Monday, November 30, 2009

Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen

When it all boils down, that's the problem with Yoon's.  Our meeting with Julia (and Gene and Julia's son Terry) was a nightmare on a few levels.  Julia presented us with a sample lesson plan that she and Gene came up with.  Other than the use of the CD, it was spot on for what Ian and I already do in class.  So, Julia spent two hours telling us that we would do better to do what we are already doing and reiterating herself again and again as if we were the ones who don't understand English.  Time well spent.  Gene tried to act as middle man, but really he had to back up Julia the whole time, so we were quite out numbered.  He talked to Ian after and expressed his understanding of our situation.  It would have been nice if she would have been this interested in shaping us three months ago before we had our own rhythms and styles.

Terry stayed with me in my classes all day and Gene went with Ian.  Terry is temporary (as he's in college), but I hope Julia sees that she really needs to hire another "supervisor" (he's more like a coteacher).  If we have two coteachers, there is a better liklihood of us getting time off when family come to visit.  Having Terry around wasn't a terrible experience, though his presence really disrupted my students.  They were really interested in him.  Most of my students completely ignored Gene when he was there.

We're all out of Dexter to watch until the fourth season finishes (Ian wants to wait until we can watch it marathon style).  So, we're back to finding our shows episode by episode on the internet.  We've got plenty to catch up on.

Our dinner was super Korean tonight:  yachae (veggie) kimbop and ramen.

I've been listening to Christmas music and willing Ian's Grinchy heart to grow three sizes.  Here are some of my favorite Christmas songs.  Let me know what some of your favorites are in the comments.

The Chipmunk Song

Sleigh Ride

You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch (I can't find the original animation)

Happy Christmas (War is Over)

I could keep going forever.  I love Christmas music.  I think it epitomises everything good about our holiday season.

We're off to internet t.v. land.  Good night!

It's Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas...

Today we went downtown again to finish our Christmas shopping.  We did pretty well, but we ended up finishing online.

When we got home we cleaned up the apartment and decorated for Christmas.

Ghetto Christmas light chandelier.  We wanted to make a Christmas tree shape on the wall, but the tape was ripping off our our wall paper, so Ian came up with this alternative.





The Playmobile set that Rob and Danie gave us is so adorable.  The sack even has little plastic toys (a soccer ball, a doll and a teddy bear) that go inside it.

Spidey-Santa watches you from his perch.

Our festive door hanging.

Thank you to everyone who gave us these wonderful decorations.  They've really brightened our apartment!

Good night!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

More Christmas Shopping

We stayed around the apartment for a good part of today.  We got to talk to Judy, Al, and Alena, so that was really nice.  Then we talked with my mom for a bit.  She got a new laptop at Staples' Black Friday craziness.  She was even interviewed on the radio.

We left to go running in the afternoon and Ian found this when he stepped outside:

 We don't know if this is normal for them or if it was just a really deep cleaning.

We also played around on the outdoor exercise equipment at the park.  Some of the stuff is pretty decent; Ian and I took advantage of some of it to work our arms and stretch out our backs.  After we finished our run we walked over to E-Mart to see what's going on over there.  The opening was delayed (we don't know until when), so we wanted to figure out why.  There is some other construction going on on the lot, but E-Mart itself looks finished.  They just need to stock it.  We're hoping that the other buildings they're constructing are going to be restaurants or outlet stores.  I've heard that the idea is to draw people here with shopping and job opportunities (like in Wonju), and we think that would be the best way to do it.

We came back to the apartment and showered and then left for downtown to do some Christmas shopping.  It hasn't been easy.  We know that some people are really interested in getting something "from Korea," but, to be honest, it's difficult to find "Korean" things that people might want and that are of good quality.  We're doing our best, but we're not finished yet.  Everything must be shipped by the end of this week, so it's a little stressful.  We're also having difficulty finding wrapping paper, so I apologize in advance if your gift comes wrapped in Korean newspaper.

We decided to try the 'Yogurberry' place while we were downtown:

The yogurt was pretty good, but we accidentally ordered a drink which neither of us wanted.

