Thursday, February 27, 2014


Song of the day is the Olympic Theme. Because it's that time of year. Guess who wrote it? John Williams. I like the fact that the Olympics theme came from the same mind that composed for Star Wars. So have a listen: Olympics Fanfare and Theme.

Speaking of Olympics, we just had a little competition of our own at Connexus this past Friday. The Friday before we had each class create their own flag and country name. Trying to get four kids to coordinate on a design was a doozer of a task in many of the classes, but in the end we came up with some great flags and great team names. I had a Frozen Castle team among my bunch, but the other teachers had some even greater ones: Eat the Rainbow, Freedom Dragons, Parkour Generation, Crystal Republic, Music Ghosts etc.

Heather came up with five events:
* a bobsled race  (push an ice cube with your nose)
* a biathalon (knock over a bottle with a ball/ hit a target with a rubber band)
* a baton relay (featuring a rubber chicken)/Clothespin curling (drop a clothespin from under your chin into a cup)
* Chopsticks drop (picking up little foam squares and transferring them with chopsticks to a bowl as fast as you can)
* Ski dress relay (put on ski clothes and go around box, then take them off and give to the next person)

Each team competed by themselves at each station, getting 5 minutes to get their best time, which they wrote on the official time sheet at the station. They would be able to see the times of the other teams, so the competition was definitely on, but there wasn't as much pressure as if they were competing in the same room.

It was so fun! So many students that usually are grumps on activity day were too busy to complain, and it was really cool to see the kids work together and cheer each other on. My vocal chords were pretty much shot by the end (we later went to karaoke with two of the students, so that didn't help hehehe).

I came away with two bronze medal teams, a silver team and one gold. Let me tell you, for the gold one, I think I was as nervous as the girls in the team...we heard bronze called, then silver, and were thinking we were out of it, but then...dun dun dun! We screamed pretty loud. The day was exhausting, but everyone loved it.

Other important connexus news is the in-progress review/enrichment month being added at the end of all Backpack units. We've noticed that there are quite a few classes and many individual students that are being pushed along into higher levels when they are not ready. Case-in -oint would be one of my students who is about to move into an advanced beginner level and still is unable to read.

Since the Blue and Yellow levels are in the most urgent need for review curriculum, we're focusing on those first. My current Blue 9 class will be the first to try it out, so I have been responsible for creating most of the plan...yikes! I am a little nervous to try it out, since it's all on me, but at the same time, because it's so flexible, I feel like it will be ok to drastically change the plan's the test run after all.

I have another Blue class that is only one level behind the one that is doing the review month next month, so as soon as I finish teaching the review month, I will teach it again, so I am hoping that I will be able to work out most of the kinks in these two months. It's great to finally be doing something to try to help the kids get caught up, because it's been a problem for a while. So here's hoping!

Outside of Connexus, I haven't done many new things...something I would like to change! Routine is good, but not when you start to forget what you did the last couple weeks because they all run together.

Two weeks ago I started something new: a language exchange! A Korean friend of Anna's was interested in doing a language exchange, so I met her two sundays ago and we talked for two hours, about 40% English, 60% in Korean...It was so wonderful! Usually I end up not trying to speak Korean on a daily basis because it takes me a while to say what I want to say, and I feel like people don't have time or are a little annoyed at having to wait so long, so I just speak English. But at the language exchange, Jieun waited for as long as I needed, so I realized that I actually can communicate (maybe not completely correctly, but understandably) lots of things I didn't know I could--I just never got the chance to try! It was a really neat time, and I hope I can do it more regularly.

And, now I will have a little more time than expected to do some of the fun things/studying I wanted to do while here...I will most likely be staying until the end of July now, because of the unavailability of most of the teachers applying before the fall. To come at the beginning of June is really soon for most people who are applying now, because they'd like the summer to visit family or whatnot, not to mention the lengthy visa application process. So, I'm added around 2 months on to the end of my time.

I'm actually feeling good about that--it was kind of scary to think that I only had three months left actually; time goes so quickly here that I knew that it was going to feel like the blink of an eye. I'm glad now for the chance to have a bit more time, and also be thinking about how to use it wisely. Busan and Jeju are still on my list of places to go.

I guess those are the most recent developments! a little long and dull, I apologize. You can just scroll to the bottom for the quotes... :-p

Thanks for reading!

Community News:
* End of January marked the first batch of online report cards. We are moving up in the tehno world! seriously, it turned a 6 hour job into a 2.5-3 hour job. Typing for the win!

* This February marked 100 days for little Aurie, and 100 days together for me and Yoonseo. Hooray for special days!

* We're official wedding singers! The Connexus crew and KOPI/NARPI are singing the wedding songs at Sarah Jill and Jong's wedding. We practiced a bit and already we are sounding super. Not to brag or anything....

* Two new female KOPI interns, Minjung and Angela, will be moving into our old apartment building soon! Good old  백유동산 is still a part of the community.

Quotes from the Community:

Yoonseo: "This soup is good..Can you give me some more juice--more brenda?"
Abby: "Broth?"
Yoonseo: "Yes, what a beautiful name."

"I'm never being sarcastic."--Anna.

Watching speedskating...
"Can they use this ice for patbingsoo after? Put down red beans and everyone eat together?"-Yoonseo.

"Kevin--I mean, Michael--"--Heather
"Now I know who you really love!"--Michael.

Abby: "How do you feel about the muppets?"
Yoonseo: "I want to drink soju with them one time."

Yoonseo: "You know, my nickname was Apple."
Abby: "I thought you said it was Strawberry?"
Yoonseo: "That's for the Spring."

Quotes from the Classroom:

We were talking about the Olympics in my newly moved up 3:30 Blue 8 class, and Hyesu told me, "Teacher, in 2018, Olympics in Pyongchang!" So I asked them how old they would be, and this began a hilarious conversation. They told me that they would be 15 and 16. After agreeing that this was pretty old, they then asked me,
"Teacher, how old? 29!"
"Oh man, so old. Maybe I will come to Korea and see the Olympics then."
" wedding?"
"Oh maybe. You want to come?"
 "Yes! and wedding 축하 (congratulation song?) is 'F is for Fred!"
"Oh good idea, you can come to my wedding and sing all the Backpack songs for me!"
*they begin a run down of their Backpack repetoire until I decide it's time to actually study...hahaha*

Abby: Who is your favorite character in "The Princess and the Pea?"
Yoochan: Pea.

"My favorite animal is a beach alligator."--Daniel

Cindy: "What does 'noticed' mean?"
Abby: "It means something like, 'You see and know for the first time.'"
Susan: ", 'I noticed I don't have a dog'?"

"When girls take off glasses they are pretty, but when boys take off glasses they are more ugly."--Susan and Eileen. Typical. They can be really hilarious and so shallow at the same time.

"Raphael...stand down."--Daniel. I think he meant 'sit,' but they both were appropriate in the situation.


  1. Yoochan's answer is seriously the BEST - "Pea"...hahaha!

  2. MAJOR laughs with this whole thing. You're hilarious, Abby.

    Loved that your students want to sing Backpack songs at your 2018 wedding....what a super idea!

  3. Kate, after all..the pea is the most well-rounded character in the book. didyouseewhatIdidthere.