Communications Update

Location: Skype

Okay, for anyone who is interested I just started using Skype and it's great. So if you're on Skype feel free to call me. My name is patmce. Talk to you soon!

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Mally Christmas

Location: Korean Bagel

That's right I skipped out on reporting about the election. In case anyone was wondering candidate number 2, the favorite won. He's a former Hyundai exec and is apparently already under some kind of criminal investigation. In other news..

This week the new drama teacher and my companion in arms for this year showed up. His name is Christopher. We taught some new classes this week. Mainly book club where we are reading different books with 2nd grade students in the morning. In the afternoon we're teaching them "Tomorrow" and helping them write a show of their own. On Thursday the school had a Christmas show for all the parents and now the kids are on break. One of the classes performed a version of the Christmas Carol that was very good. Chris and I performed a version of the "The Nigh Before Christmas". I sang and played the guitar while Chris did an interpretive dance. After the performances the teachers were invited to go out to eat at the Outback Steakhouse. Funny, I think this time last year I was at a an Outback in Montgomery, Alabama. The service was about the same...

Chris and I have been walking and taking the subway around town. Yesterday we went to the 63 building which is the largest building in Seoul. I have a picture or two in the photo album. Then we took the subway to the theatre district. Or at least that was the idea... We got off a stop early and much to our surprise and delight we ended up in the clothing/shopping district of Seoul. Everything was 5 or 10 dollars. Can't wait until I get paid! It was Saturday and the Saturday before Christmas so it was extremely busy, people were bustling along the streets and there was much street food to be sampled. My favorite so far are these cinnamon and sugar filled pancakes. Earlier in the week I made a chicken soup with some of the gigantic carrots I bought from a lady on the street. 3 for a dollar! For the carrots, not the lady.

Today I need to read and prepare for week two of the book club. I'm not sick any more and all in all it was the calmest week since I've arrived.

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What Day Is It? Or the Sub Way

Location: Peter and the Wolf

No new pictures to post this week. Unfortunately my usual weekend photo session was canceled on account of my sickness. I don't know if it was the kids coughing all over me and then giving me hugs to simultaneously share the love and the disease or if it's because I'm in a foreign country but I was sick most of the weekend. Luckily a hearty Japanese fish soup cured most of my ailments. Oh, and rest, lots of rest. Right now I'm doing my first load of laundry here in Seoul. The washer is in the apartment of the new teacher that's coming in tonight. So I've got to finish washing and clean up the bathroom. Why? Because the washing machine is attached to the sink in the bathroom and then all the water empties into a drain in the floor there. I think that the hoses were still dirty when I tried my first load because all of my clothes came out dirtier than when I put them in! Of course all the controls on the machine are in Korean. So maybe I pressed the "make my clothes filthy" button instead of wash.

Earlier this week I purchased the Korean equivalent of a Metro-Card and showed Paul how to get around on the subway. On Friday we went to Itaewon which is basically the Foreigner's area of Seoul. We ate Turkish kebabs from a real Turk and then watched Elf. Which in Korean is "El-Pu". Then it snowed at the end to prove that Seoul truly embodies the Christmas spirit. It was fun meeting some new people and hanging out with everyone. There were two Germans, 3 Koreans and 4 Americans in a group. Paul and I left Itaewon just as things were getting rowdy. Beer bottles smashing and club music pounding.

Other new developments: I now have a guitar, there should be a reliable internet connection set up tomorrow and by the end of the week maybe even a phone. Also, Wednesday is a day off for me. Why? Because it's Election Day! I'll have special election coverage talking about all 12 candidates. Or some variation thereof. Oh! And I'm officially an Alien. Thanks Korea!

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How I Became A Yogi

Location: A Bowl of Rice, Rice Baby!

This was my first week teaching in Seoul. Everyday it seemed like the classes where going to be different. Monday was Drama with 5 year olds, then 7 year olds. Earlier in the day story telling. Then story telling was canceled. And in the afternoon my class consisted of only 2 seven year olds. During all this schedule shifting there was still a curriculum that needed to be developed. Every class was about finding out what worked for the students and what didn't. Group activities are best for the 5 year olds and the children that are a little bit older can start to improvise. My 2 person Drama Troupe performed the Princess and the Pea. Everybody LOVES the accordion. Well... almost everybody, there are a few children who think it is probably sent from the devil. Maybe those kids have been creating all those accordion hate websites... By the end of the week though another big shifted happened. The yoga teacher split Seoul and left her students hanging in Downward facing Dog. The school director quickly recruited me to take over. He even made some kind of appreciation video for me, which I'll post if he ever gives me a copy. This is the point in which I invite anyone pedagogically interested to engage on a debate about whether or not Yoga is even an appropriate "skill" to teach young children, let alone adults. That's right, I'm going against the grain and saying yoga (typically) is not a good idea. But back to Seoul and away from inciting comments.

The work out plan is to run along part of the Han River ever other day. The North Shore is about 5 minutes away from the elevator. It's a really gorgeous view in the morning. Maybe I'll bring my camera tomorrow and take some pictures of the sunrise for everyone. Speaking of pictures... I added a few more to the slideshow. If I walk north, away from the river and underneath the subway station and I come up very close to some kind of government park. I think it might be part of a US military base.... or maybe not... hmm... that's where the picture of the hand and the man and the birds are from. I also managed to make it to I-park all by myself!

Saturday afternoon was spent at the Dragon Spa! $10 and you get up to 12 hours in this place. Saunas, hot tubs, pools, restaurants, movie theatre, sleeping rooms the works! I loved it. I'm definitely going back at least once a month. Maybe once a week! Depending on how this yoga thing goes. Today I went to the electronics market and figured out how to get there on the subway. It's only about one stop from where I live. I bought a pair of headphones and they sound great. Other than that I've been reading the Korea Herald which has a lot of postings for language/friend exchange. Where you exchange a friend of yours for the Korean Language. Err.... I mean you exchange your language and friendship for someone else's. Sounds like a plan!

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