Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tasty, Tasty Duck!

A little while ago my co-teachers, Paul and I went out for some tasty tasty Duck. The usual duck meal here is o-ri bulgogi and is duck in a spicy sauce served with garlic, bean paste, salad and kimchi, all, in the usual fashion, wrapped in a lettuce leaf and popped in the mouth- Delicious!

This time we were in for a real treat, we not only had the wonderful o-ri bulgogi but also bbq'd duck. It may be my favourite Korean dish,nom nom.

The bulgogi, once its nearly over they throw in rice its great!

The skewered duck, bean paste (samjan), garlic and salad

BBQ'd/ Rotisserie duck
 The duck restaurant is situated in Edong, head down the main street (down hill) towards Krazee burger, turn right at krazee burger (as if going to gogi king/ giant step) and keep walking quite some ways (its a maze, I'm sorry) I think it may be the second to last turning on your left (but who really knows, sorry!).

Goodbye Hair.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Moments of greatness...

Today my 5th graders created profiles on themselves to play a game similar to guess who. I chose a profile at random from the mystery bag and read hints from the paper such as 'nickname', best friends name etc. After telling the class 'I am a boy, I have many nicknames' I moved to the next question: 'What's your hobbies?' Only to read this:


Laughter and some confusion followed. I showed my co-teacher who nodded and said 'you know, stay home' I couldn't help reply (as I was partly confused) through laughter 'and just bang cock?' 

She didn't get it at first, but apparently to stay home in Korean is 방곡 which the student had wrongly translated into English phonetics bangcock. Good times.

This situation was actually reversed on me later in the day when I told my grade 3's 'Don't cheat' to which they all broke into fits of laughter and shouted 'Dongchim Teacher?'

Dongchim= Students clasp their hands together, pointers out and stick those two delightful fingers up your bum (they do it to just about anyone and everyone and no one gets angered!?)! Pretty hilarious as they were all standing in a line at the time with their backs to one another...

'Mum, Corey Teacher told us all to dongchim each other today, Corey Teacher's pretty cool.' At least to Korean children I would be!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Sharing Korea.

Koreans share, EVERYTHING!

When we first arrived in Korea we found it odd to order food as a group (although we are never responsible for ordering and rarely given a choice when dinning with Koreans). At the dinning table everyone shares the food, which is great as you get to sample many dishes (IF there are a variety of dishes available, many restaurants specialise). 

However, the sharing in Korea goes beyond just eating out. They literally share everything, its quite lovely at times and fairly confusing at others.

There are numerous stories told by foreigners here about being unsure if it was OK to eat  by themselves when they had taken an apple to school as part of lunch, as you feel obliged to take an entire bag of apples. 

Also, if you do take food into school and leave it in a communal area, say an office fridge, its likely it will be gone upon your return. This perceived minor theft by us foreigners is a great example of cultural differences. The week before the people who ate your goods probably stocked the fridge for you to enjoy too, only you had assumed that food 'belonged' to someone and steered clear based on your own morals. Who's the better man? 

It is still pretty weird when people start helping themselves to 'your' things.

On school trips students back packs are crammed full of sugary snacks, enough to feed a family and well, thats their purpose. The students share their snacks throughout the day with friends and teachers- I love school trips! The students parents also provide an unimaginable amount of food and drinks for teachers too. Glorious!

The Korean mindset to share to such a great degree leaves us foreigners often in a state of perplexity. Should we share the one orange we brought for lunch with the 7 other teachers in the office (who's name you may not even know and have probably only exchanged daily greetings for the past 6 months) or should we gobble it up as its part of our lunch as the school lunch of seaweed soup and rice you just ate did not suffice?!?

I discussed this with some teachers during our field trip and they assured me they sometimes get confused with it all too, but always end up sharing. My co-teacher told me the principle of sharing all you have is based on a prophecy:

"If you have just one bean, that too must be shared."

Another explanation as to why everything here is sold in bulk. I had better start stocking up!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I want to ride my bicycle...

We decided to stay in Pohang this weekend and hopefully save some money. I think I failed the latter. Saturday we headed to the beach for a little kick about, however it was darn windy and pretty cold so we soon dashed indoors for a hot drink. After purchasing our tasty drinks we were 'serviced'...sounds abit naughty hey. In Korea, JUST because we are foreign (maybe a little bit because everyone thinks Pauls a model too) we get serviced everywhere. It's usually a free fizzy drink in a restaurant. However, those 2 giggley Korean girls in Yogerpresso really know how to service people. FREE, frozen yoghurt, cereal, chocolate sauce, nuts and cherries. The freebie actually cost a little less that what we had spent. Winning.

On our way home we decided to check out Lotte Department Store. Its a huge mall here and pretty pricey as it contains only brand stores. What it also contains is the most delicious food court that shall now be visited more regularly by us. Kebabs, quesadillas, sushi, breads, cakes, doughnuts, sandwiches ah theres so much more.

