on the other side of the world….
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Posts from — October 2008

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween from Korea!!

We celebrated with the kids all month long during our Camps on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Here are some pictures from the 2nd grade camp last week. Tonight we are having a few people over for Halloween and we’re baking an Apple PIE with our new oven!!!

We made pumpkin masks, skeletons, watched Winnie the Pooh Halloween, Charlie Brown, Disney, Sang songs about pumpkins and witches, and ran around like mummies! It was all quite exciting. Here’s a few pictures from the camps.

Kate, “Make a witch hat if you are finished!”
“OK”, says the cutest 2nd grader ever.
Everyone is almost finished, even teacher Chang!
I didn’t really help much, I was just playing with the kids :)
But the pumpkin masks all got finished!!

They weren’t happy then… but they were soon enough when we gave them candy!!

The sixth graders got to run around in toilet paper like they were mummies. This was mildly successful. :)

What a mess…

October 31, 2008   1 Comment

SAFEM Expo (and a piece of social commentary)

Tank, Chad, Kate, Teacher Joe (our main co-teacher) and some of the 6th Grade Girls

Two weeks ago Samcheok hosted the SAFEM Exposition. It happens every few years, no one was able to tell me how often. This week long event is the biggest safety fair in all of Asia. Samcheok was flooded with people from all over to visit booths about safety. Last Thursday our Camp was cancelled and we got to accompany the 5th and 6th graders on a field trip to the Expo.

Inside a Tank


I have to admit that on the surface this was all fun and games but I think I can speak for both myself and Chad in saying that the exposition of the military gear was a bit unsettling. A lot of what we encountered was very familiar. I do not know the specifics but I do know that the US was the designated country to help South Korea get on its feet after the Korean War. Considering how familiar these tanks were I assume that they might be one of the few American things we have encountered here.

Anyone know more about this?

Daddy, look! We got a new car!

Okay, so we got into it a little bit . . . For the kids.

Teacher Joe!
Teacher Cha-duh
Do you remember us mentioning the creepy mannequins that stand on the side of the road to direct traffic? Here are a couple of examples.

Another main highlight for us was the indoor cave reconstruction.

Kate the Stalagmite

This was really fun. We ran around the plastic rock with the students for a while but then we got separated which was great for a photo shoot.

Chad going down the Ice Shoot!

At least someone in Korea is painting!

Flash backs to the Knife Edge (inverted) on Capitol Peak!

Henry is back! Chad takes a fierce approach to conquering this gigantic bat!

Treasure Chest! I felt like the Little Mermaid but not as graceful. . . no mer-tail.
I took this picture for my Mom. Are they not too cute? I am not sure where they but their little sweaters.
Here is the stage that we could here from our apartment late at night. This is a Chilean band, it made me think of my boys back home. :)

Dancers from Thailand (Marlie do you have one of these outfits yet!?) (My friend Marlie is teaching Thailand right now. Chad and I want to go and visit her in January!)

This is the huge smoke stack-cake in Samcheok. I just thought you needed to see it.

This is our grounds keeper/bus driver! Check out his fancy bus driving outfit!
This brings me to an interesting and off topic point. I think that through out this blog you have probably picked up on the fact that the social system here is very different from in the States. AKA WOMEN ARE NOT SEEN AS EQUAL. Another piece of the social differences is the hierarchy of position. So, for example, this bus driver is supposed to treat me, a teacher, with more respect than he would treat a fellow bus driver. I am not supposed to treat him with the same respect as I do the principle. This has been incredibly difficult (possibly even more difficult than knowing that they are always going to go to Chad about anything and not me). I grew up with my parents pounding into me to treat everyone equally. Everyone should receive the same amount of respect. The fact that it is offensive to some that I treat someone “bellow” me with the same respect I give to someone “above” me has been incredibly difficult. This part of their culture is incredibly difficult to adjust because in my opinion it is WRONG!

Well, we are here to promote change, to help bring Korea into the Western World. How much of that can I do without offending everyone? A thin, wavering line. All I know is that I will not stop respecting people. i just need to figure out how to respect without offending others. Wow.

I just had to get that out there. One of the reasons I know I will never make Korea my permanent home.

Happy Sunday! We are off to play Badminton!

October 24, 2008   1 Comment

I still have no money.

So, I left the US for many reasons – one of which being to save up some money and pay off some debt. The plan was to send money home and pay credit cards and student loans and come home with some extra cash and no debt. That plan is looking less and less possible thanks to the markets and value of the Korean Won. Check this out..

It’s crazy… The Dollar/Won ratio just broke 1,400 Won per dollar.
When we came 2 months ago the dollar was 1,063 Won per dollar. So basically the money
I make here is now worth 40% less than it was before when I send it home. It takes 40% more won to buy one dollar. So, I send home 2,000,000 won (which ideally should be $2,000) and I only will have about $1,500. This makes paying off debt and sending money home a lot harder. :(

We’ll see, I’m sure it will get a little better before we leave, but will it get better in time for us to pay our bills in the US without loosing a lot of money in the process? Let’s keep hoping for a speedy won recovery. The dollar is doing better, but until the Won catches up, it’s only good if you’re trying to send money to ME, not the other way around…. And feel free to do the former :)

October 23, 2008   1 Comment