Monday, March 25, 2013

March Fun Mart

Last Friday, we had another Fun Mart at school. Throughout the semester, students in the younger classes earn stamps, which in turn earns them Fun Dollars. They can then use these Fun Dollars to buy toys, popcorn, and a turn at darts during Fun Mart.

To start the day off, the school ordered some Chinese food to help us get energized for the day. It was pretty delicious--there was chicken with sweet and sour sauce, some different pasta dishes, and of course, kimchi.

One of the dishes was a seafood pasta, which had mini octopi in it. One of which I ate. It was much tastier than I expected.

Poor baby octopus.

I'm obviously super excited to eat it!
The kids get super excited about it, and this one was particularly fun! I took a bunch of pictures, enjoy them!

The teachers came in early to help set everything up. Dan (in the picture to the left), being a bit of a neat freak, did one side all by himself because he didn't want anyone messing it up. It looks beautiful and orderly, as you can see.

The other side is a bit more disorganized, which was completed by several teachers (see picture below).

Many of the notebooks have fun little stories on them. Take a look at the picture to the left. The story says, " The monkey is pedaling along on his squeaky bicycle. The pig always knows what makes him happy. The elephant is on good terms with the dog". Cute, and pretty much nonsensical! Below are vitamin sticks which are basically candy.

The kids expectantly looking in at the fun stuff.
I'm pretty sure the adults had as much fun as the kids.
Bubble wands are great!
We were playing around before the kids even showed up!
Cherry and Mr. Lee making the popcorn.
Luckily, none of it was burned this time.
The kids "shopping".
More of the kids "shopping".
For most of the day, we just played around with the kids, got them some popcorn, watched them play darts, and tried to make them spend their fun dollars on high fives and games of rock, paper, scissors. Pretty sure the following pictures will say more than words can!

Playing on the patio.

I've determined that everyone loves bubbles. Everyone.
Especially adults.

Two of the cutest little kids ever!

Dan posing on the main desk,
soon to be mobbed by dozens of kids.

Dan and Tony.

The bags the kids put their goodies in.

Kids from one of my favorite classes--
Cloy, Liana, Sally, Ann.

 I don't know if you noticed Dan's ever-changing glasses... Fake glasses here are pretty popular (it's the hipster look), and at Fun Mart we had a bunch of pairs of these glasses, and Dan wanted to try pretty much all of them on.

Nana and her hipster glasses.
The arms are pens!

Dan getting beaten up by the tiniest kid
in the world, James.

The dart board!

Arnold, Dan and Andy.

Great picture.
Don't worry, no one was really getting hurt.
As you can see, Tony is still completely invested
in eating his popcorn.

Andy chair!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

St. Patrick's Day

Hey, guys! Sorry I haven't posted in a coon's age, but my internet hasn't been working for about a week. It's finally patched, so you'll be seeing a lot of blogs this week because I am going to be playing catch up.

Saint Patrick's Day in Korea isn't a holiday that is particularly big with Koreans, but it is definitely big with the expat community. The Irish Association threw a big party in Sindorim this year, which I sadly did not attend. I hear that there was a ton of live music, face painting, balloons, and Irish food.

To start my St. Patrick's Day, a few friends and I went to celebrate with a friend who has been feeling a bit under the weather lately so she could share in the festivities. We drank some beer, shared stories, and laughed until we cried more than once. I am happy I was able to spend some time with ladies that crack me up as much as they do. :)

Mechelle and Libby, all greened up.

Ashley's mischievous look, I think.

Libby being all cutesy.

Mechelle, Libby and I.

St. Patrick's Day is very serious. Ashley and I threw up the traditional
Korean picture pose--peace fingers.

Mechelle, Libby and I.

Ashley and I.

After an afternoon of laughs, we journeyed on to Seoul to join the rest of the community in celebrating. The first thing we did was eat a kebab, one of my favorite things that I can find in Seoul but not in Byeongjeom. We started at Rocky Mountain Tavern, which is a Canadian bar, hence the flag behind the Rocky Mountains in the sign. 

