Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Lemon Tree!

Today the kids worked on the chapter "What are you doing?" and they were just too cute not to film when we got to the part of the lesson where they sing "Lemon Tree."  What a great way to learn about verbs :)  

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Just another week in Seoul

Konkuk University area on Saturday night
Hi all,
It's been another great week in Seoul, and I am looking forward to my upcoming long weekend.  Last week flew by - I stayed busy every day meeting up with friends after work and enjoying the city.  Thursday, FINALLY, was pay-day so I am now a millionaire.  Seriously though, after I got paid, I immediately bought a one year gym membership, worked out (FINALLLY!), and then I spent Thursday night celebrating the end of my poverty at a rooftop bar overlooking the city in Gangnam sipping chocolate martinis with my friends.  So this was probably excessive, but it was a good celebration for all we have been through together the last month.
To further my happiness, Friday was a school holiday at Gil-Dong Elementary.  The calender I got said it was a "Self-Control Day" which no one seemed able to explain to me.  I'm pretty sure something was very lost in translation, but I'm not one to complain for a paid day off.  I spent the day shopping in my neighborhood for necessary apartment items.  I'm now the proud owner of things like spoons, a collander, picture frames, cleaners of every type, and a squeegee mop so I can not hate my bathroom the following hours after I shower.  I also got my boxes from Mom and Dad on Friday- finally FedEx delivered them! Friday was pretty much the greatest day ever.... I now also have bedsheets!  Thanks Mom!
Friday night I went all the way across Seoul to On the Border for terrible, overpriced Mexican food for my friend's birthday.  Saturday, I got up early and met some girlfriends to shop at Myeong-Dong.  This area is amazing- its just tons of stores crammed into a few blocks where the streets are all walking streets with tons of vendors for food and junk on them.  They actually have one street that is all shoes.  It is completely overwhelming, but so much fun.  I got a few things, but we left around 3pm because the crowds just got too intense.  Saturday night I went to the Seoul drum festival (so cool!) then spent the rest of the night out in the Konkuk University area with friends.  It was really fun until five of us waited in line to get into a bar only to be told by the bouncer that we couldn't come inside.  When I asked why he said, "because of your skin. You can't come in because you white."  I've never been discriminated against, and it really made me angry.  
Monday morning I was back at school for another short week.  We have Friday and next Monday off for Chuseok (like Korean Thanksgiving).  This week I realized I have more kids with crazy English names.  Today I had one who had a nametag that said "Hell" and another that said "Black."  I still can't call on poor Transformer without cracking up inside.  I had the kids brainstorm words that relate to Chuseok for an activity the other day.  They had recently learned about utensils and some food items so I thought it would work.  Later, I was scanning one kid's sheet of paper and it read, "Game, Song, Money, Grandpa, Grandma, my Babymama" Babymama? Really?  You're did you get that word?
Yesterday, I got in trouble with the principal. I was trying to get off work a little early for an appointment.  I have a log I keep when I leave work and I have to get it signed by the principal. Unfortunately, yesterday, I wrote the one line entry in red pen.  I'm still not exactly sure of the cultural issues Korea has with red pen and marker, but I think it means something like blood, death or bad luck, and when I took the log to my principal you would have thought I came at him weilding a butcher knife.  He FREAKED out on me, and I had to redo my entire log and make a new one.   He was like "this is like blood! Andie! No! No!  Andie! Red pen! No! Andie, you go get new paper and redo this. This bad. This not good" I probably inappropriately responded, "can I use white out?" And he just took it from me and wouldn't give it back.  I think he thought I was trying to kill him or curse him.  I was so embarrassed haha.... he didn't speak to me the rest of the day.

Anyway, last night I had a great dinner with a friend at a korean barbeque place that was fantastic.  I am going out tonight and tomorrow night too - the food here is just so good!  Friday morning I am flying to Tokyo to visit Rachel- one of my roommates from senior year.  I am so excited!  I will let you all know how the trip goes when I get back next week!
Below is a video of Gil-Dong Elementary School's 3rd Grade Field Day.  These kids have been doing this for 2 days now and they line up like this all day.  It is hilarious!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Deokjeokdo Camping Trip!

