Our First Day of School

After laying out our "first day of school" outfit and our leather patent shoes last night, Austin and I survived our first days of school as Elementary School teachers and even have a few funny stories to document.  But first, here is a run-down of our days:

Austin: At 9 am in the morning, Austin was the guest of honor at a school-wide assembly in the gym. He had to give an introduction speech and broadcast himself to the whole school. At 9:50 he sat in the "teachers meeting" = eating apples and drinking green tea! From then to 11:50 he sat in HIS OWN classroom on HIS OWN computer and did nothing. After the 11:50 class he had lunch consisting of: rice, some kind of soup, cold noodles, kimchi, and hard egg casserole (?). From then until 3:30 he, again, did nothing. Then, until the end of the day (at 4:40) his Korean co-teacher gave him a lesson in Hangul (the Korean language).

Lauren: At 9 am in the morning, I had to report to the "broadcasting room" and sit behind a wanna-be news anchor set to introduce myself to the whole school over the school-wide broadcasting network. From 10-1, I had 3 back-to-back classes of 5th graders where I shared my Powerpoint on my life, family and hobbies. My lunch consisted of: rice, some kind of soup, sweet and sour fish, leaves with anchovies in them and kimchi. [Note: we no longer feel bad for American Schools' Cafeteria Food] Since Koreans do not use knives and I was having a hard time cutting up my sweet and sour fish, I asked my co-teacher (Young Jin) how to cut my food. He, then, leaned across the table and started cutting all of my food for me with his chopsticks! After lunch, my co-teacher and I had two more classes followed by reading a book for an hour.

Funny things said today by our kids:

little girl to Lauren about Austin's picture: 
"He has a lot of hair on his face. Is he your grandpa?"

little boy to Austin:
"Do you like your wife?"

little girls about picture of Ella: 
[giggling among girls]    
Lauren: "What are you laughing at?"      
Little girl: "She wants to eat your dog!"
Lauren: (wants to punch them in the face)

little boys to Lauren:
"How much do you weigh?"

little boy in the stairwell to Austin:
"You look like OBAMA!"

little boy in the hall to Austin:
"You look like BRAD PITT!"

We are now taking a vote on which one YOU think Austin looks like...please respond with a "comment"


Our First Place!

Our bedroom. Those back doors lead off to a porch/laundry room.  During the winter you close the suction doors and summer you leave them open.
Our Kitchen!  It is a great space with a stove, microwave, fridge, countertops, plenty of storage and table and chairs! Very modern looking with these bamboo-type floors!
Our bathroom. Restrooms in Korea do not have a special area for the shower. As you can see, the shower is in the room and has not raise in the floor to retain the water. Therefore, the water from the shower goes all over the whole room...not their smartest decision.
This is what it looks like when you walk in. Stairs on the right lead up to a 3-4 ft. ceiling loft area (we are using it for storage).  Straight ahead is our bedroom, with the kitchen straight ahead and to the left. Bathroom at 9 o'clock and entry way (for shoes...Koreans don't wear their shoes inside their home) at 6 o'clock behind us.


Apartment, Hanguel and Outback!

You were going to get a quick tour of our apartment with some picture that I took, but this computer is taking forrrrever, so that will come soon!

Our adventures in Korea have continued to be new, different and very eye-opening (We Americans sure do have a way of thinking that everything we do is correct, even if we love to think that we are open-minded).  After talking to our parents on Skype yesterday morning, (yahoo!) Austin and I ventured over to a Christian church that was down the street from the little bakery we were sitting at…yes, Koreans surprisingly LOVE their baked goo

ds AND they don’t have any funky fish products in them, unlike most of their foods.  This bakery’s name was ‘Paris Baguette,’ which makes me laugh really hard because about 90% of the people in our city do not even know what “Hello” means!  There are some random shops with English names that for a second makes me excited to think that there are English speakers, then

 when I remember the situation we are in I get very confused as to why they would name their shops with English words.  Continuing with that thought, I have yet to see one Korean with a t-shirt with Korean writing (hanguel)…yep, all English.  I want to go up to them and say, “I’m sorry, do you e

ven know what your shirt says?”  It confuses me. 

