Sunday, December 5, 2010

Time Out

I've been up for six hours now and I'm still in my pajamas. I've got a full cup of coffee, a fuzzy green blanket, and no desire in the world to move. I should move. I should buy groceries, mail christmas presents, wash dishes, do laundry, and find dinner. But in actuality, I don't really HAVE to do anything. Everything can wait. That's the beauty and curse of living in Korea- Few responsibilities, lots of free time, and no pressure to conform. No one expects any of the foreigners to be anything but different. And those, are easy shoes to fill...

Monday, November 29, 2010

As most of you probably know, things are pretty tense in Korea right now. North Korea and South Korea are on the brink of war, and no one can predict what will happen next. Everyone seems to have a different way of coping with the situation- some of my friends are completely ignoring the news, and others are planning their escape routes. I feel like I'm somewhere in the middle. I've started carrying a copy of my passport in my bag, and looking for places to go if I must leave Korea. I say the word, "BOMB," several times a day and think of the word, "BOMB," several times more. On the flip side, I've also been contemplating going back to school next year in Daegu, and moving to another branch. That's right, I've been thinking of staying even longer! But what will happen next? Only Kim Jong-il know the answer to that. Hold on to your hats!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Tricks and Treats

Halloween this year was very exciting, and it was probably the silliest I've had since I was a kid. Sometimes it seems like the longer I stay in Korea, the younger I get! ;)





Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Thinking Pink

It is breast cancer awareness month, and I've never been more aware! My mother is now in complete remission, but my own health has me concerned. My grandmother, cousin and mom have all been diagnosed, and the doctor says I am at high risk. He also said I need to get a mammogram as soon as possible. I don't think I would feel so bad about this if I was in Canada, but trying to deal with my health in Korea is very stressful. Tomorrow I will venture into a women's health clinic, where I'll awkwardly ask, "Do you speak English?" This will probably be followed by, "Doctor? ENGLISHEE?" What will happen after that is anyone's bet.

There are lots of little things to think about too: Does birth control effect my chances of getting estrogen based cancer? What about drinking soya milk? Should I give it up just in case? And how many other things should I be avoiding? No, this is not the time to tell me some quote about living your life in the NOW. Yes, I know that stress causes cancer too..

Monday, October 11, 2010

When I was a kid, I was totally obsessed with singing the "Hi, My Name is Joe" song. I recently taught it to one of my classes, and they too fell in love with the button factory. Here is one of my favorite classes performing one of my favorite childhood chants:
video

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Today I had a student salute Hitler in my class. for some reason he thought it was going to be hilarious, and I think he was quite surprised when I threatened to kick him out. When I asked the kid why he thought Hitler was so funny, he said, "Hitler made war!" Why do boys daydream about going to war? What makes them think that blood and death are such awesome subjects? I obviously don't understand, and that's probably a good thing-wanting to be a princess is far more sensible anyways. My classroom will continue to be a war free zone as long as I'm a teacher. I might even install an invisible metal detector for all the invisible guns my students like to carry. And as for Hitler? He'll have to learn English somewhere else.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Today at Taekwondo, one of the ladies said, "Diana, how do I spell Wednesday?" After I told her the answer, she responded with, "Diana, how do I spell Porno?" Obviously her Wednesdays are more exciting than mine!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Quote of the Day

"Teacher, you are a small tower."

Monday, September 13, 2010

"Crowded classrooms and half-day sessions are a tragic waste of our greatest national resource-the minds of our children." ~Walt Disney

I wonder what Walt would think of the Korean education system?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Grub

How many bugs have I eaten since moving to Korea? That is a question I ask myself far too often. I seem to be fighting a constant battle against insects. First, I have a colony of little red ants who live in my apartment. They crawl across my keyboard, they sit in my chair, and they eat all of my porridge! It's actually come to the point where all of the food I own is either in the fridge, or has never been opened. Yet as hard as I try to keep the bugs from getting into my dinner, they make their way in before I've even gotten the groceries home. Today, when I was cutting up a new head of lettuce, I had a little red worm slither out of the leaves. And it wasn't too long ago that I found slugs napping on my celery. As happy as I am that I found these creepy-crawlies before I put them in my mouth, I can only imagine how many I missed! Yuck! I hope they were high in protein..

