anti.calculus?, originally uploaded by ekissam.

i stopped to buy toothpaste and was completely confounded by this one. does this toothpaste actually fight calculus? is there calculus hiding in my gumline? maybe that's why i was never good at calculus, it was hiding in my gums and not in my brain!

3.22- 3.29

school is moving forward. i feel like i’m making progress on some days, and completely moving backwards on other days. there was a flooding problem in my kindy classroom, so that’s added a bit of drama to the week, and a new kindy student makes things more interesting as well. how do i catch this kid up while continuing to move forward with the other students?

i almost feel like i have the hang of the elementary classes, which feels nice. but somehow that makes me think that i should be looking out for some wrench shaped objects.

my internet connection in my apartment is becoming a larger headache. it’s sort of amazing, without the ethernet connected the light on the modem remains completely steady, yet, once i plug in my computer, i lose the interwebs within minutes.

thursday was trivia night again. . . and i had to bring questions. i also brought some more co-workers who ended up both winning the quiz, and having a really good time as well. looks like there may be a few more brighton faces at trivia night for a few weeks at least.

friday after classes ended i stayed behind to get some photocopying done, and when i left only my korean teaching partner and i were left. she asked if i was hungry, and we met up with two other korean teachers for dinner. oddly enough, we went to the same chicken place that i had been to with natalie and camille. one of the five for six restaurants i’ve been to in ansan.

OMG. . . i completely forgot that we had our field trip this past week. honestly, sometimes the weeks feel so long, i was convinced that the field trip had been two weeks ago.

we went to the samsung children’s science museum. it was actually pretty great. i had been so scared that without a wrist rope leash i would lose the kids, but we stayed together pretty well. the only real ridiculousness came from trying to round them up for class pictures.

well, and then there was another ridiculousness. for speed, on the way to the museum, all the teachers had been put on buses with students as they had been picked up from school. so hazel, my teaching partner and i, were on a bus with some of our students and some students from other classes. we were quite ok with that. to be honest, we took a little schadenfreude in the fact that some of our students were with other teachers.

however, on the way back we were piled into buses with our own students, and no helper teachers.

deep breath, ok. . . we’ll be ok. all the kids will fall asleep right? wrong.

they took naps, in shifts. what could make this better? how about the bus getting lost. there were 5 other buses for this guy to follow, but somehow he missed a turn. hazel listened to the bus driver grumble under his breath. we decided not to scare the head teacher till we knew we would be late for our elementary classes, and late for the parents to pick up our kindy kids.

well, a half hour passed, then an hour. we started to make phone calls- or hazel started to make phone calls. then our first kid needed to pee- a lot apparently.

an hour and a half passed. more kids had to pee. hazel and i split the kids up boy girl on the side of the road.

hazel started to remember a bus route from seoul that she used to take to work. without her, we would’ve been so much later. the bus driver reluctantly took her advice, and we got home. while she directed the driver i entertained the kids.

i might regret teaching them ‘wheels on the bus.’

when we got in, two hours late, i had missed my first elementary class, and there were a lot of angry parents. the kids didn’t seem to know the difference. needless to say, there was soju to drink that night.


samsung.museum.1, originally uploaded by ekissam.

we had our first field trip. there were about 3 or 4 other kindy schools there at the same time. a couple of them had foreign teachers as well. i shared a couple of knowing nods, and glances of sympathy with a couple of them as we all chased our students around the building.


samsung.museum.2, originally uploaded by ekissam.

in one of the first sections of the museum there was a lot of plastic balls and air power. balls were flying around the room and bouncing all over the floor. i would really dig going to this place without a large number of kindy kids sometime.


samsung.museum.3, originally uploaded by ekissam.

this section was all about water and water power.


samsung.museum.6, originally uploaded by ekissam.

in the last section of the museum, the kids got to put on hardhats and reflection vests and used foam materials to play construction.


samsung.museum.9, originally uploaded by ekissam.

this is kimbap. easy food for an outing.


samsung.museum.10, originally uploaded by ekissam.

lunchtime pandemonium


samsung.museum.11, originally uploaded by ekissam.

this would've been the better part of the field trip, except our bus got lost in seoul for about 2 hours, and the sleeping only lasted about 45 minutes.


still sick. . . errr

yep, i’m sick. . . or maybe allergies are kicking in? but my students keep sneezing and coughing on me, so i’m betting it’s sick. . . .


other than last last week was busy. we celebrated st. patrick’s day at school with some crafty projects. all the kids wore a lot of green and the mood was pretty festive. that was tuesday, and thursday was birthday party day. so all the kids who have march birthdays got announced and recognized. our mercury birthday student (the younger kids) was dressed in a tux with tails. . . so cute. but he was too scared to get up in front of the crowd.

