Sunday, February 18, 2007

Happy Birthday Joi Teacher!

I want to announce to the world that today is a very important day! It's Joi Teacher's birthday! So you should all pay homage to the lovely and lively Joi. Friday night we all went out for galbi to celebrate her birthday and Elly's (which was on the 15th). Here are some pictures (of course). I'd like to point out Elly's excellent new haircut (which you can barely see because she is hiding behind her coat, convinced her face is too red from the 2 shots of wine she had- she still manages to give the peace sign though).

Anyway, this one's for you Joi Teacher!

Here are Joi and Paige before they went out last night. Aren't they stunning?

Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day in Korea is fairly similar to how it is in North America but with a bit of a twist since girls are supposed to be the ones giving chocolate and candy to boys. Luckily they have designated another day so that the boys can return the favor. As it turns out, my little Brian's birthday is also February 14th (how appropriate) and he was very enthusiastic about all the chocolate he was able to consume. I brought the party hat my elementary students gave me on my birthday and Brian paraded around in it for most of the day (and brought it back to school on Thursday and Friday).
Everyone ate a lot of chocolate (I still have quite a bit left in my desk at school) and therefore there was a bit of hyperactivity going on. Steven brought Kelly and I an amazing fuzzy heart made of different kinds of chocolates (some were a bit odd- chocolate covered green apple yogurt, anyone?). Other than that the gifts were pretty standard (albeit tasty).

Speaking of gifts, Jon and Paige seem to get the strangest/coolest ones (these were for Lunar New Year, not Valentine's Day, but still). They each got 2 bottles of wine (one white, one red) and a GIANT ham gift package. Yes, you hear me correctly, a huge case filled with different kinds of shrink wrapped ham and some mustard sauce to go along with it. Insanity. Maybe next semester I will have kids with mommies who like to give strange gifts. I did get some nifty Nike socks from one of my elementary kids for Lunar New Year but it just isn't the same as a custom made ham gift set. I guess not everyone like to give the gift of ham. Oh well, better luck next time.

A pleasant Sunday hike

Often I curse a little bit when I think about how "in the boonies" we are in Pungmu-dong and about how long it takes us to go anywhere relatively interesting. However, I do enjoy the mountains and nature in the area so there are some positive things about not being on the 17th floor of a high-rise in Seoul. Last Sunday Matt was busy working on his play so I decided to go out for a walk. The walk turned into a bit of a hike and I eventually ended up in Saudong a couple hours later (no it didn't take me that long to walk to Saudong, that's just when I ended up there after walking and hiking all over the place). The whole time I was thinking how much Donna would love living in this area because she really likes to take these sorts of walks. I took some pictures and here are a few highlights.

I love how reddish orange the soil is around here.

The little shrine on the mountain near the school.

A weird little exercise area on another mountain. Yes, that is a clock fastened to the tree and covered in saran wrap.

Our First Korean Wedding

Last weekend we had the honor of accompanying the lovely Kelly to her friend's wedding. It was held at the President Hotel in Seoul, which is a pretty swanky place from what I saw. Most weddings here are "Westernized" now and this was no exception but there were a few interesting differences that I noted. First of all, when we arrived the first person we saw was the bride herself, dressed in matrimonial glory, displayed in a tiny room (which sort of reminded me of a cage), greeting the guests. She looked gorgeous and very sparkley. Unfortunately because I couldn't decide what to wear we got there just before the ceremony and had to stand. I couldn't get any decent pictures as a result but I took a couple bad ones anyway.

Some differences: Korean weddings are short. The wedding started at 12:30pm and everything was completely finished by 3pm (well this is when we left and we had lingered at the buffet much longer than anyone else- the people sitting by us had left long before and had been replaced by new people, to give you an idea). I liked that it wasn't a big drawn out affair that consumed your entire weekend (between ceremony, dinner, reception, dance and gift opening). A couple quirky things happened that made me giggle a bit- the smoke/fog machine that started up when the bride came in and when the newly wed couple left and when the groom took off his shoe and hobbled around the room collecting money in it. After the ceremony the couple changed into traditional hanboks and went around greeting everyone as they dined on the fabulous buffet. There were so many delicious foods and we spent a ridiculously long time eating. Some of my personal favorites were the chili shrimp, lobster soup, tuna sashimi, and cinnamon punch.

