Monday, December 1, 2014

Winter has Arrived

It is the first of December here in South Korea, and our first snowfall has fallen. It is not sticking yet, but it is pretty when it falls.  :-)  It was rather pretty, and I could not be happier, since it did not snow before December.  :-)  Now the sun is peeking out, and a few flakes still fall ...

Oh, perhaps I spoke to soon.  It's coming down again fast and sticking, maybe.

Yup!  it is!!!  Excited students.  :-)

Ahh, the sun is out again ... All in 15 minutes.  :-)

This morning, in the middle of a class discussion of the viewpoint differences of Darcy and Bingley in regards to marriage eligibility of the Bennet sisters, one of my students very excitedly interupted, "Ohhh, look Miss Katie, it's SNOWING!!"

It's a rather nice way to start December.  Not like this tummy bug that kept me down & out yesterday, and is still twingy today.  Thus, students in my US History class are working on projects today.  Standing, walking around, talking a lot ... all rather uncomfortable as I discovered this morning with English I.  So glad we needed a project day - they have three major projects they are working on this quarter.  It was going to be Friday, but that is OK, today works fine for me.  They are a good class too.  Turn on some Christmas instrumental music, let them have time and they work so nice and quietly.  I love these kids!  Ok, I love all my kiddos!

Last night, several students had questions for their various projects and homework.  As they sent me questions, and I responded they figured out I was not feeling well.

"Are you sick teacher?  ㅠ ㅠ"
"I pray for you to be cure"

And other such messages.  Such sweethearts.

I want to go back to bed.  Laying down is the most comfortable ... in an hour ...

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Feeling Nostalgic ... Class of 2015!

While taking class pictures at one of the palaces in Seoul ... this one makes me chuckle.

Our lovely Esther!
The Boys!   
 I love my students here at KAPA, they are MY Kiddos!  Both current students and those who have now graduated and are in their first year of college. There are students in all the classes that I have felt connections with, some with a closer bond than with others, but I love them all. 

Today however, I'm feeling a little partial to the senior class that I am a sponsor of. Perhaps it is because we are at mid-terms, and they are almost finished with this school year (though they do not graduate until 2015, we won't see them as much after December, unless they come back on weekends while working on their online duel-credit classes or if they come back as student workers/aides ... hope and pray this can happen for we need good tutors as we increase in number). They are probably extra special to me, seeing as they are graduating the same year as my high school class is having a rather significant reunion!  Yikes, how did the years skip by quickly?  Another special thing about this class is that on my first day teaching here, two years ago, students from this class made me feel especially welcome and honored! It was so surprising to have students welcome me so enthusiastically, and with sincerity wish me a good day. I was dissapointed when I discovered I would not have them in class for another semester.  I recall receiving a few bows with those ... hmm, what happened, we don't see those very often now?  I digress ...

Though they are significantly smaller in number than my graduating class (a class of 6 vs. 106+), they remind me at times of the class I graduated with.  They are quite different and unique from each other, yet they are very close.  They get irritated with one another at times, make silly mistakes and are kings of procrastination ... yet if someone is in need, they regularly pitch-in to help. They pray for, or ask for prayer for those that they care about, including those that irritate them.  Overall, a very generous group, highly admired by the underclassmen and helpful to faculty and staff. I'm so proud to be their sponsor. Even if at times I may get frustrated  (I wonder how often my classmates and I frustrated our teachers and sponsors at times). They keep me laughing and I feel blessed to work with them.  I'm so glad they are the class of 2015!  I'm going to miss these kiddos!

When told to look at Danny, as though he told a funny, real laughter erupted, and many of their personalities show through here.  These kids keep us laughing and smiling!  They have become a family in just over two years.  I love these kiddos!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Adventures Over Long Fall Holiday Weekends

Yes, I know it has been a long time since I have written anything, yet ... ok, no excuses.  Let's just get to it, for this will be a long entry with lots of pictures.  I hope my family can enjoy them, especially those who are not on facebook to have seen any of these yet.

School has started again.  We are three weeks from the quarter's end, and it seems as though time has flown by and yet moved slowly.

