Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Best Taekwondo demo ever!

*sigh* I still lament the fact that I never got to do Taekwondo as a kid. I don't think we had the diversity to have lessons in our area and my parents (well ok my mum) always seemed hopeful that I'd one day turn into a princessy girl and to this end made us do ballet (short and unsuccessful) and fan dancing. Having said that, we did also get to do Little Athletics, which I remember liking since I was pretty good at high-jump, and play netball (which is, granted, a fairly girly sport) and soccer. Anyway, that's a pretty roundabout introduction to this video which is awesome because a) it's a frickin' AMAZING show of taekwondo skills and b) they picked two good songs to do it to. Yay! ^_^

This is the link to the site if the video doesn't work. Thanks 9gag!

And not to trivialise it, but Happy Special Day to my mum and dad and beautiful sister! It was our first family event where all of us were there (mum being pregnant with Fran at the time) so it was a very special day indeed. Sadly the Post Office didn't share this view and as a result, I still haven't gotten my new Terry Pratchett book and acoutrements that mum had sent me three weeks ago :(
On the upside, I did get a pretty new mp3 player as a gift yesterday, thanks to the wonderful Mr Smiles :) And yes, it's bright pink, but I love it anyway, especially because it combines the gadgetry of Samsung with the only feature of Apple products I actually like - the design. Isn't it pretty? Oh and lol, I used this picture because it looks like the player is being pervy and has a fetish for women in sports bras, but I'm pretty sure this was supposed to allude to its Fitness mode. Anyway, it's very cute and has its own USB jack in the bottom so you don't need any extra cords or anything to connect it to your computer.

Oh and since today is a slow day, I've been watching The Lion King and LOVING IT! Like you needed to be reminded of it's awesomeness but here you go anyway. I love how you can re-watch "children's movies" from your childhood and now find it doubly brilliant because you now also get all the references they put in for parents :)


Hope everyone's having a lovely Wednesday out there :)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Saying goodbye to November and my sanity

Just had class with one of the terrible first year boys' classes - the one where there was almost murder once if you remember? Anyway, they're little ... idiots... in that class. In most classes, but particularly in that one because there are so many of them. Luckily there is one kid I really like in that class too, Jae-Gwan, and I love that his number is 1 and that my co-teacher for that class makes them sit by number because it means that I have him sitting right at the front with his eager beaver smile beaming up at me and it makes the rest of the class not seem so bad. Still bad, but not so very bad. And that's saying a lot because they're terrible. There are actually a few good kids in that class but they mostly get drowned out by the others. For example, one of the others, Jeong-Won, who is actually quite bright, always without fail gets sent to stand at the back (actually with that class it's pretty pointless because there are never less than five students standing as punishment and once there were as many as nine of them arrayed around the classroom which is a lot for a class of 29) and today was supposed to be kneeling quietly because the back of the room was full. I looked up at one point in the lesson and he was rolling on his back and holding his knees with his legs in the air, pulling faces and apparently trying to lick his own butt. Or he could have been trying to Marilyn Manson-esque it up. Anything's possible. Another kid that I dislike with extreme prejudice (on the grounds that he's an ADHD little meathead with no off switch) put the whole class in an uproar for five minutes by answering the question "what animal do you think this is?" with "SEX MONKEY! F***K YOU!" at the top of his voice. *sigh* Even my extremely unimpressed death glares of disapproval don't work on them and my co-teacher for that class is lovely but useless and does nothing, so it takes ages to restore order, especially since they're teenage boys and don't know how to listen. Just another reason I'll be glad to be going home in February. I've adamantly shot down the idea of having summer or winter camps for first grade this year on the grounds that they would be a waste of time and effort, and with examples like that I think you can see why.

Anyway, so that was my Monday. The rest of the day was ok though and I don't have any after school classes so that's ok. I think if I go home, get a bottle of wine (or a big cup of tea first, more likely), Skype to Franniken, watch a movie and then go to bellydancing slightly drunk, I'll feel a lot better. You are more than welcome to join me dear readers, in spirit if not in body :)

But I shouldn't be so down. I actually had quite a lovely weekend, which is perhaps why today was so sad, what with the downswing from it and all. First of all, my KBFF II, Christy (haha, don't worry Lara and Nat, you guys still retain respective KBFF 1 statuses!) came to visit pokey old Cheongju for a weekend of gossip, good food, wine, more gossip, more wine and general merriment. We discovered a new restaurant called JJ's Grill that had less opaque glass than we thought, had a Thanksgiving potluck with some friends (i.e. we all ate ourselves into a food coma) and hit up a noraebang. I miss Facebook for the photo sharing aspect so I'll just post a few choice pics.