After we finished up at the wedding we decided to go to Myeong-dong so Kelly could search for Stash tea (which I brought with me from Canada and now she loves it too). Unfortunately the internet lied to her and the store where it was supposed to be sold (it's tough to find in Korea, apparently) did not carry it. It was a really awesome store though and I am definitely taking Steph and Alison there when they come to visit. It had the cutest clothes and at the cheapest prices I've seen in actual stores here (as opposed to buying something off the street or in the subway). So you get that added perk of being able to try things on.

We also stopped by the Myeong-dong Cathedral which seems to be currently under construction. We went inside and crashed someone else's wedding and I took a few pictures of the beautiful architecture. Kelly informed us that this is the oldest Catholic church in Seoul.

When we were finished shopping (this is where I found my watch), collecting free samples (Kelly is truly a girl after my own heart), exploring and crashing weddings we went and had coffee. We also got to meet one of Kelly's friends (and Elly's too since she used to work at Little Brown back in the day). Now here is a cute little story. Kelly was telling us all about her friend, Kate and then her friend shows up, shakes our hands and says, "Hi, I'm Stacey". You should have seen the look of surprise on Kelly's face. Changing your English name is a pretty common occurrence (Kelly has also gone by Sun and Prajna in the past) and obviously Koreans call each other by their Korean names so it's not surprising she didn't know that Stacey had changed hers. Nonetheless, it was pretty amusing. Stacey was really nice and we swapped numbers and hopefully we can meet up with her again sometime soon. She likes norae bang!

This is the 100th entry!

Well some good news- our computer is no longer sick! Yay! Unfortunately the way we solved this was to do a basic system recovery which was a pain in the butt because we had to redownload all of our programs. We didn't lose any of documents, pictures or music though so that's a relief. All the same I'm glad I've also been storing my pictures on photobucket. The one thing that is annoying is that we weren't able to save Microsoft Office but we do have crappy Microsoft Works and if we really needed to do something in Word we could just do it at school so it's not a big disaster. We'll get it back sometime, I'm sure.

So here I am awake much too early on the 2nd day of a three day holiday long weekend (Happy Lunar New Year!). That is because basically all I did yesterday was sleep, put away laundry, fix computer things, go grocery shopping and watch TV. But mostly sleep. We're constantly sick here and right now is no exception (we're going to get our boss to take us to the doctor next week if we don't make a miraculous recovery this weekend) and I was really sleep deprived last week so clearly I needed the rest. We had hoped to do something exciting since we don't get many days off (or long weekends for that matter) but as it turns out, everyone travels during Lunar New Year and it would have been nearly impossible to find a train ticket to explore another city. So instead we're going to go to the DMZ next weekend and just take it easy this weekend. We had toyed with doing to Busan but came to our senses shortly after.

Today I think we're going to go into Seoul, to Itaewon and visit the Rockey Mountain Tavern and watch some hockey!!! Yes folks, it turns out that Itaewon has something really attractive, a place that shows NHL games and according to the schedule they have an Oilers game on today at 6pm! I'm a bit giddy, actually. Oh and Matt also needs to finish his play (which is turning out really awesome and I'm quite proud of him. It's probably all the help I've given him though. Hahaha). So I'm sure we'll keep occupied until we have to return to work on Tuesday.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

One more thing...

I just noticed that the slogan of this PC Bang (which is called e-Nature): "The internet cafe that resembles 'nature'". I don't know if fake sunflowers and leaves painted on the wall really resemble much of anything in nature but I do know this computer chair is mighty comfortable.

The Good News and the Bad News...

What a crazy week it's been so far. I am so incredibly exhausted from stress, work and sleep deprivation that I actually let one of my elementary classes play a matching game for the entire class period. I knew I should review or do something else but my brain failed me completely and I couldn't form a single coherent thought on the course material. Luckily they are good kids and don't get to do silly things that often and the match game was in the course outline so technically I was following right along.

Anyway, let's get the bad news over with first. Our laptop is very, very sick. I am currently blogging from a PC Bang in Saudong with poor Matthew at my side who has the only computer in the bang with Microsoft Word. He's on a deadline with his play (which he should be finished but he dicked around a bit and then the computer mayhem began) and will be working until the wee hours of the night to try and meet it. We figure it's Lunar New Year this weekend so we have 3 days off to recouperate. I am lending moral support and feeding my internet addiction. During the 3 days off we're hoping to do something cool, possibly tour the DMZ (De-militarized Zone- ie border between the Koreas).

