Thursday, January 27, 2011

it's here!

It's time to cheer, to let out a big WOOP WOOP for the end of intensives. The class was a struggle. I had eight kids, placed in a "intensive writing" course (level: basic) who were unable to construct basic sentences.

Katrina Teacher, on a daily basis: "Okay! Here we go! Which word in this sentence is a verb? /The dog runs.\  Which word tells us an action? Remember? We talked about this last time (and the time before, and really, let's be honest, 2 minutes ago, with only a slightly different sentence) .........."
Class: Blank stares. The smarter ones are risk takers. They don't mind making mistakes. "THE!" they shout.
Katrina Teacher: "Nope. Try again."
Class: Silence.
Katrina Teacher: "What does the dog do?"
Class: Another brave soul, "Teacher! Dog! DOG, Teacher!"
Katrina Teacher: Deep breath. "Okay. Let's use Katrina Teacher as an example." I start running around the room. As I run, I ask, "What is Katrina Teacher DOING right now?"
Class: "Teacher? Why run? Teacher silly!"
Katrina Teacher: Exasperation hits. Deeper breath. "Okay, let's start over..."

Rinse and repeat. Between basic grammatical structure lessons, I attempted to get coherent sentences out of them in writing. Even when I helped/edited on their paper, they had trouble copying the edited portion onto their final product. Hence, this student's page:

Let's face it: he has most of the verbs. 
As for articles and correct spelling...I'm leaving that to another teacher.

By the last day, I was tired of writing. The kids were VERY tired of writing. SO, I let them draw pictures for each piece they had written. It was a great last day. A few of them had even mastered the use of verbs by the end. Success.

Hannah (in red), is hilarious. Definitely a favorite. She even uses verbs.

 Hard at work.

My most challenging student. 
By the end, he had won my heart, especially with this fish picture.

I'm off to work to administer a few writing and speaking "level-up" tests, teach a bit, do a little grading, and say GOODBYE for a whole week. Ahhhh. Vacation has finally arrived.

(Other random, kind of exciting news: I gave my official notice that I would not be extending my current contract. It felt good. April 18th is my final day of work at CDI April. Woohoo!)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Work Happenings...December '10 to now

The last two months, in pictures...

Work Xmas Party...the ladies (minus Vy)

                    All of the teachers (minus Vy)...

                                                                       All gussied up...for a work party...
That's better.

One of my favorite classes from Fall term. 
(Check out the boy in blue--death stare! Ironically, his name is Joy.)

        These kids are all super young and SUPER smart. 
Three of them followed me (their request) to the current term.

The devil class. Well, the Devil child. She's the middle one.

                 Junior Masters. The smarties. Can you tell?

 Celebrating...Carolyn's birthday

The current crew. Back row from left: Norah, Alex, Me, Carolyn. 
Middle row: Jin, Courtney, Linda, May
Front: Erin, Vy
(This was for our "happy new year" card to the bosses)

My least favorite part of the job is behind me: COPIES.

I forget to post pictures of random today is the day! Hope it was fun!

COEX Aquarium, In Pictures...

Hello! I return with fish pictures....

The entrance....OoOOOoo...

This guy was especially fancy...

 Okay, so I know this isn't the most fascinating picture, 
but these kids brought a smile to my face. 
They've got their soda, they've got seats. They are comfy.

 An entire section of the aquarium (really, the first interesting part) 
is of unique places to put fish. Spenser bought a Coke 
from one of these contraptions.

 Ever thought of putting your fishies in a washing machine?

 ALL OF A SUDDEN, you're in the Amazon!!

 Mr. Piranha. Requisite Amazon Fish.

 Two Headed Turtle!! Ahhhhhh!

 I wasn't touching the fish. 
I swear.

Fish? Plant? Ten bucks to the correct answer...

 Best picture of the day. Check out that kid. 
Check out his grandma's arm.

 I tried to get my head in the shark....
but couldn't fight my way to the front of the line. Kids are ruthless.

The boys. Checking out a tank. 
We all proceeded to touch sharks from this point.

 Mmmmmm. Gorgeous, right? Get excited.

Haha. The only comment from this photo I have is: 
"Hmmm I need to wear my retainer. "


 Is it sad the only references I have are to a Disney film?
(I think this turtle and I could have been great friends.)

He (she?) feels it too.


Three more days until vacation.

I might be delirious.

Monday, January 24, 2011

the end is in sight!

Well, the end of this week and the beginning of my week off.


It snowed yesterday. Quite a bit, actually. This morning, I slipped on the ice under the snow and have a crick in my back. SNOW: 1. KATRINA: -5.

Ventured to COEX Aquarium on Saturday with Justin and Spenser. It was the first time I was back at COEX since the airport shuttle dropped me off on my first night in Korea. (run-on sentence, much?) Those initial feelings of unfamiliarity buttressed current confidence in my surroundings and I was pleased to acknowledge how far I have come.

