on the other side of the world….
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English Expo

A few Fridays ago (why always Friday?) we took part in the Samcheok Lifelong Learning Fair. Thursday evening we set the booth up (about 30 people were put on that task). On Friday we showed up to be the token English teachers!

The Guendoek Booth
This booth was packed with things the students have done. It is also peppered with English Village themed things like a poster of the English teachers! Guendoek is one of the few school that has an English Village so it puts a lot into showing off the facilities.

Above is our good friend Mark in his booth. Definitely the coolest booth! It was all Halloween themed and there were even costumes to try on!
Blue Bobo
Spicy Mexican

This is a complicated tug of war game. I don’t really know much about it. I know that the tug of war rope looks like a pretzel and that the game is very old and a big tradition.

Apparently the pretzel knot is a great place for relaxation after a drum performance. :)

Chad, Kate, Principle (Kyo Chang Songsamniem), Vice Principal (Kyo Kom Songsamniem), Kumo (A secratary?), and the Special Ed (Slash Art?) Teacher.
This picture was taken right after all of the Education Big Fish came through in their suits. We kind of think that they are the biggest reason that this Fair happened. To show the Big Guys (And Gals) what the schools are doing. It seemed like a lot of money to pour into 10 seconds of bowing and handshakes per school. At least there were fun things for the kids to do at the fair like making soap and mini-books and little creatures made of bark and twigs.

There was also this,

Chad will have to correct me but I think this is like a harness for para-sailing? It was fun and we got some funny pictures of Chad. A newspaper even took pictures and interviewed him about his experience. According to Teacher Kim they wanted to talk to Chad about his experience in this contraption because he looks happy and Koreans don’t show emotion. Yes, that is what she said.

After Chad and I had checked out all of the booths Teacher Kim arrived at the Fair and had us go around with her. It was fun and we actually did some of the activities with her.

A stop back by at Mark’s booth.

An obligatory cute Korean child picture.

Well, that all the new on Lake Woebegon. More to come. As usual I am behind with posting. We have been preoccupied with planning our winter vacation. All of our computer time has been sucked into that. We do have our tickets booked now, so thats exciting!

I just made muffins. The muffin tin was too big for our petite oven so I had to double up the paper cups and bake the muffins on a cookie sheet. We’ll see how they turn out. Oh, that reminds me. . .

Last Sunday Chad made peanut butter cookies. They were fabulous, I just polished the last one off yesterday. We brought a large portion of the cookies to school thinking we would share them with the teachers during our 10:40 snack time/teachers meeting. We put them out on the communal table and they were gone before school started at 9:20. Amazing. I love the teachers we work with. :)

Have a great week!


November 23, 2008   Comments Off

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