the two festive days definitely made a nice break within the week.

made a skype call back home so grandpa and the aunts and uncles could see the technology working. the morning internet was a little dodgy though. . . so the picture was nearly as clear as usual. kind of a bummer, but i guess they were impressed anyway.

thursday, even though i had a sore throat, i went out to trivia night. i ended up teaming up with a couple of real smarties. . . and we won. (i think i maybe supplied 5 answers that they didn’t already have. kinda felt like i would’ve been more productive with a pair of pom-poms.) so this week we supply the questions. yee haw! think i’m gonna make my set music related. there have been too many sports questions for my liking. i can’t tell if my questions are ridiculously obvious, or ridiculously hard. guess i’ll know better on thursday.

saturday i planned to go to this ‘welcoming party’ that my recruiter was throwing in itaewon. swon agreed to go with me. i slept in really late and thought i was feeling a little better. i met up with swon and we met a friend of her for a dinner. her friend is getting ready to interview for theatre grad schools in the US. swon and i tried to coach her in some of the questions she should ask and be ready to answer.

then swon and i got caught in the rain.

we were pretty late to the party as well, but i don’t think it mattered much. the main guy from the office actually remembered my first and last name, i was impressed. the bar was way too loud though. i didn’t feel much like yelling to get to know anyone. so swon and i left to have some dessert.

we got up late on sunday. we had all these grand ideas; hiking, visiting galleries, shopping. . . but we both felt cruddy. i really hope swon doesn’t catch my ick. i hope it might be just from the rain. we ate and napped. i caught a train home while swon met up with her family for her mom’s birthday party. i certainly didn’t want to bring my sick butt into a family party.

well, this week should be interesting as well. we are going on a field trip. i keep offering to buy some cotton rope to make one of those class wrist leashes for our students. i can’t keep them from running off while we walk the 50 feet between the classroom and the playroom. i’m kinda worried about losing them outside of school. the head teacher says there’s no way we’ll lose them. i’d still like to carry some rope with me.

well, again there are some pics up, so enjoy.


3.17.brighton.1, originally uploaded by ekissam.

st. patrick's day at brighton. hazel and i put together some crafty hats with rainbows, pots of gold, and clovers for the kids to make.


3.17.brighton.3, originally uploaded by ekissam.

hazel helps mercury class with their hats.


3.17.brighton.4, originally uploaded by ekissam.


3.17.brighton.5, originally uploaded by ekissam.

diana class finishes some of their st. patrick's day hats.


3.17.brighton.6, originally uploaded by ekissam.


3.17.brighton.7, originally uploaded by ekissam.

some more finished hats.


3.19.brighton.1, originally uploaded by ekissam.

hazel, me, and diana class on birthday day.


3.19.brighton.2, originally uploaded by ekissam.

hazel, me, and the mercury class on birthday party day.


week three, check!

last sunday a group of us went to check out Watchmen. it actually opened up a day early here- though i have no idea how that works out.

i was really psyched to see it, and thought it was a good adaptation of the graphic book, now i want to read it again. alas, my copy is in loaner limbo back in the states. bummer.

afterwards i caught some dinner and a movie with one of the other teachers. monday turned out a little odd, everyone i had been hanging out with had food poisoning or something. guess i just missed it. i’ve been congested all week, and it finally feels like it’s letting up a bit tonight. hope it finally breaks, i could use more sleep and less coughing.

the week was still hectic. i’m wondering when i’m going to feel comfortable at this. when will the routine settle into my brain? although there are new teachers at the school, everyone except me and my korean teaching partner, have done this before- oh, and we have the youngest/ newest classes of kids.

everyone else seems at ease. i feel completely lost most days. didn’t help that some water pipe busted over my kindy room. large flood on monday, and a second one at the end of the week. i wasn’t there both times- in another room teaching, but my friday kindy classes all got moved to another room. like those little ones needed any more distractions.

thursday night i got invited to a trivia night at a very ‘foreign friendly’ bar one subway stop down. it’s not quite the same set-up as the ones in boston, but it’s still a nice excursion. the only problem is that it starts pretty late. other schools go much later into the evening. a lot let out around 10 or 11pm. walking around, i’ve even seen the buses letting kids off around midnight.

anyway, since the winners of last week’s trivia game are responsible for making the questions for the next game, everyone needs to wait till they get out of work. it was fun, but i don’t know if i can pull that late a thursday night every week.

saturday was both white day, and st. patrick’s. white day is sort of a response to valentine’s i guess. here, on valentine’s day, girls give boys treats. . . and on white day, boys return the favor. either way there was a lot of chocolate and treats being passed around, and sweets left on my desk. . . . yum.