         Our view from the tent in the morning!

Sitting on the beach watching the sunset

Another island we passed on the way to our island

Hi all,
It is a rainy Monday here in Seoul, and fall is definitely here.  I have finished teaching for today (I love Mondays- my 4th grader's are really good and so fun to work with!), and I wanted to give you all an update on my weekend in the great outdoors.  I stayed in Friday night to get some sleep, and I woke up early on Saturday and headed towards Incheon station (all the way on the west side of Seoul at the verrrry end of one subway line) to meet my friends Jason and Nick for camping.  We met up at the station then headed to the Incheon port to catch the ferry for Deokjeokdo Island.  A one hour ferry ride and a short bus ride later we were sitting on a beautiful beach looking out into the bay.  After some sunbathing on the beach, we swam out to a rustic metal boat out from shore.  The water was pretty chilly and once I climbed up on the boat I was freezing.  We only stayed on the boat a short time before heading back to the beach.  Starving, we headed to find some food.  Deokjeokdo, however, is pretty rural.  We found one restaurant and had a delicious meal that was incredibly overpriced/they totally saw us coming.  Following this, we headed back to the beach to set up camp.  The beach was small, but it had basketball nets, volleyball nets, 2 restrooms, and a wide stretch of sand that went back to the woods.  We chose a spot at the top of the sand in front of the trees.  The sunset was beautiful!  The beach, however, rapidly expands when the tide goes out.  We had never seen anything quite like it- the water went out for hundreds and hundreds of yards.  After it got dark, we walked out in the bay where the water had been over our heads only hours earlier.  It was really cool.  The metal boat and other fishing boats were just sitting on the sand.  We hung out and had some beers on the beach for awhile, but we went to bed pretty early, and all 3 of us crammed in the little tent.  One of my friends was nice enough to bring me a sleeping bag, and although the night was kind of chilly, in the sleeping bag all zipped in the tent, we were not cold at all.
We woke up early on Sunday and sat for a little while on the beach before heading to town.  Because we spent all of our cash on the outrageously expensive dinner Saturday night and the rural island didn't have any place that took debit cards, the man who owned the restaurant told us he would drive us to the ATM by the port at 9am.  After piling in the back of a truck with lots of fisherman, we finally got dropped off at Doekjoekdo's one ATM machine.  Finally with money, we found a restaurant and had a good brunch of rice and some sort of weird black sauce.  We had about five hours until the ferry left, so we hiked to a little beach we saw and laid out for a few hours.  Here, the tide also went out an extreme amount.  According to our calculations (aka Jason's footsteps), the tide went out 800 yards.  It was nuts, but it was also really cool.  The sand was more like mud and it was full of little critters - tons of crabs, snails, fish, etc.  We walked out across the flats to the water (which was dirty on this side of the island), then went back and got some sun before catching the ferry back to Incheon. 
Although I had a great weekend, I came back kind of pink.  It's only my face, and I don't think it is that bad.  Anyway, Koreans don't go in the sun -they constantly reapply sunscreen and apply skin whitening creams - tanning is a completely foreign concept to them- they avoid the sun at all cost.  All day the students stared at me, laughed and would say "Teacher, Your Face REDDDD."  Or they just per usual stare at me as if I am from outer space.  The other teachers keep asking me if I was ok.  The principal looked at me this morning and sincerely said "Is your health ok?  Uh, Andie, what happen your face?"  One vice principal goes, "Are you angry today?"  You red.  You look like fire engine," and the other vice-principal said, "what has happened to you?"  I reply, "sunburn," and he goes "NO, it CANNOT BE!" It cannot be! Cannot! Did you have a "cosmetic accident?"  No, I say, I am just a little sunburnt.  Five minutes later, the school secretary who doesn't speak a word of English tried to give me an icepack for my face.  So embarrassing.  Late afternoon, the principal walked by, handed me a tomato, laughed, and walked away.  I'm pretty sure he was making fun of me.  Now I have learned my lesson though, and will not be venturing out in the sun for the next year of my life. 
Miss you all!

