Friday, August 28, 2009

Korean version of Legally Blonde: the Musical.



...



Yeah. That was my reaction, too.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Farewell Dinner for Vice Principal

So. Tired.

Highlights reel:

**Successfully doing the formal Korean drinking thing where you pour for your boss, he drinks, then pours for you in the same glass he just drank out of, and you pray he doesn't have hepatitis. Fun for all!
**I'm pretty sure my coteacher told the principal that I'm a good teacher and that I work hard for the students. But since I was catching about 1 out of every 20 words, it's pretty theoretical. I will say that I'm honing my skill for divining the gist of what people are saying even when I don't have the vocabulary (which happens, rough guesstimate, 100% of the time)
**The principal had a few and told me I "will be his third daughter." Important to note that the principal actually HAS three daughters. Coteacher told me later that Korean tradition has it the third daughter is the most beautiful. So...not the most bizarre compliment I've received in Korea, but it's on the list.
**Listening to coteacher, other English teacher, principal, vice principal, and dean of students talk about me at the table about 5 minutes (my Korean sucks, but I definitely heard "Kaye Sansengnim" and "migook" frequently). By the way, no five minutes in existence is longer than one where you're sitting with people talking about you in a language you can't understand. Coteach has a habit of massively exaggerated facial expressions, but that helped less than you'd think.

*NORAEBANG! Some of the awesomely worst tambourine-ing this side of reality
*In Korea, people mistake my Americanness for pop culture expertise, my whiteness for beauty, and my ability to clap on the 2 and the 4 for dancing. Of course, being in a place where there's less of an onus put on sweeping generalizations (ha! see what I did there?) has its downside, and sometimes that outranks the good. At noraebang, however, I appreciate the bizarre cultural intersections that allow me to sing '90s pop music with drunk 50 year old men. I mean, RIGHT?!
**Watching Principal & VP sing a duet. First the hand-holding, then the standing behind the other one with arms around abdomen and chin gently tucked into neck of the man in front, swaying. I dig that dudes can snuggle here without it triggering a cascade of "no homo, man."
**The math department insisting on clapping on the 1 and the 3.
**Aforementioned math teachers' confusion when the next song was in 3/4


More later. Sleep now. Keely tomorrow! :o)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

"'Course he isn't safe. But he's good."

"Is—is he a man?" asked Lucy.
"Aslan a man!" Mr. Beaver said sternly. "Certainly not. I tell you he is the King of the wood and the son of the great Emperor-Beyond-the-Sea. Don't you know who is the King of Beasts? Aslan is a lion—the Lion, the great Lion."
"Ooh!" said Susan, "I'd thought he was a man. Is he—quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion."
"Safe?" said Mr. Beaver; "don't you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good."


We lost one of the good ones today. (NY Times reports).

Monday, August 24, 2009

Exhausted

OK, I'll write more later, but for now I've got to get together a whole new set of lesson plans, since coteach told me to toss what I had for the second years and focus only on prepping them for college interviews, and get to bed in time to be awake at 6:30 tomorrow. Gross.

For now, let me just say that as I was getting my things together to leave for the day, HSF came to my desk and informed me that we would be taking a minor detour to go support the students and faculty competing in a science fair over at the beach -- an hour and a half away.

So...long day.

Teaching first day of classes tomorrow!

Homestay Puppy


Meet Chandi. My homestay sister tells me it means "grace" in Korean.

squee!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Wandering Around Daejeon

Today, for the first time, I took off and walked around the city where I'll be living for the next year. I went to City Hall and picked up a map, found the two closest metro stops to my apartment, and got a decent lay of the land just by walking around.

I took some pictures and found some stuff that I'll post on later, but suffice it to say for now that I found the only (yes, the ONLY) Indian restaurant in Daejeon, South Korea. It ain't cheap, but it's not prohibitively expensive, either. It's probably about what I'd pay in the states -- about 16,000 W for most of the curries. I've just been massively spoiled by the abundance of cheap Korean food on the street and in sit down restaurants. Even in the city center, there are restaurants where you can get bibimbap, stew, dumplings, and other simple dishes (plus side dishes like the ubiquitous pickled radish and kimchi, and occasionally other stuff, too) for 3,000-4,000 won, or roughly $2.50-$3.25 at the current rockin' exchange rate. Or you can head to one of the oodles of convenience stores and pick up some kimbap for the absurd price of 750 won. Kimbap, for those of you who less familiar with Korean cuisine, is the ultimate rice-based convenience food. Described almost universally as "Korean sushi," it's rice wrapped in a sheet of nori seaweed, either in the tube shape familiar to Americans or in a triangle, usually with some kind of protein inside. I've only seen kimbap with cooked ingredients, ranging from bbq pork to tuna salad to spam and pickled radish (seriously - Koreans are crazy for Spam!), but that might be because the convenience store venue sort of demands it.

