Friday, May 31, 2013


I have had a good day. My craziest class still had tests so they watched a film the whole time. I got to talk to the girl who was in NZ for a year and she said some words like a kiwi! It made me very pleased.

Tonight I met Nicole for a movie. The film was terrible, unless you like post-apocalyptic, alien infested action films. It's saving grace was Wil Smith's face which was actually struggling for life most of the time. 

Despite this, and the mid-film pee break (isn't that the most annoying thing!?), I enjoyed myself. We found a gorgeous coffee shop afterwards and chatted about school and life. 

What a lovely garrol (girl- seriously say it out loud and you'll be Scottish) she is!
Check that last sentence. Too cute!

This is how people move house. It was happening as I walked into school.

Thursday, May 30, 2013


I ate watermelon today for the first time in ages. Rebekah came in with a plate of watermelon and tteok for me and I had a ball eating it all.

The watermelon was super juicy and fresh and the tteok (ricecake) was amazing. It had red bean paste in the middle so it was sweet and delicious. Ahhh man it made me so happy.

I was hungry and we still had two back-t-back classes to go before lunch, so as soon as I had a piece I was good to go! Obviously, I did not stop there!

It's strange and amazing the way food can just improve your mood so much.

After lunch I went on a giant walk with a couple of teachers. We danced by the river and strolled back to make coffee. I did the hand drip thing myself and sat in the teachers office, yarning with them for ages instead of lesson planning. They sliced up more watermelon which we ate and then got back to work. I love those teachers!

But the MOST exciting thing that happened was that during that rendezvous in the teacher's room, I received an amazing package from Big Girls. Ahhhhhh it was so cool! It made my office smell like soap, and I loved everything in it! The letters and cards were so beautiful and I definitely teared up. When i was reading Cindy's testimony about Eastercamp the tears started actually rolling and I had just gained my composure slightly when the teacher next door came in and asked for help with the computer.

I fumbled over words about being ok and having happy tears and good news from home. I don't think it was very convincing, but it was true!

THANK YOU SO MUCH GIRLS! And Cindy, you're a STAR for organizing it.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


In contrast to yesterday, I really enjoyed seeing the change in some students' attitudes today after hearing positive results for their speaking tests.

A couple of boys totally got involved, stopped sleeping, and became leaders in the review game. It was so cool cos I realised how much potential they have to shake up and encourage their classes.

 I went up to the huge boy who is super quiet, tapped him on the shoulder and told him he did a great job, he just needs to speak louder. Then I told him he is really god at English and he turned away without a word, but I could see him swell with pride and try to squelch a chuffed grin which was threatening to break out.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


Today the students found out their test results and after the first class I knew not to watch their faces as Rebekah read them out. It was heartbreaking.

One girl looked like she was going to cry, like her world was shattered. She's a good student, and actually quite good so I really didn't want it to discourage her. 

I hope that if they get a disappointing mark, they won't give up. I can tell them that, but they need to make the decision for themselves to carry on and do their best.

Sunday, May 26, 2013


Today ended up being pretty awesome. Spontaneity can lead to some remarkable places. 

Lucy and I woke up at a reasonable time and almost even made it out the door by our goal time! Kind of. At least we know it can be done. 

I made it to church in good time to eat delicious Paris Baguette goodies with the worship team. Today was my first day actually singing. I knew the chorus of one out of five songs. It went ok I think. There's definitely less pressure than at home which is a good thing.

Afterwards I was going to have coffee with Kiralyn but we ended up jumping off the subway with some other people and tagging along to lunch. 

After eating at a pretty average place that welcomed us in and waited until we sat down to tell us there were only two things on the menu, we went off to find a mysterious cafe one of the guys recommended. 

It was a wild goose chase and a half! He lead us down back streets and alleyways, past crazy houses, cafes, and walls covered in graffiti. I was not complaining. It was the most interesting area I've seen in Daegu yet. I really want to go there at night time. 