We also did some grocery shopping at Lotte Mart while we were out.  When we went to get our cart and elderly couple was having difficulty figuring out how to unlock theirs.  Ian handed them a 'dime' thinking they didn't have a coin to put in, but the lady gave it back to me, so I showed them how to push it into the lock.  We think the Universe may soon come to an end since we Migukins showed a couple of Hangukins how to do something in Korea.  It felt good to know something, even as small as it was.  Then, while we were in Lotte Mart, we were Rick Rolled.  Well, I guess it wasn't technically a Rick Rolling, but we certainly weren't expecting to hear the song in Lotte Mart, but we did.  I also found something else I didn't expect:

Tea for babies is just not a priority for Westerners.

Well, it's another night of popcorn and Dexter for us.  Good night!

Friday, November 27, 2009


I'm so glad the weekend is here.  We really need it.  It's so strange not to have that four day weekend that usualy comes with Thanksgiving.  I suppose it will be strange to work on Christmas Eve as well.

Ian and I are in good spirits today.  We got to talk to my family this morning, though the Skype connection was terrible, it is much better than nothing.  We heard from Judy that they tried to get a connection from the neighbor's wireless during their Thanksgiving, but it was a no go.  That's too bad, it would have been nice to wish them all a Happy Thanksgiving "face to face," too.

We got our new books for next term.  It starts on Monday, so we'll be doing some lesson planning this weekend.  We won't do too much, though, because we have a meeting on Monday morning to go over the new books.  It will be our first meeting with Gene and Julia, so it should be interesting.  I'm glad to have fresh books and new material.  Ian had a brief meeting with Gene today about the new books.  Gene asked Ian which books he thought were better for the different classes and when Ian stated his opinion, Gene told him it was the opposite of what he and Julia had originally thought, but that he would take Ian's suggestion.  This could be a really good change for our work environment.

Since we have a meeting on Monday, we are hoping to go to the post office to send out the Christmas packages.  If all goes as planned, we will finish the shopping by Sunday.  Fingers crossed.

I think we will be decorating the apartment for Christmas this weekend.  I'll be sure to post pictures if we do.  Other than that, I think we might spend some time at Uirimji, since we've been planning to do that for awhile.

Ian really wanted to share this with you:

It's a twisty toy-thing that he bought off some kid with stickers.  Seriously, Ian needed it that badly.

Thank you all for your warm Thanksgiving wishes.  I hope you are having a happy, successful and safe Black Friday.

Good night!


I took a lot of photos of our Thanksgiving shenanigans today, so I'll just post them!

Stylish! We bought masks to keep our faces warm when we run. We couldn't really breathe with them on, it turns out, so we took them off on lap three. So much for that; but, at least we look like ninjas!

The preschool we walk by on the way to the park was making quite a bit of noise this morning:

Ian was amused to find out that this church stone simply says "Immanuel."  The church is near the park.

The whole giant church.

Our Thanksgiving dinner was pretty great, Ian did a great job.  I wish I could have helped more, but with no oven and a one person sized kitchen, I'm pretty useless.  We brought the table in and ate like proper grown ups.

The set table.

Making a feast is difficult with only two burners.  There are to things cooking in each; tofurky and stuffing in one and sweet potatoes steaming over the boiling mashing potatoes in the other.

The tofurky and stuffing.

The finished products.  The tofurky tasted just like the brand name stuff, though the texture could have used some time in an oven to pull some of the moisture out of it.

Mashed potatoes and sugared sweet potatoes.  Isn't our serveware gorgeous?

Looks like a Thanksgiving plate to me!  Except... where's my fruit salad?!

Too full!  We're not used to eating hearty meals.  It was tough to finish my plate, but, I managed.

(faux) Ice cream and "leaf pie" for dessert, anyone?  We can't find the word for milk in the ice cream ingredients and it says it's a "mix" on the carton.  The leaf pies are from Paris Baguette, they're baked pie crust in a leaf shape and they're pretty yummy.

I hope you all have a wonderful and gluttonous holiday tomorrow.  I'm going to enjoy the parade that I am streaming now.  Good night!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Holiday Blues

The holidays are upon us and I'm pretty bummed out about it.  At home, my favorite part of the holidays is the feeling of warmth and good cheer that is pervasive throughout our culture.  Well, obviously, there is a definite lack of it here.

