Friday, November 30, 2007


Goodbyes are always rough. I've been saying a few goodbyes lately. Not because I'm leaving, but because my students are leaving. Some have left to travel abroad and others have headed off to new academies.

Yesterday, one of my favorite students, Daisy, told me it was her last day. For a moment I thought she was just playing, but then she began to ask for her classmates phone numbers. Then she wrote down my name and asked for my handphone number. It was true, I was losing one of my brightest students. Class ended, but before she walked out the door, she handed me a small piece of paper cleverly folded. It read...

To. Ryan.
Hi I'm Daisy. I'm glad to be your student.
And also my favorite teacher.
Thaks for teaching me and bye!
By Daisy

It made me smile... and feel a little sad inside. It reminded me of my work at Tilikum. Waving goodbye to "my" kids as they went home on the buses. And don't get me wrong... I think I'm a manly man :)... but my eyes got a little teary during those times. Sometimes it was because I would miss those fun little kids, and other times, it was because I loved those kids and I knew they were headed back to tough family lives with constant put-downs, abuse, and loneliness.

I was recently talking with some friends and I said... "Oh yeah, my kids are great."
They teased me a little... "Your kids?"

They didn't seem to understand... if you teach children for a year... you read their stories, you listen to their words, you watch them interact with each other, you discipline them, you comfort them, you praise them... they in some way become yours.
All of them. Even the "bad" ones. And when they leave, you worry. How will they do? Will they be safe? Will someone new take care of them?

I wish I could skip ahead a few years and see how they're all doing.

Well, I've got two months left and then I too will have to say "Goodbye".

The time has passed so quickly.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Oregon Chai Tea Latte (a taste of home)

A wise young student once said this of Amelia Earhart... "she is an eminent scholar sufficient."

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Completely Complete the Sentence

El recently inspired me to create a questionaire. I gave the questionaire to some of my students. Here are their excellent and entertaining answers (spelling mistakes and misunderstandings included).

I wish:
  • I was a king
  • I'm Bill Gates
  • I will become a vet
  • I was President
  • I am very pretty girl
  • rocket
  • I can play violin very well
  • buy the books
  • get smell T.V.
  • my family will live lot
  • I am pretty, and I'm a popularity girl

Everyone has a:
  • name
  • good mind
  • brain
  • eyes
  • money
  • book
  • life
  • face
  • coat
  • feeling
  • special pawer

I'm annoyed by:
  • my school master
  • my dog
  • my mom
  • my sister
  • my friend
  • my homework
  • my brother
  • my school six grade (girl)
  • Choe Ha Young

I annoy people by:
  • my brother
  • princess sickness
  • my strenght
  • skin
  • my sister
  • my brother
  • friend
  • hit people
  • hit and run

The silliest thing I've ever done:
  • played mom's lipstick
  • dance for everyone
  • is making my face and voice
  • I watch TV
  • NO
  • have cold
  • vocal mimicry
  • is makeing funny face

I start laughing when:
  • with my brother
  • I was a baby
  • seeing 무한도전 (this TV show translates to "Ultimate Challenge" and is one of my favorite Korean shows - Ryan)
  • five years age
  • watch comedy show
  • my mother kiss me
  • baby
  • I am happy
  • my friend laughing
  • my friend say joke
  • watch Rebecca

If I could only eat one food for the rest of my life, I'd eat:
  • pizza
  • bean paste pot stew
  • fruit
  • water
  • ice-cream
  • Korean kimchi
  • noddle
  • pizza and chicken and my mom's cooking

I would rather be bald than:
  • I will wear a wig
  • I will by wig
  • curly hair
  • I go to hospital
  • I wear a hat
  • I'd buy wig

If I had tea with the Queen of England, we would talk about:
  • queen
  • england history of soccer
  • queen's pets
  • treasure
  • korea
  • mac
  • King
  • music of classic
  • korean
  • how can you do queen
  • a consitutional monarch
  • princess

When I'm angry I:
  • shout
  • shout or hit or still nothing
  • kick
  • my brother annoy me
  • hit my bed
  • crazy
  • fight
  • am crazy
  • sleep in my bed
  • kick ball

The best way to eat a cockroach is:
  • make juice
  • good
  • eat and bomit and give to my dog
  • ice-cream
  • fry by oil
  • boil and eat and eat digester
  • eat and vomit

I escaped from the alien spaceship by:
  • my power and knowledge
  • spacecraft
  • kill by laser beam
  • beg
  • ship
  • my leg
  • ride parachute
  • rocket

I always seem to be missing my:
  • eraser
  • cellphone
  • pencil
  • handphon
  • friend
  • books
  • watch
  • comporsure

My most treasured possession:
  • is my family
  • my gold ring
  • music box and diary
  • food
  • handphon
  • is me
  • is nintendo
  • my dog

A place I'd never want to go:
  • in excrement
  • North Korea
  • boy's bathroom
  • hell me
  • park
  • America
  • Jail
  • is people's body!
  • desert

I love it when:
  • It's snowing
  • I listening my music box music
  • I young
  • now
  • I feel good
  • I'm sleeping

If I was ever in the same room with a dinosaur, I'd:
  • catch dinosaur
  • rest lay dinosaur
  • play with a dinosaur
  • pteranadone fly
  • talk about past
  • kill dinosaur
  • see infinity challange together
  • pursue and trash

I tell secrets to:
  • my best friend
  • I'm
  • my doll
  • my diary
  • I'm strong
  • my friends
  • nobody
  • tall
  • my family

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Naughty Heedley and the Crazy Sound

Above text reads:
wants so
to have my
with his tea.

