Well, I am living abroad...yet again. After Singapore, Spain, Turkey, Korea the Netherlands (and returning to Spain for a Masters) I've unpacked my backpack a little closer to home in Mexico. I live in Culiacan where I am trying my hand at teaching English to University and high school students. Below you'll find random updates as I go to festivals, explore my city or just feel like sharing a random story.

What time is it?

Friday, April 25, 2008

I think I like food

So I was walking to school today and I though to myself, "I wonder what we're having for lunch"

I get really excited about lunch. Moreso than I think teaching. Is that a bad sign???

Oh and I re-checked my gas bill $104.00 give or take a few in conversions.

I still have no idea how to work my bank except for taking money out of the ATM, but I can read my receipt and it says I have money so thats always a good thing :-)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Boring stuff

Well I paid my first gas bill :-)

Gas, electricty, water $140 or maybe less...I dont really remember right now

My bank is all in Korean :-(

So I am confuzzled

but Ji-Yeon helps me out :-)

Taught my first "teachers" class


I like to teach KIDS not ADULTS

but it's only an hour and a half a month (30 minutes every week except the third week) so...I suppose I'll survive

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

I have a cell phone

Not that I expect phone calls, but in case you end up on a plane that lands in Korea, and you think to yourself, "if only I had her number"



You got to pick the last four digits of your phone...

I could have been awesome and picking "phat" or "brat" or "luvr" or something else equally amazing/lame but I panicked and picked my birthday :-)



Monday, April 21, 2008


So my lunch costs $36.00/month.../about maybe $1.50 /meal (I think theres about 22 work days...so yeah)

Pretty darn good deal if I do say so myself

Saturday, April 19, 2008


Earlier when I posted about the


here it is

if its in a metal tray like thing its cafeteria food..it doesnt photo very well but i promise its yummy,

SamGipsal with my coteachers

The cherry plate is the meal my Dutch friends made me.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Best Website EVER


My food is kinda limited as I just buy what I need...and then random stuff...I don't really plan a lot of meals.

So I type in what I have in my fridge/pantry and I end up with deliciousness

Fishcakes: http://www.recipezaar.com/169935

Quick Pasta for one: http://www.recipezaar.com/14170

Shuk Suka: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Shuk-Shuka/Detail.aspx


Except of course the recipes usually call to BAKE something (I have no oven) or blend (I have no blender) but I am doing pretty well with what I have

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

About the bok/book I use to teach

The book I use to teach is pretty good actually. It comes with lame CD's that we basically follow and have some really lame game ideas but some good ones too.

I have one BIG problem with the book. The directions are almost always in Korean. So before I know what the book wants me to do I have to look at the pictures and try to guess. Look at the heading and guess, then type in the Korean to an online translator and guess that way but online translators are NOT always helpful: For example: "Sleep and tu point out quickly and it talks to play try." Yeah...not very helpful.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Korean 101

OK so my Korean is still SEVERELY limited, but hey why not teach what I know

Odee ayo--where. You put what you're looking for first, so Hospital Odeea yo? (I kinda feel like I am singing e i e i o and on that farm he had a ...)

kamsahamnida--thank you (I HATE that their thank you is sooo long! Danke, Gracias, Grazie, Merci, Shukran...VERY short!) Its the uber polite version but I prefer learning the polite and then do casual later I figure I'll offend less people.

chunmanayo--your welcome (formal)

aniayo- your welcome (casual)

eec(g)a choosayo- this please (thier g/c is like a sound between a g and a c...sometimes romanization uses a g sometimes a c)

cooga chooseyo- that please

Chwetsunhamneeda eehey mot heyo
Sorry understand not possible to do (I am sorry I don't understand)

hangulmal mot heyo
Korean language not possible to do (I don't speak Korean)

Masheeso yo

chincha masheesoyo
very delicious

no mo masheesoyo
sooo delicious

mu (c)ga masheesoyo
what is delicious (what do you recommend?)

yongul ha seyo --- do you speak english
English do (it slike hangul...not really an L like a fast L...almost an r???)

tseck (like check but a faster ch is book)

tsecksan (booktable...desk :-D )

compute (like a short e on the end...yep its Konglish deal)

Kitsen (same word but faster ch and e)

gas range (rang-e no silent e, means stove, another Konglish word)

Anyo haseyo (Hello!) First word is like year in Spanish

OK...thats about the extent of my Korean :-)

Monday, April 14, 2008

I learned how to work my stove!

