Monday, July 27, 2009

Well on my way....

Well, I've added a week's worth of time...I'm getting there. Only what, 3 more weeks, and then I'll be caught up? Something like that. Anyway, now, for some more random journaled thoughts from Tori. Ahem...

July 8
School today was fine, aside from the sweating I did all day! I really enjoy teaching with Olivia. She's so animated, and the kids really seem to enjoy her teaching. It's good when you can tell that the kids like and respect their teacher. Tonight I went with Deborah, LeeEllen, David, Dr. Han, Dr. Kim, and one other professor to a high school to speak about KNU's English Dept. We were posing as KNU professors, which is kind of funny. We got into groups with kids and they asked us questions. Then they had to recite what they knew about us in sentence form. I had an enthusiastic group of girls that were into music-they were stoked when they heard that I was a music teacher. Oh, and I got asked my blood type...again! Haha! After that we went with Dr. Han to McD's for ice cream, and Dr. Kim asked me to proofread a paper for's a little preview. The title is "A Corpus-based Lexical Analysis of the Text of Speech: A Collocational View." Yeah, I'm going to enjoy this....

July 9
Today, it rained. Turns out it's monsoon season here right now! So, I put on my rainboots, opened my umbrella & headed out the door. Oh, sidenote, they must not have the same superstitions here about umbrellas, because I see people opening them inside all the time! I found out today that the women in my school play badminton and the men play this foot volleyball game. It's like volleyball, but with a tennis net and you play with your feet instead of your hands. Tonight I did laundry, and I found out that at the end of a load, the washer plays a little victory song. It's funny...the washer just does its thing, as if to say "You have set the challenge before me to clean your clothes and BEHOLD...I am victorious!"'s the little things in life.

July 12
I had the most restless sleep last night! From nightmares about messing up at school to the buzzing of a mosquito in my ear, I'd find myself waking up time and time again scratching my skin (really hard). I still don't know, as I sit here fully coherently, what was wrong with my skin! Weird. Anyway, it POURED rain this morning. It's been raining pretty much all day, but it seemed to rain just a bit harder as we tried to make out way across campus to church. We met a girl at church today named Jolie, and she's Korean-American. It's always funny whenever you see a Korean-American totally takes you off guard! It's like wait a're speaking English...fluently...with an American accent. Haha.

July 13
I just have to say that it's wonderful that Koreans use the same calendar system as the US. I just find slight comfort in being able to look at the calendar and not have to use my brain to decifer. So there's this pet peeve of mine...mouth noises. I can't stand when people make unecessary noises with their mouths. The unfortunate thing about that is that Koreans are LOUD eaters. The even more unfortunate thing about that is that there's a lady in my office who is really nice....and REALLY loud when she eats. It drives me bonkers, but there's absolutely nothing I can do about it. On a different note, I had a really good God experience yesterday in church. We sang the song Blessed Be Your Name, which I think we've sang all 3 Sundays since we've been here. My favorite part of that song has always been where we sing "You give and take heart will choose to say, Lord blessed be Your name." I just started thinking about the critical attitude I've had toward church here and how I was stuck on the fact of missing "real worship" and my church. However, when I think of all I've been "given" when that was "taken away," I rejoice in God's blessings. God has given me such an awesome opportunity, and with that things will be taken away. But I made the choice yesterday in church to accept those changes and say Blessed be Your name. I had to consciously decide to allow my heart to choose to follow His will for me . It's a very freeing feeling though...duh Tori.
As I sit here at my desk waiting for my next class, I remember that I've yet to tell you the conclusion to my skin-itching mystery. I woke up today with HUGE mosquito bites all over me. Huge probably because I scratched them to death that night! So, I just counted, and I have 34 bites, just on my arms...maybe more, but there's 34 that I can see. The mosquitos here are ridiculous! Jenny says I have sweet blood...haha. Ok, let's take this moment to talk about corporal punishment, AKA discipline in Korean schools. I'm REALLY not sure what I think of this. It's such an odd concept to me that it doesn't seem good..but is it? Is it even better than American schools' punishment systems? I have seen kids get paddled, do squats, get whacked by a stick or knuckles on their heads, chest, back and hands. It seems to me that either this method doesn't work, that there are a lot of kids who misbehave, or that the teachers are more strict with who gets punished for what...because there are constantly kids in the office getting their punishment from the previous class. I don't know, but either way, the verdict's still out on my decision on the issue. At the end of my day today I got to help this girl who's preparing for a singing competition in English. So I got to help here sing with correct English pronunciation...isn't that fun? Granted, the song she was singing was "My Heart Will Go On" by Celine Dion, but was fun to be back in the element of music in school! Tonight I'm hoping that I don't get eaten alive again by mosquitoes!!!

One of these days I'll catch up...

So, I had it set in my head that once I have my own computer at school, THEN I will be able to catch up on blogging. Unfortunately, that's not true now...and even if it were, I'm on vacation this week! So, I am going to give some more little snips from my journal to keep you updated on the things I've been doing here. I hope you enjoy!

