Life in the NORMAL Korea

I moved to Korea to teach English for a year. And yes, I love my parents. No, my parents did not do anything weird to me that forced me out of the country.

Friday, February 16, 2007


So I have been VERY busy. I had to write and direct a play for my kindergarten class. The play was "There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly." The play went fairly well, excpet for one of the kids who almost puked on stage. (He puked after the play in my class before lunch...he;s the THIRD kid this year to puke in my class!) Anyway, here are some pictures of my kids in their costumes: (oh, and notice how the kid who was supposed to be a spider is dressed as spiderman!)

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Winter School

Sorry it has been so very long, but it is winter school which means lots of classes. Plus, the school, in their infinite wisdom, though it would be a good idea to ADD classes during winter school. (And we still only have 7 teachers, 6 come March and we'll be on like an 8 and a half teacher schedule by then!)

Anyway, things have been pretty normal. My roommate, Carolina, moved out to go to her new job. While I am sad, this does mean that I have a bigger room AND my own bathroom, which makes me pretty happy. We have a substitute teacher who will stay until the end of Feb to fill in for Carolina. She's really nice and she speaks some Korean. She taught me how to find wheat bread here, so I'm pretty much thrilled with her.

The play has been going fairly welll (under the circumstances) but the principal is going to watch it on Thursday. This is good because then we have 2 weeks to fix anything that might be wrong with the play. This is also bad because none of us are really ready to show off the play. With my class, it's kind of a crap shoot....some days they are awesome and others (like today) they stare at me like they have no idea what's going on and fail to remember any of their lines. I've found they usually do better if I bribe them with these things called Wikki-Sticks that Amy gave me for Christmas. The kids love them and they're pretty much awesome. (Thank you Amy!)

I think I've gotten pretty used to being here in Korea. Like not really knowing everything that is going on. I've learned a few Korean words and I know enough to get around but to be honest I haven't really studied (mostly because I'm tired after work and it's hard for me to get motivated). I've found I don't really get phased by anything anymore. I'm lost? Oh well, I'll just grab a taxi home, they'll know where to go. I can't read the menu? Oh well, I'll just point or say the few Korean food words I know and eat whatever they give me. It's weird to be so mellow in a place where I don't know what's going on.

Oh, and according to my kindergarten class, I'm a princess.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

GOOD news.

My little new kindergarten student who cannot read is now exempt from the school play AND I get to give him private tutoring to catch him up in my class (and get paid for it, which is nice). What a relief!!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Pictures of some of my kids...

...And my job just got a little harder...

So when I came back from my very short winter break, I found out that one of my kindergarten students had moved to America. While I was sad because I liked the kid (he was cute) I was grateful because he was behind the other kids in the class. SO I was down to 10 kids, which is a good number (and all you American teachers don't get to complain about how small my class is...remember YOUR kids understand English and don't try to communicate using grunts and noises or "MY!" and pointing...). Well I got a surprise today. I have a new student. This kid is really cute (he calls capital letters "King Kong" letters) however, he was suspended from the school about 7 or 8 months ago for cursing too much. Now, kids have to be pretty much horrible and unbearable to get kicked out of our school (seriously, we joke that we could teach long as the parents's a downfall of a private school). And this kid's parents decided NOT to send him to another English school during this time. So he's forgotten pretty much all of his English (he can't read or write-at ALL) and I have to fit him into the play my kids are doing in Feb. I feel like I've been asked to do the impossible, especially since I can't give him extra tutoring during his gym and computer time since it's winter school time and I teach during those periods. Yikes. I'm worried.

As a side note: for all of you who feel like sending me a card, letter, or maybe some Reeses candy, my address is:

Carrie Winteregg
Millennium Plaza 5F
877 Sa Woo-Dong
Gimpo City, Gyunggi-Do
South Korea

Thursday, January 04, 2007

JD's visit

So I tried to post a blog earlier on kimchi-making, but I'm not sure if it went through. Hopefully, this one about JD's visit to Korea goes through.

JD was here for about 9 days for Christmas. He got to meet my kindergarten class at school. The kids liked him, I think, because he taught them how to play "heads-up 7up." "Santa" came to visit our class and give the kids presents. The kids weren;t allowed to open their presents at school though, which I think was kind of cruel. Anyway, that night JD came out to eat with all us teachers and the Korean adult students, which happens about once a month. We went to a grilled pork place. One of the adult students kept giving JD a hard time about the fact that he can't eat spicy food. It was pretty funny. After dinner, we went to one of the Korean singing rooms and JD got to see karoke Korean-style. They take their singing very seriously here.

