Monday, October 4, 2010

Adios Korea!

Today is officially my last day in Korea.  Emily and I got back last night from our month long trip around SE Asia.  The trip was amazing and so much fun.  When I get back home and settled down I will be sure to post about the trip and load pictures for everyone to see.  I am staying at a friend's apartment for my last night.  I'm currently in the process of re-packing a few things so my bags fit better.  The main plan of my day is to eat all my favorite Korean foods! It could be a 3-4 meal type of day.  Why not eat as much as I can?  There's not much for Korean food in Iowa!

I'm quite excited to go home because I haven't seen family or friends for over 1 year. This past year has been a wonderful one. I taught so many bright, fun, and polite kids.  I met people that I'll probably be friends with for a very long time.  I was able to travel to 7 countries, many more than I would have imagined I would travel to in one years' time. Just like college, this year flew by incredibly fast.  My time in Korea was definitely one of the best years of my life.  South Korea has so much to offer and I encourage anyone to give it a try and visit or live here! I will never forget my time here.  

Well, I better keep packing so I can get outside and do the last few things we need to get done before we leave tomorrow.  See you in America soon!!!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Travel Time

Emily and I just finished our teaching contracts yesterday.  In about 7 hours, we are going to take off on our travels for 1 month around SE Asia!  As of today there is a typhoon heading toward South Korea.  Hopefully this doesn't delay our flight to Beijing.  We already had 1 major setback that happened yesterday with our flights, but that's another story for a different blog.  Luckily we figured everything out.

During our trip we will  be going to Beijing, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, and Hong Kong before departing back to Seoul for 1 day to grab our other bags.  We're excited because one of Emily's co-workers, Rob, will be joining us in Vietnam and Cambodia.  He finished his contract at the beginning of August and has been hanging around SE Asia.  Well, just a little more packing to do then we gotta go to bed.  I will try my best to update my blog on the trip.  I made the decision to bring my computer, hopefully it's not a bad choice!!! Off to China!!!!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Dempsey's Visit Korea

Summer break 2010 has come and flown by fast!  I think each time I blog the time in between gets longer and longer.  Korea does not slow down.  Sometimes it's hard to keep up.  My family came to Seoul for 1 week during my summer break.  Before this year I never thought I would travel to this part of the world, let alone have my family come and visit me while I'm here!  In order to make sure they got the Korean experience I loaded the week with many things to do.  Although there is a TON to in Korea my family was most interested in seeing or doing the things that I have seen over the past year.  I feel like I've done most of the big things in Seoul, I probably haven't even scratched the surface of things to do/see.

On the first day I went to pick my family up at the airport.  They made it! The week or so before they arrived I started to get excited, especially when I was making my list of things to do. After getting into Seoul by bus we got to the hotel.  The hotel they stayed at is very close to my school and about a 15 minute walk away from my apartment (although I preferred to ride the bus or take a taxi to the hotel). When we were walking up to the hotel, I saw one of my students who lives in the apartment in the top of the building.  I said hello to him and he responded with, "How could you be here?" and then continued to ride his scooter.  I think he was a little shocked to see his teacher outside of school! I wouldn't be surprised if the kids thought we lived at school.  Heck, we are there for almost 11 hours each day.  After dropping their stuff off at the hotel and getting situated, I took my family out for the first "Korean" dinner.  Although it's Japanese we'll consider it Korean just for fun.  The food is called shabu shabu.  Basically, each person gets their own pot and they are able to throw thinly sliced pieces of beef in the pot to cook it.  Once it's cooked (20 sec. later) you take it out and put it inside of a piece of lettuce that has rice in it.  You could also put garlic, kimchi, etc. in the wraps.  Each meal comes with about 10 pieces of beef and lettuce wraps to create.  At the end of the meal you put in some noodles and cook those.  It's definitely one of my favorite dishes in Korea.  I think my family liked this meal.  Just like I felt my very first night in Korea (and for about the next month) their chopstick skills weren't the best, but I could tell they were getting better through out the week!

The second day I took my family to Insadong.  This is an area of Seoul pretty close to where I live.  It is a traditional area that has many shops selling antiques and artwork. It's also a popular spot for foreigners, where they can buy memorabilia.   Insadong is a very cool area.  We ended up going back the last day of their trip so they could buy some things to take home.  Later in the day we went out for dinner because it was Emily's birthday.  We went out to eat with her parents who were also visiting and some of her co-workers.  The restaurant we went to served a spicy chicken dish that it cooked in a big pan on the table.  This is another favorite food for me!  I think it was a bit spicy for my family though. It did take me a few times to get used to it, even though it will can be too spicy!