The group.

Even in Korea, there is green beer. We did notice that it was not green right out of the tap, rather they added green food coloring to the glass before pouring it. This meant that our tongues were stained green after the first beer, adding to our Irish festiveness.

Libby, Danielle and I.

We met up with our friend Danielle and a few of her new friends at Rocky Mountain Tavern. (She, incidentally, is Canadian, and loves this bar.) This is Danielle's favorite holiday, as you might be able to tell by her specially-made shamrock t-shirt, shamrock necklaces, shamrock stickers, and shamrock headband. And I am wearing her shamrock hair clip that she left behind at her old apartment. I met Danielle in the first week I arrived here--she was the lady who helped me move into my apartment and then showed me around Byeongjeom with Lily. She went home for a few months, and recently returned a few weeks ago. She missed Korea so much she just couldn't leave for good! Danielle lives in Hongdae now, which is part of Seoul, so I will always have a friend to visit when I want to go out of town on the weekend. We stayed there and visited with some people while drinking green beer. We also tried some green jello shots. Mine wasn't actually set, so it was like drinking thick Kool-Aid that tasted like vodka (not exactly my favorite thing ever).

Probably one of my favorite drink advertisements ever.
 For the rest of the night, we skipped around to different bars and met up with different groups of people. It seemed like nearly everyone that I had met in Korea was partying in Seoul. There was lots of dancing, laughter, and shenanigans. It was a pretty great night!

< ----This has absolutely nothing to do with St. Patrick's Day, it is just something I saw while walking. As you can see, Korean advertising is pretty great. This particular sign is for a sauna.  Here, a sauna is like a traditional bath house where you have to be naked to enjoy the hot pool, cold pool, and saunas. They also have areas to sleep, so it is kind of like a hotel as well (but there are no beds--more on saunas, aka jimjilbangs to come).

This particular sauna is a bit different. It's a sauna specifically for gay men, and they brand themselves as a 24-hour "Queer Shelter". Their advertising is 100% gay, and they typically feature penises in rainbow colors or silhouettes of guys in stripper poses.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Seoul Van Gogh Exhibit

A few Saturdays ago I went to go see the Van Gogh exhibit at the Seoul Arts Center (pictured left). The exhibit featured paintings he created while he lived in Paris, which was only about two years (March 1886-February 1888). 

The time that he was in Paris was when he developed his style. Previously, he had been inspired by Dutch painters and French Realists. In Paris, he was inspired by other Impressionist painters such as Claude Monet. His paintings became much more colorful, and his style was rife with pointillism, which is a painting technique in which small, distinct dots of pure color are applied in patterns to form images.

This exhibit also included many of his self-portraits. He painted 27 of his estimated 36 self-portraits in Paris, which indicates that as a poor artist he utilized himself instead of a paid model. It was interesting to compare his earlier Paris portraits, which were in much more somber tones like grays and browns, to the later ones, which were much brighter with colors like yellows, reds, greens, and blues.

Below are some of the paintings that I saw, along with details from the Seoul Arts Center website:

Le Pere Tanguy (1887-1888, Paris)
Oil Painting on Canvas, 92.0 x 75.0 cm
Musée Rodin, Paris
Self Portrait (1887, Paris)
Oil Painting on Canvas, 42.2 x 34.4 cm
Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
Square Saint-Pierre, 1887
Oil Painting on Canvas, 75 x 112.5 cm
Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

The exhibit was pretty fantastic. The paintings were absolutely breathtaking, and I'm glad that I was able to see this while it was in Korea. The only downside was that all of the information about the exhibit was written in Korean, but the titles were in English. I'm not really sure why it was set up this way, and I was sad that I wasn't able to read the supporting information for the exhibit.

The museum itself was also beautiful. There were plenty of statues and things to look at outside in the courtyard as we walked from one building to the next. Take a look at the pictures below!

View in the courtyard.

Courtyard fountain.

Courtyard fountain.

Some statues from the corner of the courtyard.

Close-up of said statues.

Mountains in the distance! Even more beautiful in person.