Monday, August 31, 2009

Events for September

September starts tomorrow and it means that we can start saying goodbye to summer as cooler winds push in. But it also means that we can say hello to my birthday which will happen later in the month and also some great festivals and events to look forward to.

Here for you is my pick of events that I would like to go to in September. I found these off a Korean tourist website.

  1. Andong International Maskdance Festival
  • Event Dates: September 25, 2009 - October 04, 2009
    • Place: Maskdance Park, Hahoe Folk village , Gyeongsangbuk-do
    • Why Go?: Hanji paper, Traditional embroidery, World Mask exhibition, Mask dances
    Since this will take place during the Chuseok holiday (October 2nd - October 5th) I may go at this time. More information here.
2. 2009 Cheongju International Craft Biennial
  • Event Dates: September 23, 2009 - November 01, 2009
  • Place: Korean Craft Museum, 755 Sajik1-dong, Chungcheongbuk-do
  • Why go?: The theme for the exhibit is to think "outside the box" which is an interesting task for something like crafts. There will be a lot of hands on activities here for making traditinal crafts.
Looks like an overall interesting exhibit and one to look forward to since you can do a lot of hands on things. Whether it is worth traveling to I don't know yet. Their website seems to be still under development.

3. KIAF 2009 (2009 Korea International Art Fair)

  • Event Dates: September 18, 2009 - September 22, 2009
  • Place: Hall C & D, COEX Center, Samseong-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
  • Why go?: I went last year to this event and it was a breath of fresh air. Meaning you will be blown away by the amount of contemporary Asian art on display. There will be performances and lectures so it certainly is an opportunity for those to brush up on the contemporary Asian art scene.
Go here for more information.

4. The Sound of Silence
  • Event Dates: September 04, 2009 - September 20, 2009
  • Place: M Theater, Sejong Center for the Performing Arts, Seoul
  • Time: September 4 (Tuesday)~20 (Sunday)
    Weekdays at 19:30 /
    Saturday at 15:00. 19:00 /
    Sunday at 16:00 /
    No performance on Monday
  • Why Go?: "The musical depicts the tragedy of lost love. The Sound of Silence, after completing the performance in Korea and Japan in 2009, plans to go to China in 2010 and then London, signaling a new era of Asian musicals."
I thought I would throw this into the mix considering that it looks like something different from usual. This is a ticket entry event so you probably have to buy them in advance. Check out the website for more details.

Those are the events and exhibitions that I have found noteworthy for September. Whether or not I will get out to all of them we will see. But certainly it seems there is always something going on somewhere in Korea.

Do you have any suggestions for September? I saw a lot more out there so what would your picks be?

Friday, August 28, 2009


Since I have been open about the stuff that has been going on at my school I want to share with you the answers or reasons I got for not being rehired at my current school.

It was bothering me today and I felt like I really needed to find out why and so I knew we had some open time in the afternoon. I asked my coteacher directly to give me a list of reasons why I wasn't rehired. To tell me what was said at the meeting to come to their conclusion.

With some hesitation she agreed to tell me.

First she pulled up the document on her computer that she wrote about my evaluation. She told me that she used this to show the other people at the meeting and that based on her evaluations they made their final decision.

She then went on to tell me the points she talked about in her evaluation. Here they are:
  • Words (this is exactly what she said)
  • Character
  • Attitude to improve self
  • Attitude with other teachers
  • Working behavior
  • Time
  • Positiveness
  • Making some materials
  • Teaching purpose / method
  • Enthusiasm
  • Understanding students
  • Free time (not class time)
  • Responsibility
  • Independence
After telling me these points she went on to tell me what it was she said in the document that needed the most attention from me. Here now for you are those points in all open honesty. And this will be what I need to work on before walking into my next job.
  • Control your mind (personal problems)
  • Anger (emotion)
  • Good thing = I like children
  • Self-control ("We have to be calm during teaching can't control yourself.")
  • Relationship with Korean teachers (didn't look at their face, disregarded them)
  • Manners are very important when facing somebody
  • 80% Native teacher should do, be main character
  • More communicative with KT when holding class
  • Participate in prepare materials and putting them back
  • Students could detect my mood
I guess that is a slightly short list. Afterwards we discussed everything and what had happened while I was here. We came to the conclusion that everything was broken for us and it was really difficult to repair it. I made sure that I explained to her the situation she walked into when she replaced my other coteacher. And also tell her that I agreed with her ideals of how to teach. We also concluded that there were a lot of cultural misunderstandings but that it will be important for me to follow them when I move on to my next job. All in all, it was good to talk about it and I now have an understanding of precisely what a Korean coteacher desires in their Native Teacher.