After purchasing some tasty red wine (which we got 'serviced' 2 free wine glasses with, the wine was about 6 pound!), we headed up a walking trail behind our house. It's truely beautiful back there and just a 2 minute walk from our abode. We took the wine and guitar for a little hippie hang out time. Followed by curry and some drinks with friends.

Buddha's Birthday is just around the corner.

Once sunday rolled around we had decided it was time to head back to that delectable food court in Lotte and go food crazy. So, we did. We picnicked on the beach with our friends Tawny and Chris, who introduced us to Krispy Creme doughnuts Variety pack.

In a bid to erm, burn off all those eats we hired a 4 man bike, of which only 2 people can actually ride and Tawny and I were chauffeured about the beach. It was highly enjoyable if not a little scary when the boys decided we simply must do the little ramp onto the beach. Yes, they did have to get out and push to get us back up!

Once our 30 mins of beach buggying were up we decided to hire some new reclining bikes, these bad boys were immense!

He was having a good time too!
This badboy put those bikes to shame.
We looked like mini folk on mini folk bikes. They were also pretty tough to cycle and steer as you had to lean sideways to turn. Many a crash and tumble followed. Yet we were just warming up for some serious collisions in the football game that followed.

After such an active day we were pretty exhausted and headed home for delicious pasta bake using my favourite pasta sauce from home, which I also found in Lotte. Told you its a goodie!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Poetic Korea.

Here in Korea, English is inexplicably HUGE. It is quite possibly the most successful merchandising tool for just about everything from clothes to music (bands are considered more talented if they throw in a few English lines)to school stationary. 

If its got English on it, they have got to have it. What seems unimportant is the actual meaning behind the English, for example, theres a brand here named 'Morning Glory' which makes stationary. Now, you and I both know the first thing to mind when hearing such words. However when my sweet third grade student shows me their pink, adorable, fluffy pencil case brandished with the words 'Morning Glory' and asks teacher 'What?' 

As you can imagine what follows is a description of a beautiful morning, the sun shinning, its warm, birds chirping....

This is by no means the most surprising use of the English tongue, I've heard stories about students in clothing with swear words, walking along naively with their little tiger back packs and telling the world to 'do one'.

Whats worse is the utter nonsense plastered on everything, a great example of this is:

'Listen I told you how I love you. You are the moon and I am the sundrops (not bad hey?!). Always my eyes watch your condition.'

As displayed on a 10 year olds pencil case.

There are endless images you can find online illustrating either Konglish (Korean+English combined, used to describe either a wrong pronunciation such as copee, as coffee is known in Korea, or a word made from Korean and English) or just hilarious English phrases. Also I'm sure theres a fair few of us foreigners that buy items with Korean on and have no idea what it says, I only hope the Koreans enjoy it as much as we do!

Moments of greatness...

In my after-school class yesterday, we had a new student. All existing students requested English names and I therefore did a lil research and starred at their sweet little faces for some time (choosing names is a big responsibility) considering what suited them but was still pretty cool and would age well with them as the grow older.

I ended up with 

  • Alex
  • Kai
  • Euan
  • Tom
  • Olivia
  • Ellie
  • Molly
  • Indica
  • Willow

Now these students have their English names they are obsessed with all new students having a name and actually insist that the student has 'no name' at all until I give them one. So, the new student required a name and I asked for some time to think. However, little Tom (sometimes terrible but always Terrific) tells me:

"Teacher his name, Jerry"

I look at the kid thinking 'Jerry?' thats an odd one, not something I would of chose but it does kind of suit him. Then as if reading my thoughts Tom shouts..

"No teacher I Tom, he Jerry, Tom & Jerry."

What a kid hey.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Caffeine Withdrawal

3 days into my no CRAP detox and I must admit I have broken the 'P' many times. Firstly, I didn't realise just how many foods are processed (does this make me stoopid?!). Also, not all processed foods can be bad for you, surely?! I'd love to eat a completely natural diet, however while living in Korea and being a fussy eater when it comes to cold food (there's not much hot food I don't like) lunch times are hard here aaaand I love cereal- both the cereal and milk are processed, lose, lose.

However, 3 days in and no caffeine nor refined sugar has passed my lips (I bloody hope theres none of the latter in Bran Flakes). The results thus far.... INTENSE 2 days of headaches, sleepiness (I've been in bed at 9pm and 7pm both days) and serious lack of motivation for life. I usually drink around 3 cups of tea and coffee a day and thought that was a pretty low amount, perhaps this suggests otherwise.

I have also discovered the research on caffeine withdrawal symptoms is endless, as are the side effects :( I am tempted to give in, especially as I must stay awake until at least 11pm the next 3 nights for Hapkido class and a run. I'm an old woman aren't I, yes. Caffeine makes me slightly more youthfull and energetic oh and tastes delicious.... 

