Sunday, June 28, 2009

Baseball Game

Yesterday morning, (Saturday, June 27 2009) my friend Angelina invited me to a baseball game. I wasn't really in the mood to go, so I declined. But I thought about it, and I hadn't been out to have fun in quite some time. My days have just been work - gym - home, and on week-ends I catch up on sleep. So I called her back and said I'd go.

It was my first time to go to a baseball game. Even though I didn't know the rules of the game, it was awesome being there caught up in the excitement and action. I've never been to live sports, and don't really follow anything in particular, but I had such a good time at the baseball game, that I think I'll definitely do it again some time~!

It was SK Wyverns vs LG Twins.






Kimchi & rice with seaweed

I love this...kimchi & rice with seaweed
Mmmmmmm

OMG... A foreigner...!

The electrician came over to the English office on Friday afternoon (June 26), and this is his little daughter. She was so cute. She gave me 2 of her candies (which I gave back to her)
and I gave her one from my bag.

She ran into the office to where her dad was and started to cry
... and cry...and HOWL!

She didn't stop. I felt so bad, that I thougth maybe I should leave!
But her dad took her outside, and she was fine after about 10 minutes. OMG...!

I love...

A 3rd Grade girl's t-shirt

Cute Kids~!

This is the THIRD week I'll be doing speaking tests with my students. As you can imagine, my patience is wearing out. Yours would too, if you taught Grade 3, 4, 5 and 6 (and Kindergarten). That's just over 1000 students a week!

Anyways, these two kids (3rd Graders) are really cute - dontcha think?!


My grandpa cut it~!

This 3rd grader is so cute with his hair!
He told me his grandfather cut it like that for him.

4th Grade Manicure

Check out my 4th Grader's manicure!

Step & Jump Test Preps~


The students have a Step & Jump (Gyeonggi English Program) speaking test this coming week. In preparation for it, I did this for them.

I had to make (cut/paste/white out/print), copy, staple & punch holes into 260 worksheets for the 6th Graders on Friday, June 26 - while I was doing speaking tests with the 4th Graders. Did it all before lunch time :) Phew...

I was multi-tasking like crazy on Friday, but got it all done. Now - the question is ... when I see them tomorrow morning (Monday), will they have done the homework? They better have, or ELSE!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Farewell Farach Fawcett

Image taken from Google Images

What a sad day indeed. Hollywood actress, Farah Fawcett also lost her life after battling with anal cancer. Won't post any news stories on here as it's all over the 'net anyway.

Michael Jackson is no more - a sad day for the world

Pic taken from Google Images

When I woke up this morning at 6am, the media and online community were in a complete frenzy. Michael Jackson - who needs no introduction whatsoever, went into cardiac arrest and was taken to hospital.

I was checking the news every few minutes for updates on the situation. While I was getting ready for work, I read that MJ was reportedly dead. ("Reportedly"?) The next update was that the superstar was just in a coma. Ok. Brief sigh of relief.

Till the next update -
Michael Jackson dead at 50

I wasn't a die-hard fan of MJ, but the man definitely was the King of Pop. Sure, he faced an enormous amount of grief during his life, but underneath all that - he was legendary. No one can dispute that.

Throughout the day, I was reading news snippets and messages of condolences from fans all around the world. I felt heartsore reading it. And I thought that's it's truly amazing how ONE person can affect the entire world. How amazing it is that we all feel connected to him in some way or another.

As 5FM radio personality, Sasha Martinengo said, "Perhaps I now understand how people felt when Elvis Presley died." I completely agree.

I think back to other icons who lost their lives during my lifetime - Princess Diana / Mother Teresa. The world literally came to a standstill. Sadly, to this day Princess Di is still being hounded by the press about her death and events leading up to it.

Regarding MJ, already headlines are reading:
"Michael Jackson leaves hefty debts"

I didn't expect to feel so affected like this. But I am. I was really occupied at work today, but I wasn't myself and felt hazy.

I'm at home now, and didn't go to the gym. I know that if I go, my mind wouldn't be focused on my exercise.

Also, there's no one around me here who will be able to empathize. Last month the former president of South Korea committed suicide. The entire country was in mourning. Of course, I couldn't really understand the deapth of sadness that my Korean colleagues felt. The same can be said for the feelings of today.

Anyways, I won't bother posting news stories on my blog. Every single news site is headlining MJ's death as breaking news. If he wasn't considered as one of the best selling artists on the PLANET, would his death be "breaking news"?