We looped back and found the cutest little cafe with a matching he'd which held vintage clothing to sell. It was amazing. 

The service, coffee, and food was delicious. All organic. And real cake!! 

I was so impressed. 

As if it couldn't get any better, Kiralyn and I stumbled on a legit wine shop and lounge on our way back. The little man was so lovely and chatted away to us about wine. 

We went upstairs and had a glass (or two) and had a good yarn. 

It really was an amazing end to the week.

I found a bug on my neck in the subway so I squished it.

Those are killing heels.

Saturday, May 25, 2013


Lucy came to visit! It was Nicole's birthday so we all went out for dinner and a drink. I had a very delightful time. I love hanging out with a small group of friends, and these ones sure are quality!

We had delicious Italian and the chef asked how our meals were. He's a bit old but the nicest man. It's like he really enjoys make people happy through food. Nicole and I decided to share him as our professional chef and professional smiler. 

We also went to a dungeon-like Indian style bar before and after on Nicole's co-teacher's suggestion (or "shout" as she says). 

It really was cool. Both my cocktails tastes like cordial, but I know to order a Sexy Mild next time. And there will be a next time. 


This iced dutch coffee was amazing in the heat.

I tried on loads of glasses for mum.

Friday, May 24, 2013


Today certainly felt like a Friday. The weekend was on the horizon and everyone was in good spirits.

It was also the hottest day so far in Daegu. Somehow the heat isn't as invasive as it is in New Zealand. 33 degrees feels like a nice summer's day in Auckland. It's almost beach-all-day-and-nothing-else weather.

I left my laptop charger at school so I went back to get it this evening. The stroll was more than pleasant, despite the temperature and I felt so peaceful. I need to do things like that more often. Just go out unplanned and take a walk when I have nowhere to be fast.

When I got to school, the students were at dinner break so they were playing on the 'field' and all looked at me in my casual clothing. It was surreal to think that they still had hours of studying left and that although my day was over hours ago, they were continuing with theirs'. Poor kids.

The walk home was equally as pleasant, but somehow hotter. I definitely got a little bit of a sweat going on. At 7pm! I'm pretty happy about that, actually.

Clumsy me

Treat yo self

This 'muesli' sucked me in with teddy bears and greatly disappointed.

I really liked my outfit today. Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure some of the teachers did not.

I bought an eyebrow pencil. Looks good.

Thursday, May 23, 2013


Today just seemed to drift by pretty slowly. This afternoon I got to go see Shanna's open class. Her school is really posh. It was cool to see another teacher do their thing, and do it so well!

Her students are so cute. It was an all-girls class and they took a real liking to Lawrence, another foreign teacher who had come to observe. His black skin made the girls take a special interest and he just smiled and waved from the back as they pointed, giggled and squealed.

One girl, bright red, came up to him at the end and extended a handshake with the other hiding her face. The rest of the class started chanting, "HUG-U, HUG-U!!!" (the way Koreans say 'hug', with the extra sound at the end) and the teachers started shooing them out of the class hurriedly.

I was red for him!

I was taking photos of myself for Cindy cos she loves it.

It was SO HOT. I found pretty roses.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


Tonight I ate almost half a pumpkin. It was amazing and I just could not stop. I meant to leave it so I could have more tomorrow night but that did not happen at all.

My yoga mat has become more like a feature rug in my apartment cos I use it every night and can't be bothered putting it away. I had such a nice time with the chilled music on, just stretching and doing some exercises.

I also watched Crazy, Stupid Love and I just don't get the Gosling mania. I mean, he's definitely attractive, but he's no Gong Yoo, or even Leo.

This concludes this very important update.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


I finally saw The Great Gatsby after months of waiting. I was trying not to get too excited, because that's always a recipe for disaster, but it had a lot of promise, what with Wes Anderson and Leonardo DiCaprio. I wasn't so sure about Tobey McGuire, Carey Mulligan or Jay Z having so much influence on the soundtrack, but that did make me all the more curious.