Ian is doing his best to keep up the cheer.  He even has a Thanksgiving-ish dinner planned for tomorrow:  mashed potatoes, tofurky, veggie stuffing, veggie gravy and ice cream and a make shift sugared sweet potato dish for dessert.  We're going to start some of the prep tonight, which (to be honest) I am not looking forward to.  But, I can see how it might make me feel better.

I'll be watching the parade tomorrow at around 11pm my time.  The EarthCam website that is streaming it won't have any of the commentary that NBC does.  While that makes most people thrilled, I am one of the few people who actually enjoys it.  I have a few other websites that I will be checking, so maybe one of them will feature the NBC broadcast.

Here's one of my favorite moments from last year's parade:

Well, that's about all I've got for today; it was all pretty average.  Good night!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Strange Day

On Tuesdays I have five classes instead of six.  Last week Julia told me that I would be working with a girl on essay writing during that hour.  This little girl is apparently headed to a special middle school for gifted kids in Seoul, so her English writing needs to be up to snuff.  I prepared six topics (prompts) like I was asked and wrote a paragraph on essay formatting for her.  I never saw her.  I think she was in a meeting with the principle, but I wish Julia would have filled me in a little better.  I think one of the paragraphs I corrected today was hers and if that's the case, I am very impressed.  Hopefully, I will meet her next week.

Gene came to Sinback today and sat in most of my classes.  I like him quite a bit.  His English is quite good.  He told me today that he studies English on his own with books, audio tapes, and software.  Maybe there's hope for Ian and I in Korean after all.  I think it will be good to have Gene around.  He's recently married (he's about 30) and it seems we may have some things in common; today we talked a bit about movies.  He's originally from Busan, but he's lived in a few cities all over South Korea.  In April he and his wife honeymooned in New York (they were there for a month!).  He'd like to move to the states because, as he says, though he was born in Korea, he doesn't feel like he fits here.  He especially rejects the social hierarchy in place here.  In short, unless he's a spy placed by Julia (which Ian and I have joked about), it seems like his presence may be a blessing.  Though we are hopeful for a social connection with him, our optimism is cautious with consideration given to how things have gone thus far.  However, he did invite Ian and I to his place in Cheongju this weekend.

Gene asked Julia to teach one of my classes today (he asked me if it was alright) so that he could see what she was after; so I only taught four classes today, which makes the time drag on.  He told me that he didn't understand what she was "pushing for."  He also told me that he found her to be demanding and picky.  But, he is much better at showing respect than Ian and I are.  Damn American upbringing.  At least we know that Julia's communication issues run far deeper than a language barrier.  That takes some of the weight off our shoulders.  We'll have a meeting on Friday to go over the books for next term.  It'll be Ian and I, Gene and Julia.  I hope his presence helps our communication; but she is his superior, so we'll see.

Ian's day was pretty slow.  He didn't have Gene to talk to all day.  Though, he did go to Janrak to watch Ian's last class because it is one of our highest levels.

We bought our plane tickets to Japan this morning.  We'll leave for Japan from Incheon Airport (the same one we flew into) on December 26th at 12:15.  That'll get us into the Tokyo Narita Airport at around 2:30pm (KST and JST are the same time zone).  We're staying at the Okachimachi Station Hotel which is a hostel style chain hotel.  The about section is humorously translated and worth a read.  We will be returning to Korea at 9:15pm on January 1st.  We don't have our Disney tickets yet, but we will be getting those ASAP.  We're not sure where to put Disney in our vacation (beginning?  middle?  end?).  We also found out that the Harajuku District, Shibuya Crossing, and Electric Town (among other places) are not too far from Disney.  That's lucky, since Tokyo Disneyland is actually in Urayasu and not Tokyo.

I forgot to post our display of Grant's Thanksgiving drawing yesterday.


Also, our Christmas table is getting fuller.  Though, we had to take George the Plant in to keep him from freezing.


Ian and I are going to enjoy a few episodes of Dexter.  Our obsession with this show borders on unhealthy.  Good night!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Christmas Keeps Coming in the Mail

We got Rob and Danie's Christmas package in the mail today.  It actually came to our door while we were getting ready to go to the post office and get it.