This summer was a delight to be home, though I didn't do a whole lot ... well, that's not entirely true.  We went to Mesa Verde and rode the Durango-Silverton Railroad train.  Such beautiful sights and amazing feats of wonder.  Now I am back in South Korea and have had a few adventures since returning.

Over the Chuseok holiday the staff all went on an excursion which meant I finally made it to the East Sea.  So beautiful!  Blue and clear, the water was delightful.  A little warmer than the Oregon Coast, swimming was fun in the small waves of the incoming tide.  We're actually planning to take our students on a Spiritual retreat close to there in a few weeks.  I'm sooo excited!  I love the ocean and the East Sea (commonly called the Sea of Japan, just not here in Korea) is fabulous too!

Our new girl's dean, Jessica and I pose ... so happy to be at the sea.  The boy's dean, Romaine, is also enjoying the cool sea water.

Ahhhhh ... 

A couple of guys out fishing ... look how clear that water is.

The water felt great!  I joined the others shortly after ...

Fantasia, Heather and I ... such big smiles.  The staff gets to play without having to supervise any students!  WOOHOO!

Laura ... so delighted!

We stopped at this fish market and saw some strange creatures that people eat here.

mmmm, yummy!

Drying squid.

On the following day, Chuseok, Laura, our lovely science teacher, and I took Jessica, our new girl's dean, out for her first outing on the subways and trains.  We went to Suwon and enjoyed some time at Hwaseong Fortress.  This was my third time there, but seriously, it doesn't get old.  I get to see something new each time.  We stayed the night in a little hostel, that I will probably not stay at again.  The owner was friendly, but it just didn't really feel too clean.  

Making our way to Hwaseong Fortress.  Suwon is such a neat place.  Historical areas, artsy areas ... 

Kids could make their own paper, the old fashioned way.

Heating it ...

brushing it on the heat ...

Then doing a rubbing which is of the palace

You could put on armor if you wanted (SO HOT that day)

This place wasn't open last spring.

A sacred spring well

The water trough went around the inside of this little sacred place.

Guarding the entrance to the inner court of this "detached palace".  One of the smaller palaces outside of the capitol.

A very old tree that is believed to bring safety to the fortress.  People make wishes and tie them up here.

Some people toss money as well.

Turns out, there is a new park and festival going on for clean air.  Found this mode of public transportation fascinating.  Everyone works together to propel it.

This new park is rather pretty.  Just a few month ago it was an empty lot of wild flowers and some junk.

And of course, it was a perfect day to play in the fountain.

There was a trash art festival going on as well.  We thought this was pretty clever and cute.

May need to try this ...

This is kinda cool too, for a sun shade/divider for a porch.

Does this light up at night?

Walking up to the top of the lookout of the fortress wall, this fun mode of transportation drove by.

Looking down on Suwon from the top.

We made it at sundown, now for the pretty colors and the full harvest moon of Chuseok.

This guy kept taking pictures of us, so I took one of him too!

Walking down the wall path as the sun sets.

The lights are starting to come on.  It is quite a sight.

A big gate (Mun)

I was wondering about this.

I know, it's blurry, couldn't find my clearer picture, but this guy was playing traditional Korean music on his saxophone with some green disco lights come from the back of this vehicle.  It was pretty fun.  I think he played a couple Christmas songs as well.

My companions modeling on the gate's steps.  We enjoyed relaxing over the water.

One of the water gates, so pretty all lit up at night

These lanterns were up all over Suwon.  I guess it has something to do with it being an historical culture site for 60 some years and the month of October is filled with cultural and history festivals and events.

And the lights do come on.

Oh phoey, it's the wrong picture!

Friday we headed over to Yongin, and the Korean Folk Village.  We watched the shows, went to places we hadn't been yet and just had a delightful time.  Funny thing is, this last weekend was another long weekend and ALL the staff went to the Korean Folk Village together.  I didn't mind a bit.  We had a few students who stayed for the weekend, because to travel home is rather difficult and expensive, so they became our translators as needed. 

The following come from both Chuseok and Founders Day holidays that we were there.

Waiting for our bus to take us to Yongin and The Korean Folk Village

We have fabulous seats.  Front and center!

Here comes the boys for the farmer's dance.

