Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas Gifts

Yesterday, I had my final class with my favorite 5th graders. It's a class of seven students, all of whom have high English levels, work hard, have good attitudes, and are hilarious. I look forward to going to their class every week. After class was over, I was packing up my things, and the students approached me and handed me a big envelope. Inside was this:

They also made one for Jon, who will get to teach them next semester, as they will move up to 6th grade.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Fred's Visit: Day two (the much awaited sequel)

Sunday was defnitely less action-packed than Saturday. Since we'd seen pretty much all there was to see in Ingu, we travled south to the big city of Gangneung to visit the Charmsori Gramophone and Edison Museum (if you'll recall, Jon and I went there before, but my camera broke so I lost all of the pictures). Fred works for GE so we thought he'd be interested in the museum, plus it's just a really weird really great museum in general.
Unlike last time, we had an English-speaking tour guide, so we actually learned a little about Edison and music players during our visit.
Here are Jon and his dad in the museum:

Our tour guide showing off the collection of light bulbs:

We even got to listen to a phonograph, and teach our tour guide the word "crank."

After the museum, we took a bike ride around Gyeongpo lake in Gangneung. I've wanted to ride a tandem bike for a while now, and I finally achieved the dream!

We stopped for a breather halfway around the lake.

More pictures from our adventures can be found here.

Fred's visit: Day one

This weekend, we hosted our very first visitor! Jon's dad was able to stop by Korea during a business trip. It was a great experience, first seeing someone from home and second, being able to share a little bit of what life is like in Ingu. We ended up learning more about Ingu ourselves, as we visited places we hadn't seen before and didn't know existed, and did things we never were brave enough to do before: like public singing.
The first item on our agenda was to take Fred to see our school. It was a Saturday, but the kids still had to go to school for a half-day, and everyone was anxiously awaiting our arrival. We first had to meet with the principal, who did the normal bragging about how great Gangwon is, and actually complimented Jon and I on our teaching, which was nice, especially since he's never seen us teach.
Here are Jon and his dad in the hallway of the English Center. OR are they actually on the streets of New York City? Who can tell?
Fred was very happy to find his home country represented in the English classroom:
Next we explored the area around Jukdo or "Bamboo Island," this supposedly used to be an island, but is now attached to Ingu.
The view from the top of Jukdo of Ingu Beach is beautiful.

While walking around outside of Jukdo, we found these really interesting rock formations. They made me dream of summer when it will be warm enough to go there and read.
Later we went to Jumunjin to eat at our favorite pizza place. It was a very windy, cold day which found us hiding in doorways and running into buildings to try to escape the pain, but we still managed to explore a little.
One of the most interesting parts of Jumunjin is the huge fish market, where we found a dried Manta ray for sale:
We also went down to Jumunjin Harbor. I love this picture because it adequately captures how we were feeling in the weather (you can click on the image to get a close-up).
After lunch, we returned to Ingu, where we finally got to show off Ingu's pride and joy: THE BIG BUDDHA at HyuHyu-Am temple.
I mean, it is really big.
We went inside of HyuHyu-Am for the first time. The temple is made up of a long circular hallway covered in paintings, in the center of the hallway is a small room with an altar.
The last, but certainly not least important, event of Saturday was our trip to Norebang. Norebang or "Singing Room" in English, is basically karaoke without an audience, or rather, only the audience of a small group of your friends. You pay by the hour for your own room with a bunch of TVs, two microphones, and some tambourines. Would you like to see some videos of us singing? I thought so. In case you were wondering, the lovely Korean woman in the videos is Yeong Eon, our office aid who LOVES Norebang.

I took a lot of pictures so you can find more here, but try not to spoil it for yourself because "Fred's visit: Day two" will be up shortly.