Thursday, December 31, 2009

2010 is but hours away...

Well I have now finished the first week of "winter camp" with my class of four graders and have many cheesy children's songs buzzing through my head from a play which is a parody of Ali Baba (our theme for winter is drama) and I am looking forward to having three days off work.

I have to admit I am missing not only the New Zealand summer but also the New Zealand Christmas/New Years holidays, at this time of year Rich and I would normally have two or three weeks off work. But all is not lost, a little over a week to go until we have two weeks off for our trip to Japan.

Tonight Rich and I are heading to Seoul, we have booked a hotel called Hotel Sunbee, mostly because for some reason the Subway in Seoul stops around 12 pm and doesn't start up till 5am the following morning. Whilst many other foreigners seem to be happy to sleep in the subway till the trains start again it's not really my idea of fun so booking a hotel room made more sense.

We are meeting Theresa in Seoul and are going to see "where the night takes us", I'm sure there will be some interesting and crazy things happening. Although I just read a blog which says that "only the insane actually go downtown" (referring to Seoul on NYE).
So with 2010 but hours away it's time for me to say goodbye! Happy New Years everybody!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas!

So Christmas day has come and gone for 2009 and it's had it's ups and Downs! Christmas Eve for me went really well - first of all the boxes of presents I had been waiting for from my parents and a Christmas swap package all arrived on Christmas Eve when I had given up all hope of them arriving on time.

Also, on Christmas Eve I put together some packages of candy and New Zealand pens, pencils and key rings for my Principle and Vice Principles as well as some packages of lollies and biscuits for the office staff. I didn't expect to receive anything in response, after all, Christmas is really a western holiday even though it is a public holiday in Korea. So I was very happy when the Principle turned up in my classroom with a Christmas cake from Paris Baguette which included the "Wolf in Sheep's Clothing" Christmas hat I had been wanting!

Christmas day started all well and good - until Rich went to turn on his computer and it wouldn't all! We still don't know what's wrong with it but we are pretty worried about some of the stuff on the hard drive. The computer is still under warranty from HP but we are a bit worried about how long it's going to take to repair and who we will need to take it to for repairs. We are hoping there are some HP staff in Korea which speak enough English to help us out - Rich has e-mailed HP in New Zealand but we will have to wait until after the Christmas break for a response **sigh** I just have the horrible feelings it's going to be one of those very difficult situations - all problems with computers seem to lead to difficult situations - maybe it's time for me to finally buy a notebook.

In the afternoon a few of our friends came over to spend the afternoon with us which was a lot of fun, we had a whole heap of food, like a crazy amount and our fridge still has two cakes plus maybe four bottles of wine plus a bottle of North Korean Soju. We also have many many lollies, candy canes and chocolates - we won't be going hungry!

So Christmas afternoon was spent eating, drinking and being merry - I wish I could share some photo's but the lack of functioning computer means I can't download them which sucks.

In the evening Rich and I went to a concert with one of the teachers from Rich's school - the concert was at her church and even though we has little idea of what was being said the concert was kind of fun with plenty of interesting performances and when we left the church it had been snowing so it was kind of a white Christmas.

So now it's Boxing day and most of the day has been spent in the same way it would be in New Zealand - continuing to eat yesterday's food and watching movies on TV.

However, I'm now in the PC Bang (or Internet cafe) updating my blog and doing some research for our trip to Japan - although like any trip to a foreign country it's a bit mind blowing - we have nine day what should we see and do? Although one thing is set in stone we will be visiting Sanrio Puroland or "Hello Kitty World" as I like to call it.

I hope that everyone had a great Christmas and let's do it all again next Friday - New Years Eve!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas is NEARLY here!

It seems like another year has literally flown past and tommorrow is Christmas Eve and our first ever Christmas away from New Zealand.

Christmas in Korea looks like it will be very different to any other Christmas we have ever had. Firstly - it's cold, not just cold, but cold ICE LIKE! It has snowed twice already, I am hoping for a white christmas and snow is forecast for Friday so I am crossing my fingers that it happens because if it does it will be amazing.

It's pretty hard to cook any of the Christmas food I'm used to over here, firstly, we have no oven and it's not just us - no one seems to have an oven which makes cooking mighty difficult.

Plus if we did have an oven it would be pretty difficult to make anything due to the fact that baking ingredients are pretty limited. I've had friends overseas and complain about the lack of pineapple lumps or toffee pops or mallowpuff but in Korea you can't buy vanilla essence or cocoa for cooking so it's a much bigger challenge. I have however managed to make some no cook peanut butter cookies from a recipe my friend Hazel gave me (although some fairly major alterations have been made due to the lack of ingredients but they still taste ok - I think).