Anyhow, pictures of the aquarium (and a two-headed turtle!!) will follow shortly. Maybe tomorrow night. As for this evening--I'm bedding down early. Two more days of intensives (aka, being at work at 9:30am) and two regular days left!

OH, Vacation, I can almost taste you.

Monday, January 17, 2011

korea, you are chilling my bones

It is cold.

I know that in many places around the world, namely Juneau, Alaska and Fowler, Kansas, the actual temps have dropped below what I'm experiencing here in Korea. I maintain, however, that 15*F in Korea feels like -15*F in the states. I don't know why that is--the dryness of air? the wind?--but holy moly, this girl is freezing.

Last weekend, I attempted a few outdoor activities, only to be met with icy wind and numb toes. Friday night was an evening out in a new place called Boemgye, home to Chelsea, a friend of Spenser's (Justin's coworker). Chelsea is from Portland and quite a kick in the pants. I have to say, Beomgye was a repeat of Yeongtong, but much more enjoyable because the only familiar faces were of those in our group. Sometimes, you just have to get away from home.

On Saturday, we tried a quick trip near Osan military base--mostly to check out the shops/restaurants. If you remember, I went to a Christmas dinner near the same base. It's a short subway ride from Suwon and is perfect for something to do on a lazy Saturday. UNFORTUNATELY, the temperature struck and it was almost unbearable being outside. Justin and I jumped from shop to shop, not buying anything, warming ourselves as we perused shoes, jackets, and hiking backpacks. The best part of the day was a lovely, cozy coffee shop that gave us gendered coffee mugs. Blue for Justin, pink for me. Hilarious.

Sunday was the best day of the weekend. I've been wanting to go to a Chagall exhibit in Seoul...and I finally made it. We tried to go earlier in the day so it wouldn't be too crowded--and I'm glad we did. By the time we were leaving the lines were long. It seems that Koreans like to slowwwwwly walk around to each piece, listening to a pre-recorded explanation. It can be a little frustrating, but I took deep breaths and let the art enthrall me. I really enjoyed the exhibit.

Here are a few pictures.........

 Boemgye...kind of cute with the rainbow rings and lights, no?

            The gendered mugs. I had a good laugh.

The scene...


 Outside the museum. Can you spot me?

 No pictures allowed inside the exhibit...

All in all, another great weekend. It ended with mixing up a delicious batch of hummus. My vegetarian tummy is happy.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

requisite seoul tower post!

Last weekend, I checked another tourist-y item off of my list: Seoul Tower, which is situated on Namsan Mountain in Seoul. It had stared down at me for too long--on Sunday, I stared down with it.

There are a few options for getting to the tower--take a tram, a bus, or walk your out of shape buns up there. We chose the healthiest option and made the trek. It's really not much of a trek, so I'd definitely recommend walking up rather than taking a crowded tram. That said, I am thankful this trip happened in the winter....I can't imagine walking up there in July's heat and humidity.

It was a beautiful, perfect day for sightseeing, with blue skies stretching as far as you could see and bright sun giving just enough warmth to make the chilling wind bearable.

Here are a few pictures of the adventure. More can be seen if you click HERE.

The path towards the tower. Well, not actually...headed down this direction and then realized were weren't going up... so we had to turn around. At least I got this nice picture!

Coffee. It was cold.

About halfway up...

The tower! 

These "love lock" trees are full of locks and messages of, yep, you guessed it: love.

(I did not partake in the love locking)

A quick snack at the top...mostly to warm up after the walk!

 Sweet potato stack! Delicious!

MORE locks.

From the observatory. Most of the windows have the names of far-off cities. I was excited to see Alaska, but was hoping for a JUNEAU sign.

Same with Washington... hoping for OLYMPIA! (I just noticed that it says "Anchorage, Alaska" and "Seattle, USA"

Namsan Mountain/Park

OoOOOo shadows

Even the bathroom has great views!

I like the tile walls that are in many Korean tourist destinations.

That's all...the view from below...

In other news.....I'm in week two of intensives. The long Tues/Thursdays are getting to me, just a little bit. I will be very happy when this month is over and I have a week long vacation. Prior plans to head to Thailand or some other delightful place have been canceled--I have a hard time paying $600 for a ticket when I'm still trying to pay off student loans. As the vacation is over Lunar New Year, a time when most people head home, I don't know how high my chances are of traveling anywhere within Korea, either! might just be a lovely week of relaxation and close-to-home trips. One thing I know for sure--I won't hear "Teacher! TEACHER! TEACHERRRRR!" for 9 glorious days! 

I have been in Korea for 9 months. Three more and I'm jumping ship, at least for a bit...