The next day, on Saturday, we went to Insadong with Will, which is like an upscale market. We went shopping and then we went to Youngsan,where the electronics market is to look around. JD and I went to a French creperie for dinner. It ended up being really good (I took some of the other teachers there for dinner on New Year's Eve). On Sunday, JD and I went to Namdaemun in Seoul. Namdaemun is this really big open-air market where you can buy just about anything. It was really fun. There are always people standing on tables and yelling or random old women selling fish or vegetables. Then, we went to church for Chrismas Eve service. The service was good, except the youth group had decided to make a Christmas musical. It ended up being about a half-hour long in the middle of the service. It was...good for a youth group...but we all wanted it to stop about 10 minutes into the extragavanza. The 20s group sang in the service too, so it was fun to see some of my friends up there. After church, the 20s group had a party for Christmas in Brian's apartment (which is basically a beautiful, live-in 5 star hotel...maybe 4 stars...its pretty nice). We just hung out and did a scavenger hunt and it was fun to be with so many people on Christmas. On Christmas Day, JD and I opened presents and talked to my parents on the phone. For dinner, all the teachers at my school got together and Will made a big dinner for us (the rest of us helped a little).

After Christmas, I had to work for a few days, which stunk, but JD got to come to our work holiday party. My bosses ended up liking him alot (or at least maybe they thought they could convince him to come work here...). On Thursday and Friday after Christmas JD, Will and I went to Busan, which is the south-east coast of Korea. It was great taking a train through the country. It made me realize that Korea is basiacally a giant mountain range the size of Indiana. Our "beachtel" had a good view of the beach and was clean, so I was happy about that. We ran around the city and saw a ton of stuff (at least for a 24 hour period). We saw a Buddhist temple, a fortress, an aquarium, the beach, the area of town where all the goat restaurants are, Busan Tower , and some burial mounds. It was pretty sweet.

JD went home on Saturday. It was fun having him here. I realized how used to being in Korea I am now. JD kept asking me random quesiotns about customs or signs that I had just gotten used to doing or seeing. It was kind of funny watching him when we had to eat at restaurants where we sat on the floor and use chopsticks. I think I'm pretty comfortable with certain aspects of the lifestyle here (mostly food related).

If anyone else wants to come visit so I can show them Korea, let me know....

Monday, January 01, 2007


SO I know it's been awhile, but hey, I've been busy. Anyway, I wanted to write first about making kimchi, because it was really fun. For those of you who don't know, kimchi is a traditioanl Korean food eaten at pretty much every meal. It's a type of pickled cabbage. One of the Korean teachers at the school likes to "teach" the American teachers how to make kimchi once a year, mostly so she can use us as free labor. But she's awesome, so she's allowed to use us like that. Our kimchi making adventure began early on a Saturday morning. Yoon Teacher asked us to meet her behind a fruit market near the school to pick up the cabbage. This really meant that we had to wash caggabe that had been soaking in salt water out in the street. I don't know what was stranger, washing cabbage in the street in huge tubs (it was cold, so all of our hands were completelt numb) or the fact that none of the Koreans found it to be strange that four Americans were washing cabbage in the street. After the bath, we went to lunch for some Korean stew, then went to Yoon Teacher's aparatment to make the kimchi. At the apartment, we sliced giant radishes for about an hour or two, and I chopped about five pounds of spring onions (and I then smelled like onions for the rest of the day). We dumped the radishes in a huge tube (it came up to about my thigh) and Yoon Teachers started pouring in chili powder and other sauces and oils (I don't know what they all was fish oil...and there were tons of tiny dried prawns). Will, since he was the only male teacher there, had the responsiblity of mixing the radishes with his arms. When everything had finally been dumped in, we all sat on the floor with 50 heads of caggabe that had been chopped in half. We took the red radish mix and rubbed down each leaf of the cabbage and then put some of the stuff between each leaf. Then, we were supposed to fold the cabbage (this is waaaaay harder that it sounds) and we packed them away in Tupperware and big clay pots. The kimchi had to freeze for a week before we could eat it. The whole making process took about 8 hours. Fortunately, we got to take some of the kimchi we made home to eat later. By the end of the day, three of us (myself, Carolina, and Erin) were covered in goo.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Stand in

I just deleted a looong post by accident. It's been awhile since I've done this! Anyway, this is J.D. for now. I got here ok, Carrie found me, and I'm just posting a couple of pictures for the moment since I'm seething that I've lost all I've written. We'll be sure to write more and post more pictures in the coming days.

As far as the pictures go, one is taken from the footbridge near Carrie's apartment, one is her apartment buidling (it's the building on the left), one is inside the elevator in her apartment building, one is her outside of her door, and one is her inside the entryway (one word?) at the take-off-your-shoes place.