Thursday, 31 December 2009

New Years Eve in Seoul

Friday, 25 December 2009

Cleaning Sewage

It was the morning after Christmas, and merely seven hours after midnight, we were awoken by a ‘bang-bang-bang!’ on our front door.

After only one holiday, our village of Myungdang-ri was up and running again.

In our pyjamas, we quickly changed our clothes and answered the door. A man was solidly standing in front of me, with a full getup of dirty work clothes. From what I could make of his words, it was time for the annual cleaning of our house’s sewage tank.

Since our town doesn’t have a sewage system set up, all of our, ahem, ‘wastes’, collect in a tank, right underground, in front of our house.

This is how I imagined the whole process to be carried out: a tube would be lowered into the tank, everything contained in it would be sucked up into a truck, and that would be that.

But no…

The inefficient process turned out to take hours upon hours. The workers made a small bonfire on our neighbour’s property using some of her small trees to keep themselves warm. After a ramen break, they started to drill… The sounds rang through our living room for longer than we expected.

The workers drilled over ten meters of our concrete lawn, leaving behind a wake of mashed-up, poorly laid out concrete.

Instead of using one of the few manholes scattered on our lawn, they just happily and carelessly tore up our lawn, making a foot-and-a-half-wide path from the base of our home to the edge of our property. After pumping up the sewage, they decided to fill the gash on our property with one foot of crumbly concrete that we could easily kick up. How inefficient.

With the rough translation, ‘We’ll bill you later’, the workers were gone, and although we were left with an empty sewage tank, the ugliness that the process left behind wasn’t worth the trouble.

Aunt Kimchi’ll have something to say about this.

- Jess

First Christmas

Christmas Eve, we had spent the entire day watching movies in the spirit of Christmas, ranging from the ever-so-endearing Miracle on 34th Street to the not-so-innocent Elf.

For this 2009 holiday season, Ken and I decided to give back to our humble community. Despite living in one of the smallest towns in Korea, we made up our minds to bring a little Christmas spirit to our tiny village of Andeok. The retirement community, hardworking shop owners, and innocent children were deserving of a little Christmas cheer.

Donning a stunning Santa suit, trimmed in feathery white cotton and completed with a complementary hat and beard, Ken stuffed the belly of his costume with the largest pillow he could find, held together merely by a simple red ribbon. With wrapped chocolate bars and assorted candies, both of us headed out to our village’s only main road – Ken carrying the bag of sugary goodies, and me videotaping the entire episode.

First, we stopped to visit the retirement recreation center. Its members were competitively playing against each other in Korean cricket, even though the temperature was a chilly –5oC. They gratefully accepted some candy and were receptive in our effort to cast happiness to everyone around.

The busy construction workers were next. Even though it was the 25th, they would never take a breath to rest, as was shown by the mountain of coffee cans that had collected at the base of their site. Even when offered gifts of sugary sweets, they never came down from their scaffold, and thanked us from up above.

The local convenience store, the owners, now our cherished friends, kept up their bubbly attitude as we stopped by to say hello and give chocolaty treats.

The bus station was the most eventful. Its passengers were in the frigid cold waiting room, and were more than curious about the costumed stranger handing out candy. One ajumma was very confused and probably a little scared…it took a few extra attempts before other passengers convinced her to accept Santa.

Our next stop was my home school, Andeok Middle and High School. Some of the school’s students sprinted towards us to meet the strange jolly man. Of course, their ‘hellos’ were replaced with ‘Santa, give me candy! Candy, candy!’

We didn’t forget to reach our town’s grumpy pharmacist, the town’s many generous restaurant owners, and many of the other residents, who were curiously peering out of their windows to take a gander at the ‘HO HO HO!’ commotion. We were well-received by many of the townsfolk who asked us to ‘Come back again!’