Naturally, the Jackson family will be zoomed in by the entire world. Apart from being a top entertainer with a career spanning 4 decades, he is/was just a human being - with parents and siblings. And if anything, we should respect their privacy and allow them to grieve in peace.

R.I.P. MJ

Thursday, June 25, 2009

*Yawn

I did speaking tests all day with the 3rd Graders today. Taught Kindergarten at the end of the day. OMG! The kids are *really* naughty.

Had to stay a bit after work ended to prepare some worksheets. Walking home, I met one of my 6th grade students. I stopped to buy a snack and bought for her as well. The lady behind the counter asked if I was her mother! LOL.

Anyways I'm falling asleep typing this. Have to hit the sack.

Hope you all have had a great week ~
xxx

TV on the treadmill

The gym is a noisy place - with the music blaring and the TV volume really high. I don't even both concentrating on anything on TV when I'm on the treadmill, cause you can barely hear it anyway. I usually just get lost in my own music - with my MP3 player.

But yesterday I did something I wish I did a long time ago - connect my earphones to the TV in front of my treadmill! I had the Discovery Channel on and watched a documentary about Dubai. Time passed really quickly ~!

Today was a bit boring though, a few people trying to survive in harsh conditions in Alaska - almost like a Survivor. Why would they risk their lives like that?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Jin-young's Wedding - June 6 '09

Jin-young & I worked together in 2007. We both started at the school around the same time. We became good friends, but in 2008 she became a 2nd Grade homeroom teacher and I saw much less of her. Jin got married on Saturday, June 6 2009. I couldn't attend the wedding, but she sent me these photographs ~!



...Mafikizolo in EL - from my archives!

I had to pull this from my archives. Back in 2007 (July 14), Mafikizolo made an appearance in lil' ol' East London. I had my old Canon camera back then, so pic quality isn't good, and neither is the video (and pretty short clip, too). BUT - just to say that I've seen them live :0) Woooo!







Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Kwela by Mafikizolo

Here's another one that I like ~
Very South African ;)


One day to Hump Day~!

It's getting warmer everyday, but luckily I'm at school during the day so don't feel the extreme heat outside. Only when I'm out walking to & from school.

I had speaking tests with 5th Graders today. It was also the last day for my after school class. The new class will begin next week - new students.

Spent an extra 30mins @ the gym today. (Pushed 20 mins with cycling today!)

Don't really feel like being online right now. So going to bed. Maybe read...
Good night xxx

Mafikizolo rocks my world!

I don't often say this, but today I'm missing South Africa. I was looking through some photo's of the gorgeous landscape and beaches - wow!

For the past few days, I've been listening to Mafikizolo (love their music). Perhaps I'm feeling this way since last week when I saw Ladysmith Black Mambazo in concert in Seoul. It was really awesome feeling the SA vibe for the night.

Back to Mafikizolo...Of course, I don't understand the lyrics, but they say music is an international language. And I'm loving watching the music video's... their moves are so smooth :)

When people ask me what my favourite genre of music is, I don't know what to say. I like everything from classical to kwaito, hip hop to house to Bollywood to K-Pop (Korean).

Logging onto SA news websites can be real depressing, reading headlines that are only about murder, strikes, corruption and so on.

Since living in Korea, I haven't missed having to watch over my shoulder or making sure that gates and doors are locked. But I have missed the colours and energy of the country. Something that is unique and Proudly South African. And certainly, something I don't think my Korean counterparts will be able to relate to or appreciate.

This has been my song for the day:

Monday, June 22, 2009

I love Mondays

My first class this morning was 6-5. They were so quiet and seemed lethargic. They told me that they don't like Monday mornings.

So I tried psyching them up by saying that I love Mondays cause then I get to see them.

Started the new chapter - 'What will you do this summer?'

Nothing too eventful happening at school except that some teachers shoes have gone missing from the shoe closet ... In Korea we have special shoes that we wear inside the school building. The latest victim is the school principal.

Hit the gym after work and came home and relaxed.

Busy reading ''Marrying Anita" by Anita Jain at the moment.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Night Owl?

The w'end came and went. It was rainy. I was lazy. I tried reading (Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert) but kept falling asleep. Not because it was boring, but because it was hot and I felt tired.

I was quite chuffed with myself on Friday night. Met a friend for a light dinner/snack and got home at 8:30pm. For some strange & unknown reason, I felt like working out. So I did :) My gym closes at 00:00 on week-days and at 20:00 on Saturdays.

I have learnt that when you feel like working out, DO IT!!!

Saturday afternoon, it was raining and I hit the gym again. Felt great :)

I wanted to blog and write a few articles, but just couldn't get to it. However, the creative juices only started flowing on Sunday night @ 10pm. About to call it a night now, though...

