Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas at Work

Thursday we had a Christmas celebration for the morning kindergarten classes. The school is split on two floors. I was asked to be Santa for the 4th floor and one of the other teachers Don did it for the 2nd floor kids. The kids seemed to enjoy it but couldn't concentrate on anything else but Christmas (totally understandable). Each class came and took a picture with Santa and then went back to class for other activities. This was basically a photo opportunity for the school to send to current and perspective parents. Photo ops like this are really common here and exploited a great deal. Enough about that though. The day totally flew by at light speed and was capped with a variety of goodies from the kids. I left with soaps, cookies, lotions, and a sweet bottle of scotch!

Cambodia is right around the corner.... we leave tomorrow!!! I've got most everything in order, just need to pack now.

In a twist of amazingness my wallet magically turned up! It somehow made its way into a drawer that I think in total I've opened 3 times including the time I opened it and found my wallet. Weird but a relief.


Here are some pictures from Christmas at LCI.


Christmas LCI

The one above has the words amazing written all over it.

Christmas LCI

Christmas LCI

LCI Christmas

Listening to The Courteeners Not Nineteen Forever

Saturday, December 19, 2009

New Camera = Lots of new pictures, Lost wallet = Sad Face

I bought a new camera about a week ago and can't get enough of it. I upgraded from the Nikon D60 to the Nikon D300. The D60 was a great jump off camera and I learned a lot using it. I found a super deal on craigslist for the D300 and have been shooting with ever since.

My wallet on the other hand is nowhere to be found. It magically disappeared on the walk from my apartment to Tom n Toms coffee. Pretty sucky if you ask me. My mom just happened to have sent me a new card that came to her house, so I have access to my account at home but I have to get a new Korean card. There was about $50 bucks in it and that was the only stuff that was lost with any monetary value, but I had some pictures of my family and a coin my dad kept in his wallet before he passed. Kind sucky. Maybe with will turn up but I doubt it.


Here are some pictures from the new camera.


SJW_1535

SJW_1502

Evening in Bundang

Evening in Bundang


Friday Night in Bundang
Random Korea

Listening to Real Estate Suburban Beverage.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Snowboarding in Seoul?

This past weekend (Dec. 11-13) 50,000 spectators at Seoul's Gwanghwamum square witnessed Switzerland's Gian-Luca Cavigelli win his first World Cup event. Constructed in the middle of this insanely congested city sat a huge a jumping facility that The Seoul Metropolitan Government said cost a total of W700 million (US1=W1,164) and took over 6,000 steel pipes and 500 tons of ice to create. This was the 1st and only time an Asian country has hosted an event of this type.

It was pretty awesome all around. It's been awhile since I had been to any kind of snowboarding competition and this was a great one to watch.


SJW_1128

SJW_1101

SJW_1087



Listening to The Cribs The Light Went Out.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Webcam

My kindergartners discovered how to use the built in webcam on my computer the other day. I was going through some of my pictures and found these. What a bunch of goof balls.



video



10 more days until Cambodia. Can't wait for it.


Listening to Mumford & Sons Little Lion Man.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Is it Really Already December?

It feels like I just got off the plane from Los Angeles and stepped out in Incheon. I don't know if everyone experiences this but time doesn't seem to exist here in Korea. It feels like a time warp of some sort. Kind of like a Rabbit Hole. Well with that said, there has been a great deal that has happened and will be happening.

At the end of the month I am off to Cambodia. I found a guesthouse in Siem Reap called Bou Savy Guesthouse. The rooms there are dirt cheap and seem to have a local feel to it. I know what you are thinking..... dirt cheap usually raises a flag, but that's why I did my research. Bou Savy is one of the guesthouses in Siem Reap that had the highest customer review ratings. Hope they are real ratings.....

I also picked up a new camera for the trip. I found a super deal on a Nikon D300 with a decent lens that was included. I still need to head into Seoul and pick up a prime lens before the trip. I have really been enjoying shooting with it so far (only been a week).

Another exciting piece of news is the 2010 World Cup draw that took place last weekend. I was up until 5am my time watching a few goofy people pull special ping pong balls out of a a few bowls. I know this might not sound super exciting to some people but these ping pong balls decided the World Cup groupings for June. The US had a wonderful draw, pulling England, Slovenia, and Algeria. Playing England will be super exciting because it will give the US a chance to take down a huge European team on a grand stage.

Short and sweet this posting. Going to make an effort to update this a bit more regularly.

