Dan Visits Kid’s College

29 03 2008

Dan’s visit was just as amazing as anticipated. It took me a minute to recall how to function in a ‘real’ relationship and not just a ‘virtual’ one. But once I found my groove in remembering what its like to spend so much time with someone, especially someone so great who cares so much about me, it was as if no time had past since his last visit.

I was very excited for Dan to meet my new group of students. I am really enjoying the change in teaching them versus my old class, and feel that we are a good match with them. Let me tell ya, they sure are a bunch of characters!

Unlike my old class which was too mature for their own good a majority of the time, my new class is infected with the sillies. All of them plus silly old me equals lots of laughs. In my new class, made of 4 girls and 4 boys, they are obsessed with the idea of girlfriends and boyfriends (I swear I didn’t teach them! Blame the old teacher!) and it seems like they all have a different boyfriend or girlfriend every couple of days. They also love to kiss each other on the arm, on the cheek, on the forehead, everyone kisses everyone. They like to kiss me a lot too. When we are standing their little heads come up to my belly, so I get lots of kisses there.

When I told them that my boyfriend was coming to visit they got more excited that I could have ever imagined. They kept a countdown for me and let me know how eager they were to meet him. Mind you, I told them nothing of his amazing personality or keen looks. All I said was that my boyfriend was coming and that was enough to send them into high anticipation.


So, they knew that he was arriving on a Friday, but they didn’t know that he was landing in the evening. When I arrived to school on Friday they all came running up to me asking where Mr. Dan was. When I tried to explain to them that he wouldn’t get to Korea till later in the evening they would have none of it. They pounded their fist in disappointment and let me know how unhappy they were!

On Monday Dan didn’t have plans to meet me at work. He had brought a lot of stuff to do and wanted to be productive all day at the cafe down the road from my house. With my own excitement about his arrival, and the joy of spending the weekend with him I had kinda forgotten about the kid’s eagerness to meet him. Boy was I reminded when I got to school and they asked. More fist pounding and frowns from the class. Tuesday was the same. Dan planned to come to school, but later in the day after my kindergarten class had gone home. On Tuesday when I told them that Dan still wasn’t coming, one of them burst into tears and told me ‘everyday you say next day, next day. When today?’ So I promised to them that they would get to meet Mr. Dan tomorrow.

He was a superstar the second he walked off the elevator. The kids tackled him and smothered him with kisses. He accompanied us to gym class and the kids hardly even wanted to play a game, they just wanted to climb on him and sit on his lap. Dan told me later that two of the girls at one point were siting on either side of him saying ‘my boyfriend’ then the other would say ‘no my boyfriend’ and back and forth. I told him he better watch himself and that if those girls know what is good for them they will back off.


One of my old elementary classes (4 girls who like to talk about boys) was also really excited to meet him. They all had such kind things to say to him. One of the girls kinda did a quick double take and said very seriously ‘he looks very kind’. They all said that he was handsome, and smart and nice-looking. It was pretty darn cute!

For a few more pictures of my new class and Dan’s visit check out my facebook by clicking HERE


North Korea

9 03 2008


Last weekend Samantha and I went all the way to North Korea. Yes, they let Americans go, but you have to go with a guided tour. So, we booked a weekend with Adventure Korea and headed North.

The first surprise was before leaving. Apparently the US dollar is the currency that is used. Go figure. So, after I exchanged my Korean Won into US dollars we headed on a bus north through the night. There are only a few places in North Korea that are open to foreigners, the first place to open was the one that we went to, Kamggang San (Diamond Mountains). All the foreigners entering North Korea have to do it at exactly the same time each day. So, about 1,000 of us (mostly South Koreans going hiking) went through customs together first thing in the morning. We were all advised to be on our best behavior at customs, keeping our eyes straight ahead, and certainly no taking our camera out for pictures (we were only allowed to take photos at certain places during the weekend).

Once we all cleared customs (phew) we spent about four hours hiking up the mountain. It was absolutely beautiful. The hike was a little difficult because there was ice on the mountain and we had to wear spikes on our boots. But Samantha and I felt hard core because of it. We really soaked in the scenery and enjoyed the sunshine. There was a fresh water spring the flowed down the mountain where we could stop to fill up our bottles and the water was SO delicious. It is said that if you drink the water from a certain spot you gain 10 years to your life. So ok!


Don’t know why, but the way I am posed in this picture really reminds me of Martha!