Happy 21st Sarah!

These are my 4th grade extracurricular students learning to sing Happy Birthday!  Happy Birthday Sarah! Have a great day!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Because nothing says Korea like Obama in a speedo.

This lovely poster greets me every time I enter the subway, and I think it really says a lot about Korea.  I wish I could tell you what it says, what it is for, or why on earth they slapped President Obama's head on this body, but my Korean language skills are still nonexistent.  I giggle every time I see this, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.  

I <3 Korean Baseball

The Gardens at Gyeongbokgung Palace - the best part of the grounds

                                                      Gyeongbokgung Palace

                                             Korean Baseball at Jamsil Stadium!

Hi all,
My time here is flying by so quickly!  I am staying busy all the time, and I am still having the time of my life.  I just got home from scoping out gyms with my coteacher (I finally found a good one!), and then she was nice enough to take me to a really good traditional Korean dinner.  Sometimes I still cannot believe how welcoming everyone has been to me the last few weeks! 

Last Thursday, I met up with about 15 people after work and headed to Jamsil stadium to watch a baseball game.  Unlike the States, in Korea, fans can bring their own beer into the stadium.  If you get there early, you can "tailgate" (sans actual tailgate) in the stands. I had no idea it would be so crazy.  Korean baseball fans are really intense- the entire time they are standing and yelling, singing, chanting, and banging these huge plastic tubes together.  Everyone follows the lead of one really goofy male cheerleader who stands in the front of the crowd with a whistle.  It was hilarious.  Unfortunately, none of us knew enough Korean to join in the singing and chanting, but a good time was had by all. 
Friday, I was invited out to dinner by my landlords.  They are an older couple that live on the top floor of my building, and they are making a sincere effort to help all 9 foreign teachers living in the building.  We went to a fantastic little restaurant around the corner from the building and I had a delicious roast duck for dinner.  After the meal, they invited us up to their apartment where we sat on the roof and chatted while we stuffed ourselves with fruit (specifically the grapes- they are really good here- unlike anything I've ever had), rice cakes (I'm obsessed with the rice cakes here.  The ones that have a red bean in the middle of the rice goo are delicious), peanuts, beer, and soju.  Anyway, the landlords (who insist we call them Mama Liz and Papa Kim) are really generous and helpful.  Although their English is not great (Papa Kim usually has no idea what's going on- he just nods and smiles a lot), they do their best to make us comfortable and welcome.  I am still working on getting my apartment like I want it.  I need a few more items (for example, a lamp.  I only have one big flourescent light on the ceiling so I asked for a lamp from my school out the budget they are given for me to use.  I received a very futuristic looking lamp thing that looks something akin to a security surveillance camera.  It is also flourescent.  And ugly. Great.)
Saturday I spent the day exploring Gyeongbokgung Palace with my friend Sam.  It was kind of bizarre - it looks quite like an ancient kingdom was dropped into the middle of a parking lot in the middle of an urban city.  The palace was also empty and although it was sprawling, most of it looked exactly the same to me.  I would love to say this was a great day trip, but I got bored pretty quickly.  Sunday we went to Seoul Forest (think Central Park).  Each weekend I am hoping to get at least one cultural item checked off.  Although I'm here for a year, Seoul is one of the biggest cities and the world, and if I'm not careful I'm going to miss out on really getting to know the city.  Saturday night I spent out in the Itaewon area of Seoul for a friend's birthday celebration.  Itaewon is fun because it's mostly foreign bars filled with ex-pats and everyone is speaking English.  I love the area, but I need to start seeing nightlife in other parts of the city.
Monday I officially became an Alien!  After teaching 5 classes on Monday, I headed to the immigration office where I picked up my Alien Registration Card.  This was immediately followed by a bank account (so I finally got paid!).   Tuesday, I got a cell phone! I have been without a phone since I left home in July, and I feel like my quality of life just increased dramatically with my new cell phone plan.  I'm slowly becoming a real person.  (Unfortunately this means I now have real bills to pay.)  Wednesday night I went to another baseball game with a friend.  One of my co-teachers gave me last minute tickets, so I got to see more crazy Korean baseball. 
Unfortunately, today is Thursday which is probably the worst day of my week.  On Thursday I teach 6 classes to, in the words of my coteacher "wicked" students.  I shouldn't even use the word teach - it's more like I do damage control, yell, and pray that no one dies in my classroom.  Some days I feel like I'm not even working at a school- more like an insane asylum.  All of my 6th graders are, well, probably typical 6th graders - really obnoxious.  Class 6-1, however, is just horrific.  Most of them speak no english- they don't even understand basic directions.  Today, besides confiscating every near and dear item to their little 6th grade hearts, I had to deal with a girl cutting one kid's clothes off with scissors and a kid sobbing because he was poked in the eye.  The students here are all very violent - even the 4th graders.  It's a huge cultural difference that I cannot seem to get over.  The teachers don't even flinch as the kids punch each other, pull each other's hair, and slap one another.  (Then again, the teachers will hit the students too sometimes).  It's painful to watch, and I find myself pointing and yelling "No touching!" way more than I should.  It's at times like this that I realize I'm really not qualified to be a teacher.  I have a degree in History which doesn't exactly translate well into classroom management. 
The kids I teach are also all on really different levels which is frustrating.  I have kids who literally can't say one word, and others who are practically fluent.  For example, the other day after class I had a 4th grader come up to me and say, "I hear you are from Atlanta.  I went once to Atlanta.  I was on the way to Florida.  I didn't leave the airport, but I found the Atlanta airport to be very satisfactory."  Satisfactory?  Where did he learn that?  The kids also are still fascinated by me.  I realize I'm American, but I might as well be from outer space.  A lot of times the kids will stare at me in the hall, and if I say Hello, they giggle and run away.  It's ridiculous.  I'm also realizing it is a mixed blessing to live so close to my school.  Every day I literally am escorted to school by a passle of Korean children who are all YELLING "HELLO TEACHER" repeatedly.  It's nuts. 
Anyway, I am looking forward to the weekend, and I will keep everyone updated on my adventures!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Coteachers and Dental Hygiene