The "gas safety" lady stopped by to make sure gas wasn't leaking, and..its not and...I learned how to work my stove!


So other than that. Today I had my first solo class...i was nervous because A. it was my first solo class and B. it was the first lesson plan I've ever written C. It was the worst lesson plan I've ever written D. It was a class I've never met E. It was a level I've never taught


I did OK I got nervous and spoke too quickly, but overall good. Then I went to the hospital got my results (cannabis negative, TB (not our TB its an abbreviation over here for a drug test) negative, AIDS negative...so they were allowed to let me stay

I applied for my Alien Registration Card...so we'll see how that goes. I had to give them my passport...I HATE giving people my passport...I feel so naked

OK...I am boiling water (on my stove!) to make tea

Then sleep

My weekend/the longest post I will probably ever post

I left my USB cord at home so for now pictures will have to wait, before I go into my weekend festivities, yes I managed to do laundry and I am quite proud of myself.

On Friday my co-teacher and her best friend (soon to be office mate) took me to a traditional Korean meal at a place called Pig House. That's right they spell it in Korean letters but it is an English name. The Pig House.

Its kind of like the Strip Club downtown where you cook the meat yourself, but its WAY different as in the waitress came over like three times to flip our meat because we forgot and she didn't want it to get overcooked.

So first you cook them meat, then you cut it (yes cut, with scissors) into smaller chunks cook a little more. Then you take a big lettuce leaf put a big mint leaf on it put some chopped veggies (like a coleslaw...not really spicy but more flavors than just mayo), then you put a slice of raw garlic, some sauce (like a chipotle kind of but not as bbqey), some onions marinated in soy sauce. and the meat. Then you shove the whole thing in your mouth and try and chew and swallow..oh yes this is NOT a date food, unless the person already knows and loves you.

So basically you make little lettuce wraps. I had them with pork (the korean word for the part of the pork translates to fat back...I don't cook so I don't know what part it corresponds to but it was delicous) and beef (kolbi, kolby?) overall quite tastey.

We had cold noodles (which was you guessed it cold noodles, in a soupy thing with a cold egg and mustard...I'd eat it but I really don't know who comes up with these things. I guess it is like their gazpacho as they eat it in the summer.

Then there was one food...I really cant describe...it was like eating soap...but not all together unpleasant. ..I guess Koreans really dig it I'll ask Gaeul sometime to spell it for me.

We also had some spicy crab which was delicous but hard to eat with chopsticks. What else? Oh a really good desert that was kind of like a snow cone, but with beans and marshmallows (kind of like what dad gets from the pho place every once in a while)

OK, so that was enough food to kill a small army, but I wanted to stock my fridge a little so I went to homeplus (like a super walmart/target but a little more expensive and LOTS more staff...yes StAff not stUff, people are yelling at you left and right about promotions and deals and thank goodness I don't understand a word of it and can easily ignore them...the food sample ladies are always nice though, they say "HOT" very loudly and slowly whenever giving me food and then they smile). I bought, cups, mugs, bowls, a strainer, some pasta, pasta sauce, cheese(like kraft singles but korean...their cheese slection is either...erm...simple plasticy lunch stuff or gouda...no just block of cheddar) , tortillas(no corn just flour :-( ) and bleach :-) My bathroom is supposed to be white and it WILL be white gosh darn it...plus some mold killer that I think is just bleach but it says mold killer and thats what I want to do so yeah I bought that.

When at homeplus one of my students saw me, I have no clue who she is but I am the only white person at the school so she has a one up on me, "Tacher, Miss English Teacher Careesa Pick" Koreans are like Mexcians as "I" means "EE" so I am CAREESSA Pick...a very short fast e for Peck almost like Pick.

Me: Hello how are you
Her: I am fine how are you
Me: I am good (three second pause) I am getting silverware
Her: Oh....Good Bye!

So yes that was my lovely exchange.

I then took the wrong way home and about...the entire legally blonde soundtrack later, was home. Once home I could not open one jar of pasta sauce luckily I bought two...the other will just have to wait.

Watched some really bad movie that wasn't that bad (I bought it for about $3) and fell asleep. Woke up and ... there's smoke outside my window...FANTASTIC!

