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My Vacation Nightmare in Indonesia Part 1

When you think of popular holiday destinations in Asia, the most popular these days seems to be in parts of South-East Asia; Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Bali, and maybe India also.  In the two years that I had been living in Korea teaching previously, I had only visited Japan outside of Korea. It was harder to get away in those days as I had no vacation time from my private school.  So this time around with the opportunity to travel during my vacation from school, I wanted to sample some of South East Asia.  I decided on going to Indonesia, but my experience has left me in doubt on whether I should travel to any other countries in this region again, as I left with a profound dislike of the place.

Shinsegae’s Spa Land

Relax At Home: Premium Massage Chairs

For our first trip to a Korean spa, we choose one of Busan’s biggest and most modern — Spa Land, in the Shinsegae department store. Twenty-two baths, thirteen distinctively-designed saunas, relaxation rooms, steam rooms, foot baths and more were ours to enjoy for four blissful hours.

Christian Korea

KAs@Work: Keish Kim of Georgia Undocumented Youth Alliance

어버이 날 ♥ Parents Day in Korea

May is fun month for everyone here in South Korea~  on the 5th you have Children’s Day and shortly after you have Parent’s Day on the 8th!

♥ ♥ ♥

Haeundae’s Sand Festival

A Day at Sajik Stadum – Lotte Giants Baseball

Baseball Gear

Among the best experiences we’ve had in Busan have been our visits to Sajik Stadium to watch the Giants. Any American baseball fan who’s ever complained about their team’s high ticket prices, expensive food and drink, or paltry attendance, should definitely pencil in a day at the park while in Busan. This is the stadium experience perfected.

Little Tacky-tastic Korean Figurines

E-mart has the cutest little tacky Korean figurines in various traditional outfits! I use the word “tacky” lovingly of course haha~ These are fun to look at, but you totally know some lady has a whole wall filled with these someplace. I will bet money on it!

For some reason,I KINDA WANT ONE  (*_*) click image for larger view ♥

A Week in Photos #6


Under Siege: Racial Abuse on a Bus

So I promised to tell you the racial abuse on the bus story. It happened two days after I’d been kicked out of a taxi when the driver saw I was a foreigner. It wasn't a good week for me in Korea.

I was sat right at the back of a bus with a Korean colleague heading back to civilisation from Gijang after work. My colleague’s English is good but buses are noisy and you have to talk above it for comprehension.

Haedong Yonggungsa Temple

For 91 Days Travel Books

Haedong Yonggungsa (해동용궁사) is unique among Busan’s Buddhist temples in that it lies not in the mountains, but on the seafront. It was founded in 1376, during the Goryeo Dynasty, and completely destroyed during the Japanese invasions. The current construction dates from the 1970s, but the temple has remained a major center of worship. In fact, I can’t imagine it being any more popular.

Born in the USA… Perfected in Korea?

Korean Dance and Drumming at the Gugak Center

More Korean Folklore

The Busan National Gugak Center opened in 2008 with the mission of bringing Korea’s culture to the masses. We went to an incredible Tuesday night performance, which introduced us to some of the peninsula’s traditional music, dance and drumming.

Teacher’s Day with an Athletic Twist


KAs@Work: Kevin Ost-Vollmers of Land of a Gazillion Adoptees

7 things I don’t like @ being an Academic


It’s grad school acceptance season, so here are a few thoughts if you are considering the PhD plunge. Try this genre also on the Duck of Minerva, where I also write. Enjoy your last summer to read as you choose, without following a peer reviewer or a syllabus. Such lost bliss… 

20 Minutes

When I first lived in Korea I barely really lived in it at all. I stayed in my apartment trading the international financial markets, and when I ventured out – largely at the weekend on chaperoned trips – I felt more like a visiting alien, although to be fair that was the official classification the Korean government gave me; I still have the Alien Registration Card to prove it.

Recognising that living in Korea conventionally meant actually trying to live in it, I took the opportunity to do some writing for the local English-language radio station and appear on their shows, and later I got a part-time programming job so I started spending a lot of my life really out there, on the move.

Full Frontal

Around six months ago Korean Brother went to a nightclub and related the events that shocked him to my wife the next morning.