This is my 5th grade co-teacher!- I call her Jenny. She's wonderful.

These are my other 3 co-teachers- I call them Sue, SJ, and Sophia!  They're great!


Today was a great day!  I taught 4 5th grade classes this morning.  It was pretty uneventful.  It was better than yesterday's classes I think.  Yesterday I presented a powerpoint presentation that I had not seen before- my coteacher said she had one made with our vocabulary on it so I could use that for teaching comparisons.  I meant to look at it before class, but I forgot.  Anyway, after getting through taller/shorter, older/younger, etc., I come to bigger/smaller.  The example sentences were "My eyes are bigger than yours." and "My eyes are smaller than yours," and these included pictures of Asian characters.  All the kids thought it was hilarious, but I thought it was kind of offensive haha.  I also accidentally clotheslined a kid yesterday.  Before each class can leave, each child has to answer a "password"/vocabulary phrase to get past me at the door.  Yesterday, this one kid looked really scared.  I was passing someone else out, and this kid decided to make a run for it.  As he was about to bolt past me at the door, on absolute reflex I stuck my arm out and clotheslined this poor 6th grader.  I felt really bad, but I felt worse when my co-teacher was like, "oh, he doesn't speak English.  He just moved here from China.  That kid has no idea what's going on."  Haha oops.

Anyway, today was a great day.  At lunch today, I ate octopus.  I don't think I actually would have gotten it if I knew what it was, but I was deceived in the lunch line (I thought it was baby corn hah) and after I sat down I realized I'd taken a huge spoonful of octopus tentacles.  They were surprisingly good with rice, but they weirded me out a little bit.  My Korean lunch friend, Jenny, also taught me about cleaning products today.  I asked her for help because I can't figure out what I need to buy to wipe off my counters or clean the bathroom- all the cleaning products look exactly the same to me and all the labels are in Korean.  I've yet to wipe my counters with anything but water, and it's beginning to really gross me out.  She is so helpful!

