Sunday, July 23, 2006

Children's Festival

This morning in church there was a dancing group of ladies age 40-80. Not something you see every day.

This afternoon, I went to Children's Festival, held in a park about 20 minutes' drive away. It was an extremely refreshing way to pass the scorching July day. They have set up vendors, displays, and most importantly, a number of water games and huge stations like a king-sized water park. They had huge mounted water guns, an area with a rubber mat over the water where you had to try to remain standing, and a set of spinning sprinklers that seemed to be stimulating typhoon rains (funny how we love it in one place, and hate it in another). My favorite was this dance floor with jets of water shootingto the rhythm of the music up from small holes spaced a few inches apart all over the platform. It was like a big, wet mosh pit (though not nearly as violent), and I found myself thinking, they should do this at Youthquake! Apart from the fact that it would break all Briercrest dress codes, and is probably not suitable for February in Saskatchewan (think - frozen jets of water), it's a really cool idea! I'll probably go back again sometime, and maybe I'll bring my camera, though I'll have to be careful not to get it wet.

And finally, here are a couple pictures of my place rearranged and spruced up for guests:

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Moving, moving, moved

The moving process for me was extended over almost two weeks, but on Tuesday morning some people from the church helped me load everything into the big church van, which the pastor drove to my new place. I stayed in the church a couple more nights, and Thursday was my first night to sleep in my new apartment! I'm thrilled to be here, to be in my *own* place. It's practically a rite of passage for me.

My class in Luodong this week was tons of fun, and the kids' behaviour was MUCH better than last week at the other church. My summer evening classes started again, with some interesting times. Wednesday's beginner class only had 8 students and one parent, who did everything short of learn English for his son, and didn't seem pleased with any imput I had to give, all the while coaching his son to speak in sentences which more often than not had glaring errors. It was hard to know what to do, and even harder not to laugh at how ridiculous it was. Is it bad to hope they don't come back?

With such a low turn-out on Wednesday, I figured Friday would be much the same, after all, it's summer vacation! I made about 8 copies of the worksheet I was going to use, and my students just on kept coming! By the end of the class I had double that number, and had to run downstairs twice to make more copies! That Friday class I can tell already will be one of my favorite classes of the summer. I have a lot of old students, both from last semester, and from last week's camp, and a few new ones who hopefully can be brought out of their shells. I have a couple of very charming older students who compliment me any chance they get, it's hilarous. For example asking them to tell the class 5 things about themselves, they'll say something like "I've been studying English for 40 years, and now I'm so happy I can be in class with a beautiful teacher like Charlotte." They crack me up. I've got a triad of older teachers (male) , and a gaggle of high school girls, and a couple of other students of various ages including a nurse, an accountant, and a university student. Some of my students were in another teacher's class last week, and I really missed them!

It's the weekend, and soon I'll be having my first guests to my apartment since I moved in - Ariel and Richard! There's a typhoon headed this general direction, but hopefully it won't interefere with our plans! So far there's no rain, it's just incredibly, indubitably, insufferably hot.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

One camp down, two to go

Friday was our last day of camps, and it went so well! I really enjoyed having those students for two weeks, and I even taught my evening high school students how to play Uno! They had a great time catching each other, and got really into the game.
This morning I visited the church where I'll be doing camp next week, but it's a little less intensive, just two hours a day there, but I have to travel to LuoDong every day (10 minutes by train). This week I'm ALSO starting two evening classes at the church and one morning class at a high school. My high school classes for the summer all start at 8am... so perhaps I will have to mend my night owl ways until the fall, sigh...
I'm moving on Tuesday, but I've been slowly taking stuff over on my bike every time I go. I still have to give the kitchen a good scrub to try to get rid of a large accumulation of grease... YUCK. I discovered today that I have some foreign neighbours (2 floors above me) when I almost locked one out of the building. I ran upstairs to take some clothes out of the washer and hang them up, and when I entered the building the front door (you need a card to get in) was standing open. When I came back down, I saw it was still open, and figured maybe someone forgot to close it, so I closed it behind me. Just then a girl came running up to me and started asking me in broken Chinese why I 'opened' the door (she meant to say closed). I kind of wondered if she was European or something and that's why she was speaking to me in Chinese, but it turned out she just didn't realize I was a foreigner too! She'd just taken her garbage out (though i think the door had been left open by someone previous to her, since she wasn't around when I went into the building). Anyways, we got all that sorted out, and made small talk for a bit. Hopefully our future meetings won't be so confusing!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Summer Fun

How hot is it where you are??
It's hot and humid here, though only 32 degrees today.
There's another typhoon coming.... I don't think it will be very big, but we may have to cancel our classes on Friday.
Summer is in full swing, and to celebrate, here are some pictures from the beach I went to in South Korea (Busan) and the aquarium.