Our last stop was our loving landlord’s home. Sadly, when we came upon her land, all we could see were the remains of her once lush apple orchard, which was now in smoldering ruins. It was Christmas Day, and Aunt Kimchi was spending the day setting fire to her trees. We hustled over to where she was and surprisingly, she had a widespread smile on her face. We found out that she was planning on replanting her orchard with younger trees. What a satisfying Christmas gift to the self! Aunt Kimchi warmly invited us inside for some apple cider and cookies, completing our holiday escapade.

With festive shouts of ‘Merry Christmas!’ to all around, we turned in, satisfied that we had spread a little Christmas joy throughout our quiet Korean community.

- Jess

Santa Comes to Andeok

Thursday, 24 December 2009

The Night Before Christmas

It was the night before Christmas...

Well, not really. It was actually 2:00 in the morning.

I was sleeping peacefully, dreaming of squishy gumdrops and glittery sugarplums dancing about in my head…when I suddenly awoke.

Ken was madly shaking me. He was sitting upright in fight-or-flight mode and was staring into the living room.

A faint glow appeared through our curtains, its light, splashing onto our wooden floor, eerily moving from side to side…

It looked like a mob had come to our home.

As we peered out of our windows, listening carefully, we realized that the haunting chants and flashing lights were actually something quite different.

It turns out that the “mob” was just a small group of members from our local church, holding candles and caroling in Korean right outside of our bedroom window.

After deciphering the mysterious sounds outside of our home, we slowly drifted back into a slumber as our heart rates slowed and the caroling faded away into a faint, but final “Merry Christmas…”.

- Jess

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Gyeongbuk EPIK Get-Together in Daegu

The get-together or “business trip” that Gyeongbuk EPIK (English Program In Korea) held turned out to be quite the pre-holidays party.

With accommodations at the New Young Nam Hotel in Daegu, all English teachers met in the hotel’s swanky, tinseled-up restaurant, carrying wrapped boxes of gifts from the Gyeongbuk EPIK managers.

We had a glorious feast prepared for us – buffet style – where you could find fresh, handmade sushi, pork ribs, sticky in a lush, red sauce, buttery pastas, spiced sausages, delectable desserts, and more…

Listening to some quality music from two exceptionally paired vocalists, all of the teachers happily ate to their satisfaction, drank as much beer as they could (the restaurant’s home-brewed beer was free and unlimited until 9:00pm), and opened their presents. Our lovely holiday gifts from our managers turned out to be a solid black EPIK organizer, a smashing black bag for our books and groceries, and the traditional Korean game yoonori – a typical ‘get-to-the-finish-line’ game played on New Year’s Day (sometimes involving money :)).

Taking in some holiday caroling from the Andong teachers (including Corey and Ilana), and cheering on or sometimes sympathizing with some of the other English teachers’ experiences, the night finally came to a close, and most of the teachers left for their homes…

MOST of the teachers.

The unlimited, home-brewed beer was quite tempting. Especially since that beer had a slight caramel-like accent, a rich aftertaste, and was served in rustic, two-and-a-half-litre glass bottles. Suffice to say, we had our fill of it.

With the few teachers that were left, Ken and I took out our newly-received yoonori game, and we all started to play, throwing 1,000 won ($1) bills into our betting pot.

I won the game, of course, having years of experience throwing the four yoonori sticks with a personalized technique. The boys were certain that I was cheating. My prize – 3,000 Korean won. I left the remaining 1,000 won in the pot to keep the game going.

Minutes after the following dialogue, Ken and I decided to call it quits.

“Jess, it’s your turn,” Ken would say.

I would reply back, “Ken, I’ve already won (showing him my three 1,000 won bills).”

(circling around one round of players…)

“Jess, come on, it’s your turn,” Ken would say, again.

“Ken,” I would stress back, “I’ve already won.”

After a couple more cycles of this, I decided to retire Ken. We, and two others, were the last ones left in the entire restaurant.

Thank-you for another wonderful experience, EPIK. We’re so fortunate to have you.

- Jess

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Behind the Scenes at the Busan Aquarium

Under the Sea at the Busan Aquarium

Diving with Sharks in Busan

For two months, we were waiting for this trip. We were waiting to look death straight in the eyes.


