Sunday, March 1, 2015

Spring English Camp and Hello Kitty Cafe fun!

Well, with my Japan fun over, it was time to get sort of back to work. I had a special spring English camp this week, so I headed back to school bright and early Monday. Monday was also the day that everyone found out their assignments for next year, which up until then had been in flux and still negotiable. Young Ah and my handler will be teaching English with me again!!! Last school year went really well, so I'm super excited about this one! I'll meet the new English teacher in April, apparently. Until then, I'll have a substitute. Yikes!!!

Everyone was at school planning their
schedules, so we ordered super normal
pizza with shrimp, broccoli, bulgogi,
olives, mushrooms, corn, sweet potatoes,
cherry tomatoes, etc. Yeah. Super normal.

Oh yeah, the dust was certainly acting up this week. Hazardous levels are above 150. The levels were in the 900s to 1000s when I was going to work in the morning. I took the bus for the first time in ages because no way in hell I was walking in that.

Time to go rob a bank. I mean, go to school

It wasn't as bad after school. The levels
had dropped to "poor" so I was able to
not be dying while I waited for the bust.
Still needed the mask tho

The dust settled by Tuesday morning, but it's acting up again (sunday) and I'm hoping this doesn't make for a dusty spring. Ugh. I don't wanna wear a mask every day!!!!

Anywho. Spring English camp was simple and pretty fun.

I got to see my new English textbooks. They're a big
improvement on our last set. Hopefully I can make
some good lessons with these!

My handler and I negotiated camp well. She wanted to teach the story of Moses using the Prince of Egypt. Being from the every politically correct America, I wasn't super comfortable using that story for camp, because of the whole religion thing. But my handler understood my dilemma and we split our work. I taught half of the day about ancient Egypt, and she used her time to teach the story. It worked well, since the kids learned fun background info AND practiced everything- reading, writing, listening and speaking.

One day, we made hieroglyphics nametags, and another day, we talked about what we'd want in our pyramids for the afterlife. I got some great responses.

This student wanted to take her friends, family
and ME!!!

this creative one thought wifi and the 63 building were

wifi, money, cats and air. smart kid

this 5th grader kept thinking about
different foods she'd definitely need.
Of course, kimchi is a must!

this student loves penguins and Coraline,
so of course they needed to come. And the
Nile River haha.

In the middle of the week, I bought a new phone case.

Too pretty, right!?!?

Our last day of camp usually ends with a role play, so the kids acted out an abridged version of The Prince of Egypt (thankfully, we skipped the admittedly gruesome plagues)



slave master haha

putting the baby in a basket and setting him on the river

his sister runs along the river to watch the basket

the princess finds the basket

narrator scene 2

moses asks the pharaoh to stop abusing
the Hebrews

Pharaoh was like "no"

Moses leads the people

Pharaoh chases them

blocked by a pillar of fire

Pharaoh is shy between scenes

but she finally caved for a picture!

the red sea crashes on the Egyptians

The kids had a lot of fun, and I heard a few say they really wanted to come to summer camp now. Hopefully that bodes well for my future here!

We took them out for sandwiches after
camp ended. They all wanted to
sit with me. Aaaaw
Camp made me excited about the coming school year. I didn't teach 3rd grade last year, so my now 4th graders will be a whole new batch of kids, and now I'll be teaching 3rd again. It'll be a lot of new faces, but nothing will be too repetitive. I'm so stoked to meet them and start teaching again!

On Friday, after camp, I went home and basically just bummed around. I haven't been sleeping well this week, not sure why, but camp and the craziness of school organizing, plus korean class, had me pretty worn out. 

I'm still enjoying Korean class. Now that I actually know some grammar, it's easier to try and speak in class and to other teachers. I awkwardly had to have lunch with a new teacher this week, but we were able to get by on mostly Korean and some English. She said that for 1.5 years, I was really doing well! It helps put the teachers' minds at ease when I can communicate a little, and i'm even able to joke a bit. So fun!!!!

