Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween in Seoul

We were so excited to celebrate Halloween this year! Well, okay, let me re-phrase that: at one point, we were really excited to celebrate Halloween this year. Our friends had offered to take us trick or treating on the base with them about six weeks ago. At the time, it sounded great.

And it was fun. But, since Eric was doing the planning, I didn't really know what was going on. On Thursday or Friday, he told me that the trick or treating was on Saturday, rather than Halloween. That was fine, but it did leave me with little time to figure out costumes.

Then, on Friday night we found out that the trick or treating might be cancelled because the rain (what? who "cancels" Halloween? well, I guess Halloween gets cancelled for a hurricane, but not for rain!).

And it rained hard all day Saturday. Eric's baseball games got cancelled, and we were sure that trick or treating would be cancelled, as well. We were in sweats and sweatshirts lounging around the house all day (Eric even took a nap!). When he got up, I had him call his friend and we learned that we had less than an hour to figure out costumes, get everyone dressed, and get to the subway station where we were meeting them! After a mad dash (and fighting with Cade about a costume), we finally made it.

We had dinner on base and then went trick or treating in the Embassy housing area of the base. The kids came home with loads of candy. The other family that we went with appears to train for this event all year. Their kids didn't complain at all about walking in the pouring down rain for nearly three hours (up and down hills and lots of stairs).

By the time we reached home around 10 pm, we were all exhausted! But, the kids have a supply of candy that should last us for the next year (if I quit giving it away to all of my students)!
(The rain came out of nowhere, too. It was 70 degrees on Friday and hasn't gotten above 60 this week, but I can't remember the last time we saw rain apart from Saturday!)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Fun Fest 2012

So, earlier in the year, I decided to step out of my comfort zone a bit and volunteer for one of the shifts to take pictures at our first school event of the year: the back to school picnic. I really struggled with it. It feels to awkward to take pictures of other people's kids, especially when their parents are standing right there.

As much as I struggled with it (I think I only ended up with about 15 pictures that I thought were usable), other people had nice comments and I did feel like I learned some things.

Since Fun Fest is a little busier--each elementary school classroom hosts a game booth--I thought this event might be a bit easier to photograph, and I was right.

I took a few more shots of my own family this time, but still not many.

I have been doing a good job of volunteering for the earliest shift, so that I have the light working in my favor, but I still have a lot to learn. Especially considering how fast these kids move!

I also have a really hard time figuring out how to get shots of kids looking at the camera without telling them to "smile" and look at me, but every once in a while I get one that works!

This was a shot of my students as they prepared to stand and smile for me. I like this one a lot more than the one of them with their arms around eachother looking and smiling at me!

I was glad that the kids were finally healthy enough to go, although Kennedy is still having her moments (see top picture!). She was very excited to see her friends again after almost a week without them! It's the simple things in life!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Week 43: Leaves

What a week! It really wasn't too bad, there was just so much going on. Eric and I had parent-teacher conferences this week which was a new cultural experience for me. Interesting to say the least. Kennedy has had an awful ear infection. She's been up in the middle of the night all week in pain. Cade has had a fever, too. The only upside is that they've both wanted to take naps! Thankfully, they were both feeling well enough to go to Fun Fest last night at school to round out a long week.

Day 289: One of the kids' favorite things about Korea: the ice cream cones! (bad iPhone pic in the dark)

Day 290: One of my birthday gifts from my family: we went to the park to get another shot of all four of us on the same rock where we took one last year. We only lasted about 10 minutes before we had a meltdown, but we managed to get a couple of shots. Too bad the leaves hadn't quite turned yet. By now, they are all red and yellow.

Day 291: The subway station that is right next to where my Sunday night class is. It's kind of a weird one.

Day 292: Had a 12 hour day of parent-teacher conferences. No picture.

Day 293: A shorter day of conferences with more gifts!

Day 294: Kennedy missed her first day of school because of her ear infection.

Day 295: A long day at school, but it was nice to get out of the house and interact with my chatty teenagers. Kennedy stayed home one more day. No picture, though.

Glad this week is over! Hoping for a better week next week!

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

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Kennedy's Zoo Field Trip

Kennedy's first field trip of the year was to the zoo. By now I think she's been on four, but I was only able to go on that first one. I have been working during all of the others.

Cade was very excited to get to come along, too. He was even more excited that he had a matching red polo so that he could look just like one of the class!

We had to do a little picture-taking scavenger hunt as we went around the zoo, so I ended up with a lot of pictures!

This was our little group...

Cade checking out the lions...

Kennedy leading the way, of course...

Checking out the map to see what else we could fit in before it was time to head to the bus.

Photo op in this funny bird-inspired tree house.

Hard to believe that now Kennedy has completed her first quarter of Kindergarten. She's gotten her first report card, and I had a conference with her teacher this week. She's doing great!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Week 42: Sad

Well, I can't say that we encountered much sadness this week, aside from my frustration with students and lack of communication which made grades a never-ending process this week. Otherwise, not a bad week!

Day 282: A new bakery opened up in our neighborhood--big excitement around here. This clown was outside for three days making balloons for kids! I like how Kennedy is taller than he is even though the clown was on stilts.

Day 283: Had kind of a bum day--the kids and I traveled the hour to watch Eric's second game on Saturday which got cancelled at the last minute. Kennedy was in such a bad mood that we ended up turning around and heading home to grade papers instead of going to the park. I guess if I'd been in a good enough mood to take a picture, it would have been a good example of sad for this week!

