Thursday, May 31, 2012

Favorite Photo of May

Today was the last day of school. Handing out yearbooks to middle schoolers was a unique experience for me. Having them all want their teachers to sign their yearbooks was definitely new to me. They were very sweet today. My room is boxed up and all I have left to is get checked out and keep gathering materials for next year. What a relief!

Well, here it is: my favorite photo of the fifth month of this project. Cade at the Friendship Fair.

Only four more days until we leave for the States!!!!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

It's the little things...

Now that our flight home is so close, I've found myself again noticing things that are specific to Korea. Some of them have been driving me crazy!

Things like kids throwing their garbage on the ground everywhere (especially at the park), the abruptness that is a result of not speaking the same language (when a girl at the park incessantly tells Kennedy to "go" because it's one of the few words she knows in English--it gets the point across!), and women taking pictures of my kids ALL THE TIME.

Obviously these things have occurred daily for the past year, and most of the time I've been fine with it. But, lately, these things have really been bugging me!

At any rate, it's strange what I have been noticing again the dried fish truck that is on the street corner. Hungry? Why not pick up a snack of dried shrimp? Or can I interest you in a pizza topped with sweet potatoes and bacon? I have yet to be able to stand the smell of the squid being cooked on charcoal briquettes on the street long enough to take a picture of it, but there are usually Koreans surrounding it. I cannot wait to breathe in the clean, fresh air of the Pacific Northwest!

In spite of my high stress level (most of it being school-related), I keep trying to put it in perspective. This time last year, my stress level was through the roof. Yes, international travel is stressful and it will be tough to not have a place of our own for two months (not to mention 4 domestic flights in 8 weeks), but it is nothing compared to re-locating your entire family to a new country. We'll be fine and everything that has to get done will get done. I can thank God for that!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Children's Grand Park

Last week, I took the kids to one of the bigger parks here in Seoul. We took off right after I got home from school. It took us almost an hour to get there via bus and subway, but it was worth it!

The park itself is huge and it has a little bit of everything. We had intended to spend most of our time at the zoo, but it was so hot that we ended up spending the majority of the time playing in the water!

After a quick lunch (it's nice that you can always count on a pork cutlet for about five dollars), we headed off to see the "ferocious animals".

We made it to the camels and the monkeys--none of which seem to be particularly well taken care of. The entire park, including the zoo, is free, and I think that the animals may suffer as a result of that.

Then we headed to see the elephants

...and the lions.

The glass in these areas had a lot of scratches on the inside! It made it hard to get a good picture.

Kennedy was excited to see the tigers because they looked just like Jasmine's "Rajah".

We ran into some other white people at the park that we just happened to know, so we spent the afternoon with them. Their son, Liam, is the one on the case you hadn't guessed! No, we don't know the random Korean boy in the picture!

And, no, the one below is not real.

This waterfall was part of the elephants' habitat. We were so hot that we ready to climb in with the elephants.

Instead, we decided to head down to the water park where the kids could play in the stream and fountains.

Cade was pretty independent--he kept taking off to find a new place to splash and to make new friends with the Korean kids--I worry about that kid once we get back to the States!

Cade was really enjoying himself!

We all had a lot of fun, but we were sun-drenched and ready to head home by late afternoon. We even survived the long trip home...that is always the time that I really wish I had a car!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Week 21: Favorites

I think I've already covered the fact that it's been a long week. A really long week. In other ways, it flew by, though. It was the last real week of school--as in work actually being accomplished by the students. Only three and a half days left. Wow. Still a lot of work to be done by the teachers this week.
I had to finish grading essays this week. Thankfully, the weather cooperated and I was able to take the kids to the park in the afternoons to play while I graded in the sunshine. It's so nice that they're self-sufficient on the playground so that I can get some work done when I need to!

Day 139: Kennedy is really growing up. We figured out that she could reach the sponge, the soap, and the sink handle with the aid of a stool, so she is officially a dish washer in our house now. Yay! (Especially since we don't have a dishwasher!)

