Thursday, November 30, 2006


So we have had our first official "snow" this morning, perhaps in honor of Matt's birthday (yes, everyone should email and call him, etc.). So maybe I will take a little picture on my way to work. Basically imagine the tiniest dusting of white. Maybe it's just a layer of heavy frost. Hmmm.

Sunday, November 26, 2006


Our iguana is also cooler than any of your pets. See him feed!

A Reminder

Our puppy is cuter than your puppy- especially if your puppy is a cat.

Yes, he's sleeping in our dirty clothes pile.
Anyway, he sleeps alot and is really cute. Further proof here.

Last Weekend's Adventures

Last weekend was a really busy one where we went to a few cool new places and basically hung out alot with some of our coworkers. Friday night we all went out for dinner (which is usually what we do to reward ourselves for getting through the long week) and this time we decided to check out the only Italian restaurant in Gimpo. Visually it was really pretty and my lasagne was yummy, although poor Matt had less luck with his meal. I'd probably go back sometime.

Matt was really cheery until he tasted the asparagus and prawn pasta of death.

Afterwards Joi, Paige and Kelly went home and Elly, Jon, Matt and I decided to go bowling. Cleverly I paired myself with Elly, as opposed to Matt. I'm sorry, my desire to win clouds my normally loyal tendencies. Granted, the last time we went bowling Matt still had a fractured foot but I can still remember all the times before the foot incidence where he really sucked. It turns out that I was wise in my team choice since Elly and I are awesome, Jon is an okay bowler but lacks any kind of competitive instinct, and well, Matt sucks. I also enjoy the Korean tradition of "Loser's Pay".

On Saturday Jon, Matt and I met up with Kelly in Insadong [Seoul] at the recently opened Bandi's and Luni's bookstore (there is another one in Gangnam but that's pretty far away from us). It was really beautiful and everything was decorated for Christmas. I bought some Korean Christmas cards and we looked around at the English book section for ages. We also purchased some more books to learn Korean, as Kelly has gratiously offered to help us learn. Afterwards we looked around Insadong and Kelly showed us a free Korean art gallery. Then we had a cheap but delicious Korean meal (I had the barbequed beef soup/stew) and went for coffee/dessert and talked for ages about everything you can think of. The coffee shop we went to was nice but a bit hilarious with its decor. I felt like I was either trapped inside of a Valentine's teddy bear or a bad 70s porn movie- complete with elevator-esque muzak. I had a really yummy chocolate milkshake and Jon learned that the perfect amount of time to steep tea is 3 minutes. His green tea arrived with it's own "3 minute glass".

You're only 3 minutes away from tea perfection!

Play that funky muzak!

On Sunday we were very tempted to stay in but then the thought of just hanging out at the apartment and wasting the day was too depressing to bear so we took the long journey into Seoul once more. We ended up at the COEX Mall which was a pretty cool place but is really far away from where we live so I doubt we'll be going there much. We wandered around for quite awhile before deciding to get something to eat (I had a chicken quesadilla that was altogether too garlicy and I ended up feeling a bit blah the rest of the evening) and then checking out the aquarium. On route to the aquarium we stopped and looked at the huge movie theatre (it was called Mega something or other) where we discovered odd movie advertisement things where you can sit and pose and where they have previews of the movie playing on a TV in the display. Took some pictures, of course.

The aquarium turned out to be really excellent and fun, although at first I was a bit worried because all of the information about the fish, etc was in Korean and there was very limited English. However, the displays were so cool that it didn't matter much and deeper into the exhibits there was Korean and English information. I took a million pictures so I'll only post some highlights here and the rest you'll have to go to my photobucket. Something that was really cool about this aquarium and that I hadn't experienced before was that alot of the tanks were open at the top so you could actually see the fish and stick your hand in the water (although I am sure you're not supposed and it's dangerous, etc). They also had a section where you got to touch shells and starfish and that kind of thing. They had some really huge fish and a giant turtle and a number of sharks. The one section that really cracked me up was the "Arctic" section where they had a big polar bear picture on the wall and a snow machine that you could stand under and get snowed on. Here are a few photographic highlights for your viewing pleasure:

If you can't tell, there are tons of fish nibbling at my fingers.