Truthfully though this shows what I need to work on as a professional person in the workplace.

But I really hope this shows future English teachers what kind of values you will be facing when working here and that, of course, they take it seriously.

Sigh... feels better to get that over with, yet at the same time was a bit of a wake up call. However, this is probably the kind of wake up call one needs before entering another teaching job in Korea.

Elementary vs. High School

Calling all public school teachers out there (in Korea). I am considering making the switch from Elementary school to High School.

But I have always had a fear of teenagers and their mean looks so I don't know. The reason why I am interested in High School is because I am under the impression that you are given a clean slate to design your own curriculum and do whatever you want. Also I would think you don't have to be a "edutainer" or entertainer all the time as you are with little kids. But I love the little kids so I don't know if I will miss them at the high school.

So for you folks I have a set of questions that could use some answering.
  • Are there any differences in teaching High School and Elementary?
  • What is the coteaching like?
  • What are the expectations like?
  • What was your High School teaching experience like?
  • Anything that could help!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

SMOE Teachers Axed

A lot of crap recently went down with 100 SMOE (Seoul public school) teachers being axed before coming here. Due to SMOE overbooking.

I just wanted to add my two cents here on my blog in response to Brian's posts.

I too agree that public school work is still better than hagwon work. Yes they screwed up this time. But those who did get through and work at the school's will still have more job security than at a hagwon.

I too work with GEPIK and am now working on finding a new school within the system. I think if you go the route of not putting yourself on the lottery system, which is SMOE and look for a school yourself then you have a better shot of getting off on the right foot.

In my opinion I don't think SMOE will make this mistake again. I think they have learned from this. Also I believe they are probably working on rearranging and reforming the program to fit the flux of new candidates due to the high unemployment rate in America.

I would advise those who plan on going with SMOE for the Spring term to have a 2nd or 3rd option on the table and work with recruiters who speak honestly with you. Talk to them about this situation and what their plan would be if it were to take place again.

And if you do get screwed and were planning on coming out here could come on a tourist visa and find a job here in person. You could live up to 90 days on a tourist visa.

All in all, any person thinking of coming to Korea should realize and accept the fact the workforce functions differently out here and unexpected things happen all the time. And most of it doesn't make sense and most of it doesn't reflect what is written in a contract.

Tourist Visa

Here's the deal, if I do not obtain a job that starts in November then I will have a certain time period after my E2 Visa expires to find a way to stay in Korea.

I figured that I will leave Korea and stay a few days in Japan and come back on a tourist visa. Right now I am doing research as to whether or not I have to get a special "tourist" visa when I am abroad before coming back into Korea. Or if I can just come back into Korea and have my passport stamped stating something that I have 30 days to be here. After getting that I am under the assumption I can go to the immigration office and get an extension for 90 days. Since I don't want to find out about all this at the last minute, I am doing my research now.

From the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Website:
1. Visitors who plan to stay in Korea for longer than 90 days must obtain visas before entering Korea.
2. Nationals of those countries with which Korea has signed a visa waiver agreement can enter without visas, on the condition that they do not engage in remunerative activities during their stay.
Nationals of Countries allowed for visa-free entry
United States (90 days)
Nationals of the above countries are allowed up to 30 days of visa-free sojourn for tourism or visitation
- Exceptions: Canada is allowed up to 6 months, and United States, Australia, Hong Kong, Macau, Slovenia and Japan are allowed up to 90 days.
Okay so what this is telling me is that I can enter the country "Visa free" meaning no extra stamp in my passport and live here for 90 days as a "tourist".

Hmmm Let's go to the Korean Immigration website since ultimately it is them who I will be dealing with. I remember going through this last year when I was leaving the hagwon, but I know these things change over time so I want to be sure I know what to do this time.

