Friday, April 30, 2010

a little appreciation

This week went by incredibly fast, as they all have been since I've been in Seoul. On Monday, I was told that I was supposed to start teaching a new class on MWF, but then the day of, it was cancelled due to not having enough students enrolled. I was pretty relieved to not have as much work on my hands, but then again the extra $150 would have been nice every month.

Thursday, I received a gift from one of my students in Apple class. I opened it and to my surprise it was a gift card to Lotte Department Store, for 200 dollars, yes I said 200 dollars. I was shocked and almost felt guilty accepting it. Inside was a card, in Korean, which said something along the lines of "Thank you Hannah Teacher for doing a great job so far. My son is very happy at school and loves his class." Since, Teachers Day is coming up on May 16th more and more gifts should be coming my way. It's nice to feel so appreciated, but $200 is a little extreme (not that I'm complaining.) To be honest, I would have been just fine with candy :P

Sunday, April 25, 2010


This weekend the sun was shining and I could not be happier to finally enjoy some spring weather. Saturday I went to Namdaemun Market. Namdaemun means "Great South Gate," this market has everything from clothes, headbands, food, toys, leather jackets to sunglasses. It was really fun, but I surprisingly did not buy anything. Natalie, Haley and I shared a deep fried hot dog, coated in potatoes. Interesting but not worth the calories or 1,500 won.

Namdaemun Market

My personal heaven

After, we went to Namsan Park to lay out in the sun. It was beautiful with fountains, cherry blossoms and tons of families picnicking and laying out in the sun. We relaxed in the grass with some hope of getting some color on our faces.

View from Namsan Park

Next, Haley and I went to Myeongdong. This is a shoppers paradise, covered with department stores, independent boutiques and stalls of items sold on the street. There's always a flood of people walking the streets. You could do some major damage here. This is where the Forever 21, H&M, Steve Madden and other name brand stores are. Forever 21, as cheap as it is at home, is double or even triple the price here. Definitely not worth it, considering the quality of clothes is so poor. Myeongdong is overwhelming at first but is a place where you can spend hours without even realizing it.


Out of everything I purchased this weekend, my cell phone charm was by far my favorite. Koreans love accessories. This includes cell phone charms. They are sold everywhere and pretty much everyone (no matter what age) has something dangling from their cell phone. I figured I would be just as obnoxious and buy one. Secretly, its my new favorite thing.

Hello Kitty (in a chicken costume), of course.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Birthday Party

Austin, Tiffany, Andrew, Jun, Sunny and Noel at Birthday Party

Today was the infamous "Birthday Party" day. Basically, every kid that has a birthday during the month of April has a party together on the last Friday of the month. This month, I had 3 kids with birthdays. Sunny, Jun (who are twins) and Noel; they all turned 6. Our library/gym room gets decorated with balloons, streamers and a massive table full with fruits and cakes. The parents send in goodies which decorate the room, and each child with a birthday has their own birthday cake. They all sit at a long table together, with their cake in front of them, and blow out their candles. The rest of the classes cheer, and perform their rehearsed song/dance. My class did "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes." It is very cute and the kids are super excited for their favorite day of the month. Every kid brings in a 2,000 won present for the birthday kids, usually the presents are pencils, coloring books and other fun kid stuff. At the end of the day the birthday kids leave with a huge bag full of gifts from all of their classmates. Basically, best day ever. Not only do they get out of class for 40 minutes to sing and dance but they get a special lunch. This includes, pizza, gimbap (which is a Korean style sushi- rice, seaweed, egg, ham and vegetables), tons of fresh fruit, and birthday cake. The kids go crazy and eat until they explode. Watching them eat all of the food, boggles my mind. I honestly don't know how they can eat so much and be so tiny. It's a really fun day, but everyone usually leaves with a stomach ache, including Hannah Teacher.

My twins, Jun and Sunny with their cake

I'm so happy it is the weekend. We have already celebrated with our Friday ritual: grabbing a Cass at 7-11 (which is downstairs from work.) We have made friends with the man who works there. Now, every time we see him, he says "Ahhh Friday, happy day!" He opens up our beers, wipes them clean with a tissue and gives us free beer nuts. He is our new best friend. People in Seoul are so nice, you sometimes forget about the language barrier because they are always trying to help you. By the way, you can drink anywhere in Korea; on the street, in the cabs, on the subway, the possibilities are endless. Tonight, we are attempting a bar called Jazz Story in Hyehwa to hear some live music and consume 9,000 won beverages.