I met up with Cesca on Saturday for some quality sister time. I wanted to look for a new purse (mine got pretty beat up in Japan), but alas, it's between seasons now so I didn't find much. But we did have time to stop at the newly constructed Hello Kitty Cafe in Hongdae. I'd been to the old one, but they built a big new one farther into the area. It was cute but crowded, with people blocking the stairs to take selfies. Awk. Still, it was cute, fun and very pink.

There's like an inch and a half on whipped
cream on this caramel mocha. YUM

Hello Kitty cookies

For being a novelty cafe, they don't up the charges much (coffee in Korea is expensive, and so the prices, $4-5 for a drink, aren't any more unreasonable than they feel anywhere else)

the building is super cute and pink

It has a nice, if not slightly out of the
way location.

The best souvenir from the cafe

we should have bought this

We were also good little students and stopped at a cafe later (after searching fruitlessly for a purse for me through a bunch of stores...) for some homework/Korean time. It's a bit awkward to study in public for me, because I assume all the Koreans see our stuff and are like "omg why are they studying that...?" but I also know from experience that they A.) don't care or B.) think it's cool we are learning. 

I had a super lazy Sunday. Cooking, cleaning, working out (I've been slacking since winter break), blogging, catching up on some TV, and prepping for the week. 

I don't think I announced it, but I got my TOPIK results back! I passed level 2!!! There are 6 levels to TOPIK, with 1 being low and 6 being fluent, so I'm not that far along, but I'm proud of myself for trying and passing level 2! For a year and a half of study, I think that's pretty decent, and I can feel how much better I've gotten. My communication life has gotten a lot easier as well, which is a reward in itself. My hagwon classmates and I are able to joke with each other and even chat in Korean, because we're not all English speakers. I've been at the hagwon for almost a year, and while it's expensive and been frustrating, I'm happy I stuck with it. 

 I think if I continue to work hard, I could try for 3, maybe 4, before I leave Korea, depending on how long I stay and study as well... Lots to think about, but for now, I'm celebrating this victory. 

To TOPIK level 2 and a new school year with great teachers and great students!!! March, I'm ready for you!!!

I guess next week is spring forward for you all? Korea doesn't do time changes, so I'm a little lost there haha. Hopefully with the spring forward, spring will actually come!!! I hope it brings warm weather for you all and I hope it doesn't bring lots of yellow dust for me!!!!

I've got some cool things coming up soon (LIKE MY BIRTHDAAAAAAAAAAY), so I'm excited for the new school year and the months ahead! 


I'm still OBSESSED with Rainbow's comeback stage, Black Swan so I've been listening to that nonstop this week. I'm not normally a 'sexy concept' girl group fan, but recently I've been listening to more of them and I like their music a lot. Plus, now that there's a comeback stage video, I can actually see the full dance. I think this song lends itself well to the concept and I'm really just digging it a lot. 

Plus, their heels are a reasonable height for dancing. That's awesome.

Another girl group that goes for sexy is AOA, who I don't think I've mentioned much before. I haven't kept up with their stuff until recently. When Kyuhyun's At Gwanghwamun was competing in the charts, AOA (Ace of Angels) released their song, Like a Cat. At first, I didn't like it much, but after hearing out often (it's quite popular), the song grew on me a lot. Now I find myself humming it and even dancing along sometimes!!

Fun fact: The tattoo guy in this was an original cast member on the show Abnormal Summit (비정상 회담) where he represented Australia. He left a while back to continue his studies, but lots of people think he was a little controversial because he had tons of tattoos and quite a personality that maybe Korean viewers weren't overly fond of, and that he was therefore asked to leave the show, as they've since replaced him with a more unassuming looking Australian. 

He wasn't mean or anything by any means. He was actually quite softspoken and nice. But he also had some views about leaving home early and other things that may have conflicted a little with Korean values. I don't know. He was fun to watch and I'm glad he's still successful in Korea, whether he left the show willingly or not.

Anyway, back to AOA. Yeah. I hated this song at first. I'm still not a fan of the "I'm good I'm hot I'm fresh I'm fly" part, but still. 

Now I love it and constantly listen to it. I'm not a huge fan of some of their other songs, but I really dig this one. 

Because the song was so popular, they even released a special dance version, which is adorable and awesome. Because they wear cat onesies. 

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