Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Busan Festivals, and where they are

Looks like Friday kicks off a whole week of festivals, from Haeundae Beach and Gwangalli Beach, Songdo, to Dadaepo. Here's just a few:

Opening Performance 2008. 8. 1(Fri) Haeundae beach
Busan International Hiphop Festival
2008. 8. 4(Mon)~8. 5(Tue) Haeundae beach

9th Busan International Rock Festival
2008. 8. 2(Sat)~8. 3(Sun) Dadaepo beach

2008 Line-up

2 August ~ 3 August, Da-Dae-Po Beach, Busan

  • Flag of South Korea Dear Cloud
  • Flag of Malaysia Tempered Mental
  • Flag of South Korea Y-Not?
  • Flag of Japan Copa Salvo
  • Flag of South Korea Eve
  • Flag of South Korea The Ratios
  • Flag of the United Kingdom Sohodolls
  • Flag of Japan Toshi with - EARTH
3 August

general vicinity of
Beaches and Subway map

Friday, July 25, 2008

For My Teacher Friends

Mama Keeks here preached the whole four of Wario's college years about getting a teacher's cert. Best job in the world, next to nursing/medicine--but face it, those hours suck. I'm finding out that teachers can go just about anywhere and find employment--what it takes to survive. Unless you're independently wealthy and doing this out of the goodness of your heart.

My favorite quote on travel is by that old steamer, Mark Twain:

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness."

It's professional development that makes a career, no matter what foot you start out on. And don't be afraid to combine areas of interest. Even for hobbies you should have at least six pans in the fire (projects going) even if it means two of them are clearing your desk and getting housework done. Your job is #3. Getting to the gym and errands done periodically can be #4. This takes organization. #5 should be studying and reading at any age, and #6 can be a hobby, planning for an event, hols, etc. Really using your noggin and getting into the zone. Having seven is better yet. Push some limits and have eight even. Go ahead, you're young, you can do it. I once had three jobs going at one time once when I was a young age.

Putting your family and God into the equation is essential for a spiritual life. And I think that's where I heard this from, a PBS segment on Rick Warren once"The Purpose Driven Life".

Spirituality aside, it's good advice to stay focused, and learn to enjoy the moments. Your brain cells need to be honed daily, just like good tempered steel. If your job helps you do that, everyone's a winner. While you're staying on your toes.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Korean Country Life, a little bit of heaven

Here's a wonderful Webshots slideshow from Mishko, their gardens near Jinju. A little bit of heaven--the birds and the bees and the flowers and the trees...

life in Korea

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Camping In Airports

My nephew just landed in the UK this week for a year's stay, bless his heart (and open his eyes, he's 20). It reminded me of this experience from 1985 when I was on my way to Ireland to cousin Dave and Cathy's wedding. The other relatives were flying into Shannon from Boston, but I had the pleasure of flying into a London airport from Madrid with a three day stay before moving on to Limmerick and meeting up with the wedding party.

I don't remember who was on the plane, but what struck me immediately was the LINE to get thru Customs. It was at least a quarter mile long. And the people in line were probably 99% Mideastern, Indian, and Asian. Actually, there were two lines. That one and one roped off alongside it for UK residents.

Well, being one of the few western girls around, Rubia here attaches herself to a group heading that way (making a mental excuse that I didn't see the signs), wondering where is this Customs counter. It was quite a long walk, and soon became apparent that London had more-than-they-could-handle Immigrants coming in. Had to be in the hundreds, and their line didn't appear to be moving.

Sure 'nuf, getting to the head of the line was easy, and didn't take my whole three days in London as I suspected the other was taking. And presenting my US passport was no problem for the agents who didn't seem to care much or even realize I was in the wrong line which was for 'All Other Countries'.

I remember this vividly because of how long the other line was and that they were sleeping on suitcases and COOKING on sterno! Bless their hearts (and minds) for bringing supplies. Now I realize that camped out on luggage at the airport can happen to anyone, but it never fails to remind me of immigration issues anytime I hear of the UK 'being owned by Moslems'.