Another thing we did during the week was walk around the massive outdoor/indoor shopping center, named Myeongdong.  This area is very popular with Koreans and foreigners.  There are many street vendors selling foods and clothing.  Also, just about any clothing store is included in this shopping area.  A ton of restaurants line the outside of the area.  I won't hesitate to say that it's probably every Korean girl's favorite place because of all the clothes and shoes one could buy are sold here! After seeing the Myeongdong area we walked around some more and went down by a stream that runs through the city.  The stream has been rebuilt within the past couple of years. It is very cool looking.  At night there are lights all the way up and down the stream.

Another day, Emily and I had to get our passports from a travel agency, so we too our families to a group of palaces that were in the same area.  This area is named "Gwanghamun." It's a cool area because it features modern Seoul and traditional palaces right in the same area.  We may have take our Christmas card photo in front of the palace.  Guess I'll have to wait and see! Another place we went to was the Korean War Memorial.  I really liked the museum here and I knew my family would do.  The museum tells all about Korean history, takes you through the Korean war, Vietnam war, and other operations the Korea has been involved in.  Whenever important talks or speeches are given regarding North Korea they are usually given here by the President of South Korea.  The week before we went here, Hillary Clinton visited the memorial.

My favorite part of week with my family was when we visited the DMZ.  I had gone to the DMZ last November through with a different tour group.  This time we went with the USO (US Army).  This is the tour that you NEED to go on!  It was a ton of fun.  This tour takes you to the JSA, where you can literally step into North Korea.  Before arriving at the JSA we were briefed by a few US soldiers who were leading the tour.  At the JSA itself is where North and South Korea have little blue buildings side-by-side that are on the line of North/South Korea.  On one side of the line is the the big North Korean building. The other side is the South Korean/US building. We went in one of the blue buildings which houses important meetings between N/South Korea.  When we went in the room there were 2 South Korean guards.  These guards always stand at the taekwondo "ready" pose.  They are ready to kick some butt if needed.  On other parts of the DMZ tour we went to the bridge of no return, which literally means that.  Right as the war ended, prisoners from North and South Korea were allowed to cross the bridge back to their homeland, or stay where they were.  Once they crossed they could not turned around and go back.  Next, we went to an observatory which you can see into North Korea and see "Propaganda Village." Unlike the first time I came here it was a very clear day so we could see clearly into NK.  After the observatory we went to the 3rd tunnel, that was found after the Korean War.  A NK defector helped tip SK guards as to where a tunnel was that NK would use to infiltrate SK.  The last stop on our tour was at Dorasan Station.  This is the last train station in SK. Koreans stay optimistic that someday, this station will connect through NK and into Russia to become the worlds longest train route, connecting all the way to Europe.

Overall, I think my family had a wonderful time in Korea.  Coming to a country like this is definitely a huge change, especially if you haven't experienced a culture like this before.  We did many fun things and did things that most people don't get to do in their lifetimes (like step into North Korea). I introduced my family to some Korean foods that they did and didn't like.  It's all about the experience though.  I hope that they had fun adventuring half way across the world to see a culture that you would NEVER see in Iowa! I'm sure that I forgot some of the stuff that we did.  But, if you have talked to my parents or sister about the trip I'm sure they have showed you tons and tons of pictures!  So, if I did forget something then there's a good chance that they told you about it.  Also, for as much as it usually rains on Dempsey family vacations, it only rained once when they where here, for about 10 minutes.  That's pretty good luck I would say for being in the middle of rainy season! Thanks for coming to visit me!!

Here are some photos of things we did...

After leaving Indsadong and heading toward the stream (I cannot pronounce the name of the stream, it's too long!)

4-person bike at the Olympic park We don't look like tourists at all!

That's Bob.  He is a North Korean guard.  He literally looks through his binoculars all day. Must be boring.

Dad, the first night eating shabu shabu

outside the 3rd tunnel at the DMZ

Entrance to the palace

Inside the building that separates North/South Korea.  The soldier is South Korean.  Rocking the aviator glasses in his Taekwondo stance. Don't bump him on accident, he will hurt you!

Half of each blue building is in North Korea, the other half in South Korea.  The big building is the back is a North Korean building.  The South Korean guard on the right stands only showing half of his body, so if anything happens he is not totally exposed.  