So, whats stopping me!? I'm actually starting to fear what the hell caffeine must be doing to me. I felt pretty crappy after just 36 hours caffeine free and I'm hoping I will wake up tomorrow without this killer headache and sluggish body/mind. I think I am going to try and stick at this caffeine and sugar free lifestyle in the week forever more and just have some in moderation over the weekends. Let's see how long that lasts...

So glad Easters always on a Sunday!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Jolley Old Korean Birthday!

This weekend marked my second birthday in Korea. Oh how time fly's...It seems like only yesterday we were cycling around Gyeongju beneath the beauty of the cherry blossom trees-out to wish me a very happy birthday!

My celebrations began Friday in school, with a mini surprise party, cake, chicken and gifts...lucky me!

For my second birthday here we decided to head up to Seoul and indulge in some of my favourite things.

1. Shopping: Thats right I had a little spree.
2. Picnicing: Bread, cheese, biscuits, crisps and red wine all eaten at...
3. The Zoo: Seoul Grand Park Zoo is amazing! Its on Subway line 4 and takes little time to get to from central Seoul. The area features a Theme Park, Botanical Garden and Zoo. Ticket entrance for all + dolphin show is just 6000Won (thats under 4 pound). The Zoo is huge and new and the animals seem well kept which is nice as a previous zoo I visited here was in a pretty bad state.
4. Mexican Food & Drinks: SERIOUSLY over ate= no partying or Norebang :( next time.
5. Thai Food: Delicious spicy thai salad and cashew chicken with Sangria- oddballs.
6. Ice Cream Cake: My first ever one, it was 4 flavours, chocolate, mint, cherry and Almond. Which are pretty much my top 4.

I was also spoiled rotten by my wonderful friends here and especially by the beau. I now have 2 lovely new cameras (although one broke on Saturday hence the minimal pics, once my friends get theirs up I'm going to steal a few more for you to see), lots of cool new clothes, mini cacti plants for my classroom, pick n mix, a necklace-watch and jigsaw for hours of fun.

All in all my second birthday in this delightful country surrounded by the greatest people here was splenderific (sounds like something the BFG might say and he's the man so).

Our favourite breakfast delight!

Breakfast time.

Lost looking for the subway, tourist info please.

Thai Restaurant

Nom, Nom, Nom.
So schleeepy

What to do with the leftovers? Make a fort.

Monday, April 11, 2011


Today, I started a detox (kind of) and I fear that later today I will finish that said detox (positive thoughts).

So heres what I am trying for a week, no CRAP:

  • Caffeine (I think it should be carbs too, but I'd be lost and darn hungry).
  • Refined Sugar.
  • Alcohol.
  • Processed foods.

I've never really been strict with what I eat and I'm giving this a whirl out of curiosity and also as I'm bloody always tired at the moment. The A & P should be just fine. However, one morning in and I long for a coffee or a brew, I LOVE caffeine. 

Also, no chocolate, boo. A week without it won't be so bad to be honest. Also I'm going to go hogwild on the stuff in just under 2 weeks, as long as I am able to find enough on the Easter egg hunt to do so.

Until then I'll be chocolate free. Rooibos tea (its caffeine free so I'm told) and water shall be the only liquids to pass my mouth. No treats or caffeine pick me ups.

I'll be amazed if I last a week and I'm pretty sure I'll break it a few times unintentionally as I'm a little unsure as to what qualifies as processed or what has refined sugar or non-refined, blah blah. I shall try.

If in a week I feel like a whole new being, I might stick at this no CRAP stuff. Then again...

Friday, April 1, 2011

Moments of....oddness.

Ah Korea, never does stop surprising me!

On my journey to the school toilet this morning I was met by crowds of bustling students brandishing white sticks in the air. The students were all happy and energetically waving their white sticks. Upon seeing "Colee Teacher" coming toward them they leapt at the chance to proudly show me there white stick. I was confused. Especially as I turned into the bathroom to see a mob of students waiting for the toilet, white stick in hand...

Routine pregnancy testing at primary school!?!? Pahaha, perhaps thats the trick.

Seriously though, they were so happy to show me their pee sticks! Even happier when they thought I had come to the bathroom to join in on the pee-party.

Luckily not one child was using the 'western toilet' and all were waiting on the squatters, perhaps they improve your aim.

Upon leaving the bathroom I noticed a sheet of paper on the windowsill in the hallway with a numbered table and some of the pee sticks attached. A teacher then appeared and tells me 'pee test day'. I told her the students had been proudly showing me their pee-sticks to which she replies 'no,no toucheee, dirty!'

So, my first 'pee-stick day' has arrived in Korea. Maybe its my turn later?!