Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Intensives are the Devil

I have been slacking on the blog lately (as alot of you have pointed out, I know, I'm sorry) so I thought I would write you two blog posts (Lucky You!).

So Intensives has started in our schools, it's when the kids have vacation for the holidays. So instead of letting them play and "waste away their youth", their parents send them to EXTRA English classes with us, which makes our lives a living hell for a month. We have to teach extra hours, even though we are paid the extra wages... I'd rather Vito intensives and have a beer.
(I promise pics of the school soon!)

Soooo as I'm talking about the schools, both Shane's school 'Readingtown' and my school 'Avalon', who are brother/sister private English Academies (or Hagwons) held a Christmas party for us on Saturday night which was hilarious. We went to a hotel, had a giant feast which had about 30 different dishes or more to choose from, drank a ton of wine and then the teachers performed a talent show... I didn't prepare anything in time (They probably wouldn't have been able to handle a performance from me, I pretty sure I would have blown them away, full of raw talent is me!) Anyways here's a few pics from the night:

[Yup that's Shane dancing on stage!]

[Some of my co-workers - Simon, Daniel & Nikki]

Also while on the topic of school... when the Korean kids arrive, we give them an English name, cause not only can we not pronounce their Korean names, i'm never gonna remember them. Usually they choose a name from a list but some of them just choose their own from God knows where!!! Shane and myself have come across kids with the names Bono, Elvis, Cyclone, Brain (yes..not Brian... Brain), Silly, Bin, Rambo and there are several kids called Shark. Ehh I dunno. No Comment!! I wish I had a cool English name. haha!

Our group of peeps that work & play together went out for a nice Galbi Meal last weekend, I think I may have already explained but here's some pics of the feast. Pork ribs, that you cook at your table on a grill and a ton of side dishes, it's gooooooood. Shane loves it cause it's a meat feast, he's such a Texan Carnivore.

[Galbi Feast - Check out all the side dishes]

[I loves me some Galbi Goodness!]

A few weeks ago I bumped into three Irish girls from Mayo & Galway in this German Bar we go to. They are a good laugh, it's great chatting to people who understand all my slang and I don't have to explain what i'm saying. Shane likes to laugh at half the things I say. He's just mean! haha! I bumped into them again after our work Christmas party. Gonna head out with them soon on the lash so we can drink and talk about how we miss roast dinners and dirty fry ups.

[Edel, Claire & Charlene]

[It's snowing again - Here's Proof from the Cat Castle]

I Heart Skype!

So on Christmas day a bunch of us got together for a Potluck feast where everyone brings some random contribution of food, whether you cooked it or bought it, you bring it. We had all sorts of random eats. Of course I contributed the mashed spuds with lashings of butter, some stuffing (which was kinds dry cause it had no turkey arse to be stuck up), some brown gravy (which I can never pull off as well as the Mother) and some Chocolate Rice Krispie cakes because one of my Korean mates 'Haewon' is obsessed with their chocolatey goodness! It turned out to be a good laugh!
But I still maintain I kinda skipped Christmas this year as Korea isn't really "down" with the Christmas spirit. I'll make up for it next year though, i'll be sure to wear maternity pants to dinner in 2009 and I plan to eat till I pop!

[This was obviously held in our apartment..hence the hot wallpaper!]

So what really made my Christmas was getting to talk to friends and family over Skype and being able to see people via webcam. I would also like to thank everyone who sent Shane & myself packages, they were brilliant! We are living like kings... well until our "Western" food supply runs out! Urgh!

So while I spoke to the Fam over webcam I snapped a new pics, check em out:

[Mam, Dad & Shane]

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Merry Christmas from Korea

So Christmas is only around the corner... next Thursday.. AHHH!!! Sucks not to be home for Christmas but Shane & myself are defo gonna make the most of it. We spent all day Sunday bleaching the whole apartment clean(to kill the "cold" germs!), sweeping and decorating. We would defo win the tackiest tree award with our Dollar/pound shop decorations and our blue "pepsi" Santa sitting ontop like a little Christmas tree fairy/star. We stuck up some lights and Shane found and took a Scooby-Doo kids table on the street which has joined our collection of street furniture. The apartment is starting to feel alot more cosy and homey.
We both have a good routine going now, we get up about ten-ish and go to the gym every morning before work. Can't wait for spring to come around... dying to get out of Gwangju now and travel around Korea. I should get paid for the first time on the 25th of Dec. A nice Christmas pressie!! We're both pretty skint right now so after Christmas we are going to buy each other bikes!

We've been hanging out with everyone that we work with alot on the weekends, they are all awesome! On Sat night we had drinks in our apartment, played charades (best game ever... haha!) and then headed to a local Norebang/Kareoke Room. We brought our own gargle in so we were all pretty hammered and had a great night. The highlight was probably trying to navigate the Korean Squatter toilets drunk.... urgh!!! I finally got a picture of one for you all though!!

[We got really into it! haha!]

[Korean Squatter Toilets...Lovely!]

