Thursday, June 25, 2009

Korean Cowgirl

Very quickly I found out that my friend Kiwi and Patrick both have horses back home. Several nights we kept saying we should go riding so I finally decided to do something about in May... this is my tail... heheh couldnt resist
So as you could expect the riding places are not in the center of Seoul but instead on the outskirts. We found one place that was at the end of the subway line which is about 1hr15 from where we are. I had my Korean Teacher call the place a make a reservation for the three of us. So we got on the subway and headed up there. We had no idea where it was so we took the name of the places and finally when we got up there we jumped in the cab. Thankfully Patrick has wonderful Korean so he spoke to the cab driver and we were off. We got on the highway and drove another 10 minutes. Soon we were in this bizarre mix of suburbs and 
rural ko
rea. There were really nice proper houses right alone rice paddies. We pulled up to a bar that looked a little questionable. We walked into the main building and right away a woman walked up to us freaking out because we were english. P
atrick quickly saved the day by speaking korean though. Very quickly we met the crazy owner. He was one of hte scarier men I have met. He very quickly told us to come look at his riding pictures on the internet, then he demanded we eat the food he had for us, then he demanded that we sit in the nice seats, and about as quickly said in english "GET UP" when some other family came in and they were to sit there. We spent the next 30 minutes basically jumping whever this owner spoke. He was also pretty funny. When we first got there he kept saying he would be taking our picture to put it on their website. It would say that the "
Western people rode here". 

Our reservation was for 1:30 and by now it was about 2 and the owner had now kicked us out of the main building. He informed us we needed to go on a tour. So we sat outside the place watching the ring below. A man was training (maybe?) a horse that was being a punk. The man actually got thrown at one point, the horse was refusing to do what the man wanted. After our little show we were called into the other building which looked like 
a banquet hall through into a room with chairs and a mechanical horse! We were with a bunch of kids who were also riding. So the lady explained how to hold the reigns and put the kids up there. She made them post and all this other crap. Then she looks at us and tells Patrick in Korean it was our turn.... HELL NO! we just busted up laughing and made the little x sign with our hands that is so pop
ular. So finally it was time to go ride... we thought

We climbed down the hill to the arena. There was an big outdoor area with a jump in the middle then a really tiny covered arena. The kids went first on their horses on the inside arena. Then it was FINALLY our turn. By now I would say it was 2:30. So we got on our horses and they stuck us on the inside arena. Which was super small and annoying. I got a pretty tame horses that was fairly passive. Patrick got 
this beautiful horse but it had a bit of the crazies. This horse would not walk, it was constantly trotting. Patrick actually had a goal to walk once around the arena and it was one of the most painful things to watch. Though Patrick is an amazing rider so it was fun to watch him on an amazing horse. Kiwi also got a bit of a crazy horse and ended up switching horses a bit in. The second horse was also still a bit crazy.

So after going around about a billion times and feeling a bit dizy we talked the guy into letting into the outdoor area. So Patrick was the first to go out and his horse handled it pretty well. I was next out the gate and my horse decided to practice for the upcoming Derby. He shot across the ring in a nice gallop. Unfotunatley I was not at all prepared for this and definitely lost my stirups but thankfully stayed on. He did stop though when he got to the entrance to the barn.... it seems he thought it was time to go inside. After I caught my breath I rode for about another 15 minutes in the ring. I was nice to be riding again since I havent been in about a year. 

When we were done we went back upstairs. We found out that the whole time we were being watched on the TV and the owner actually offered Patrick to come back and ride for free in exchange for letting the owner take pictures for the website.

We asked the owner to call us a cab since that was the only way back to the station and he said he would. After 10 minutes though he informed us that there would be no cab we had to leave go to the end of the street and wait for the bus.... which did not make much sense because we were out in the middle of no where which had street construction on all sides. So we went down and sat by the paddies and shockingly a bus came bumping down the road. Patrick asked if we if went to he subway which the driver said yes. We made a school boy error though because we did not ask HOW long it would take. We ended up on that bus for about 45 minutes. We saw ALL of northern Seoul.

Overall it was a fun adventure. Can't say I will do it again but I am glad that I did it at least once!!! 

It's My Birthday

Going to stop trying to give excuses for not blogging... just going to have to accept it will be sparadic (and full of spelling errors) at best.

So in every culture birthdays hold some type of importance and with that importance comes a celebration. In Korea is the birthday this is a little difference since the actual day of your birthday does not hold a whole lot of weight in regards to how old you are. But Koreans do celebrate their birthdays just like we do in the USA, they actually might do it (at least in my school) about a billion times better! Let me explain....