The section for tourists lists the visa type and it's conditions.
    • Foreigner who enters Korea without visa for the purpose of tourism or transit

Those that fall in the following categories will be allowed to enter Korea without a visa.
Countries under visa waiver agreements
Designated visa-free entry
Re-entry Permit holders

Nationals of visa waiver countries can enter Korea without a visa as long as the purpose of their visit is tourism or temporary visit. If they want to engage in profitable activities such as employment, they must apply for a Korean visa suitable for their purpose.
It basically continues with the same stuff from the Ministry website. So I feel like I haven't really confirmed whether I can just leave the country and come back without any "tourist" visa in my passport. But since it says "Visa-free" I guess that is what it means.

Oh Korea Sparkling confirms this by stating:
Any foreign visitors wishing to enter the Republic of Korea must have a valid passport and obtain a Korean visa before coming. However, people of 99 countries who want to visit Korea temporarily are permitted to enter without a visa according to visa-exemption agreements (Table 1), or in accordance with principles reciprocity or national interest (Table 2).

A google search is necessary to make sure there isn't any hidden agenda I don't know about. I came upon this from EFL-Law Korea website.

If you are entering Korea on a tourist visa, you must have a round trip ticket. You will not be allowed to board the plane to Korea, or enter the country, if you do not have a round trip ticket.

There is no paperwork necessary to obtain a tourist visa. As long as you have a valid passport with at least 6 months before expiration date, and a round trip ticket, you will be given a single entry 3 or 6 month tourist visa once you enter Korea.

I'll need a round trip air ticket?? hrmm Ok so the Korea Sparkling website continues to say that:

Visitors from countries not under Visa Exemption Agreements must apply for a visa extension if planning to stay for more than 30 days. Depending on the situation of the consulate, the visa extension will be issued 1 to 3 days from the day of application. Applicants require a completed application form, a recent passport-sized colour photo and the application fee. Visitors do not require the outbound flight ticket. Visa extensions are usually for 90 days.
After thumbing around on these websites with all their official jargon I couldn't find the exact answer I was looking for. But my google search came up with "Ask the Expat's" answer I will have to assume his procedure is correct.

I don't see any problem with this except for the fact that tourist visas are issued only with proof of through travel or a departing ticket. In most cases, you will not be issued a tourist visa without your departing ticket. That's easy to get around though. All you need to do is buy a refundable ticket to show to immigration. Once you're through customs and legally back in the country on a tourist visa, all you'll need to do is cancel the ticket and you're gold. There shouldn't be any problems if you follow those simple steps.

So I just need to purchase a ticket to somewhere out of the country that I know will be refundable and show it to the immigration services when I enter the country. Sounds pretty reasonable to me. Just another thing to put on my "To-do" list for getting through this whole ordeal.

I am sure some of you probably knew the answer all along but I bet there are a few out there that have no clue what to do if faced with this situation, so I hope this post will be helpful to those in the future.

If you have direct experience with entering without a visa from a visa free country then let me know how it went. If you have any other suggestions for taking care of this one small detail lemme know too.

OR should I get a C-3 Visa....which I think must be obtained at a Korean Consulate abroad. ><>If you are going to be in Korea less than 90 days then you should apply for the C-3 short-term visa. This visa is generally called a tourist visa or a visiting visa. Students who are planning to study at KLI for only one term (10 weeks) may apply for the C-3 visa. This visa is good for 3 months and can be issued immediately upon application at either a Korean Embassy or a Consulate office.

Economy Sized

Just now some students handed me an economy sized hand sanitizer bottle. It is pretty big, and not your tiny little bottle type. They said it is meant for our classroom.

Apparantly all the classrooms are getting one. I guess the H1N1 scare has finally made school's realize it's time to take care of their cleaning habits.

Ah well I'm glad to see it and hope this keeps up even after the virus goes away, if it does.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Olympic Park (Revisit)

If you check back in my log of posts for 2008 you will find that around this time I went to Olympic Park. That was just about the same time as the sh*t started to hit the fan at the hagwon and I was in a heap of trouble.

Thankfully, since then life has panned out more smoothly with a few rough patches along the way. So it was that I asked JH to take me to Olympic park last Sunday so that I could make some new memories at the park.