This afternoon I had another moment where I thought there must be a hidden camera somewhere.  I was sitting at my desk working on a lesson plan when the principal comes over talking to me in English that I apparently did not understand. I clearly said the wrong thing or nodded at the wrong time, and then he goes, "Andie come." So I jumped up and followed him to the the large sink area outside the bathroom where he proceeded to give me a demonstration on brushing my teeth.  I'm not sure what I did to deserve that awkward moment, but I watched intently as he told me about dental hygiene in Konglish.  I don't brush my teeth after lunch, and I think that someone must have caught on to this fun fact.  As my friend Rachel told me, however, "sometimes you just have to play the foreigner card," and I'm still not planning on packing my toothbrush every morning.

After school, I went with all the teachers and administration to a duck restaurant.  The dinner was for all new teachers and administrators and, apparently, me.  I wasn't really aware of this until I had to stand up and "say something."  Although no one knows what I am saying, for some reason this makes me really uncomfortable.  I've already had to go on morning announcements and "introduce myself" at two faculty meetings to the same people.  So tonight, I stood up and start with "Hi." and everyone goes "Hi!!" because I think that's the only word some of them even know.  Anyway, I made up a little speech then sat down.  I sat with my English co-teachers on the floor at the end of this very long little table.  They are SO nice!  The entire dinner they were telling me about the food, and laughing with  me as I struggled with chopsticks.  The dinner was amazing- it was kimchi, duck in salad, duck on a grill, baked duck, and some sort of duck casserole, salads, soups, beer, soju, and sodas.  I was practically soju hazed by a vice principal.  I'm not a huge soju fan, but I took my shot like a champ.  I also was given beer and strawberry wine.  Everyone was so generous and so helpful.  They are so concerned that I am lonely and miss home- they are always inquiring into what I do and if I want to go places or meet people.  One of the teachers has 2 children in college and she wants me to go out with them- she was so excited when I said I did indeed want to make Korean friends.  I remember just sitting there looking around at dinner and thinking that it was absolutely amazing- I was having so much fun and I was thinking I didn't know how I could go back to the States and have a regular office job after this much excitement.  The food is amazing, the people are so wonderful, and everything is just so relaxing and new.  

After dinner, the teacher who bought my microwave for me and read me the instruction manual (refer to older post), gave me a bottle of Pepsi he took from the restaurant, and my co-teachers invited me to go get coffee with them.  We walked to a coffee shop and sat for over an hour talking.  Two of them are a little older (even though they don't look like it at all!) and both have two teenage daughters.  One of them, Jenny, kind of reminds me of my mom.  She's very concerned about me, and although she is my co-worker, I do let her mother me some.  It's kind of nice to have that.  The other two are both very young and cool.  All of them speak very good English.  They say they don't, but I always understand what they are saying so I think it's fine.  They tell me places to go, what I need to see in Korea, and how to navigate the city.  I'm so happy they are so nice to me and so helpful - I feel so lucky to be here!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Badminton and Transformers