I came away with the sense that it was a good film. It checked all the boxes, followed the novel word for word sometimes, and never strayed from the plotline.

I appreciated that it could be a good film without all of the complex storylines, character development, and plot twists of modern blockbusters. Sometimes it gets a bit too much.

Yet it was just 'good'.

After reading a couple of reviews which expressed my feelings in words and gave reasons as to why I felt like that, this is my conclusion.

Technically, the film isn't lacking anything. There is abundance. Everything from the set and costumes, to the acting and editing, is painfully obvious.

To me, the book is magical because it is so vague. At the end I was left thinking, "So did he die?" It was all just a little bit cloudy and my imagination was left to fill in the gaps.

The film had no gaps. Every last inch of the screen was constantly filled with letters, lights, flashing jewels, and glossy people. It was all very 'there'.

Although it captures all of the action of the book, it lacks the essence of F. Scott Fitzgerald's masterpiece.

That being said, I'd definitely see it again. Not Wes's best by far, but still a good solid film.

Monday, May 20, 2013


Oh my word it was difficult to keep my eyes open today as I listened to speaking tests. I had to stifle a few yawns and make myself be interested in what they were saying. Some of them were genuinely interesting and had great stories.

They never cease to make me laugh, these students. The funniest ones are the ones who are the noisiest/naughtiest in class. They're usually a hoot.

One boy psyched himself up so much today. My coteacher was laughing so I looked up from my paper to see him shaking his hands, breathing purposefully with his eyes closed and an intense look on his face. We were cracking up but he was so serious. He finally picked out three and then started flicking them so they'd fly away. It was quite involved.

I wish I could film them. I'd have the best montage.
Never give me plants to take care of.

Sweet Dreams

I love dreaming about the future. It's one of my favourite pastimes. It's the reason I have so many future husbands and so many lists. 

Even though life next year is still pretty cloudy, I'm pretty sure I want to live in Seoul for a little while. It's a fabulous city with so much culture. I really feel like I fit in. Daegu is great and I love it, but its so conservative that I'm scared to wear red lipstick lest I be judged harshly. It's a bit stifling. 

Seoul is so different. There are all sorts of houses, everything you ever wanted to see or do or eat, and so many interesting people to gawk at. No one even looks at you twice. 

I'm not sure if I want to teach next year, but I'd definitely like to experience the Seoul life for a bit. It would be awesome to have a vintage store and cafe, or some sort of small business. Who knows!?

It's exciting.

Until the next dream comes along...


Today has been far more chilled than the previous two. We decided to hang out in Itaewon and take it easy.

The first thing to be done was brunch. We went to two places before finding an open cafe with space for us. It was pretty good. The place was cool. It was bright and grungy. Kind of like Itaewon itself.

I quite like it. Not as much as Hongdae or Insadong, but I'd like to go to some more food places.

It had a real morning after feel with trash through the streets, people packing things away, and general quietness. It was also quite seedy and reminded me of K-rd a bit. People were selling all kinds of knock offs along the streets and there were heaps of foreigners from all over the world.

After looking around, we went back to the hostel, picked up our gear, and headed to the station.

It was a very good weekend, and I have fallen in love with Seoul. I've actually written a whole post about it, so until then...

To top it all off I got to see my beloved

Sunday, May 19, 2013


Seoul Day 2: Cultural Awareness

We were true tourists today, visiting Gyoungbuk Palace, Hongbuk Village, and eating a traditional lunch in Insadong. 

I fell even more in love with Seoul after wandering around and looking at the back streets. There's so much more we could have done in Insadong. We didn't have the legs to carrying us to the tea rooms or around the nifty shops. That'll go on the list for next time. 

The historical houses were so cool and I decided to take many photos of people having their photos taken. It was a fun hobby for a while and there were  certainly enough opportunities. 