OK, more later - the apartment smells deliciously like veggies and sesame oil, which means dinner is about to be served!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

It's Not Right, But It's Okay: A List of Things That Climbing a Mountain This Morning Was

Climbing a mountain for a couple of hours on a Saturday morning is the following things:

1. a new experience
2. exhausting
3. a great bonding experience with my host brother (HB from here on out)- the only human who appeared to be climbing remotely close to my pace. Here we are, sweaty but enthusiastic, at about the 3rd time that homestay father (HSF) told us we were "almost there"

4. much different than my usual saturday morning routine of cooking enough buckwheat ginger waffles, crepes, and eggs to feed a small army
5. difficult
6. good for my health
7. more than a little embarrassing, since my host parents laughed when HB and I needed to sit down
8. a little scary, because there were a few minutes I'm pretty sure I kept myself from fainting through sheer force of will. Those were the minutes where we walked up meter after meter of small stairs, as far as the eye could see (not unlike the ones in Seeyle Hall, for you Smith folk -- only way, way more of them), at breakneck pace. It was then that it occurred to me that I have chosen to spend my year in a country where every adult male has been through army training -- scaling mountains is probably the least of my homestay father's (HSF) physical abilities.
9. funny! when we reached the summit, HSF announced "this is not mountain - this is hill!" Maybe it was the altitude, but after huffing and puffing for an hour to get my American butt up there, I thought that was hilarious
10. about 10 WW POINTS. Which is, dishearteningly enough, approximately how much peanut butter I ate today (...not an exaggeration, just the actual gospel truth). I think HSM over- PBs me out of concern for my vegetarian ways.
11. interesting. when I managed to look up from my feet and not trip over a root or branch, I saw some really beautiful flowers and butterflies that I didn't recognize from home
12. inspiring. for a while I kept in pretty decent cardio shape just from singing -- freshman year, between chorus and voice lessons and a capella, it was 15+ hours/week. Sophomore year I started elliptical-ing fairly regularly after my voice teacher demanded I work on being able to carry over between longer phrases in the classical pieces we were working on. Now that I'm not singing, I need to get back into shape the old fashioned way. Fortunately, there's a Curves right across the street. I love living in a city!
13. beautiful. The view from the top, with mountains on one side and the city of Daejeon out on the other, was really something I'm glad I could see!



and here's me, HB, & HSM at the summit (HSF is behind the lens):

14. the source of a sense of accomplishment. My estimation of how the morning would go was pretty spot-on, actually -- the only difference being that, though HSF told me last night we would leave at 10, HB knocked on my door at 8:45am to wake me up, fully dressed and nearly ready to leave. So the day moved up about and hour - mostly, that just means that I'm gonna sleep like a baby tonight! hmm...wonder if there are any good places I can get a massage tomorrow...

OK, my turn to shower. Can't wait for my movie date with host sibs and Sarah!


PS: Only Koreans would put exercise equipment at the summit of a mountain -- and actually USE IT!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Left In Korea's Wake