st. patrick’s was in seoul. camille (another teacher) and i took the train into town to meet a few more of her friends. it’s a pretty big thing for a lot of the foreigners, and even a number of koreans. we didn’t stay for the actual parade. it turned out that it’s really just a parade of all the festively dressed attendants about part of town. it was fun to see everyone garishly dressed. . . and mascots dressed as foam topped guinness filled glasses, but i didn’t mind moving on.

we headed to itaewon, another area where there are a large number of foreigners. hence a larger number of stores catering to our objects of desire. . . like books, cheese, and recognizable cough suppressants. i even found dryer sheets. (for some reason my dryer has a weird smell. everything comes out smelling a bit like corn chips. the dryer sheets would be nice, but i think i’ll hack a set out of some febreeze and a hand towel. for a sam’s club/ bj’s size box of dryer sheets, it was nearly $20. trying the hack now. corn chip smell has faded to neutral.)

anyway, i picked up a few things and got to see another part of seoul. i did spot a coldstone creamery, and we ate at a fairly ‘western’ restaurant for lunch.

all in all a pretty good weekend. i spent today doing some cleaning, laundry, reading, and working on my syllabus. maybe this week will jive a bit better for me. i’m not holding my breath though, we’re throwing a st. patrick’s day party and a march birthdays party both this week. should keep things busy.

check out the pics below.



booty.1, originally uploaded by ekissam.

after skipping out on the parade, camille (another teacher at the school) and i decided to walk around itaewon for some shopping. itaewon has a few shops that specialize in importing some creature comforts from back home, like nyquil and dryer sheets.

we first stopped where i could get some nyquil. turns out i'm pretty much like every other foreigner who comes here. i got sick. nothing too bad, just lots of congestion, and the nyquil knock off really helps me get some more rest.

then, off to an english bookstore. yay!. yes, i brought a book, and have a handful more prepped for shipping, but the one book i brought (as fascinating as it is). . . just isn't holding my attention. so some more fiction for me please!

last stop, a market that we only heard about. camille knew the subway stop, but we knew nothing else. we ran into another foreigner who kept a small journal detailing where to get and find things. she pointed us in the right direction. (thank you!)


booty.2, originally uploaded by ekissam.

here is some of the booty i got at the hannam market.

shaker cheese! yay. . . not so easy to find. a double shot? glass of nutella. yummy!. . . and cheese! cheddar is hard enough to find, but sharp cheddar was really difficult. i guess adirondack wicked sharp is too much to hope for.


st.patty.1, originally uploaded by ekissam.

saturday. a few co-workers and i took the subway into
daehangno for the st.patty's day parade. it's a pretty big gathering for a lot of foreigners in the area.

there's some sort of smorgasbord afterwards, all you can eat, and all the guinness you can drink for about $50. we weren't so interested in that, but don a little green and into seoul we went.


st.patty.4, originally uploaded by ekissam.

hey look, it's me, with a token green scarf on, and a big guinness balloon behind me.

we didn't end up staying for the parade. we were pretty sure the parade consisted of the people gathered walking through the streets somewhat drunkenly.


st.patty.2, originally uploaded by ekissam.

here's another look at the gathering crowd.


st.patty.3, originally uploaded by ekissam.

who do you think sponsored this lovely event?


3.14.ansan.1, originally uploaded by ekissam.

did i tell you there is an on/off switch on my bed board?

it leads to nothing. but it makes me wonder what electrically minded/ radio shack gear geek person once lived in my room? am i in a time warp? have i been here before?


3.13.ansan.3, originally uploaded by ekissam.

as if fast food wasn't easy enough. here, you can get it delivered.


3.13.ansan.1, originally uploaded by ekissam.

here's the view of one side of the street that brighton english school is on. lots of bright and colorful lights, and this is nothing compared to the larger downtown area.


3.13.ansan.2, originally uploaded by ekissam.

here's a shot of the school building at night. we only occupy the 2nd floor.


3.13.brighton.1, originally uploaded by ekissam.

i'm not sure if there is irony or not in the fact that the first science project i worked on with my kindy kids was a simple circuit. light bulb, wires, switch, battery. the parts were a little cheap too, so i had to do a little fussing with the pieces to get them all to work.
i wonder if the project would have flustered me more if i hadn't spent 10 years as a theatrical electrician.


3.13.brighton.2, originally uploaded by ekissam.

dana, daniel, and rachel are intent on making the bulb light up.


3.13.brighton.3, originally uploaded by ekissam.

here are lowell, nikky, julie, and charlie working on their circuits.



3.7.ansan.1, originally uploaded by ekissam.

so there's this hill with a set of stairs leading up it a bit behind my building. i decided to do a little exploring this weekend. (my building is the large gray one on the left.)