A closer look at all those stamps.  It's Bob Hope!

Safety first!  This package has been the least jumbled of any of them so far.  You can hardly tell that anything has been shipped.  I'm quite impressed.

An explosion of amazingness!  The package was filled with Christmas joy.  There is instant gratification in the Thanksgiving drawing by Grant, The Stranger issue, Rolling Stone Magazine, Esquire Magazine, and handwarmers.  Our Christmas anticipation is being stirred by the decorations (a hanging, do-it-yourself Santa, Playmobile figurines, and a light up snowman whose droopy nose makes him super cute), the wrapped present and our stockings which dare us to think of opening them early by saying, "You are weak if you peak!" and "Santa's watching you."  The TJ's Candy Cane Joe-Joes (which I hear sell out at stores, so we're pretty damn lucky to have some in Korea!), soft gingersnaps, and Christmas vacation film will give us joy now and later.  So, this is the quintessential Christmas season package.  Thank you guys!  I'm so excited to decorate the apartment after Thanksgiving.

Today I met the man who has been hired to be our "supervisor."  He's about 30 and he's really nice.  He lives in Cheongju (the capital of the province), so this job is quite a commute for him.  His English is pretty good, but he doesn't seem to have much of an interest in kids, so I'm not sure why he took this job, to be honest.  But, it was nice to have an English speaker around.  He sat in every one of my classes today.  He drank about seven cups of coffee to stay awake.

A couple of people posted comments wanting more details about yesterday's meeting.  If you post specific questions, it'll be easier for me to know what to tell you.  All in all it was a very normal business meeting.  Julia (via Jennifer the translator) had mostly positive things to say, though the meeting was a little one sided.  So, what else would you like to know?

Good night!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Meeting

We had our meeting with Julia today.  When we arrived we were introduced to Julia's "favorite" friend, Jennifer.  She was there to translate.  Having never worked with a translator in the middle before, it was an interesting experience.  That said, the meeting went very well (Julia even provided us with a veggie pizza and cola lunch).  There aren't even any juicy details to share with you folks.  With the lines of communication opened, things went smoothly, and I feel like we understand Julia a little better now.  Granted, it is still too bad that Hagwons are more business and less school, but that's the way the cookie crumbles.  Julia is hiring the supervisor that Ian met (his name is escaping me, I think it starts with an 's'), which will probably be a really positive thing.  Also, I think we're going to be held more accountable for our lesson plans from the begining of the week, instead of being told that something's wrong after it's said and done.  So, it looks like things may move in a positive direction.  I'm glad because, though it's been a very rough start, I know Ian and I have improved and both of us would like to be good at this job.

The only unfortunate thing about the meeting was that having a stranger there inhibited us a bit.  We didn't feel like we could address much from our side, but I suppose we can't blame anyone else for that.

When I woke up on the bus home last night my glands were swollen.  I thought it was just the excessive heat on the bus, but they haven't gone down and I've been feeling a bit fluish ever since.  We still don't have a thermometer, so I have no idea if I actually have a fever or if I'm just worried that I do.  I've always had a good immune system (though I tend to get sick once every other winter), but Korea has really kicked my butt.  But, I've been keeping in good spirits by bundling up and watching a Dexter marathon with Ian.

The penguin socks Mom sent me are good for bundling.

Good night!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Christmas Shopping!

We got up bright and early this morning and discovered the first (sticking) snow!  There was only a tiny bit here, and there wasn't any in Seoul, but it was very cold all day.  I imagine we might get more tonight.

Oddly, there was snow in the valleys, but not in the hills.

Just a little white dusting.

We got on the 8:00 nonstop bus and arrived in Seoul at the same time we do when we take the 7:30 one, 9:30.  I think we'll just take the 8:00 from now on.

We didn't do any sight seeing and we didn't take many photos since we were Christmas shopping , but we did take a few to share with you all.