Day 284: Studying for my Sunday night class right now--Truth Project.

Day 285: Had an insane amount of work to do on Monday--starting a new unit, the Epic of Gilgamesh, finishing essays, and working on grades.

Day 286: Finished grading essays at the park in the sunshine while Cade played Tuesday morning. Can't believe it's 70 degrees at the end of October!

Day 287: Finally finished grades...again.

Day 288: Cade loves to watch the neighbors move. They open the windows or the doors and all of the stuff goes up on these trucks outside.

It will be another long week for us. We've got parent-teacher conferences for the next two days--nearly 12 hours of talking tomorrow. Pray for us!

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

Friday, October 19, 2012

Hummus 101

So, hummus has been a staple in our house for years now. We love that big container that you can pick up at Costco for about five bucks. My kids have been dipping their carrot sticks in it from a very young age. But that all changed when we moved to Korea.

First of all, Costco does not carry my beloved hummus--or any hummus--yet. I have faith that they will. Secondly, garbanzo beans are hard to come by. And if you do find them, you know, it's about four dollars for a small can. Ouch.

So we've been getting our hummus fix from one of the local Turkish restaurants. Not that I'm complaining. It is probably my favorite restaurant in all of Seoul. Pita, chicken, and hummus? You can't go wrong!

But, recently I heard that you can buy cheap dry chickpeas from one of the local international markets, so I set off in search of the store and the beans. I was able to get a 5 kg bag for less than four dollars! Very exciting! My next task was to try my hand at homemade hummus.

I quickly realized that I was going to have make my own tahini to start which was an experience. Then I realized that my blender is pretty weak and making two pounds of chickpeas (after soaking for 15 hours and boiling for 3 hours) was going to take quite a while in multiple batches. But, after about a 3 hour operation (not including the boiling), I finally had some beautiful, creamy homemade hummus. I adapted this recipe to work for me.

And nothing for dinner at 5:30 on Sunday night except hummus. So, I rummaged through the fridge, took a couple of chicken breasts out of the freezer, sent Eric to the nearby bakery to pick up some delicious pitas, and by 6:30 we were having our own Mediterranean feast. Yum! (Now if only I knew what I threw into that skillet so that I could re-create it!)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Daechon Beach

A few weeks ago I mentioned that we went on our staff retreat. (Actually, I'm not sure how long it was. I really seem to have no concept of time lately.) Anyway, last year and for many years before that, the staff retreat has been the first weekend of full staff before school starts. In other words, we were in country for about 10 days before we had to go spend the weekend at a retreat center with 150 people we didn't know. Not so much fun. Especially not fun when the sleeping arrangements consist of large rooms of women and children sleeping on Korean mats (yoh). Not so much sleep to be had.

Not surprisingly, it was not a favorite activity amongst the staff. Thankfully, last year those in charge of planning the staff retreat listened to the complaints and chose something much different. This year the retreat was not only not the week before school starts, but it was also optional, held at the beach far outside the city, and there was no structured activity whatsoever.

We got to spend two full days just relaxing and getting to know our fellow colleagues and their families better at the beach.

We even had Monday off from school, so we were able to leave Saturday afternoon and not come home until Monday afternoon. Nice.

The place that we stayed was actually developed by missionaries for missionaries in Korea about 30 years ago. So, it's rustic, but it's American-style rustic. There are cabins (that look like American houses) and that have real beds. A whole lot of bunk beds!

There were two different beaches that we were able to explore, and the kids loved digging in the sand!

It was one of those weekends where we didn't really have to worry about the kids because they were either with another set of parents or surrounded by a bunch of teens playing games.

It was so amazing to see sky and real sunsets in Korea with no skyscrapers in sight...our view of the Yellow Sea.

True, it wasn't a long walk to the nearest coffee shop or 7-11. I wouldn't say we felt that we were in a remote location, but we could definitely tell that we were outside the city, which is pretty exciting!


Friday, October 12, 2012

Week 41: Cool Evenings

Oh boy. Another crazy week for us, but it was a good one. I have essays to grade, a new unit to plan, and report cards to do, so this will be short and sweet!

Day 276: Cade got a "new" bike from one of his buddies. He is so excited!

Day 277: I spent my Saturday afternoon in a hummus-making frenzy. I started the dried chickpeas soaking on Friday afternoon. Then cooked them for a few hours, then I did several batches in our weak blender. The work was worth it, though!

Day 278: Spent Sunday afternoon baking and decorating cupcakes for Kennedy to take to school for her birthday. Yup, we like to make it last as long as we can! (Or I'm just too busy to get things done in a timely manner.)

Day 279: Wrapping up the quarter at school. A busy time, of course. A time for comfort food. Cool evenings have finally arrived and put me in the mood for something warm, so I tried a new recipe for homemade mac and cheese.

Day 280: Cade is also feeling the burn from our schedule these days. He laid down on the floor and took a two hour nap after his play date Tuesday morning.

Day 281: Insane day at school. Had kids in my room delivering speeches from 7:45-5:00. Then headed to Lost and home to return emails to students. Must sleep.

Day 282: Started my day off with a homemade pumpkin spice latte. Then some blogging before grading essays and heading to school to pick up Kennedy and last-minute late work from students.

I'd better get back to work!

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

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...