3.7.ansan.2, originally uploaded by ekissam.

view from the hill of part of ansan.


3.7.ansan.3, originally uploaded by ekissam.

the path has little tributary paths that snake off all over the hill.


3.7.ansan.4, originally uploaded by ekissam.

the larger path follows an aqueduct that feeds little family gardens all around the hill.


3.7.ansan.5, originally uploaded by ekissam.

near the top of the hill, a place to stretch and work out a little. (i hear that this kind of set up is littered throughout the city.)


3.7.ansan.6, originally uploaded by ekissam.

also on the hill, a few small cemeteries.


3.7.ansan.7, originally uploaded by ekissam.

good news dan! bike paths!


3.7.ansan.8, originally uploaded by ekissam.

finally, my destination for the day. i do have a few essentials to pick up.

think of it like a walmart, or target. . . but bigger.

no one warned me about how busy this place is on the weekends. i might try to avoid it in the future, and get my shopping done during the week.


3.6.nightout.1, originally uploaded by ekissam.

we went out as a group this weekend. our last new teacher arrived and we all celebrated at an indian restuarant. (yay, indian food!)

afterwords we went to a bar that a bunch of the foreigners know called manhattan. near midnight the bartenders do a cocktail juggling/ bar flare show. it included a guy that lit something on fire inside the bottles and tossed them. . . then just flat out tossing something on fire as seen here. at the end the head bartender lit the cocktail tower aflame by shooting as fireball out of her mouth. my pic turned out a little too blurry. . . but it was cool looking.

i know. . . i'm so easy to impress. . . just light something on fire and i go a gooey.


3.6.nightout.1, originally uploaded by ekissam.

we ended the night, and early morning, at a noribong. we had a really good time, and yes, dan, this picture is kinda for you. why is it people always pick to sing this song?- i think they just like singing along with the horn blasts after 'sweet caroline.'



2.28.seoul.1, originally uploaded by ekissam.

friday night- swon picked me up in ansan and we drove back to her house in seoul. i got to meet her boyfriend chuwon (sp?). he speaks very little english, and i speak even less korean, but with the soju flowing i started to pick up some phrases with their help. we had a very good time, and the evening went very late.


2.28.seoul.2, originally uploaded by ekissam.

saturday- swon sets her laundry out to dry in the quad area (there is probably a korean word, but i don't know it yet) of her house. her place is really sweet, i guess a little small for what is considered a traditional house, but still really nice.


2.28.seoul.3, originally uploaded by ekissam.

saturday morning (well, it was morning for us still)- here's the view of the hanock village (traditional style houses) where swon lives. it's a very popular area for tourists to visit.


2.28.seoul.5, originally uploaded by ekissam.

saturday- after a late breakfast swon, chuwon and i were in downtown seoul, for a wedding. . . . yes, you heard me right. i had no idea i was going to be a part of this till after i was in swon's car driving to seoul friday night. i asked her if she had any plans and she replied, "well, we have a wedding tomorrow." at first i was going to just sit in a coffee shop nearby, but i ended up walking in with them and watching a little of the ceremony. just like the graduation/ talent show on thursday for the school, the wedding ceremony had a lot of live video playback.

as we left, swon and i found this interesting looking building.


2.28.seoul.6, originally uploaded by ekissam.

saturday afternoon- swon and i drove to suji to visit with swon's parents. they have a really nice home in a high rise building, you can see their living room and little garden. swon's mom made an amazing dinner. they were incredibly welcoming.
swon and i also did some shopping at e-mart (kind of like walmart, but bigger- if you can imagine). we thought about seeing a movie, but we were both pretty tired.


2.28.seoul.7, originally uploaded by ekissam.

sunday- after a great breakfast with swon's mom and dad, swon had some meetings in a part of town near a famout art school.

i walked around the area for a bit. there were a lot of cute artist shops, and apparently some obama fans.

shortly after that i got to sit through a show swon worked on. i can't tell you much about it, but it was a pretty great end to my first week.


ansan.3, originally uploaded by ekissam.

my apartment building from the outside. not really too much to see. still need to do some shopping for the interior. . . then i'll add some more pictures.


ansan.1, originally uploaded by ekissam.

the street i walk down from my apartment to the school.


brighton.show.5, originally uploaded by ekissam.

the brighton school talent show and graduation. here is a class singing a song. the whole thing was a big to do. . . costumes, lights, blow up set, and live video so the parents had a good view. all in all it made for a busy thursday.


brighton.show.6, originally uploaded by ekissam.

percussion recital.


brighton.show.7, originally uploaded by ekissam.

class skits.