Saturday, November 30, 2013

In Which We Get Out Again

So another Saturday has come. It was a pretty nice week, though the weather was a little schizophrenic. We went from hail to rain to more hail to snow (which didn't stick) and throughout it was pretty consistently really windy. However, this Saturday we finally had a nice day, and while it was still a bit cold, I wanted to get out. We decided to go and hike up Sarabong again. We've done it before, but it was pleasant and worth going again. Plus, it's close to a nice market area so we could go shopping, too. It was pretty nice. We bundled up, but ended up taking off most of our warm clothes while we were walking up the stairs, only to put them on again on the way back down. Sarabong has a great view both out to sea as well as into the island, though the view of the mountain is blocked by a bunch of pesky trees. Here are a few pictures that I took:

Nancy taking a quick rest on the way up.

We saw these bunnies. They weren't afraid of us at all really.

Pretty awesome light going on.

Looking out to sea. 

Looking inland.

Really red tree.

We saw this puppy in a pet store on the way back to the market.
So, it was a nice hike. We also got to buy a bunch of Christmas decorations at the big Korean Dollar store, which Nancy is pretty excited about. We made our own stockings out of felt the other day, and we have our tree all set up. So, things are looking pretty good in that regard. At any rate, I really don't think I have much to say at this point. I'll make an end.

This is Captain Danger out.

Monday, November 25, 2013

In Which We Have a Fantastic Meal

So, you may remember how almost a month ago we went trick or treating with like 40 Korean kindergartners. The condition for that was that our school's director promised to take us to Vips, a restaurant with steak and a western-style buffet. We would go ourselves, but the cheapest steak is like 40 dollars, so no. But we were happy to go when our director was paying for it. It. Was. AWESOME! I think it may have been the best steak I've ever had. Not that that's saying a lot, because I've never gone out and paid a lot for a good steak in the US, but still, it was awesome! However, I will say that it's a bit ironic that I've had my best steak ever in Korea, the place where they generally think that a hamburger patty is a steak. Seriously. That's what they sell at Outback here. Anyway, that was cool. Plus, if you ordered a steak, you also got unlimited salad bar, and they had cheesecake! I'm pretty sure I ate more than half of a cheesecake, but you have to load up on that stuff when you can, because it's a bit hard to come by here.

In other news, we saw Catching Fire the other day. It was pretty good. Korean subtitles are only slightly distracting because I'm far too slow of a Korean reader to catch up. It was nice to go and watch something on the big screen and have it be in English.

In other other news, I was running across the street yesterday after church to see if there was a bus that we could take home coming to the stop on the other side and when I got to the sidewalk, I heard a couple teenage girls behind me giggle and then they said, "Handsome!" I said thank you and continued on my way. It was just kind of funny. I think a lot of Koreans think that foreigners in general are handsome/beautiful, but I'm not sure. Nice to know that if that is true, the sentiment extends to me.

At any rate, that's all the stories I have for the moment. We're still waiting on that post about going up to the mainland from Nancy. I'm sure she'll get to it soon. In the mean time, this is Captain Danger out.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

In Which Our Students Share Some Words

So, still waiting on that post from Nancy about our trip to Seoul. In the mean time, I thought I'd jump on here and share some of the fun things our students have said. The first was a four year old, so it has the advantage of being a young child as well as an English Language Learner. So, Nancy was teaching a kindergarten class that I also teach, and one of the students asked her if she was married to me. Nancy said yes, and then the student said, "I don't like Cliff Teacher." Nancy asked her why and she said, "He is so, so, so, so, sooooo dunsty!" Nancy asked her what "dunsty" means, and she just said, "I don't like." So, now we use the word "dunsty" for things that we don't like. It's fun to have a new word.