 So it was a lovely Saturday ^_^ Sunday saw poor Christy off on her long trek home (3.5 hours on a bus and another hour or so on the subway), and me off to Seoul to do some shopping and see "In Time" with Mr Smiles (my code-name for the new boyfriend I can now mention publicly^^ - so called because he is a very smiley person). And lo and behold the movie actually turned out to be a good one! Most of the Western stuff that ends up being shown in Korea is generic Hollywood crap ("Immortals", "Columbiana" and "Skyline" anyone?) but once in a while something good gets through and luckily this one had Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried in it to pass muster as popular enough to show in Korea because it was a good movie! Well, I thought so anyway :p If you haven't heard of it before, it's about a kind of dystopia where time is currency. Humans have been engineered to live to 25, at which point they both stop physically ageing and their body clock kicks in and they have a year left of time to both live and spend, meaning millionaires can live virtually forever and buy anything, while poor people scrape through day to day existences where seconds and minutes can make precious differences. The story kicks off when a guy from the ghetto (Justin Timberlake) ends up being gifted with 110 years from a millionaire sick of living and finally manages to break free of his 'time zone'.

Anyway, if you have the time and especially if you're in Korea and the choice is this or Breaking Dawn (Mr Smiles is, sadly, a Twilight fan ... *아웅*ㅠㅠ;;) I'd definitely recommend seeing this one. Both JT and Amanda Seyfried put in some good performances, as does Cillian Murphy, who plays the 'Timekeeper' (police) hounding our protagonists.
Oh and lol, yes, Korean men like shopping. I have a very cute blue fluffy Totoro doll for my cousin's baby daughter (hopefully she'll love it without questioning what it actually is for years to come) as a consequence :) After the movie, we went for dinner at La Grillia and I had real gnocchi in a real gorgonzola sauce! It was chestnut gnocchi, which I've seen but never had before, and the waiter was quite surprised that I ordered it and thought I should pick something else because it was quite heavy (not to say fattening). I'm guessing he's never seen a girl eat that dish before there, and was probably even more surprised when I not only finished the whole thing but also had dessert too. Hehe^^ Pictured is our vanilla ice-cream, almond and Earl Grey pannacotta, grapefruit wine jelly and blueberry yoghurt. Delish!

So anyway, here's hoping that the rest of the week improves from today. I have most of the rowdy classes under threat of making them do more work after exams rather than letting them watch a movie so fingers crossed that they all remember me telling them that last week. How about you, my lovelies? How's life out there in the Real World?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Best book ever!

Best. Book. Ever. No argue on that Even better than those weird Shel Silverstein books. 


Haha, I love 9gag!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wednesday Warmth

Actually, there is because I only have two regular classes, one after school class and one English study group meeting so I have spent the majority of my day sitting in the warm staffroom, rather than my freezing cold classroom. Lucky for us teachers that the Principal's decision to 'save energy' by encouraging students to wear more underclothes and jackets doesn't extend to the teachers, but also that the cold snap came on very quickly this year as a lot of us were sick at the same time because last year the heating was on in his office a good week before ours and then the students had to wait another two weeks after that before the classrooms got any heating. I guess it's also indicative of the Korean education/student welfare system too that many of us bitch about where students get sent to school even if they're running a high fever as being present in the classroom should be sufficient to ensure some transfer of education apparently. Mind you, this also applies to adults - you should show up when you're sick to show how diligent you are, regardless of how close to collapse or infectious you are.

Anyway, not much is happening right now. Boyz II Men are having a concert in Seoul this weekend but sadly there aren't any worthwhile tickets left so I'll have to pass. On the upside, I've remembered how funny the comedy series Psych is.

Well that's about it, except for something funny to tickle your humour with :) It will only be funny to Harry Potter fans though, so sorry!

... and neither of them have GREEN eyes like in the book. Your life is a double lie Snape!
Oh and actually, a photo Christy sent me (official name: KBFF II or KBFF the second) that is absolutely adorable in it's llama-ness. Happy Llama-ing everyone! ^_^

Thought I saw a snowflake drifting down out of the horribly grey sky today as I walked home (around 5.15). Surprised it didn't melt in my glare (me not being a snow person as you may remember), but I thought I'd imagined it, thinking "well if it's raining, it's probably not dry enough to snow yet". The weather gadget on my computer says it's currently 2 degrees (celsius) and predicts scattered flurries though so maybe it is. Boo :(
I want a llama to cuddle! Or a fat Floss perhaps ^_^

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Filling in the mental blanks

So I realised something: without the handy excuse of Facebook, I've skipped write-ups or posts about certain things that have been happening or that I've discovered or enjoyed that really deserve some web time. Let's have a look at them now:

Tiff and Me with our lovely lashes
1. Eyelash extensions. They were awesome. Itchy, but by God my eyes looked beautiful for the three or four weeks it took for me to scratch them off. Perhaps if I wasn't such a consumate napper, they wouldn't have gotten so itchy. Also technically saved time in the mornings because I didn't have to spend as long curling and mascara-ing my eyelashes. We went to a hair salon downtown that had a beauty section and they cost w20 000 for the short ones (that I got which were more natural looking) or w30 000 for the longer more luxurious looking ones (like Tiffany got). Actually, I say 'we went' but really it was more like 'Tiffany went' and May and I impulsively decided to get them too. I was really annoyed that the lady took my eye makeup off though because I hadn't taken any more with me and thus felt very naked afterwards. Especially cos she didn't do the same for May and Tiffany after me!

