Thursday, March 4, 2010

Gotta love the cheering of kids so happy to see you...

even when they see you everyday ;)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Two quickies...

Work has been hectic and crazy. Having to do around 170 report cards for students, testing, switching levels, new books, and placing new students--it has been nuts. And now just a bit settled, I am currently in a sad state because my co-worker, who has become one of my favorite people on the island, has to move to back to Busan (off the island; lower mainland of South Korea) with her family to help her father with his new pension for travelers. Sigh. So it's been dinners and brunches, and of course settling in the new teacher to replace her. Another sigh.

So, here are a few quickies I wanted to post until the weekend when I will have more free time:

Number one they found WATER on the moon--CRAZY! Read the full story here-->Eeeck!

Second, I am loving Reed Krakoff's new line (I had a distinct feeling wide-legs were coming back, rocked my first pair the other day)! It reminds me of old school Meg Ryan (before the plastic surgery) and I just dig that style in general. My style changes with my mood, and this brings comfort to mind , which I like. These pieces work well for the transition into spring especially on this widely changing weather on the island BUT this line is meant for the upcoming fall. And just as The Sartorialist said, Mr. Krakoff hit that sweet spot of design that is just aspirational enough while still being something that you can imagine in your everyday life. Sometimes creating desire can be so simple....just give us what we want, just slightly better than we could have imagined ourself. That is what this collection seems like to me.

Photos from The Sartorialist

Off to work now--I hope everyone has a lovely day!


Saturday, February 27, 2010

With the intention set out...

I found two very welcoming inspirations: one being classical music, that of which is especially from Vivaldi Four Seasons, and second a fellow blogger who has me smitten and entranced. See her here:

The Showmanship

There are so many lovely blogs out there and a mass of inspiring fellows, and now with the sun out and Vivaldi loudly playing from my speakers, the fingers are off and typing!

Here is what I am currently listening to:

Doing report cards+no more sounds of rain = a serious lack of inspiration

More than I am liking.

And not only inspiration but movement. I haven't been able to get focused and write! It is an awful feeling, really. One, I currently wish would drift away just like the rain has done; the rain is such a pretty sound to me.

Neil Gaiman has said you get ideas from daydreaming. You get ideas from being bored. You get ideas all the time. The only difference between writers and other people is we notice when we are doing it. And so, I sit with my ideas but my mind is not even close to writing. On second thought, I am getting a slight nudge as I type...hmmm. Maybe I am noticing?

As some of you may know I am trying to write a novel, or something at the moment, about this whole experience--well, in a way. I was thinking of making the blog more deliberate, maybe using it as a skeleton for the book. Maybe even get a book deal from it; Julie Powell's blog turned book then turned movie Julie & Julia. That's all in a dream; one that is not even close to dead ;)

But I am stuck and as in the words of Janet Frame writing a novel is not merely going on a shopping expedition across the border to the unreal world: it is hours and years spent in factories, the streets, the cathedrals of the imagination.

Okay, time for me to leave. I am going to turn off the lights and place tons of tea lights around my room; to get lost in the magic.

To everyone, don't forget to stop in the moment and wonder the corridors of your soul. You never know what you will find or stumble upon.

And a special appreciation to all of my readers; the followers (all 21 of you ha ha) and the book markers (whom I recently found out). I am truly grateful for the support, thank you!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Level changes are posted and the kids go wild...

...or sobbing.

There are two things that can take a very bad turn with my students; level tests and grades. What I mean by this is what my hagwon does by "testing" our kids to see if they can get up to the next level. This includes taking tests on English listening, guessing the right answer and writing, and my personally developed English speaking test. If they level up they cheer as if they won a new bike (no surprise here, they forget to realize that they will have more work to do in the next level, all they see is a raise; it's all an ego trip, and it starts as kids), but if they stay at the same level or level down, let's just say it's not pretty. This usually means tears, sighs, and worst of all, whining (but with some dingle slackers, they are in every school, you know the one's they cheer for their temporary or maybe even intentional unintelligence).

Whining has become one of my least favorite attributes on any soul, including my own, reason being I use to be a whiner and a complainer--so I was told but nothing to the extreme (perhaps on occasion still a complainer without the whine). However, I have caught myself, come to terms with it, and beyond, if not distinguishing all whining affects or complaints within my daily existence. Moreover, let me point out that even the adults, particularly the women, whine and complain here. To beat, it's in a child-like manner, and worst of all they think it's cute (add in the barf effect)!

