Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Today I started saying some of my first "goodbyes". Some students are starting school so they have finished our winter hogwan early. They will be back in a couple weeks for the spring session.

I also said goodbye to some of my Monday - Wednesday classes. Many of them were shocked to learn I wouldn't be coming back. "Why?" some of them asked with frowns on their faces.

I don't like saying goodbye. There is an awkwardness. A sudden silence. A feeling of not knowing what to do or say. I may never see these children again, but it's hard to understand that. Some of them I have seen almost daily for over a year.

And there are so many great memories. Funny things said. Funny things done. Kids my heart has cried for. Trouble kids who taught me about myself. New growth as a person. New knowledge. I feel I have experienced a lifetime in just a year.

I am sad that I must leave. And at the same time, I am excited to be moving onward.

I plan to return to the states for a month. To rest. To catch up. To take care of some of the little things. Then it's back to Korea for at least one more year. I'd like to work in or closer to Seoul. I'd like to try a few new teaching ideas. But that is all in the future and is still uncertain.

This will probably be my last post from Korea at this time. The next few days are going to fly... I have packing, teaching, shopping, goodbyes, money transferring, and a job interview.

I leave here February 3rd. I've already located the nearest airport bus stop.

I'm eager to make some homemade cookies and eat german pancakes (hint hint to my mom).
I'm eager to visit family and friends.
I'm eager to catch up on all the movies I've missed.
I'm eager to drive again.
I'm eager to walk on carpet.
I'm eager to share my stories and show my pictures.
I'm eager to see what sort of reverse culture shock I experience.

So until I see you again... this is Goodbye.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Photographer, Teacher, Chef, and Cowboy

It's been a busy week. Final tests... grading diaries and essays... speech presentations... book reports... student evaluations... creating new lesson plans for whoever follows me... saying some good byes... and much more... here it is all at once.

I spent this week being a chef... each class put together some recipes and then we actually made them. Some classes were wimps... and we made "Ramyeon" (noodles). Other classes were brave and we made kimbab, sandwiches, and even burritos. It was fun. I was told my cooking skills will make my future wife happy.

These girls were throwing rocks into a frozen lake in an attempt to break the ice. They needed bigger rocks or more muscle...

Joanne needed some more magic hair photos to record the awesomeness of the straight hair. I practiced my portrait photography.

I caught and broke this wild bronco before it could injure any children or old people.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

A few characters in my life story...

These two are in my youngest class. We're learning the alphabet, days of the week, and months together. Today this involved me running around the room hitting them with a balloon while they shouted out the days of the week.

She writes with both her left and right hands, but prefers the left for drawing. She once gave me a frog egg as a gift. Her birthday is in December like mine. I think I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for her.

This is Dain... He's an excellent student. Sometimes, when he wants to answer a question and I'm not calling on him, he'll say, "My name is Dain." It cracks me up every time. He insisted on the "study pose" for his picture. Great kid, he'll probably be president or something someday.

This is the famous artist and humorist Harry from a previous post. I asked him to pose with the tool of his trade. I think this represents his personality quite well.

Another young artist. Speaks perfect English when I coax it out of her... the rest of the time she draws in her school books... mostly cats and princesses.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

In the days before there was color...

Faces of Stephanie

Cindy's amazing outfit

Two of the secretaries that make sure things get done.

Just making sure my remote still works...