Awww Moment

I teach grades 3-6 in an elementary school. Up until a month or so ago, I taught 6th grade twice a week. It was cut back to once a week so that the 6th graders could prepare for their national exam that they had last Tuesday.

Last Friday was my last class with the 6th grade students until September. My co-teacher knew they had been very stressed out over the exam so she wanted me to have fun with them. We played a “Name That Tune” game using Korean pop (K-pop) songs. They were able to listen a clip of the song that used English and they had to write down the name of the song and the name of the band. They also had to list the English words that they heard. Apparently they loved it because my co-teacher told me that yesterday they were begging to play again.

She also told me that she gave them a sheet of paper and asked them to write down things they thought the class was missing. 20-30 students said me. Awww!

End of the semester

I love my 3rd graders. They are all so sweet and very eager to learn. It’s their first year learning English and are just now starting to learn phonics and the alphabet. We had so much fun today. This is the last week of the semester so I won’t see many of them again until September. I’m going to miss them.

Part 2: Things that just don’t seem strange anymore…

Because the first post was so popular, here are more things that just don’t seem strange [about Korea] anymore…
  1. You start telling people they should “take a rest.”
  2. Blue eyes can put others into a state of hypnosis.
  3. A single bar of soap can kill the bacteria on the hands of 1,000 people.
  4. You’re getting used to fruit flies buzzing around your head.
  5. You love buying food in the supermarket that is scotch-taped to something else.
  6. The wait staff likes to cook your food and feed it to you.
  7. You cross your arms in an X every time you say NO or disagree about something.
  8. You think you’re back in university after hearing loud drunks stumbling home at 4am on a Sunday morning… but then realize its 50 year olds wearing suits.
  9. Koreans seem to be able to find anything from “www[dot]daum[dot]net” but you’re not even sure what kind of site it is.
  10. You feel like you’re playing Frogger every time you walk to school or have lunch in the cafeteria.
  11. Parking a car means turning off the engine.
  12. You find yourself chopping vegetables while sitting on your bed because there is no counter space.
  13. Your fate is often determined through a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors.
  14. People just love to watch your groceries go through the checkout.
  15. Clerks in the stores stand at attention and ready to pounce on you with customer service.
  16. Dishes and ironing are taking up too much of your spare time.
  17. You’ve-ah started talking like-ah this-ah.
  18. No matter where you are standing, you are always in an old lady’s way.
  19. You actually prefer bowing to saying hello.
  20. People only need to walk one block to reach a convenience store or PC room.
  21. People politely start public trash piles rather than littering everywhere.
  22. You find yourself disappointed in the equipment offered at the free public park gyms.
  23. You still have no clue how the garbage/recycling system works here.
  24. You’re already losing your motivation for temple-stay and learning fluent Korean.
  25. Everyone is very impressed with your chopstick skills and kimchi-eating ability.

*I didn’t write any of these myself, but they pretty much sum up life in Korea. *

You can find the original post here:

Things that just don’t seem strange anymore…

Carnival of Drifter Tales

3 Months in Korea

I know I’m extremely behind on posting. I felt so bad about it that I decided to make a video to make up for it. Even though I’ve just started month 5 in Korea, I made this video using short clips I took during my first 3 months here. Enjoy!

Busan Aquarium

Saturday, April 2

One of the most famous attractions in Busan is the Busan Aquarium. It’s located right on Haeundae, Busan’s most popular beach. If you go, watch out for those pesky birds. As always, click on any picture below to see the full size image.







The aquarium is nice, but it’s actually quite small. The entrance fee is 18,000 won (about $16.50). We thought that was a bit too expensive. It’s definitely good to get it checked off of the To Do List, but we won’t be back.

After the aquarium, we stopped off at the darts booth and Andy and I threw some darts at balloons. Here we are with our prize seashell necklaces…

Our next stop was Fuzzy Navel for drinks and chips and dips… and more darts.

Afterwards, we headed to the Wolfhound Pub and had some Irish food and played more darts.


Teachers Day

Sunday is Teachers Day in Korea, and it also happens to be my birthday. Right now the 6th graders are learning about birthdays so a few of them know that my birthday is coming up.

I taught 5 classes of 6th graders today and it was not a fun day for them because they had 3 tests: vocabulary (writing), listening and speaking. Even though it was the busiest day I’ve had, I enjoyed the day because it meant I had one-on-one time with all of my 6th graders.

During my second class, one of the boys got up from the speaking test (he only answered 1/4 correctly) and very sweetly told me, “Happy birthday!” Moments like that make my heart melt. Ahhh they’re so sweet!

During another class, I was still out in the hall giving speaking tests during the passing period when 3 girls came to class singing me happy birthday. It was super sweet. After class they came back with gifts for me. I got a card, a letter and two artificial flower bouquets. I absolutely loved it! You can click on the pictures of the gifts to enlarge the image, but in case you still can’t make out the writing, I have typed it out below.

You deserve whatever you get.