When you work with kids it is one of their major personality downfalls. This is where patience is heavily needed, if not--may I dear say--you wouldn't mind shooting them an ill-look or even worse a swift kick to the noggin with a shut up and a smirk at the end. Well, I'm just saying.

I think I may be complaining at this very moment, with a hint of sarcasm but if it wasn't for me making it a joke I think I could possibly say f*** this job...I need a vacation!

Point taken and now, finishing up my daily routine, waltz's in my favorite student, Bomi. A 15 year old who is well past her years in English conversational skills. Built and bred here at Oh Sung Shik and heavily nurtured by myself, her speaking skills are more eloquent. And she is now very comfortable with conversation--yay, teacher!

Quick side note, one of the major defaults within the Korean teaching system when it comes to English study is the major missing piece--conversation. They can study their wits off with grammar, reading, and writing but their conversation skills are well below average; not even close to their level of study. In a way, at times, the foreign teacher can feel a bit like the talking puppet but that feeling does go away once you get paid! Conversation is a joy of mine but it can be a bit tiresome or annoying, particularly when I get a long pause from a kid I don't necessarily want to stare at or an answer that makes no sense by any means. You must realize that there are good days, doable days, and get me the hell out of here days, and to be honest if it wasn't for my co-workers and my overall optimistic spirit I am not sure I would still be here. Further from these ideas is the down-right truth; I love teaching.

So with the screams, whining and general chaos, I ended with a pretty good day consisting of photoshoots and lots of giggles! Here are pictures of our day, me and the students that is:

Let's start off self-indulgent...a photo of me in Juno's class--I really wanted to fly away...

Kevin and Johnny in a moment...


Johnny using Jake's head as an arm rest, and all 3 trying to figure out the English word in a game of Hangman...

Kevin being a girl again; I made him haha noticed the "do I have to" face...

Johnny being jealous and wanting a "girly" picture...

My little Annie...

A moment with the women, oh, and little Christina (well, she isn't that little)...

In Korean and English...

Ah! I made them pose like this. At first we were going to do a group picture but Sara (the one in glasses) refused to do a girl pose "I am like a boy" hahahaha--loved it! They look so cool...

Annie and me. I was thinkning of chopping myself out; I probably should have, eh...

He has a twin SCARY...

Still SCARY...

Hello Kitty...
Oh the personalities in this class, and the what the hell is my face...

Look at the camera...

Hooded out (I laughed; they were dying to get up for air haha)...

Ode to the rainbows ;) and ew to spongebob; some of my kids are obsessed...

L gets caught...

I know ;)...

What is going on here?

Free-time (this whole class was free-time)...

Art work completed; TAH-DAH...

He is laughing now...

...only to find out he was getting handled by his same-age peer Beth; yay girl power!

My student's art work on the board and my mug to make it look even more beautiful, hahaha...
Check out some more photos here: See In Her Mind's Eye

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The rain is here; Oh Me, Oh My

Too much of a good thing is a blessing not a disguise. So away it goes and in going I die. But to reform again--to never, once more, live in a lie.


I adored the warm weather that visited us on the island, with sunny skies and smooth, cool winds.
Now has come the rain and though I leave my windows open because I love the music; raindrops hitting the ground and the smells and swirls of the winds. I can't help but have a missing for the old.

Rain brings new things and sets in mood:

See In Her Minds Eye: Ode To A Nightingale

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Walking outside, though warm, is the feeling of being blown away--literally. It was a bit crazy this morning, before heading to a class my umbrella, and hat flew away with the wind.
And, then, of course, I was trying to forge through the winds and got blown paces back--insane.
The island is known for the strong winds but geez.
Now, it's afternoon time and the wind is still tormenting us--here's to having to walk to school!
*Got to admit though the combination of the warm weather, light warm rain, and the wind--it feels a bit magical.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Quotes from the Muppet Man, Jim Henson

"Every once in a while, stop and look around. It doesn't matter where you are; there's usually something right in front of you that will surprise and inspire you."

"Being afraid isn't always a bad thing. Sometimes you need that trembling feeling to remind you of how exciting it is to be doing something new."

"A sense of wonder is the most incredible gift you can share."


Sunday, February 21, 2010


My student Marianna's rendition of me, haha

This would be Marianna.