In front of the palace

Eating seollantang (beef soup) with Emily's parents

Standing in the middle of the stream

Top of the Seoul (Namsan) Tower

Foreigners using the Korean workout equipment found in any park in South Korea (probably North Korea too!!)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

It's Been Awhile

Time is moving too fast in Korea!  The last time I blogged I had just gotten back from Taiwan.  It seems like years ago.  A lot is happening over in "my" part of the world.  Summer is finally here.  It is getting hotter and more humid. I could sure go without all the humidity since I have to wear pants to work.  People are slowly leaving Korea as their contracts are over.  Matt, one of Emily's co-workers and a good friend of mine left this week to head back to Canada.  He has been here for a couple of years at a few schools.  Emily's school has a lot of people leaving in July/August, compared to my school I am the next person to leave.  

I got my official last day a few weeks ago.  My last day is August 31st.  This is the last day of first semester.  I was originally supposed to be done in the middle of September, but they figured it would be best if I ended on the last day of the semester.  This is especially good for the students because they won't have me for 2 weeks in September, then have a new teacher come after just getting used to me.  It works best to start the semester with a new teacher.  Emily extended her contract from 1.5 months and we are now ending on the same day.  In the past few weeks we have begun planning our travels for September.  As of now our plan is to visit Beijing for one week, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Malaysia for around one week each, and Hong Kong for 3 days.  We are scheduled to fly out together on October 5 from Seoul, as we will be flying back there from Hong Kong to see people one last time and get extra stuff we are not taking with us.  

We are both extremely excited for the SE Asia trip, but China decided to pull a fast one on us!! As of July 1, China put a new visa law affecting non-Koreans living in Korea into effect.  This law states that you must have 6 months or more left on your ARC (Foreigner ID card) card to be allowed to apply for a visa.  We booked our flights to China and other places around SE Asia in June together as a package. Since July 1 many people have been turned away for China visas because their ARC cards don't have 6 months left on them.  We heard about this new law from these people.  NOWHERE on any Chinese embassy or consulate website in Seoul, Chicago, etc. has this new law posted.  How are travels supposed to know this? The only place we have seen this law posted was on a travel agency website in Korea.  Obviously it isn't fair to do this without announcing that a new law will come into effect.  You would think that people who bought their plane tickets prior to July 1 would be exempt from this law.  One of my co-workers had booked plane flights and hotels for her and her parent's in China over our summer break.  She did this before July 1 also, but was forced to cancel those plans.  I'm not sure about her, but our plane tickets are non-refundable so we are doing everything we can to not lose a lot of money!  There are a few options that could possibly work and we are checking into these.  They all involve spending more money than we should for the visas, but we will do whatever it takes because we both want to go to China! I will have to keep you posted if we are able to get the visas or not.  I wouldn't mind spending another week in Thailand, but I'd rather not have it at the expense of China. 

An another note, school has been moving a long quite well.  All the kids in my kinder class have been doing a great job lately.  I've noticed a ton of improvement in each student since he/she began in February.  My class, unlike every other kinder class at my school did not go to pre-k at the school.  They were all new to Poly School.  They have adjusted well and are doing awesome!  It's really bad timing that my contract is done at the end of August because my Korean teacher is pregnant.  She does activities with them during break time, eats lunch with them, and has 1 class at the end of their day.  Needless to say, the Korean teachers work very hard.  They call most parents on a daily basis to keep them up to speed on things.  Her last day is next Friday, the day before our summer break starts.  I feel really bad for my kids that both me and the Korean teacher will be leaving in the timespan of about one month.  I just hope that the new Korean teacher will be a good one because my co-teacher has done an excellent job and all the kids love her.  

In June we went on a field trip to another park (who would've guessed). The gym teacher came too and played some field games with the kids.  They had a lot of fun. This Friday we are going to an aquarium.  It's a pretty cool one.  Emily and I went in February.  Some of my students have been there.  It will definitely be a lot of fun for everyone.  That's about all that has been going on lately over here.  Time is moving extra fast.  It's weird to think I only have 6 weeks left!  In little over a week my family is coming to visit for our summer break.  They've never had Korean food before (since Iowa has nothing to offer for Korean food).  If they are like me then they will love the food.  I'm excited to show them all the things I've been doing in the last year.  I hope it doesn't rain too much, since it always seems to on Dempsey family vacations!! People in my area of Seoul are used to me since I see a lot of the same people each day to work, around the school building, and on the way home.  It will be funny to see how people react to 3 more tall white people!! Many, many stares will be occurring, that is certain!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Buddha's Birthday Spent in Taiwan