I'd just changed into my pajamas, around 9:30 (yes, I've been early bird special-ing it), when my host father knocks on my door. He's all dressed up and announces that an administrator at our school's father passed away yesterday, and he is going to the funeral home to pay his respects. This, he announces, is a cultural event to which I should accompany him.
"Of course!" say I. "Just let me get dressed!"
My enthusiasm is greeted, unexpectedly, by stunned silence.
"Do you think...I should go?" I stammer, just to clarify that we're on the same page re: this being a cultural event I ought not to miss.
"Yes. It is cultural experience." Ah, good. Affirmed.
"Okay! I will come! Thank you for inviting me!"
Again I look into what what looks to me to be a face shocked beyond belief. But y'know what? This time I chalk it up to my inability to read Korean people and decide to forge ahead.
I jump back on the laptop to google and make sure that black is a universally appropriate clothing choice for such events, and am exceedingly relieved to read that "in modern funerals, traditional hemp hanbok (old skool Korean dress, see here) is no longer as common." Mr. Kim was waiting for me, so I whipped on a charcoal grey skirt and a shirt that matched reasonably well and off we went.
As it turns out, the funeral home is at a hospital on one of the lower levels. We are greeted by the smell of flowers everywhere, huge wreaths all along the hallway leading to where the cafeteria is. Oh yes, the cafeteria. Turns out, Korean mourning rituals involve gathering together pretty much everyone you know (at least 70 people were there in just the half hour ish that we stopped by) for a night of staying up with the body (in a different room, thanks Korea!) and the family. It seemed like some people didn't even say hello to the family, they just sat down at a table and were served food (which led me to a morbid idea for a character who's a homeless guy {or maybe funnier, a middle-class office guy} who roams around funeral homes "paying respect" for the 24 hours of free grub to which it entails him). Mr. Kim paid his respects to the deceased by prostrating himself -- the uber-insa -- in front of the body twice, and then bowing deeply to the firstborn son, who actually was in Hanbok, along with all other family members (looked to me to be about 20 people, so I'm thinkin' extended family gets included. So after entering and Mr. Kim's bows, we (along with my host brother, who also came) were ushered into what looked like a big cafeteria where you all sit on the floor at tables. Servers brought kimchi and vegetables and sangapsal (I think) and rice cakes and soda and fruit. Mr. Kim picked at stuff, but my host brother was going at the bacon like a -- well, like a 10-year-old boy, and since we'd just had dinner I had to guess at what the protocol was. I went with a little rice cake and some grapes. But grapes in Korea seem universally to be concord, consumed by squeezing the flesh from the skin and spitting the seeds into the empty skin. Sorry, I tried to think of a less foul way to say that, but I failed. Anyway, there I was, mid-squeeze/spit when Mr. Kim stands up to greet - the vice principal. Fortunately, I recover, and all goes well.
In the car on the way back, Mr. Kim explains that most people will stay there all night to support the family - hence the food, and that this is day 2 of a 3-day mourning/celebration process leading up to the burial on the third day. See, mom and dad? I'm learning things!
OK, I gotta go. It's time for bed, and my phone is ringing off the hook with Friday night debrief calls now that we're all giddy about having cell phones! Yay for the [inconspiculously unnamed] fellowship community!

In related news, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ADAM!

NY Times Mag For the Win!

The most recent issue of NY Times Magazine is focused on national and international women's rights. There's some really fabulous stuff in there, stuff that I've come to expect from the perennially excellent Ms. or Mother Jones Magazines. Now all that's missing is to incorporate pieces on women's rights as integrated into mainstream content with recognition that it is, indeed, half of the stream.

...Well, a girl can dream.

Schedule for Tomorrow - First Saturday with the Host Fam

Here is a tentative plan for tomorrow. First impressions are everything, so they say - and I hear this is even more true in Korea. This is the first weekend that I will be an active (and boy, do I mean "active"!) member of the family, so I'm committed to matching their enthusiasm and having the kind of uber-nunchi radar that will warm the tiny adorable Korean hearts of the fellowship office in Seoul. Here's the game plan:


PART I:
9am - Wake up, showerheyo, get dressed. Have breakfast. Retain enthusiasm over peanut butter rather than kimchi.
9:45 - fruitlessly attempt to convince host father that my Mephistos are practically made for hiking, and I'll be fine, thanks.
10am - leave to go hiking with my host family
10:01 - regret leaving to go hiking with host family
10:30 - arrive at the place where I'll be...hiking, with my host family
11am - start thinking, "oh god, why am I hiking with my host family"
11:30 - while hopelessly trailing a half mile behind my spry 11-year-old sister, desperately wonder, "sweet jesus, when can I stop hiking with my host family?"
12p - wish that I had stayed behind and found a Starbucks, cultural exchange be damned, so I could avoid hiking. With my host family.
1pm - Complete mountain descent, return home. Feel victorious, say out loud "I should really do this more often!" and, in that moment, mean it.
1:15p - Sleep in car
2p - Sleep in apartment

Saturday Part II:
2:45 Walk with host sibs to movie theater
2:50 Realize I have no idea where I'm going and have placed my life in the hands of mischevious elementary school students
3p - Arrive safely at the 국장 (movie theater), meet fellow Fellow and Daejeonite Sarah S! Introduce self and sibs to kids
3:45 - Buy giant tub of caramel popcorn, secure in the illusion that I have pre-emptively burned it off with above mountain-scaling
4p - Sit down for a subtitled version of Ice Age III
6p - Return home victorious, feeling that I have spent quality time with my family, encouraged English language learning and cross-cultural exchange, and STILL managed to squeeze in some ETA time!