Oh my god they are studying! She stole my heart pen.

My lovely boss Yuri, she wore sneakers that day "I have to pick up my third baby and I have to be ready for him," haha--he is a runner. This was the 3rd or 4th picture I took of her bc my camera was not being nice--in the other photos her face is pure aggravation ha

This is my Kevin; being a girl haha, he is so photogenic.


The boys and teacher being silly!


Lunar New Year!

I know it is late but it happens.
The Korean Lunar New Year, also known as Seollal, changes in dates of celebration but follows after New Year's Day. This year the date was February 15th and a filled day it was. Being invited to the day before, to prepare for Lunar New Year, and the actual celebration day--it inevitably reminded me of holiday celebrations back home.

The day before was filled with women in the kitchen cooking and chatting, while the men lazed about occasionally getting up to take out the trash or go pick something up at the store. My boss Juno however, spent most of the day at the pool hall, "he is still young" said his mother (as her husband happily takes on the duties of garbage and pick up man, not to mention babysitter). At this point I am thinking in my head three kids in and wearing layers of long john's because my boss claims he is old, makes me a bit irritated. But as I could go into stereotypical references on the women and men dispositions of kitchen ethics I, all in all, will toss aside to acknowledge that in a very loving way I enjoy this process; a kinship of women hood to say the least but a time in any that can teach you much on who and how you are. And if not that, than definitely on the establishments of roles.

OK, back on the holiday, so as this day ends we all head home to get to bed early for everyone has to wake up and be at the grandparents house at 9 am on Lunar New Year Day. Now if you could only read my face as I type this, because even though the time has passed the dreading feeling of having to wake up and be socially apt in a circumference of smiling faces, kids, and only a few people who can speak English--isn't exactly my picturesque morning, however, "de-grudging" (that's right a made my own word) the morning blues I drank my Café Americano and in my very comfortable white long silk shirt, black leggings, and black boots (ideal outfit for a lazy have-to morning) I put on my smile and realized I will stand out no matter what I do. As we walked in I noticed almost every person in black and thought great, as we settle in to the house
my boss Yuri looks at me to say "you look cold because you are wearing white" and I proceeded to look at her and made a comment that broke her out in laughter followed by a short hug (she is not so comfortable with showing affection or hugging but I got one ;).

Once all of the family strolls in the house the oldest line up in sitting formation while the rest of us have to bow in gratitude. And this holiday is incredibly important if not one of the most anticipated of celebrations. Forget what the texts say because even though all look forward to it, the only ones that really love it--are the kids. The women are not too fond of it due to the fact they have to do everything from cleaning to cooking, the men dig it for it's just another day to be catered to and watch sports and oh, how the kids love it. Besides the young one's having to dress in their traditional Hanbok's (traditional dress) it is the one holiday where the children bank. Every bow elicits 10 to 30 thousand won in their hands, and imagine there are about 20 adults in the room each one having to give money to each kid. And then the kids are more than joyous to head to their other family's house's to continue to get more money. AND if you are graduating into middle school or what not, YOU get even MORE money. One of my students made 650, 000 won! I was flabbergasted to say the least.

After the bowing--comes food time but not quite ready to eat, before eating we must bow to the food and be thankful. Once everyone is done showing all their appreciation to the shrine of food, the showcase of eatables is sent back into the kitchen to then get spread out onto long and low tables. Men sit and begin to eat first, starting the intake with shots of Soju (Korean Alcohol); men sit on one end of tables, in the middle kids and young adults, and then women on the other end.

After this came clean up, watching the soccer game and teaching some peeps how to play the card game, Rumi 500. And instead of gallivanting with my boss's and their kids to other family's house's I pleasantly stayed behind and went to a Buddhist temple to hang out with some monks. Me, my boss's mother, sister, and cousin from Australia (she's visiting) sat with the monks and received money, expansive teas, talks, and the golden ticket for luck ;). We stayed for about two and half hours, and for the second time, whom I will label my friend the monk, gave me a second book on Buddhism: "this will be good for you." Now, mind you I believe in God and I am a Christian, BUT I do think religion has hurt many people and still hurting us today--controlled by ego and power--I would nevertheless shun anything attributed to learning. I accepted the book and began a very interpretive discussion (the monk can't speak English so hand gestures and facial expressions were a must, and major kudos to my boss's sister without her the talk would have been even more limiting). I understand that Buddhism is not a religion it is a way of life and is very similar to what God says; the high monk tells me. "No matter what religion, we must all love ourselves and our fellows."