2. Dakgalbi! If you haven't tried it, 닭갈비 is a delicious spicy broiled chicken dish, cooked with cabbage, sweet potato, onions, spring onions, garlic, enoki mushrooms (팽이 버섯), sesame leaves and lots and lots of chili sauce! The places that we go in our area also all have the absolutely mandatory (in my book) additions of cheese- and sweet pototo-filled ddeok or ricecakes. There's even one place that does pumpkin filled ones - my favourite! You fry the chicken in a massive iron dish at your table and eat it wrapped in lettuce or sesame leaves when it's done. You can either eat it with plain rice (if you find the chili a bit much to handle), or if you think you can stop eating early enough and restrain yourself, you can add rice and shredded seaweed etc at the end to make bokkumbap (fried rice). As well as the chicken, you usually get cold radish vinegar soup that serves to cool your mouth off and a bunch of side-dishes, depending on the quality of the place you go to.
 Dakgalbi is great for those chilly winter days when you just want to pig out on something spicy and filling and hearty. Or any time of year frankly, as long as you're ready to pig out ^_^

3. There is an awesome chocolate cafe in downtown Cheongju called 'De Chocolate Coffee' that I recently discovered with Michelle and Edithe. I know it's been there for a while but I've never been in before then, and am sad that I missed out for so long! Their Real Dark Hot Chocolate is w5300 (from memory, I think that's right) and totally worth it - delicious, smooth and rich. Apparently their Mochas (the same price) are just as good - after all, it is a chocolate coffee cafe - as are their truffles. I also tried a dark chocolate brownie from there and although it didn't ravish my tastebuds it was pretty good. A little dry and no nuts which I find essential in a good brownie, but still good. Sadly they don't really have any real food there beyond bagels so it's definitely a dessert-only place. However, there does appear to be free wifi, and it's up on the second floor so it's nice and peaceful there - good for an extended study or if you need somewhere quiet. Location wise I can only direct you there by landmarks - it's on the corner of the fashion street where all the shoe and clothes shops are and a side alley that runs by Pizza Hut to where the 서문 CGV is, on the second floor above S Shoes. It also stays open pretty late - we stayed one time until about 11 I think and we weren't the last ones there, but the staff didn't try and kick us out or anything - and the main barista guy who has been there both times I have speaks pretty good English and remembered who I was from the first time. It's a bit weird that the decor inside isn't more cosy, so it looks a bit industrial, but the drinks and chocolate stuff and quiet atmosphere more than make up for it.

  4. Halloween. So yes, it's an American thing and I still have problems adjusting to the fact that you don't actually have to wear something scary to be in Halloween spirit, but it's also a fun excuse to dress up. Costumes are pretty scarce in Korea though as Koreans also don't really celebrate it unless a) they're kids and know it means candy (usually because they have a foreign teacher somewhere who panders to this) or b) they're friends with North Americans and want to join in the fun. Last year I did myself up as a properly scary battered house-wife zombie, complete with fake blood running down my face and zombie eyes in all my photos, but since I also had problems getting a taxi and getting all the 'blood' (whiteboard marker cartridges and water) marks off my skin, I opted for something less scary and more in keeping with the North American tradition of "Slut-o-ween" instead by wearing a $7 dress from Tempt or something that I bought last time I was home (with this in mind) and going as a flight attendant. What do you think dear viewers? Which costume did you like more? 2010 or 2011? In my defence, I didn't slut it up as much as I could have this year and none of my underwear was visible through/under my dress.

5. Saw the beautiful Ms Sophia Ko and her lovely hubby Phil on Saturday for some delicious mushroom shabu-shabu in Yongsan, Seoul. It was great to catch up, as they live (mostly) in New York, but although I rarely get to see them, it always feels like we spring back to normal when I do and just continue chatting about our lives where we left off. Here's some photos of our delicious dinner and Phil being just plain weird with his mushrooms (they grow them in bottles and then you just cut them off into your shabu-shabu when you order). But then, we wouldn't have it any other way - he does it so well! Haha^^

Anyway, that's about it for updates so far. I feel like I should throw a funny in from my students though, just to keep to the usual tone of my blog. So we've been doing a chapter on 'Growing Up' and for 2nd grade I showed them the Pussycat Dolls "When I Grow Up" and got them to fill in the missing blanks in the lyrics. This was partly as a treat because I knew they'd like the song and partly because I knew it would make the noisy boys classes shut the hell up for once, guaranteed. And it did! If by 'shutting up' you also accept catcalls and cheering, which is still much less noisy than they normally are. Haha, it was really funny seeing which of them were more interested in the video and which were more interested in getting all the missing words ^_^ The girls also liked it, especially the 'power' dancing' and how much attitude they had and one or two started trying to dance along to the video, but the boys in class 2-5 had the best reaction - they actually applauded once it was over and one of them shouted out "I LOVE AMERICA!!!" and then used every speaking activity opportunity I gave them that lesson to tell me about how much he wanted to move to America and meet 'sexy girls'. So don't say I never give you guys good press! Haha^^