It's your favorite time.... Korean eats!

Upon a recent trip to Busan we discovered what has quickly become one of my favorite treats here. You can't get good ones here in Ulsan as far as we know so it's a treat I can only get when we go to Busan and there have been times that I have been tempted to make the hour+ trip just for them. They are hodeok. Kinda like a fried donut with a cinnamon and nut filling. But it's not only the treat but the experience.

You get to brave the throng to get one.

Once there you see the hodeok man shaping them, frying them, patting them down...
And yes, that is a pool of butter you see them being fried in. When they're all done you get to sprinkle some more cinnamon/nut on top...Then you get to eat the delicious treat. Man, 500 won of amazingness! That's like 50 cents! So I usually try and get 2.... and just suddenly I realized why I am not losing any weight here!


It's Official

Folks, we are officially headed to Ethiopia for next year. I have accepted a job at a school in Addis Ababa and I start September 1.

You can check out some pictures from the country that will be our new home here:


They are a neat look at the diversity of Ethiopia.

We are both excited and nervous as we plan for the new adventure. So in the next 2 months, between flying Korea to home and then to Ethiopia we will be flying about 3/4 of the way around the world. Now that's jet lag!


Matty Boy

I had a great weekend chilling with my friend Matty. He was one of my first friends in university, the one I always did crazy things with, my best man, etc... It was great to see him.
We just chilled. Friday night we went for Korean BBQ after he got in and then ust chatted and hung out with Nolana. Saturday, when Nolana went on a temple trip with her friend, we took it easy, went for a walk, went to the driving range to hit some balls (first time here!), walked around the market, etc... Saturday evening we had Lee and Christine over too for drinks and some chicken. We decided to set up a taste test with about 8 different beers. The girls poured...

And the boys tasted....Sunday we woke up late, went for a walk in the park again (saw a skate demo) and goofed around.Sunday evening we walked the market looking for a couple Korean things I wanted him to try but we couldn't find them. So Nolana made us some pa john at home, we mixed some soju drinks and chilled some more. Now that's a weekend! Thanks for coming Matty!!

On the future plans.... I finally got an interview with the second school in Addis that I was considering. They offered me a job and the contract looks pretty good. I asked a few questions and barring any absurd answers I will likely accept it. So we're pretty much for sure headed to Ethiopia next year! Wow, can't even believe it. Lots to get ready before then.

Also, we finally found out exactly when we leave Korea (we were negotiating a change in the contract) and it's 6 weeks tomorrow! So we're eagerly planning our vacation in Malaysia and looking forward to getting home. It's all happening so fast!!!


Teacher's Day

Tuesday was Teacher's Day here in Korea. Unfortunately, they don't know what teachers want very much and they still make us go in to school and work.
Instead we got a bunch of gifts and cards from our kids which was sweet.

Cookies, a handkerchief (my 2nd this year), socks (I have gotten over a dozen pair for various gift giving holidays), flowers, fruit, etc...

The most astounding gift that Nolana got came in this fine little box.

Yes, that does say Sexy Cookie. And no, I don't know what a sexy cookie would look like. Inside was... underwear!I guess in Korea it's okay for kindergarten kids to give their teacher lacy underwear.... As you can see Nolana wasn't exactly thrilled with it. Oh those Koreans....



Looks to be shaping up like a good week! No really. It's my birthday this week and my momma sent me some goodies that she baked...

Man, Mom's are great! Then this past weekend was quite a nice one. Saturday we went into Busan to go play with the kids at the orphanage. It was pouring rain so we had to devise ways to entertain them inside for a couple of hours. I taught some of the girls how to play slaps...My boy Vashajn and I rough housed with the boys (and some girls). Vashajn is always a hit there because he's willing to just play... and, well, 'cause he's black. Seriously, its good for the kids because the perception of Blacks in Korea is less than favorable, even compared to back home standards.

Stanley is also a hit (just so happens I am friends with pretty much the only 2 Black guys in Ulsan), this little guy was attached to his hip and wouldn't let him go. Stole my glasses for this shot...

Good times were had by all despite the weather. I was so tuckered though from beating up little munchkins all afternoon, they have endless energy!Sunday was another great day. After church I went with a friend and his Korean girlfriend to an Ulsan soccer game. As you can see we pretty much had our pick of the seats when we walked in.Everyone stuck to the shaded areas. It was great fun, chilling out in the great weather, watching the game... Ulsan kicked butt 4-0 and fireworks ensued on each goal.It was a nice way to spend a couple hours on a Sunday afternoon.

And then tonight Nolana and I are off for a birthday dinner (hopefully the first steak in over 10 months!) and then this weekend my boy Matty is coming to Ulsan to visit!! It'll be great to see him, we're going to have some fun times! Shaping up to be a good week... just hoping school doesn't ruin it all for me!