Us in front of the piranhas.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Our First Field Trip

On November 15th we took the kindergarten kids to Bucheon (nearby suburb) to see a Korean Comics Museum. Basically they each got a book with different characters in it that didn't have faces and then there was a sheet of stickers (eyes, noses, etc) and they got to make their faces. After that we walked around the museum for about 15 minutes (everything was in Korean so I didn't get much out of it). The best part about this was my Max clutching my hand, dragging me around and then pointing and informing me that, " Korean this is [insert something in Korean I wasn't able to catch or remember)". The whole trip would have been kind of boring if it wasn't for the excellent 3-D movie we watched just before going back. It was called "Tree Robo" and was also in Korean and from what I gathered it was about a boy and the appocolypse and then a seed falls onto one of the appocolyptic robots and a tree grows out of its head. The kids were adorable in their 3-D glasses and poor Daniel was so terrified of the movie that he broke into unconsolable screams and sobs and had to be ushered out of the theatre area. Click for more pictures.

The glasses were way too big for Brian so he had to hold them on when he watched the movie.

This is Charlie, the student from Jon's class that wants to be an umbrella when he grows up. How perfect is it that his nametag is the only misspelled one in the entire school (click on the picture to enlarge and read).

Brian is the only person who can even attempt to match my cuteness in the bear toque.


I'll give you 5,000 Won if you can explain this shirt and napkin to me.

The best I've come up with for the napkin (since the shirt makes no sense at all) is that maybe the owner of this coffee shop likes Bill Cosby, or maybe Bill Cosby came to this coffee shop and likes it, or perhaps it's that the coffee is funny and black like Bill Cosby.

I find this all kinds of funny.

I realize that not everyone is amused by these types of inappropriate things, however, this is my blog so you'll have to deal with it. The weekend we went to get the puppy (who has a name now, by the way, Sarang Teek- Sarang is Korean for loved and Teek is an Ewok name) I found this gem of a shirt. I had to purchase it and give it to Joi and everytime she wears it I giggle to no end. So I travelled all the way to Korea to find a shirt that says 'Africa' and has a "drawing" of something that resembles the lovechild of a giraffe and a zebra. Now I can make all sorts of clever jokes like, "Hey, look! Joi is in Africa!" and (when I was wearing it with the hood on), "I'm totally in the African hood". Yes, I am retarded. Oh, and here's a picture of the cute toque I bought too and of Joi wearing it in all her "African American" glory.

You should be jealous.

December is but a short week away and this is what I see every morning as I walk to work. Yes, that is a beautiful flower on a tree. Take that all you suckers with ice and snow!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

By Popular Demand...

I know, it's been a long time and people have been leaving me complaints. I have so many interesting blogging things to catch up on that's it tough to know where to start. First of all, we're doing well but have been quite busy preparing for the Winter Intensive Classes that start in December and with doing our regular busy teachery stuff. Then, Matt is doing a major revision to a play that he's wrote in hopes that our lovely friend, Kristybruce, and her community theatre group will decide to stage it. This has meant that Matt gets the computer and Amber gets told to "go away unless she wants to read his play and make copious insightful remarks". Rats. I've also been working a bit harder on the learning Korean front since we asked Kelly to help us out and we purchased some new books. Last night she came over and she, Jon and I reviewed most of the alphabet. It's interesting how linguistics work since poor Jon and I can't hear the difference of sounds between many characters, similarily to how they can't distinguish between r and l since they don't have those 2 separate and distinct sounds. Oh to be 4 years old again and learning languages before I created all sorts of habits.

So look for some exciting and informative blogs to be coming your way really soon! Highlights will include: a field trip with the Lion Class, more cute puppy pictures!, fun times in Seoul, the COEX Aquarium, and Joi in a shirt that amuses me in more ways than I can describe.

One quick tidbit before I run and have breakfast: Poor Mattie has a sinus cold and had mentioned at work that he has a sinus headache as a result. Lewis informed us that the ENT (ear, nose and throat for the uncouth) doctors in Korea are amazing and use a nose vacuum to clear out clogged sinuses. If only he hadn't ended by mentioning that then they would probably give you a shot, I may have been able to convince Matt to go to one and see what a nose vacuum was really like. Oh well, maybe some experiences are better left un-had.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

November 11th

Obviously this date is special for Canadians because of Remembrance Day, but did you know that Korea has a special and unique holiday of its own? 11.11 is Pepero Day. This year we were spared a bit since the 11th was on a Saturday, however, we still received and consumed a disgusting amount of Pepero. Here's a few pictures of some of the various types of Pepero I received and of a booth on the street selling it.