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Packing for Canada

Day 1:
1) Spent an hour downloading music from 1995.
2) Counted the amount of carrots I have left in the fridge.
3) Pulled out a suitcase.
4) Stuffed all of my old taekwondo belts into the suitcase.
5) Exchanged some money.
6) Tidied my desk at work.
7) Printed my itinerary.
8) Bought candy and alcohol.
9) Made a little pile of important papers.
10) Confirmed with my Mother that I want Nachos on saturday night.
11) Wrote a blog.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Girl Talk

I have one class of all girls, and they usually want to talk about boys. They tell me all about their school crushes, and their future rock star husbands. Yesterday, I decided to ask them what kind of guys they would actually want to date, and this is what I got:

video

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Month of Good News

I just passed my black belt test in Taekwondo, and I couldn't be prouder of myself than I am today. A lot of this has to do with how difficult the month of June was for me. I was so stressed out with my personal life that I almost convinced myself not to take the test. Tired, sad, and worried, it took everything I had to get up in the morning and go to class. While training, my mind was constantly drifting to my problems at home, and on more than one occasion, I bit my lip to keep myself from crying. It was one of those times in my life that I'm not exactly sure how I persevered, but I did, and it worked! To make this moment even more rewarding, my mother has gone into complete remission. At the time I took this test, we were still waiting for the results, and she had asked me to drop-kick cancer's ass on her behalf. So that's exactly what I tried to do; I punched an invisible disease around a large auditorium while my Mother tackled the real thing at home. Together, my Mom and I fought like ninjas, and together we passed our tests. In receiving my black belt, I feel that I have both fulfilled and old dream and won an epic battle. This belt will forever signify the potential to achieve any goal, the power of endurance, and the courage to get through anything..Even on the other side of the world.


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Student: Teacher, how old are you?
Me: I am twenty-eight.
Student: Oh, you look thirty-one.
Me: Awesome.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Notice

Diana, her thoughts, and this blog are temporarily out of order. Please email for updates instead. Thank-you.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

어머니



If the apple doesn't fall far from the tree,
And I get to be like my Mother,
Then I'm luckier than I thought I'd ever be,
And I wouldn't change my life for any other.

Happy Mother's day. I love you!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


A watermelon costs sixteen dollars in Korea!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

어린이날

Today is Children's Day- Which is a public holiday in Korea and a time to celebrate kids. This means, most people get the day off to have fun. Luckily for them, the weather is perfect for playing outside! However, some schools are still open and mine happens to be one of them. I already know that the kids will be hounding me to play games and I haven't decided what I will do yet. I don't blame them for wanting to have fun and I definitely understand why they don't want to be at school. I don't want to be at school either! I have a feeling my inner child will win this round.. ;)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

빨간 띠


Since the last time that I wrote about Taekwondo, I have graduated from a blue belt to a brown and then on to a red. If you are thinking that this seems incredibly fast, I would totally agree with your assumption. I am not sure why we are moving at such a quick pace, and I wish we were advancing through the ranks a little slower. I don't want to rush into getting my black belt. What's the point?! The process has always been far more rewarding than receiving a new belt.

Nonetheless, we have started mentally preparing for our black belt test. The first step in getting ready was watching a group of other students take the exam. I certainly underestimated what a huge production this is going to be. There are hundreds of participants, 10 examiners and an audience of parents. I know I'm going to be exceptionally nervous! Here are some photos of the stadium where we will be taking the test, and a video I made of the opening acts:




video

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Home as a Holiday

Did I mention that I re-signed my contract? As long as everything goes as planned, I will be staying in Korea until August 2011. However, I am still going home this summer, and I'm already daydreaming of Halifax..

Here are the top 10 things I'm anxious to do, see and taste:

1) I want to hug my Mother!
2) I want to sleep in the spare bedroom and cuddle with my cat.
3) I want to drink my Mom's filtered coffee with a spoonful of vanilla flavored sugar.
4) I want to visit my friends.
5) I want to swim in Long Lake with Chareen and then go for a beer at Tom's.
6) I want to eat a home cooked meal with my family.
7) I want to go to Cape Split.
8) I want to go shopping for shoes.
9) I want to speak in full sentences everywhere I go.
10) I want to take A BATH!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

In March, my Korean friends took me to a place to make pottery. It was a great day in the country, and I really enjoyed doing something different. I also appreciated the chance to be creative, even though my imagination was strictly monitored. I think they were afraid that since I am a foreigner, I wouldn’t know how to successfully do something Korean. As soon as I accepted the supervision, I realized it was more beneficial than not.