Before we went into the park we stopped at an "Asian" themed restaurant in Jamsil called "Oriental Spoon." Ironically enough it was the same restaurant I went to the last time I went to Olympic Park.

We ordered spring rolls as appetizers and noodle dishes as our main meal. But I only got a shot of the rolls.
It was a really hot day Sunday, the kind of hot that is sultry and punishing. Yet we trucked on anyways wanting to spend some good time in the park.

Korea's National Flower: 무궁화 or Hibiscus syriacus
And in doing a google search on this flower I came upon this entry in someone else's blog:

My Korean teacher last night told me, “The spirit of the Korean people is like the national flower…”

“mugung” means “forever/eternity” and “hwa” is the chinese character for flower…

The Korean people have lasted, survived – the flowers survive for a long time, blossoming in early summer and staying in bloom through to almost November.

My Korean teacher also said, “The Japanese national flower is the ’sakura’ – or the ‘cherry blossom’. Every cherry bud blooms in one week, and then all falls to the grown the next. This is the spirit of the Japanese people.”

If you look closely in this picture you can see an older gentlemen asleep on the bench.
Since it was a hot day one needed a cold drink, and thankfully there were some vending machines along the walkway.

Olympic Park is home to many outdoor sculptures, some of which convey a sense of humor and wit although speak to something more serious.

We stopped for a rest in a playground section of the park. It was fun to watch kids run around and see old men playing an Asian version of chess.

We came upon the World Peace Gate and bought some ice-cream at a nearby mini-mart.
After finishing our ice-cream we headed back to the car and decided to come back to the park in the fall, when the weather will be slightly more cool. I would like to come back and walk around the whole park so to get a feel for everything it has to offer.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Podcast in iTunes

That podcast I made is available in iTunes now and is for free. Just follow this link and it will help you get it.

My first episode is just a very short thing that highlights my trip to Samcheondong last week. I use some sound recordings I took while there. I also recite some zen poetry.

I desire to make more podcasts that will highlight interviews with other expats. I hope it will become a regular thing but of course one needs time and patience to do it.

Wise Advice

One of my relatives reads my blog. I usually get their comments via email, and their responses are typically very insightful. Since this person is an older figure in my life I respect what they say a lot.

Hopefully, even though I am not getting permission first (thinking it will be okay) I am going to publish pieces from their recent email.

I think it is important to share the conversations that I have with my relatives to show how living abroad touches one's family. Sometimes, even though, our family can be very supporting you get questions relating to what you are doing out in Korea and how long do you plan on doing it. With the world economy and especially America's unemployment rate the future of young folks (like myself) is unstable. So I can understand their concern.

Here for you reflects this kind of concern that travels across the digital waves.

Something you recently posted has been gnawing at me. It seems you have no idea why your contract was not renewed. Since graduation, you've had three jobs. You were, apparently, very successful at the insurance agency (but bored out of your gourd). Your teaching experiences have been far less successful, yet you're seeking another teaching position.
It is true. Why would I be continuing in this profession if it seems I keep on complaining about it and saying how difficult it is? The answer is that I view teaching in Korea like a layered cake.
  • One layer = Teaching the kids
  • Second layer = Working with Korean coteachers/coworkers.
  • Third layer = Life outside the classroom.
I enjoy all of those except the second layer, because it is the most difficult to understand and tolerate. But I haven't been booted out of the country so I guess I am still given a chance to get it right.

I majored in Art History and it has been thought that I should break off from teaching and get back into this profession. However, as much as I love art and its history I find it very difficult to start pursuing this career. This is because I would need a Master's or Doctorate degree plus years of experience behind me. From my perspective I am living my passion for the subject by residing in Asia. In fact another relative also speaks this concern via email...
I just wonder where your passion for Asian Art and painting (creating art) fits into your career outlook/plans.
Where does teaching English to foreigners rank in your passions or all of this?
As you didn't want to take Ed courses in college when I made that suggestion it appeared that you really didnt' want to teach for a lving
and so its seemed to me that teaching was just a means to an end so that you could experience living in Asia.
But to blame Korea for my inability to be rehired back at this school is really not proper. I should look at myself and the choices I have made. I am pursuing a 3rd job here in Korea and I will probably not be able to use the excuse of "I am new here" at the new job.