So what happened to the laptop? Well, Matt was looking for some anti-virus/spyware software and his Dad recommended some to him that he'd heard was good but hadn't tried. So Matt downloaded it. Only it wasn't anti-virus/spyware software, it was actually something called Malware (well it was a bundle of things and this was one of them) and basically it is really screwing our computer up. Right now we can no longer access the internet and things run really slow. So slow that sometimes we can't get our user info to actually load and the whole thing seems frozen. This is really perplexing and even the McAfee anti-virus we purchased (before the internet stopped working) isn't able to clean it up. If anyone has any good ideas/miracles, please, please let us know. It's going to drive me nuts not being able to update blogs at home or get any of my new pictures off my camera, etc, etc.

Well that's the bad news. But otherwise things are going all right. We still haven't been given our schedules for the new semester (even though it starts in two weeks) but we did get a bit more information about how the graduation and such will work at the end of the month. Today was Valentine's Day at school so you'll be glad to know that we are no longer lacking in the chocolate department. It was also Brian's birthday so I got a few cute (but inaccessible at the moment) pictures. Also on the weekend I got a new watch and it's orange and adorable. See! The picture is pretty pathetic but it says "Naughty, naughty pets" on the strap and has a strange orange creature on the face. There is writing on the face that says, "You really have some nerve to dare to leave your presents everywhere." and the second hand is a little red present.

The best and most exciting news, however, is that today I got a lot of mail! Just when I thought I would perish from the cold, stair filled walk home from work I found 2 parcels waiting for me! The first being from my amazing friend KB and she thoughtfully sent me the first season of Arrested Development on DVD. I've never seen it but she is thoroughly convinced I will adore it and she is not often wrong about anything. The other parcel, now you probably should be sitting down for this, was my LONG LOST CHRISTMAS PARCEL FROM MY DAD AND SHARRON!!! I couldn't believe it! I still can't believe it! But it made it and it's here and it's filled with lovely things (like a great real gum supply and priceless pictures- even if I look awfule in most of them). I'm also excited that Matt has his guitar tuner and capo so he can change the strings and get back to playing more (after he's finished with his play, of course). But this blog has turned a bit rambly and you can clearly see what lack of sleep does to me. Hopefully the next time the computer has an issue I will not be woken up to deal with it for a couple hours at 1:30 am. So that's about all. Sympathize with the bad and revel in the good and know that things could be quiet on the blog front for a bit but if all goes well everything will be back to normal soon.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

A cute shirt and something yummy...

Well I was out running errands tonight I came across this shirt and it made me chuckle. Unfortunately I couldn't get a great picture of it.

Oh yes, you're a sexy penguin indeed!

And in case anyone was wondering, the strawberries in Korea are the best in the world. Seriously. They are way more sweet and delicious than any strawberries I've ever had in my life. Here Matt displays the ones I bought tonight (with a complimentary bowl, I might add) on the street for about $10.
Because they are a bit greener I was always reluctant to buy any since I thought they wouldn't be ripe (well if I bought strawberries in Canada that were this color they wouldn't be ripe). Then one day we had some at school and I realized the err of my ways. The strawberries are so sweet and succulent that they're like candy. If you're ever in the neighbourhood I definitely recommend that you pick some up!

This reminds me of how much I enjoy the random fruit selling that goes on around here. On Friday we went for dinner with Joi and Paige (by this point Joi had gone home since she was really tired) and this man wandered into the restaurant with a pineapple. He gave us all a sample of it and then started talking to Paige. We asked what he wanted and it turned out he was selling pineapples- 3 for 10,000 won and they were already cored and sliced (in the most brilliant way too- it just looked cored with the peel still on but then you could easy pull it apart into quarters and then the fruit was somehow sliced inside- simply amazing!). Of course we bought some and if you look closely in that last picture you can see the reminants of the last pineapple in the background. I can't wait for watermelon season to start!