I am, however, looking forward to buying a Christmas cake from one of the Korean bakeries. I am mostly basing my decision on the free gift you get with your cake. So far Paris Baguette is the winner as their cakes come with a free "wolf in sheep's clothing" hat - you may be asking what a wolf in sheep's clothing has to do with Christmas and I would respond that I haven't got a clue but it makes a really cute hat.

So what will Rich and I do on Christmas day you may be wondering? Well first of all we will open our packages from home (I'm still hoping my Christmas package from my mum arrives tommorrow), we are going to attempt to make pancakes for breakfast, then it will be time to Skype home (so glad there is only a three hour time difference between Korean and New Zealand).

In the afternoon we have some friends coming over for an "Orphan's Christmas" where we shall eat, drink and be merry - oh and watch a random selection of Christmas films and play video games.

So to all our friends home in New Zealand and all over the world - Merry Christmas! Hope you all have a great time - fingers crossed for a White Christmas in Uijeongbu.

Korean Milo!

When shopping at Namdaemun markets in the international food section we came across a big jar of Korean Milo - really strange as we haven't seen it anywhere else. But it really made my day! Hurray for Milo!

Extracurricular end of year party!

For the last two months I have been teaching an extracurricular English class for third and fourth grade student, which has been fun for most of the time as I taught these students for six hours a week so I got to know them a lot better than my regular students.

I decided to throw my "extracurriculars" (as I came to call them) a "Christmas snack party" with food, gifts and of course the Christmas classic "Merry Christmas Mr Bean" which they thought was hilarious.

The children were so excited about their presents, which were a lucky dip of lollies, chocolate and New Zealand key rings, pens and stickers.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Needle Felting Sweets

Recently I bought a needle felting kit at Dongdamun markets, last Sunday I finally had a chance to make some of the projects in the kit. I made a chocolate muffin and a little strawberry cake - I still have a lot of fibre left so I will be making a few more of these little "cakes" soon I hope.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Around Uijeongbu.....

Last Sunday Rich and I spent the day in Uijeongbu - here's a few photo's of our home in Korea.

The rest of Jess' Christmas Swap package

So I have now finished opening the rest of Jess' Christmas package - part of me thinks I should have waited till Christmas day to make sure I have presents to open on the big day...but it's too late now. Here's the rest of my score - including a handmade necklace and bookmark - very cool.

The last item new favourite tee shirt...cupcakes are just haters....

Namdaemun Markets and Snowboarding in central Seoul

On Saturday Rich and I paid another visit to Namdaemun markets - this time was much more successful than previous attempts as nearly everything was open. Our first stop was a 5 floor accessory and craft mall - which was amazing - so much stuff that I've never seen in New Zealand.

There were also a few Christmas stores full of uber tackiness at Namdaemun - wow - so many lights and annoying songs....
We finished off the day with some snowboarding in Central Seoul - Yes that's right - snowboarding in central Seoul. You never really know what's going to happen in Korea.

Care package from Jade

Last week I recieved a package of total cuteness from my friend Jade in Australia - she send me a whole bunch of very cute cupcake earrings made from fimo. My favourites are the ones with a slightly surly look on their faces (although that's a wee bit hard to see in the photo as they are so tiny!). She also send me a stack of chocolate and made Rich's week by including his absolute favourite - Peanut Slabs.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A day in Samcheong-dong

Last Sunday Rich and I spent the day in an amazing and beautiful area of Seoul called Samcheong-dong. We started off with a very tasty and expensive hot chocolate in a cute cafe.

Shortly after our hot chocolate we found one of the muesuems we really wanted to see in the area "Toy Kino" - this is the third toy muesuem we have been to in Seoul and I think it's also the best one we have been to.

After visiting the Toy Muesuem we looked around Samcheong a little more - it's famous for it's Traditional Korean houses known as Hanok. We even had lunch at a Mexican restuarant in a Hanok which was a very post modern moment.

After lunch we found an "Owl Mueseum" which was basically a woman's vast collection of Owls - she had more owls that you could ever imagine from all over the world. The folks in the muesuem gave us a free cup of tea and asked us to write a note or draw a picture or whatever for their notebook of visitors.

Once we had finished with muesuem we decied to spend some more time looking around Sancheong which is famous with tourists but also locals as it's so beautiful and there are so many amazing photo oppourtunities.

Then finally, as we were looking for a subway station to head along we found an "ice gallery" which was the most amazing place! So many different ice sculptures under one roof - I have really never seen anything like it - I love it when we find totally random discoveries like this in Seoul.