In the Winds


“There are no cats in America….”
August 4, 2009, 5:55 am
Filed under: Korea, Updates
The opposite of cement surroundings.

The opposite of cement surroundings.

A jetlagged 6:00 a.m. breakfast of beauty.

A jetlagged 6:00 a.m. breakfast of beauty.

“There are no cats in America….And the streets are paved with cheese…” – Fievel

For the last several weeks, Eric and I have been singing this optimistic tune to one another…over 1/2 packed suitcases, during multiple trips to the post office our last few days in Korea, as the plane taxied down the runway in Busan, as we saw stars for the first time in a year somewhere over the Pacific, upon seeing long-lost family and friends, over our first spoonfuls of yogurt and granola.

This past week has been one of rejoicing in the familiarities of home: gazing at wide expanses of grass, sighing contentedly at the openness of the sky, and consuming copious amounts of cheese, much to the delight of our mouths and the dismay of our stomachs. Friends and family have overwhelmed us with joyous receptions and offers to help during this crazy month of transition. All in all, we are really glad to be back home and are looking forward to again being part of the lives of so many people we’ve missed. -liz

A year without decent orange juice. Streak ended.

A year without decent orange juice. Streak ended.

We spent some time with my nephews, all of whom seemed older, making me in turn, feel older.

We spent some time with my nephews, all of whom seemed older, making me in turn, feel older.

Friends have continually set feasts before us this week.

Friends have continually set feasts before us this week.

Summer.

Summer.

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One more week.
July 18, 2009, 12:46 am
Filed under: Korea, Updates

It’s saturday morning here.  The air is damp like a used washcloth.  As I look around the apartment I am struck by how much work we have to do this weekend.  My kindergarten report cards lie stacked on the coffee table.  Paintings and pictures still hang on our walls.  Books and papers are still sitting on the shelves. The dishes are waiting in the sink. 

But those tasks will wait for me to finish my coffee and toast.  Though my personality is often eager to avoid tasks and details…I must say I am anxious to begin the process of change.  It is time to go.  It will be hard to say goodbye to the kids and to friends, but I believe we will be all smiles at the airport next Sunday.  Next Sunday….  Wow.  Only one more week. 

Hmm…. We have a lot to do.  Why am I sitting here?  I’d better start packing.



3 R’s
May 24, 2009, 2:31 pm
Filed under: Korea, Misc

After a unit on environment, litter bugs, and pollution, I took my kindergarten class out on a trash hunt around our school. They LOVED it and were happily picking up every piece of litter they could find on the sidewalks – often fighting over the biggest pieces and exulting in odd finds, like shoelaces. -liz

trash 4 group

Sarah and Jamie compare finds.

Sarah and Jamie compare finds.

Trash Vultures.

Trash Vultures.

She renamed herself Tinkerbell last month.

She renamed herself Tinkerbell last month.



Namhae
May 24, 2009, 1:53 pm
Filed under: Korea

A few weekends ago, Korea celebrated Children’s Day, which our students were appalled to discover is unknown and uncelebrated in America. Children’s Day, as it turns out, is indirectly also a Teacher’s Day, as we got Monday and Tuesday off of school. We took a trip to Namhae Island just off the southern coast of Korea, with our friends and coworkers Jen and Jarod. Though we passed up a stop at “The Garlic Land of Treasure” on the bus ride to our destination, the weekend was a great escape from big-city Busan.

Namhae had color, real color. And architecture. And gates. With lion knockers.

Namhae had color, real color. And architecture. And gates. With lion knockers.

We planned to hike up a mountain on Saturday, but the light mist we began our day with quickly turned to cold drizzle and then downpour. Momentarily defeated, ponchos to the rescue.

We planned to hike up a mountain on Saturday, but the light mist we began our day with quickly turned to cold drizzle and then downpour. Momentarily defeated, ponchos to the rescue.

We were like a gang. A really cool gang.

We were like a gang. A really cool gang.

