Sunday, December 28, 2008

ReadingTown/Avalon End of the Year Party

Last night, our schools hosted an end of the year party. Our boss talked about the "history" of our company even though it's not that old and basically how he made it great. Then we had a super delicious buffet. It must have had fifty different dishes to load your plates with. I ate so much sushi and sashimi! 
Me, Caitlin, Haewon, Rebekah, and Lisa

Here are some of my coworkers and Sue, the Director, is second from the right. (It's safe to say I have mixed feelings about her, but everyone else is sweet and really nice to work with).
Then there was the talent show portion of the evening. This past week was one of the most frustrating disorganized weeks at ReadingTown. Everyone was stressed because we were starting our Intensive session the day after Christmas and there wasn't a lot of time to prepare for it, which also didn't leave much time to enjoy Christmas either. So, this week we were all also supposed to prepare something to do with our group for the talent show. Yeah right. Our group decided to do an improvisational skit talking about what we should do for the talent show. It was meant to really jab at our boss and the insane idea that we were supposed to plan and practice something this week! WE WON! I thought we were going to get the "dead last" award, but we won. 

Matt organized a skit with the other foreign guys called, "Making Beans". They were really funny and got second place. Here is a video of the award winning "Making Beans" and Matt's debut as a thespian. 


Matt and I went to Seoul last weekend instead of exchanging gifts this year. We wanted to see some art, eat some international food, which is difficult to come by in Gwangju, and see the mega-city of Korea. One fifth of Korea's population lives in Seoul, it's huge. 

I apologize for the lack of description in this post- I'm feeling lame. Here are some more pictures from the weekend.


Monday, December 22, 2008

Cell Phone Stitch

Every cell phone needs a bauble.

Here is my newest stitch. These are our cell phones with their baubles.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas in Korea

Unfortunately, being abroad for a year means even though you are exploring and doing new things, you still miss the good stuff about home... like Christmas.... with your family... and your friends.... and not much can be done about it. 

Alas, there is still a bit of Christmas in Korea. There is the occasional tree in a store window, some kids are mentioning it at school unlike at home where every kid is hardwired into Christmas over drive right now. My foreign co-workers and I switch between groans about missing home and squeals when packages of presents and cards arrive from home. Groan- no real tree or ornaments, squeal- one week 'til Christmas! Groan- No roast turkey or grandma's baking, squeal- our first day off months! One of my coworkers has begun playing Christmas music in our teachers' room to try to feel Christmas-y. I think he has the Xmas blues the worst.  

On the up-side, this will be my first of hopefully many Christmases with Matt. I've done a bit of holiday decorating around our apartment. Last Saturday, we went on a hunt for pine boughs.  Unable to find any pine the woods behind our building (bamboo just doesn't feel so Christmasy), I made an ethical decision that I needed the pine from that apartment complex's landscaping more than they did and that they probably wouldn't miss the shopping bag's worth I took. I spent the rest of the day making a wreath, paper snow flakes and arranging pine boughs and candles in empty glass bottles. 

This is the wreath I made out of fresh hijacked pine on our front door. It's a little lop-sided, but it gives it character. 

This is my "Christmas Altar". I threw a blanket on our TV, which we hardly watch anyway and added a few festive touches. I found directions for making these snowflakes here. I made the little Christmas tree by balling up little pieces of magazine paper on a cardboard cone with double stick tape. Its intended size was about twice as big, but it was a slow process so I cut it down. Below are some presents from my parents and grandparents and a card from Utah! We are excited to open them Christmas morning. 

Matt and I have decided to forego gifts for one another in exchange for a weekend in Seoul. We have been in Korea for seven months, but have yet to make it to the ultra modern mega city of Korea. We are going in search of art, western food, a theater show, and hopefully some Christmas lights and decorations. All of these things can be sparse in Gwangju. We will take the train up early Saturday morning. 

On Christmas day, we  will get together with our friends for some wine, food and probably a secret santa exchange.  I miss you all at home and it'll be a blue Christmas without you..... 

Monday, December 15, 2008


This past Saturday a few of us decided to visit a local norebang (a small kareoke room that you rent with friends by the hour) in our neighborhood. We first tried one, the Tomato Norebang, that was across the street from our apartment building. Our building is on an essentially abandoned block, so we did not expect much. It was weird and kind of sketchy, so we left and walked to a more legit norebang.  

It can safely be assumed that if you are Korean and drinking heavily with friends or co-workers, you might end up at a norebang. It is an extrememly popular activity and they are peppered along any street that has a bar or drinking establishment. It is so popular because it is so fun!!! You choose the song and level of embarrassment and then rock out. At the end of the song, the machine gives you a score out of 100. I don't think it goes lower than 80 to not hurt their users' self-esteem. We definitely should have gotten some Cs, Ds, and Fs for our performances. If only those karaoke machines could see our performances instead of hearing them, we surely would have gotten better scores! As you can see below, we were rocking out. 
Here, I think, we are rocking out to some Led Zeppelin. Norebang rock star. 

I think these could be a big hit in America. Matt and I have all kinds of plans for Korean things that would be really popular in America. Don't steal them! 

Monday, December 1, 2008

Thanksgiving in Korea

As we were all far away from our families and we all had to work on Thursday, we had a Thanksgiving get together at our place on Saturday. We pulled all over resources, pots, pans, and tiny kitchens together to come up with the closest we could to an American Thanksgiving. I think we did a pretty good job. We couldn't find turkey without going an hour an half away to a Costco, so we did with chicken. I made a potato soup, some chicken, and gravy. We also had stuffing, mashed potatoes, and a little Korean food and a little curry. 
Here are Kelly and Nasil piecing a chicken in our very full tiny kitchen. Below is part of our Thanksgiving Spread. This photo is lacking a delicious salad Caitlin and Justin made and Kelly's pumpkin pie.
Here is Stu enjoying his plateful even though he's British and doesn't know a thing about Thanksgiving!

Then we drank too much wine and beer and were too merry for the rest of the night.