If your rejection by two schools still puzzles you, please try to understand now how to improve your future career, and act on what you learn. Don't reinforce by repetition, habits of behavior that undermine you. Try to adapt.
One of my favorite aspects of sharing my blog with my relatives is getting their tidbits of wisdom. I strongly want to walk into my next job and start it off on the right foot. My habits of being paranoid and keeping to myself will have to go away. Of course I believe it is a two-way street and I will have to learn what my new coteacher / coworkers will want from me or will give to me.

Joy, I want you to find a comfortable niche somewhere in this world... perhaps in Korea, perhaps in the USA. I don't know you well enough to suggest specific career (or other) objectives, but all of us need feedback when we're not functioning at the level we expect and hope for ourselves. Be courageous enough to open yourself to a little hurt by listening to such info.
Thank you! hehe The bottom line is that if I am to really figure what went wrong at my current school I will need to ask my coteacher. I want to do this but it is like walking into a room full of mirrors. Maybe I will have enough courage when my end date draws closer.

So what wise advice have you gotten throughout life? Especially for living abroad? I am also curious if there have been any novels or non-fiction you have read that were inspiring during your time abroad.

It Will Take Over

Something is coming to Korea that will take over their population. Perhaps most of their young male population.

Two words: Starcraft II

If you live here and watch Korean TV then you know how obsessed these kids and adults can be over this game. Since there is a new one coming out I can't help but imagine the grip it will have over this culture.

Looks something like this:

Monday, August 24, 2009

Random Trip to Wonju

Being back at school seemed to go pretty smoothly. My coteacher is no where to be seen so I guess she is still on vacation. School doesn't officially start till Wednesday but till then I am teaching the Advanced class in the morning.

Last Saturday JH and I had nothing planned until he got a call from his boss saying he had to go out to Wonju to take care of a problem with a client. One of his clients is at the Oak Valley Resort and was having problems with some tiles they ordered. This place is famous for its ski resort in the winter and golfing resort in the summer. I had never been to Wonju so I hopped along for the ride.

What should have taken us about an hour and a half to get there took three hours due to traffic. Once we got there I dropped off JH at the construction site and then went exploring on my own to see what this glorious place was all about.
Indeed it was very beautiful and full of splendor. The condo building felt like a real hotel unlike the dingy typical love-hotels you find around Seoul. I walked around and found a banquet hall empty. It had the feeling of an eerily open space, but also had a nice interior, for which I am sure guests enjoy sharing meals together.
The place was huge and was spread out over many areas, all of which were surrounded by sparkling green golf pastures. The only experiences I have with golf are putt-putt, and I don't even know if you can call that a "golfing experience." If I were a serious golfer I would consider this place as a good way to get real life practice down. The typical situation for golfing in Seoul and major cities seems to be artificial practice. Basically you have a building in which a huge net comes out from one side and you can hit a ball far off into the net. If you see large green nets next to a building you know it is for practicing golf.
But here you don't need a net to catch your ball. Sometimes you hear about how Korea is experiencing a drought, well I wonder where these guys are getting all their water.

As a reward for trekking out there with JH we ate at a Galbi place nearby. This was the type of galbi that was not soaked in sauce. It was a delicious meal and we enjoyed it fully.

We started to make our way home but as we did so we passed over a river. Instantly we knew we had to stop and spend some time admiring this natural beauty.

I would like to come back to Wonju to swim in the river and enjoy the scenery. It was a great random trip and another place I can say I have been to in Korea.

Sunday, August 23, 2009


It's the night before going back to work, from which seems like a long vacation. I last went to school back in June 24th, so it has been a whole month now.

Since then I have had time to reflect on my life here in Korea and my position as an English teacher. I have also spent time wondering and trying to figure out who it was that attended that meeting and why they concluded not to keep me for a second year. But as much as I try to wrap my brain around it I get no where. So I have decided to just let it go. Holding a grudge or trying desperately to figure it out will not get me far. I basically have decided that it was probably the Principal's decision and everyone else went along with it.

My coteacher has already given one recruiter a good recommendation, so I know that I am not screwed.