Turns out some building near me burnt...sirens and lots of fun stuff. I stayed inside and made my bathroom whiter, made some pasta and overall had a very unproductive day....oh I watched a James Bond marathon always good times :-)

Sunday, woke up, made eggs (I have a stove...I have no idea how to use said stove, but I figured out how to poach, and scramble eggs, make pasta, potstickers and...ok so far thats it in the microwave) realized I have no bread or mustard and I forgot to buy a cutting knife.

Walk back to homeplus, NEVER AGAIN will I shop at homeplus on a Sunday. I almost died! It was so crowded!!! And everyone had shopping carts (I prefer the handbasket) and I was like darting and dodging and jumping and leaving aisles/getting stuck because I couldn't fit and it was NOT FUN! I don't usually get claustrophobic but this was BAD! However I managed to buy mustard, pepper, more silverware, bread, veggies, knife, bottle opener, can opener, and other fun stuff picked up a bottle of white wine that looked ok (by the way my college friends will probably be more amused than the family but a bottle of boons farm is like $5 over here...and why would they even import that stuff???) Yellow Tail runs about $12.

Figured I'd pick up a bottle of water near my house as I want to get a six pack but don't want to carry 12 liters of water home. Walk home (yep I took the wrong way again) nope can't stop by the store, why? Its filled with smoke! It is not on fire, but the same building that was the day before is and is filling the street with smoke. Unlike the San Diego fire however this smelled like candles or cinnamon, like a spice shop or candle shop had burnt actually quite pleasant. So I have to double back, the long way get home and put veggies away, put wine in freezer, take cold shower and open the bottle of wine...it is not awful, but it doesn't change the fact that I don't speak Korean. My apartment has a...PA system (I guess) and every once in a while the guy comes on and announces something...I never have any idea what he's saying and I assume its things like, "We're painting the stairs" since the stairs were recently painted etc. But when there's a huge fire a block away I just hope its not, "Evacuate the building". So ignorance is bliss and I go to sleep.

I wake up and hey! Smoke is gone, fire is gone, everything is good...YAY for sleeping.

Today I go get my drug test and AIDS test from the hospital, if I pass I stay if not...see you guys soon :-)

Then, once again assuming I pass, I go to register myself as a Alien Resident.

Payday is the 25th(only 9 more days, but hey who's counting), and I guess we have a spring break May 1-5th so that'll be cool.

OK, I think thats it for now :-)

Friday, April 11, 2008

I bought pots and pans

VERY exciting I know

I am attempting to do laundry now...thought I had it...but maybe not...darn washing machine in Korean.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Pictures from today at school

My classroom :-)

My lunch

it was yummy

Every day you get a soup, rice, some kind of meat, some kind of kimchi and some kind of green thing...seaweed???

Monday, April 7, 2008

Pictures from my walk yesterday

Enjoy the random format :-) (In case you didn't know click the photo to make it bigger)

Me :-) So you remember the most important part of this blog is ME.

I liked the little waterfall and the ... flap gate (?) ... that the water flows from has pictures of Suwon

Some random church I found walking.

Don't swim you'll wake the fish! (OK...so I don't really know what it says!) Something like suwaentmshe? Maybe...eh)


Pretty painted wall thing

Cherry Blossoms

Oooo fishing guys...they were awesome...right after I took this they saw me and turned and smiled holding the fish up so I could get a better picture :-) awwww

Pretty night tower picture

Crazy insect sculpture

Towers/gigantic insect sculpture thing

I just had my first class ever!!!

This morning started with me being on the tv for the school (like the morning announcements) I thanked them for having me here. Told them their city was beautiful, and I looked forward to meeting them.

I have given probably a thousand speeches in my life. That one was probably the hardest!

Then I had my class it was 5th graders. They are...12? But in the states it is 11 (because in Korea when you are born you are already 1 year old) so over here I am 24 not 23.

It went ok. I am teaching WITH my co-teacher right now. She uses A LOT of Korean when she teaches. We taught prepositions. Are you exited? Yeah you should be prepositions are VERY exciting!

Then lunch. Technically we pay for it, but it comes out of ur paycheck VERY cheap. I had a delicious lunch of...rice (shocker) some seafood soup with vegetables, some sort of meet, a kimchi made with cabbage and a seaweed salad. Quite tasty. I had to use chopsticks...I did pretty well.

I go to the hospital today. If they find something really wrong with me they send me back to the States.