**A little update to the Gorge section.  The other night when I was typing there was an error on the website so the section about the gorge got deleted and I didn't notice!**

This past weekend Emily and I traveled to Taiwan for a 3 day weekend.  It was Buddha's birthday so everyone in Korea and probably most of Asia had a long weekend.  We searched for awhile in the weeks coming up to this weekend in hopes to go to Beijing or Shanghai.  We were unable to find decent flights to either spot.  In most situations the flight times were horrible.  In others, we were given the idea that very cheap plane tickets were available, but when we went to put our credit card/travel info in we were told that the flights were full.  That's okay with me though.  To go to China we have to pay about $130 on top of the plane flights for a visa (no visa for Taiwan). We plan to go to China at the end of the year here in Korea so paying for the visa will be worth it because we will have more time to spend there.

We boarded a 9:30 a.m. flight on Friday and arrived in Taiwan at about 12 p.m.  By the time we got from the airport to our hostel it was around 3 p.m.  It took us forever to find the hostel.  The directions given to us were anything but good.  Luckily after wandering around for over 30 minutes a nice Taiwanese couple stopped to help us.  They had seen us walking around a little bit before that too.  They spoke perfect English as they have lived in  North Carolina for a few years for school or work.  The hostel we stayed at was very nice.  It was quite cheap and in a good location.  The website we booked through had nothing but good comments to say about it.  The owner of the hostel was very nice.  Her English was also very good.  She kept the hostel in perfect condition.  The hostel was in the middle of a night market in Taipei.  It was pretty cool to walk through the night market as we made our way home the last night.

After getting to the hostel and taking a quick breather we got headed on our adventure.  Nearly everywhere we went in Taipei we took the subway.  Seoul's subway system is very easy and I thought Taipei's was easier.  All the stops were said in English and it was a fairly small subway system so it was not hard to find our way around.  First, we stopped by the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall.  This was a massive building with a statue of the late president, Chiang Kai-shek.  Inside this room there are guards who are always watching over the statue.  Once an hour there is a ceremony called "changing of the guards."  Not remembering this, we arrived just as the ceremony had started.  It is kind of hard to explain what they did. In simple form they changed guards, but it was more complex the way they did it.  I took a video of it but I don't think this blog can support videos.  But here are a few pictures of it.  

Street just outside our hostel

In front of the CKS Memorial Hall

During the changing of the guards ceremony

On the other end of the plaza where the CKS Memorial is

After we left the CKS Memorial we headed in search of a hot spring to sit in.  We went to an area known for them.  Since it's not hot spring season right now we wanted to get a deal.  We saw a few places for about $20-30 per person but finally stopped by a place that said $10.  It was actually $10 for the both of us.  Needless to say, it was probably equal to the $10 we paid! A lot of the springs are outside but this was inside a room that looked like a converted storage closet.  It wasn't the best place we could have found I'm sure but it was still fun to give it a try.  Later in the night we walked through Taipei's largest night market.  This market had tons of street food vendors and clothing shops.  I think the night market in Bangkok was much better but it was still cool to walk around it.  We tried some of the Taiwanese street foods out.  It was all very good food.  

The next morning we woke up very early, 5 a.m. to get picked up around 5:45 at a nearby hotel.  Our tour was headed to Taroko Gorge, which is in Hualien, Taiwan.  It is located on the eastern cost of Taiwan.  Our tour hopped on a plane about 7:30 in the morning for a short 30 minute flight down to this city.  There, we met our tour guide.  She was a very nice lady who spoke English well.  We were warned by the bus driver to the airport that once she started talking she wasn't going to stop until we left!  He was sure right.  She was born and raised in the city near the gorge so she was very knowledgeable about the gorge.  She was a great guide to have.  We took a bus tour through the gorge.  At some points the bus stopped and we walked around for a bit to explore the area.  The gorge was amazing looking.  Sharp cliffs on both sides with such blue water flowing on the bottom.  