Phew. I'm exhausted just thinking about it.

Open Letter to Fun-Sized Twix bars

Dear Twix,
I never buy you. On the rare occasion that I purchase a candy bar, it's either dark chocolate or something with almonds in it. But you - you're the best candy bar I never liked. But now, with a bag of Costco proportions filled with "fun sized" little guys ("for my students!" I half-heartedly tell my host mom, who is on a "diet" that involves eating half of lunch and skipping dinner), I've discovered your secret: slathered in chunky peanut butter, you are an ideal chocolate experience. United with Skippy, you shine like a beacon in the darkness. I name you - Twixkippy. And, dear friend, now that I fully appreciate your potential, I apologize for withholding from you the respect you deserve. Here's to you, Twixkippy. May you be this delicious forever more, and may I not regret inhaling you next time I have to put on shorts.
Love,
your new chingu
Inordinately excited about this, having spent a great many hours of my early years sitting around in my room braiding my hair (hey, I was an only child, and Al Gore hadn't invented the internet yet, and JK Rowling was still shopping Harry Potter.

Weird cultural thing just happened as I sat here writing this entry in my host family's living room - I sneezed, said "excuse me," and paused expectantly. But in Korea, no one says "bless you" -- which explains the blank look I got when my host brother sneezed the other day and I, of course, good American that I am, blessed him. So...note to self - stp one in de-awkwarding might be to stop going around blessing people when they don't expect it!

PS: Movie we are watching right now - Ben Affleck and Aaron Eckhart in this. With such an all-star cast, you'd think it would be great - but I only vaguely remember it, and it was only OK. Or else maybe they've edited it funny for Korean TV and the volume is low, since no one else is actually listening to the dialogue.

Handa Pone!

Just got back from buying a "handa pone" (read - "hand phone," or ...yeah, it's a cell phone). I picked the one free one that my host dad liked, and my host sibs tell me it is a cool handa pone, so I guess that's nice. It looks kind of like the old pink Razr phones. Sidenote: if you're a chick, it is mighty difficult to get a cell phone in Korea that isn't pink. I originally picked out a slidey phone with blue keys, until my host dad saw the one I ultimately got, pointed at it, and said "I think this is bettah fo' wooman pone." Not wanting to make any cultural missteps, I went for the pink "XSlim" model. Apparently (and inexplicably) I can watch TV on this thing - I just have no idea how. I had the guy at the cell phone place (Home Plus for the win!) switch the language to English, but about 1/3 of the menus are still in Korean. So there's that.
Anyway, I won't post my number online, 'cause that's just asking for trouble (facebook friends, it's listed as my number there) but let me just say that the last 4 digits spell my name. I kid you not. OK, on the paper it says the numbers, but honestly? I think it's pretty freakin' sweet to tell people that its number number number my name. Right? Makes me feel like Moviefone.
OK, time to go awkwardly spend awkward time trying to de-awkward with my host family.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Double Nerdgasm

When I grow up, I wanna be BBC News.

1. The real world is becoming the Harry Potter universe more and more every day

2. ZOMBIES!

Costco PB


Sometimes, size does matter.

The Kardashians Set Yet Another Crappy Example

People Magazine reports.
After issuing the obligatory statement of self-possessed decision making, this dribbles out:

"I think if I had said I'm not going to keep it, I really think [my boyfriend] would have pushed me into keeping it."

"My doctor told me there is nothing you will ever regret about having the baby, but he was like, 'You may regret not having the baby.' And I was like: That is so true."
WTF kind of doctor did she go to? Of COURSE there are women who made a mistake in choosing to carry a child to term. Of COURSE there are women who regret it. But while it's acceptable to admit regret over an abortion, it isn't acceptable to admit that you regret having children.

Ugh. Kardashian, get a grip and grow up.

Following Blogs

I've been reading so many more papers (Hey, Korean Herald, what's up? Et Le Monde, comment est l'Europe aujourd'hui? Aww hey, New York Times, you know I gotcha on the ipod touch now, baby), partly because I feel a little disoriented (which begs the question - can you be disoriented in Asia?)*, but also because I spend a lot of time with not a lot to do because I haven't started school yet. I'm definitely not complaining - with all the craziness, I find myself needing extra decompression time. But now it's gotten to the point where I'm not just reading actual papers, I've devolved into hitting up the blogs I used to use to procrastinate when I had a paper to write. So seeing as I no longer live in the vicinity of people who get all giggly at the prospect of Battlestar Galactica miniseries spoilers, I'll just giggle here to you, faithful readers (OK, "reader." Hi mom! ...mom? ....mom!?!)