We had patbingsu in a cafe which refreshed us enough to give us the energy to get back to the hostel to change before visiting Namsan Tower. It was raining so hard and we bought emergency umbrellas from a lady. It all happened very quickly but I ended up with a clear one like I had always wanted. I felt very cool walking around with it. 

The view was cool up the tower and I was stoked to find a window dedicated to showing the direction of NZ. I can't wait to go back there when it's light and dry. 

Lucy kept hurting herself and the walk down from the tower was funny as she looked hilarious, trying to be quick but careful in the pouring rain. The cars were swishing by and it sounded just like Auckland. 

Our Indian dinner was accompanied by wine and more discussion about boys. It was a lot of fun. Much laughter was shared. 

When I looked in the umbrella pot on the way out I was disappointed to find my one gone. At least I knew the joy of the transparent umbrella for a few moments. 

The walk home soaked us despite our remaining umbrellas, but we sure did enjoy ourselves.

Saturday, May 18, 2013


Thanks to Buddha getting one year older, I made my way to Seoul instead of working today. It has been a fantastic day.

Bright and early I rose, got ready, and left the house at 7:30. Quite a feat really. Nicole and I caught the KTX and arrived in record time. 

On the way we made an itinerary and it brought us great delight to have a plan for the best weekend ever.

First up was a 5 Extracts, a coffee shop in Hongdae. The location was a lot better than the coffee. I noticed straight away how each house or store was in a different shaped building. There were so many hidden gems on the back roads. I immediately fell in love with the area. 

We went to the hostel to meet Lucy, Becky, and Maggie before setting out on our shopping adventure. Hongdae just kept getting cooler as we found all sorts of shops, including some vintage ones. 

We moved on to Myeongdong where I spent quite a bit at this one shop with cheap vintage clothing. It was amazing. I could have stayed in there forever if it wasn't for the crowds and the heat. 

Then it was on to the stream which was beautifully lit up by lanterns in Buddha's honour. I was very impressed and Lucy showed me some camera tricks which I've forgotten already. I'll never get the hang of it. 

We ate some Mexican which was so delicious, and talked about boys over our margharitas. We were absolutely knackered so we made it back to the hostel and crashed. 

I should have thought about all the walking when I packed my shoes.

Friday, May 17, 2013


More interviews today and the students had Rebekah and I run through so many emotions! I was "awwh-ing", uncontrollably laughing, and sitting there flabbergasted as the boys answered my questions.

One said he had a crush on a girl and she is his ideal type. He wouldn't divulge her name, but he did tell me what class she's in. He described her so beautifully and grinned the whole time. I hope she likes him too!

Another boy had quite the personality! He talked for so long about whatever he could think of. When he plonked himself down he started rifling through the box of folded question numbers, opening them all and muttering "Number one" over and over. It took me a while to recover from my shock and amusement that he was so obviously cheating and looking for a question he prepared for. He got his wish though and he drew a 1.

He told me how he wants to go to "Australia" because that's where famous composers like Mozart are from. It was also where The Sound of Music was filmed. Then he reached for his phone and asked if there was time for him to sing along to 'Doe a Deer' for me. Luckily my co-teacher was quicker than I and said no. About halfway through I figured he meant Austria. It was fun thinking about Australia as the capital of classical music for a while.

He reached back into the box of numbers and pulling out one he disliked, he put it back and got a better one. I didn't even try stop him this time because I was laughing too hard.

Another boy absolutely floored me when he took a seat. He is one of these massive Korean boys and he just sits there in class like a gentle giant, never making eye-contact or participating at all. I was expecting a very one-sided conversation because he hadn't said a peep all semester.

I asked the first question and in the faintest mumble I have ever heard, I detected perfect English. I took it as a challenge to draw him out of his shell and I did a bit. His volume got a fraction louder and I even got him to chuckle. It feels really cool to discover hidden talents like this.