July 2
...So today at school, I set out to learn Hangul (the Korean letters/alphabet). No big deal, lol. I watched videos & wrote notes for HOURS...aside from the occasional email or facebook break, that pretty much consumed my work day. I've got most of the alphabet learned though...well, not their names, just their sounds.

July 3
I'm currently sitting at my desk awkwardly waiting for what is to come. I'm going out with the single teachers from my school tonight (I was told there are 7 of them). The guy who's giving me a ride has not spoken a word to me on his own yet...that should be interesting! Today in class I gave my introduction. Also, a rumor I heard was proven true today...I got asked my blood type! Lol I couldn't believe that it was something they're actually interested in! Anyway, I taught 2 classes today, and it ended up being about 20-25 minutes of introduction and 20-25 minutes of awkward. I spent a few hours catching up with emails, facebook, and...yes...I even started a blog. Tsk tsk to caving into the norm!

July 4
Happy 4th of July!'s kind of weird being out of the country on a day only celebrated in the US. Today we headed down to Daecheon Beach. I've never been to the beach before today-only lakeside. But today we went swimming in the Yellow Sea-the water between Korea and China! It was great! There was some nasty seaweed, some jellyfish (luckily only seen washed up and dead) and some schools of fish that would congregate beside you in the water. We played volleyball, and even Red Rover. I may or may not have gotten clotheslined...twice. Darn tall people!

July 5
So about that sunburn...ugh. Last night my back felt like there were small razors sticking in it. I could really only sleep on my stomach...if I slept any other way, I would wake up in pain. After church I took about a 3 hour was amazing! Even aching from sunburn couldn't keep me from enjoying that nap! I went tonight to a practice room to play and sing. It was theraputic, but it made me really homesick for Nall and the Gathering...just homesick mostly for pure worship where I felt enveloped by God's presence. Anyway, I haven't gotten much motivation to blog yet...maybe tomorrow.

July 6
Another day, several more experiences. I am currently sitting at my desk enjoying the rest of my 70 minute lunch time. It's ridiculous how much time we get! Anyway, I have the strong feeling I'm being talked about in my office...awesome. Everyone keeps giving me fleeting glances as they chat away to each's wonderful. :P Someday I'll understand what they're saying...or someday I'll just learn to ignore it...maybe a bit of both. Pretty sure they're talking about my nose ring right now, lol. Tonight, Martha invited people over for game night. It was Julie, Ryan, Katie, Abby, Nesheba and me. We played that pictionary telephone game and Hoopla. It was tons of fun actually!

July 7
I'm sitting in my office before class thinking about how much a computer helps in making time pass. KNU has not given me a computer yet, so for now, I have this empty desk that just sits there...holding my pencils and calendar....after school I had to wait around until 5:00 to go to dinner. The principal invited me, the English teachers, the vice principal, and a couple others to a restaurant. We had pork, pork ribs, and duck. Decisions, decisions. I opted for duck which was very chewy, but tasted good. My stomach will probably be digesting it for days though! My decision, however, was made in vain, because I was forced into eating a pork rib as well. But, the main dish was delicious! And not just Korea good...I mean it was really good! It was water, angel hair pasta, some kind of hot seasoning and various vegetables. I don't remember what it was called, but I should probably find out so I can order it again sometime! Also at dinner I got drilled about which single guy at my school is most attractive...I tried to deter them by saying "Oh, I have to know their personality." Fail. They just pushed and pushed! Finally Olivia said "Oh, I think you forgot." Thank you! An out! Anyway, my principal is so excited that I'm here and is excited to see progress in the kids and their English skills.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Journal Entries

I thought maybe the easiest way to catch up would be putting little parts of my journal on here. So, I hope you enjoy! :)

[morning of June 24th]
"After a great morning of exploration, it was off to orientation for us. This included our health examination, which consisted of peeing in a Hello Kitty cup, stripping off our top garments for an X-ray and giving blood, among other things. On this day we also got to meet Dr. Han & have a genuine Korean lunch. It was certainly interesting and I discovered that I might end up having issues with textures of food here."

[June 26]
"Friday we started orientation with videos on Cheonan City & KNU. Turns out, they LOVE using the word ubiquitous to describe their city! Cheonan City is trying to be very cutting edge in their technological advances.....also we went to the Cheonan City Hall. They showed us their U-City (U for ubiquitous of course!) which was a faux apartment full of futuristic technology. It was pretty legit."

[June 27]
"....We also went to get our T-money cards at the subway today & had our first experience trying out the subway system. It was very nice-clean and well kept. Also, there's English letters on the signs and stuff which makes things much easier! We went after that to Baskin Robbins. I had the most wonderful ice cream. It was cappuccino espresso delightful deliciousness...or something like that!"

[June 29]
"This morning, Terry took Julie and me to our schools. I walked in, got yelled at in Korean to take off my shoes, and then was greeted by two English teachers who told me to call them Monica & Olivia. The three of us, Sam, the assistant & head principal all met together. The principal seems very nice-definitely a well respected man! He was a tae kwan do major in college & was a 6th or 7th level graduate! We had conversation about me and the school (all through translation of course). Then he gave me a picture of some duck eggs that were near the school last week & said he hoped it'd bring me luck. He also gave me a vase with a tae kwan do cat on it & told me to use it to keep pencils in! Monica said I was very lucky because she's never received a gift from the principal!........After lunch we all went to the clinic. I had several bug bites that I was having a weird reaction to and Jenny wanted me to make sure they were nothing else. So, for a doctor's visit, a prescription & a bottle of anti-itch solution, I paid less than 20,000 won (about 15-16 dollars). This was WITHOUT insurance. Once I have my insurance, it's 3,000 for the dr. appt. and 3,000 for a prescription. Can you believe it??"

[June 30]
"Tuesday started at 4:00 in the morning when the fire alarm went off! It was this crazy loud siren with some lady speaking in Korean (the same lady that talks in the elevator). We were all so out of it that I'm pretty sure if there had actually been a fire near us, we would've been toast...then when we actually got up in the morning, there was no hot water...wonderful."

Ok, I'll be able to add more later. For now, I'm sitting in a room with no air conditioner, and it's getting very stuffy in here! So I'm going to go back to my office where there's air. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

First of Many

Since I have been here for almost two weeks, I've got plenty of stories to tell. However, it'd take me approximately 52 hours of typing to tell you all of the things that I've found interesting since I've been here. So, I plan to break up my random stories amongst my other blogs as to not overwhelm you with so much randomness at one time. However, to start out, I'll give you a bit of an overview of my time here thus far with a few random facts and stories thrown in for good measure.
So, it took about a 14 hour flight to take me across the world to Korea. I couldn't sleep the entire plane ride (maybe because of anxiousness, maybe because the guy next to me was hogging the arm rest), so instead I watched 5 movies. This plane was legit, with a personal screen in front of you where you could pick movies or games whenever you pleased. After our flight, I met up with another girl that was on my flight, coming to the same program. Her and I got led to a coffee shop downstairs in the airport where we were told to wait for the rest to arrive. This place, however, was not the place we were told in our email. Because of the language barrier, we are not sure if this guy had anything to do with KNU or not. Luckily all he told us to do was drink coffee. Once the last of the 5 arrived, they paged us and we met up with everyone else. That night was a big blur, but when we arrived at the university, I was mildly attacked by Becky and Amanda...also, Julie (a girl that was new with me) and I found out that they didn't have rooms ready for us yet. So, we had one room (twin bed) to share for a few days. Needless to say, we got to know each other well quickly. The next morning, we both woke up super early (part of jetlag I'm assuming) and decided to go explore. We then found out that the lock on our door was a bit finicky and we couldn't get out of our room. After debating the options of shimmying down a pole (5 stories) or climbing across to Amanda's balcony (and possibly scaring her to death), we opted for sticking a note outside the door. I believe it said "We're locked in our room...please knock to help us!!" :) So, after our saviors of the morning (Kendall and Amanda) unlocked us from the outside, we made our way through the town, and down what is now affectionately known as "The Strip." This is the main street of businesses nearest KNU's campus and the place where most everyday needs can be met-there's a grocery store, some clothing stores, some places to eat (including the McDonalds, haha), etc. So, we made our way into a shop called Rotiboy which is kind of now our little Seinfield know, it's the place we always go. Rotiboy is owned by a guy whose [English] name is Jason. He's one of the coolest people we've met here, and he speaks English really well. I don't know anyone who couldn't have their day brightened by Jason! I've now worked out a deal with him that whenever I come in to buy breakfast or coffee, he teaches me a Korean word or phrase. When we made the deal, he said "When you come again, if you remember the phrase, I will give you praise. If you don't remember the phrase, I will give you pain." One of the few times I've had a Korean joke in English with me!
So, in the first day, I think we figured out that we (Julie and I, Ryan part of the time) walked about 9 hours around the town. And we walked in a very small area of our city. Ryan and Julie are two that came at the same time as me, and we just kind of hit it off from the start. We were all music majors in college, so we had something in common right off the bat. So normally when I say we, it can be assumed that it was probably Julie, Ryan and me. Just FYI.

So about where I'm at. I live in Cheonan City (said Cho-nan) which is a "small city" in Korea...about 500,000 people. I live on the campus of KNU (Korea Nazarene University) but not in the dorm. I live in a building that has classrooms and then 2 floors of dorm/apartments. Most of the other English teachers in the program live there as well, but some who have been here longer have moved off campus to make room for us newbies. Julie and I now share a double room, which has one bedroom, a living room (where our desks and couch are) a bathroom and a kitchen. It's like a small apartment, and we have two balconies which is nice.

Ok, this is kind of abrupt, but I need to read over this (for obvious spelling errors) and then I am teaching a conversational class after school. So, enjoy reading, and more from me later...peace.

Friday, July 3, 2009


Ok, so I had right around 10,000 people ask me if I was going to blog as I left the US. I kept saying "No...just read my facebook." However, a blog has just been calling my name, so, I broke down. I'm not going to go into a lot of stuff right now, but I just wanted to get the fact out there that I caved. I gave in to something "trendy" in regards to traveling overseas...oh well. With all due respect, I'm ok with caving on this, but I refuse to Twitter.