Thursday, October 21, 2010

축 to the 제!

Ok, so the title of this post is 축 to the 제, or Chook to the Jay. The word for festival in Korean is Chook-jay, 축제, and a couple weeks ago, KNU had their school festival for which they hung up a bunch of signs. One of these signs said that on's like saying "Fest to the val" which I personally thought was hilarious and slightly gangster. So, on Wednesday, my school had their festival, and I couldn't help but think "Chook to the jay." This was the first school festival I had experienced here. Last year, swine flu was a big issue in Korea around this time, so lots of things got cancelled at that time. My school's festival was one of them. So, I was pretty excited this year to experience it. It started off with an "OX Quiz" which is basically a massive true/false test. And when I say massive, I mean all 1300 students at my school were flooding to one side or another, trying to guess the right answer to the quiz. Funny funny. Then they split up into a bunch of games including water balloon toss, limbo, darts, basketball, soccer shoot and karaoke. I of course gravitated toward the karaoke machine. So many students were gathered around there waiting for someone to get up the nerve to sing. A couple students would trickle up little by little, but there was by no means a flood. One of my students said to me "Tori, you should sing." I think he thought at first that I'd be like "No, no, never!" So when I simply said "Ok, I'll sing," he was like "What? Really??" A little while later, I sang the song "Listen" by Beyonce, and the students f-r-e-a-k-e-d out. Out of nowhere, I was like a rockstar, having students crowding around me, students asking to take their picture with me, etc. It was quite the experience! Then later that day, we had festival performances in which the students competed with each other. Performances ranged from dance groups to boys dressed up like girls, from singing to drama. The performances were great! However, there were some of them that were a little too risqué for my taste! One of the boys in one of the dancing groups was lifting up his shirt and such to show off his stomach, and one of the girls in a dance group was dressed in leggings, short shorts, a letterman jacket and a tube top. These kids are in middle school!!! And their dance moves were less than innocent for the most part as well! Anyway, other than that, the festival was incredibly enjoyable. Oh, and the Special Ed. class did a drama/play of the book "You Are Special" by Max Lucado, my absolute favorite children's book. Needless to say, I was in tears watching these kids act out this book, and watching all of their classmates cheer for them.
All around, it was a great day at the school festival. And right now, I'm going to get back to lesson planning while trying hard not to fall asleep!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Random Thoughts with Tori

Now, I know what most of you are're thinking "Shouldn't this be the title of every interaction with Tori?" But there is REALLY no rhyme or reason to the things I'll write today...just random things that I want to get out there!

**Last weekend I went with my Saturday co-teacher and her family to JeonJu. We went to a Korean folk village, ate some bibimbap, and had a good time! It's fun hanging out with just a Korean family by myself sometimes...
**I will never get used to the thought of squid as a snack. I just walked over to the table in our teacher's office, and right next to some crackers, choco pies and coffee was some squid...naturally...
**I was on the phone today with some loan ppl in America because my loan got moved from one company to another. I waited on hold for 56 minutes. I talked to the person for 3 minutes. God Bless America. :/
**I still have no idea what I'm going to do next year when my contract runs up. I have it narrowed down to 3 main ideas: stay in Korea, go back to America, or go somewhere else. Seriously though, pray for my direction for next year, because I don't know where I'm going to be!
** I am addicted to cheesy Korean dramas. I'm watching one now from a few years ago, and even though I'm 98% sure of what will happen, I still cling onto every episode with suspense.
**I am jealous of people who get Reese's peanut butter cups shipped to them...there, I said it.
**I am tired of feeling like I'm the inferior of everyone else in my school...just when I feel like they're starting to treat me as an equal, someone goes and overrules me on something or another just because it's their right as someone older than me. Even though I only knew/experienced the feeling for a year, I miss feeling like an equal with my co-workers, feeling like I actually had a say in things.
**I love every moment that I successfully communicate with a person in Korean. It's funny how things that would be so natural in "normal" life have become such successes (or failures as it may be) in this life.
**I realize that I couldn't live as a single woman in Korea forever...I'm enjoying this life, but know that it's not for me forever.
**I miss singing in a choral setting...I haven't now consistently for about 2 or 2 1/2 years...every time I hear a choir, I get misty eyed.
**I get excited when my school wants me to help with something like an English pop song contest...even though I know they only asked me because I am the Native English Speaker, I tend to convince myself that it's also because of my highly trained background in music. :P
** I enjoy seeing what adventures life leads me on with different people in my life...even though I don't always understand why things are the way they are, or why my timing wasn't clearly better than God's...I appreciate every moment that He gives me with my friends and family and co-workers, knowing that it's blessed.
**I am striving to try harder everyday to be more of a blessing to the people around me. Sometimes I use being a foreigner as my crutch to not be not be as loving and as kind as I normally not give wholeheartedly, knowing that other people's feelings are at stake. I want to be more like myself here in Korea, language barrier or no language barrier.
**I need to stop complaining so much. No need to expand on that.
**I love all of my family and friends, and even though I don't talk to all of you super often, you're in my thoughts and prayers a lot and I care so so so much about you!!
**I need to go be productive at work now, since for 2 1/2 hours I have nothing to show but a picture for the title page of my PPT for next week.
Enjoy your week...and I hope you enjoyed my ramblings.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Discounts and Oreo Balls

So, today I was late leaving my house and I took a taxi to school...on the way, I saw this guy who was holding his hand against his window, trying to get it to roll up...I laughed and then remembered what it was like to have a ghetto car that you have to do ghetto things to sometimes.

Yesterday I made Oreo Balls for Bible Study because it is my friend Hal's birthday this week. They weren't quite all the way dry yet when I needed to leave, so I waited a little longer, put them in a container, and hopped in a taxi to get there. I had to walk for a little while before I found a taxi driving along. I waved him down, got in, told him where I was going, and sat back for the ride. Hands down, this guy was my favorite taxi driver EVER. He was so awesome, he was speaking to me in Korean, which I liked, but he didn't get frustrated with me if I didn't understand...he would just say it a different way or say it in English. He started off by asking me something I didn't understand, then asking me if I spoke Korean well. I told him I couldn't speak it well, and he told me I needed to learn. Haha. I told him I was studying, etc. So this entire conversation went on, talking about my job, where I work, if I'm married, why I'm not married, his family, sports....tons of stuff. Haha, one of the funniest things to me that he said was that his son was tall and handsome, and good at sports, but not very good at studying. Haha. I laughed, because I guess stereotypes are sometimes proven even here. Also, as we were going, he told me that his home was near where I was going, so it was actually helpful to him that I was going there. So, at the end of my taxi ride, he gave me a discount! Heck yeah! And I totally wouldn't have minded paying him, because he was awesome, but I will take a discount where I can get one!! So, I popped open the container of oreo balls and told him that they were an American dessert. So he tried one and said it was delicious. Another funny thing is that he had been telling me I was pretty throughout the taxi ride, but then when he turned the light on to take my money, he was like "Wow, you're really pretty. Really!" Haha. Anyway, needless to say, taxi rides are normally something of a chore for me, with taxi drivers who are a bit disappointed that a foreigner is riding in their taxi, not knowing what to say to you...and this one...this one was a winner!! :)