Thursday, December 28

internet issues

I have been trying to check my email for three days, but there was an earthquake in Taiwan (or so I hear) that took out all of China's internet for a while. I can access this blog, for some reason, but can't access either of my email accounts. If anyone has emailed me anything important, don't worry (ahem, Mom or Dad). This is a sad time for it to be down, because I need to be emailing people to meet up with/stay with in Korea and also to reserve places to stay and flights inside Thailand. It makes it kind of nice to not be able to write the things I don't really want to (email is sometimes a chore, you know), but....

It is weird that I can get on blogger and post this, but I guess some sites are handling this better than others.

Tuesday, December 26


I am finished with grading, finally, and am moving out of my desk. I just started the process of getting internet in my new apartment because I've been busy, busy. I am trying to post some fun pictures here for your viewing pleasure, but blogger is not in the holiday spirit, so it will not happen today. I still have a lot to do (meet with students and friends one last time before the break, write a new year's letter to send home with a friend, etc.), but it's nice to have the grading done. I just started every sentence with I and I feel pretty egotistical about that, so I am going to sign off for now. I will try to post pics again later.

Sunday, December 24

Merry Christmas!

It's Christmas morning here and we are going to give our last final in less than an hour. After that, there will be a lot of grading to do and I still haven't finished grading my other set of finals from Friday. So, this post is short, but I just wanted to say Merry Christmas to everyone!

These pictures are from dinner on Friday. We celebrated the beginning of the weekend at this new western restaurant that opened at the new international hotel downtown. It's pretty impressive to all of us and the food is pretty good too!

Saturday, December 16

it's that time of year

This is the doorway into my new bedroom. You can see my cool new Chinese lantern Christmas lights (I've always had a weakness for strings of lights) and my new humidifer, which makes my room a nice place to wake up to. No more parched throat because of the heating system.

It's been a while. Sorry for anybody who missed me. We are in our last week of classes here at the university, so I have to finish writing finals with the final exam team, give speaking tests, make Christmas cookies (okay, I don't have to do this) to give out to my kids, etc. I am living in my new apartment most nights, but on busy nights at school and when I have tutoring or want to meet students, I stay here at school. I don't have internet there yet, so that's the main reason for my silence lately.

We just had an end of the year meeting for school where a guy from our conversation office and I were asked to plan some mixer games. We had two planned, but then realized one wouldn't work out, so we just played evolution. It was a hit. We had the first 10 people who became humans win prizes. I was in charge of prizes, so I went the Korean route and bought toilet paper, soap, and toothpaste and wrapped them up (you can see them under my mini tree). When I first moved to Korea, I didn't get the whole idea of useful presents (toilet paper or laundry detergent as a housewarming gift), but now I really like it.

Yesterday, we had our English department dinner at a nice restaurant downtown and some of us went to a park down the street afterwards where the pond is frozen and they have sprayed some of the trees with water and lit up to make a nice background, plus they have a long ice slide and some sculptures. We went a little picture crazy. They also have these little things that look like toilets that you can sit on and push yourself around with sticks (as seen below). Looked like a grand time, but we didn't join in that.

(Fighting is a Korean way to say go for it, or some other term of encouragement. The Chinese way is jai-yo!)

I hope for all of us that we can rest and reflect a little in the coming weeks. It's a good season!

Saturday, December 2

My new apartment, with some random laundry hanging on chairs to dry. More pictures will come later, when it looks better.
One fun thing to do in Asia is to take sticker pictures. I keep a collection of them in the front of my journal. They make me smile.

moved in

After a normal busy week, having people over Friday for lunch to eat up some of my leftovers, dinner out and going to our school's "dance party" (which is really a dance competition that you watch on stage), and then back home to pack up all of my stuff on Friday night, I woke up, finished packing, and met the movers at 7:45 yesterday morning. They had me all moved out of my room on campus to my new fourth floor apartment downtown, without my help, in about an hour. There were three of them. They took my bags and boxes and would stack them on their back, tied with a rope, and haul them up the stairs. Only one plastic crate cracked and one missing extension cord so far that I can tell. I was pretty impressed. All for 80 yuan, about 10 bucks.

I unpacked all my stuff yesterday and then went to the gym, since it's so much closer to me now than when I was at school. I went shopping for a few things and then came back to unpack some more. More leftovers for dinner, then joined some English and German teachers for a night of karaoke. We sang and danced to Korean, German, American, French, and Mexican songs (but no Chinese!) together. My goal for next time is to learn a Chinese song. (It's so much harder because you might know the tune, but you can't read all the words because the characters are so hard to learn!)

Today I'm back at my old place for sweeping, gathering up a few more things, and to use the internet.

We had beautiful snow this week and have had colder weather, too. Yay for winter! I had my first snowball fight of the season with another teacher's class who I was subbing for. Not really enough moisture to make it packable, but fun all the same.

I'm looking forward to getting settled in and getting my new apartment looking cozy. I love it!