Sunday, February 8, 2015

Secret Garden, Studio Ghibli and School Participation!

Ah the end of the school year is almost near. For me, that also means saying goodbye to my sixth graders. They drove me crazy at times, but we also had a lot of good memories, I think. They're the first class I've taught for more than a full year graduating, so, while last year was alright, I think this year's ceremony might be a little harder... I'm anticipating and dreading next Friday. 

That also means I got a copy of our yearbook, with just the teacher portion. Again, I stick out a lot, but at least there is some color (and a few more smiles!) this year. I'm sure the office will look very different next year, as many teachers are leaving the school, and lots of changes will take place. I'm also nervous about this. Who will I be teaching English with??

It's also rice cake season.... ugh.

I'm watching a new drama called Hyde, Jekyll, Me, about a man with two personalities:

caption: The same person? Different people?

I can't wait to see how this drama turns out, but I have to wait
for the weekly episodes, which is so frustrating haha. I like
marathoning TV

 Since I was caught up on it and had some free time, I decided to check out a drama that the lead actor, Hyun Bin, did years ago called Secret Garden. This drama was ridiculously popular, like it hit 30% ratings, which is a huge deal in Korea. It's about a rich guy who falls in love with a stunt woman and through some ridiculous circumstances, they end up switching bodies. 

Hyun Bin is totally my style, so I wanted to
check out some of his other works.
Mostly so I could stare at his beautiful face
The premise sounds like a nice twist on the normal rich guy, poor girl drama, but there wasn't a lot of good character development or explanations for lots of the actions. It also didn't actually make good use of the mythical elements it had advertised, and I actually hated the main guy for the first 14 episodes, and only vaguely warmed up to him by the end. There were lots of moments where I rolled my eyes or scoffed loudly at how audacious this guy was... and it uses just about every Kdrama trope imaginable... noble idiocy, amnesia, mean moms, car accident/coma... *sigh*

 But Hae In had highly recommended it, so Young Ah and I were both watching it this week. We both agreed it was a pretty flimsy drama, but that Hyun Bin was super awesome. He's super handsome in this and in Hyde, Jekyll, Me, and he's a pretty good actor, which basically made Secret Garden not a complete and utter waste of my time, but I still wouldn't really recommend it, except to see the odd fashion choices Hyun Bin's character, a high powered CEO, makes in the drama, such as:

This super professional suit...

...and these.
This drama is famous for Hyun Bin's ridiculous track suits
The body switching is kinda of funny when done right, like in this scene where bra technique must be explained:

Secret Garden also boasts some pretty famous scenes, like the 'foam kiss' 

complete with tacky tracksuit and wrist grabbing

Seriously, I had a lot of free time at work this week, since I'm done with 4th grade, so yes, I did manage to finish an entire drama in 1 week. I kind of wish I'd picked a better one, but oh well. It was worth it to see what the hype was about, I suppose. 

I feel as if I've accomplished something though, but catching up on a major Korean drama. Often parodied, it's one of the most famous K dramas out there, though for the life of me I cannot really figure out WHY people loved it in the beginning, because I almost quit around 5 episodes in. Even by the end, I still didn't feel like it ever really decided on the type of drama it wanted to be, or what characters it actually should have. I'm hoping that Hyde, Jekyll, Me doesn't do the same. I'm already really intrigued and enjoying it. 

This is a drama about a man with multiple personality
disorder and a woman who falls in love with (presumably)
So far, Hyun Bin is awesome at playing both personalities.

come on, look how cute it is already!

Can't I just have both???

Dramas aside...

The week continued on as normal...

The best ever wednesday lunch. Ddeokbokki,
samgyetang and delicious desserts!!!

See, people use truck beds as garbage cans.
Wamp. Gross

I came home this week to the best surprise ever- a package from Liz!!!

I was so excited to see this at my door

And even more excited to open it!



Since it's the end of the school year, it's time for another staff dinner! This time, we're celebrating the retirement of 2 of the teachers at our school, and saying goodbye to plenty of others, as the teachers here switch schools every 5 years. My school is losing 18 teachers and gaining 18 new ones. I've heard we're getting 2 male teachers. I don't know much else about the new ones, so I'm nervous and curious, mostly about who my new co teachers will be.

Anyway, I was walking to dinner with Hae In and Young Ah one day, when Hae In mentioned that she was in charge of organizing something for the retiring teachers. She's one of the younger teachers at the school so the brunt of the grunt work falls to her. Imagine my surprise when she asked me to join! They needed one more person for an even number, even tho I tried to be non committal, you all know how I am about saying now.