One area of the gorge was accustomed to rock falls so we had to wear hardhats.  I put a picture down below of how goofy I looked wearing the hat.  Since Taiwan is frequented by earthquakes some areas of the gorge were closed to visitors.  There was a section were a group of construction workers were fixing something.  They were nearly hanging off of the edge.  Looked pretty darn scary to me.  There were a few temples inside the gorge park.  One that we drove by had the largest Buddha statue in Taiwan and it was made from gold.  Before we stopped for lunch a little bit higher up on the mountain we had the chance to walk across a suspension bridge (picture below).  Before going on this trip I figured that everyone would be forced to walk across one as a means of getting to the next part of the tour.  It was hard to tell because not too much information was given to us about what we would do.  Luckily we didn't have to walk across if it we didn't want to.  Knowing my fear of heights I attempted to walk across.  I got maybe 1/4 of the way across and then the bridge started to bounce from the other people who were farther ahead of me.  I said, "No thank you," among other words and turned back around! I think that if it was just me and 1 or 2 other people I could have made it across, but with 8 other people on the bridge it was moving too much for me.  

After the bridge we went to lunch at a small resort higher up on the mountain.  This place served us traditional Taiwanese food.  It was delicious. the food consisted of fried fish, some vegetables, a pork stew, mashed potatoes (Taiwanese style), and a bamboo stick that was full of rice.  The bamboo stick was the best part.  We cracked the stick open and ate the rice straight from the stick.  It tasted like oatmeal!  It was probably the best rice I have had since being in Asia.  On our way back down to the bottom of the gorge we stopped by a memorial shrine for the workers of the gorge.  A long time ago when construction first started the workers had to create all the winding roads and tunnels.  Many people died during this time so there was a shrine set up for them.  I took a few pictures of that below.  Overall the trip to the gorge was an awesome time.  The weather was perfect, our group was full of nice people, and our tour guide was fantastic.  I definitely recommend this trip to anybody thinking of going to Taiwan someday!

The trip to the gorge was from roughly 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.  We took a train back into Taipei after leaving the gorge.  It was the first real train I have been on!  We then attempted to go to Taipei 101, the world's 2nd tallest building.  We didn't get there until about 9 p.m.  The line was MASSIVE and the lady selling tickets said it would take about an hour to wait and that the place closed at 10.  Also, they were pretty much sending people up to the top and right back down to get more people in and out before it closed.  I only considered going to the top of the building at night, and I would not have minded if the elevator doors opened, I peeked my head out, and then went back down!  I'm sure my fear of heights would have not fared so well.  But, we didn't feel like waiting in such a long line because we were hungry and hadn't eaten in awhile.  I know Emily wanted to go to the top and I was hoping that I would at least attempt to get to the top just to say that I went to the world's 2nd tallest building and that I may have slightly reduced my fear of heights.  Oh well, there's plenty of other tall buildings out there.   

An entrance to the gorge

Picture of the bottom of the gorge

Hardhat time! I looked like a total goon.  But then again, who didnt?

Temple type building inside the gorge

Suspension bridge

Traditional Taiwanese lunch

The memorial to all those who died constructing the roads and tunnels throughout the gorge.  

Taipei 101 from a street bridge

On Sunday before leaving we went to a historical museum.  The museum was pretty cool.  It was full of ancient Chinese artifacts.  While there we ran into my Korean partner teacher!  Earlier in the week we both found out that the other was going to Taiwan for the weekend.  She was there with her husband.  We were doing a lot of the same stuff but with the couple million people in this city I didn't expect to run into her.  It was fun to see somebody we knew!  Over all the trip was a blast.  It would have been nice to spend more time in Taiwan so we wouldn't have to feel crunched for time.  It would definitely be fun to go back again!

Night market

Chicken feet, hearts, probably other random parts too.  Yummy!

Front of the national palace museum

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Spring Activities

I have turned into a bad blogger over the last few months.  My blogging entries are starting to grow farther and farther apart!  About a month ago the cherry blossoms were in full bloom.  Not knowing anything about these trees besides seeing them all over Seoul, a group of us went to the cherry blossom festival in Yeouido (right across the river from me). This area is the financial district of Seoul.  The streets around this area were lined with many cherry blossom trees.  Apparently these trees are only in full bloom for 1-2 weeks each year. I think this year they were a few weeks behind schedule because it took a little longer to warm up.  We went to the festival/park on a lazy Sunday afternoon and hung around the area for a few hours.  This area was FULL of people.  Well, most places here are so it was nothing new to me! We walked around for a bit, tried some really good street food, and camped out in the park for a bit and people watched. 

Me taking a picture of a Korean couple!