Hope everyone has a great week ahead.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo Concert



A night of South Africa in Korea

On Wednesday evening (June 16), I was sitting at the LG Arts Centre in the heart of Seoul. But I wasn't really there! For about two hours, I was in South Africa. How did I get there? By the amazing vocals of Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

Performing for the first time in South Korea, this male choral group blew the audience away from the moment they appeared on stage.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo is a South African music group which was formed by Joseph Shabalala in the 1960’s in Ladysmith, KwaZulu-Natal. At the time, Shabalala hoped to give a new meaning to traditional Zulu music. Since their inception, the group has represented the traditional culture of South Africa and are said to be the country’s cultural ambassadors the world over.

The name of the group is quite interesting, but what does it mean?
Shabalala chose the name Ladysmith (the name of the Zulu farming village where he lived), Black (to represent the black oxen that are regarded as the strongest oxen on the farm) and Mambazo (from the Zulu word for “axe” to symbolize the group’s ability to cut down the competition).

The world got to know about the group from their 1986 collaboration with American singer-songwriter, Paul Simon on his Grammy Award-winning album, Graceland. This was one of the best-selling albums of the 1980s. In 1987, Ladysmith Black Mambazo won a Grammy in the Best Traditional Folk Recording Category for the album, Shaka Zulu.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo is influenced by Zulu and Christian choral traditions. The clicking sounds, ululations and foot stamping gave me goose bumps. It all felt so familiar to me. I was born in South Africa and grew up listening to a variety of music. As I’ve grown older, I’ve come to appreciate more traditional and harmonic tunes as opposed to the ‘doof doof, boom boom’ noise we are bombarded with these days.

The member’s gave a brief introduction of their songs before singing, and I was curious if Joo-hyeon, my Korean friend sitting next to me understood their thick South African accent. While the group was taking a breather backstage, one of the singers was entertaining the audience with banter and jokes. He jokingly invited the audience to South Africa next year for the Soccer World Cup, saying that everyone could stay at his house, but on one condition: that everyone brings their own sleeping bags and prepares their own meals!

At one point, he also tried teaching part of a song to the audience. I had to double check with Joo-hyeon that she understood when he said “Let’s lenn the wedds!” in a South African accent. Translation? “Let’s learn the words!”

Those with background knowledge of South Africa will be familiar with the hardship and segregation that my country has experienced in the past. Many of the groups’ songs emanate from tales of racism and freedom. One of their more popular tracks, “Homeless” is haunting and gives the listener a perfect mental image of being homeless and sleeping under the moonlight.

Their dance style is also impressive and very rhythmical. Their moves are smooth and relaxed, yet fast-paced. At one point, it almost made one wonder if they had some Tae-Kwon-Do training before their performance? Just kidding…

Ladysmith Black Mambazo is constantly traveling and performing on stages all over the world. No wonder they look so comfortable under the spotlight. It is evident that they sing with passion and love. There’s a lovely expression, “Words that come from the heart enter the heart”, and I suppose the same can be said for artists and the songs they sing.

“I feel like I’m in a forest somewhere in Africa, with animals around me,” whispered Joo-hyeon in my ear. I answered her by saying, “That’s the beauty of their music!” Their gentle voices allow the lyrics to transport audiences to different locations – whether it be on a mountaintop or in a township somewhere in Johannesburg.

There was a row of African people about three rows behind us (I am not sure if they were South African), but they were ululating. I felt happy hearing these familiar sounds as I knew it indicated their appreciation for the performance. Joo-hyeon, on the other hand thought it was a bit creepy and she told me that it reminded her of a Korean funeral!

The group has recorded with a number of international artists besides Paul Simon, including Stevie Wonder, Josh Groban, Dolly Parton and The Coors. They continue to travel the world and are currently on tour wowing audiences from Asia to Europe to America.

I didn’t expect to feel the way I felt when listening to the sounds of my country, South Africa. For the past two years, I’ve succumbed to listening to the likes of Big Bang and other K-Pop groups. But for one night, it felt like ‘home’ was here right in Korea. It felt warm, comforting and magical. To be honest I doubt I’d have made an effort to attend a local concert if I was in South Africa. But to know how popular this group is and how they’ve spread the colourful cultures of South Africa around the world makes me beam with pride.



*Additional information taken from online sources

LG Arts Center

LG Arts Center in Yeok-sam, Seoul




A taste of South Africa in Korea

Here's some of the "South African-ness I experienced on Wednesday, June 17" in Yeoksam, Seoul when I went to see Ladysmith Black Mambazo.


