Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Guess what? I'm a monkey.

Happy New Year!  The lunar new year to be exact.

This year is the year of the black water dragon and is supposed to be a very lucky year (I think we all could use it) since it only occurs once every 60 years.  (Note:  the year of the dragon occurs every 12 years, but it is only black every fifth time.)

Seollal is the name for the Korean new year.  It is a holiday that Korean's spend with their families and eat a special soup (there is always a special soup.)  From what I could find out, there isn't much celebrations in the streets or festivals, which is just as well since I was on my way back from India at the time.  This article explains the Korean holiday much better than I have the effort to at the moment, so go get your knowledge on.  One thing I will mention is that the birth rate is expected to rise, since it is considered lucky to be born in the year of the dragon, and extra lucky to be born in the year of the black water dragon.  And soon enough I will be getting a little nephew as well.  :)

But, speaking of being born,  I JUST found out that my Chinese astrological sign / animal / zodiac is in fact, not what I thought it was at all.  You know those paper place mats that you see at every Chinese restaurant in the United States that list the zodiac?  

Yes, these ones...

Well...they lie!

Your Chinese zodiac is not strictly based on the year you were born, like you were meant to believe.  Here for years and years I thought I was a cock (or a rooster if you will) based on my birth year in the Gregorian calendar that is listed on these atrocities, when in fact the Chinese Zodiac is based on the Lunar calendar.  My birthday just happens to fall between the 2 new years and I am actually a monkey.

It all makes so much sense now.  And after re-reading the descriptions, I am totally much more of a monkey...see this year is already starting out as lucky.  (Check your own Zodiac if you are unsure, here is the website I used.)  Now that I'm settled in my new Chinese Zodiac and back in Korea, let's get this lucky year started.

So from this monkey...happy Seollal, Lunar & Chinese New Years to all!

Hugs & Kisses, 

PS:  I made it back from India safely, and had an AMAZING time.  Posts on that soon enough!

Monday, January 23, 2012

And I quote...

“Did you ever notice that the first piece of luggage on the carousel never belongs to anyone?” 
- Erma Bombeck

And I quote...

Monday, January 9, 2012

And I quote...

"If you smile when no one else is around, you really mean it."
-Andy Rooney

And I quote...

Friday, January 6, 2012

Sh*t my students say

Students: Teacher are you OK?
Me: Yes, why?
Students: You look bad today.

Although they later redeemed themselves with:

"Teacher is kind", "Teacher fun", and "I love teacher."

Of course, they may just be sucking up since there are prizes today, but I'm going to go with option A.

Sh*t my students say

The Etiquette Bell

I first saw this in a stall at a restroom, on a highway rest stop about halfway from Busan to Seoul.  

Not sure what it was for, I dared not press the button.  

(click on picture to enlarge)
Behold... The Etiquette Bell
ooooh, fancy rest stop, fancy

After taking to the internets, I discovered that this is a "bell" that one would push, if one wanted to cover up unpleasant noises that might come from a bathroom stall.

Oh. my.  Now I'm sad that I didn't push the bell when I had the chance.  I mean, where is a better place to make a fool of yourself, than a highway rest stop.  Amirite people?

Hugs & Kisses,

Thursday, January 5, 2012

I'm going to India!!!

Clearly, one of the best reasons for teaching at a public school is the amount of vacation time given.  Although pretty standard in most of the world, it is pretty awesome compared to the vacation time given in America.

For the winter vacation my contract allows 10 days.  I decided to combine these with the Lunar New Year holiday that Korea takes, allowing me to add a few extra days to my vacation.

Since I started my contract in November, I didn't have much time to decide when and where I wanted to go.  After quick review of my options (and due to the lack of friends I had made in Korea at that point), I decided to go to India, where I already knew someone.

I am now almost finished with the school's winter camps and my trip is fully booked.  So here is how I will be spending the next few weeks of my India!

click on picture to enlarge
map of India (I have highlighted the places I am going in green)

6 Friday: leave Masan for Seoul, South Korea

7 Saturday: Seoul, fly to Hong Kong, then to Mumbai, India

8 Sunday: Mumbai, India

9 Monday: travel to Andaman Islands

10 Tuesday: Andaman Islands

11 Wednesday: Andaman Islands

12 Thursday: travel to Cochin, Kerala, city tour of Cochin

13 Friday: travel from Cochin to Alleppey, Kerala, visit Water Bird Sanctuary, relax in hotel

14 Saturday: houseboat to cruise from Alleppey to Kumarakom , Kerala, relax and enjoy the backwaters

15 Sunday: morning in Kumarakom, head to Cochin, Kerala, then travel back to Mumbai, stay night in Mumbai

16 Monday: Mumbai, travel to Delhi, explore Delhi

17 Tuesday: Taj Mahal & Agra Fort, Agra

18 Wednesday: travel to Jaipur, explore Jaipur including Amber Fort

19 Thursday: explore Jaipur including Old Bazaar and the Hawa Mahal

20 Friday: travel to New Delhi, including Chandni Chowk as well as Connaught Place, as well as Red Fort and the Jama Masjid

21 Saturday: final exploration of Delhi, travel back to Mumbai

22 Sunday: depart Mumbai, land in Hong Kong, layover in Hong Kong

23: fly to Busan, South Korea

I am very excited for my travels (clearly), and would like to apologize in advance if I don't post much while I am away.  I will for sure update everyone when I return.

Hugs & Kisses,

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Korean public holidays 2012

Here are a list of the Korean public holidays, also commonly known as "red days" for 2012.

Sun., Jan. 01 - New Years Day
Sun. - Tues., Jan. 22-24 - Seollal (Lunar New Year)
Thur., Mar. 01 - Movement Day
Sat., May 05 - Children's Day
Mon., May 28 - Buddha's Birthday
Wed., June 06 - Memorial Day
Wed., Aug. 15 - Liberation Day
Sat. - Mon., Sept. 29 - Oct. 01 - Chuseok (Mid-Autumn Festival)
Wed., Oct. 03 - Foundation Day
Tues., Dec. 25 - Christmas Day