Someday I'll tell you about the Iranians in Paris. (If you enjoy street food, they make the best crepes around.)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

This is Princess Sparkle Pony...

My little kitty, Sparkie, is named after Sparkle Pony, (the horse he rode in on?).....

From the newest JibJab, Time For Some Campainin'

(My Sparkle Pony --Sparkie--is actually a black and gold tortie, but she 'sparkles' too)


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Top in the World

Wario's in a medium-size hagwon, I believe. He's going between two different locations and lives about in the middle. Says the view is awesome from his 21st floor. I'd be getting elevator sickness, that's for sure.

He says the education system there is excellent. I'm still foggy on what a hagwon is, but I think it's an after school program that people pay to send their kids to after regular school lets out. Adults can also sign up for classes, it's a big business there. He's teaching 1st grade to Middle school. So these kids still go to regular public school where they also take English classes, AND attend extra classes in the evening. I've heard this described as babysitting, study halls. He says there are 8th graders doing calculus. Or are they catching up on ps homework?

Anyhow, I'm pretty proud of him. Taking on education as a career. Following in Uncle Johnny and Mary Lu's footsteps. Who knew? He did an internship with his University President last year that took him to Washington, D. C. to a conference and to lobby Congress for education.

Seton Hill '08
Lacrosse, 4 yrs
NCAA 3 yrs

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

ESL Then and Now

Let me tell you all a story. I just realized something, the KikoGrandmama (grammy, for short) had English as her second language. I knew this, but it just dawned on me (again) this morning how it is connected to the world of today. And what our Teachers are doing in the field of ESL to facilitate changes in the global economy.

Now I realize this is ancient history to most people here, days of yore...

Her parents arrived on US shores around the turn of the last century. Her father arriving maybe a few years earlier. Neither spoke English whatsoever. GreatGrammy was only 16 when she put herself on a boat to come to NJ to sew doilies, lace collars and such. Father was a few years older and was already (an army deserter*) established as a coal miner in a town not far from where I live now. He'd already had one wife who perished in a terrible fire, and had been back and forth to Europe already to take money to his family and bring another brother back to America with him.

We used to romanticize that this couple met on the boat, but that's not how it went. After #1 wife died, he knew that there was a section of NJ (Hoboken?) where the Ukranian immigrants settled for factory jobs and he made the trip back there to find wife #2, someone who spoke his same language--Russian. This practice, I am told, was common in those days.

So he found the little girl who knew how to tat and grow cabbage, picked her, and brought her the 300 mile journey to her new home. But after being in NJ sweat factories for even a short length of time, she had started learning English. Father never did.

Flash forward Arrow ten children later, Kikogrammy being one of the last born and Father was STILL only speaking Russian, never having the need to learn English as his settlement had a Russian community that encompassed everything he needed. Being a strict authoritarian (in the way of eastern europe families), he did not allow his children to speak any language other than his mother tongue in their home, his castle.

Thus my mother grew up speaking only Russian until she started grade school. Now being one of the youngest siblings, she had probably heard enough from the elder ones to make it easier, but they hadn't. They learned English in school. They were solely Russian speakers in their earliest years in the home, only learning English once they started school.

Only yesterday she told me a story of one of my cousins yelling at the cattle in Russian when he was four years old. Repeating what he heard his Grandfather do every evening when it was time to bring the cows home.

So that's my little story. Take whatever lesson you wish from it, but know that it's been played many many times in all areas of the globe. And feel proud that you, Teachers, are a part of it in the age we live in now. I salute you.

* Father had been taken into the Russian army at age 16, did a stint, said adios to that horseshit (living on sunflower seeds), and hightailed it to Italy where he picked grapes for seven years earning boatfare to America. Just like the guys you saw below decks in Titanic.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Into the Wild Blue Yonder

That's a Kidsong we loved when he was four. It's the Air Force song (for his cousin Greg who'll be off to England in a couple weeks).

Just to let you know, he left this morning, off to Philadelphia, then LA, then Incheon. That part went smooth. But it was sad to know I won't see him for at least another year, maybe longer. Time to get my own life, I suppose.