Lest we forget... Pepero.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

We Have a Dog!!!

Well, it's Joi's dog but she says I get to be the daddy so it's all good. He doesn't have a name yet but what we do know is he is a purebred Yorkshire terrier and is 3 months old. I guess his dad is some big deal champion dog and Joi is never allowed to neuter him and if she (for whatever reason) decides she doesn't want him in the next 3 years they will buy him back from her. So if you have some good name ideas, it's open to suggestions. Although I think she wants a real human type name and not something stupid like Snuggles or Fluffy.

Melt over his cuteness:

So it was a long day and everyone was pretty exhausted by the end of it all. We had a majorly long subway ride home (from about 542 to 513 on the purple line) and then we took a cab from Songjeong. It seemed to take forever with a squirming puppy but we made it. He seems to be settling in nicely and everyone already loves him. Even Jon who only seems to like ugly dogs with something wrong with them. Last weekend we looked at dogs (and Matt and I fell in love with an adorable daschund puppy, but had the sense not to buy it) Jon liked the one that looked like it was about 10 minutes away from dying. Today he bonded with this sorry looking one-eyed mutt that I dubbed "Wink". I'm certain he will learn to love our dog in time, even if it's healthy and has all of his eyes, ears, legs and internal organs.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Movin' on Up

Thursday morning we were walking to work and we got to see how people move in Korea. Very excellent and interesting.

The Ties that Bind Us...

So my little Max brought in a very profound piece of literature this week. I was more than entertained and apparently there is a whole series of them (about scabs, breasts, farts, etc).

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Kids are [inadvertantly] funny...

So last week we were teaching the kindergarten kids about jobs and one of the activities was to draw a picture of what you want to be when you grow up. Things in Lion class were fairly dull as I got a lot of racecar drivers (although Max wanted to be a scientist- that kid is a genius) but Jon shared an amusing little tidbit from Lamb class. Lamb class has a "special" student named Charlie. Charlie is basically kind of crazy and probably has some form of ADD/ADHD or some other kind of mental problem (although they don't really diagnose these things here, apparently). He is usually quite disruptive and he can't really speak any language very well. Anyway, so Jon was asking the kids in Lamb class what they wanted to be. Well Rina wanted to be a ballet teacher, Andy wanted to be a pilot, Frances wanted to be a firefighter... You get the idea. And Charlie? Well Charlie wants to be an umbrella. Seriously, he drew an umbrella and he stuck firm to his dreams and goals even when questioned rigorously by Jon Teacher.

Another hilarious, but inadvertantly so, moment happened when Kelly and I decided to teach Lion class a new song. At first it seemed innocent enough but things rapidly declined and then basically went to hell. This song has some gestures that accompany the lyrics. So the lyrics go like this: "Daddy finger, Daddy finger, where are you? Here I am! Here I am! How do you do?" and basically you start with your hands behind your back and when you get to the "Here I am!" part you bring out one hand after the other with your thumb sticking out (Daddy finger). Well, next comes Mommy finger which is directly, and unfortunately, followed by Brother finger. The kids love this song and I have an extremely difficult time keeping a straight face while 5 maniacally grinning 4 year olds flip me the bird. Apparently that gesture isn't universal (although Kelly Teacher does know what it means- maybe these kids are just too young and pure). This one I'm taking back to Canada with me; don't piss me off or you're going to be meeting Brother finger pretty damn fast.

Monday, November 06, 2006


Jon Teacher just shaved his beard off!!! I like it better now; what do you think?


A wonderful thing about Korea is how long autumn lasts here. Where I'm from you usually get about a week or week and a half, if you're lucky, of that golden, gorgeous, warm, lazy fall weather. Strolling down the street and gazing at all the lovely colors is something you need to savour and appreciate because more than likely it's going to dump snow and get frickin' cold pretty damn quick. Autumn in Edmonton is fleeting and hasty at the best of times.

Autumn hasn't really ended here yet and it's November. If you ask me, this is a seasonal miracle. This is like 6 years worth of autumns in Edmonton and I am basking in all its golden glory. The leaves seem to turn more vivid colors than those back home; or perhaps the leaves would turn those colors if they had a chance and weren't murdered by snow in mid-October. I took a few pictures so you all could share my favorite season with me.