Our first evening in Busan City began with a REAL chicken burger meal from Burger King (Ken and I don’t have these kinds of luxuries in Andeok), ending in a satisfying slumber on a round, prettily pink bed in the motel room. At 30,000 won a night, the motel was unbeatable, just a few minutes’ stroll away from the exquisite Haeundae Beach.


Waking up at a time I cannot remember (it was the weekend, right?), Ken and I walked down to Haeundae Beach to catch the blazing morning sun. The sparkling sand and glistening crystalline water brought many visitors to Haeundae’s sapphire coast. After taking in as much as we could of the salty breeze and icy air, we bought an affordable breakfast of sandwiches and coffee at the nearest 7 Eleven convenience store.

Next, Ken, Casey (the Andeok Elementary School teacher), and I went to experience the delights of the Haeundae Market. Much like the ones we saw in Seoul, Pohang, Daegu, and Andong, the potent essence of fish wafted throughout the market’s corridors.

(A few hours later…)

Surprise, surprise! Guess who showed up smack dab, right in the middle of the downtown area – our great friends, the Andong English teachers! We made sure to given them a proper tour of the area…the fabulous beach, market, and department store (all that we had learned of downtown Busan in the past four hours…).

Filling up on sugared cinnamon doughnut sticks and hoeddeok (mouthwatering syrup-filled pancakes), we moseyed down along the Haeundae coast to the famous green, oxidized mermaid statue of Princess Hwang-Ok (a human by day and a mermaid by night), sitting solitarily upon her rock, waiting for absolutely no one at all.

As the ocean-blue blanket threw itself upon us, we made our way back along the coastline’s luminescent path, which was budded with pastel coloured lights, changing evanescently from one hue to the next.

The last item on our agenda for the day was to watch the awe-inspiring movie Avatar. The sheer imagination and exceptional vividness pouring out from the movie screen made it relatively easy for caramel buttered popcorn to fall straight from our gawking mouths, straight into our hungry laps.

Alas, the night ended early. Ken and I wanted to be prepared for our appointment at Death’s door early the next morning.


After eating a light brunch of heavenly hot chocolate and toasted onion bagels, we marched forward toward the Busan Aquarium, ready to take on a tank full of hungry…ravenous…sharks.

Scuba diving with the sharks was no joke. We were in no way allowed to touch the sharks (although my hair brushed the tail of one of them), and we were advised to keep our fingers and arms close to our bodies, just in case. Of course, we were assured that no one had been attacked or eaten…yet. We went through a briefing with the instructor, learning how to equalize the pressure building up inside our heads when we lowered into the tank, when to inflate our BCDs, when to signal that we were out of air…

The next step was to gear up and practice breathing out of the mouthpieces connected to our air tanks (believe me, it takes some muscle to carry all of that equipment). We learned how to communicate underwater via simple hand signals, purge water out of our rubber mouthpieces, and clear water out of our facemasks (I was complimented by the instructor on my water-clearing technique, which he deemed to be worthy of an instructor :)).

Aside from the comments the instructor had told us – the sharks eating other sharks, one of the enormous fish eating one of the sharks…oh, and a couple of the sharks being on a diet – we happily (and ever-so cautiously) entered the tank swarming with almost ten sharks, ranging from beautifully spotted leopard sharks to pasty-grey sand-tiger sharks.

Our keen audience was composed of the Busan Aquarium visitors, of whom, many of them were holding their cell phone cameras to the chilled glass. The peace signs I shot out at many of the children left them stunned, and only widened eyes and slow-moving waves were returned back to me. Our eerie waltz around the aquarium filled with killer beings must’ve been bewildering. Luckily, Ken’s “waterproof” case, sealed with vegetable margarine (my suggestion in the place of petroleum jelly) and bound with layers and layers of red duct tape made for one heck of a water resistant camera.

