Tuesday, March 11, 2008

We have added yet another blog to our digital family.
Arguably the most important yet - http://bardiafriend.blogspot.com
Many of you have probably heard about our experiences in and around Bardia National Park in Nepal. Now you can read all about the school we volunteered at, think about volunteering yourself, as well as help the school out financially if you are so inclined :-).

PLEASE share this with your F.R.I.E.N.D.s - that's our clever acronym for Funding Rural Indigenous Education in Nepal Directly!

Thanks so much
Peace & Love as always
Anderson & Liz

Friday, March 07, 2008

We've gotten through our first (half) week of overtime pay, and while still rewarding it is definitely a bit more draining than our previous schedule. We each teach 10 classes, and at least have identical start times and breaks, so that is a big plus. Our days now start at 11:20am, with one kindergarten class before the kids' lunch break - which we use as prep time - followed by two more kindergarten classes. Two of our K classes are 1st-year English speakers, so it is a lot of parrot learning and chanting, but the kids are enthusiastic and generally well-behaved. We also teach the same 7-2 class - which means they are seven years old in Korean, as in 6 years old American, but in their second year of English class. They are adorable, well-behaved, self-policing ("No Korean-speaking" they say) and quite fun. After that a short 20-minute break, to get our heads screwed back on properly, before we begin our former day's teaching at 2:30pm. Good news is we share a 4:00 break, so we only teach 2 classes of older kids (but having taught 5 total already) before we have our un-official lunch break. Then 5 more classes straight and we get to go home, a little exhausted from carrying such a fat wallet around :-).
We aren't making THAT much more money, but the $15 or so per extra class definitely adds up, with Liz teaching 44 and Anderson teaching 47 per week, well above the 37 our contract calls for.
Our school has also gained a lot of new teachers, so our office is packed. We have 2 new Elementary teachers (the older kids), plus our good friends Jin and Nayung are now full-time instead of part-time. There is also another room full of Korean kindergarten teachers, who are not English teachers (and thus don't speak that much English). There is even a Chinese teacher, who seems quite friendly and is obviously smart since she's mastered 3 languages!
School is still great despite the dramatically increased insanity, but nonetheless we are VERY thankful that the weekend rolled around, though Liz was so tired she had to skip going out! Anderson's DJing is still going great, The Basement on Fridays and Neo on Saturdays as always. For more information on that, you can, as always, check out Everyone's Happy In Sandyland.

That's about all that's new, we are hoping to see Sunny again soon, perhaps for an upcoming Beer Olympics the first weekend in April, which Anderson is DJing and is shaping up to be "the event of the spring" or something...

Peace from Pusan
We're off to go biking on our recently-acquired 2nd-hand-but-still-like-new mountain bikes!
Anderson & Liz

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Alright, alright. Here's the long overdue super-post about the month of February... now that it's March and all.

Luke arrived, with plenty of Western snack foods and some electronic DJ equipment in tow. Obviously it is great to see any old friend, and we definitely lived it up during the 2.5 weeks that he was here. Highlights included plenty of wild nights out, going to Beomeosa Temple and hiking to a mountain top, visiting Haedong Yonggungsa - another temple located right by the ocean (thanks Jin!), a lengthy river walk, never mind the endless search for pure vegetarian food. One weekend Kat and Corissa, two of Luke's companions on his India trip, came to Pusan from Jeju Island, where they have been teaching English for the past year. We had a whirlwind weekend with them, going to a techno show with DJ Myagi (from Canada on an Asian tour) and also checking out the amazing Busan Aquarium. The aquarium was spectacular, full of lots of amazing sea life, with a definite highlight being the massive shark tank.
We spent plenty of time catching up, relaxing at home and talking, which is what we definitely miss the most about being gone from home this long. Of course, soon enough, Luke's time was up, and he had to return to being a rock star - Hunab is currently on tour in Colorado. His visit here was a good recharging for us, but of course we now can't wait to get back to America even more in some ways!
This weekend we also had a visitor, our friend Sunny who lives in Jeonju! She was a foreign-exchange student at Cornell, and lived with Liz in Harlan House her junior year of college. Which means, though they've stayed in touch, that it's been 5 years since we've seen her. Needless to say, we had a great time and will be seeing her again very soon! We went to Green Mong sushi buffet (again!) with some friends, and then headed off to Neo for a fun night of partying. Several of our coworkers came out as well, and between Anderson's DJing and a live hip-hop/funk band (Direct Injection) some good dancing occurred as well. Today we had some tasty pork-spine soup, and then wandered around a traditional market before Sunny caught her bus home.
In school news we now have a new teacher, Blaise, from Canada. He's fresh out of college and excited to be here, and we are quite happy to have another cool coworker. School is going to be crazy starting on Wednesday - a new session begins, as does our school's kindergarten and pre-k programs, and due to our relative lack of teachers we will both (voluntarily) be working a rather large amount of overtime. The exact schedule should be available tomorrow, but we'll definitely be getting to school a few hours earlier, and probably have 3 additional classes each. The days will be long, but we can use the extra money, since saving is one of primary objectives while here in Korea. Right after having fun, of course.
If all goes well tomorrow we will also be buying some used bicycles, which will be great for getting around town with ease. Now that winter is virtually over, the warmth of spring is motivating us to get back to exercising, which we have been a bit lazy about (thanks Luke :-).
Anderson's knee is still bothering him from a soccer injury, so in addition to all the school craziness he's going to try and get to a hospital (with a knee specialist) this week and have things checked out - fun, fun - but hopefully it's nothing serious.
His DJing is still going well, two gigs a week is hectic but very enjoyable, although soccer has taken a bit of a backseat due to holidays, league problems (one team dropped out), and the injured knee. Hopefully things will be resolved soon...

So that's about all from SoKo - though our friend Robbie from the States will be coming to visit in April, so we have that to look forward to as a reward for our intense month of overtime that is coming up!

Peace from P-Town (or B-Town, your choice)