By the time we got to our hotel we were zonked because we had slept (or tried to) on the bus the night before. But we didn’t have too much time to rest because we had bought tickets to an acrobat show. I don’t really know how to explain it, and it probably sounds weird to hear, but you could see the Communism in the show, which made it amazing and bizarre all in one. After the show I was feeling really tired and even though it was only 6pm I kinda wanted to go to bed. But I talked myself into going to the hot springs sauna and public bath. IT WAS AMAZING. It was so relaxing and refreshing. There were all sorts of different saunas, like a jade sauna and a mud sauna, and there were varying temperatures of hot tubs and waterfalls all from the spring water. I felt so rejuvenated afterwards that I could have hiked the mountain all over again! But instead I just went to bed and slept like a rock.

The next morning we went to the Sea of Japan coast and got to climb around on the rocks. The water was crystal clear and it was absolutely beautiful.


Then we went for a hike around a lake, over a scary suspension bridge, and up a mountain. It was more low key than the day before and Samantha and I really enjoyed it. Afterwards, we went back to the hotel complex area (of course, all the foreigners were staying in this little community of 3 or 4 hotels, a handful of restaurants, and giftshops that were all set up for visitors. We couldn’t leave and couldn’t take pictures of any of the locals). We had time to visit a Dr. Fish that was by the sauna before heading back to the bus and our trek through customs and back to Seoul. We weren’t expecting it, but we got our own personal room with our own outfits to put on and pool to dip in. It was crazy cool and we both loved it.

For more of my pictures from the weekend click HERE.

It was a really fantastic weekend, but tiring and quite bizarre.

Oh! My! Goodness!

9 03 2008

So, here is how the conversation went. It was about 3 days ago and Dan said to me:

‘I tried to watch a couple episodes of Project Runway, but it just wasn’t the same without you.’

So I replied ‘Well, why don’t you just wait and we will watch it together.’

And he said, ‘Yeah, I think that sounds like a good idea’ (big, sincere smile).

Then I suggested, mostly as a joke ‘Why don’t you come and watch it with me over your Spring Break?’

Long pause…


We found a last minute deal and booked the ticket today. Dan will be here in less than a week. I am beautifully stunned and overwhelmed with excitement.

D to the M to the DMZ

9 03 2008

Two weekends ago I went with my friends Renee and Samantha to the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone), the strip of land which separates North Korea from South Korea. We woke up early on Saturday at took a guided tour around. The DMZ is the most heavily armed boarder in the world. It is about 2.5 miles wide and 150 miles long.


We started our tour at the JSA (Joint Security Area) which is the only place where the North and South actually come together and don’t have a buffer zone separating them. In the picture above we are standing in South Korea and the big grey building in the back is North Korea. It is the area where all negotiations between the two countries have been held for the last 50 years.

After that we went to a viewing area where we could see the two villages located in the DMZ, one ran by the north, and one by the south. The one ran by the South is run by the government of SK. You must have ancestral ties to live there and only women can marry into the community (sorry lads). It is the only place in the South that has a curfew, and you have to sleep in the village a certain number of nights per year. Most of the people who live there are farmers for the area surrounding the village. And, according to our US Army guide, the are LOADED. It makes perfect sense that they would get paid lots of money to live and work so close to the North. Apparently they all have multi story houses, satellite dishes, sports cars…etc. The village that is run by the North is call ‘Freedom Village’ by the people in the North, and ‘Propaganda Village’ by the UN military. It is uninhabited barring some token caretakers. It is made to look like a modern village, but with binoculars one can tell that nobody lives there.


This is the largest flag and flagpole in the world. It is in Freedom Village and is 525 feet tall and takes 50 men to raise or lower. They said it takes a mighty big gust of wind to get it flying, so I guess we were lucky we went on such a cold and windy day. The flag was built to make a statement after the village in the South constructed a flagpole 328 feet tall. Ha.

Other highlights included visiting one of the incursion tunnels where the North tried to digg their way into the South. It is about a mile long and 500 feet underground. It was one of the areas where we weren’t allowed to take photos, but we could put on hard hats and hike part way down. I also liked learning about the wildlife that lives in the DMZ. It has basically been uninhabited for over 50 years and has a lot of really cool birds flying around. In the spring and summer you can see lots of special foliage found only there and a few months back TIGER TRACKS were found!

It was an incredibly interesting and educational experience and really helped me better understand some of the history between North and South Korea.