Saturday, February 28, 2009

Winter Camp 2009

From January 30-February 1, 2009 all the SDA Language Institute gathered together for Winter Camp. It's an annual event where students can choose to go to an English intensive weekend that is religiously focused. Plus, to tempt them into coming there is snowboarding or skiing on Sunday =P

We of course had to pack but wanted to be careful to pack only what we needed since we would all be traveling on a bus with another school.



As you can see, I got distracted... Books are so wonderful!



Friday morning was cold but the bus we were taking was very nice, so we didn't worry.




I thought I'd take the opportunity to take a picture of our institute. This is our building. It's in the shape of a triangle, but the front is the flat part. The whole building is ours (some institutes are different) and our classrooms are on the third floor.



If you leave from the from of our institute and turn to the left this is the street. We walk this street multiple times a day because this is the direction we walk to get back to our apartments.

Okay, back to winter camp!



This is our group =) Yay for Incheon!

After picking up Bucheon school we traveled on to English Village. This is the same place we had our teachers' retreat.



As you can see, it's definately winter here, but the fresh air was still just as wonderful as when we came before.



The All Day Club members were excited too! Francis, Brian, Villa, Judy, Cindy, Abe, and Bruce (he's not an ADC but he's an AY member).

The first thing we did after unpacking our belongings was to go to the gym for the main meetings. Our weekend was made up of a few basic elements.

Singing:

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We sang...a lot. Many times. Many...many times.

Seminars:



The seminars had different topic ranging from English idioms to how to improve your relationship with your spouse. Of course, there were religious focused seminars but those were held on Sabbath afternoon.

For one of the seminars, Cleopatra led out and had some of us do a skit at the beginning. It was my birthday in the skit and people were giving me gifts.



Here Kelly Ann buys me fabulous sunglasses but has them made for herself and just pretends to give them to me.



Here Matthew gives me used socks...

It was actually a lot of fun to do this and Matthew even said I did a good job! The point of the skit was to introduce the topic of the ultimate gift (Jesus).

Eating:



We take eating very seriously here in Korea.

Main Sessions:



Matthew, Beth-Anne, and Kelly Ann


Judy, Beth-Anne, Cindy, Susanna (one of Beth-Anne's religion student) and Ruth (one of our teachers).

During the main sessions (after much singing) we listened to the main speaker. Some times there were skits. On Sabbath there was a special performance about Jesus healing of the little twelve year old girl and the woman who had been bleeding for twelve years. It was really good.

Family Time:



Family time comes in two parts. One part was just for our group to hang out.





This is Solomon and Grezania's adorable daughter. Solomon is one of our new teachers.

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Of course, eating was part of our family time!

The second part of family time we were broken into smaller groups and went through a Bible study booklet.



This is Coco, a junior teacher, and I after one of our small group sessions.



"Look how awesome my man is!"

Sabbath evening there was a special time for those who wanted to be baptized to do so. Some of our All Day Club members were baptized. It was a moving experience.


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While we waited for them to get changed we got a little bored. What can I say...they took a long time =)


This is Cleopatra's magnificent jump for the bar.



Matthew felt no need to jump.


But the rest of us did feel the need to jump and so we prepared to have a group effort.





Almost everyone is up...



Success!


After our lovely jumping picture a few more had to show off their talent.



This is Pastor Ryu and Bruce. Kung Foo Fighting =P



But Bruce put us all to shame with this jump.


All the jumping made us tired and so we collapsed upon our beds.





And upon the floor, because tomorrow we would get up very early to go snowboarding!

Matthew and I had first planned to go snowboarding but then, right before we left, we changed our minds. So we didn't pack any of the appropriate clothes. However, once at camp we were told we couldn't change our tickets and had to go snowboarding. So clothed in jeans and other non-waterproof clothing we began!


The All Day Club helped us learn to stop. We had both snowboared once during our high school experience so this was like beginning all over.