So every month all the kids who have a birthday that month will hold a joint birthday party in the classroom. The parents will get together and discuss what they will bring and all that jazz. This is about on par, and at first I thought it kind of sucked for the kids they had to share their birthdays with someone else. I mean your birthday is your day! 

Anyways, I was wrong, very very wrong.

So the moms dont just bring in a cupcake for each kid or a little cake. Oh no... first they bring a feast for each child.... fried chicked, traditional korean dishes, hotdogs, juices, yogurt drinks, fruit and pasteries. Then there is the cake. Each child gets their own cake. So the day we had 3 kids, we had 3 HUGE cakes. I actually took one home completely untouched. Then there is the teachers meals. Many parents then bring a seperate meals for the teachers. This month we got three huge tupperware full of cut fruit, a box of these amazing tarts and then each our own box of rice cakes (which I was told were $75 a box). 

So that is just the food. Then there are the gifts. Each kid brings a gift for the birthday boy or girl. The gifts are supposed to be from $10 to $15. But when you have three people with birthdays there are just gifts everywhere. Then the kids who are having the birthday bring "Thank You" gifts for each child. These gifts now can be a bit crazy. This month the mom bought all the girls princess shirts and the boys power rangers. Last month the boys all got starwars books and the girls got shoes that are similar to crocs. The gift you give is a pretty big deal. 

Now the parties might seems a little out of control, but the thing is this is the tamed down version. The parents when they come to the school have to promise not to hire party planners!! One mom in another class wanted to bring someone in the night before to redo the whole classroom so it was themed!!!! These parties do not last more than 20 minutes!! The class next to me last week had a performer. She came dressed as Cinderella. She made the kids all balloons and then did this amazing face painting on each child. I am not sure how that mom slipped that woman in but I am sure now every part after that in that class will have a performing.... its all a bit crazy. 

Needless to say birthday party days are a big deal and we all look forward to them on the floor. The kids usually cant eat 1/3 of what is given to them so it usually ends up in the teachers room.  I am known to be slipping into the room to grab a slice of cake :) though most of the korean teachers know now so just bring things like cupcakes straight to my room!!

so much for hoping korea was make me herion addict thin... oh well!!!

Monday, June 15, 2009


So I am going to just forget about trying to post this stuff in order, I have come to terms I am going to just post when I get a chance. I want to at least get one post up a week!

So this post is about Mini-Olympics. Mini-olympics was actually back in May, the first week of May to be exact but I am going to go with it. So MO was an all day event at my school for the kids. The 6 year olds had it Friday then 7 year olds had it on Monday. So there were 5 stations set up and there were 2 foreign teachers in charge of each station. Then our Korean teachers took our classes around and they competed with other classes. I am proud to report that Jupiter Class (my class) beat Dolphine class in every single event. We definitely won the MO for 7 year olds... I refuse to listen to anyone who says there were no winners. So overall it was a lot of fun with the kids and was only better with the fact we won.

Though my kids did great, I did not get to see them compete in anything but my station.  My station was the hula hoop station. Now this station was a bit of a mystery for a couple weeks. The school gave us our assignment a couple weeks before the event and Ian and I got assigned to Holla Hoop. When we asked what it was my directors response was "they take the hula hoop and all go inside and they run across the yard and they win". When we heard this Ian and I were convinced we heard wrong. The day of the event we asked them again what they wanted and again we got the kids go in the hula hoop and run. So we made it a relay race with 4 kids in a hoop at once running from one side of the yard and back. We quickly learned though this was possibly the most dangerous race EVER. The really fast kids would just take off and be dragging the kid across the yard. Ian and I spent most of the time racing after the children being dragged. After the second group we changed the activity so they ran on the outside of the hoop, making it must safer but no where near as entertaining! 

Anyways, MO was tons of fun! I love fun days at PSA!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Dr. Fish

I decided that I will try sticking with blogspot for a little longer. My friend Sarah did have a good point, it is google I should be able to handle it! I tried a couple other ones and they also had some annoying points so i might as well just deal with this one.... the devil you know is better than the devil you don't.

So Dr. Fish is this really cool pedicure service that is not done by people but instead FISH!! So I went there with Nick when he was in town. Its only $2 to do with a cup of coffee.
 So you stick your feet in this tub that is filled with fish and they just nibble the dead skin off your feet! It tickles a bit but its not as bad as I thought it would be. It was actually pretty fun. Though I think it worked, I think I would have to go for hours for it to have an affect on my calloused ridden feet!!