Sunday, June 15, 2014

Maps, Ballets, Cartoons and Good News!

As usual, it was another busy week here in Seoul. Busy, rainy and hot!

I spent Monday teaching directions to my 6th graders, showing them the difference between Seoul and cities in the US, like NYC. 

My kids were honestly amazed by the order and logic of
a block system

block systems don't really work in cities that are mountainous
and very, very old.

They were so impressed that you can see the block system
from above in NYC

Because Seoul is kind of a jumbled mess
So this is why I explained that even tho we teach them "Go straight 2 blocks," in English class, that they need to remember that, in Seoul, they really need to use prepositions to tell me what things the location is near, next to, across from, etc. I don't think they realized until I showed them other cities how important prepositions are in Seoul! 

But it wasn't all fun...

I was moderately disappointed in one of my classes. I showed them Tokyo, because Tokyo sort of has a block system (thanks to being rebuilt post WWII). When my co teacher was translating "Japan was destroyed in WWII," a couple of my boys started clapping. I was so shocked I stopped class and was like "Excuse me??? What are you clapping about? Are you celebrating the fact that Japan got destroyed???" they said yes, and I said something along the lines of, "Absolutely not. That is not ok at all. How would you feel if Japanese kids clapped when they heard about the Korean War?? We do not clap for something that killed thousands of people..."

I was incredibly upset actually. There is a lot of bad blood between Japan and Korea, and I know the history. But I still wanted my boys to know that it is NOT ok to celebrate the loss of life like that, even if it's in a country you don't like. Sadly, none of my co teachers seemed to think it was really that big of a deal, and I think they thought I over reacted... It just saddens me that, in a country that is still an active war zone, in a country that suffered so much in it's own war, that my mere 11-12 year olds would rejoice in the destruction of innocent life. 

You live and you learn, I guess... Did I over react? What do you all think?

In another, less disheartening English class, my 4th graders are doing the lesson "Is This Your Watch?" so we made them draw their own cartoons. Some of the kids got really creative, and it was fun to see all of their art!

Would you believe one of my sweet,
advanced English girls drew this one?

Our intro to the day's lesson. My job is so glamorous

The wet season has started in Seoul, which means that it's sunny in the morning and thunderstorming in the afternoon. On Tuesday, the rain started around 3 o'clock, which is prime outdoor activity time for my students. 

They played outside for quite some time, even though it was thundering. I was surprised, because in America, everything outside stops at the first hint of a thunderstorm!

Spotted in Sinchon- Socks

Spotted this guy on my walk to Korean class on Thursday


Friday brought about another full day of 4th grader cartoons! 

On my way home from school on Friday, I saw this gem:

You saw correctly

That dog's fur is dyed

Yep. That's it. I've seen everything. 

Ads for Taeyang's new album

 On friday, I went out with my friends Sarah, Priscilla and Anna to a special ice cream place called Fell & Cole, which serves Gastronomic Ice Cream. They had funky flavors, and it was pretty delicious. It's just essentially gourmet, unique flavors of ice cream. Like Drunken Salty Watermelon and carrot cake. 


mine was coffee esque. I can't remember
the name of it haha

In other news, my mom sends me the best care packages

and this?

On Saturday, I cleaned up my apartment and headed out to meet Young Ah and Sarah. We had tickets to the ballet! 

another one of my favorites!

Young Ah's first ballet!

This time, it was very different from Swan Lake. Swan Lake, I think, is slightly more well known around the world, especially story wise. So, when we got to the theater, the ballet just started. But this time, the director of the show did a 10 minute intro of the ballet, explaining the story as well as the mime used in Giselle. The story of Giselle is much more complex, I think, than Swan Lake (Guy meets girl who turns into a swan. Falls in love. Pledges love to a lookalike sent by the evil sorcerer. Depending on the version, love conquers all or the lovers die).

Giselle definitely has a more complex plot, in terms of people understanding it through dance, hence the gestures, and so it was really cool that they explained that beforehand. They explained what lots of the arm movements meant, and how the first act differs from the movements of the second act, where the dancers are all spirits who rise from the grave.

 They also had a big board above the stage that showed some subtitles of the show (like you'd see at an Italian opera in the states, so you can see translations of the songs), so there was even some dialogue explained! Things like "Giselle, you cannot dance, it will tire your weak heart." or "Giselle, how can you love him? He is a liar!"

Honestly, Giselle is a pretty Korean-esque story. She turns into a ghost in the second act that joins the spirits of other girls who died or were scorned before their wedding day (a common ghost story in Korea- they're called Virgin Ghosts and they usually have loooong black hair and are scary), and for vengeance against their lovers and mankind, they dance men to death if they are caught in the forest. 

But, like a typical Kdrama couple, Giselle's love saves Albrecht, even tho he was kinda of douche and lied to her about not being noble. Seriously, did homeboy really think that getting engaged to two women was reeeaaaaaaaaally gonna work out?

Anyway, it was a beeeeeaaauuuutiful ballet. Our Albrecht was a guest principal dancer from the Mariinsky Ballet in Russia (exciting!!!), and our Giselle was gorgeous, and her madness scene was hearbreakingly fantastic. It was a great time, and I'm so happy I got to see 2 of my favorite ballets here, and that I could take my friends to see them as well. 

On Sunday, I went with my friends to get brunch at Egg and Spoon Race again, since it was deliiiiccccious last time, and then we headed to the movies to see Maleficent, which was utterly predictable and to me, ended up being kind of contrived and lame, but I did enjoy laughing at it and predicting the plot points. I definitely prefer the original Sleeping Beauty haha. 

Sadly, The Fault in Our Stars isn't being released in Korea, so I'm on the prowl for a bootleg. Ugh I just wanna seeeeeee it.

On my way to meet my friends, I spotted this guy on the street. 

Hard to believe it's all going to fast. It's the middle of June, Game of Thrones is ending tonight, the two ballets I was waiting eagerly for have come and gone, AND CESCA WILL BE HERE IN LESS THAN 2 MONTHS AAAAAAAAAAAAH. It's crazy how the time is flying by. 

Hoping you all have a good week! And Happy Father's Day to my special old man!! I miss your witty jokes and your belly laugh. Thanks for your love and support for everything I've wanted to do. You, and everyone else in the family, have been so helpful to me during this journey. Love you all and miss you!!

And since I'm diggin' Taeyang's new album so much, here's another one from here, this time featuring G Dragon

No music video for this one, I just really like it a lot, even tho I'm not always a huuuuge fan of a couple of the lyrics.

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