Hello! Magean~^^
I’m Grade 6-3 Kim Min-Ji.
You’re happy birthday!
Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday to you!
I celebrate you~
Teacher! Happy Birthday
and Happy Teacher’s Day

Bye! Bye! – Min Ji -Kim-

Magean teacher..

Hi~Magean teacher~ my name is Kim da un.
teacher ~ May 15th is Magean teacher’s birthday~!
Happy birthday to you ^^
And, teacher is very beautiful ~
Thank you!

-Da un-

Later in the afternoon my co-workers surprised me with a birthday cake. It was a good day.


Meagan Teacher

The best part about being a teacher are the students. Some of my favorite moments happen outside of the classroom, though.

One of the first lessons the 4th graders had this year was “Good morning/afternoon/evening/night.” Now I have one 4th grade girl who greets me with the time of day every time I see her, and it’s usually multiple times a day and usually in the morning. She definitely seems excited when she sees me after lunch so she can use “Good afternoon.” And just once I saw her at the end of the day and you can imagine the smile she had when she was finally able to say “Good evening.”

I have another student that loves to ask me, “Teacher, how are you?” When I ask her back, she almost always says she’s “Happy!” We have this exchange several times per day.

I always talk to my 6th graders before class and they are the biggest self-esteem boosters. The girls always love my hair, my accessories and they notice every time I change the color of my fingernails. “Teacher, your hair good!” “Your manicure beautiful!” “Teacher… S-Line!” I did get an interesting comment from one of the boys one day though. I asked him, “How are you?” and he said “Scared.” When I asked why, he said, “I saw your eyes… and they scared me because… blue!”

I know you’re not supposed to have a favorite class (or favorite students), but I definitely do. The 6th grade boys are so funny. I’m not sure what the fascination is, but many of them have renamed themselves some variation of my name. It started out as Meagan 1, Meagan 2, etc., but now they have named themselves things like Angelina Jolie Meagan, Ke$ha Meagan, Lady Gaga Meagan and Meagan 10,000.

I only teach 3rd-6th grade, but I love saying hi to the younger students because I get some of the best reactions from them. Many of them actually respond back with a shy “hi” or “hello” but a lot of the time I get a bow and “annyeong haseyo.” I’ve also gotten embarrassed giggles and then I hear the student saying something to their friend about “waygooken,” which means foreigner. They probably are just saying something like, “The foreigner just talked to me!”

Sometimes students just come and stand next to me and stare. You can tell that they really want to talk to me, but they just have no clue what to say.

I really want to take a video camera around with me when I walk through the halls sometime because it’s chaos. I’ve had students that were literally in the middle of a race down the hall with their friends stop dead in their tracks and turn around just to say, “Oh, Meagan! Hiii!”

The kids run around the halls like crazy people and it’s just something I’ve gotten used to. I was pretty much sick for the first two months here. One day I was feeling awful and just wanting to go home and go to bed when I saw a student running down the hall. I didn’t think anything of it until I realized she was running down the hall to give me a hug. Things like that make even the worst days better.

Night Out with the Teachers

Thursday, March 17

Last night the English teachers from my school went out for a night of food and bowling. We ate at a shabu-shabu restaurant. This was, by far, the best food I’ve had in Korea. If any of you come visit, we must go eat at this place. They bring out a pot of seasoned broth and you boil the broth then cook very thinly sliced beef in it. You are also brought loads of veggies and rice paper. You wet the rice paper then fill it with veggies, meat and sauce and then wrap it. It’s so good! The girls said that it’s like Korean/Vietnamese fusion.

After dinner, we walked to the bowling alley, which is located about a subway stop away inside of Home Plus. Bowling was such a blast. There was tons of high fiving going on, even for gutter balls. The ladies I work with are super sweet. I was in second place the whole game, but I had a comeback on the last two frames and won.

Something I thought was really neat about the bowling alley was the way you rent shoes. The shoes are actually distributed through venting machines. The fee is 1,500 won (about $1.40). You insert your coins into the machine with your shoe size and the shoes drop out of the bottom. So cool.

After the game we walked around Home Plus to buy some snacks and supplies for the English teachers’ office. My two co-teachers shared a taxi back and JuHye and I took the subway. I only live two stops from where we were and I wanted to find out where the subway station was so I could come back on my own sometime.

I look forward to many more teachers nights in the future.

Shark Attack

Life at my school is pretty good. We moved offices not that long ago. It was nice to be able to have my own desk, but I soon discovered that I’d be sharing an office with this…

One of my co-workers and I ended up carrying that darn shark all over school. Our new office is on the 3rd floor so we carried it down to the second floor science lab to see if they wanted it, but they didn’t. Next, we carried it down to the first floor to take it out to the trash. The man we took it to said he actually tried to throw it out before, but they didn’t want to. Oh well. It’s gone now.

Yonggungsa Temple – Part 2

Yesterday, I left you wondering what crazy thing I could have possibly done as I was leaving the temple. Today is the big reveal, but I’ll let the pictures tell you…

We ate silkworm larvae.

Can you believe it?!

It was disgusting!