Hi all,
It's currently Tuesday afternoon and I just finished my second day of teaching.  I spent most mornings teaching then the afternoons alternate between facebook, email, and lesson planning.  I actually spend a lot of time just figuring out how to use Microsoft Office in Korean.  I spent 40 minutes today trying to insert a textbox on a powerpoint slide.  Ridiculous.  I am enjoying most of the teaching, but sometimes I get bored watching the same dialogue videos multiple times per day.  The national curriculum is kind of silly I think, and I need to start working on my lesson plans to make them not only more fun, but way more useful to the students.  For example, I've spent the last two days talking about badminton (as instructed in the teacher's manual).  Let's be honest- no one actually plays badminton.  I'm also working on "polite excuses" with the students.  This includes, but is not limited to, dialogues such as, "Let's play badminton!" "Sorry, I can't. I have a cold."  It's really lame, and I'm pretty sure this conversation has never actually taken place in an English speaking country. 
Anyway, I had 4th grade all morning yesterday.  They were reallly good- enthusiastic and most of them were fairly good at speaking.  They are also adorable.  When I called on them they were excited to answer or either stared at me with a terrified expression similar to a deer in headlights.  After lunch, I had 1 6th grade glass.  They were terrors.  My co-teacher and I could barely control them.  They were loud, rude, threw stuff, and were even hitting each other.  My only tactic of control is humiliation since no one wants to be uncool in the 6th grade.  Today I had 4 6th grade classes, but they were much better behaved.  At least now I don't have to dread the entire 6th grade.
The students are really funny!  I like to spot check pronounciation so I call on various students.  Most of them respond correctly, but some just stare at me.  The other students will say something like, "Teacher! He don't speak English!! Teacher! He don't speak English." I'm like yes, but this is English Classsss.  Yesterday, the homeroom teachers had English nametags on the students just for me.  Most Korean students who have any sort of private English tutoring or background have English names.  Apparently, they pick them out of some book - I'm not sure of the details.  Anyway, in the 4th grade, it was all I could do not to crack up- I had a ridiculous array of names - some were Candy, an Alvin, a Louis, and a Jerry.  My favorite, however, was Transformer.  I couldn't even call on him because I didn't think I could call on poor little Transformer with a straight face.  It was hard enough seriously calling a 9 year old Korean child Jerry. 
I'm sure I'll get better with the names and my teaching strategies.  For now, I am so happy I have Korean co-teachers who are there to work with me.  Hopefully, I can get some English into these kids before the end of the year!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Hiking Trip and New Challenges

Hiking at Saraksan... I think that's North Korea somewhere on the other side of those mountains.  

Spectacular views from hiking!

Mark and I on the way up the trail!


Overall, I am loving Korea.  Although I don't have internet, a cellphone, a bank account, or a gym membership until after the 14th when I will officially become an Alien (haha), I am feeling somewhat settled.  I am much more laid back than I was 2 years ago and this transition has been surprisingly easier than my move to Paris was in 2007.  Every day something so ridiculous happens to me that I swear I'm on Candid Camera or Punked or something, but then I remind myself that this is actually real.  For example, a man at my school asked me if I knew how to work an electric range.  I said I did not because I wasn't exactly sure what appliance in my kitchen he was referring to.  Anyway, he came over later and proceeded to quasi-translate in Konglish the ENTIRE microwave instruction manual to me and give me tips on using my microwave. I was in a hurry to meet my friend, but I couldn't tell him to stop since he was so nice to come offer to help me.  Another example would be my shower.  My "shower" is actually a hose with a showerhead that is attached to the top of my sink in the bathroom (kind of annoying since the entire bathroom gets wet every time I shower.)  There is a switch on the sink that puts it to faucet versus shower head on the wall off the hose.  I always forget to switch it back when I'm done showering so a few hours later I'll try and turn the sink on and blast myself in the face with the cold shower.  Luckily, even I think this is funny every time it happens.  Lastly, sometimes I think how funny it would be to be a fly on the wall when I attempt to work things like my air conditioning unit, my hot water unit (which also is a thing that makes my floor warm and must be turned on to shower) and my washing machine.  All the buttons are in Korean and so are the manuals.  I think I have screwed up just about every appliance I have.

I also am having a hard time with the provided school lunches.  Every day I eat a buffet style lunch in the faculty room with the administration and some other subject teachers.  My school friend, Jenny, always tells me what is what, but no matter what it is, I try and take at least a little bit of everything.  The teachers all stare at me eagerly when I try something new, and I am always terrified of offending them.  Most of the food isn't that bad, but a lot of the time it just isn't what I'm expecting.  For example, the other day I got a bowl of soup- expecting it to be hot and delicious.  Unfortunately, it was freezing cold and very fishy. Gross.  My lunch diet consists mostly of rice, kimchi (Thank God I like kimchi), and enough bites of everything else as to not offend anyone.  This is going to take getting used to for sure!
My biggest problems so far though are not having a dryer (ugh), not being able to find avocadoes cheaper than $6 per avocado, and not being able to access the J.Crew website from this country.  If those are my biggest issues though, I'd say that this move has been pretty successful.  I've made a lot of new friends and kept my old ones from Thailand.  I have been out almost every day after school meeting up with people all over the city, exploring the town and nightlife.  It's fantastic. 