The SA Embassy Table

Thursday, June 18, 2009

...and the week's nearly over.

I had speaking tests with 3rd graders today. My co-teacher thinks I must be very tired, but *secretly* I'm so happy that I'M doing the tests. I had such a stressful few days with my 2 in 1 day demo classes.

Teaching is physically tiring, but with the speaking tests, the students come to me individually in the office, I show them a few sentences in Korean and they have to say the English of it. Not too bad at all... :)

Tomorrow I'm testing 4th graders. Kindergarten class today was a headache as always. OMG... when the bell rings, I can't *wait* to escape~!

Felt so sleepy during my after school class. Don't know how I dragged myself home. I stopped at the hairdresser to trim my fringe (AKA "front hair" by Koreans), and she looked at my hair with a very questionable look and asked me who cut my hair. Clearly it's not good.

I simply can't wait for my hair to grow so that I can have it cut into a PROPER style and not some 'style' that makes me feel like a guinea pig of an experiment gone wrong. During the week I am really busy, so I have no time to fancy my hair up. So usually I just have it tied or pinned up (best thing to do in this heat).

I forced myself to go to the gym. Had a good workout and came home feeling energized and refreshed.

* I shared the elevator with someone on my floor - sometimes we leave for work at the same time in the mornings, but we only just greet e'other. Today I started talking to her - she can speak little English, so our convo was short and sweet. She lives a few doors down from me and she's a furniture designer.

Tomorrow - 5 classes of Grade 4's, then have to go out to another school to observe an open / demo class at another school. Good night, y'all xxx

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Good (early Thursday) morning

Just got home from a night out on the town (mid-week!) Traveled to Seoul to see Ladysmith Black Mambazo in concert. Will blog more tomorrow about it, but they were fantastic ;)

Also happy cause my 2nd online order arrived today..my MP3 player. More on that tomorrow. Now I have to get some shut eye.

Week is going really well. Haven't been physically teaching (except for 5th graders). Been having speaking tests with 6th, 3rd & 4th graders all week.

"Talk" more tomorrow ~ xxx

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Twitter down

Twitter.com is down for maintenance at the moment.
Cute pic on the homepage: (twitter.com)

Hump Day again :)

It's 06:40 - about to start getting ready for the day. I only have 4 classes today: 2 Grade 5 classes and 2 Grade 3 classes.

Tonight I'm going to Seoul to see Ladysmith Black Mambazo in concert. It's in Yeoksam (Gangnam) @ 8pm.

I hope my SA family and friends enjoyed the public holiday yesterday ~ Youth Day :)

Eat, Pray, Love arrives


Everything in Korea is really convenient. One of the things I most enjoy is online shopping. I always know exactly what I want and then one of my Korean friends / colleagues orders it for me. Depending on what you order, it could even be delivered the following day.

I have bought quite a few things online so far - lampshade, DVD player, camera, iPod Touch, MP3 player, books... even soya :)

So over the w'end, my Korean brother (No-su) ordered a book for me: Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I didn't jump on the bandwagon when the rest of the world was raving about this a few months ago, but after reading a few reviews I had to see for myself what it was all about.

It arrived today (I like the cover) and will blog about it as I go through it. I don't think I'll get to starting it tonight. My brain is a bit fried and I think I need to kick back with an episode of Three's Company - starting Season 7 :)

2 Demo Classes in 1 day~!

I had 2 Demo Classes today. That just means that other people (parents / teachers) come to observe my class. The first one was with my co-teacher, Mr Oh. We taught a Grade 5 class. The lesson was "Let's go swimming" The aim of the lesson was to teach how one should suggest an idea as well as how to accept or decline the offer. The 5th Grade teachers were there for probably a total of 5 minutes (they had to get back to teaching their own classes).

My second Demo Class was for my after school class at 2:50pm. There are only about 14 students, and they are all really inactive. This makes my job VERY hard. Some of the boys are really naughty and I asked them beforehand to be on their best behaviour because it was an open class for parents. The time is pretty awkward, and most parents are at work during that time. However, only one father pitched up. I taught a lesson verbs. I showed them a clip of Mr Bean Makes a Sandwich and had them complete a worksheet based on the actions he was doing.

The boys got on my nerves a bit, and one student (Seong-bin) who I reprimanded last week for saying SHIT in my class, said it several times again today. I didn't find it cute! Unfortunately, some of my 6th graders are walking around with an attitude thinking that they're the 'seniors' of the school and that they can behave and do anythign they want to.