With only the sound of air bubbles escaping our mouthpieces after every exhaled breath, we admired the striped fishies that were curiously swirling at our feet, the gigantic, ten-foot monstrous fish that could’ve fed all of Korea, and the bug-eyed nurse sharks with teeth going every which way (they kept opening their mouths when swimming by us… ). We were at one with the water. We effortlessly glided around the massive tank with some of nature’s wildest creatures.

Even with the tank’s icy water, chilling my very soul…even with my air tank’s regulator slowly leaking my life support (as Ken pointed out to me in his video), I wouldn’t have traded those thirty extraordinary minutes for anything.

Not getting eaten was a success. Being in the presence of toothy, bug-eyed, grinning sharks was a success. Capturing every moment of our shark adventure…was definitely a success.

That’s one more check off of the bucket list :).

- Jess

Shark Dive at the Busan Aquarium

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Hyeonseo School Newspaper

Today, I was heading out the back doors of Hyeonseo School, when I heard a little giggle behind me. I stopped and slowly turned around. There was no one there. I thought nothing of it and continued across the parking lot.

Then I heard some shuffling. Not the shuffling-in-the-bush kind of noise, but the sound of shoes, brushing against the pavement.

I turned myself around, again.


I wasn’t scared. I was on school grounds for goodness sake.

I continued walking. There was more shuffling and giggling, and it was getting closer…

Two dark shadows inched up beside mine.

I looked left and right. The shadows belonged to my Grade 2 Middle School students. Shyly, they stretched themselves from hunched positions, while one held onto a large piece of torn paper.

“Here, teacher,” one said. “Do you have time?”

“Of course,” I said. “What do you need?” I was always willing to help out my students.

Their response was, “Oh!!! (giggle, giggle, giggle). Thank-you teacher, thank-you!”

The sheet of white paper was then held out in front of me, crumpled by the nervous grip the student’s hand had made.

On the sheet was a set of five questions, the first being, ‘What is your most favourite thing about Korea?’ and my answer being, ‘I absolutely love the food. All I do is eat, eat, teach, and eat some more, everyday.’

The last question undoubtedly had to be asked, ‘What is your favourite thing about Hyeonseo?’ I automatically wrote down, ‘The students of course! I love their energy and how much they participate in class!’ It’s true. These students really know how to keep a teacher attentive in class :).

After I completed their interview questionnaire, I received many thanks and more giggles from my students. As I headed to the bus station, they shuffled back into the school.

- Jess

Friday, 11 December 2009

Aunt Kimchi’s Best Friend

I was walking back home from the bus station with a full set of groceries. My backpack was bursting out of its newly-repaired seams, and I had two more heavyweight bags in each hand. Plus, I was wearing high-heeled boots. All I wanted to do was to get home.

On the same road that I had met Aunt Kimchi (ref. Aunt Kimchi’s Kimchi), I bumped into our 150-year old neighbour (Aunt Kimchi’s best friend), who was pushing her walker at a slow, turtle-like pace. I went on to say hello, and she smiled back and bowed.

I was nearing the end of my driveway, so close to home, when I sensed our neighbour slowing in her steps, and shuffling around towards my direction.

Agashee!” she yelled.

Neh?” I answered back.

“Where do you live?” she asked.

I pointed toward my house.

“Do you live there alone? You shouldn’t live there alone. Why are you living in such a big house? What are you doing here? Where do you work? Do you have a husband? Do you and your husband have a child? Where do you live? Do you live there alone?…”

Her questions were cycling over and over, and all I wanted to reply was “There…no…no I don’t…I don’t…I’m an English teacher…no…no…over there…no…” I sighed. I had too many groceries. I was too tired. I couldn’t take very much more of this.

“…I’m sorry, but I have to catch the bus,” I lied.

“Where?” she demanded.

“…to Hyeonseo.”

“You know, I’m your neighbour and I haven’t seen your house yet,” she stated.

Oh no. This was a forced invitation. She wanted to see my house.

“I really have to go…to catch the bus…to Hyeonseo.” I repeated.

“You have to drop off those bags, don’t you?” she questioned.