Here are some pictures from the past few weeks. Thanks Crystal for the awesomeness.








Listening to Tokyo Police Club If It Works.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

World Cup Field Set

The field of 32 is finally set.

AFC

* Australia
* Japan
* Korea DPR
* Korea Republic

CAF

* Algeria
* Cameroon
* Côte d'Ivoire
* Ghana
* Nigeria
* South Africa

CONCACAF

* Honduras
* Mexico
* United States

CONMEBOL

* Argentina
* Brazil
* Chile
* Paraguay
* Uruguay

OFC

* New Zealand

UEFA

* Denmark
* England
* France
* Germany
* Greece
* Italy
* Netherlands
* Portugal
* Serbia
* Slovakia
* Slovenia
* Spain
* Switzerland

It looks like June is going to be awesome! Looking forward to the draw on December 4th.

Also scored tickets to see Muse on Jan. 7th!

Things are looking pretty good right now.





Listening to Radars to the Sky I Might.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Busy Weekend

Time is ripping past like a wild animal and this weekend did just the same. The last few Saturdays I've been playing soccer at a local park. It's been great being able to run around for a few hours.



My friend David took this shot. Check out some of his other stuff. It's pretty awesome.

Saturday evening Crystal and I went to Yeouido Island to check out the 63 Building. The building itself is 63 stories tall and you can see all of Seoul from the top. We didn't make it to the top but we did get as far as the 60th floor. There was an art exhibit at the Sky Cafe and 360 degree views of the city.

63 Building

The exhibit was pretty cool also. There was a variety of work there and even a few Warhol pieces. I'll probably end up back at the 63 Building because there was a ton of other things to do there, including a wax museum and aquarium.

Sunday we took an hour bus ride from Bundang to Yongin to check out Everland. It was really cold outside, like in the 40's so there was hardly anyone at the theme park. The country is also really worried about swine flu so that could have played into the lack of people also. The rides were geared towards a slightly younger crowd but there was still plenty for grownup children to do also.

They were still transitioning to their winter motif so some of the things were not fully set up. It appears there will be sledding and stuff like that to do in the near feature. One of the rides that really caught my interest was the Safari Bus Ride. Basically a group of people load on to a mini bus and travel to a back section of the park. Freely wandering are a variety of super cool animals. There were bears, white tigers, lions, and LIGERS!!!!

Everland
Everland
Everland

Overall it was a pretty solid adventure. Everland is definitely worth the voyage to get to. The safari ride on its own is enough.


Listening to Ryan Adams Karina.

63 Building
Everland

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Everland

Heading to Everland right now. Theme park in Korean?!?!?! Could be interesting.





Listening to Girl Talk What It's All About.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Aquarium's Rock!

Since moving to Korea I've been to two different aquariums and have decided aquariums rock big time. Over the weekend Crystal and I went to the COEX Aquarium in Seoul. It started off in the right direction when I found a big box of popcorn for only 1,000 ₩ ($0.84)! The aquarium had an interesting mix of creatures, that included spider monkeys, chickens, and hedgehogs (all of which are not your usually aquarium clientele).

I'm pretty sure I spent 45 minutes infatuated with a ray shark that kept swimming laps around a group of fish. It was so graceful and awesome I had trouble leaving it.

COEX Aquarium

After the ray shark we made our way to a tank full of piranha's. It amazes me how these creatures are born in the wild with amazing color patterns and can be so vicious.

COEX Aquarium

One of the cooler creatures was a turtle that was hanging out. The interesting thing about it was it had two heads! At home there was a snake at the LA Zoo that had two heads and it was always so strange to see.

COEX Aquarium


There were tons of other fish and lots of other things to be seen and done at the Aquarium. If you are looking for something cool and different to do in Seoul this is a solid bet.


COEX Aquarium
COEX Aquarium
COEX Aquarium
COEX Aquarium
COEX Aquarium
COEX Aquarium
COEX Aquarium


Listening to The Henry Clay People Andy Sings!


Aquarium pt. 1
Aquarium pt.2

Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween Korean Style

Friday at work we had a Halloween celebration for our kindergarten classes. The kids came to school dressed up in costumes and most of the staff dressed up also. Halloween in Korea is pretty nonexistent, but with the influx of Hagwons (private English schools) in Korea, Halloween is slowly creeping into the culture (or at least in the Seoul area).