Day 140: We had our staff picnic on Saturday. Cade and the son of my (former) job share partner were pretty entertaining to watch!

Day 141: The weather was beautiful again! Kennedy posed while we waited for Dad to meet us at the bus stop--I'd left my bus card at home--whoops!

Day 142: On Monday after school, we headed to Children's Grand Park and zoo for a little fun in the sun! A very impressive (free) park. Not a very impressive (free) zoo. More on that here!

Day 143: Another afternoon at the park. The kids found refuge from the sun in the tunnel while they ate their snack.

Day 144: It was hot, but I had bananas in the freezer, so we made a batch of banana muffins.

Day 145: Kennedy was extremely upset over something that Eric and I thought was hilarious. I had to get out the camera! Poor kid.

It was a pretty good week. Spending time in the sun with my two favorite kids is one of my very favorite things to do! I think my favorite shot this week is of Cade playing in the fountains. Not a great shot technically, but I love the joy on his face!

To check out others' photo projects, check out the links:
P52 with Kent Weakley

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Family Picnic

Oh boy! What a crazy, busy week! I spent my morning at school running around like a chicken with my head cut off. I taught my regular classes and then had lots of grades to enter, so I'd arranged with the nanny to come home a little later than normal. Then, I tried working in my classroom, but there was another (chatty) teacher in there. Then, I made a beeline for the staff lounge to work in order to avoid my former homeroom class. After another race back to the room to get the rest of my papers, I finally managed to get everything entered. Since I was starving, I decided to walk to get some lunch to bring home, and my favorite restaurant was closed! By the time I reached home, I was in a frenzy.
I walked in the door, and my normally chaotic house was quiet. Totally quiet. I was stunned. The nanny had done all of the laundry, cleaned the entire house, and both of my children were napping!!! I had serenity for an entire 5 minutes. And I was so incredibly grateful for it!

This past weekend we had our YISS staff and family picnic.

It was fully catered by Outback Steakhouse--I mean a ton of food. Chicken, sausages, and ribs. All on one plate. So. much. food.

The kids had a great time playing on the soccer field. Strangely, I think that Cade is the only 3 year old, but he doesn't mind. The kid gets along with everybody!

It was pretty entertaining watching these boys try to play catch!

The adult boys put together a softball game--Eric was in heaven!

After the adult game ended, they threw a few pitches for the kids. Kennedy is doing a really great job with a bat already. Far better than I ever was!

The weather was a beautiful, mild 75 degrees. It was a nice, relaxing day for the whole family. A very enjoyable "company picnic".

We have 10 days until we leave for the States! So excited! and so much to do!!!!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

International Bazaar

I can't believe that there's only a week left of school. There has been so much going on these last few weeks! We had our school's international bazaar two weeks ago which was a huge event. Then last weekend we had our YISS staff picnic which was a lot of fun. I am still trying to frantically finish grading essays in time for grades, not to mention packing up my classroom, trying to get stuff prepped for next year, and of course, packing suitcases! If I don't post these pictures, though, they will be lost in the abyss of my Lightroom catalog forever.

Eric and I were utterly shocked by the number of people that were in attendance at our school's international bazaar. There were food booths, consignment booths, and all sorts of things for sale. It was overwhelming. We'll be better prepared next year!

There were cultural programs going on the entire four hours while people ate, talked, and shopped.

Taekwondo is native to Korea, and a team from one of the local universities came and put on a show for us.

They even did a Taekwondo-style dance.

as well as some serious stunts...this guy kicked the apple off of the knife while blindfolded.

These guys were pretty impressive.

The kids were also really impressed by our American YISS students and their Taekwondo skills.

Jade is Kennedy's best friend here in Seoul. They were inseparable all day. Jade is wearing a Korean hanbok because she was born in Korea. Her sister represented Russia in the parade of nations because she was adopted from Russia.

Our school has students from 38 different nations, and each one of them was represented by a student carrying the flag from his/her country in the parade. These girls are from Brazil and performed a Brazilian dance.

It was a great afternoon. The weather was perfect, the kids were well-entertained, and the food was delicious!
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