Monday, July 13, 2009


Monsoon season has begun, I am not impressed.  It has been pouring buckets of rain for the last 12 hours.... and it does not look like it is going to stop. There is so much rain that the rivers are flooding, so there is tons of junk floating down the river. It also means that I get drenched everyday to work, even if I do have rainboots and an umbrella. And the adjamas are CRAZY with their umbrellas. They do not care if you are in the way or if there is no room, they just move right on through. Today I got poked in the eye even though I tried my hardest to avoid it! 

Hopefully this rain will not affect our beach weekend this weekend!! Since it ruined it last weekend :(

Here is a little look of what it looks like outside my classroom window right now...  its from my computer so its not the best but it is very rainy... trust me

Spring Picnic---yes i am well aware it is no longer spring

So my school has picnics for the different seasons.... well at least spring and I have also heard rumors of a fall picnic. Anyways, the picnics are kind of like field day. All the kids load up in the vans/buses and we go to a big park not far from our school. The kids bring lunch and they play games. Then we all pile in and go back to school. Now of course there are some distinct differences between my picnics as a kid and PSA picnics.
                       Some of my kids making mud pies and soup.

Of course there is the food issue. The kids bring their own lunches and it was all kimbop. Kimbop is the korean version of sushi but it is like egg, veggies and sometimes some meat. So all the kids had these little containers just for kimbop with cute little helper chopsticks. I loved watching them eat. Then of course they brought TONS of snacks. I love to see the similarities between my kids in NY and these kids.... really there are more similarities then I would like to admit. Anyways, on field trip days the snack you brought in NY was the most important thing. Kids would bring whole bags of chips they would share with friends. This was a lot like my kids here. They all brought bags of snacks... chips, cookies, candy, weird cheesy sausage things, really anything you could buy at 7-11 they brought. And they brought so much of it! It was enough to usually share with everyone. They were also so nice about sharing it, it was refreshing to see. They even decided to go trick-or-treating at  one point!! They took a bag and went friend to friend saying trick or treat and traded food! It was too cute!
                           Bin and Ryan Trick or Treating

The other big difference was the photographer!! For all the major events we have a photographer (imagine a wedding photographer documenting you life). He first takes a class picture of us then a picture of each kid. Then he will be around the whole time snapping pictures of the kids. He is literally everywhere you turn. Then when we went back to school and wrote about the trip he was still there taking pictures in the classroom. There is a real classic picture of me with one of the kids :) Anyways, so after about two months we get a huge stack of photos (about 300) to sort through. Then the parents pay for what pictures they want. Its crazy because they parents buy all of them, even though some are terrible. I guess though it makes sense because they can't be there but these are the shots they would probably get. 

John is learning how to slide down a pole

Overall the picnic was a lot of fun. The kids had fun just 
running around, it was one of the first nice day of the school year and they didn't have to do any work!!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Heaven's Newest Director

So I know this blog is about my life in Seoul. But at the same time it is about my life.... And I feel it is not right for me to go on posting without talking about something that has happened recently that has had a big affect on me, even if it did not happen here in Seoul.

A little over two weeks ago the world lost an amazing person. Sissy DePrima lost her battle with cancer.  Mrs. D was my musical theater teacher starting in third grade (I think) all the way through high school. With her I performed in various parades, in countless shows and around Lake County. With her I was a southern belle, a beggar selling flowers on the street, was a toy doll, a french aristocrat, a daughter of Canna, walked down the yellow brick road, was a poodle girl, dickens caroler and countless other characters. To say though she was just a brilliant director would not do her justice. She was also much more than someone I saw every Wednesday for an hour. She was someone who witnessed almost every major event of my life. She was one of the first people I wanted to share something with and was always one of my biggest supporters. Whenever I told her where my next adventure was taking me she was always so excited for me. 

She also taught me some of the greatest lessons of my life. She taught me the importance of being truly dedicated to something and not stretching myself too thin. It is better to be great and passionate about one thing than decent and wishy washy with many things. She also gave me my love for performing. I also liked to be on the stage from a very early age but she taught me how to command a stage and audience. From her I feel in love with musicals. There is hardly a musical you can give me that I do no love.... to be honest there is hardly a musical you could play for me that I have not performed at least one of their songs if not the whole show and you would be hard pressed to find a Christmas carol I do not know by heart... with hand motions. 

