit Korean shores all I wanted was some funky coloured, bitter yeast spread. It was a hard choice deciding on what other sweet NZ treats should be sent over to me* but my package arrived today! - man, I am scared to open anything I'm afraid it might not last...thanks mum!

I'm not sure if this chocolate will be good for my new silver fillings. My one and only filling felt out last week so after years of avoiding it I was off to our local dentist to get it filled.
Here is how the conversation went:
Dentist: "Decay...decay...decay...decay"
Me: (nods)
and here I am 2 days later - with 4 fillings and down $20.
"$20?!" you say "Don't you mean $2000?"
"Nope" I reply "I mean $20".
When you are paying next to nothing for dental care - you really don't feel the pain.

* I would have asked for some sparkles, snifters and tangy fruits if they were AVAILABLE!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

sexy ceramics

On Saturday, Sarah and I ventured far from our home in Incheon though Ichon to Icheon. (Seriously? Come on!) We travelled about 2 hours each way through the evolving countryside to indulge in some super geeky ceramic goodness. Sexy stuff.

Once in Icheon, we jumped in a taxi and asked the driver very optimistically to take us to “World Ceramics Center”. Out come the dictionaries and cellphone and after some translating we were taken up a winding dust path to the “biggest ceramic museum in Icheon” (according to the driver). Man, I would have taken photos (I can’t believe I didn’t) but when we arrived I was a bit more worried about the lack of people around let alone a museum. However, the old outdoor kilns were BEAUTIFUL.

What we found was a quaint wee museum called “Institute of Hae Gang Koryo Celadon” dedicated to the work of Keun-Hyeong Yoo (aka Hae Gang). He dedicated his life to rediscovering the Koroyo Celadon technique in ceramic art. Pretty much they are beautiful pots, with drawings on them and glazed in a nice jade green. Hae Gang has a nice wee business going for him - big pieces cost around 55 million won. These pots are pretty traditional compared to my wonky pots with scratchy drawings of sad topless creatures BUT me and Hae Gang use pretty similar faces on our figures…look...Hae Gang is the first one (late 1950's) and mine are the bottom two (2006)

I told you ceramics was sexy. The sexiest contemporary ceramicist EVER is the adorable transvestite Grayson Perry.

The lovely staff here informed us that World Ceramic Center is actually closed for remodelling until June next year. Boo hoo. But they sent us off to the Icheon Ceramics village where they had a cute wee lane of shops that sold cute wee teapots. It was cute. BUT what was cuter was when we went up to some people to ask them to call us a taxi, this other couple were walking past and offered us a ride. (It’s Korea; it’s safe). They feed us chocolate, fruit and giggled away as the dropped us to the door of the bus station.

I feel like so many Koreans are so amazingly giving and I find it hard to express my total gratitude. They are just so blasé about their generosity, just waving goodbye and then disappearing into a sea of black hair – never to be seen again.

Monday, December 1, 2008

road crossing of DOOM

Here is what I am face with crossing the road in Korea.

There are 2 major problems:
a) It looks like a New Zealand pedestrian crossing - I have to fight every urge not to just step out onto the crosswalk.
b) I also have had years of looking right, left, right ingrained into my system. So, as I step out into the fake pedestrian crossing - I am also looking the wrong way.
c) As I step out on to the road, while not looking - the driver of the car about to hit me will not stop. This is because they will be watching TV while driving and will not notice me until I am smushed on their dashboard.
These are the reasons you should not be suprised when I am hit by a car. I am just saying.

Here are a couple of pictures I took over the weekend. The first is of beautiful light at a school we visited for "Hello GEC" on Friday. It also features a balloon sword and I love balloon swords.
The second is from a subway station with an amazing magazine cover of Obama with a broccoli head. Why does Obama have a broccoli head? Who knows, but it's cool.