The Kindness of Strangers

Cynicism and pessimism are things that we too often run into in our day. Despite this I remain firm on my conviction that people are inherently kind and good. Since arriving in South Korea we have encountered some really lovely people. Sometimes we get a little special treatment and it's probably because we're foreigners in a smaller city and therefore a slight novelty. Like the time the lady at Home Plus weighed our prawns, printed off the price tag and then proceeded to add two more giant handfuls with a wink and a smile. Or today when I bought delicious strawberries on the street and was given extra by the sweet little man. These little gestures always make me smile and remind me of the generosity and warmth of the human spirit.

Tonight after work I went into Saudong to take care of a few errands and get some dinner. Unfortunately it was raining and my umbrella was all the way back at the apartment and I didn't feel like going back there when I could just catch the bus beside the school. So I just pulled my bear toque on a little tighter and walked a bit faster. I walked all over the place and passed hundreds of people; each sensibly carrying an umbrella. I finished my last errand and started to walk back towards my bus stop and was about two blocks away, waiting to cross a busy intersection when an adorable young Korean woman started speaking to me (in Korean). Unfortunately I had no idea what she was trying to say to me but then she started to gesture and I realized she was inviting me under her umbrella. Through some awkward conversing she asked where I was going and I told her I was on my way to the bus stop. Even though it was clearly out of her way she walked beside me with her umbrella the entire two blocks to the bus stop. I was truly touched. I only wish I knew more Korean so I could have spoken with her more. Hopefully the gratitude and appreciation I felt were apparent despite the language barrier. She probably thought that she was just sharing an umbrella but what she really did was brighten a stranger's rainy night.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Full Pajama Day Coverage

As mentioned in the previous post, we had another theme day at Little Brown on Friday and this time it was pajama-rific. The kids were all really cute in their pajamas. The kids that dressed up were given lollipops as a "prize". In Lion class this meant that since Max and Brian were not wearing pajamas they did not get candy. Look at this face:

Brian just finished asking me, "Where me candy?". I was proud though since he was very brave and didn't cry. When we were sitting down for "Morning Message" time the other kids (Steven, Daniel and Ben) asked why Max and Brian had no pajamas. Well then Max said that his Mom told him to come to school and just take off his sweatshirt (All the kids wear crazy long underwear here under their clothes all the time).

Behold the chain of events after this statement.

It truly was a Pajama Day miracle!

It really was a fun day since we got to make popcorn balls for one of our class periods (and it took longer than expected so that stretched into 2 periods). I wore my pumpkin pajama pants and my awesome blue monster slippers. I let a couple kids try them on and they were really cute. The theme days can sometimes be a pain in the butt (like Brown Day- what the heck!?!) but overall they are entertaining and amusing.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

A Pajama Day Lullaby

Friday we had another theme day (this month was Pajama Day) and I plan to update and upload all sorts of tidbits about the madness and elation but until then here are my kids singing a classic. I especially love Ben's intense singing and the moment when Ben and Steven look at eachother and exhange "Oh yeah, we're kicking this song's a$$" looks. Short, sweet and surely needed to be viewed numerous times.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Who knew I was so intimidating??

Generally things in my classes are really shiny and happy. In fact, I am a bit of a pushover and a lot of kids (some that aren't even students of mine) even call me "Fun Teacher". This is fine by me. I am not above punishing kids if they misbehave and usually the kid stands in the corner with their hands up and then we talk about what they did wrong and everything is okay. I have had kids cry (but usually the younger, sensitive types) but this is a pretty rare occurence for the most part. Today, however, I was completely shocked when I made a 12 year old boy cry. And I didn't even yell or make a scary face! I was so surprised and I felt a bit guilty. He's a really sweet kid but he was being an idiot and then scribbled on another student's book so I made him stand in the corner. Then he sat down before I told him it was okay so I sent him back to the corner. After a couple minutes I went over to talk to him and make sure he understood what he did and why he was being punished (which should be pretty obvious, but whatever). Our conversation went something like this:

Me: Tin, why are you in the corner?
Tin: (stares at me)
Me: What did you do wrong?
Tin: (continues staring; eyes begin to water)
Me: Tell me why I put you in the corner.
Tin: (tearing up, struggling to speak) Ashely... book... pencil... (starts wiping his eyes)
Me: You wrote on Ashely's book?
Tin: (nods)
Me: Repeat- I wrote on Ashely's book.
Tin: (crying) I wrote on Ashely's book.
Me: Why did you do this?
(at this point it seems that Tin is so upset that English isn't really computing)
Tin: I wrote on Ashely's book.
Me: Okay, but why?
Tin: I wrote on Ashely's book.
Me: (a bit exasperated) Was this a good thing to do?
Tin: No.
Me: So why did you do it?
Tin: I don't know.