[Parts of Downtown look nice and Christmassy. Like Art Street]

[AND... i've already bumped into a rather sketchy looking Korean Santa]


Miss you ALL a ton xxx

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Obsessed Much?

You have all been asking about how the school and teaching is going so guess it's about time I fill you in. Firstly, Korea is obsessed with Education. Most kids go to school from 8am until 4/5pm and then go to an English Academy for the rest of the night. For my older kids, most of them don't finish class until 10 or 11pm... AND if I give them detention they have to stay until Midnight. When do these kids get time to play? They die for their weekends, and even some kids still have school and academy's on Saturdays. It's just plain mean I tells ya!!

Right now I'm taking over for a teacher that just left, I've this week and next week to finish her classes and then next semester I have my own kids, hopefully a bit younger than who I'm teaching now, and also have my own syllabus and curriculum sorted out! The kids aren't bad, usually tired, I wouldn't blame 'em. But the thing that wrecks my head is that they don't get sarcasm!! So I can't really joke too much with them because they look at me like I've got ten heads! Urgh! I really wanted to try out working in a classroom environment but I think it has made me appreciate working outside alot more. I miss working with horses ALOT! I'm still going to give this a good go and enjoy it while I'm here though! It is defo different!!

One other thing that I've noticed is how safe Korea is. Little tiny kids walk around the streets on their own, they walk to and from school, take buses and even cross large busy roads. Most of my older kids walk home even after class or detention at 11/12pm! Anywhere else there'd be a kiddie snatcher on the corner waiting for them... or at least our parents feared there was, but here there doesn't seem to be any paedophiles floating around with lollipops.

Lots of things get overseen here that would not be allowed back home. An example would be Taxi Drivers with TV's in their car. They scare the shite out of me... Not only do they NOT stop for red lights, they also watch TV while they are driving and they don't care if they have a passenger or not. The only positive things about Taxi's here is how cheap they are. It costs us like 2 or 3 Dollars/Euro to get to most places around us, like downtown.

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Asian Rice Arse

So since coming to South Korea, and in only 2 weeks I have found out alot about the Culture, Food and People. Most info I've received is pretty random and always hilarious. One thing that one of my coworkers and friend Tiffany pointed out yesterday is that Koreans or alot of Asian people in general don't really have asses, which is referred to as the "Rice Butt/Ass". So yesterday I went shopping with Tiffany and she pointed out this AWESOME underwear for ladies. They contain PADS in the arse of the underwear to make you look like your packing something back there!! Sooo Funny!
I was very tempted to buy a pair and give myself a Ghetto Booty. I think I know what everyone will be sent for their birthdays next year! lol.

[Arse Pad Undies, from the genius Koreans!]

Korea is also pretty fashion conscious and I've defo found some hot shoes, cheap cheap cheap nice clothes and also some interesting outfits too. Because they don't really have any arses and most are stick thin, alot of the girls wear micro-mini skirts. Here's a few outfits.... you reckon I'd get away with wearing these back home?

When we were shopping, Tiffany also brought me to this crazy little Pizza stall where they put your slice in a cup. hmm... random. This lady is laughing because I was telling her to "smile for the picture".

Also today I went with my co-workers of Avalon School. Yeah that's me... I teach Elementary and Middle school kids at Avalon English Academy and they call me "Lisa Teacher".

So yeah, we went for this really nice Shabu-Shabu meal, it's meat and greens that you cook yourself in a huge pot of spicy broth, then once you've finished the meat n greens, you put in noodles to cook, and when they are gone, the nice ladies make you fried rice out of the broth left over. It's my fave meal here so far.
Afterward, one of the girls Kelly took me to a tailors to fix my coat. It was ripped at the seam and this guy fixed it on the spot for 2 bucks. Now that's service!!!

The tailors son was also running around inside
one of their industrial sized washing machines.
Nothing surprises me anymore! I may eat these words!!!

This weekend is Gwangju's Film Festival so I think we're gonna go check that out. We wanted to go hiking but the weathers pretty crap and cold now.
Although today...... IT'S SNOWING!!!!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Asian Health Check

So yesterday this Korean guy called Jason that works for the schools took me to Gwangju's Hospital for my Health Check. Another crazy experience! Firstly I had my height, weight, blood pressure and eyes checked. Then they took blood, a pee sample and a chest X-ray. Followed by a dental check. All of this was done within 45 minutes and all the results will be available within 48 hours. Now that's service! The funniest bit was getting my blood drawn. It was like the counters of a Supermarket or Boots. There's doctors/nurses sitting at these counters and you take a numbered ticket. When your number comes up at one of the counters, you head over, take a seat and put your arm out. I had to take a picture as proof.

[Check out the number up on the left, also the nurse looks nay impressed that i'm taking her picture! haha!]

After that random turn of events Jason drove me up to the Gwangju University to take a picture of the city! It was kind of a gloomy day but here you go - - -


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Thanksgiving 'Korean/American/Irish/English/Canadian' Style.