Old Fashioned Iron ... or so one of my Juniors tells me. 

Giant bird house filled with corn.

A weaver making a 죽부인, a summer pillow.

making 성변, a filled rice cake thing served during 추석, Chuseok

We're not quite sure how this happened, but I found it fascinating.

Kids (and adults) can "make a pot"

The old style of a pottery kiln

A bit blurry, but mmmmm ... 비빔밥, bibimbap (mixed rice)  This is a hot stone bowl, so no worries, as you mix it up, the egg cooks.

A mat weaver ... you can't really see the tools, but the really long skinny stick is like a giant needle that pulls the reeds/straw through.

Maybe I should take the boat ride next time.  :-)

Fun means of scaring birds and other critters from the rice field.  Scarecrows and a line with metal objects (cans and such) on a line back and forth across the field with on end for someone to just pull on and make them all shake and make some noise.

drain for the overflow of water in the rice paddy.

hmm, a cell phone?

So apparently this is the latrine and in Jeju-do, the black pigs used to wait for people to do their business to feed.

A baby carrier basket.

Twin brothers make these traditional bronze spoons and chopsticks.

Just a little bright spider ... only about as long as my thumb.

Flute maker and merchant.

Korea's National Flower, 무궁화, related to the Rose of Sharon ... bigger than my palm

We were getting tired.

Ohh yeah!  we went to 반포대교 달빛무지개분수 Banpo Bridge Rainbow Fountain. 
 The largest bridge fountain in the world.  

Waiting for tickets ...

Calvin stretching and standing up hill to be taller than Laura.

Sisters ... Sisters ... there were never such devoted sisters!


Setting the beet for the tight rope walker.

And here he is ...

Ready to watch the Equestrian show


Ohhh!  Foreigners,  quick, get a picture with them.  :-)

I love these girls!

and these guys are pretty special too.

Lynda and Kirk displaying their inner Korean.  hehehe
Must cover face with "V" fingers.

북춤 or Drum Dance.

I was told this is "the only drum in Korea"  all other "drums" as we would call them, are not drums.  hehehe  "It's just a drum!"

This is apparently a traditional and modern dance fusion  Twas pretty.

I love the skirts!

Doing a special dance that is slow, deliberate and graceful.  She is dressed as a 기생, gisaeng.  That is one for you to look up and learn about the 조선, Joseon era.

Modern drum thingy ... kinda fun.  I would love to do something like this.,

판소리, telling a story through song, with a couple of dancers.  Not really traditional.

hehe .. "treadmil"  for the grain grinder thing done by foot.

Hand grinder in a Jeju-do house.

getting compfy 

An old house and barn under one roof from Jeju-do

Again, the latrine ... my students from Jeju told me that their mom when she was a kid had one of these and it always scared her a bit with the pigs running up and waiting.  Oiy! 

This is a message gate.  When all three are up like this, it means no one is home.  If all three are out of one side and laying down it means "we're home, come on in"  if the bottom two are down it means that "I am home, but rather busy"  Pretty cool!  Mom, you need one of these.  hehe

One of Calvin's favorite dramas that was filmed here.

Such sisterly love!

"Christmas 하라보지 (grandfather)"  Esther & Emily were excited to see 'Santa' and asked to take a picture with him.  He was a sweet gentleman from the State of Alabama.  We all chatted for a bit.  He and his family were traveling and seeing the sites of Korea.  Lots of kids in Korea were excited to see him and asked to have pictures with him everywhere they went.  Subways, parks ... He told us about this park where there were more than a hundred bears and dear and had a botanical garden.  Some of us decided to check it out over the weekend, and those pictures are following soon

A Traditional/B-Boy fusion dance group

Another singer who tells stories with song.   She sang for us 아리랑, Arirang.  A special "folk" song to Korea.

Gathering silk thread from the silk worm cocoon.

Waiting for all to arrive so we can go home.

Ohh, so many couple clothing options ...

Topher is asleep!

Calvin is too ...

neither notice anything.

It's a Calvin ball.

That is all for now.  I will post the Beartree Park and Botanical Gardens pictures and adventure later.  It's late now though, and I need some sleep.

Love you all ...