Therefore, I have just two more months left at this school. This has been my mantra lately. When I look at the bugs crawling around my bathroom wall I just think to myself, "two months" and you don't have to worry about them anymore. When I hear the beeping and restaurant music outside I just think, "two months" and something else will replace it.

And it also comes down to the kids. Who, unless my coteacher called their houses and told them, don't know I am leaving in two months. This is going to be the most heartbreaking. I have grown to love and get to know practically all 360 or so kids at my school. The ones I spend the most time with I know will break my heart when I see their reaction.

When I think about the kids I can't help but feel sorry for them. For it is these youngsters that have had to put up with going to a school that gets little funding. Their soccer field is merely a long patch of dirt. The Principal spent a good sum of money upgrading his office, while they sat freezing in the classroom during the winter. The kids are the ones, I feel, who are benefiting the least from a school environment that doesn't really care about them. It is not that I want to go on a crusade and fix Korea. Rather I don't want to add to these kids troubles. But now I am doing that, I feel, by leaving them. Yet, they are kids and they will forget about me in time.

Through all this I try to tell myself to be positive and optimistic. The school has already made their decision and what has been done is done. I want to go back in there and just be myself and teach for the kids. Not to please the coteacher or Principal, but to give the kids a fun time.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Let it All Out

Well I haven't had too many responses to my first podcast yet. I know what I composed was a little bit esoteric.

Moving on..

I recently spent some time in COEX and was at the Bandi bookstore. Whenever you go into the English part of a bookstore here in Korea you sometimes find yourself around people who are hunting down English speakers. In some cases you can spot these individuals and stay clear of them. But if you were like me and was engulfed in the Korean culture section then you were not on alert.

So as I was passing by the bookshelves a man said hello to me. I said "Hi" back but kept on walking. I didn't know if he was out to stalk me for an English lesson or what. Then he followed me, and I turned around to face him. In which case he introduced himself and asked about me. I am sure this all sounds like a very normal and congenial situation. But this guy was kind of odd and a little creepy. He wasn't Korean, but Asian American and apparently has been living in Korea for quite some time.

He told me how he works at a University. But the interesting part got to when he started ranting on about how new English teachers know nothing of the trade. He had a Master's in TESOL and other fancy titles behind him so he was, I guess, okay to talk as if he knew something.

I went along with it and let the guy get out what he needed to say, chiming in here and there with my tidbits of knowledge. His biggest complaint was the Korean education system and that it doesn't favor "Multiple Intelligence" learning. I agreed with him but he still felt it necessary to remind me over and over.

I tried to tell him that in some small way Korean education is changing but we probably won't see the full impact till later on. He still seemed skeptical. It was like a real live Dave's Esl forum gone wrong.

Finally, a pause came in the conversation and it seemed he had finished everything he had to say. I seized this opportunity to tell him I was meeting a friend and so got out of it.

I still wonder if he is in the bookstore looking for an English speaking person to spill his thoughts on to. I kind of hope that this guy has a handful of friends that he can talk to instead of bothering complete strangers. But in this country I think you end up doing what you think works and you go along with it.

As for me I do hope Korean education evolves more and allows for different types of learning, besides just rote memorization. We will see.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Tea Time with Joy Pilot Episode

Ok I am not sure how this works but click here to go to a website where you can download my podcast.

Basically I am trying to create my own podcasts and get them up on iTunes. I am very new to all this so if you have tips let me know. I am reading a lot of "how-to" on websites, so we will see if it all works out.

If you do get to hear my podcast I hope you enjoy it.

;) Or try this...

If you play this in iTunes be sure to turn on the "picture" viewing option. I made it so that you see a different picture as the podcast plays. This option is in the bottom left tab set and you click on the tab with the box that has a downward pointing triangle. A box should open up in the application showing my pictures.

Notes on the Subway

So I carry around an iPod touch with me and it has the application of "notes". When you are riding the subway out here you can't help but have time to think while you wait till your stop comes. Occasionally, instead of just letting my thoughts drift away, I type them into my iPod.

Today I will share with you what I typed up yesterday while taking the subway into Gangnam.