The kids seemed to really enjoy themselves. In class we made Jack-o-lanterns, had a candy hunt, and played Halloween games. Towards the end of the day all the kids lined up in awkward lines and went room to room to "trick or treat" for what I thought was some of the crumbiest candy in the world. They were dumb sucking candies that my grandfather would have probably have passed out.

Over all the kids had a good time.

A few weeks ago one of the teachers on the 2nd floor had to leave back to the US because of family issues. Everyone has had to pick up either an extra class or extra students because of her leaving. Her departure has also left an empty room on the main floor, and because LCI is a business first and a school second; an empty room on the main floor is bad for business. My kindergarten class has been at LCI the longest and has a super grasp of the English language and because of that, they have decided to uproot us and move all of my classes to B Class. I don’t even know if the students have been notified of the classroom change. To be honest, this blows big time. It will be fine but the way administration went about the change is crappy. Enough about that, but you can tell there is a tad of bitterness.


On a positive note it is officially Fall here in Korea. Leaves are actually changing colors and falling to the floor. The other day I watched a woman rake a a ton of leaves into a big pile. I usually don't have impulse issues but as soon as I saw her finish and go back inside, I jump in the pile. It was awesome!


Here are some pictures of the coolest witches, ninjas, wizards, and princesses in Korea.

LCI Halloween
LCI Halloween
LCI Halloween
LCI Halloween
LCI Halloween

LCI Halloween

Listening to The Noisettes Atticus.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Here Today Gone Tomorrow

I've had two friends visiting from home, and it's been awesome having them here. I've know Carlos and Brian for almost 10 years. We all went to college together and lived together for a super long time. Having them here is making me miss home big time. It's been great getting home from work and having my buddies around.

The two of them did a lot of tourist stuff while they were out here, and bought a ton of bootleg stuff for some reason. It's been really funny watching the come back with bags of crap.

The two of them leave tomorrow afternoon bound for Los Angeles. Carlos said he is going to try and send Diet Coke out my way pretty often. The idea of a regular supply of Diet Coke is so exciting, because it is nonexistent here in Korea.

Going to miss having them around.








Listening to Julian Casablancas 4 Chords of the Apocalypse.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Botanical Garden Field Trip

Wednesday afternoon we went on a field trip to a botanical garden which was about 15 minutes from campus. Our buses pulled up to a rather large complex and we set up shop. Each class was greeted by a smiling tour guide and off we went. The garden was large enough for each class to have their own space and no be under foot. There were different sections to the garden including several ponds, a really cool shrub maze, and an insect house.

The tour was conducted in Korean so I was kind of out of the loop for a bit but Junu and Kai did a lot of interpreting for me. I was really impressed at how kid friendly the guide was. At one point she was on her hands and knees talking about a worm. The kids were totally stoked throughout the entire trip. They were really engaged and had a lot to talk about when we got back to school.

Botanical Garden Field Trip
Botanical Garden Field Trip
Botanical Garden Field Trip
Botanical Garden Field Trip
Botanical Garden Field Trip

Things have been pretty quiet other than that. The US qualified for the 2010 World Cup which was super exciting. 2 of our main players were injured though which is a total bummer. It's been really sucky coming home from work on 2 separate occasions and seeing news that Charlie Davis was in a really bad car accident and Gooch tore a ligament during the Costa Rica game. Both are big parts of the squad. On a positive note the draw for the World Cup is Dec. 4th so that is something to look forward to.

2 of my good friends are coming to visit on Monday for 10 days so that should be awesome. I'll get to do some exploring with people who are like family to me. Good things to come.

Botanical Garden Field Trip

Listening to Cage the Elephant Drones in the Valley.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Eeeeekkkk

Lightening, thunder and leaves of many colors. It really is a different world here compared to my little hometown of Los Angeles. I left for work in the morning and it was about 65 degrees outside and the sun was shining. As I came home for lunch it was starting to rain out of nowhere. While I was making lunch the rain picked up and the thunder and lightening started. Pretty awesome. It all happened in like a matter of 15 minutes.

I kind of want to just stay home now and watch the storm come through. Don't think that would go over well with the school, seeing as I have 2 more classes to go.



Listening to Karen O and the Kids Capsize.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Soccer Sundays

I've been up bright and early watching most of the World Cup qualifiers come to an end this morning. Italy, Germany, Denmark, Serbia, Chile, Brazil, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Australia, Japan, North and South Korea, Spain, England, Netherlands, and Paraguay have all qualified for 2010.

The game that I am waiting for is the US v. Honduras match. With a win we will seal our spot for the World Cup. The game will kickoff at 11 AM and hopefully I can find a feed. I've been looking forward to the qualifiers wrapping up all week.