Happy Birthday Hun!

Today is Eric's 24th birthday. The great thing about Korea is that we get everything a day early. So today in Korea is Eric's birthday. Unfortuanately we have to go to work today. We would rather just go outside and enjoy the beautiful weather we have been having. But we must go to school. But after school, we are going for a birthday treat to the Outback Steakhouse for some hopefully delicious dinner. Then I think we will get a tub of Baskin Robins! Hmmmmm!

Anyways, I just wanted to say happy birthday to him. Who knows where we will be for his next birthday???


Children's Day

Last week (May 5th) was Children's Day in Korea and it's quite a big day. Unfortunately it fell on a Saturday so we didn't get the day off of school but on Friday our school had a big party for our kindergarten kids. All the parents brought some food and we played some games, etc...

There were about 70 kindy kids and you can see the spread in front of them. Chicken, pizza, fruit of all kinds, drinks, sandwiches, etc... What you don't see is the 8 bags of chicken and half dozen pizzas that didn't even make it to the pizza. It was a ridiculous amount of food. The kids did their worst to it and it still looked like this...All the staff had their fill, then we fed all the afternoon kids and still had bags and tubs of food left over. It was rather sick how much food was left over. We also had a couple kids start upheaving at the end because they had eaten so much crap. It was a great party! Sounds like some of the adult parties I have been to... :)

An update on future plans: got some offers from a couple schools in Ethiopia but the two I have gotten formal offers from both can't provide housing there. So we are looking into the logistics of finding housing there. Still have to talk to another school there if can ever connect. The thing with having to find our housing is that we will likely have to dip into our savings or raise some kind of support to work there which we were hoping to have to avoid. Guess we'll have to see how it all works out. Keep us in your thoughts and prayers.


Road Trip: Pt. 1

Two parts to this so make sure you don't miss Part 2 below this!

We decided to hit the open road this weekend and take the bus pretty much to the other side of Korea to see some sights. So Friday night we hopped the bus for a 5 hour trip to Gwangju where we stayed the night. Saturday morning we rode another 45 min. to Damyang which is home to the largest bamboo forest in Korea and to check out the last day of a bamboo festival that was going on there. The celebrations were all along the river and there was hordes of Korean enjoying the nice weather and the activities (they flock to anything!).
There were lots of food stalls, places to buy bamboo products (which Nolana quite enjoyed), activities for the kiddies, etc... One of the more unique activities was this pen where the kids got to take their bamboo basket and try to catch fish.We wandered around a bit and then went and checked out the bamboo forest to see what all the fuss was about. It was quite regal and impressive. It was amazing to hike around in it and see nothing but tall bamboo trunks. Very peaceful and relaxing. We decided to hang around for the afternoon to check out the forest at night when they turned the lights on. We just chilled and looked around a bit. Took it easy because it was smoking hot (it's been around 30 during the days). Had dinner...The server/owner spoke some English and even after he commented on me speaking Korean and learning that we had been here 10 months - he still tried to explain that the dish in front of us was kimchi. Yeah, 10 months and we've never seen the stuff. Anyhoo, when it got dark we went back to the forest. It was lit up and fun to walk through in the dark.We walked back through the celebrations: lights, people, fireworks, vendors... truly Korean.So many things that we just take as normal now. We took the bus back to Gwangju, hoping to catch a bus right away to Boseong, our next stop. But we missed it by 5 minutes (that's what we get for stopping at Dunkin' Donuts!!). So we stayed the night in Gwangju again.

Road Trip: Pt.2

Sunday morning we took the bus from Gwangju to Boseong which was about an hour and a half ride. There we headed to the green tea plantation to walk around and explore. We had woken up to a misty rain and it stuck with us for the whole morning and part of the afternoon. It actually was a nice change from the heat on Saturday. And it made the plantation look so green and beautiful. It was gorgeous.
Rows and rows of misty green, perfectly groomed bushes were etched into the mountain. It stretched way up and contrasted with the grey sky and Japanese maples. Spotted with colorful umbrellas (a good Korean wouldn't be caught dead in the rain without one!).We walked around a for a while and joined the hordes in their picture taking frenzy.Then we took a break and sampled green tea bibimbap (rice dish), green tea noodles, green tea yoghurt ice cream and green tea milkshakes. We took the bus back to Gwangju where we had some time to just chill in Starbucks and read. We took the bus back to Ulsan and were back by midnight aftere a hectic 48+ hours. We are super tired today but it was a great trip and helped us see and appreciate a little more of Korea! Just 9 more weeks to do so!!!