Closer Than We Think

Do you ever wake up in the morning, pour some milk into a bowl of cereal, and think, “Hmm, I wonder what on Earth children in South Korea eat for breakfast?” Find the responses to this query and plenty of other questions about the daily life of a student in South Korea in this video.

Do you ever wake up in the morning, pour some milk into a bowl of cereal, and think, “Hmm, I wonder what on Earth children in South Korea eat for breakfast?” Find the responses to this query and plenty of other  questions about the daily life of a student in South Korea in this video created by fellow teacher Seth Mattern.

Seth is a certified educator in the United States, and after the logistics of international pen-pal projects and video exchanges proved too messy, he created this website with another teacher in Colorado  as a convenient forum for cultural exchange between students the world over.

In addition to this, which I imagine is only the first of many videos to be posted in the future, poke around the website to read some essays by both Korean and American students, and responding comments. If you’re an educator anywhere in the world, and are interested in participating in the site, just send an e-mail and I would be thrilled to put you in touch with the appropriate people. Even if you’re not an educator, I know the kids would love to read any comments and answer any questions you may have.

These students are in fourth and fifth grade and recorded this around 8:00 at night, since they stay at our school until 9. You’ll find that later nights and longer hours spent in schools of all varieties are not the only differences between Korean and North American students. And as for breakfast in Korea, I’ll let the kids speak for themselves, but I suspect many will be surprised by their answers. Enjoy!

If You Thought You Had Heard the Last of Jagalchi, Think Again

Undoubtedly alive upon delivery, the shrimp we ordered for lunch retained their capacity to move, and move they did. I could list every synonym in the thesaurus for jump, wriggle, scurry, writhe, and twitch in the dictionary, but this is a moment best watched.

Are they edible yet?
Are they edible yet? - Photo by Anna Waigand

If you thought that after two blog posts and a stream of photos, there was nothing more to be said, read, or heard from our encounters at the Jagalchi Fish Market in Busan, think again. Our friends Anna and Andre, both fellow foodies, travelers, and teachers over at Seoulful Adventures recently published a video from our prawn lunch. While the Pusan International Film Festival brought us to Busan, the Jagalchi Fish Market captured our attention and the held it. The Jagalchi Fish Market sprawls beside the water with an array of marine creatures so broad, even the pickiest sea food eater’s appetite should be appeased.

Our lunch in a humble port side restaurant within ear’s reach of fishmongers gave new meaning to the word fresh. We’ve grown accustomed to raw protein cooked over a stove at the table, but meat does not usually reach us in any condition to move around in the pan. Undoubtedly alive upon delivery, the shrimp we ordered for lunch retained their capacity to move, and move they did. I could list every synonym for jump, wriggle, scurry, writhe, and twitch in the thesaurus, but this is a moment best watched. Thanks to Anna and Andre for the video (video by Anna Waigand, videography by Andre Francisco). To check out their take on the meal, and a slew of other interesting stories.
Happy watching!

The Shrimp That Season Themselves from Seoulful Adventures on Vimeo.

Shots Fired in Contested Waters

As Barack Obama’s scheduled visit to Seoul approaches, and bilateral talks between North Korea and the U.S. are in the works, it would seem the winds are shifting towards increased diplomacy. An incident today between North and South Korean naval bodies suggests otherwise, as the two countries exchanged gunfire for the first time in seven years.

“North and South Korean naval vessels exchanged fire in disputed waters off the western coast of the Korean Peninsula on Tuesday, leaving one North Korean vessel engulfed in flames, South Korean officials said.”

Considering the magnitude a few shots could have between these two countries, especially when North Korean vessels cross borders they contest, but the majority of the international community respects, the day unfolded normally. The attack occurred before school began, and not one student or co-worker brought it up. Civil defense sirens did not ring in the streets, pausing cars at the curb (something that actually has happened in the time I’ve been here as a drill) as aircraft fly overhead. As volatile as our newly assumed neighbors to the north are, the South’s steadiness is comforting. When the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff issues the statement that, “We are fully prepared for further provocations from the North Korean military,” there’s little doubt that South Korea does not train every able male countrywide solely in the name of male bonding. I suspect the calm of the streets will continue. We shall see just how “conciliatory” North Korea is feeling.

Korean Navies Trade Fire in First Incident in Seven Years – NYTimes.com.

More poetry from the classroom

After some brainstorming about sensory details and exploration in the exciting world of similes, a refreshingly fun concept to teach, my 2nd grade class created these haikus together.

Let’s move with the rain,
God is showering at sky,*
Tok tok, it’s like beans.

Hard at work.

After some brainstorming about sensory details and exploration in the exciting world of similes, a refreshingly fun concept to teach, my 2nd grade class created these haikus together.

Let’s move with the rain,
God is showering at sky,*
Tok tok, it’s like beans.

Tip Tap: raining day,
Peep, peep: let us hear a song,
Tip, tap, joyful day.

Continue reading “More poetry from the classroom”

An Update on Swine Flu

We were told this week by our Academic Coordinator that in the event we do close, all teachers are expected to come in on Saturdays and Sundays to make up for lost time. Rumors about a government edict closing all the schools abound but we have not heard anything official from the Government.

According to the Korea Times, the government raised its alert status this week, and is stepping up flu prevention strategies:

The country had maintained its “orange” alert status since July 21 but decided to raise it as an average of 8,857 people caught the new flu per day last week, up from 4,420 tallied for the week before. A total of 42 people have died in South Korea from the flu since mid-August.

Government efforts will be focused on coping with serious flu cases and vaccinating about 35 percent of the population as soon as possible to safeguard public health, the ministry said.

I’m just glad I’m part of the public option health plan.

Read: S. Korea Raises Flu Alert to Highest ‘Red’ Level.