Trusty io9 managed to entertain me for quite a while with this, a look at Shakespearean(-ish) character devices in scifi. I'm definitely with this guy on Dr. Who-as-Prospero and the weaknesses of Anakin Skywalker in the prequels. He loses me on Dollhouse's Topher, but that could be because I find that character nearly devoid of what is supposed to be his character-defining charm. Bonus points for the shoutout to Winter's Tale's use of "sluic'd." So vague, yet so graphic - perfect. Winter's Tale is wickedly under appreciated. A+, Will.

Next up, possibly the blog I read most regularly this year, Jezebel. Any blog that features consecutive articles entitled "Hillary Clinton Tackles Economics, Terrorism, Microlending In NY Times Profile," "Did Bullying Cause A Girl's Anorexia?: The First Lawsuit Of Its Kind," and ""He Goes Limp At The Thought Of Intercourse ('Susie and Aretha Bright believe that mother-daughter teamwork is the answer for all your sex advice needs')" is A-OK by me. Plus, bonus - someone FINALLY pointing out that marketing only pink netbooks to chicks is not necessarily the greatest idea in the world, and an article on the portrayal of race in fashion shoots, a subject that ticks me off every time I open a fashion magazine (which, okay, is far more often than I'd like to admit. But Korea is a country of opposites existing in tense balance, right?). It's even more overt in Korea, where there's no organized effort to subvert or avoid hypersexualization/fetishization of non-Korean women.

Sigh. Sometimes I really, really miss Smith...

*yes yes, I realize I used this a few weeks ago IRL. But recycling jokes saves trees!

PS: THIS settles it. Next fellowship I do, I'm headed for Lyon!
Turns out it was definitely a good thing that I didn't have to wake up at 7am and not get back until midnight today - I woke up with a monstrous headache around 10, popped a couple of pills and passed out again until 11:45. My host family, I am sure, thinks I'm horrifically lazy, but whattaya gonna do.
When I came out into the living room, there was an extra face staring back at me. My host father's neice had come to visit on her vacation from Korea University! Lots of fun, 'cause she's really nice and speaks great English. She's studying law (unclear to me whether that's an undergrad or graduate degree in Korea) at one of the top universities in Korea, so clearly she's got it pretty together. I hope she sticks around for a while - I wanna pick her brain about what to do in Daejeon and what cell phone I should get (apparently this is a major personality-defining decision for young people here in Korea).
Host mom (whom I've been calling "Mrs. Kim" for lack of a better term thusfar - anyone else figure this out yet?) made me breakfast/brunch again, and the excitement still hasn't worn off -- giant chunks of honeydew, a whole small sliced tomato, a slice of bread and the giant jar of Skippy Extra-Chunk I bought yesterday at Costco (at home I'd buy the hippie Whole Foods sweetened-with-honey or -God help me- Peanut Butter & Co.'s maple variety, but as it turns out, I have NO complaints about a giant jar of chunky Skippy. I'll take it, and I'll like it. Now I just have to find some decent jelly...

My plan for today was to try to see if I could go exploring on my own a little bit, but the sky is looking pretty threatening and the weather gadget on my Mac warns me there's an 84% chance of rain and probably thunderstorms. So maybe today isn't the day to aimlessly wander.

This weekend, though, I hope to meet up with some friends in the area, and meet some of the people who are extending their grants from last year. One girl already got in touch with me, and I'm really excited to have someone here who already knows her way around. That is going to be invaluable when I need to get the heck outta dodge-jeon.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

PS: Host dad just came in and disinvited me from the teachers' trip to Seoul tomorrow.

I feel equal parts disappointed and relieved. Well, okay, SLIGHTLY more relieved. 'Cause man, that was a whole bucket of awkward waiting to happen...

Homestay Gifts

Instead of actually writing this up, I'm just copy-pasting from my explanation of what just happened to my homeboy Josh Lo. It may be a facebook chat, but I find it has its own kind of appealing poetic style.

Short preface => my fb status well summarizes the sitch: "host family gifts: chocolate for kids who aren't allowed sweets, liquor to a man who doesn't drink, and gold earrings to a woman without pierced ears. FML."



Josh: are those gift stories all true?