As you all know, I'm not very outdoorsy at all, but I'm making a huge effort to get out and see as much as I can before the weather gets cold.  Therefore, Saturday, I got up early and went with some friends to Saraksan to go hiking.  The hike was intense at some points, but it was really fun!  When we got to the observation deck area of the mountain, the views were absolutely spectacular.  I hope to go back to this park again and do more hiking.  

Tomorrow is my first day of work, so I am off to get some sleep!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Love my new life.

Hi all!

Things are great here.  Yesterday, I went to school, but I left in the morning to apply for my alien registration card since the line was too long on Monday (Kim and I had to leave to get back to school for a meeting).  Unfortunately, yesterday I waited in a long line only to turn in my paperwork and be told that I was at the wrong office. I came back to school kind of defeated.  I must have looked pretty bummed because the secretary forced me to go see the school nurse, and they made me lie down.  

I am still really liking my school.  I have a friend at lunch named Jenny- she is Korean but went to school in Australia so she is fluent in English.  The principal introduced me to her and she eats with me.  He is so worried that I am lonely- which I am not at all- I've been busy every day after school meeting up with people all over the city.  He keeps bringing over to my desk anyone who speaks English and being like Friend! Friend for you! No more lonely!  Its nice but kind of awkward.  They are so nice to me though you would think I'm like a rockstar.  I met my co-teachers yesterday.  There are 4 of them and we sat down and broke down the expectations of each other.  The students have English 2 times per week but only see me once per week so they want me to really not co-teach as much but lead the class when I have them so the kids get maximum time with a native speaker.  I started thinking about lesson plans, but the teacher's manual breaks down everything- its literally like the lessons are already made- you just change the games or what you dont like (there is a lot of stuff in that manual I will definitely change though!).  I'm essentially getting paid to talk in my native language.  It's actually embarrassing how easy it is- I mean, I havent started teaching yet, but the lessons are seriously already made out for me.  Im the first native speaker teacher this school has had so they are all so curious about me and every day like 10 times I hear "Very Beautiful." We like you- you very beautiful.  Wil you teach me English- I like you because youre beautiful."  Sometimes it's an ego boost and other times it makes me very uncomfortable! 

 I have my own desk in the "Faculty room"- its a room that is off the principal's office- it has me, the secretary, the 2 vice-principals, and 2 conference tables in it.  No one else in here speaks english so I just kind of do my own thing.  Today I got up early and went to get my alien registration card- I got permission to leave home and not go to school because the office is very far across the city - I left at 7:30 and got there about 9am - I was early in line though, and dropped off all my documents.  They said they wouldnt be done until September 14! TERRIBLE. I can't get internet in my apartment, a cell phone, or gym membership, or bank account until then.  I can't get my settlement allowance until I get an account.  Anyway, I've been stealing some internet in my apartment and I have it at school all day so that isnt that terrible- but I really want to sign up for the gym and get a phone!  That card is running my life right now.  

Last night I went to my friend Mark's apartment in the Gangnam area (read: Times Square) and had a little dinner stir-fry party with about 15 friends.  It was great to chat with everyone and hear about all the new experiences we are all having here!

Anyway, this afternoon I was making lesson plans and the principal came over and said "Andie come."  And they had all this food spread out for no apparent reason.  The administrators and I then dug in to the delicious food! I had pizza and clementines.  (I declined the seafood- it looked a little suspicious.)  I did fail at eating my pizza with chopsticks though.  Anyway, they also kept pouring me beer, wine, and soju -whatever I wanted.  This job is seriously unreal.  I don't know why everyone doesn't do this- I love it.