Saturday, September 08, 2007

We're Home!

We're home! All safe and sound. All and all the trip was a great success! We finished all the errands we needed to do with the help of our boss. So all our money should be in our account from Korea by the end of the month. YAY! I think my boss was sad to see us go (Koreans really hide emotions so generally he seemed no more than apathetic at best towards our existance). Especially since he drove us around to do those errands and his family gave us a goodbye gift (a GORGEOUS set of mugs- really beautiful Korean pottery) and my boss hugged us before we left. So did all his kids and his wife. He thanked us for being "such great teachers" and said to please come and visit anytime if we are back in Korea. Aww!

We got to the airport really early but it didn't matter since we were there with all our stuff! Plus Joi lives so close to the airport and came there to hang out and eat lunch with us and say goodbye so that was nice. We were slightly delayed getting on our flight but somehow it didn't delay when the flight left so it was okay. When we got on the plane we had to walk to the very back of it to get to our seats. Literally there was only one row left behind us! Then some people come up and have the exact same seats printed on their tickets!! Uh oh! They double booked our seats. THEN WE WERE BUMPED TO FIRST CLASS!!!!! It was like a movie! First class was glorious. Of course I'd been so tired before getting on the plane and planned to sleep straight away but then when they put us in first class I was so wired. I was reading the menu and looking at the awesome travel bags full of samples we got and drinking my favorite port for free. And looking like a big time loser (let's just say I was definitely the most excited person to be in first class). The seats were so huge that I had to actually stand up and walk over to get my bag from under the seat in front of me! And I couldn't touch the ground when sitting in the chair. Luckily the seat had a foot rest and could be reclined and stuff. It was so great. For dinner I had the goose and asparagus wrapped in smoked salmon for an appetizer, the beef tenderloin for my main and ice cream with chocolate sauce and almonds for dessert! For breakfast I had apple crepes with blueberry compote and I stole the tiny adorable jar of maple syrup. It's way too cute!

I have to say though, other than the size of the seat and the amount of space you get, regular class on Air Singapore or Korean Air is actually better. I did get my own little video screen in first-class Air Canada (regular class doesn't get it) but in regular class on the Asian airlines you get your own and there are 10x more things you can do with it. So if you're flying internationally, seriously, try to get on an Asian airline.

We arrived at Vancouver noon, local time, and the lineups to get through immigration and customs were insane! We got to go through the "fast lane" since we only had a 2 hour layover but we almost missed our flight! Matt's Mom came there hoping we'd be delayed. She almost got her wish! We seriously thought we missed our flight since we had to pick up our luggage and we stood there waiting and waiting and waiting and it never came! We were supposed to board our flight at 1:40pm and that's when we got our luggage finally! then we still had to walk through customs! But when we went to rebook they said we could still make it! So we ran and we did! (Poor Alana was really sad.) We sat down and like 5 minutes later we took off! It was like the Amazing Race or something!

We got to Edmonton (nothing noteworthy about the flight from Vancouver. Cramped but short) and Mom and Dad were there. We waited for our luggage but only 3 out of 4 suitcases showed up. So we made a claim and they said the other one should be sent to us today. I don't feel that worried (yet, I guess). We know it's in Canada since we saw it in Vancouver so it should be okay. It could have been worse- a family on our flight lost all 9 pieces of their luggage!

Next we went to take our computer to get fixed. Let's just make a long story short and say they are bastards and I hate Best Buy. Hopefully they fix the problems and fast. None of this 4-6 weeks crap. I miss the computer already! Then we went for dinner and met with Cindy and George. It was so great to see them! We didn't get to eat where we wanted (huge waiting time and they don't take reservations) and had to go somewhere else but it didn't matter because it was more about the company than the food.

After dinner we drove back to Mom's, first stopping to say hi to my stepmom and stepbrother. I was so out of it at this point that I would be talking and forget what I had just said. We got to Mom's at about 11pm and got organized and went to sleep. I slept from about 12:30-10:30 and I feel pretty good right now. I hope I can adapt easily. Seems easier coming back then going there. And tonight Stephie and Travis are coming home for the weekend from university. Should be lots of fun!

Sorry this is so text heavy and image shy. I'll try to see if I can post some pictures sometime using Mom's computer. It could be rough going for the blog until we get our computer back.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

We Did It!

We finished our contract at Little Brown and now we're returning to Canada! I have to update about last weekend and our last few days of teaching but I'm not going to have the time to do that until we're in Canada. Cross your fingers we have an easy flight. Oh, and please keep in mind I lose everything and want to get in touch with everyone- this means email me your number because I probably lost it. Or you changed it and sent the new one and I lost that one. Man, have to finish packing since we have errands to run and our boss is picking us up to do them at 9:30am. Yikes! If it wasn't for the last minute nothing would get done! Love you all and see you soon!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Happy One Year Anniversary!