Back in Korea chatter. Was just thinking how Korean society is meant for them. My analogy is that American society is like a one-size fit all. Korean society is meant for them. But that doesn't mean we can't try it on or make it fit. But in the end it will always be something we are trying to fit into or feel like we aren't.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Last Tidbit of my Vacation

Ah quarantine contemplation times. Trust me I haven't stuck to staying in my house, just not walking past my school. Vacation was good and I hope I did enough out there in America Land. Now of course I miss the tree that was outside my window and the deep blue California sky.

But having a few days off before going back to work is nice as well. Kind of helping get back into the groove of Korean life.

So to finish off my posts about my vacation I will just share the last few pics I took before I came back.

Crossing the Bay Bridge

San Francisco on a clear day.

Asian Art Museum. They were holding a Samurai exhibit which was amazing!

There was a live exhibit of traditional Japanese archery.

Oops...the sun got caught in our eyes.

The night before we left we stayed at a hotel.
I have completely unpacked and tucked everything away where it should go. But I am starting to do some cleaning out in preparation for moving out in two months.

Job hunting is coming along. I have three recruiters working for me and I picked what I feel are the top ones out there. So far I have one job offer for an after school program in Bundang. But I asked if I can see the house and school before making my decision and the recruiter said they just prefer a phone interview. We will see if I can finesse them into letting me see the place first. I feel I have a lot of time to find the right matching job so I am in no hurry.

I am keeping a notebook of my job hunting and wrote down questions I intend to ask before finishing the interview. In a lot of ways I feel more prepared to be on the job hunt again than I was the last two times I went through this.

All right well Foreign/er Joy has the next few days off if anyone wants to meet her. ;)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

12hrs Later

I am back at my home in Sanbon. The plane ride went all right and my traveling companion happened to be a Japanese woman who studied English in San Francisco. So she had an exciting time talking to me about her travels in California.

Coming back to Korea felt a little bit like my first day in Korea way back when I first got here. Except that I know everything a little more now.

Coming home was interesting. JH had spent his time without me cleaning my house and arranging everything very neatly. I have never dated anyone who likes to clean or arrange things in a neat manner. But that is a plus in my book!

Despite this warm welcoming I had a hard time sleeping last night due to having to get back into accepting that my house is crap. I had slept on a really soft and squishy bed for the past two weeks so coming back to my hard ass one here in Korea was a little bit of a shocker. Also it seems there is a hole in my wall or ceiling some where that is letting in the other tenant's cigarette smoke. So I spent a good deal of time last night taping over the cracks in the door and a vent on the ceiling.

Ah well, just two more months till I move on to the next place where ever that will be. Because of the H1N1 scare I don't have to go work till next Monday so that gives me plenty of time to beat off jet lag and get back into my life here in Korea.

I have some photos from the last few days spent in Cali before I came back so I will put those up when the time comes.


Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Nevada County Fair

One of the highlights I was expecting on my vacation was a trip over to the annual Nevada County Fair. It started last Wednesday and I went once by myself and then again in the evening with my Dad and Step mom. Everything was there had it been in the past and not much had changed except that I was older.

I had a great time looking around and taking part in this American tradition.

The entrance~

Ferris Wheel~

Snack stand.

Vendor section

Livestock. Although the livestock area is usually smelly I really enjoy seeing the animals.

A short video of the lambs being paraded around for judging.

My favorite animals were the fowl. They had a lot of varieties of birds.

One section of the fair is "Treat Street" where you can get typical fair food and find other tasty treasures.

For lunch I had a baked potato and Raspberry-lemon slush.

There was a barn with a mini-railroad display.

Around the area where the rides are also those prize games. Usually you pay a dollar and are given something to throw. Here you could win a goldfish if you throw a ball into a bowl.

I didn't take part in any rides but it was great to see some classics.

There were a lot of activities for kids, of course.

One barn had artworks from a contest.

Now we are back at the fair when I went with my family.


Inside the model train museum.

And so they turned on the fair rides lights and it was time to go back home.
Tomorrow (Saturday) we are going to San Francisco to spend the day in the city and sleep at a hotel so I can get to the airport in time. As if in a flash my whole vacation is practically over now. It has been great to relax and get away from Korea and be reminded of my roots. But I feel it is time to get back to Korea and pick up from where I left off. However, I know once America is faraway from my sight I will miss it all. ~
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