We had a lot of fun and even went on more than just the beginner slope. Matthew said it was something he could get into, but my knees said no way. It was a lot of fun and if we end up somewhere snowy you may see more of Matthew on the slopes =)


Winter Camp was exhausting though. We were busy from sunup to sundown and were happy to go back to our apartment. My words to Matthew were, "Let's relax and not do any traveling or anything exciting for a long time."


Life is not what you plan it to be.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Korean Folk Village




Welcome to our day adventure to the Korean Folk Village! We went with a group of the teachers on a Sunday because we had a few days off the next week because of the Lunar New Year.





These are a few of the crazy people who went. Wilma, Cleo, and I are in the back and that's Leah in the front =) Leah used to teach at Incheon so she came with us for fun.






This is us trying to comfort Cleo int the cold. It was actually really pretty to be there when the snow was falling.





However, as pretty as the snow was we were cold and getting hungry so we went inside a Korea restaurant.




Wilma, Kelly and I on the left, Cleo, Leah, Debbie and Ruth on the right. We were served nice hot soup and felt so good against our cold hands as we held the bowls.

Most of us ordered bibimbab and this was were we learned about Dol-sot bibimbab. This is where the bibimbab comes in a very, very hot stone bowl. It makes the whole meal delicious!





Bibimbab is a rice based food (bab=rice in Korean) and has an assortment of veggies with an egg (that gets fried on the hot stone bowl) and a spicy sauce. It can come with beef but we don't get it like that. This was the best bibimbab we'd had.


After lunch we went out and some Korean children called us over to this rock covered with rope and tiny papers. They told us that we were to write our wishes for the new year on the paper and tie it to the rope.




Here goes nothing!

Then we began to walk around and see the different traditional building and look at the stores they had around the folk village.


Then we saw cows!




This is Kelly Ann (first name is Kelly, middle name Ann but we already have a Kelly teacher so we call her Kelly Ann. The junior students get a kick out of it). The cows look cute but unhappy, however it is the year of the ox so we thought it was appropriate to have them. =)


Then we went to see the performances. The first one was the guys... We've seen stuff like this a couple times but it was still pretty interesting to watch. Especially when the started to jump.



(Isn't Matthew a great photographer?)

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I picked the video with my favorite part. The jumping spinning part is near the end.

After the guys we were fooling around on these seesaw looking things.

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As you can see, we did not know what we were doing. =P

But then we saw the act.



These girls would fly into the air, do trick and come back down, alternating the weight and balance for the jumps using the seesaw. It was really cool to watch.

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Here they are just warming up and then at the end of the video you can see how the performance would go. Each time they would do something more elaborate.

Then just as we were getting ready to head on we saw this older guy walk onto a rope. So of course we had to stop.

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This man had some incredible balance going on. Especially since it was cold it was harder to keep jumping and sitting and doing all the things he was doing on the rope. In the picture above you can see him getting ready to do a trick.


And here he is "sitting" on the rope. It was very interesting. It was really fun for me to see because in our junior textbooks they talk about the Korean Folk Village and the different things there and I was able to see them! I was very excited to tell my class the following school days.

But finally we were getting cold and so we had to cross the rock stream to get to the other side



The water was partially frozen so you had to be careful as we went across. Debbie actually slipped and got one foot wet. Not fun.
(Later on we saw a normal bridge...but what is life if you don't have a little adventure?)


Beautiful with the snow, isn't it?
We were all feeling pretty frozen but then we saw all these people "sledding". And decided to go down to the frozen lake and investigate!

Here is a sled.



As you can see it is a small wooden thing and in Matthew's hands are to very dangerous wooden poles with sharp, sharp points on them. You can either scoot yourself around with those, or have someone pull you.
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This is Matthew being pulled by Kelly Ann. She's in the bright pink jacket. She had a brother who is the same age as Matthew and just got married this summer, and she says they act just a like. She showed us a picture, and they even look similar!
We pulled each other around and finally I got brave enough to let Matthew pull me.



This is on our way back from around the lake.



It was really fun, but kind of scary. The coolest part for me was being able to do all this on a real frozen lake. I've never been able to be on a frozen lake before and to walk around and "sled" around was so much fun.

But...we were still cold and had to leave.


As you can see, Matthew was NOT happy about this.

The last thing exciting to tell about the day is the court candy. Some of you have tried this candy that we send home with Mama and we wanted to show you how it is made.

The first video is how they make the outside. The second one is how they put it all together. I hope you enjoy watching =)


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Eating & Games

This blog is a combination of the last week of Mama's visit. We did a lot of relaxing and playing games and seeing people. It was a nice way to end her time here.



After braving pubic transportation yet again, we safely made it to Herb Island. This is a Western Style restaurant and we thought it was cute so we wanted to take Mama there. It serves Italian food.



It has a shop downstair to look at little trinkets. Similar to a little country store and they gave us these muscle relaxers that they heated up in the microwave and we got to wear while we ate. The food was pretty good, the only problem was when my pasta came out with little shrimp and I had to try and explain that I didn't want the shrimp. =) Food is always...always and adventure in Korea.

After our lunch we headed back to the apartment because some of the All Day Club members were going to come over. At the time we didn't know that they were going to also prepare some food for us. Luckily it was just bu-chim-gae (Korean pancake/pizza thing) so it was more of a snack. They made two types of bu-chim-gae and both were good. They also put together their own soy sauce.



Cindy, Judy, and I in the kitchen.



This is the group of us, after food, and playing Pit. It was so much fun to teach them how to play. We played using spoons, so whoever got their set first grabbed a spoon and it made it even funnier.

During that week we took Mama to E-Mart and then wanted to try eating at a Korean traditional restaurant where you sit on the floor. The first few places we went did not have what we know so finally we found a place to eat.



Food is always exciting to think about at first (as you can see from his grin) but later that grin does not always stay.



Our table.



Hopeful smiles! Notice that Mama looks skeptical in most of these pictures...hehe.



Matthew still looks positive and Mama still looks uncertain.



"What am I eating..."

The food was...okay. It was cold and really not that good. Plus we ordered one thing and it turned out to be something totally different. It was a type of soupe and had clam in it. We didn't eat it thankfully, because I used my spoon to stir the soup before we tried any. That's when I found the clam. We had tried to order bibimbob. Later we would realize how to really order it, but that was still a month away.

We survived our meal and went home to have peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. =)

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This is a video of playing Dutch Blitz. This is especially for my cousin Jaden who enjoys fast movies!

The day after New Years Audrey came over to have lunch with us and meet Mama. Audrey is a from SDA student who we met through the other teachers. Matthew made rosemary bread and we had spinach/cheese ravioli. Both of which Audrey had never had. It's always fun to feed them food they've never experienced since we are always being forced to do the same with their food.



After lunch Audrey showed us how to get to a mall and a stationary store so Mama could look at some stationary =)

Our last meal out was to Pizza Hut! Matthew and I were very excited about this endeavor because we had not had any "normal" pizza since being in Korea. We were excited until we saw the menu.



Can you see the crazy pizzas on here? We ordered one cheese pizza and one cheese pizza with green peppers. The one with green peppers was difficult to explain and difficult to get them to do. It was a totally foreign concept to just have one topping on a pizza. Even the plain cheese pizza wasn't on the menu and we had to specially ask for that.



Hoping for the best! Like I said, food...is always an adventure.



This is our bruchetta appeiteizer. They were really fun looking so we ordered them. They were okay, but we all thought that regular ones on bread were better.

The pizza ended up being really good...and really expensive. So that was a once-in-Korea experience.

One of the days we went to take Mama to underground shopping. Matthew and I had never seen anything like this in America. Korea has to use all their space wisely so they build shops underground. Everywhere. And then it can go a few stories underground. It's pretty incredible. They go on for miles and miles. This one was relatively small but we walked at least a few miles. The reason I say it is small is because it was only one level.

Here's a picture...

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And here's a video of a 360 degree turn.

We loved having Mama come and visit and would love to have anyone come and visit!!

Leaving her at the airport was very sad but we are anxiously awaiting our turn to leave Korea and go home for good. We'll miss the people here, but our hearts long for home.