Wednesday, February 24, 2010

We're back!

So I know that I have been terrible at updating lately. We are still trying to catch up from life since our trip. Yes, we are still alive. We came back from our trip to the last two weeks of this term, so there is a LOT going on at work. Andrew and I were also both sick when we got back and are still recovering.

I am in the process of putting my pictures from Japan on my computer, and they will be posted shortly.

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Off we go!

Lunar New Year is a huge holiday in Korea, so we have a long weekend. We also took a few vacation days -  so we are off to Tokyo for 6 days! Friday we are going on a Mt. Fuji day tour, and the rest of the time we will be flying by the seat of our pants!

Bon voyage!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Photolog Update

I recently just put a ton of pictures on the computer from a long time a go, so I thought I'd update random pictures from the last two months!

This is from the Coex aquarium, where we went on my birthday. It is a blurry picture, but it is a tunnel at the aquarium where sharks and other sea creatures swim over you. Unfortunately, the curve of the glass gave Andrew and I headaches for the rest of the day.

Andrew was mocking the Piranhas.

A computer inside an aquarium?!

This was a display at the aquarium. It was actually pretty small. This is a bridge that went over a little pond with goldfish in it. It's fun that changing the camera angle can make you feel like you're actually at a temple!

Lights in the Coex mall

The Coex mall

We found a Christmas tree!

Our student's parents brought us a cake - shaped like a coffee cup!

Kelly cutting the cake.

After the photoshoot - I couldn't get my hair to go down! 

These are students from my Storytelling class. Grace and Alex.

Jully (the boss's daughter) and her best friend Laura. 

Alex and Grace

The story was "The True Story of the Three Little Pigs"... so they made pig masks.

LangCon Training

Last Saturday we had to go to a teacher's training because our company is introducing two new levels into our program. The training was at the headquarters in a city called Bundang. When I was initially thinking of going to Korea, I had a job offer in Bundang (as you may know I waited a year so Andrew could come with me). I happen to really like this city, it is an expensive area (maybe a better place to visit, than live).

During one of our breaks we went out and saw our school mascots, waiting to take pictures with us. The foreign teachers separated buildings from the Korean teachers, so we got a foreign teacher staff photo with our Mascots.

(Ssong, Michelle, me, Andrew, Lang, Lainy)

We happened to meet two people from a nearby city and exchanged numbers. The girl is Dallas, oddly enough she is from Canada. The guy is Jacob, from southern Illinois. We have met up with them a few times since training, and we really like them! It is great finally meeting new people. It is hard in our little neighborhood to meet foreigners. 

After training we went for a staff dinner. The boss's son was flying in from his 1.5 year stint in Canada (which is especially impressive as he is about 11 years old). Our boss wanted to buy us dinner but had to get to the airport, so he gave his credit card to one of the Korean staff members. (Could you imagine that ever happening in the States?)

The meal was absolutely delicious. For dessert, came a beautiful looking dish. It had shaved ice, a sweet juice poured on top, candied fruits, and red bean. If I've learned anything about Koreans, its that they love to put red bean in just about anything they can get their hands on. We were told this dessert (the name escapes me) is a popular summer dessert, which we will see all the time once the season comes! Mo-she-so-yo! (it's delicious!)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Korean Engagement Pictures

For Christmas my friend sent me a wedding dress. She and her sister work at a bridal shop. They discontinued a dress and were supposed to donate it to a theater company... instead they mailed it to me! They wanted me to feel like a bride while in Korea... if I fell in love with the dress, great... if not then it would be okay! 

I opened it at work while Andrew was teaching... all of the Korean girls were flipping out because they thought it was so beautiful. I rushed home and sent Andrew to the bathroom. (We don't have a second room in the apartment, so when one of us needs alone time - like gift wrapping time - we send the other to the bathroom.)

The back of the dress was a lace-up. I loosened it and tried getting in. I got stuck. Severely stuck. I couldn't get in and I couldn't get out. My eyes were barely peeping over the top of the dress. I started calling for help. Andrew was reluctant to come out of the bathroom because he didn't want to see a potential wedding dress on me. 

I told him I didn't care because there was no way I was getting out of the dress with out help. When he came out of the bathroom he just laughed and grabbed the camera to take pictures of me trapped. Yes, it was kind of funny, but I wanted out!

I was on the phone that night with my friend and I told her that I didn't fit in the dress. 

"Well did you take the lacing all the way out before you got in?"

"Uh... no."

"Well that is what you are supposed to do."


Apparently that is not common sense. I took all the lacing out and got in. This time it fit perfectly! Andrew had already seen the dress so I knew I couldn't wear it for our wedding. We decided to get Korean Engagement pictures. 

Cultural Difference #1:
In traditional Korean weddings, the bride and groom wear traditional Hanbok. They take engagement pictures in Western-style white wedding dresses and tuxes. The wedding attire is rentable from the photo companies. I already had my dress so Andrew rented a tux. They did our hair and makeup. 

Cultural difference  #2:
Americans love looking darker and tanner than we actually are. Koreans love looking whiter than they actually are. So most of the makeup she put on me was extremely pale... some of the top coats of powder were actually white. 

Cultural difference #3:
I have beauty marks on my cheek. I love these... they are a part of me that have always been there. Koreans HATE freckles and beauty marks. When our students see our freckles they say, "eww dirty!" The lady started trying to cover up my beauty marks. 

"NO! I like."

"You like?" she looked at Andrew for an honest opinion.

"I think they are beautiful," Andrew responded.

"You like?!"

"Yes! I like!"

"Oh. Korea cover. cover. cover. Koreans always cover!"

She slowly put down the coverup and tried to regather her thoughts.

Cultural Difference #4:
My hair is brown. Koreans have black hair. She clipped in extensions to my updo to make it look fuller... they only had black extensions. Apparently this didn't stop her. (I photoshopped most of the photos so you can't see the black)

Cultural Difference #5:
Koreans love stuffy "formal" photos. We didn't know we were getting these. Oh well.

Cultural Difference #6:
We are tall. Koreans are short. We actually are taller than some of the backgrounds. This didn't stop him from taking the pictures, however. (I didn't post any of these) Also... Andrew was too tall for the tux! They let out the seams in the pants (satin pants, mind you)... but the vest was still way too small. 

Cultural Difference #7:
We speak different languages... so a LOT got lost in translation!

Here are the pictures. I tried to post one from each pose. We really don't like the early stuffy formal photos. Anyway, it was a fun Saturday!