Dara: ...yes
seriously

instead of being american about it
and just saying thanks so much
the dad opened the gift
and quietly announces "oh. i don't drink"
sees my face fall
and says "... thank you"

then gift #2
mom opens the box
sort of grimaces
and says "i can't wear the pierce"
"...thank you"

gift #3
me: this is for the whole family, but especially for you two!
kids open box
it contains giant bag of hershey miniatures
the girl takes one
i take 2 mini mr. goodbars because I'm STARVING
at which point dad announces that no, thy won't have any right now
because they don't want to get fat

F my LIFE

21:43Joshua
that's the reason?

21:43Dara
so there i am, nuts and chocolate halfway in my face

21:43Joshua
oh no

21:44Dara
feeling obese and awkward from the 2 minute silence that follows
before i head back to my room
and realize that what just happened
is probably the funniest thing in the history of the world
riiiight after midgets who can juggle

21:45Joshua
haha
3 for 3



The end.

In related news, go read Josh's blog. He's much better about posting than I am. http://gojoshlo.blogspot.com/
I found out today that tomorrow morning, I will be going to school. We leave at 7:45. I'm not going to teach, and I'm not going to observe - I'm going because at 2pm, all the teachers are going to Seoul to go see a musical. What musical? I have no idea. Presumably it will be Korean, although I'm harboring a secret hope that it'll be a Korean version of "42nd Street," since I saw posters for that all over town. Oh please oh please - it would be so nice to be able to follow the plot! And I'd pay a whole bunch to hear a Korean New York accent power through "Lullaby of Broadway."
Anyway, I'll have a ton of time to kill between getting to school at 8:30 and leaving for Seoul at 2, so I'll just try to dress up a little bit, shake some hands, and skulk onto a computer in the teacher's lounge.

Tonight I'll wrap up the presents (a polo shirt for the vice principal, a polo shirt and a bottle of wine for the principal) so I can bring them tomorrow. I really wish I'd had a chance to get that coffee gift set for my coteacher - but I didn't do it in Seoul when I had a chance because I couldn't figure out how to transport all my junk. Maybe there will be one where my family is going tonight, to a store to get one of the fans fixed. Because there's a great breeze here on the first floor of the apt building with the fans going and the windows open - but I've DEFINITELY been spoiled by central air & heat at home.

In other news - my host mom is a really good cook. And just in case there's an odd day where she's making something delicious but beef- or pork-based, I just bought a $15 jar of peanut butter from Costco the size of my face. It's awesome. Bread and peanut butter for breakfast is heaven after 6 weeks of kimchi and pickled fish! I looked for protein bars but didn't find any (oh, Luna bars - I pine for you!), so I bought some Nature Valley fruit & nut granola bar things, which I hope don't suck too much.

Still don't have a cell phone - I went with my host family but they didn't have any info on how it was supposed to get setup and neither did I, so I think I'll wait and go with my coteacher. I'm a little nervous about not having a cell in Seoul tomorrow, but I'll just try to stick close by.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Article about some South Korean cities making designated parking spaces for women wearing high heels.

I get where they're coming from -- really, I do. Walking in heels is a pain, literally and otherwise. But seriously? Walking in heels DOES sort of handicap you. You can't run or move nearly as freely as you could in tennis shoes, or even in men's dress shoes. But if Seoul wants to become more "woman friendly," which is the reason behind the push for the spaces and some other changes to the city, perhaps it should consider, oh, I don't know, subsidized child care. Or funding for women in the sciences. Or researching how to implement something like Title IX in Korean schools.

Photos of Town and School

Here are some photos my mom (hi again, mom!) and I found online of my school and Gongju.

My school:
Link


The view from outside the front door of my school:




More to come later!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Food for Thought for my Daejeon-Area Chingus

Just something my mom found (hi mom!) that looks like it might be useful, especially for those of us living in Daejeon proper.

http://daejeonwhatson.blogspot.com/2008_03_01_archive.html

Movies, cultural events, and restaurants in the area. Just generally lists what stuff is going on in the city.

Similarly, an e-newsletter written and maintained by ex-pats

Last but not least, a blog and news site for stuff going on in Daejeon, as well as more general information about Korean life, language, and culture.

Yay!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Placements!

Today, we found out where we will be spending the next year of our lives.

Some people are happy about their placements, others ---not as much.

As for me? I'm WICKED excited!

I will be teaching at Chungnam Science High School, a high school for advanced students in Gongju, just outside of Daejeon, and about 2 hours from Seoul.

Here's the 411:

School Website - Chungnam Science High School

Chungcheongnam-do Province - Wikipedia

Gongju - Wikipedia

Gongju's Konglishtastic Official Website

Daejeon - Wikipedia