We also talked about him leaving the corner. I felt like a big jerk but really it was a pretty mild punishment. I know one thing- it would take a lot more than that to make a 12 year old Canadian boy cry. If only Canadian students feared/respected their teachers this much. And yes, I gave Tin a hug. I am such a pushover.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Slowly, slowly...

Teek regains his beautiful fur. Until then we do get to dress him up in cute sweaters. This one is my favorite (Joi brought it back from America). Teek has been doing some bad, disgusting and unmentionable things lately, so trust me he's currently much cuter in pictures.

Koreans make the best t-shirts.

So I've gotten in the habbit of buying funny t-shirts (even though most of them are asian size and I can't actually wear them) and here are my three favorite/most recent. I can only wear the restroom one though.
In case the striped one is too hard to read it says, "CATS IN BAG BAGS IN RIVER".

This one also has similar images written on the front but I thought the back would photograph better.

There you have it. T-shirts are much more entertaining in Korea.

It was like a food field trip...

So yesterday we met up with Kelly and went to Namyeong to have some delicious food. Initially we planned to get waffles (yes! glorious waffles!) but ended up going for Japanese first. She took us down a couple deserted and destitute looking alleys until we arrived at the California Roll House. Oh man, why isn't this restaurant next door to me? Everything was so cheap and delicious that it's a shame it's so far away and so difficult to find. I didn't take a picture so you'll have to take my word for it that the noodles and sushi and california rolls we ate were divine. After we ate (for the first time) we walked around the area and looked at the campus of Sookmyung University . It's a really big campus and seemed like a pretty nice place. It's for women only and one of Kelly's friends went there (Kelly went to the other women's university, Ewha.). There was a bit too much concrete for my liking but I suppose it is a city, so what can you do?

After we burned off a few sushi calories we went to the Waffle House and had our second lunch/dinner. They do waffles a bit different here since they make them into these little waffle sandwiches that are filled with butter and apple jam. It was really yummy though. The pièce de résistance was the icy strawberry ice cream yummy dessert. When Kelly explained it to me the closest thing that I could come up with was a strawberry snowcone but as you can plainly see from the pictures this is unlike any snowcone I've ever seen.
Kelly didn't realize she was going to make an appearance in the picture but isn't she just adorable? Too bad I was sitting close and had to cut off part of her head.

It was really, really excellent and again I wish that this restaurant was located much more conveniently. This is way better than a snowcone and I guess you can get the same thing with different fruit (for example kiwi). Kelly said we should open our own waffle house/icy dessert place in Canada and name it after her. Anyone care to finance this??

Narrowing the Gap

So one of my elementary classes is studying about geography and one of the subjects that we cover is about pen pals. I had unsuccessfully tried to do a small scale pen pal excursion with the help of Cindy with a different class but unfortunately the letters she sent were lost in the mail. This time I am determined to make it work and so far things are going really well. Since I don't really know any Canadian 12 year olds I had to improvise and use the next best thing at my disposal- 17/18 year olds. Which really, are they that much different? Observe:

Virtually identical, I tell you! My kids are really excited though and even finished their letter writing homework 3 days early. The letters were pretty cute and I am excited to read the ones that Stephie and her friends sent in return. Hopefully the kids won't ask me every day if their letters are here yet and hopefully they won't be lost in the mail since that would be much too tragic.

Hard arteries are strong arteries.

Before coming to Korea my perception of the cuisine here was that it was really healthy and thus why Asian people in general are really slim and fit. Now, if you stick to traditional dishes that would be quite true but Koreans love to snack and things are becoming more "western" everyday. There are bakeries on every corner (there is nothing less nutritional than Korean bread, let me tell you) and they love fried chicken (one of Matt's students tried to tell him the other day that the only safe chicken was fried chicken- ha!) and of course, pizza. Now pizza in North America is not what I would call a healthy snack but somehow they have managed to take it to another level here.
Look closely at this pizza that was given to us by one of the mothers of a student for the staff to enjoy. Cheese? Yep. Green Peppers? Check. Onions? Sure, why not? Bacon? Okay. Potatoes? Hmmm... Oh yeah and those are hot dogs wrapped in the crust. Good Lord! If this made it to North America it would be over. We would be wiped out as a culture. The next step is two for one gastric bipass surgery. What's next? Chocolate covered lard? Pizza with a fried chicken and marshmellow crust? (although deep fried chocolate bars are pretty bad- hopefully that doesn't catch on here or they'll have way more problems than having Kim Jong Il as a neighbour)

As you can see, the potential health repercussions didn't stop anyone from eating the Pizza of Death. I think the correct term here would be 'gluttons for punishment'.

It's a Style Party and everyone's invited!

Another thing that I really love about Korea are the interesting and humorous names they come up with for their stores and shops. Everywhere you go there is another hilarious (or atleast mildly amusing) place that you want to stop and look at to see if it lives up to its name. I have taken pictures of a few places but there are just too darn many to capture on film. (I should have taken one of that bar called Beer Hunter though, that's just a cool name) Here is a sample from the last couple weeks.

Some places make me want to dance.

Others cheer me up.

Some are thought provoking:
I wonder how many graduates of Pa's Dance Studio go on to an illustrious career at Bikini Virgin.

Some are just generally confusing. Although finally I can get a decent cup of coffee with a side of Star Wars.

Adentures in Hongdae

Last weekend Matt and I decided to go explore a part of Seoul that we haven't had much time to see. Namely, Hongdae. We went during the day though so we missed out on all the nightclub action (although if you're interested in hearing about that kind of thing you could probably ask Joi or Jon since they are partying it up almost every weekend there) but there were other interesting things to see. For example, we found a place called Margaritas and had some decent Mexican food (I had a margarita and you would think a place called Margaritas could handle that but alas, it was like margarita mix with ice- no blending in sight) and that was quite delicious. We also wandered around and looked at interesting stores and had some really expensive truffles at this chocolate place. Since we are both eternally sick here (I think I have caught every cold Korea has to offer) we called it an early night and went home. Not before witnessing this comic display. Hongdae is a university area and therefore is teeming with young people. On this particular day it was pretty cold out (for Korean standards) and here is this guy running around without a shirt on.
Notice the cameraman following him around. Basically we were able to glean from him (and another guy running around in the other half of that outfit- which meant on the bottom he just had boxer shorts) that he was on a mission for live television to collect kisses from women. He really didn't know much English but we had been watching him for a bit before he approached us and I do know the Korean word for kiss (bo-po). Both guys (separately during our Hongdae browsing) asked Matt's permission for me to give them a kiss on the cheek. I thought that was interesting and humorous. So maybe I'm on a Korean reality show somewhere as the featured foreigner who kissed both of the guys. Only in Korea.

Ben's Birthday

So now that I am finished report cards and Matt is not on the computer (he's editing his play so that Kristybruce and her cronies can stage it so I guess I can't complain) I have a lot of blog catching up to do. On January 24th we had a little birthday party at school for the kids who had a birthday in January. For Lion class, this meant little Ben. It was a pretty simple state of affairs but nonetheless Ben was really jubiliant despite not being able to eat much of his cake (he's allergic to eggs). His mom did send an ice cream cake on Monday though (which was his actual birthday) so I think that made up for it. I wish I'd had my camera then since the cake was really awesome and in the shape of a sheep. The kids had a good time and got a little messy (Brian had to change his shirt) and Ben had the magical felt birthday crown bestowed upon him for 30 minutes. See it all here.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Lack of Updates

Obviously my New Years resolution (if I was the type to make those things) should have been to keep this blog updated. I am really going to make an effort to get it back on track though so that my loyal fans will not be disappointed and left refreshing their browsers in vain. To appease the masses, here is a picture of something that can only happen in Korea. Last weekend Matt and I travelled to Incheon to eat dinner with our excellent friend Kelly when we came upon this little gem of a restaurant. One day we'll be able to say, "Hey, remember that time in January in Korea where you were eating ice cream and got your picture taken outside of Dick's with that fake pirate statue?". Good times. Expect more updates as soon as I finish doing all of my blasted report cards.