The water was cold!

A view of the beach.


King crab.

Hey duuuuude!

The special exhibition at the end was frogs. Rosalee said last time she went it was sheep etc. so NOT something that belongs in an aquarium!

Monday, July 10, 2006

My new apartment!

The view from my balcony.

I received the keys to the place I'll be moving into today, and I went to take some pictures and set out some bug poison. Over the next couple weeks I'll be cleaning, packing moving, etc. etc. etc. Anyways, here are the "before" pictures, if you will. I'll be sure to take more once I'm moved in.
A little curtain can be pulled to separate off the kitchen/bathroom/balcony. I'm planning to move the wardrobe to the middle of the room to kind of divide living room from sleeping area.

Table and loveseat.

The kitchen. Washing machine is out on the balcony. Still no dryer.. I'm starting to wonder if that amazing machine really does exist, or if it was all just a beautiful memory...

Bathtub, MUCH nicer than this one.

Red toilet.

Standing at the kitchen looking toward the door. There's a small storage space that overlooks the courtyard. Not bad at all.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Computer Crash

I didn't disappear after Jinju, and as my previous post said, I am back safe and sound, though dreadfully busy. On Monday I had the misfortune of a computer crash, just in case I didn't have enough stress in my life. So I've spent time in between and after classes this week trying to get it fixed.
Since Monday, I've been teaching 3 times per day - morning, afternoon, and evening. It's been very busy. I almost feel like I'm back in that Brazil experience, preparing for class up until about 15 minutes before it begins, not sure what I'll be teaching the next day. Actually it's gotten a little better now, but it was REALLY chaotic at first. I recall my VBS years at the Church of God, this is definitely not the well-oiled machine that that program seemed to be. Some of the teachers went to their classes on the first day to find them locked etc. Anyways, I've been enjoying my classes so far, though I've struggled somewhat with teaching the elementary class. I haven't taught that age for about a year, and I didn't feel that happy with either my lessons or classroom management. Things are getting better, but I have one really naughty boy in my class who never stops talking, taking things from other people and wandering around the room. Even the other kids kept telling him to shut up. He doesn't really respond to discipline. Anyways, I guess I'd better get used to teaching kids since I'll be running two more camps this summer. Also I'm not happy with the amount of Chinese I've been using in class (too much) but I've noticed that the students get really frustrated and start acting out more if they can't understand for too long. They're not used to struggling for the meaning b/c most of their English teachers are Taiwanese who teach English in Chinese. I don't want to do this. I'm using less Chinese than a typical Taiwanese teacher would, but still more than I'd like.
In addition to all of that, I'm preparing to move in two weeks!! Here's a cool story:
A couple of months ago, when I first decided I wanted to move, one of my friends, Debbie (her English name) got me in touch with someone who had an apartment available. When we went to see it, the current tenant was wanting to move out right away, and since I wasn't ready to move yet, I figured to just forget about the place. On Wednesday I met with Paul, who is helping me find an apartment (a co-worker) and he told me he'd been looking for 2 days and couldn't find anything suitable, and was feeling really stressed out! I told him not to worry about it, and said it's ok... God knows where my apartment is, we don't know yet, but God has already prepared it. Then I remembered that place I'd gone to see, and though I figured it wasn't available anymore, I figured it couldn't hurt to call and see. Within 10 minutes the landlord had called back and we were on our way to see the place! Before I knew it, things were decided and my moving date was set! After waiting and waiting for a few months of nothing happening, suddenly it's all done. It's really insane. But that's how things happen in Taiwan. SO I can pick up the key on the 10th of July and start cleaning the place before I move in. I can move in starting on the 16th. I don't know when I'm going to find time to move with everything else though.
Anyways, I've got to go to class now, then it's the WEEKEND!!

Sunday, July 02, 2006


Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
My sushi lunch.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
A hot pepper, one of the many side dishes served with a typical Korean meal including 3 or more varieties of kimchi, raw onions, and egg.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
The group, on the left are Attack and his friend that he brought, and on the right are two English teachers at Rosalee's school.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
A delicious pork and glass noodle dinner after the 6 of us attacked it.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Jinju from the castle wall. The next set of pictures are taken around the grounds of the Palace, which was the setting for many battles with the Japanese.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

And finally, Korean BBQ served to us in a very special way!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Back home!

I'm back in Yilan after a whole day of travelling.... 3.5 hours from Rosalee's in Jinju to Seoul, then another hour to the airport, 2.5 hours on the plane, 45 minutes to the train station, and then 2 hours on the train (got stuck on the slow train)... that adds up to almost 10 out of 16 waking hours in transit today - and that doesn't include waiting time in the airports! You'll understand if I postpone further Korea tales for a day or two.