A weird police woman thing?
Over the past two months my kindergarten class has adapted well to the new school. Everyone in my class was new to Poly School.  They all attended Pre-K somewhere else.  It was nice to have a brand new class to the school.  This is mainly because they haven't had a previous teacher at the school.  When I came in September my kinder class already had their own collective character.  Crazy, wild, yet very smart.  I feel that I didn't change much for my previous kinder class because they had another teacher for the longest time.  Everything we were "learning" they already knew very well.

The students in my new class (the tigers) have all grown a lot in the past few months. They are wild at times but nothing compared to the craziness of my old class.  I've got children of all ability levels.  I will end up being with my new kinder class for 6 months.  It has been very gratifying to teach these new students because I feel that I am teaching them so much more than my previous class.   They have done a great job so far and I'm excited to see the progress that they will continue to make!

We have gone on a couple field trips in April and May.  We have gone to two different parks.  The last one we went to was to celebrate Children's Day.  This is a special day to celebrate the children.  How come this isn't celebrated in America?? Children's Day was last Wednesday.  Nearly everyone in the country has the day off to celebrate with their children, take them somewhere, buy them gifts, etc.   We celebrated with the children last Tuesday by taking them to a park across the river from where I live (Mapo). While there we rode bicycles with the kids, played games, and ate lunch.  It was a great way to spend the morning. 

Lunch time

Throwin' up the peace sign (from L to R: Justin, Henry, Angelina, Julie, Ryan)

With the weather finally warming up we have started to go to some Korean baseball games.  Since I got here in September last year I wasn't able to go to any games because it was around the time the playoffs started.  I'm only able to go to games on the weekends because games during the week start at 6:30 and I don't get off until 7:30.  The Korean Baseball League (KBO) has 8 teams.  5 out of the 8 teams are in Seoul and the other 3 are in other major cities.  We have been going to Mokdong Stadium (Emily and her co-workers live very close) to watch the Nexen Heroes.  The team has a man from the USA.  His Name is Doug Clark.  He played in a few games in the MLB and spent a lot of time in the minors before deciding to come play in Korea two years ago.  So far we have been to two games and plan on going to many more.  The games are a ton of fun.  The stadium is nearly split in half with the home team fans all sitting on their site and the visiting teams fans' on their side.  Both sides sing songs through out the game and there are cheerleaders on top of the dugouts.  You can also bring in WHATEVER you want into the stadium.  Water, pop, beer, fried chicken, you name it and you can bring it in!  Needless to say the games are quite different from what you would experience in America, but they are a lot of fun.  When we went to the game last weekend Emily got a foul ball coincidently enough from the American player on the team we were rooting for!  It's quite funny to think about considering the odds of that are pretty slim.  I see many more games in the future since the weather has gotten much nicer recently.  

Finally, this past weekend I woke up and turned on the TV.  Flipping through channels I saw that there was a triathlon on.  I didn't know if it was live or not so I looked it up on the internet.  It was going on live just across the river from where I live. The tri was a men's and women's professional race.  Seoul was just one of the stops of about 10 international cities in the circuit.  I have heard/seen a few of the American athletes from the Hy-Vee Triathlon.  Seeing that it was live I headed 1 subway stop away and watched the men's race for a few hours.  It was a very nice day outside and a good chance to see something I have become interested in.  

Start of the race (in the dirty Han River!)

Bikers leaving the first transition


Monday, March 8, 2010

Meet the Tigers!

Last Tuesday was the first day of the new year in Korean schools.  Sadly I was not there for the first day due to being on Gilligan's Island for an extra day.  We were assigned all new elementary classes and grades.  Some kids I taught last semester and some are new for me.  I'm not teaching any of the Hummingbirds in first grade because 8 of the 10 made it into the top first grade class (RS1-1). One is in RS1-2 and one is moving to Hong Kong in April so she is just waiting until then to go back to English school.  I'm teaching the RS1-3 and 4 classes for first grade.  I will still see my kids running through the halls being crazy like always!

The kindergarten class I have no is new to Poly.  Usually the kids from from the Pre-K program at the school.  I'm kind of happy that the kids are new.  I will have more of a chance to mold them into the types of students I want them to be, how they should act in class, etc.  When I came my kindergarten class was already transformed well so I wasn't able to change much.  It'll be nice to be able to help the students more and watch them grow as a result.  Without further ado here is my new kindergarten class!





Angelina.  She tried her hardest not to enjoy the picture!