Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Final Field Trip

Last week I went on my last field trip with Little Brown. I wish I could say it was so amazing that it blew all other field trips out of the water, but honestly, it was just okay. We went to a Natural Science museum, which basically meant a lot of dead bugs, a few fish, a weird dino exhibit, and a botanical garden. The one cool thing was when the kids learned how to make traditional handicrafts (our kids made a bracelet- haha) out of straw. If you want to see all the pictures you can go here. Here are some cute ones.

It was a tiring day, especially since it was so hot.

Help us all if Charlie becomes a doctor.

Reminents from the visit...

I just wanted to highlight a few things that were left out from the "Odyssey" series. Mostly funny t-shirts but there also was an interesting summer fruit incident.

I thought this one was cute (but it was way too tight and small for anyone) even if it is a threadless knock off.

I made Steph purchase a couple good ones. The one on the left says, "Make me shake lovely beefcake" and her dress says "Let's play naked twister Linda".

Finally I found a restaurant that serves both three fold flesh AND eat made dishes!

And yes, don't adjust the color on your monitor, that is yellow watermelon. At first I thought it must be a Korean thing but we brought some to work and the Koreans were so amazed! For the record, it tastes exactly like red watermelon.

I got a haircut!

Nothing drastic in the least- basically a trim with some shorter pieces cut along my face. But it looks different since they straightened it for me. I guess this is what I would look like if I stopped being chicken and cheap and just got a magic perm (basically a perm that makes your hair straight).



Sunday, August 26, 2007

Theme Day: Wear your favorite color!

This month's theme was "Favorite Colors" and the kids were encouraged to wear their favorite color. This also happened to be Jon Teacher's last day of work. As always, the kids wore some interesting outfits. Apparently Rina's favorite color is white and therefore she wore something that resembled a wedding gown. I'm not sure what McQueen's favorite color is but he looked pretty sharp in his pilot's outfit.

My Lions were the most adorable though because they all wore pink! Even Jake! It was so cute how well they matched and was just too bad that Sara was absent (because I'm sure she would have worn pink too). Look how much fun they are having!! I'm going to be such a mess when I have to leave them!

Anyway, I didn't take a huge amount of pictures but there are more and you can see them here.

Part Five: The Steph and Alison Odyssey

We returned from Busan late Thursday night. On Friday we decided to go downtown and then head out to Seoul. This meant a stop to take more funny sticker pictures and more frozen yogurt (of course). We also introduced the girls to shabu shabu at lunchtime. Shabu shabu is basically a three part meal. First you start with a big pot of boiling soup (filled with various vegetables- a little spicy but not too bad) and you get a plate of paper thin meat. You actually dip the meat in the soup and swish it back and forth and then eat it. It cooks in a matter of seconds and is really delicious. After you've eaten the meat you add thick noodles to the soup and eat soup with noodles. Last they make the most amazing fried rice. Excellent meal and the girls really liked it.
The next part of the plan was to have dinner somewhere and then catch a show of some kind. WE decided against dinner since we were still stuffed from lunch. Then we mulled over which show to see and eventually settled on B-Boy Korea.

The show was really cute. The plot didn't make a lot of sense but that's Korea for you. The cheesiness just made the show more fun and the dancing and drumming were fantastic!

It was cool that they let us take pictures during the show (just no flash) and afterwards we got to pose with some of the cast.
After the B-Boy show we headed closer to home and had a late night mandu snack (Korean dumplings) and then went to noraebang. Hahah.

On Saturday we were all pretty exhausted and just didn't feel like going into Seoul. The weather was pretty dreary and it actually rained for part of the day. It sucked because it was the girls' last full day in Korea and there were still so many places we could have taken them. Instead we went downtown and decided to go bowling.
It was their first time ten pin bowling so it was interesting. We bowled two games and split into teams: Steph and Matt vs. Alison and I. Of course Alison and I blew the competition away.

Another thing that Steph and Alison were sort of obsessed with were all the bakeries around here. You can find at least 2 bakeries on every block, if not more and all of them have free samples. The cakes here are also really elaborate and gorgeous (although they taste a bit different- more spongy) and they had been admiring them for the entire trip. So we decided to watch movies and eat cake for the evening. We watched The Descent (which Matt and I had already saw but really liked) and then most of The Zodiac but then we all crapped out and fell asleep since it was so late.
Let them eat cake!
Before we started watching the movies we went outside and pulled some party poppers that we had in the house. We actually made a really goofy and hilarious video but Alison has that on her camcorder so perhaps she'll upload and send me a link sometime.

So there you have it- the next day we just hung out, helped the girls pack, took them to the airport and said goodbye. If you want to see all the pictures we took (there are a lot!) you can go here. I really had a wonderful time with them and am so grateful and glad that they took the time to come and visit us. I'm hoping that more people will be able to make it out next year when we're back in Korea. It's really worth the trip! Trust me!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

We're Coming Home!