We spent nearly the whole day in Namdaemun Market and the shopping district around it.  We took a break around three to get some Indian food from a new place near Ewha Women's University.  The food was really great.  We were so happy and so, so full (we each had a samosa and garlic naan and I ordered Dal Makhani and Ian got Baoli Handi).  There was an Indian woman dining there with her Korean friend and she spoke with us briefly asking if we liked the food.  She is a student at the university and thought that I might also be.  Sometimes we wish we were still students.  It's so strange not to be.

We stopped at Starbucks (twice, actually because we were so cold later in the day) and were delighted to find a little Christmas spirit there.

Christmas cups!  The place was decorated and they had their seasonal items, too.  Though they did not have the usuals (like Peppermint) they had a Toffee Nut Latte and A Dark Cherry Mocha on the menu, as well as a black forest cake.

We found a white pigeon outside Starbucks.  But, we had a hard time photographing him as he and his two friends wanted nothing to do with us once they figured out we had no food.

There was evidence of the holiday season in Seoul, but it was almost entirely commercial.  I know many Americans (myself included) complain about the commercialization of Christmas in the U.S., but there's definitely a something transcends the cultural spending spree.  There's a feeling about it; it's pretty difficult to describe without sounding trite.  But, in Seoul, it's obvious that the Christmas makeovers that some stores are sporting have nothing to to with joy and everything to do with capital gain.  Maybe it's just difficult to tap into their cultural emotions about Christmas.  Nonetheless, it was welcoming to see it.

Store in Namdaemun selling holiday decor.  There were several such shops.

Lights on a commercial building, I think it may have been Chanel.

A statue near the Chanel building decked out for the season.

Here are a couple of random fun things we thought we'd share:

Look hard at the woman in the apron.  She's carrying several trays of food on her head.  There are many women hustling around the market delivering orders to the shopkeepers.  They move very quickly and they weave in and out of crowds with ease.  It's pretty amazing.

I found the baby brother to the Japanese piggy bank I have at home.  They're exactly the same, except this one is tiny.

The majority of our Seoul trip is top secret, since it regards gifts.  But, it was very laid back and we had a great time.  We're a little over halfway finished with our shopping, the rest of which can be done in Jecheon (except for one difficult thing). 

We got notice of a package today (probably the one from Rob and Danie), so hopefully it's down in the guard room.  I'll be sure to post about it tomorrow if it is.

Good night!

Friday, November 20, 2009

An Amusing way to End the Day

Julia taught my Essential 1 (my last class) today, despite my protests.  She did begin the class by lying to them and saying she was there because I said they were a bad class.  Way to randomly make me the bad guy, Julia.  It was pretty humorous watching her get more and more flustered as everything she said was met with blank stares.  I have no idea why she wanted to teach this class.  Any "teaching skill" she wanted to impart was overshadowed by her terrible English.  She had difficulty speaking in full sentences to the class, and she didn't help them with their grammar in any way.  On top of it all, she spelled the word "morning" wrong all over the board.  I felt pretty bad for my confused students, so I gave them all five stickers.

Since I sat at the tables with the students, I spent the class working with Joy (he's one of the best in the class) and getting him through Julia's conundrum of a lesson.  He took great joy in being finished first every time and I took great pleasure in Julia muttering "Yes, you've got a great teacher." after he'd repeated "Finished!" several times.

Though her class failed miserably, she still tried to give me advice after the students left.  She said that the students didn't do their homework because they didn't understand me.  She wanted me to remedy this by writing in all of their books (apparently circling their homework [if it's from their books] is not enough).  I told her that it would take a very long time to do that, but she continued instructing me as if I hadn't said anything.  So, I finally said "Sometimes the students just don't do their homework."  She left me alone after that, in fact, I didn't see her at all.

Early tomorrow morning we are off to go Christmas shopping.  It should be a blast.  We won't be doing any real sightseeing, but I'll be sure to post any interesting photos we take.

 Good night!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Tofu Sandwiches

We eat them quite often.  They're good for you in many ways and they are delicious, but they are a bit high in calories.  Our food choices here are limited because of our lack of kitchen amenities and the limited selection at the grocery stores.  E-Mart will be a welcome commodity in our lives.  It's opening will be a wonderful Thanksgiving Day present to us.