The other one is funnier, and kind of awkward. So, in some of our classes we have them write a journal every week, just something to give them an opportunity to write. The topic that Nancy gave her classes a couple weeks ago was, "In 20 years, I will...." After she explained what it meant, (Apparently in Korean they have the expression "in my 20th year" so it was a little confusing.) they got all excited and started talking about things they would do, like working, and getting married and...laying a baby. That's right, somehow, the kids here have learned that in English you lay a baby. Like a chicken lays an egg. I guess it makes sense, but it just sounds so weird! Nancy isn't even sure how to correct that. I haven't heard it come up in my classes yet, but I think it's hilarious. At any rate, that's about all I've got for the moment. We don't actually have any fresh pictures, either, so I can't end this post with a picture of us. So, with that, I make an end. This is Captain Danger out.

Friday, November 15, 2013

In Which I Learn a Lesson

This will be a fairly short post. Things have been quiet around here lately, since Nancy got sick, and then I got sick, and then Nancy got sick again, so we haven't gotten out to do much. Nancy is still going to write that post about our trip to Seoul and Gimcheon, so stay excited about that! However, today, I simply want to share a few lessons that I learned from the sticker in the elevator at our school. Observe:

I will enumerate the obvious instructions that the pictures are giving in the following order:


1. The buttons to the right of the door provide different music selections. Choose to suit your pleasure.
2. If you see people waiting for the elevator, it is best if you jump into the car in front of them, so as to prevent them from taking it first.
3. If the elevator somehow comes to life, jump up and down to kill it. The elevator will not like it, but it will be fun for you!
4. If you find yourself sharing the elevator with a cyclops with buckteeth, CALL FOR HELP!

Anyway, I hope some of you can see why I smile a bit every time I take the elevator at our school. With that, I'll make an end for this post with the typical awesome picture.

This is Captain Danger out

Friday, November 8, 2013

In Which We Go Trick or Treating

So, this post was pretty long in coming. I have reasons. We went to the mainland right after (I think Nancy will post about that one) and then promptly got sick. But, I'm now posting about our Halloween party. It was pretty fun. And I will point out that few people in Korea celebrate Halloween, but we celebrate it at our private school, just for fun, I think. Maybe to give the kids and "English" activity? But then, I think the only English speaking countries that are really big on Halloween are the US and Canada and maybe kind of Britain? The South African couple that works at our school said that they don't do it down there. Anyway, it was pretty fun. Nancy and I dressed up as soldiers. I liked it because I got to carry a gun. Here's a picture:

You can also see some of the decorations. Apparently each of those balloon pillars cost like 50 dollars. Seriously? Also, I had most of the kindergartners convinced that my AK-47 was real. It was pretty awesome.
The kindergartners were, as predicted, super cute in their costumes. Pretty much all of the girls were some kind of princess, including one that was the Little Mermaid. Anyway, we actually felt a little redundant for most of trick or treating. We went to a few of the kids' houses and they sang a song and then they got candy. My favorite parents would give us, candy, too. That only happened a couple times, but I don't say no to free candy! Here's a picture of a couple of the boys I teach. I didn't really get any others of the kindergartners:

Most of the boys dressed up as some kind of superhero.
We didn't end up having to help with the pumpkin carving, and I guess the teachers did all the knife work. Thank goodness. I don't know for sure, though, I wasn't there. Eventually the older kids came, and that was kind of a whirlwind. We had a few activities that they rotated through. The favorite was limbo, which was hilarious to watch. Here are a few pictures from the afternoon:

I don't teach this kid, but I think that his ghost costume definitely wouldn't go over well in most parts of the US

My first graders. Notice that most of them have the exact same outfit, including the boys. That's because that's what was at the stores. 

One of my third grade classes. Notice that your standard Halloween costume is a witch hat and a cape, maybe add an accessory. Pretty fun.

So, it was pretty fun overall. It was kind of tiring, and I'm pretty sure that I got sick from this day. But oh well. After it was over we got to go out for dinner at a really expensive place, though the killer thing was that they led us past the main dining room, which has chairs, to a private dining room, where we have to sit on the floor! I know it's part of Korean culture, but I've done it. I would much rather have a chair.

At any rate, that's all I have to share about this event. It was pretty fun. I'll let Nancy write about our trip to Seoul and Gimcheon, and then I have an excellent post to write. This is Captain Danger out.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Memories of Gimcheon

I just found this post that I never published 2 1/2 years ago. I thought I still should because it is such a special memory.

