Friday, April 25, 2014

Five for Friday

It's Friday! It's time to do a happy dance! I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs for the weekly linky party.

Let's get it started!
So I now have a new favorite spot in my neighborhood. I found it by accident, and I absolutely love it. Here are some pictures to show you why...

Can you see why it's my favorite spot? Makes you want to visit Korea, doesn't it?

This was totally me! I would sleep 9 hours and then STILL wake up exhausted. And I would wake up often in the middle of the night with restless legs. If you don't have restless legs, you're lucky. They are a pain in the butt.

However, it's not me anymore! Now, I go to sleep easily, stay asleep, AND wake up refreshed...often after only 6-7 hours of sleep.

I never knew how great it could be.

I started taking Plexus in November, and it has totally changed my sleep. Woo-hoo!!
On Wednesday, I had not one but two pleasant surprises. 

First surprise, my co-teacher and I sat down and had a wonderful conversation about our teaching together. We collaborated and came up with some ideas and solutions for our students (they are not on grade level, yet we must use the grade level textbook). It was so good. I will admit that my heart started pounding a bit with excitement. 
Second surprise, while walking home from school, a random Korean woman approached me and asked me if I spoke Korean to which I responded very little. She then tells me that my Korean is very good (I don't speak a me), asks some more questions (where is my family and am I religious). Afterwards, she gives me this big hug (hugs, especially from people you've just met are simply not done). Korea, you surprise me sometimes. I sure do like surprises. 
I finished The Office last week and had asked for suggestions for the next TV show to watch.

I normally LOVE crime, murder, and mystery shows, but I was in the comedy mood.

My cousin's husband suggested Parks and Recreation.

So I started watching it.

I LOVE it! Each season gets better. I am now on Season 5. I feel like Ann and Leslie are my friends.

Does that make me weird? Wait...if the answer is yes, don't tell me.
On Tuesday night, I was walking home from the subway at 11:00 pm. I was joined by a big group of middle and high school students walking home from their hagwons. 

Many students go to their hagwon (private schools) after a long day at public school. No football. No band. No drill team. Nothing like that. It's all about studying for the big exam. 

I cannot imagine growing up like that.

Since my students are blind or visually impaired and most have learning disabilities, they do not go to hagwons, so I don't know the ins and outs of them.

My friend, Ashlee, says it the best...
As soon as kids hit middle school, any form of a LIFE goes out the window. I believe this is a reason the standards for males and females when searching for a significant other is so ludicrously high - their sense of reality when it comes to the real world and real world people is severely warped. There's a reason most Koreans go to Jeju Island on a honeymoon (many of them know NOTHING of sexuality before seeing the sex museums on the island). It's somewhat bizarre, but moreover sad.
Students RARELY made their own choices in response to their futures not that long ago, but that DOES seem to be slowly changing.
What's even more bizarre, though, is that most individuals here choose to dress, act, and live in the exact same way as their fellows (it's a VERY communal society), so the vicious cycle of high suicide and low college entry rates continues to fester.
This country truly is marvelous, but there are some things that just seem incredibly and unnecessarily unfair for these kids.

The last thing I want to mention is the ferry accident here in Korea. The country is in mourning. School trips, school events, city events, etc have been postponed. This country is a very collective society...they are all about community. By canceling or postponing events, it shows that you support the community.

My friend posted this on Facebook, and it had me in tears.

You have to understand how it's done in Korea. Remember when I said that it's all about community, and they do things together?

If someone tells you to do something, you do it. You don't question it. It's hard to explain, and I'm not doing a good job of explaining it. There is no going against the flow here. It's all about the status quo. So maybe that helps you understand why most of the children stayed in their cabins. The people in charge (granted they had NO safety training) told them to stay in their cabins. So they did.

Please join me in praying for these families. 

I'm glad you found my blog, and I "heart" comments if you want to say howdy!


  1. I've seen photos of the sex museums and I wondered why anyone would ever create them. But, after hearing this explanation, it makes sense. I hate it that kids are subjected to so much to it in the States, but to know nothing about any of it is a little disheartening too. I'm also very shocked at the amount of schooling...what time do they have to go back to the public schools in the morning? I can hardly make it through the day if I'm in bed after 10, I couldn't imagine doing that many straight hours of school. Thoughts and prayers to your Korean family in this tragic time after the ferry accident.

    1. I thought the same thing of the sex museums. One of my friends went to the main one in Jeju and posted pictures. It was something to see, that's for sure.
      The students have to be at school at 8:30 every morning. They go to school until about 3:30 or 4:00. And then they might have a quick dinner before going to their hagwon. Some students stay until 10:30pm, and I've heard of some students stay until midnight. I cannot imagine growing up that way. I feel for them.

  2. What an interesting post! I learned so much...The ferry accident has me in tears every time it's on the news. Completely heartbreaking!
    Common to the Core

    1. Thanks Dana! I have learned so much by living here. My horizons have definitely been broadened. I know our education system in America has some problems, but at least our children get a childhood.

  3. Hi Angela! This was such a great post! That neighborhood spot you found is gorgeous. And I just finished watching all the seasons of Parks and Rec that are up on Netflix. I love it's not often that a T.V. show makes me laugh out loud, but that one did all the time. Thanks for explaining about how Korea is so strong on community and following the status quo. That explains why the students stayed in their cabins. Understanding how cultures are different is so important! Glad I found you on the 5 for Friday linky :)

    Ladybugs Lounge

    1. Hi Rebecca! I'm so glad you found me!
      TV shows don't usually make me laugh out loud either. There have been three that I can think of now...The Office, The Middle, and now Parks and Recreation.
      I have heard from other friends that they didn't understand why the students stayed in their cabins. I wish the media would explain the status quo aspect just so people everywhere could understand why. It's completely different than the way things are done in the states and many other places.

  4. You should watch The Following next. It is amazing! It falls into the crime, murder, mystery genre.

    1. Thanks for the suggestion Mandee! I do love that genre! And not to mention Kevin Bacon...whoa.