Last night Julia emailed us asking if we would include her in our morning lesson plans.  She wanted to either come to our apartment or have us meet her at Ha So at 11.  I emailed her back, thanking her for her concern and willingness to help us, but said that we would be doing our lesson plans early in the morning and then continuing our routine.  I told her that we valued her input, but that we also value our free time.  She didn't even write the email herself.  We're pretty sure that she has her son translate them and then send them to us. It was written in very formal business English, but it wasn't perfect, so it read a little condescending, for example, they closed the email with "I do appreciate it when you cooperate."

Julia was at Ha So when I got there today.  She was talking to Chun wha as usual.  I'm pretty sure that Julia has ended any chance we had at a relationship with that family.  Julia told me that she did not recieve my email until noon today because she went to bed after she emailed me.  I suppose she assumed that we would automatically comply, so she didn't bother to check her email this morning, either.  I did help her understand a letter from a school in India stating that one of the Ha So teacher's children had been placed on academic probation.  I suppose not all Korean kids are perfect students.  Later in the day she sat in my Essential 1 class.  I got lucky and she didn't interfere and she actually had some positive things to say afterward along with her ridiculous suggestions.  She is taking over my Essential 1 tomorrow even though I told her I'd rather teach it, as it has some important grammar lessons in it.  But, she ignored me and will be fulfilling her English teacher fantasy with my Essential 1 class.  Then she is observing the same level on Monday.  I'm not sure why she's obsessing over this class, since she never fills us in on anything.

Ian and I decided today that working here as foreigners for Julia is like being a woman in the work place in the mid 20th century.

Ian met an English teacher who is new to Jecheon before he went into work today.  Ian saw him yesterday and the guy came up to him and introduced himself (Ian doesn't remember his name, but says, "Don't feel bad mysterious stranger, I'm just bad at names.").  Then he said that he had read our blog before moving here.  Ian hadn't brought it up, the guy just recognized him from pictures.  We're famous.

I'm going to finish my tofu (or tubu in Korean) sandwich now.  Good night!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Sunny Side Up

Ian and I haven't been having the best week.  So, instead of writing yet again about what's going wrong, I'd rather tell you about some of the cool plans (or very vague plans) that we have in the future.

First, though, I do want to share a short Julia story from today.  She showed up at Ha So with (real) coffee for all the teachers, which was really nice of her.  Then as I was preparing for my classes she came into my office.  She wanted to know what I was doing in each class so that she could make worksheets.  I told her that as today is Wednesday (the last day of our week, unit-wise) that there was no need for her to do that.  Actually, I explained that three times because she didn't understand me.  When she finally understood, she made me go through each book and explain what I was doing next week.  She'll make worksheets for those days.  Her worksheets are almost never comprehensible and always useless.  After informing me of how helpful she was going to be she left my office.  I went into the lobby to make copies for my classes.  When I came back to my office she was standing in it.  And- and this is the best part- she had rearranged my office.  She move the table and the bookshelf, but that's not all.  She even moved the things that were on my table and she put my jacket and backpack on the other chair.  She thought she was helping, saying that the office looked bigger her way.  It does, but it is inconveniently arranged now.  But, I told her it was fine and continued my life.  I can't believe the level of control freak that woman is.

Now on the the fun stuff.

On Saturday we are going to Seoul for Christmas shopping.  We'll be spending most our time at Namdaemun Market because it's got soem great shopping for traditional and nontraditional stuff.  Any ideas for what you want?  Suggestions are happily welcomed.  We'll have Indian at a place called "Tandoori" that's supposed to be super vegetarian friendly.  We're excited.

On December 5th we're joining a bunch of foreigners that we don't know at Lotte World in Seoul.  Asia Sohn, our recruiter from ESL Park invited all the recruits she "kidnapped" to join her there.  She wants to meet us all as she's moving to California on December 17th.  I can't help but feel a bit abandoned.

We are going to Japan (Tokyo) for Christmas break, but our plans are not finalized yet.  I asked Chun wha to help us with a Korean website that would get us cheaper fares and she finally talked to me about it today.  All she said was that she didn't know how to help us.  So, we'll end up paying more than we'd like to.  So, we're going to the bank Friday morning to transfer money to the states to buy our tickets.  We want to use our American account because it's easier for us to keep track of it that way.  It's tough to think about the holidays since we're not going home, but I'm glad we're not staying in Korea.  That would be far too difficult.