(What the... An eyeball with his tea??? Who makes these things???)

Above text reads:
Crazy sound
Dang Dang Dang!!
It's 5 o'clock.
My sister wake up.
I'm sleep.
What that sound? It's bug?
I'm scard.
So I can't sleep. I'm tird.
I don't like crazy sound.

(I don't like crazy bug sounds either. This little girl tells it like it is.)

Above text reads:
Today, I go to opischool. It's have very many things. I think my aunt's marry. So I give present for my aunt. I want clock. 7000won. Rat! (My 1 mount's pocket money is 6000 won) So, I think, my money 3500won + Brother's money 3500 won = 7000 won.
I have hope!

(Hmmm... I have to wonder if her brother knows about this plan... )

Outdoor exercise equipment is everywhere. I also found this cool foot therapy path.

Above text reads:
I was awarded a prize at school.
I was awarded a rubber power-driven machinery prize.
I was praised to teacher.
Mother gave pocket money.

(That sounds like a sweet prize!!!)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Amusing Observations

"What did you do this weekend?"
"Secret computer."
"What's secret computer?"
"It's when mom goes out and you go into the room and play computer games!"

"Would you rather kiss a bear or an alligator?"
"A bear... a teddy bear!"
(smart girl)

"Teacher, teacher.... event?!?"
She then reached over and turned the lights on and off.

My student Rachel, "Teacher, can you come to Everland with me? I told my mom...(searching for a word in her electronic dictionary)... I told my mom I respect you and she said she would pay for your ticket and all the girls in the class, but not the boys."

I went shopping for some jeans. I walked into the store and greeted the two women working there. Then I started browsing... suddenly, I realized one of the women was following me. I walked from wall to wall and she was always a few steps behind me. At first I was embarrassed. Then I realized it was normal, and I laughed to myself.

Then I started asking her... "Do you think this is good? Will this fit me?" She would point out the size, if she thought I couldn't find it. Good thing I've got one of the two Korean number systems down. Finally, she directed me to the fitting room. When I came out, she was waiting for me. I had to chuckle inside. I bought the pants... so she did her job well.

I suppose I could have gotten upset... angry that she wouldn't let me just look around, but it seems that being able to laugh at yourself and strange situations often makes it okay. It's part of adjusting to another culture I think.

I went to my favorite "Isaac's Toast" shop. I ate the classic "Ham Cheese". Then Mrs. Lee and Regina pulled out a little gas stove and started cooking some "kimchi chige". They invited me to stay and eat lunch with them. It was "meshisaio"(delicious). I really needed a home cooked meal. They were impressed by my chopstick skills.

I thought it was cool. Never in America would a shop owner invite you to stay for a home cooked meal.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Thoughts that Fall like Leaves

I always put kids' journal entries on here... I thought I'd put one of mine for a change...

I sit on a wooden platform with my shoes off, Korean style. I watch an old man kick through the leaves. He stumbles and stops... looking back, searching for his attacker... a cement ledge hidden by the very leaves he was kicking.

He prods the enemy with the toe of his shoe before moving toward me. He sits on the bench behind me and speaks several times, then laughs. I can only catch a few words. I just smile, and we sit together in silence.

It's a strange scene I look upon... towering apartments with vibrant Fall colored trees in the foreground. The sound of buses mingles with the sound of children playing. The old man speaks again. Then clears his throat and spits.

I look down at my notes and at the Bible sitting on my lap. For a moment, I am filled with peace. I suddenly think, I want understanding and faith like Enoch. I want to walk with God and be no more (Genesis 5:24).

The stillness and my thoughts are broken by the boom of a military jet flying overhead. The old man stands up... he slowly walks away. I put my shoes on, and I get on with life.

by Ryan

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

A Few more Pictures from the Day on the Mountain

This is a nice snack. These little creatures are boiled... and then you suck them out of their shell. They taste sort of like clam or oyster. Not bad at all. Better than the silk worm larva in my opinion.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Climbing a mountain and Censorship

This Saturday I climbed a mountain.

I also learned that Korea is apparently censoring access to any blogspot sites. I can post to my blog, but I can't view it or anyone else's. From what I can dig up, it's supposedly because of the upcoming presidential elections here. Pretty crazy if you ask me. But to the techno savy, there is always a way...

Here are some fun pics from the mountain, the bookstore, and a concert in the subway...