Tomorrow is the day to vote so it is a public holiday (my first public paid holiday).

Oh and per my father's request I changed it so anyone can comment :-) Be nice!



My Apartment!

My couch observe the Singapore Airlines blanket matches perfectly
Then we have my kitchen. I cleaned it. It was kinda of dirty. I wonder if there is a Korean tradition of leaving an egg in the sink when you leave the apartment?
My pink bed (obviously I did not buy the comforter) it came with matching pink slippers to wear around the house.

My closet (socks are behind pjs/bras are on door handle/underwear in a purse on the door handle...hey space is limited) shoes are in a closet by the door so I can take them off/put them on directly before leaving.

My washer and dryer (clothes rach from the ceiling)

Sunday, April 6, 2008

My first real "day" in Korea

I tried to make some semblance of my apartment putting things away, making a list of what I needed etc. but after about two hours of that I decided I was tired as hell through a bunch of stuff in a bag and fell asleep.

The next day I woke up at around 7:30 I was supposed to be ready for school at 8:20 when my co-teacher would pick me up at my apartment. I sent off a few e-mails got dressed (minus my shoes) throw my hair in a decent looking thing (I even ran a brush through it) and then the doorbell rings(a whole ten minute early mind you)...dun dun dun of course as I am brushing my teeth. I spit rinse and deal with the doorbell.

My doorbell is actually pretty cool, it is attached to a camera...so I see whoever is outside and can pick up the phone and talk to them before opening the door.
It is my co-teacher. So I go to open the door.

Mind you I live in a very secure apartment I have three and a half locks on my door it takes me, on average, two minutes to open my door...I always forget to unlock one of the locks. After fighting with my door, I let in the teacher. Quickly throw on my shoes and leave.

Remember how I quickly threw on my shoes? Yeah...I threw on one brown shoe and one black shoe...I have major skills. Luckily one takes their shoes off when entering buildings so not many knew of my foolishness.

So at school I met a lot of the staff. They were all very very nice. The Vice-Principal brought me fruit on my first day to make sure I was eating. Most of the teachers want to improve their English, but they are very shy. Starting in May I think I begin teaching the staff too, that makes me a little nervous I like kids more than staff, but they all seem sweet so I'll try!

My co-teacher served as translator throughout the day. I felt bad translating is exhausting. There were days in Spain where after speaking, studying and reading in Spanish I just needed to call someone and speak English for an hour or two, or my brain would explode.

Things that I now know about my job:

I teach 3rd-6th grade. Fifth and Sixth grade twice a week, 3rd and 4th grade once a week.
I have a curriculum complete with books, worksheets and really lame games I probably won't use.
My classroom is awesome I'll take pictures on Monday.
Our principal likes the environment. Our classroom is filled with green plants and topiaries and fun stuff. His office has like three fountains!
I will teach with my co-teacher for a month starting in May we split the class and I have my own part.
The school provides me with lunch :-)
I have work M-F 9-5 (well 4:40 ish) and the first and second Saturday of the month from 9-1 (but I only teach 22 hours/week)
I have my first holiday on Wednesday.

So after school (which consisted of me walking around and having little kids come up to me giggle and say, "Hi!" my co-teacher walked me to a store I could get some stuff at...HomePlus. I bought some food, and hangers. I don't get my moving in allowance until Monday so I held off on most stuff.

Then she bought me a burger (she's so sweet!)

I cam home re-orgnized my apartment (MUCH better) and tried to find my way back to school. I found it! Walked around school a little and headed back.

On the menu for today: finish organizing apartment, clean bathroom and kitchen, walk around a little, and sleep :-) Tomorrow the principal introduces me to the school.



Saturday, April 5, 2008

Suwon :-)

I am writing you from my school in Suwon....but lets backtrack a day or so.

Thursday morning: 5:00am wake up, brush my teeth, pack my toothbrush, head to the airport. Tell the lady at the counter that my work visa is a work visa and I do not need to have a return ticket. Yes I realize that my visa is written in korean, but it says E-2, that's an English teaching visa...I think she finally believed me.

Make it through security, and wait... board my plane, watch some episodes of 30 rock. and enjoy a water. De-board exit the airport go to the Singapore airline counter, spend 5 minutes looking for my baggage stickers. Go through security AGAIN. Buy a water and a pen ($6 yeesh!) and go to my boarding area to wait.