Fast forward a few days, and there I am, in the midst of dance practice. Yep. We had to prepare a song and dance for them. Now, I have no idea what the song is, cause it's of course Korean, but I'm apparently the best dancer in the group (ha!) for this simple number, and the teachers seemed excited that I'd joined and that I was learning some Korean. Hae In even bragged to the other teachers that I was studying hard and learning well, so she was proud of me :).

The song and dance also involved us making colorful signs with well wishes, so on Thursday, we stayed late after school to practice and make the signs.

each sign has a syllable or so on it

it will look super cool when we do it at
our staff dinner!

I'm quite nervous about singing and dancing in front of my school, but Hae In asked for help and it seems fair. I'd probably get a lot of heat from other Native English Teachers (NETs) here for joining and doing something like this, but I don't mind. 

 There's a bit of a vicious cycle here for us foreigners. We often get left out of things, but we're also off the hook for lots of things, like staff meetings and after school clubs like scouts and such. But because we're often allowed to skip out on things by virtue of being foreigners, it often causes people to resent us for skipping out. Even though people told us we could. So it's a little bit of a grey area. It can be awkward if you participate, but awkward if you skip.

As such, I figured that, if the other young teachers had to do it at school, well, I'm a young teacher too. So when Hae In asked, I didn't back out. Mostly cause I love her and the young teachers at the school are all fun and nice. I guess here's to hoping I don't screw up too badly! And that the other teachers don't think it's weird (I've been reassured by Young Ah that the school will appreciate it, but I'm still not convinced...)

I had a loooooooooong day Friday dealing with some random stuff at school that is camp related and hopefully resolved Monday, so Cesca and I relaxed together on Friday. On Saturday, we met up with Janell and Sarah to go to the Studio Ghibli exhibit down in Yongsan.

It's a small exhibit with 3D replicas of parts of famous Ghibli movies, and so it was a ton of fun!

It started out with my favorite, Howl's Moving Castle!



Turnip head!!

with Sophie!

The flower field is one of my favorite
scenes in the movie

We moved on to Princess Mononoke


stahp so cute


And we finally got to Spirited Away!

At the end, they gave you a sticker so you could draw something for the wall

I decided to use my sticker to
quite Howl's Moving Castle

And they had a timeline of the movies

We had so much fun with the exhibits

Afterwards, Sarah, Cesca and I chilled in Noksapyeong for a bit, where we found some cool street art.

Afterwards, we met up with Cesca's friends for dinner and an awesome noraebang session. Being pretty wiped from the day, we grabbed some ddeokbokki and headed home. 

On Sunday, we lounged around a bit and I did my typical clean up a bit, study a bit, mess around on my computer a bit routine. My computer was acting up, so I spent a good hour trying to just clean it up and get rid of some extra files (most of them plugins from stupid Korean sites that use IE... >.<)

I also had to pick up some groceries, since I can't stop after school tomorrow like I normally do. 

Then I spent a while editing a video for my sixth graders tomorrow. We asked them to make a bucket list as their last big project, and I'm happy with the results. Some of them have some big dreams!

Some of them didn't stretch far for their dreams haha.

Anyway, that took me a while.

So I'm spending the rest of my night practicing my Korean songs for both the retirement party thing AND the potential noraebang that may or may not happen after dinner. You just never know. I also have to spend some time studying this week, since I have a Korean test. Class is fun and going well, and I've been able to actually use my Korean at school with other teachers, which is nice. I get my TOPIK results back on Friday, which is also graduation day. Yikes!!

And next Saturday, I'm off to Japan! Aaaaah I can't wait!!!

We're so excited, can't you tell!?!?

Last week of the semester! I hope it goes well for everyone, whether it's the end of your school year or not. Stay warm and stay well everyone~~

For this week, you can hear the songs we're using for the party.

For he first song, where we are flipping the colors to show goodbye messages, we're using an apparently famous song from the movie The Classic. In this scene, the boy 'forgets' his umbrella but offers to help the girl he likes (who likes him back but thinks he doesn't like her, that he's just nice) run to class under his coat. It's cute.  The song is called Me to You, You to Me.

The other song is this one from like 1988. It's called Sunset Glow/Flaming Sunset - 



We're only singing the first half and dancing. Wish me luck!!! You can see some of the dance we do in this video. Ours definitely isn't that complicated tho.

Big Bang did a cover of it foreeeeeever ago. Too bad we're not doing that version ahah

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