Apparently several years ago during happier economic times when you went to a nightclub there was a point in the proceedings known as ‘sexy time’, when people would be invited up onto the stage to dance in front of the audience, for prize money typically around 1,000,000 won. The winner would often be the person who was prepared to perform the most provocative dance, and apparently there were few rules imposed by the nightclubs because this invariable involved removing some items of clothing, and sometimes all. But these are nevertheless fairly normal venues – not strip clubs.

As Far as the Eye Can See: a Tour

I have long since given you a tour of my apartment, so I guess it's only fair to get a tour of my school.  Worwick is very different from the public school I used to work at, but still fairly common as far as Hagwons or private academies go. We are the 5th floor of a building not too far from my house.

The 20th Anniversary of Sa-I-Gu (L.A. Riots)

Rally held in Los Angeles on May 2, 1992

When the Riots happened, I was only 3 years old and on the other side of the country. Only until I was a freshman at UCLA did I understand what had happened on April 29, 1992, and its effects on the Korean American community.

Here in Los Angeles, I was surrounded by students who were the children of the Riots. I heard stories about their parents and relatives leaving with guns to help their neighbors protect their stores. They told me how they hid in their dark homes, afraid that they were going to die.

These accounts were eye-opening, especially since I was someone whose knowledge of the Riots was limited to brief excerpts from history books.

Kindergarten Gangsters

There's a new fashion trend that has been adopted by one of my kindergarten boys- faux 90's low riding!

Yes you read right low ride pants- or sort of.  Faux-riding?  Even if I don't know exactly what to call it, I do know how to spot it. 

One of my Kindergarten boys, Leo, has multiple pairs of these pants.  And I know I thought they were weird at first, but it wasn't until I was with a friend a few weekends ago and saw them on another little boy and he was slightly flabbergasted by them, did I think about how weird they really are. 

Sorry for the picture quality, I didn't want to tell one of my more self-conscious students to bend over so I could take pictures of his weird pants- so I had to do it quasi-stealthily.

Latin Flavor’s First Latin Party!


White Day in Korea ♥ 화이트데이

Jinhae – Cherry Blossom Heaven


Teacher Voodoo

I randomly came upon this video the other day, and for someone who teaches both Kindergarten and 2nd grade, this video is like teacher voodoo. 

I mean seriously these kids look like professional actors in comparison to the daily dose of calamity that seems to rule over my class.

 I'm totally planning on trying to introduce the 'blow the answer in your hand' technique tomorrow.  The key word here is trying. 

Now I've been teaching in traditional and non-traditional ways for quite a few years now, but watching these "Whole Brain Teaching" videos made me feel super teacher-y, and also super inspired.  Both the class and the teacher appear to have a great understanding and love of learning, which who doesn't want for their class. 

KAs@Work: Yul Kwon, TV Host of ‘America Revealed’ and ‘LinkAsia’

It's Not in the Basement of the Alamo!

Today was a practically perfect day!

I got to play hostess to my awesome friend Ahnna on her trip down to Busan.
I bought some new perfume.
Had a great lunch with Ahnna, did a bit of window shopping.  

Oh yeah, and I bought a bike!

I bought a bike and I biked all over my neighborhood and even to the beach. 

Isn't she cute?

I feel like PeeWee I love her so much!

Being Negative in Korea and the Worst of All Beginnings.

Many people come to South Korea to work. and for some. the change of culture can be too great.  It is very easy to fall into a negative frame of mind and wish for a swift end to your stay.  Most foreigners, out of a sense of duty, and also a tidy sum in their back pocket at the end of it all, see out their contracts as teachers.  But a year is a long time and it is almost possible to see some people walking around with a permanent black cloud over their heads.  I should know, I myself was one of them.

Conferencing with Parents

Yesterday was the dreaded "Parent Teacher Conferences", and I am glad to report that I am still alive and well. 

I had found out about these conferences at the end of last month while looking at one of my student's newsletters.  Now my Korean is far from good, but I like to look at the news letters to get an idea of when this month's field trip is and when the monthly birthday party will grace me with more cake.  This time I saw mention of all the kindergarten classes and different dates-  I asked one of the Koreans about it and was told we were doing parent teacher conferences. 

Now I've taught open classes where the administration can come in and watch me teach, but this was my first parent teacher conference as a non-student. 

Cherry Blossom Festival

Welcome back to the Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival.  For those of you loyal readers you will remember that I've gone here before and had a great time.  This time around things were still really nice and I had a great time, but man was it ever busiser than the time before.  This time we had to wait 3 hours to get a bus back to Busan (a one hour bus trip). 

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