We will be using a three day weekend in February to go to China.  That's how we'll celebrate Ian's birthday.  Ian wants to go to Beijing, so that's our first choice; but, we've still got to shop around for prices and destination ratings.

Summer break is a long way away, but we've still thought about it.  Australia is on the list because we want to see it and it is very expensive to fly there from home, but not so much from here.  We've also talked about South East Asia.  Maybe Thailand?  It's all still very up in the air.

It will be a jouyous day (August 31st, 2010 to be exact) when our 영어숲 contracts are up.  It may sound crazy, but we're not coming straight home.  Our plan is to use our "finishing your contract" bonuses to see a few more countries as we head in the direction of the USA.  We know we want to see India and maybe Nepal.  Other ideas are Germany, Czech Republic, Romania, France, Ireland and so on.  It's what we look forward to.  It keeps us pushing through this.

You now know as much about our future as we do.  Good night!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Packages!  (That's what the title says.)

Today started out as a good day.  We didn't have a meeting with Julia, so we went downtown to the post office to run errands.  They didn't have our packages, but we had to mail a couple of things anyway.  We didn't have our meeting with Julia today because we are having performance evaluations from 2pm-5pm on Sunday.  That should be a blast.

After the post office we went to Dunkin for some warm beverages.  It's freezing!

Koreans are tiny.  Just kidding, Ian got espresso.  It was a little burnt.

I got chrysanthemum tea and a chocolate donut.  Chrysanthemum tea confuses me, as the plant is poisonous.  It tastes a bit like chamomile, floral.


Ian got a lentil curry croquet.  It looks gross here, but I tried a bite and it was quite good.  It made us decide to go for Indian when we're in Seoul on Saturday.

Julia showed up at Ian's campus today.  I'll let him give you a synopsis of what she had to say:

"Julia wanted to let me know that she was hiring a "supervisor" so that she could lighten her work load.  What I really think she meant was that the Seoul Office decided that her English was not good enough to communicate with us.  I was also informed that Casey and I have fewer students returning than Julia would like.  About an 80% average between the four schools.  So, I informed her that we recieved no training at all and that the books we are using are "test" books, we are the only Yoon's that has them.  She just smiled and said, "Yes." over and over again.  She seems to want us to do well, but at the same time she doesn't bother to tell us anything that is helpful.  I'm actually hoping that the guy she is hiring, whom I had the pleasure of meeting today, is put on staff.  He actually speaks English and seems quite nice.  If anything I really just want her to either tell us what we need to do and how to do it, or leave us the hell alone."

The rest of the day was fine.  It was great to come home to mail.  I picked up the packages from the "guard room" and fumbled with them up to our apuhtuh.

The packages and I wait for Ian to get home.  It's tough not to accidentally read the "insurance" write up on the outside of them.  We like to be surprised.

Ian wasted no time when he got home.  We opened the one from Andrea first.  I forgot to take a picture of the packaging she used.  It was some sort of shredded paper and it was a bit epic.

Behold, the death of our weight loss goals!  Pinto beans, black beans, lentils, Tapatio, an apologetic replacement note, five (!) Cadbury bars, Dots, Mike and Ikes, Scooby Fruit Snacks, and homemade chocolate chip cookies.  My dear, you know us so well.  Too well, maybe.  We each ate two cookies upon opening, by the way.

I really like Tapatio, but, maybe not that much.

Next, we dug into the package from Mom.

It's like Christmas. :)

Mom didn't use much packaging, so the immediate view was impressive.


Scarecrow, Christmas lights, Christmas socks, chocolate oranges, chocolate orange body scrub, candy canes, stickers, Arches magazine, a note, a cranberry orange candle, two to-go mugs, a door hanging, and an ornament.  Totally epic.

Out of the Barn candles make Ian happy.

The notes from the two packages were strikingly similar.

Using the giant lighter to light the candle.


I hope you all have great Tuesdays.  Good night!