First class (Grade 5)

Second Class (After school class)


By the end of the second class, my head was kinda throbbing and I couldn't wait to get home. Was meant to visit my friend, Ki-young who had a baby recently but we canceled. I wanted to go home and veg, but pushed myself to the gym. I didn't have the kind of workout I'd have liked, but it was better than nothing.

Made an omlette for dinner - was pretty good, but *mental note* - the green chillies are stronger than what I'm used to (in Korean terms!)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Weekend was too quick

I never used to complain about weekends being short but this one was.

Today I had to do a speaking test with my 6th Graders. Had to do it individually. I showed them a sentence in Korean and they had to say the English of it.

Went for a facial after work.

Have my 2 open classes tomorrow.

Eagerly awaiting my 2 online orders..'Eat Pray Love' by Elizabeth Gilbert & a new MP3 player.

Lady Gaga is arriving in Korea tomorrow. If I didn't have tickets to see Ladysmith Black Mambazo on Wednesday I'd have gone to see her.

Lights out.. Goodnight x

Sunday, June 14, 2009

F*ck You Team boy moves to another school

My 4th grader, Park Eun-so has moved to another school. Last year (when these pics were taken) and Eun-so was in 3rd grade, I'd asked him what his team's name was. He smiled and said, "F*ck You Team". Prior to this, while I was teaching that lesson he was sitting at the back pointing the middle finger at me. Each time I looked at him to scold him, he put his hands under his desk.

He was the kind of kid the others didn't like. Why? Because... BECAUSE of him, many times, the entire class would be punished. He was very mischievous. One time I asked the class where he was because his seat was empty. He had hidden under his desk and was making bird tweeting sounds - trying to make me believe that there was a bird in the classroom~! Gonna miss him :)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Grade 6 teachers stress relief (2)

In this one, they pretended they were hitting a certain someone's face :)


Grade 6 teachers stress relief (1)

After dinner, we passed this place where u punch a bag and it gives you a score based on how hard you punched. The 2 guy teachers (Yong-un & No-su) let go of some of their built-up stress~!!!

Dinner with Grade 6 Teachers

After the movie, we went out for dinner... the meat is cooked at the table. And then you take a leaf of lettuce, lay meat, garlic, sauce and anything else you want, wrap it up and it eat! I stuck to rice, tofu soup and other veggie side dishes :)




Korean Movie: "Mother"


On Wednesday, June 10 2009, some of the Grade 6 teachers and I saw a Korean movie, "Mother" (마더) The film is directed by Bong Joon-ho and stars Kim Hye-ja & Won Bin in the lead roles.

Brief synopsis:

A widowed mother, who runs an apothecary lives with her only son, Do-joon who is portrayed as a shy and quite young adult. Something awful happens one night in the little town they live in when a school girl is murdered. Do-joon becomes the prime suspect in the murder case, even though there is no real evidence against him. His defense attorney turns out to be incompetent, which is when the boys mother becomes involved. The movie really starts here, when she is hell-bent in proving her sons innocence.

The entire film feels cold and eerie - portrayed very well by the colours (or lack of). There are many tones of dull grey, green and brown that are used. The rain scenes were shot very well and definitely gives a sense of mystery and suspense. Little is left to the imagination especially during some violent scenes. I was squirming in my seat afraid that I was going to be faced with gory images. Ugh.

There was only one sex / nude scene was was pretty graphic considering the fairly conservative nature of Korean folk. But it was over within a few seconds.

The title of the film, "Mother" is simple yet powerful. A mother's relationship with her children is something that can only be described by someone who IS a mother. But I've always maintained that a mother's relationship with her son is slightly different than that of a daughter. This film explores this very well. There are some very intimate scenes portraying this between mother & son ~ One scene in particular is when she follows her son outside while he's urinating against a wall. She stands beside him and makes him drink something before he gets onto a bus. After he leaves, she tries covering up the urine on the pavement.

Some people may think some of the scenes are boderline awkward especially showing the mother and son sharing a bed, but it's all very innocent. The director shows the audience the extreme lengths a mother will go to for her children - as gruesome as it may seem.

The lead actors were exceptional in their roles and definitely give substance to the characters they portray. The mother first comes across as being over-protective and worrysome about her son. But after imprisoned for murder, she becomes obssessive trying to prove his innocence. The son is also very good and at times and I've been told that he (Won Bin) is well-known for being able to pull off any role.

Here's a trailer of the film



CGV @ Hyundai Department Store, Bucheon

They sell BEER at the movies~!!!



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