Even with all the coaching, I did manage to screw up my mug! When I went to put the date on the side, I wrote May instead of March. I didn’t know how to fix the mistake, so I decided to change the incorrect month into a word. Now my mug says, “May your cup always be full!” It is a rather corny quote but it did make us laugh. On the other side of the mug, my friend Cindy wrote the saying in Korean. We thought it kind of balanced out my mistake and made it more special.


After our masterpieces were finished, Cindy cooked us sweet potatoes over a fire. My hands were freezing and it was delightful to warm them up with a tasty treat. They were by far, the best potatoes I’ve ever eaten.


Yesterday I got my mug back and it turned out better than I expected. You can’t really see what we wrote on the sides but I still think it’s lovely. The sentimental value definitely improves its beauty.


Here is a photo of my newest cup and matching spoon:



Saturday, April 10, 2010

Smooth Talk

One of yesterday's discussion questions was, “when you are hurt, what makes you feel better?" A geeky boy in the back of the class raised his hand and said, “Diana teacher makes me feel better.” If this kid was trying to get me to like him, it worked.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

A Hot Cup of Choices


This week I have to decide if I want to sign another year contract or not. I have been flopping back and forth with my decision for quite some time. A part of me wants to stay and another part of me wants to leave. I feel like staying in Korea is a practical choice and that there has been no real reason to go home. I kept thinking to myself that life would be, “so much easier if I had a reason to return to Canada.”

Now it turns out, I may need to go home, and it’s ironically so much harder than staying put. It is all especially daunting since my decision is now partly based on a family member’s health. Of course, family is more important than anything else. It is amazing how trivial ones problems become when something of real significance actually presents itself. Or even the possibility of something significant presents itself! I don’t actually care about much other than this right now.


I will know by the end of the week, what my next move will be. Until then, I will probably occupy my mind with some sheet music and a good book. Hopefully this will make the time move faster and ease my anxiety. Everything works out the way it’s supposed to, right????


Today’s poem. I’ll stop doing this soon. Maybe.


You are a teacup,

and I’m your matching saucer.

Without you, I’m only a little plate.


An Easter Away



It is Easter Sunday and the weather is beautiful. To celebrate all things good, I went for a bike ride around town. Actually, my plan was to get OUT of town but this turned out to be much more difficult than I expected. I also didn’t anticipate the amount of construction and traffic lights that would interrupt my ride. I spent a good chunk of my adventure with one foot on the ground, and another chunk of it having starring contests with Koreans. Even though I won each stare down, I was irritated that they were gawking at me in the first place. Yes, I am foreign. Yes, I can ride a bike. Perhaps I sound like a jerk, but it isn’t fun being watched every day. Obviously today, I was feeling defiant.


On a brighter note, I spent some time investigating spring’s latest arrivals. It is really exciting watching flowers I’ve never seen before come into bloom. I also attended an Easter party at a friend’s house. We painted eggs and ate chocolate until we were all too tired to paint or eat anymore. I’m really happy someone took the initiative to make Easter special. I think a little home away from home was just what we all needed.


An Easter Haiku:


You are much sweeter,

than a bowl of mini eggs,

but both I can’t reach. ;P




Friday, March 26, 2010


I like words that begin with the letter C. Here is a list of some of my favorites: circumstantial, coincidence, convenient, control, comfort, choice, curiosity, consideration, consume, compassion, compromise, communication, confidence, courage, commit, continue, create, change.


Ahh! Aren’t they strong and beautiful?! And each word holds such meaning! It is possible that these are the most important words in the world. At least in my world!

The letter C rocks.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Thinking of You

Sorry I haven’t been posting anything. I’ve got lots of ideas written down but none of them are complete.. which is a very good example of my current mentality! Hopefully my brain and my blog will be more fruitful in the near future. Until then, happy net surfing!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Not So Blue

Today is a great day. Not only is it friday, but the sun is shinning and it feels like spring! In addition to the good weather, I passed my blue belt test this afternoon. I’m not fully convinced that I deserve a new belt but I am happy nonetheless.