I’m such a horrible liar. I couldn’t think of anything to say back to her.

So, she shooed me along with her hand towards the house. Once at the front door, I looked back at her, almost sulking with a puppy-dog like face. In my mind I pleaded to be alone, but she persisted.

She entered right into our home, took off her foot-warmers, and walked around every inch of the house.

“Why is this house so empty?” she asked.

“I’m only in Korea for one year.” I answered.

“Are you living alone?”

“No, I’m living with someone else.”

“Do you have a baby?”

Jeez, this was getting ridiculous. I repeated, “I have to catch the bus” and she simply pulled up one of the table’s chairs and went on talking and talking…and talking…I couldn’t understand parts of her dialect, and she was getting frustrated at me for not understanding her. My words “I’m a Gyopo (a second generation Korean)” didn’t mean anything to her. I’ll admit, I was playing dumb half the time I was with her.

Finally, she seemed satisfied that I had shown her the place, but looked suspicious when I took my time to put down my bags (the groceries had been hanging off of my hands and back the entire time she’d been in the house). “Aren’t you going to Hyeonseo?” she asked once again.

“I…I have to take a shower.” I replied, hesitantly.

She left with a look on her face that bore down into my soul. She probably knew that I was lying.

I wouldn’t be surprised if she waited all day for me to head out to the bus stop.

- Jess

Making Korean Hoeddok

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Andeok Teachers' Trip to Namhae-gun

This was going to be my first excursion with the Andeok School teachers. The Principal (whom I probably drew out to be somewhat of a bad guy) happily agreed to have Ken join us on the trip.

After a speedy run through the students’ examination period, all teachers were ready to set forth on the two day, one night trip to Namhae-gun, one of the southernmost islands off of the mainland of South Korea.

Everyone walked out to the blue Cheongsong bus (with an apple smack-dab on the center of it), a bus rented out just for us Andeok teachers.

The inside of our carriage to the south was decorated with royal purple trim, and sparkling-gold garlands. This was a party bus, with enough room to seat forty-six people, but instead, seating only sixteen teachers. We were gonna have some fun.

The four-hour bus ride started off with the trip’s coordinator handing out snacks and cans of Hite beer – probably not a good idea for an extensive trip around many of Korea’s scenic mountains.

Three long pit stops and four hours later, the bus arrived safely in Namhae and all of the teachers were ready to begin the itinerary for the evening.

First, we stopped to hike in the Geumsan Mountains, best known for its watchtower, one of five across South Korea. If lit, the remaining four would be signaled to light in succession, all the way to Seoul (about an eight-hour drive from Namhae). Our second stop was the famous Boriam Temple, built atop one of the highest points of the Geumsan Mountains. We had to take a shuttle bus, halfway up the mountain, and the driver had no problem pushing the bus’ engine to move us forward on the one-lane road. The view from the top of the mountain did not disappoint, as we could take in the 360-degree view of Namhae and the Jinjuman Bay that the island contained.

After some complaints from the female teachers about the laborious walk in the freezing weather, all of us started downwards towards the shuttle, and then to our blue apple-plastered bus, ready to take on a fresh meal of san (live) and cooked nakjee (octopus). Ken was definitely looking forward to that (ref. First Trip to Seoul – Saturday).

We stopped by our hotel to drop off our things, and I took note of the Escape Rope that was contained in a red box on the hotel room’s wall. No fire extinguisher…just an escape rope, in a ruby-enameled, red box. Next time, I’ll have to review my rope-knotting techniques before heading out on a trip like this one.


The restaurant was exquisite, with a main room that was bordered by three large panels of windows. The room would’ve given us a stunning view if it had just been morning. We started off our supper with the spicy octopus (half squirming, and half cooked and gummy…mmm…) and proceeded to end our meal with soju and coke bombs (shots of soju in beer). Of course, the men wanted to drink with Ken, so he had his fair share of alcohol with each man at the table before the evening was out.

What would be a normal teachers’ outing without hours and hours of Karaoke? Arriving back at the hotel, all of us immediately went downstairs to their luxurious Karaoke center, and the Andeok teachers proceeded to sing hundreds of their favourite Korean classics, pushing Ken and I to sing along. Too bad Ken and I hadn’t chosen our No. 18 song beforehand (No. 1 song being the No. 18 song in Korea). We spent the entire night, looking for tunes we could sing with the Korean teachers and ended up choosing Dancing Queen by ABBA (a song I had practiced over and over with my dad’s Karaoke machine), My Heart Will Go On (from Titanic), and Last Christmas. However, it was no match to the Korean teachers. They drank, they ate, and they sang. Bottles of soju and Hite were filling up every table. Ken and I weren’t allowed to have empty hands, and if we did, someone would come up to us and gladly offer us a drink (by offer, I mean that they would push glasses into our hands and overflow them with the vile liquids. Handshakes became arms around the shoulder, and even those persisted to become rubs on our backs and legs. From 9:00pm to 2:00 in the morning, there was no inhibition. Just Hite, soju, and karaoke. Would the teachers feel it the next morning?

They did. What a sight to see. From my point of view, the older ladies completely passed out during the night and the room was silent. From Ken’s point of view, the male teachers took a couple of hours to talk, argue, smoke, etc., and finally went to sleep, orchestrating an masterpiece overture of high- and low-pitched snores, a wide range of nighttime toots, and some overly strange sounds that Ken tried to mimic for me the next morning. He got a sight for sore eyes, when the male teachers freely took their showers and walked around naked (sometimes stationing themselves inches away from Ken), preparing for the trip back home. He was closer to them than I’ll ever be :).


Next on our agenda was a cruise around the Namhae region. Being little larger than a tug boat, the massively hung-over teachers tried to hold themselves together as the boat rocked from side to side, swaying back and forth, and giving the teachers the thrill-ride of a lifetime.

Before we set out for Andeok, everyone got the chance to pickup a souvenir from the area. We stopped at the finest souvenir shop that Namhae had to offer. It was stocked full of dried shrimp, anchovies, raw, spiced squid, seaweed, etc. Despite the shop leaving a distinct fishy odour in my hair and clothes, Ken and I gratefully received two stuffed-to-the-brim boxes of dried anchovies – a specialty of the Namhae region.

This trip has earned its place in my memory. The succulent meals, the mind-numbing alcohol, the deafening karaoke, X-rated nudity…it will never be forgotten.

- Jess

Friday, 4 December 2009


I first noticed the ladies coming into the teacher’s lounge at Andeok School a couple of days ago. Prim and proper, they sat upright and waited until second period was over.

Today, at Hyeonseo school, there were two more ladies, sitting like the ones who came to Andeok, finely dressed, hair neatly done, and in, if-I-may-say-so, very fashionable and high-end clothing.

So far, at both Andeok and Hyeoseo Schools, there have been different ladies coming in from Daegu City to give speeches on “image-making”. At first, I thought that this was some computer-imaging lecture or that the ladies had come into the school to take graduation portraits of the students. No matter how much the Andeok teachers tried to explain the purpose of the ladies, I was definitely getting the wrong impression.

So, today, I asked the Hyeonseo teachers what this was all about. After much gesturing and playing of words, I finally got it. The ladies were here to give an etiquette lecture. Apparently there was a stewardess-trainer-turned-etiquette-expert who had set her sights upon the children of middle and high schools. Her main advice: SMILE. The women would teach students how to sit, eat, drink, greet, stand, converse, etc. (much like obedience school for dogs… “Sit! Stand! Lay down! Roll over! Good girl!…). They saw it as an important part of a child’s future occupation.

All I am reminded of is etiquette school for young girls…princesses in the making.

- Jess

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Boys Will Be Boys

Boys will be boys. This phrase has a certain meaning back in Canada, but here, it means something completely different.

My male students are really close with each other. And when I say close, I mean really close. One of their favourite things to do is cuddle while watching movies. They sit in each other’s laps, gently brush their fingers through each other’s hair, rub the back of each other’s necks, lightly stroke each other’s earlobes, and playfully slap each other’s bums. Outside of the classroom, they always walk hand-in-hand or arm-in-arm, and it’s not uncommon to see a student give another student a piggyback from one classroom to the next. I’m told it’s not like this everywhere in Korea, but it’s extremely common in more rural communities where the students have known each other for their entire lives. They aren’t homosexual, but they’re also not in any way embarrassed to express homosexual tendencies with one another. This type of behavior can make a lot of foreign English teachers uncomfortable, but for me, it was interesting to see how these kids defined an intimate friendship.

- Ken

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Andeok School Festival

Today, the Andeok students had the opportunity to showcase their talents. Much like the talent shows that I used to have when I was young, the students spent every bit of their free time planning and practicing their performances for today’s talent show (they called it their ‘School Festival’). For one month, each grade prepared a comedy, dance, or was extra creative and thought out-of-the-box for the show. The students also had the chance to put their individual talents on display.

As I entered the bustling gymnasium, I saw display after display of student artwork, informational posters, and classroom projects. The room was alive with raw talent, exceptional skill, and vibrant, rich colours.

The afternoon began with a video containing a slideshow of photos, video clips, and teacher interviews. The teacher interviews dealt with the votes that the students had made, labeling the teachers as ‘the teacher who was the most sensitive’, ‘the teacher who had the most polite etiquette’, ‘the teacher who was spoiled the most when she was young’, ‘the teacher whom the male students wanted to date the most’, and so on.

Then the performances began.

Middle School Grade 2

Wow. One of most original performances I’ve seen yet. The students were dressed in all black, except for the pristine white gloves on their hands. Each holding a poster painted with neon paint, letters, words, and pictures were depicted on the stage. With the use of a black light, the students moved their hands and posters along to the words of an English song, followed by a Korean one. With their hands, they presented scenes of birds flying up and away, a face, tearing up, people walking in a park… It must’ve been resourceful to have the art teacher as their supervisor. Towards the end of the song, they held up sentences, pleading for the teachers’ panel (which I was on) to choose them for 1st place. How charming :).


High School Grade 1

The second act was a comedy. The students, fully dressed in traditional Korean wear of the opposite sex, performed a well-known Korean play about an elderly husband and wife, of whom, the husband leaves with a younger woman. It was hilarious…


Middle School Grade 3

Using a common improvisation technique, four students wore red, blue, yellow, and white, full bodysuits and oriented themselves to become pieces of furniture and everyday household items. The act showed a husband teaching his wife (a male student dressed in a apron) about how to clean properly. Some of the scenes were so intense, that they had the audience of parents laughing for minutes on end, especially one where the wife opened up a window, split the legs of the blue body-suited student open, and ran her hand an inch within the student’s groin (she was cleaning dust off of a window sill). It was very imaginative. I even got to dance up on the stage as part of the end of the act (Shark-Dragon, one of my students, pulled me up onstage).


Middle School Grade 1

By far, the cutest performance I’ve seen. First, the girls came out in baby pink short shorts and spandex t-shirts, dancing to a song by Girls Generation. Minutes later, some boys stepped in, dressed in green suits and top hats, punching the air with their arms, and shaking their little booties. The audience’s gasps only came about when the boys turned around, showing skin-coloured, rubber buttocks that had been sewn onto their pants. Another shriek came from the audience when the remaining boys sauntered onto the stage, wearing the same pink outfits the girls were wearing. They were absolutely adorable.


High School Grade 2

A very intricate and superior play, the students portrayed a story about two detectives, following clues to catch a sly, ink-selling conman. It was a nice way to end the class performances.


Individual Performances

With dancing skills like no other, and singing voices like professionals, the students outdid themselves, showing off their talents alone, onstage. I didn’t know that they had that in them.

I am so proud to teach such skilled and talented students.

Bravo! I want an encore!

- Jess