Well, I am running pretty late on the update but here it goes.  At the beginning of November, we planned a trip to the Seoul Temple and to visit one of my old areas, Gimcheon.  This is the first area we have been able to visit but I always told myself that if I was going to visit any of my old areas, this would be it.  It was the area that Whitney and I were whitewashed into with no prospects of anything, the only area where I spent three whole transfers straight with no changes, the area where we saw huge miracles, the hardest area, and my favorite area.

But first things first, we got on the first plane out Saturday morning which got us to Seoul about 15 minutes too late to catch a morning session at the temple.  This meant that we had time to go to Itaewon and enjoy some good old taco bell, walk around in the pouring rain while enjoying the fall colors, and then decide our shoes and socks were wet enough and we should get some hot chocolate.

We then got on the subway and headed to the temple.  It was an amazing experience as usual.  I think it is even more peaceful and special now that we only get to go every once in a while because we have to make the experience last a few months as opposed to a week or two.  Don't get me wrong, I so wish we could still go that often and so look forward to living closer to a temple again.  I love being able to reflect on my life, how I am living the gospel, and feel so close to my Father in Heaven.
Then, on the way out, I saw a Korean sister who I was in the MTC with and served in Busan with.  It was so nice to see her and catch up.

After the temple, we were headed to Gimcheon.  We arrived at Seoul Station to find out that all the seats were sold and we had to buy standing spots.  That was lovely news since we had a three hour ride ahead of us.  Luckily, we were able to shuffle around to different empty spots and sit for a good portion of the ride.  We arrived in Gimcheon around 8 pm to Brother ETayGun (our old ward mission leader) and his middle school daughter ShinBee waiting for us.  It was so great to see them.  They were like our family while we were serving in Gimcheon so it really felt like coming home to my second family.  Sister KimJongHee had cooked an amazing meal for us which included every Korean recipe that she had heard foreigners enjoy (special consideration for Cliff, not that he needs it).  It was so great to eat dinner together with the four of them and just feel like Cliff and I were so welcome there and that we fit right in.  Then we chatted for awhile and KimJongHee and ETayGun went out to get Baskin Robbins for us all to share (I guess they remembered how much I love ice cream).  Then we went to bed in the bedroom that ShinBee so graciously sacrificed for us.
My Korean family
In the morning, we woke up and headed to church.  I felt like I was back on my mission walking to church through the streets of Gimcheon.  Everything looked so familiar and it felt like I had just been there yesterday walking up and down those streets talking to students, workers, and grandmothers along the way.  It felt surreal walking up the steps of the building that housed our little chapel on the second floor above the S-line exercise studio.  It was so great to attend the branch.  It was one of those areas where you could have a close relationship with every member because there were less than twenty and it was so much just as I remember it.  I remembered every member there and was so happy to see them.  They remembered me too (hard not too since we were the only sisters to serve there in twenty years but hey).  Even Jawoon, who got baptized as a high school senior while I was there, came to church in his military uniform after I texted him and told him I was there.
Love everyone in this branch.

After church, we went with the missionaries to visit NoByeongHo (the elderly man who started his travels at 4 am to get to church by 10 each Sunday) who had a fall recently and was in the hospital.  Then we went to have dinner with another family, KimChangHe and KimChangHo.  We talked to the elders while the Kims were getting dinner ready and found that they are still visiting many of the same less actives that we visited and have tried to call some of the investigators we found and things like that.  We had a great dinner there and it was great to talk to the members and hear about them and the branch.

Then ETayGun picked us up again and we headed towards the mountain to look at some really vivid fall colors together.  It was wonderful.  Our time in Gimcheon went by way too fast and we headed back to the train station for another three hour standing ride back to Seoul.

We hadn't made plans for Seoul since we would only be there Sunday night after 9 pm but we saw some posters that a lantern festival was going on at the river.  We decided that would be a perfect Sunday night activity so we dropped out things off at the guesthouse and headed to the river.