Wait...wait...wait...read..wait...wait...read....wait...aha! Two and a half hours later! I board find my seat put my luggage in the overhead bin and stretch out. The whole row was mine! I then read, watched P.S. I love you, that Jonny Depp barber movie...Teeny Swodd? Sweeny Tod? Tod Sweeny...blanking, the beginning of I am legend since Brandon and I saw the end at the drive in, the start of atonement, and...oh August Rush VERY CUTE!

I also had tomato juice, water, wine, orange juice, wine, water, water, water, water, water, apple juice, water, and a tea, lunch, dinner, three snacks and an ice cream sandwich.

I hoarded/was given a knife and two spoons, three toothbrushes, a razor and shaving cream, a very comfy airplane blanket, chocolate candy bar, some peanuts, and a pair of socks.

I arrived was greeted by my saint of a co-teacher Ji-Yeon and her friend(my department head)...I forgot her name. She got me on a bus to my apartment, took me on a taxi to my apartment and then into my apartment.

I LOVE it. Even the fact I have bright pink floral sheets is amazing (with matching slippers) my bathroom and kitchen sink are dirty, but I'll clean tomorrow.

I need: hangers, sponges, and...a washcloth for my face (which I almsot took from the airplane abut didn't).

I have: iron, toaster, microwave, rice cooker, fridge(which currently has peanuts and a chocolate bar in it), washer, clothes line, couch, tv(no english channels yet), the ability to steal internet usually from someone, stove, desk, bookshelves, closet, dining table, and...umm...door with three locks.

I am a 15 minute walk from school...and I am sure to get lost.

There is a bakery nearby though so I will not starve.

Oh and my co teacher brought me milk, water, and bread :-)

Oh and I was so frazzled this morning I wore two different shoes :-(

At least I get to wear sandals in the classroom so no one knows :-)

Oh and my Korean sucks!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Why Korea?

I have to finish packing, but I thought i'd take a moment to answer the question people keep asking me.

"Why are you teaching in Korea?"

A. Gaeul
B. I've never been
C. They don't require any experience and they pay decently
D. They pay for your apartment
E. Kimchi

A. Gaeul is my friend I met while studying Spanish in Spain. She is pretty much da bomb. She's one of those super smart people that makes you feel dumb because she speaks, French, German, English, Spanish and...oh yea KOREAN. But since she's in Korea I'll know someone and she can save me when I get arrested for accidentally claiming allegiance to their Northern counterpart.

B. I like going places I've never been. It is really fun. You have to deal with culture, languages, and full immersion. It is AMAZING! Plus it is close enough to Asia I can go to countries I know I love (China, Vietnam, Japan, etc.)

C. If you have a degree, you are hired. HOW AWESOME IS THAT? The pay isn't great but the taxes are lower (I don't pay American taxes) and with the dollar going down i'll be making even more..kinda.

D. I like free rent.

E. I like kimchi it is good.


Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Getting my E-2 Visa

Oh boy...this stuff was NOT as easy as it used to be.

I flashed back to the days of Singapore where we would do daytrips of embassies. Some of them in malls where we were in and out in an hour, some where we would be there all day. The Korean embassy was...odd.

First I drove there (to La) with my mom (from San Diego). This is a good 2.5/3 hour drive (depending on speed and traffic). I finally arrive and they have free parking (wohoo!) I enter and pass through security...except there's not security guard, just a metal detector. I walk through and...it goes off...still no guard. I look around and, seeing no one, continue walking. My mom walks through to a similar scene.

I go to the window (that's right...no lines...no picking a number, I just walk up to a window...how strange is that?) talk to the lady through one of those screen things (I hate those things! they are by far worse than the drive thru windows) she says if I need an interview I need to come back at two (ok so for those in the future call ahead and make an appointment) I go eat lunch(steal the menu because its has some korean I can study while I wait at the embassy) walk around come back and she says I don't need an interview, my paperwork is fine without one...ok fine...

Since I live in San Diego and cannot come back tomorrow to pick up my passport and visa I gave her an addressed and stamped envelope per the internet's request...but she says if I wait until three I should be able to leave it it...sure why not

Sure enough at 2:55pm I get my visa. Long drive home and by about 8:00pm I've booked a flight to Korea...WOW

I am going to Korea

on Thursday

less than 48 hours and I'll be on a plane to Korea (ok a plane to San Fran...but from there...Korea!)