Monday, June 27, 2005

New Problems!

Well, I experienced something that I have never before experienced the other day. I went out with some of my friends for a day of fun. We went ice skating, (should be called liquid skating with the amount of standing water on the ice) and then out to eat at TGI Friday's. Some of the menu items were the same as in N. America, but there were some different items as well. Many more rice and spicy dishes than in N.A.

Here's where it got weird. For the first time in my life, I could order anything I wanted off of the menu without even giving it a second thought. I didn't have my normal budget or price range to choose from without it being a special occasion where I'm treating myself. That is not a normal feeling. I could actually order anything that sounded good. Or could I?

My friends are university students and as we all know, have a limited cash flow. Now I felt a pressure not to order anything expensive ($23 a plate including tax and tip, shows what I think expensive is :-) for fear of making them feel uncomfortable. Wow, never saw that one coming! I was back to ordering a $6-10 item where I have spent my life. lol wow.

Well, they ordered a few main dishes and we split everything up. It was really good cause you got a small amount of several things, including ribs. Ohhh yum! I was full and the cost was about $8 total per person. Not bad, and the food was, well you know, Yaaaa!

Here's a clever marketing scheme for you. At TGIF and all of the restaurants like it, if it's someone's birthday, have the wait staff take a complimentary group picture with a digital camera and within 3-5 mins, come back with a small picture for each person in the group to go home with. How clever is that. Come on N. America! Get with the program!


*please note, all dollar amounts listed are in US dollars, greenbacks, plain old boring bills that every one in the world wants :-P no matter how ugly they may seem. Ha!

Monday, June 13, 2005


Here at Lila, I'm teaching over 700 students a week. Many many classes. Classes are 40 mins each and then the students have an 8 min recess. So, they have 7 recesses in 1 day. Mind you they are only 8 mins long, except for lunch, they get 40 mins. Now, the school has given me these wonderful little yellow stickers to give away to the kids. These stickers say, "English Best Speaker" on them and they draw the children like a light draws bugs.

The time designated for me to give these stickers out was lunch time. The problem was, I would have 20-30 kids lining up and coming in to get stickers. In order to get a sticker they have to speak to me in English. Most of them didn't really know anything, so it took some work to get them to answer some simple questions such as, "how old are you, what grade are you in, how are you" etc. They have since gotten much better.

I finally made an executive decision, no more stickers at lunch time. It was insane. I would get no break whatsoever. During the 8 min recesses, I get ready for the next class, so no rest there, and when you have 20-30 1st and 2nd graders clamoring for stickers at lunch time, ahhhhhhhhhhhhh!

Since I now only give out stickers during the 8 min recess times, I get far less students, but that's ok. It was crazy! Today though, the funniest thing happened.

I started sticking the stickers on the noses of the kids, I don't know, just because. It was funny, and the look of somewhat surprise on there faces was great. When I stuck the sticker on this one little girl's nose, (whose English is pretty good I might add) she started signing rudolf the red nosed rein deer in Korean as she skipped her way out of the class room. lol I only knew what she was signing because the tune is so recognizable. :-) It was too funny and cute.

Ok, well, it's time for me to go.

C ya

Monday, June 06, 2005

Gyeongbok Palace

The following pics are of my recent trip to a very important historical site for Seoul and Korea.

Gyeongbok Palace was built in 1395 by the founder of the Joseon Dynasty, King Taejo, one year after he moved the capital from Gaeseong to Seoul. It was the primary residence of the royal family.

The palace was destroyed by fire during the Japanese invasion of 1592, and it was finally restored in 1868, the 5th year of the reign of the Prince Regent Daewongun, after three years of hard work.

Except for a few buildings including Gyeonghoeru Pavilion and Geunjeongjeon Hall, many of the palace buildings were demolished during the Japanese occupation prior to WWII.

In 1990, the government launched another restoration project. Donggung (East Palace), Gangnyeongjeon Hall, and Heungnyemun Gate have now been restored, and many other buildings will be restored by 2009.

These buildings were restored in the traditional way. By that I mean, hand painted with paints made from flowers, etc. Obviously, this makes the restoration process take much longer, but I think it's so so much better. I would love to see what the rest of the restored Palace Grounds will look like, but 2009 is a long way off :-)


The throne room just inside the palace gates. Posted by Hello

The throne room. Posted by Hello

Nice throne room :-) Posted by Hello

Sorry it's blurry, but it's still worth posting. Posted by Hello

Wow. Simply incredible. Posted by Hello

Amazing! Posted by Hello

Another look at the inside of the throne room. Posted by Hello

Another shot of the ceiling. Posted by Hello

All of Seoul is surrounded by beautiful mountains :-) Posted by Hello

I believe this building was a meeting place for Dignitaries, both foreign and domestic to meet and discuss issues.  Posted by Hello

These little guys are on all of the buildings. Posted by Hello

This pavilion is an island for the King and his guests. Posted by Hello

Quite a nice place Posted by Hello