To top it off, I have finally managed to touch my toes! Although this may sound like a simple exercise to you, it is a difficult task for me! Perhaps more than the weather is finally improving!?



Monday, March 8, 2010

My Inner Insect

Okay. So I’m still not interested in writing a proper blog entry. I feel like I’m trying to make a lot of decisions right now, and they all seem interconnected. However, I would like to post an image that enters my mind every time I go to Taekwondo. This is how I imagine myself to look as a cartoon character!


A long, lean, fighting machine:



Although, he is much tougher than me!










Sunday, February 28, 2010

Catching up!




I’ve received an unusual amount of blog hits over the last week! I don’t really know why this is happening, but I thought maybe some of you were looking for a vacation update?! If so, I will try and humor you with some new information..


The truth is, I haven’t felt like writing about Thailand. Some of my trip was really amazing and some of it wasn’t. However, I do not feel that my blog is an appropriate place to divulge my entire Thailand story!


What I have decided to share, are some wonderful snippets that have graced my mind since returning to Korea. I think the following memories will make me smile forever..


  1. One early morning in Phuket, I sat on the beach and drank fresh coconut milk. The simplicity of the moment was incredibly satisfying.
  2. Watching wishing lanterns float up and blend in with the stars.
  3. In Ko Pi Pi Don, I went snorkeling for the first time. I was so shocked by the aquatic beauty, that I gasped and inhaled a mouthful of sea water.
  4. On a day tour, we visited a secluded little island to enjoy some more snorkeling. I have never been anywhere more enchanting or tranquil. I find myself thinking of this place when I’m in a classroom full of crazy children.
  5. While elephant trekking (which I didn’t enjoy), I watched golden leaves rustle in the wind. I felt like I was the only one in the world who had witnessed this magical moment, and I enjoyed the privacy.
  6. Feeding monkeys at Suwankuha Temple was extremely entertaining. I was both nervous and fascinated by the hungry little creatures.
  7. One evening, my friend and I found an extremely large and hairy spider in our guest house. After pulverizing the critter, we slept with the light on.
  8. On my last day in Krabi, I treated myself to an aloe vera message. It was both delightful and a cheap.
  9. I was lucky enough to make some interesting new friends. The gift that keeps on giving!
  10. I watched a little of the olympic games with a Korean cab driver on the way home. I taught him how to say, “ gold, silver and bronze.” We had a lot of fun!


Hope this satisfies your curious minds and thanks for checking in. :)



Friday, February 12, 2010

Today I received my purple belt in tae-kwon-do. I have always thought that martial arts would make me look cool but the better I get, the more nerdy I look. It's kind of funny.
HAPPY NEW YEAR (설날)! I'M OFF TO THAILAND!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

I Am the Party!


I know that not everyone loves birthdays, but I think they are wonderful! A birthday is an occasion to stop and give thanks to the people that make our lives special. Not everyone remembers to do this on a regular basis. We often don’t say the things we are thinking, because we foolishly believe there will be infinite chances to do so in the future. A birthday is an opportunity to reach out to others and to celebrate life.


Yesterday, I thought a lot about my own existence. A thought about being a little girl and what a little me would think about the life I’ve decided to live. Would a younger Diana admire the older Diana I’ve become? If I could do it again, would I choose a less convoluted path? Would I warn myself of the tribulations to come? After reading my birthday emails, I don’t think I would. I’ve met wonderful people all over the world because of the life I have chosen. Some of my biggest mistakes have rewarded me with the most precious gifts.


Thanks to all of you who helped make this weekend great. Thank-you for your emails, calls, and for drinking wine with me. And finally, thank-you for making my 27th year so pleasurable and my 28th so promising!



Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Half Way Mark

It has been exactly six months since I moved to Korea. I was unaware of this anniversary until I coincidentally opened my passport and noticed the date of entrance stamp. I wish I could write that it’s been a memorable day, but I’ve spent most of it wanting to rip my own hair out. I even got so frustrated this evening, that I thunked my head against a wall when I arrived home from work. I am now sipping ‘sleepy time’ tea and trying to calm down. Nothing really happened to make so grouchy. I think I’m just ready for a vacation. Apparently, I both need and deserve one! :P

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

감사합니다



Today I received a love parcel from Cordia and Mitch. It was full of wonderful things to read, cuddle and eat! As you can probably imagine, I’ve already devoured a good chunk of the chocolate and my fluffy new kitty is sitting on my lap!

Thank-you, Cordia and Mitch. You are dear friends and I owe you EVERYTHING! ;)






Sunday, January 31, 2010

Pet Peeves



I miss animals. I miss walking in the front door and being greeted by a fuzzy four- legged creature. I miss waking up in the middle of the night and feeling a cat nestled against my feet. I miss every about my Atticus other than cleaning his litter.


Most Koreans don’t have pets. I rarely see animals around the neighborhood and when I do, it’s not enjoyable. The dogs are either chained up outside and forgotten or they are dressed like little humans. I suppose I should mention that the worst fated pups are the ones that I haven’t seen. Those canines end up in dog soup..


The few cats I’ve encountered have behaved like strays. Whenever I see a kitty, I crouch down and meekly try to call it over. My warm intentions are never enough to shake them from their fear of humans. I often wonder if they’ve been mistreated..


As of late, I have also heard a lot of foreigners say they don’t like animals. I seem to be submerged in an anti-pet environment! Was that part of the application process I missed? Obviously, I’m joking but I sometimes wonder. People who don’t like animals have always confused me. In fact, my mother raised us to question the ethics of anyone who dislikes furry critters. Should I question the ethics of the entire country? If I decided to, I would only being hurting myself. Korea is a beautiful place, and It would be a shame to disvalue any of its goodness! Instead, I am trying to open my mind and damper my judgmental thoughts.


I don’t know how long it will be until I return to Atticus. A cat is not enough of a reason to go home but it’s one of the reasons I would like to. Although it may sound silly, I think he would prefer for me to stay here and be happy, than to come home and be sad. I hope in the future, all the things I love will settle on the same side of the world and I can stop choosing between them. That would be purrrfect.




Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Playing with Colors


Yesterday I received my green belt in Taekwondo. It is the fourth belt out of nine. Graduating to a new color is fun because It’s a visual representation of ones achievements. The excitement is comparable to collecting passport stamps or school certificates.


When I was a kid, my mother made me take swimming lessons. Similarly, the levels were marked by colors. The day I received my first badge, I was so proud that I slept with my swimsuit on. Although I do not feel the need to sleep with my taekwondo belts, I enjoy climbing a 'color ladder' as much as I did when I was a child.




Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Eatables 3

Yesterday, I made shepherd’s pie. It has taken me quite awhile to figure out how to cook in Korea and I’m proud of myself whenever I do. One of difficulties in making a ‘Canadian’ meal is finding the ingredients to do so. Luckily, there is a variety of imported foods at Costco.The second challenge is cooking without an oven. I am slowly figuring out ways to improvise but some dishes still seem impossible. I shared my shepherd’s pie with Na Yeon at our weekly language exchange. I don’t think she really liked it. Even so, my disappointment in her inability to finish my food was quickly evaporated by the chance to eat it myself!


Show and Tell

Today I received some christmas presents in the mail! The box my mother sent was mailed in November and we've both been anxiously waiting for it to arrive. The other gift is from one of dearest friends at home. Thank-you Jenny and Mom! You are good family to have.


Here is a little glance at my Christmas in January:


Tea, hot chocolate and bath products from Jenny:

An Advent Calender. Perhaps since December is over, I should eat a chocolate every hour of the day tomorrow.

Shoes! A little scrunched but still wonderful :)

This was supposed to be part of my christmas dinner. Instead I had ox bone soup and a hot dog. Better late than never!

My mouth is full of chicken bones right now. I keep saying to myself,
" just one more.." but I can't stop eating them.

National Geographic magazines:

This shampoo is my guilty pleasure. I didn't need it but I wanted it..

The best surprise of all!! Slippers:

What is a life without Hollandaise sauce? Luckily, I won't have to find out!

I thought this was going to be a necklace but as you can see, it is clearly not! Chili peppers: