Welcome friends and family to our adventure!

Thank you all so much for you support! Check in anytime and find out what we are up to! We love you all very much.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Some photos!

 Some of Clint's students.
 An ordinary school lunch.
Clint with some of his teachers at school. They went on a field trip that was a 4 hour hike and I don't think Clint was ready for that! Sometimes you never really know what is going on, you just have to go with the flow!
 Another school lunch. Clint loves them. For me it is kind of hit or miss. Clint has been asked several times if he was korean in a past life or something because of his chopstick skills, love of the food, and perfect assimilation into to culture!
 Is is perfectly acceptable to hang out with your students outside of class, so I try to do that as much as I can. It is always a great time! :) These are two girls that I just love!
 Clint and I on a fall hike. I never knew Korea was such a beautiful place!
 This is my co-teacher's, Mr. Moon, daughter named Chae Young. She is a doll! She calls Clint "agessi" for uncle and we are at our house because she wanted to see him! :)
 These are my students that are on the english debate team. They are very fluent in english and so much fun to be around. They are planning a trip to Seoul with Clint and I!
 This is my student playing the air guitar! LOL. They wear slippers in the school...no shoes allowed! Also, their uniforms are pretty handsome!
This in one of my favorite students. She is so so so sweet. We are just chillin at lunch!

3 months!

Hello all! I am so sorry that we have not kept up with our blog. I am much better at facebook updates! Anyway, I will fill you in on the last few months here in the RoK (Republic of Korea).

We are having a fantastic time. Korean people are the kindest, most hard working people I have ever met. In some ways it is unfair because as foreign teachers we have it so easy. We get weekends off, holiday breaks, and paid vacation. Korean teachers are not so lucky. They sometime work until late in the night and work Saturdays. Koreans, in general, work an incredible number of hours and get only 4-6 hours of sleep. I do not know how they function on that. I need at least 8! They are also the kindest people we have ever met. I will give you a few examples. Last night my school nurse took us to her house out in the country and  fed us some of her home grown sweet potatoes and tea. Then her family took us out to dinner, let us play with they adorable puppies, and gave us a box of fresh produce. Another man that I met on the street one day wanted to know if Clint and I would exchange English for Korean lessons with his daughter in college. We want to learn more korean, so we said yes. He took us out to eat and two different restaurants with his daughter and we had a blast. He works at one of the largest companies in Korea and his wife is the director of a hogwan near my school. We are meeting the most amazing people all the time! Both Clint and I have both foreigner friends, from Canada, South Africa, and England, and some korean friends. We feel so lucky to have such a great support system and so many people to show us love and friendship. Clint's P.E. teacher at his school and him are very close. His name is Mr. Han, but he makes Clint call him "Hongah" and I call him "Opah," which mean big brother. When he calls Clint on the phone his says, "hey, baaaby! what's up baaaaby!?" It is hilarious. He was talking to me one night about how astonished (which he pronounces astonish-ed) he was because when Clint plays volleyball he jumps so high!

Clint and I are getting very attached to our students. They are so sweet. They always say hi to you in the halls (which equals hundreds of "hellos" a day) and they treat you with a lot of respect. I went to Clint's school for lunch because I had a day off and his students seriously treated me like I was Angelina Jolie or something. It was as close to famous as I will ever get!

Here are some picture of our students, some food, and the area we live in! Love you and miss you all.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Short and Sweet

Clint and I are doing great. Our jobs rock. It is hard not knowing the language, but the poeple are SO friendly and kind. My principal gave me the largest bouquet of flowers I have ever seen to welcome me to the school. The kids are great. They go to school from 7AM to 10PM and go on Saturdays, too. It blows my mind. I only teach 19 hours a week, but I am here for 40 hours. I do have to assess, grade, or really plan very much because I only see every class once a week. This means that I have 500 students a week, but I only need 1 lesson plan. It is tough doing it 19 times, though, so I will probably do different things. We miss everyone. I will have Clint write soon.

Also, Scott and Nicole (our good friends from Colorado) are here and they came to see us. We also have some friends from Canada and the U.S. that we met at the conference that we hang out with often (this has helped to adjustment tremediously). I better go, but talk to you soon. We miss everyone!:)

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Clint and I are meeting to most amazing people! So far, we are incredibly impressed with the organization and stature of this conference. We are being treated so well. Last night at opening ceremony we saw the Korean Taekwondo Team for Jeonju University do a performance that blew my socks off. Also, they had a traditional fan dance and a traditional drummer team do performances. It was so amazing. That was followed by an "interesting" and wonderful dinner. I felt like I was at a wedding the way it was all set up so nice. There was a bottle of wine on each table and the chairs all had covers on them with big bows!

We are learning how to behave and speak---both things Clint and I need some work on! So far so GREAT. Keep in touch. We love you all. Off to my lung x-ray and drug test! Woo-hoo!

Things you may find strange about Korean behavior

1. Koreans bumping into you in public
2. people not saying "sorry," "excuse me," "please," and "thank you"
3. avoiding eye contact during conversation
4. skaing hands for too long and very limply
5. spitting in public
6. staring at foreigners
7. avoiding sun on skin and the use of skin whiteners
8. making/changing plans at the last minute
9. not contributing much to discussion
10. rarely say "no," instead Koreans will say "maybe," but mean "no"
11. everyone shares from the same plate, and sometimes drinks from the same alcohol glass
12. slurping loudly when eating noodles
13. talk with thier mouths full
14. eat very quickly and leave immediately
15. ask personal questions and freely comment on personal appearence
16. women sometimes hold hands, men often hug and touch each other
17. may refuse twice before accepting something
18. try and practice their english anywhere, even naked at jimjibong
19. praise foreigners for trivial things
20. appearence is extremely important ot Koreans, presenting things well is beter than doing things well
21. try to get on to subways, elevators and buses beofre people have gotten off
22. drivers don't pay attention to traffic lights, cut people off, don't yield to pedestrains, and park anywhere
23. delivery boys on scooters drive like maniacs, go through red lights and drive on the side-walk
24. public restrooms may not have toilet paper or western toilets
25. Korean kids are very sensitive, and will often cry if they get in trouble

Things Koreans find strange about western behavior

This appears in our orientation conference handbook:

Things Koreans find strange about western behavior:

1. overly firm handshake
2. receiving or giving anything with just one hand, especailly the left (very disrespectful)
3. speaking with our hands in our pockets
4. using too much eye contact during conversation
5. the direct nature of our conversations
6. answering with one word answers or responding with a noise like, "aha" or "mhhm"
7. speaking very quickly and using slang
8. challenging other people's opinions
9. asking your employer to give you things in the beginning (they want to give you holiday time as a gift for excellent work, not because they must based on your contract)
10. kissing in public or public shows affection
11. wearing revealing clothing
12. blowing your nose in public (like at a restaurant or in front of class)

On the plane...

August 17th-18th ish

It seems that today has been a continuous string of drifting in and out of consciousness, in and out of anxiety, and in and out of the best feelings of freedom and adventure. Longer than one day, but that all depends on how one measure’s a day. To us, it has been one day because I don’t have any idea what time it is, how long I have been on this airplane, or how long I have been traveling. For once, time does not matter. I have resisted any desire to figure this out and it is very freeing and wonderful. We have left our selves exposed to the whims of the unknown, but we all do that every day that we exist. It is only different now because our predicting mechanisms are slightly skewed. We are on a breeze that will take us to magical places. The best part about this is that all-in-all we are completely stoked. Our daily routine does not offer the exhilaration and anominity that this day offers.

From Minneapolis to Tokyo, we are officially the minority. I feel like a sponge just trying to soak up every emotion, difference, and change. I am relishing in the adventure and excitement that today is so gladly offering. I do hope this continues as I know great challenges will stand before us. I keep telling myself “one day at a time” because the thought of teaching is making me nervous. Mostly it is a combination of questioning my ability as an educator and my ability to adapt to a completely new culture and life. I am so thankful that I have my brave, amazing husband by my side to guide me and support me. It seems that with his support and love, anything is possible.

Already, I have begun thinking about what will separate my good experiences from my bad, and I have come to realize that they can all be good experiences if I make them that way. Some might call it optimism, but I like to call it attitude. This experience will be dictated by our daily attitude and acceptance that they way we do things or the way they do things is not right or wrong, only different. As most of you know, Koreans eat dog. Americans shutter at the thought, but no interceding conjunction crosses the minds of the people who have always lived this way. The next question you are thinking: “will Clint and I eat dog?” You will have to continue reading my blog to find out! Remember, not right or wrong, only different.

To be continued from a dorm room at a University in Jeonbuk where we will be attending an 8-day conference, teaching us the ins-and-outs of teaching English, living in Korea, and, eeeek, speaking the language. For now, annyong hi kye se yo  (that is goodbye if you are the one leaving).