The only reason I deducted from pronunciation was because I couldn't hear if he was saying each word correctly. I hope I can get him to speak in class by the end of the year.

Challenge accepted!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


For the first time in a while I picked up a book and read it start to finish, only stopping for bathroom and snack breaks. It was great to be immersed in the land of fiction once more.

This was a story about teenagers battling with cancer. John Green's, "The Fault In Our Stars," a book I've wanted to read for a while. I really do enjoy a bit of teen fiction, and even though this was no Hunger Games, it brought up some really good things that a person who is suffering might be going through.

I liked how rational it was about everything and realistic. The teenagers were witty and laughed about their situations like you could imagine someone with a terminal illness would do, given no other option but despair.

Anyway, I laughed, I cried, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Now I can understand my Tumblr feed a bit better.

Today was also Teacher's Day and a student gave me this cute thing.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


One of the 2nd Grade speaking test questions is, "What would your ideal girlfriend/boyfriend be like?" While the answers are always interesting, today I felt like the whole question was a mistake when two boys started answering with cheeky smiles on their faces.

"Umm, she has golden hair... Big eyes ..."

Uh oh. I couldn't help my blushing when I said, "No, no, no. Someone else!"

That stumped them. They had no other answer. They weren't getting any more points for flattery!


On a similar note, my day was amazing because a certain very cute maths teacher sat next to me at lunch. He's the only young teacher at the school and he has the best glasses.

When he and another teacher approached, I mindlessly moved over so he could sit down. I didn't see the spare seat at the end of the table until it was too late and now it looked like I wanted him to sit next to me. Which was entirely the truth, but I blushed bright red when the other teachers started making "Oooohing" noises. Unfortunately I also broke the other chair as I went to pull it out, making the whole debacle even more embarrassing.

The redness continued for a while into the introductions, with my co-teacher looking between us smugly. Even the embarrassment didn't dampen my mood. The other teacher was hilarious and although he spoke Korean, I got the gist of the jokes. I made them all laugh too a few times through translation! Maths teacher is even cuter when he's laughing. Good golly!


After school I had a date with Rebekah, my co-teacher. We ate delicious 손칼국수, a sesame noodle soup that was kind of like creamy pasta. It came with the best kimchi I have ever tasted. It was at the perfect stage of fermentation.

After that we went shopping. I found so many lovely things that were totally buyable. Maybe after I get paid I'll go back there.

Then we watched the cutest Korean movie. It was so quirky. I cried about three times. Tears rolling down my cheeks despite the language barrier. I am amazed at how a film can portray meaning without words. They are incredible things.

What a lovely day!

Monday, May 13, 2013


Today I made a decision. I want to learn my students' names. It's going to be impossible to get all 700 of them memorized, but I'll give it a shot and maybe a few will stick.

I printed out photos and am labelling them. It's great practice for my hangul reading and writing. I feel like I'm getting miles faster.

I forgot how good it is to learn something and watch yourself get better at it. It's mighty encouraging for my brain.

I take great pride when a student sits down for their speaking test and gives me a very pleased and surprised look when I say their name right, even if I did read it off a sheet of paper. 

Names are easy, they're just sounds. Next up is actually knowing what words mean.

Sunday, May 12, 2013



Today we woke up and it was boiling. It was cool. The builders were going for it. Korea knows no holy days of rest. 

We made our way to Sejong Lake which was absolutely beautiful. It reminded me of the Albany Lake by the mall except about 100 times bigger, complete with amphitheatre, kids in remote controlled cars, boats, kites, and families who set up tents on the grass.

We sat in the sun and ate. All afternoon. It was cool to just hang out in the shade of a tree and have a real life picnic. We even went an put our feet in the water. It was so tempting! I wish we could've swam there. 

I had a good time and I even got tan lines! Yay for the sun.

Sejong is one big building site.