School Lunches

My school has started sending out messages each day describing the day’s lunch. Once translated, it is probably more confusing than not knowing at all.

“Please note that from meals room>1. Food and Health News No. 4 exit. (“Stress too hard come harderchungonjeung received”)2. Today, my kids are too like boiled.
Suddenly you’re feeling better this year for things to “loin” was prepared.
Please enjoy delicious.3. Lettuce, carrots, cucumber prepared by Eco.
May worry that you have folded like sigo.
To eat plenty of vegetables and fruits, especially in the spring.(Chungonjeung Prevention)4. Talking theology students have a lot of changes in the amount of pear is often lacking.
If you have jeonchulip It’s yours when you blow a note to the meals room will be modified.Lunch today was more alert.”

I wasn’t sure what we were having until I walked into our lunch room and it all made sense. Up until today, I hadn’t taken pictures of any of my school lunches because I was pretty sure I’d look silly doing it in front of all of my fellow teachers… but the interesting thing about a new school year is that half of the teachers I have lunch with are new to my school (teachers in Korea rotate schools every 2-3 years). None of them know me or talk to me (only about me) so I decided to go for it today.

Across the top is boiled pork (수육), dipping sauce (쌈장), water kimchi (물김치). Across the bottom is rice (밥) and lettuce for wrapping (상추). They also served soup, but I rarely ever eat it because it’s usually fishy or made with some sort of fish based broth and I don’t really care for seafood. This lunch is like a treat for me. There’s a good mixture of protein and vegetables, which is usually lacking in the lunches at my school. The lunches at my school aren’t that amazing and occasionally I find myself only able to eat the rice and kimchi (if it’s good that day).

A year in photos – Day 12

Thursday, March 8

I got this amazing care package in the mail today from Ashleigh. It was so thoughtful. I knew she was going to send Girl Scout Cookies, but the rest was a complete surprise. I absolutely love it!

A year in photos – Day 11


Wednesday, March 7


I get instant messages (in Korean) on my work computer all day long. I usually translate them because I’ve found it’s the best way to stay informed. The translations are really butchered, but I can usually tell what’s important and what isn’t.

Today I found this gem waiting for me when I got back from lunch…. Apparently only 8 out of 10 Koreans fart. Who would have known? Haha

A year in photos – Day 10


Tuesday, March 6


Today was a bit stressful for me. My teaching schedule keeps getting changed. The changes wouldn’t be that big of a deal except I’m now expected to turn in lesson plans to the vice principal for a class that I have no idea how to teach and I’m not getting much support from my co-teacher.

I am fortunate enough to have amazing friends and a fantastic boyfriend. I had to cancel going to Costco with the girls tonight because I was feeling overwhelmed by work stuff. Dave offered to come down to Busan a night early because I was having a rough day. I picked up this cake on the way home as a thank you for coming down.

Jamie called me after she got back from Costco. She had picked up a chicken bake for me. So sweet.

A year in photos – Day 9


Monday, March 5


Today was the first day of classes for the school year. I got a schedule at the end of the day on Friday and on that schedule it said I teach 5th grade on Mondays. Even though neither of my new co-teachers had spoken to me directly, I assumed that’s what I’d be doing today.

When I got to class, my co-teacher explained that she forgot to tell me that she was going to be teaching alone this week. As I was walking back to the office I just had to shrug my shoulders and laugh. That’s how life as an English teacher goes here.

I have spent the rest of the day doing what we guest English teachers in Korea like to call “desk warming.” I actually had a bit of work to be done at my desk so it wasn’t so bad, but it’ll definitely be an interesting week as I’ve just learned that my schedule is being changed yet again.

Today’s photo is just something I spotted after lunch. Apparently the back of my school is where desks go to die.

A year in photos – Day 8


Sunday, March 4


Why do the weekends go by so fast? I really enjoyed the past few days and I’m somewhat dreading getting back to reality. These past few weeks have been so nice.

Dave and I stopped into the Caffe Bene near my apartment for a waffle and gelato. It was a nice way to end the weekend.