So this weekend a whole lot of us got together for a pot luck for Thanksgiving. A great excuse to eat, drink and be merry. Everyone got involved... we had chicken, spuds, salad, veggies, soups, a Korean stew, yummy pesto starters and even curry. It was a mighty feast which was followed by a lot of wine and beer.

[Some of the Thanksgiving Feast]

[The craic was 90 lads! lol]

[Tiffany, Kelly & Me]

[Jesse & Shane.... only spells trouble! lol]

After all the shenanigans in our apartment block we got into a crazy Korean cab that brought us downtown (as always never stopping for red lights) for some more festivities.

[Matt in his 'trashy chic' & Shane being.. eh.. 'hard'? haha!]

[Kelly, Haewon & Me @ The Speakeasy Bar]

The night consisted of drinking, dancing, darts and unfortunately headbanging... resulting in some sore heads AND necks the following day!!! On the Sunday Myself, Shane, Matt & Ashley went to see James Bond, in English of course with Korean subtitles and then went to this really sweet smoothie place with SWINGS for seats!!! Ah Korea. So random!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Korean Beefcakes

So today Shane & I joined a local Korean Gym called Hankook Gym. Well more like a "bodybuilder gym". One of the guys working there recognised Shane from the last time he was in checking it out and calls Shane Mr. Texas! The other guy that works there HAS to be on steroids, actually alot of the guys that work out there must be. So we checked it out, it's crazy cheap, like 145dollars for 6 months, so we joined and then Shane headed to work. I decided to go back later to workout and it was a whole new experience!! haha!!!

[The sign for Hankook Gym & obviously the reason for joining! lol]

Firstly the treadmills have a constant incline on them so I was pretty much running up hill for 20 mins. There were a bunch of teenage boys there that kept staring at me and smiling, I'm sure it had to be the running & the bouncing boobs. Asian women aren't really packing anything up top. Kinda like skittles on an ironing board! Anyways... also the Korean ladies were pretty covered up working out, maybe cause they are supposed to not sweat?!, I dunno but I on the other hand was wearing a pair of sweat pants and a tank top... The ladies were nay impressed of my attire! But the bodybuilders were real nice and kept saying hello to me.

This one ripped man was asking me where I was from and how old I was in broken English, he told me he was very impressed with my training routine. Well... he would be compared to the rest of the females, as they spent their time on those stupid oldskool muscle loosening machines. You know... the ones with the vibrating band that you put around your arse or legs. Hilarious!!! Anyways so this guy who looks about 50 but says he is actually 65 is bench pressing more than any of the other beefcake Koreans. Poor Shane is gonna have his work cut out for him when we go back on Monday morning! lol

So when I was finished I got my stuff and headed for the loo on my way out, only to find out they are squatting toilets, which I passed on! I've heard they exist but this was my first encounter!
I think I'm settling in a bit now, bring it on Korea!! Can't wait to start working on Monday and tomorrow were are having a Thanksgiving Potluck with a few friends. Happy Thanksgiving to all you Americans...... eh...... for yesterday!!!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Gaff Tour

I'm gonna add the address of my school on the sidebar of the blog-page for anyone that has asked for it. Apparently it's better to have post sent to the school because there is always someone there to receive it, the apartment mail box is only tiny anyways, it would never fit boxes of Cadburys chocies in it... Mwah ha ha ha!!

So here's the Apartment Tour as promised. It was taking too long to load onto the page so just click on the link below & it should take you to the video on YouTube. Let me know what you think!!!



Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Cat Castle

Firstly, thank you so much for all the comments. It's great to hear your feedback! So I've made the apartment tour video but it's being weird and wont load for some reason, so that'll have to wait till another day! Anyways there's a few Korean kids wrecking my head right now, they keep doing Nik-Naks (where they ring the bell & leg it) on our door right now. Shane is at work, otherwise i'm sure he'd chase em & scare the hell out of em. I already shouted at them, next time I plan to catch one & feed him to the hungry cats at The Cat Castle next door.
There's an old abandoned castle-like-building next to our apartment building, which we like to call The Cat Castle. It's full of little wild cats that eat from the garbage. Adele... you should come tame them. If you lived here, you'd defo be their Queen.

[The Cat Castle]

So i'm still coughing up my lungs but feeling a little better today. Last night Shane & Myself went for a walk around the neighbourhood where we found Domino's Pizza. The pizza's looked a little sketchy but we thought we'd chance it & ordered a pepperoni. It was Yummm! AND it came wrapped like a little present. A gift for my belly.

[A gift from Dominos]

Note the pimp bedsheets, Shane denies it but I think he picked them out. Also we found that sweet Korean marble table on the side of the street & nicked it! Maybe we are in the Ballymun flats after all. Little knackers! So we've already had some good spicy Korean food and as soon as I feel better i'll be able to stomach more but for now i'm surviving on the best damn cereal around. Get stuck in!!!

[Choco Flakes - The bear says it all!!!]