It really doesn't seem like we have that much stuff this time around. Of course we just started packing today but so far we've packed almost all of our clothes in one suitcase and clothes are the main possessions here. We have 4 big suitcases and our carry ons in total. We won't have to pay overweight fees this time! We are getting rid of a lot of clothes so this year has been really good for me because I tend to be a packrat. I'm learning to let go, especially when you realize that you brought something with you halfway around the world and didn't even wear it and you hadn't worn it for some time before you moved. So we're packing and our boss gave us our plane tickets on Friday so now we just have this weekend, 3 days of work and then it's the big fly out day! Hard to believe it's been exactly a year since we arrived in Korea! I can't wait to see everyone!

Open House- August Edition

Yesterday was our second Open House and I have to admit, they are much less stressful when you know you'll be leaving the country less than a week later. This time our Open Class theme was "Sea Animals" and it was such a breeze and went by so quickly. I may have mentioned that for the performance part of the Open House our boss wanted us all to do some kind of play or something. So my kids did Old MacDonald's Farm and were awesome and extremely cute. I have a video of it but it's too big to put on Youtube (and I don't know how to edit/make things smaller or whatever) and also Matt did the video and he seems to have had a seizure during the filming. So I will spare everyone that one (unless you're around me and the laptop- then I will make you sit through it).

I felt a bit emotional since the word is out that we are leaving so some parents approached me about it and therefore reminded me that in a week I won't get to see my kids. I'm probably going to take a ridiculous amount of pictures and video next week so I can try to freeze everything in time. Anyway, if you want to see all the pictures they are here, otherwise here are some highlights.

I made most of the costumes myself and look at the adorable hearts we put on their bums. Heheh. They sang "One Elephant" and "Skidamarink". I was totally having Sharon, Lois and Bram deja vu!

Look how lovely we are! From left to right: Kathy, Paige, Margot, Elly and Amber.

After the day was finally over we went to McDonald's for some fine dining. Then we had a couple drinks at Hudson before calling it a night.

Oh, and look what Matt got as a going away/thank you gift from one of his kids. Who doesn't need a massive crate of grapes?

Sea World, Cruising down the Han River, and more...

Last weekend we met up with a bunch of friends (there were 12 of us in total) for one last hurrah. A lot of us are leaving in the next couple weeks (Matt and I, Angela, Trish, Amanda) so we decided we would check out the aquarium (Sea World) in the 63 Building, have some dinner and then take a cruise down the Han River. This also gave us an opportunity to introduce Margot to some more people and see some of Seoul before we leave.

Sea World was fun but it wasn't anything special. I think the aquariums at the CO-EX Mall and in Busan were better. I do love watching penguins though! Even though we were deep in Seoul and extremely far away from the school we managed to run into one of our kids! Technically she is Margot's kindergarten student now but she screamed my name. It was adorable Alice! Of course as soon as we tried to talk to her she went completely mute and made it look as though she'd never heard English before. It was neat to run into her though.

After the aquarium we found a decently priced restaurant that seemed to have a good variety of food. Although I know she is grown I still can't help but worry about Margot since she is allergic to seafood and eggs (very allergic) and we are in the land of seafood and eggs. As it turned out, her meal had eggs in it and she had (thankfully) a minor allergic reaction. We visited KFC later so she could get something else to eat. The restaurant was a pretty wacky experience since we were such a huge group and basically the only people in the whole place. They also had a live band that switched to English songs as soon as we sat down and it was like they were singing just for us. The singer asked us some questions. It was strange. I felt like I was sitting at the head table at a wedding or something.

Then when Margot had her allergic reaction we asked the waiter for ice. Well he came back with a plate or rice. D'oh! So we sent it back and got the ice. Then later Margot was still hungry so we asked for the rice again. Agh! I swear, it was a comedy of errors. They must have thought we were insane!
After dinner we headed over to the pier and bought tickets for the cruise. It was really beautiful watching the sun set while floating down the Han River. And there was entertainment provided! I doubt I will ever get another opportunity to watch the Korean Children's Yodeling Choir! Yes, you read that correctly and no, I couldn't make this kind of stuff up.

After the cruise we searched for the subway station for a very long time. Oops! And then most of us parted ways. Matt, Margot and I invited Eddie and Gisela to have the full Gimpo experience before we left and they accepted. This meant traveling all the way out to Gimpo, having a drink at Hudson and then snuggling into a noraebang.

I think Margot will fit in here quite nicely. And look at my and Eddie's awesome moves during Kung Fu Fighting. We are fierce!

Oh and all the pictures from the day are over here.