A year in photos – Day 7


Saturday, March 3


The weather wasn’t great today, but Dave gave me a tour of the industrial side of Ulsan. It was nice to see where he works. During the tour there was a shift change at the Hyundai ship yard and there were fleets of scooters at every gate. It was so funny seeing the scooter gangs driving down the street.

A year in photos – Day 6


Friday, March 2


Happy Friday, everyone! I’m quite happy that it’s the weekend. Work was a bit draining today. I had no classes so I did a lot of sitting around. I couldn’t even prepare for next week’s classes because my schedule hasn’t been finalized. I got a tentative schedule at the end of the day. The bad news is that it only has 15 teaching hours (out of 22) which means I’ll more than likely have a hefty load of after school classes. Those are my least favorite!

Today’s photo was taken on my walk home. I saw these three adorable girls sharing an umbrella and couldn’t help but take their picture.

I’m currently on the train to Ulsan to see Dave. We are meeting up with some of his work friends for dinner. I’m quite excited about it because it’s a great little Indian place Dave and I order delivery from every time I’m in Ulsan. Also, lunch was awful. We had the usual rice and kimchi along with fish cake soup, another side of fish cakes, and crispy French fried sweet potato sticks.

I’ve been a bit overwhelmed since getting on the train. The tickets are quite cheap so I decided I’d try my luck at getting two seats together so I could have more room and avoid awkward encounters with chatty Koreans. This backfired when the seats I bought weren’t together. When I got to the seats, I could choose between sitting next to a sleeping girl whose arm was across my seat or sitting next to an ajumma (old woman). I chose the ajumma. I picked wrong. She immediately lit up and started chatting me away in Korean. The only bit I understood was something about America. She also started touching my hair with a huge smile on her face. She kept going on for about 5 minutes and periodically played with my hair. As I pulled my headphones out she started putting my hair behind my ears. I’m not sure if she was trying to be helpful or suggesting I change the way I wear my hair. I wish I could have put her picture as today’s photo, but she’s stopped talking to me and I’d prefer to keep it that way.

Opening Ceremony

Today is the first day of the school year. The first day last year was a crazy day. First, all of the new teachers were introduced to the entire school through the morning TV announcements. Later, I was introduced to an auditorium full of parents. In both situations I had no idea what was being said. I just waited until I thought the principal was done talking about me and bowed. The actual opening ceremony was outside and I was asked to hand balloons to the 6th graders (who would later pass them on to the new 1st grade students). I was given a giant bundle of balloons and had to pass them out, one by one. I was terrified of accidentally losing one or all of my balloons and was passing them out slower than they liked. I knew this because about 3 teachers rushed over to help me. I was proud of myself. I only lost one balloon.

Today’s events were much more relaxed for me because it’s my second year and I no longer qualify as a “new teacher.” Also, the opening ceremony was indoors and didn’t involve any balloons (thank goodness!). The school’s auditorium was full of 6th graders, 1st graders and the parents of the 1st graders. One of the mothers that attended my summer and winter camps was so excited to see me. She came up, shook my hand and said, “Long time no see!” It was cute. I really like her.

I’m not really sure what the opening ceremony consisted of. The 6th grade students each escorted a 1st grade student into the auditorium. Later, each 1st grade student was called to the stage and they were given some sort of necklace and a hat. It was really difficult for me to see because the auditorium was full of proud parents with their cameras at the ready. JuHye and I sneaked out a bit early, but I did manage to snap a few pics.

Here are a few of my 6th grade girls.
They were too amused by my iPhone to pose for the picture.

Some of the 1st graders at the ceremony.
Also in the picture are my principal and new co-teacher.

I have to wear indoor shoes at school. When we have events, the parents are allowed to wear their outdoor shoes, but the school provides little booties for everyone to slip over their shoes. I found these little girls to be extra adorable in their booties.

A year in photos – Day 5


Thursday, March 1


March 1st is Korea’s Independence Day. It also marks my last day of freedom. Unfortunately, I have to go back to work tomorrow… On a Friday! Boo.

I had a really good day though. Dave was here from Ulsan. We went out to get some dinner and noticed that the streets were lined with Korean flags, including this giant flag hanging from a building in an area of Busan called Seomyeon.