Some of my fondest memories as child and teenager was staying after in the studio talking to Mrs. D. We would all hang around, secretly hoping our parents would be picking us up late. It was even better when we were able to drive because we could stay as late as we wanted. We would talk about anything and everything sitting in these little pink benches. If it was a really special day we might head to baker square to get a slice of pie! 

Mrs. D also worked at the local catholic high school. She ran a show there in february that many people from the county would come see. In middle school I would always go to the shows and wish more than anything I could be on that stage but thought it was not an option because I would be going to the public school. It was that show and her that helped persuade me to leave all my friends and go to the catholic school. The two years (soph and senior year) that I got to do the show were some of the best memories from high school. Also, it resulted in another great lesson. It taught me to never give up. My junior year I did not make the show because of a bad audition. I was heart broken and I think normally I would have just quit going to lessons on Wednesdays. But Mrs. D made me realize that things do not always work out as we want. Instead of giving up though you just have to work harder. I started attending additional lessons in addition to my wednesday classes. 

It is has been very hard for me to process this loss. I feel like even halfway around the world I am constantly reminded of her. I would say about every 4th song that comes onto my iPod is a song that I have song with her... I have decided that my iPod random shuffle is a major no-no for awhile if I want to stop tearing up randomly on the streets... I already get enough stares being white. 

It is even harder to think that when I go back home she will no longer be there. Every place in town holds some type of memory of her and I think it will be a rough shock when I finally go back home. I just hope that I can continue her legacy. I hope that I can spread the same lessons that she gave to me. Below I am attaching a video of one of her last shows at my high school. This only gives a little insight into what an amazing director she was. 

Open Class

So I am going to try to get caught up this week on what has been going on since the next 5 weeks are going to be CRAZY! Mom, Dad and Colin come on August 3rd. When they are here I know we are going to be running on all pistons since there is always lots to do in Seoul. We are also going to take a weekend to go down to the coast. And what I am most excited about is........ LADY GAGA!! Lady Gaga is coming to Seoul on August 9th and we are going to go! I can't wait!! But before the family even gets here I will be going to a Mud Festival this weekend, a Music Festival in the South next week and then a week in HONG KONG! Needless to say there are many fun things ahead!!!

But not to get ahead of myself. Here is some of the stuff I have been up to the past couple months... May 27th to be exact

So every school has some type of Open Class. It is usually similar to open school night or parents night in the states. In most schools the parents come to the classroom for an hour and make sure the thousands of dollars a year they are putting into their child's education is not going to waste.

Well since at my school the parents put in thousands of dollars a MONTH our open class is just a bit more intense. So for the entire month of May we prepped for this open class. It consisted of an opening message, pledge, song with dance, a lesson by my korean teacher, a lesson by me, then a closing song with dance THEN a closing message and finally the kids give a gift to their mothers. 

Now in case you have forgotten most of my kids are 5 (easy to forget with the crazy Korean age system) and not always the most graceful. They also have trouble focusing for more than 15 minutes, once again the whole age thing. Now take the fact that we practiced this everyday for 3 weeks! It was all a little intense. To say I was a bit nervous before it actually happened would be an understatement....

I might have threatened my kids within an inch of their lives about a second before the parents walked in. 

And to everyones surprise they actually pulled it off!! Only once do I have to give one of my "unimpressed" looks to Daniel C. And we only had one kid almost cry. Poor Tommy got up to answer a question and forgot the answer. My Co-teacher whispered him the answer and he still could not say it. I guess Tommy has done this every open class last two years. Overall the parents seemed very happy and I still have my job! So now I just have to think about what we will be doing for the next one in October :)

Oh one more crazy thing about this whole thing... each child needs to speak an equal amount of times!! So everything is rehearsed with the kids before hand. Each question they know is coming and they know if it is their question or not. I did not do it as scripted because I thought it was pointless but I did give my three special boys their questions 2 weeks in advance which I had them practice all the time!! 

Here are some pictures from that day!

 This is about when I told DongJun I would make the next 6 months a NIGHTMARE if he jumped like a frog during openclass.

The kids giving their gifts to their moms. Andrew (boy in red) is resinging all the songs for his mom.

First song "Getting to Know You"