Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Pen Pals

The teacher before me that taught Social Studies, Leah, started a fun project, Pen Pals. I love the idea of having my students write to a "friend" that lives in the US. I have continued the pen pals that Leah started with a teacher friend that she knows in Washington but I also found my own teacher friend to be pen pals with. Kristin teachers third grade in Salem, Oregon. We went to college (which I fondly refer to as "teacher school") together. She is also a very good friend and was in our wedding as a bridesmaid. I adore her.
Love her!

Did I mention that I also convinced Kristin to coach T-Ball with me?

I sent her an email a month or so ago asking her if she wanted to be pen pals for the rest of her school year (US school years run from September to June but Korean school years run year round starting in March and ending the last week of February). She agreed and I went to work on getting my students excited about writing.

My Students have been really cute. They have been bringing in Korean coins to send, "famous" Korean candy and other junk. Some of my students are even giving away the reward prizes that they earn from doing homework and being well behaved during class. We have had endless talks about what it means to be a good pen pal and how we show people we care even if we are far away. I am hoping that they are learning more than just writing skills. It has been a fun project so far and I am looking forward to more letter writing.

Some of my kids have written something along the lines of - "I am sending you my picture because some people in America say all Korean people look same. Now you will know me."
Or "I am sending you my picture so that when you come to Korea you can find me."


A group of my second grade boys wanted to send their picture but didn't want to take individual photos. This was our solution:

Daniel, Andrew, Jamie, Grant and Brian
After I showed them this picture we all decided that they needed to become a boy band. I named them; Introducing.....The Stripes. A very fitting name I think.

Hopefully I will have more pen pal stories to share. I sent out the first batch of letters last week!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Adventures In Laser Hair Removal

 This post is a few months old...

....that's right I got Laser hair removal.

Leah introduced me to Janelle a few months ago. Janelle mentioned that she was going to get laser hair removal done. I have been wanted to get it done for a long time and thought that having a "friend" to go with would make the process easier. I immediately invited myself along.

Janelle had a Korean speaking friend call the "salon" and make appointments for us. We planned to meet Saturday afternoon. The plan was to grab some lunch then head over to the salon.
I had to take the subway for about an hour. I am glad I brought a book to keep my mind occupied. I was getting really nervous!

Janelle and I ate at a delicious sushi place....I wish I remembered the name. It was the kind where they have the conveyor belt of plates come by and you pick what you want off of the moving belt. It was delicious. We ate until we were very full and it was only about $10 each.

After lunch we had to meet her friend Kim. Kim is a Korean woman that grew up in the United States, but is back in Korea to work. We followed her to the salon. Meanwhile I am a hot mess. I am all giggly and can't stop talking. The anticipation was killing me.

When we got to the salon we had to fill out minimal paperwork. Basically just our name and birthday. After the paperwork we met with the doctor. He showed us a power point of the pros and cons of laser hair removal and side effects. blah...blah...blah....

Afterward an assistant came in to talk us through the bill. I had decided early on that I would get my armpits done first. I figured that it is a sensitive area, but not as sensitive as other areas and it would be SO worth it to never ever have to shave my armpits. At home to get laser hair removal on your armpits is about $150 per treatment and you need anywhere from 5-8 treatments on average. (I did a small amount of research and found this to be the typical price advertised online in the Portland, Oregon area). When the assistant came in and asked what we each wanted she quoted me at 50,000 won or about $45.00 USD. This seemed like a very good price and I figured I would have to come back 4 or 5 more times, so less than $300.00 for a lifetime of happiness. But I misunderstood the assistant....it would cost me $45 for all 5 of my treatments! Or about $9.00 a visit. I was in shock! For less than dinner and a movie I will be underarm hair free!
I paid the woman at the front desk and patiently waited for the doctor to call my name.

To my surprise they called Janelle and I back at the same time. Which is fine. Neither of us were getting anything private done so the idea of seeing her armpit didn't bother me. Or vise verse.  As the nurse walked us back to change she opened up this tiny broom closet that was lined with lockers. She motioned for us to both get it. I can't even begin to explain how small this changing "room" was.  We shimmied in and had to shimmy again to get the door to shut. Hahaha just thinking about it makes me laugh. It was like when you see the cartoons with 15 clowns in one little car. That was us, 2 grown women, changing in a mini broom closet.. We changed and headed out into the next room.

I was escorted into another room and the nurse motioned for me to lay on the bed. Then she flipped a bunch of switches on the laser machine. It honestly sounded like a jet engine was powering up. It freaked me out! After a few minutes of just sitting there the nurse came in a wiped my underarms with some kind of cleaner then a different solution.

As the doctor walked in I knew there was no turning back. He sat down and said hello in perfect English and just started going for it. He grabbed what looked like the little handheld scanner at a grocery store and started zapping my pits. At first it wasn't so bad. I didn't have time to think or worry about having a laser zap my skin. Before I knew it I was yelping like a hurt dog and then in what I thought was sympathy from the nurse she comes at me with a wet rag to wipe my pits. Oh no, no sympathy for her, it was simply water to increase the pain and allow for some form of electrical shock conducted by water. You know that smell in a tanning salon at the end of the day? The smell of fried skin and cleaning product? That's the smell that began in seep into my nostrils. As the pain increased my legs began to twitch and kick. The nurse kindly held me down. As I let out a last yelp, the doctor said my first pit was finished. As I began to gather myself I began to question if it was worth it.
As I lay there and the nurse and doctor prepare my other pit, I can hear Jannelle behind the curtain giggling. This is not laughing matter. I yell back "It doesn't hurt". And begin to laugh.
The next pit was slightly less painful. Maybe I was more mentally prepared for the zaps or smells. Keep in mind this zapping process lasted maybe 3 minutes. When the doctor finished up he said not to worry that next time wont hurt at all. Right.

As I walked out and Janelle walked in I wished her good luck. She got her eyebrows, underarms and upper lip done. Her session lasted maybe 10 minutes. While she was getting zapped, I stood in the hallway with my arms resting on my head. By the time she was done and walking out of the room I felt zero pain.

We headed back into the mini closet changed out clothes and treated ourselves to a few drinks at a cute bar near her house.

Since then I have had another laser treatment. I honestly have 5 hairs in my right pit and about 7 in my left. I am over the moon happy with results! I am shocked with how well the laser treatments work. Well worth the 3 minutes of pain.

Hunger Games

I loved the Hunger Games trilogy! I have read through those books 2 or 3 times. I love the main character Katniss. I love how she ALWAYS over thinks things, much like I often do. I love the use of inner dialog.

I can admit that I was so sucked into these books that on more than one occasion I would wake up in the middle of the night from nightmares. I was dreaming I was in the stories, in the books, fighting for my life along side the other characters.
I enjoyed and talked about the books so much that Joe decided to read them too.  :)

Then a few months ago we heard that the Hunger Games movie was coming out. I was SO excited to see the movie! I searched online for movie theaters and times at the different Korean theaters. I knew that the movie would come out around the first or second week in April.

Well when we found out that one of the military bases here in Korea would be having a showing of the Hunger Games movie a week before the movie opened in the Korean theaters, we jumped at the chance to see it.

Lucky for us we have a slew of friends willing to sponsor us so that we can get on base.
(In order to get on to a military base in Korea, Joe and I have to have a military member or sponsored spouse sign us on and take responsibility for us while we are on base. We are grateful to have friends that are willing to share the comforts of home with us by allowing us to go on base with them.)

Our friend Janelle hosted a Hunger Games party before the movie. She even had Hunger Games inspired food. You should check out her blog, One Apron, She wrote all about the yummy food and drinks she made. I loved her goat cheese tarts with night lock berries. YUMMY!

We filled our bellies then headed to the theater.

I must say that I was a bit disappointed with the movie. If you have not read the book, you should. Its a quick read, I'd say an average reader could finish all three books in a week. The movie lacked some of my favorite aspects of the book. Obviously Katniss' inner dialog was missing. The relationships between the characters wasn't as strong as I think it should have been. I understand that the movie couldn't be just like the book. The movie would have had to be 8 hours long. I get it. I just think that some of the passion that I felt in the book was missing in the movie.

Even if the movie was lacking. We still had a great day. Wonderful company, good food and great conversations.