After a somewhat grueling climb straight up, in surprising solitude, we made it to the top, where there was a Buddhist temple decorated for Buddha's birthday.

After a somewhat grueling climb straight up, in surprising solitude, we made it to the top, where there was a Buddhist temple decorated for Buddha's birthday.

temple

Hanging from the lanterns are prayers written and offered.

Hanging from the lanterns are prayers written and offered.

Korea does spring well.

Korea does spring well.

We had a great time hanging out near the water at night.

We had a great time hanging out near the water at night.

However, I fault Namhae for its lack of available hot coffee. Despite it's amazing signage, this "cooffee" shop did not actually exist.

However, I fault Namhae for its lack of available hot coffee. Despite it's amazing signage, this "cooffee" shop did not actually exist.

Namhae lays claim to some really well preserved dinosaur footprints.

Namhae lays claim to some really well preserved dinosaur footprints.

Eric's best attempt at being a Brontosaurus.

Eric's best attempt at being a Brontosaurus.



Just another day at the office…
May 21, 2009, 11:05 am
Filed under: Korea

10:45 – walk downhill through torrential downpour. Umbrella uselessness.

11:20 – open the door to my classroom, the oven. Kevin – age 7 –  yells the word “poop.” Twice. Peals of laughter ensue.

11:45 – Jamie – age 6 –  sneezes on my arm.

12:30 – Matthew – age 7 –  comes out of the bathroom, does NOT wash his hands, and tries to touch my nosering.

1:40 – Shaun – age 4 – tries to climb out the 2nd story window.

2:15 – Aimee – also age 4 – actually falls out of her chair in a dead sleep (she’s been in school since 9:40).

3:30 – I am old. These children have never seen even a picture of a rotary phone in their 8 years of life.

4:20 – My classroom smells like warm feet. Isaac – age 8 – tries to stick his fingers in the fan when my back is turned.

5:00 – I see Heath – age 9 – drinking with his mouth ON the water fountain. Cups are an arm’s length away.

5:45 – walk back up the hill through a humid mist. Backsweat.

6:00 – Eric – age 27 – orders a pizza.

I love my days: Always unhygienic. Never boring.

-liz

justinliz



Baseball in Busan
May 5, 2009, 5:22 am
Filed under: Korea

To the Battle Hymn of the Republic:

(Pronounced: Low-tay or more accurately Row-tay)
Lotte, Lotte, Lotte, Lotte,
Lotte, Lotte, Lotte, Lotte,
Lotte, Lotte, Lotte, Lotte,
Lotte Giants!

eric-cutout1

A few weekends ago, we finally went to our first baseball game in Korea, to see Busan’s team – the Lotte Giants – play a team from Seoul – the LG Twins. A lazy afternoon of sitting with a Dome Dog, only occasionally standing up to applaud a good hit this was not. We could hear the crowd cheering from well outside the stadium. Each player has his own individual chant, which EVERYONE in the crowd sings, while clapping together noise makers. There aren’t too many foreign players, but this video is for a player named Garcia, though Koreanized, it’s GarCHia.

In the background of this picture, you can see the “Enthusiasm Section.” Led by something like a male cheerleader, this section is where “The Wave” originates and is the source of hours of uninterrupted cheering.

boy-enthus-sec2

By the end of the game, most of the crowd is wearing bright orange plastic bags on their heads – we’re still not sure if this is their version of a rally cap or if it’s simply an economic way of wearing team colors.

Me and our friend Paige from work.

Me and our friend Paige from work.

eric-bag1

The game finished with a Giants victory and a few more minutes with the cutouts than we expected 🙂

Our friend Josh - also from work.

Our friend Josh - also from work.



Spring!
April 12, 2009, 11:46 am
Filed under: Korea
Cherry blossom season is upon us.

Cherry blossom season is upon us.

flowers-2

night-flowers

Good friends, Andrea and Adam.  We played an open mike last Wednesday.

Good friends... Andrea and Adam. We played an open mike together last Wednesday.