The day ended with everyone from the morning back at the grandparent's house--to eat, play games, and watch soccer--I was in heaven right here. Me, and some members went out for pool and a drink BUT below I will leave you with some Lunar New Year pictures--cheers!

Saturday, February 20, 2010


Freedom is what you do with what's been done to you.

~Jean-Paul Sartre

If you want to build a ship, don't herd people together to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.

~Antoine de Saint-Exupery
If you lose hope, somehow you lose the vitality that keeps life moving, you lose that courage to be, that quality that helps you go on in spite of it all. And so today I still have a dream.

~Martin Luther King, Jr.

Friday, February 19, 2010


my Internet was down for the past few days, and on top of that I am sick. Diagnosed with a mild case of Bronchitis and numerous attachments of a cold i.e. body aches, sore throat, stuffy nose, and headaches. ARGH!

However, I will get back to posting today and I am sorry for the lack.

Hope everyone is good and well--I hopefully will be soon ;)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

From the book "For Writers Only"

“You begin by hard work and discipline, digging in the dirt until your fingers are bloody; and suddenly the characters find themselves. The setting is in place. The cellos have picked up the mood and are keeping the whole act together, while the background a low drum beats. Now you have only to watch the characters and write down what they say.
At such moments you are in what August Wilson calls “the land of magic.” And, with the words flowing forth, nothing, nothing in this world, can equal the pleasure—not skiing or sailing, not sex, not flying off cliffs with wings strapped to your shoulders—because in those pure moments you are in perfect balance, soaring with the universe.”

Sophy Burnham

As I stumbled around trying to find the chord to my new camera so I could upload pictures from the Lunar New Year festivities...

(the pictures will probably get uploaded tomorrow) I couldn't help but to stop and figure something today. I have seen it happen before and commented about it to my boss and fellow teacher but I never wrote it down.

It astounds me how energy can be felt or understood without saying one single word or showing any physical truth.

Kids are so amazing in that way--they have the magic power that most adults crave at a certain age; which they have lost due to the lack of imagination or overall joy for life or--both.

From waking incredibly early on the Lunar New Year day, and being surrounded by a number of little rugrats (the combination was unexciting yet weirdly joyous)--I undoubtedly got sick. An untimely situation also interrupted my working week and although I was dying (me being dramatic), my kids knew it before I even uttered a comment.

Yesterday was blaring obvious I was in no mood for rowdiness but other days, especially today, no one would've even noticed if I was under the weather. My kids saw me--I greeted them with a smile--and with a soft grin they sat and got to studying. Even the bad little suckers sat with diligence and empathy--it is always such a surprise to me and I am appreciative of it.

Perhaps it is them knowing me so well, I have been with them for 14 months now; we all have had one, maybe two birthday's together, holiday celebrations, fun and not so fun times, cries and laughter (yes they cry, some of them are easily rattled by their peers) tests and games, and English slash "Konglish" galore. If it is love, respect or understanding--I am grateful but fully prepared for when the thoughtfulness is over and the shouting begins!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

It's True...

When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free.

~ Catherine Ponder

Saturday, February 13, 2010

In the Moments of the Korean New Year, so I'm posting in between...Enjoy!

"From the point of view of the soul, all of its incarnations are simultaneous. All of its personalities exist at once. Therefore, the release of negativity that occurs in one of the soul’s incarnations benefits not only itself, but all of its soul’s other incarnations also. Because the soul, itself, is not confined to time, the past of a personality, as well as its future, is enhanced when a personality releases currents of fear and doubt."

Gary Zukav, The Seat of the Soul

"Crying is alright in its own way while it lasts. But you have to stop sooner or later, and then you will have to decide what to do."

C.S. Lewis

I am currently reading a compilation of stories from C.S. Lewis, a brilliant story teller among many other gifts. And if you are unaware of C.S. Lewis he is the man who wrote The Chronicles of Narnia. A section from Suprised by Joy: is that of an unsatisfied desire which is itself more desirable than any other satisfaction. I call it Joy, which is here a technical term and must be sharply distinguished both form Happiness and from Pleasure. Joy (in my sense) has indeed one characteristic, and one only, in common with them; the fact that anyone who has experienced it will want it again..."