Other then that things are pretty quiet in Korea. 2 of my good friends are flying in next week from the US, so it will be get to see them. Work is going well and the kids are getting very excited about Halloween. Also I'm working on booking a flight to Siem Reap, Cambodia for winter holiday. Flight prices are all over the place so I am working with a few travel agents to find the best deal.

Looking forward to the USMNT win over Honduras.



Listening to The Airborne Toxic EventMissy.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Hello October

Dear October-

How did you get here so fast? It feels like my plane just landed here in this place they call Korea. It has been an enjoyable few days with you here. The weather has been close to perfect, which made for a great long weekend. Feel free to stay for a bit. Please being Halloween in a timely manner.

Your friend-

Stuart

P.S. - Do you know if there is anywhere with awesome breadsticks? I've been missing them greatly.

Listening to The Decemberists California One/Youth And Beauty Brigade.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Laundry

Down here in the Rabbit Hole (Korea) dryers are not a standard appliance for people. For 2 months I have been washing my clothes and sheets and then hang drying them. Personally I feel clothes just don't feel the same without being dried. After the wash they don't retain their shape and they have a rough feel to them.

So to my delight I stumbled upon a cleaners right down the street from my apartment. A few days ago I dropped off some dry cleaning and noticed 3 super huge dryers in the back. The man explained to me in a combination of Korean and English that they will wash and dry items for a flat fee. It was a bit on the expensive side but it sounded amazing. So I dropped off a hobo bundle of clothes and sheets wrapped up in my comforter.

Today I went in to pick up my hobo bundle and it was no longer in a bundle. My comforter, sheets, and underwear were folded neatly. All of my shirts were hung on hangers. But most important everything had been dried.

There were about 12 hangers of stuff and a bag with my comforter and sheets in it. The owner of the store grabbed the hangers and shuffled me out of the store. She proceeded to lock her shop and help me carry everything right to my door step. This alone will being me back to Eco Cleaners often.

As we were walking down the street together I couldn't help but think of the scene in the movie Home Alone where Kevin is staying in a hotel and desk person brings up a pair of his dry cleaned underwear and he freaks out because someone might have seen them. Now I didn't freak out but it just reminded me of that scene.

The whole experience put a big smile on my face. Makes me think that humanity still really does exist.



Listening to Karen O and the Kids Heads Up.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Solid Weekend

This weekend I stayed in town but it was still awesome. Friday night I went out with a group of friends and hung for a bit at a place called Pub 210. It's a foreign hangout and the jukebox is actually a computer with youtube. About halfway through the evening Crystal and I commandeered the computer and played DJ for a bit. Pretty entertaining all around. After 210 I built a fort at home and was pretty impressed with my fort building skills.

Saturday afternoon we ventured out to Insadong and wandered there for a bit. There was a festival going on at the park, with tons of odd booths and things set up. The highlight of the afternoon was the free popcorn vendor that was situated just off the path. Popcorn and I have been good friends for sometime now, so the idea of popcorn for free was amazing.

Insadong

Today I found a poker game in Gangnam and played at a full table. The game was at a casino where only foreigners could enter. At the table were 7 Japanese players, 1 Indian player, a Vietnamese player, and myself. I played for about 3 hours and made enough cash to probably pay for my trip to Cambodia during winter holiday.


Overall I must say it was a solid weekend.


Listening to Discovery Osaka Loop Line.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Field Trip

I went on my first field trip with LCI today. Students and staff piled onto buses and we took a 5 minute drive to Bundang Central Park. The park was pretty awesome and there was tons of space for the kids to spazz out and move around. We played a variety of games that included a mixture of teachers and students. Overall it was pretty entertaining.

Once we finished playing the organized games the kids were aloud to run around and be children. I was super pleased that the school was putting on an event that let the kids actually be kids. At one point there were a group of 15 children chasing pigeons and having an awesome time doing it.

Somehow a chase game started with the kids chasing a teacher. As the teacher got tired they would yell out another teachers name and suddenly 45 kids would stop in their tracks and book it to the next teacher. This proved to be entertaining for about 10 minutes, but the kids really enjoyed it.

Central Park Field Trip
                     Crystal turning the children on me....

Central Park Field Trip

Central Park Field Trip
                             My class getting ready for tug of war.

Central Park Field Trip

Listening to The Airborne Toxic Event The Girls in Their Summer Dresses.

LCI Field Trip