     Back to the church topic:  So Austin and I mosey on down to the church (the only reason we know it is a church is because of the large cross at the top of the building- everything else in Korean) and walk

 in only to be stared and pointed at by all of the people in there!  It was like they had never seen an American before.  There were four little girls who were probably about 7 years old that continually ran up to us, giggled and said “helllllooooooo!” They were the cutest things ever and it made me w

ant to adopt a Korean baby (Austin and I decided they are some of THE cutest babies out there!)  We were welcomed by two women who grabbed my (Lauren’s) arm and led us into a fellowship/community area.  The assistant pastor then came and sat with us and, amazingly, spoke excellent English.  He wanted to know everything about 

us and was totally amazed that we had only been there three days and were interested in finding a church.  This man (his Korean name translates to David) had been a missionary in the Philipines for 18 years and was pretty much fluent in both English and Filipino, as well as Korean.  He to

ld us all about the church, told us he would love for us to attend their church and informed us that we are the only foreigners to have ever visited!  We went upstairs for their 3 pm church service and were amazed by the hospitality.  They had us stand up at the beginning and the congregation sang a welcoming song to us, complete with hand mo

tions and all!  At one point, they waved their hands in our direction to demonstrate them sending blessings and welcomings our way.  The assistant pastor gave us ear phones for us to listen while he translated the events of the service.  We watched a special kids’ performance and listened to the telling of one of the church missionary’s trip to Ezra, Jordan.  It’s funny…we American

s don’t really think about Christians from other countries (especially Asian countries) being missionaries and going into other lands to share the gospel.  I realized how narrow-minded we can be!  Our first Korean church experience was so interesting bec

ause neither of us have ever felt SO welcome at any church and only ONE person could speak to us in our language.  Hmmm…

    So today Austin and I sat down at our kitchen table and really tried hard to learn as much of the Korean language (Hanguel) as we possibly can.  We began with learning the alphabet (hanguel characters) and then attempted to learn the words.  It is tricky, this language, because it is a double 

whammy- first learning a totally new alphabet that looks nothing like ours and then having to learn new words.  While reading Hanguel I feel like a first grader sounding out the c

haracters slowly.  It taked five minutes to read one sentence and even after that, I still have no idea what it means!

This is what we have learned so far:


Hello: an-nyoung-ha-se-yo

Goodbye: an-nyoung-hi-kye-se-yo

Thank You: kam-sa-ham-ni-da

I’m Sorry: choe-song-ham-ni-da

Dog: kae

Chicken meat: tak-ko-gi

Beef: soe-go-gi

Year: hae

This is my practice sheet:


Lastly, today we went with our co-teachers into Busan (Pusan, either spelling) to get our Alien Registration Card (ARC).  You have to have one of those if you are staying in the country longer than 90 days…and to set up internet, cell phone and a bank account! The ARC card was simple to apply for, but we don’t get it for 10 more days (Bummmmmer).  Buuut, after we did that they took us to Hyundae Beach, which is the most famous beach in South Korea.  It is on the outskirts of Busan and has tremendous views of the city, Japan Sea and mountains. We walked along a pathway and onto the beach and saw many a grandma doing sit-ups, jogging and stretching! It is amazing how active everyone is here.  Hyundae was beautiful and we are planning to go back…the real news from that trip is that we saw: OUTBACK, STARBUCKS, PIZZA HUT & BENNIGANS!!! I thought Austin was going to cry he was SO happy.  So it looks like we might be making a quick subway trip to Busan when in need of some back-home-cookin.  Busan was definitely refreshing because we saw many foreigners, most of the signs has English translation and the before-mentioned American cuisine….All I want to find now is a yummy salad bar!

 Grandpa working out (Note: his wheelchair is next to him. Don't worry, he only needs that to get around.)

For now, An-nyong-hi-kye-se-yo!