The second part will be collecting his baggage and switching to the puddle jumper that will take him to Busan. It's a short layover in Incheon (unless they get in early), only an hour and a half, and late in the evening there so it could be the last flight out that night--tomorrow here, today there. Gah, these time zones are so confusing. I wonder if he'll have to clear customs there also? Finding his bags to check into another airline, then customs, could be a crunch.

But I'm very happy too. Choosing to be a teacher as his first career is an excellent move imho. He's going to learn ALOT! I know he's looking forward to the professional challenge, however untrained he is for it.

Aside from the phrase book, pocket travel guide, and some lax mags, the only book he took is a college text from one of his classes: Awakening: An Introduction to the History of Eastern Thought


Saturday, July 5, 2008

Packing Day is Here!

The Happy Wanderers made it back safe and sound from NYC yesterday, visa intact. (after I checked the delivery times, I told him NOT to use the UPS envelope, it wouldn't get here in time and he'd miss his flight) It's T-Rev's last day on American soil, except for a layover at LAX tomorrow. He'll be leaving in the early am for his trek across the globe.

The packing party is at Grammy's where he's been accumulating all his things because he doesn't want to get cat hair on them here... poodles don't shed, no shit).

God love ya!

He leaves in the morning calm.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Kickin' It!

I just added Brian in Jeollanam-do to the Korean Blogger List.
He's a part time journalist who has an interesting case going. American beef protests. Huh? I'm eating beef from America maybe once, twice a week! You say I'm gonna die? hmmpf Anyhow I found his blog on a message board and they all have some very interesting things to say about the political landscape there. Wario's a poli-sci major, he's gonna love it! (me too).

What I found interesting about living overseas was that you really can just get along paying absolutely no attention at all to local, national, or world news. But young people have an exuberant energy that sometimes means filling time with the things they love. The Journalistic-politics bug is what I think Brian has. Good for him, he's a kindred soul. And since he's an American (who is suppose to believe in Free Speech and Freedom of the Press), writing part time should be a natural for an english teacher. It shows in his zeal for his subjects, and their zeal for him...

(I wonder if the Koreans quite thought that thru when they started these english programs? I'm sure after 50 years of military there, they knew more multiculturalisms would follow.)

Back to my young english teacher: Wario's still in Brooklyn and hasn't come home yet. He called around 2pm and I yelled at him that they'll be stuck in traffic, every construction zone will be a bottle-neck on a holiday weekend. So he called back a few hours later and said they're staying another night. He got the visa yesterday and could have came home then. But Johnboy's cousin got paid today and is taking them out tonight on his dime. I guess if you're having a last fling, might as well fling it all the way? Beats drinking in the woods, and amazingly they're both legal.

Meanwhile his teenage cousin, Kissa, who he borrowed a cell phone from (to stay in touch) is spitting mad. It was only supposed to be one day, I'm glad I'm not in that house, she's probably going ballistic with withdrawal symptons--she's already a hellcat on pms. And it's so peaceful here, I can hear the bubbles in the fish bowl and some whistles of fireworks starting the the afternoon dusk. Once in a while a car goes up or down the road, but I'm used to that noise by now and hardly ever even hear it. They started out with whistlers, then crackers, now they're into the boomers. Mimi went outside to investigate, everyone else is staying calm, it's up over the hill. But I suppose they'll go on for the next few days. People putting money up in smoke. No wonder the Chinese have all our money.

Here's how I picture my boys in Brooklyn, carrying on . The source where I found this video says...

"'s brilliant on many levels."
1. The sunscreen masks they wear on their heads - ajumma shades.
2. "Kimchi, kimchi, it is good for you and me."
3. The Conglish: "Drinking Cassuh, drinking Hite-uh, feeling all right-uh, all night-uh."
4. Fruit-loop balls!

ymmm.... frootloop ballz

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

off to the consulate

T-rev and his friend Johnny are on their way to NYC to the consulate today, it's a five hour drive. He has an appt there at 3pm for his ftf interview and has a UPS envelope for them to overnight his passport back here when it gets stamped so he doesn't have to go back for it. The embassy in DC said that PA's consulate is in NY, so that's where he has to go for his visa interview. I think they're just being asses because it's less work for them (yet shorter distance from here).