Finally, finally, finally after much begging, pleading and pestering we have gotten an official flight itinerary! Mark your calendars kids because September 6th is coming fast! Sadly we're flying Air Canada the entire way. :-( Oh well, I guess we'll pack snacks and hopefully we'll be able to sleep and therefore won't be bothered by the total lack of entertainment. Oh yeah, we arrive at 4:40pm so if a large group of people wanted to be there to cheer and scream our names we would be into that.

Anyway, I am frantically busy with EVERYTHING. Including a proofreading gig that Rhie just sprung on me tonight. I am getting paid extra but it's going to be interesting editing 36 books by Saturday.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Part Four: The Steph and Alison Odyssey

From Tuesday, July 31st until Thursday, August 2nd we were in Busan enjoying some sun and fun on the beach. It was an adventure since neither Matt nor I had ever been to Busan before so we were winging it a bit. My lovely coteacher Paige really helped us plan the trip from the train tickets to the motel room.

We took the super fast KTX train from Seoul Station and in less than 3 hours we were in Busan!

We had a good time on the train and Matt packed some awesome sandwiches. Alison loved them so much she almost ate them all.

We arrived and Steph found her mothership.

Matt found a new friend.

And Alison found the sexiest underwear EVER.

We spent the first day navigating around Busan (we rode on the jerkiest bus in Korea and everyone except me got carsick), finding our motel, singing our hearts out, exploring side streets, munching on baked goods and frozen yogurt and having a drink.

While we were making our way back to our motel to get some rest we ran into this couple.
I'm sure that most of you know about the South Korean hostages that the Taliban have captured in Afghanistan. Well our first day in Busan was the day when they executed the second hostage. Understandably this is a sensitive and emotional topic right now and we've been approached a couple of times (usually by intoxicated individuals) and asked what nationality we are. The feeling I get is many Koreans are unhappy with America and the war in Iraq.

Anyway, I digress. So these two were totally drunk and approached. We communicated poorly for some time (with their broken English and our broken Korean) and the woman even tried calling her daughter in Seoul who speaks English (who hung up on her since it was almost 1 am at this point) so she could translate. It turned out they wanted us to drive them home so they didn't have to pay for a cab or drive themselves and in return they would let us sleep at their house for free! They had gone out for dinner with friends and were upset about the hostage being executed and consequently drank too much. We had to decline since a) we'd been drinking a little ourselves; b) none of us have Korean driver's licences; and c) we didn't feel comfortable doing that anyway and already had motel rooms we'd paid for. Hopefully they got home all right. It sure made for an interesting cap to our first day in Busan.

The next day we decided to check out the beach. Busan has a number of them but we spent time at Haeundae Beach, which is the best known.
The beach was pretty busy (and a bit dirty) but the weather was nice and we all had a lot of fun. I got a huge kick out of all the vendors that walked up and down the beach with fried chicken and beer for sale. It makes sense because who doesn't crave a bucket of greasy chicken when you're covered in sand and salt and it's 40C?

The girls made sure they reached their daily yogurt quota while I chose something with a little more substance.

Later that evening we had some dinner and watched the stage show on the beach. It turned out that the Busan Sea Festival had just began! There was a huge crowd and at the end of the concert was the most AMAZING fireworks show I'd ever seen. I think I've mentioned before how awesome the Korean fireworks displays are and how we saw cool ones at New Years and then again at the Boryeong Mud Festival. However, this one topped all of them. We stood there in awe for probably 20 minutes. Everything was to music and it was sensational. I managed to catch the last bit of the finale with my camera but it really doesn't do it justice.
After the fireworks we decided to check out a club (which I think was called something like Groove and Tongue or Tongue and Groove) that we'd been given a flyer for. Apparently there were a bunch of DJs spinning. The flyer said there was a cover charge so we were reluctant at first but then it turned out foreigners got in free so we had nothing to lose!

Unfortunately Mattie got a headache from the loud music, strobe lights (and probably from getting a bit too much sun during the day) so he went home early. Us three girls got a bit of a taste of celebrity though! This was one of my favorite memories from the trip and we had so much fun dancing crazy and throwing caution to the wind. The Koreans were totally fascinated by us and were staring, whispering and then nervously dancing near us. We danced with everyone and had a really great time. It was hilarious since a lot of them were copying how we danced. Hahah! You should have seen some of the outfits people were wearing, like this guy. We danced for hours and then decided to leave once a couple of our admirers were getting a bit too intense. It was so much fun though!

Our last day in Busan we decided to check out the aquarium.
They had a really goofy show going on with pirates and a mermaid (that actually swam in one of the tanks) but I didn't get any pictures. I think Alison did (and I know she videotaped some of it) so maybe I'll post one if she sends me one. The aquarium was really cool.

Then it was time to make our way back to the train station. We stopped off at a little place along the way and had some sushi and we tried to go shopping at what we'd thought was a mall (not so much). Then we bought a delicious potato pizza, hopped on the train and said goodbye to Busan.

If you'd like to view all of the Busan pictures you can see them here. Keep in mind I was on crack when I uploaded them and page 1 is actually the last pictures and page 11 is the beginning. Oops!