Meanwhile, Korea sent him his flight information and he flies out on Monday. I don't like how they booked him, it ends in Seoul and his school is in Busan (other end of Korea). I hope someone is meeting him there, might be an excuse for the recruiter to take a road trip. He has an International Driver's permit from AAA, so this trip to nyc will be good training! He's been there with the lax team twice and once with me in '03. If he has the nads to go to Korea, I think he can do some city driving too.

They'll be staying in Brooklyn tonight at John's cousin's and meeting a union guy {mob boss} to get Johnny a construction job there. Ha. I told them to enjoy the pizza, last chance for the real thing. They're driving my old beater Mercury that he's had at college for two years. It runs good but the driver's side window won't work--that could get them in trouble if they get stopped by police... gah, I should have warned him to yell at them thru the window or hand the licenses over thru the sunroof, or they'll get their heads shot off :p THAT's what's scary about NYC driving, but I did tell him to keep it under 70 on I-80 if he doesn't want stopped and socked with a hundreds dollar fine. Geez, he actually has a clean record, needs to keep it that way.

They studied maps all night and he thinks John can drive around the block if they can't find a parking spot and come back to meet him when his business is over. I hope they have the skill for this, in Korea, it'll be the train. He's driving in his underwear (shorts and a t-shirt) and I guess plans to get dressed somewhere on the road. ha But it's the start of this great adventure. Good thing it's not going to get hot till tomorrow when they're on their way back, the ac doesn't work in that car either.

I have an old history book from 1931 to give him as a going away present. I think it came from the old school across the road here, they have flea markets in there that I've walked over to browse--and cart an armload of books home every time. History is his major and he can use it to read stuff to the kids to get them listening to him. Never having taught, it would be nice to be a fly on that wall, but after sitting in classes all his life, surely he picked up something from the good teachers he's had? That's how I figure he can do this job. What an amazing opportunity to see the world without having to be in the military? This is our reward (his dad and me) for seeing him thru college--not having to join the military. It's funny because I nagged him all thru college to get a teaching certificate, and now he's doing it without one.

Oh, and he's beating his cousin Kris to a job, who's in elementary education--trained to be a teacher, does have her certs. And Dylan, a PIT grad who got in grad school in Iowa as a teaching assistant. They'll be meeting back in Hollywood in 2012 -- (this is classic Entourage, their favorite HBO show). Dylan's the writer, good stuff too--kinda stiff, but great thoughts and he'll loosen up if he doesn't get tangled up too much in academia. He's in Iowa this summer teaching football recruits how to write five paragraph essays so they won't look so dumb and can keep up with their classes. He's also the kid who brought me my first kitten (in 30+ years), Misty, who came in from out of the cold. (That'll be my bragging right when he's rich and famous. Dylan, I knew you when you were a young whippersnapper, and you're a whippersnapper still.)

So anyhow, I'm calling the airline to let them know that he'll be bringing sports equipment and they can get a special box ready for the lax sticks. Or maybe not. Looks like another airline policy has changed again and they treat it the same as baggage--get your own damn bags. I'm sending a set of mini-sticks for his class to play with, the beach kind. Kind of an ice breaker/reward he can use when two kids get the pronunciations right. We saw the pics of Ryan's classes on Facebook and it looks like they have some fun too. He just has to exude confidence and he'll be fine. (I can't wait for the letters home)

Well, I have the whole week to be nervous now and I'm kinda glad that he's gone for two days--get me used to it again. His flight takes him thru LAX and that will give him bragging rights to Dylan that he (technically) got there first. They are living their dreams.

Anyhow, that's the latest. He should have his visa this week, already has the flight schedule so it's going to be a packing party at my sister's where he has all his stuff (so it doesn't get pet hair on it here), then away he goes...!


Oh, and unless the Herald author below was using poetic license--play on red China, it's not technically a 'red tide' until there's a massive fish kill from the algae depleting the oxygen in those waters. This might just be the normal harvast and how they keep fish kills from happening in the first place: