Friday, July 10, 2009

A snake got loose in COEX!

I asked some of my second-grade students to write a story about a snake getting loose in COEX, the giant underground mall near our neighborhood.  This is what Luna came up with for the second part of her story--with all the cute mistakes intact, of course!

I am glad to see you again. Now I am anaconda!  I still live in COEX.COEX is good place. But still everyone run away from me.  Thousands of people tried to catch me, but their fear is more bigger then thinking of catching me.  So, I am, living behind cloths store.  Soon, someone see me.  He was frozn like ice. After four hour, he called 119.  [119 is the emergency police number in Korea, like 911 in the US.]  After all, many people was frozn like ice.  So I slithered and wiggled slowly.  I went to the aquarium.  One crazy shark (the biggest shark) came out from the aqurium.  I was 12mt, so I ate it.  [I have no idea what "12mt" is--maybe 12 meters long?]  It was very tasty.  I want to be free.  I will be free!

I have been free!  My wish is cometrue!  Someone gave me a house like jungle.  I love this place.  Because everyone likes me.  Execpt, one person.  He is police.  Every day police chase me.  He chase me because when he catch me, he hate snake.  So I went to the theater.  Movie was starting now.  The name of the movie is 'The little mermaid.'  I was looking for Lori.  Soon, I saw Christine [another student in the class].  The next person I see, he was Jimmy!  But Jimmy couldn't seeme because there was a lot of people.  I found Justin to!  I went to justin.  Soon, he numbed and scream like frog.  He said, "It is boa constrictor!"  Justin knows I'm boa constrictor.  But true is I'm anaconda!  Ha,Ha,Ha!

Friday, May 29, 2009

One more time: "awww!" (But for another reason...)

Title: My grandfather died
(a picture diary)
by Dannypants [once again, the last part was appended by me!]

Today my grandfather died.  So we went to a funeral hall.  This is how grandfather died.  First, he is 95 years old.  Second, he is sick.  Third, he is died.  I'm so sad.  That mean I can't meet him anymore.  I thought in sky country My grandfather will be okay.  And he is very old.  (Not that Julian's grandmother.  She is 97 years old!)  Do you think my grandfather will be okay in sky country?

All together now: "awwww!"

Title: Baseball
(a picture diary)
by Steve-o [the latter two characters were appended by his teacher; he has since adopted them.  Score!]

I played baseball with my father.  My father great played the baseball.  My father hit the ball and ball is homerun.  I thought he is power ful.  me too.  ^.^  He helped me when I studied.  He is very kind.  I love him.  I love baseball.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Mexico peoples is bad.

Title: I look Mexico peoples
(a picture diary)
by Alex

I look Mexico people.  They play mexico instrument.  This is very bad.  Because sing is very big and bad.  trumpet is very big voice  And Mexico peoples has pig influenza.  I don't like mexico an annual tide

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

"These kids today," declares kid

I have a hunch that Ann has been listening to lots of grumbling adults lately.  What do you think?  Submitted into evidence: her picture diary from this past weekend.  :c)

Title: About Leonardo da vinci

Leo borned in 1452.  He lived in Italy.  He was an artist, an inventor, a mathematician, a scientist, and a psychologist.  He drew 'MonaLisa' and 'the Last supper.'  And he invented an airplane, a helicopter and lots of farming muchines and weapons.  why aren't a person like Leo today?  Long time ago, there wasn't computer and internet games.  But, today lots of students play computer games or internet.  I want students don't play and study hard and become a famous person like Leo.

Incidentally, I'm super-impressed by Ann's writing.  To show you the contrast, here's the picture diary of one of her classmates:

Title: Today teacher give test paper.

Today teacher give test paper.  The test is very difficult.  I hundred is math and Korean.  I don't like souial studies.  Because It is very difficult.  But science is commonness.  In my class everyone didn't had a hundred.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Yay, human rights.

I'm glad to see that freedom of speech is alive and well in South Korea....

Monday, January 5, 2009

My Irish eyes are smilin'!

I'm an Irish citizen!!!!

A little backstory.

Both of my paternal grandparents were born in Ireland--one in modern-day Northern Ireland, and one in the modern-day Republic of Ireland (although both were born before the split). They both emigrated to New York as adults, where they met and got married. My dad was born there.*

Two and a half years ago, I mentioned to a co-worker of mine that two of my grandparents were Irish. He told me that I could apply for Irish citizenship through them, but it seemed improbable. Then, about a year ago, I was bored (okay, FINE...I was procrastinating) so I googled it. Turns out he was right! According to Irish law, my dad's already considered a citizen because he was born to Ireland-born citizens; he just wasn't on the books as such. I, being born to an Irish citizen (albeit one born in the States), was eligible to apply for citizenship. Which would then give me EU citizenship. Hot DANG.

Starting this past March, I began assembling the documents required for my application. Basically, they included birth, marriage, and death certificates (as applicable) for me, my dad, and whichever of his parents I chose; I had to prove that my grandparent was born in Ireland, that my dad was his/her son, and that I'm his daughter. I also assembled official copies for my sister and for my dad's Irish passport application. The process probably cost me over a hundred hours worth of work, mainly due to my grandparents' elusive marriage record. Also employed in the effort were my dad's fabulous cousin Dorothy, who hunted down my grandmother's 1910 birth certificate for me in Ireland (thanks, Dorfee!), and my sister and father, who dutifully copied and notarized and mailed whatever I required. And my dad financed all that document-gathering. Because he is wonderful and generous, not to mention handsome and charming!

Fast forward to about a month ago. Finally, eight months after I began the whole effort, we had a complete little army of stamped and watermarked certificates. I asked my dad, who was back in Atlanta, to photocopy the whole shebang and send it off to the New York consulate, where it would take up to a year to process--and once I had my citizenship, I could apply for a passport. That time frame was less than ideal, since I'd ideally like to teach in Germany once my contract in Korea runs out in July, and it's approximately 34,927 times easier to get a job in Europe if you're a European than if you're an American. (Thus, most of the basis of the appeal for me of Irish citizenship.)

Then, my dad had a brilliant idea: I live in Seoul now, so couldn't I send the application to the Irish embassy in Seoul? Surely they received far fewer citizenship and passport applications than the New York consulate did; maybe Seoul could process it more quickly than New York could. I e-mailed the embassy and told them about New York's up-to-one-year waiting time. The response was even better than I had hoped: not only was I allowed to apply through the Seoul embassy, but I could do my citizenship and passport at the same time--and it would take eight or nine weeks for both. My dad mailed me all my documents the next day.

Before I left Seoul for Christmas vacation, I subwayed over to the embassy and delivered all my documents. They told me the website where I could check on the progress of my passport application, and I wrote down my application number. Today, two weeks after that, I got home from vacation and saw the note with my application number. I went online to see if the passport office in Dublin had received my application yet, and this is what I saw.

Application Number Entered: 10126664624
Status: Application approved on 02/01/2009. Passport will issue to your Local Office within 10 days.
Issue Date: 05/01/2009
Last Updated: 02/01/2009

Not only have they received my application, but it's been approved! That means that my citizenship application has already been approved, too! After all that work, I'm finally an Irish citizen!!!!!

This is great news, and not only because of the employment opportunities it opens up for me for next year. My grandfather died before I was born, but my grandmother lived close to us almost my whole life and was a constant presence in it. She died two and a half years ago--actually, it was the same summer that I learned that I could apply for citizenship. (She was almost 96 years old!) Since she died, I feel like I've really been getting in touch with my Irish roots, as hackneyed as that sounds. First there was her memorial service in Atlanta; then, four months later, we drove her ashes up to New Jersey to bury them next to my grandfather, which included another little memorial service with lots of extended family and live Irish music. And eight months after that, my dad took my sister and stepmother and I to Ireland, where we spent time with tons of extended family and even got to see the houses where both of my grandparents were born!  Pictures can be found here.

That trip was really great for me. Finally, I felt like I understood a bit about the context from which my grandparents came, and I felt so much more in touch with my Irish roots. That was June of 2007; the following March, I began the citizenship process. And today, I found out that my citizenship was granted. I couldn't be prouder to say that I'm Irish.

To commemorate the occasion, here's one last picture. My sister and dad and I are standing in front of my grandmother's one-room schoolhouse--did I mention that she was born in 1910?! The schoolhouse is still there!--reenacting an old-timey class photo, complete with serious expressions and painfully upright posture.

This year's Saint Patrick's Day is going to be a fun one FOR SURE. :c)

*Over the course of my research, I noticed that my grandparents got married in July of 1952, and my dad--their only child, born when they were both in their forties--was born in January of 1953. When I realized the brevity of that interval, I asked my dad if he knew what that meant. And he, ever the witty one (he learned it from me), acknowledged it. "I was a premie," he said with a sideways smile.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Teacher's pet or domestic slave?

Dear, sweet Andy--one of the kids in my Monday/Wednesday/Friday first grade class--once wrote his weekly "picture diary" about helping his mom clear the table and wash dishes after dinner.  I told him it was really nice of him to help out his mom like that.

That was about two months ago.  Since then, all of Andy's picture diaries have involved manual labor and the sheer glee it brings him.  I figure either he's kissing up to me because of my erstwhile praise....or he's a modern-day Cinderella.  Or Cinderfeller.

Picture Diary
Andy,   12/12/08

After I finished my homework I fold the laundry.  I fold the towel, underwear and panties.  It was very fun.

No laundry-folding until you finish your homework, and I MEAN IT!

Stupid snot-faced kids.

I forget if I mentioned this on my blog, but a couple months ago my boss was really riding me for about three or four weeks.  One of my classes happened to have a high concentration of parents who Really Care A Lot About Their Children's Supplementary English Education....and observed classes and commented ALL the time.  I only started teaching these wee-wahs in September, but apparently they've nitpicked every teacher they've had at my school, asking for little tweaks and complaining about curriculum changes until the counselor--the Korean who serves as an ambassador between the teachers and parents--quits.  Seriously, there have been three or four counselors who have quit in recent months, and they've all had this one class.  The kids are totally fine; it's just the parents who are.....involved.  Ahem.

Anyway, for a while there my boss was talking to me every single day about little things she wanted me to change.  She started observing my classes, requesting changes in my syllabi, and all that.  It all ended okay; after a while, she was satisfied and moved on to some other poor teacher.  She has a habit of doing this; she'll focus on one foreign teacher at a time, heap criticism on them until they're drowning, and then move on.  The majority of her advice and requests are legitimate and helpful; it's just the quantity and frequency--and often, the style of delivery--that can make being in her hotseat so unpleasant.  Poor Roommate Kyle is currently in the hotseat.  I make him lots of cups of sympathy tea when we get home.

Anyway, the heat is off of me for now, and I haven't heard a peep from the parents of this one class in weeks.  Woohoo!  I'm writing about them now because I just graded a spelling and vocabulary test I gave them.  For being in first grade, they're pretty advanced in their English ability.  They're certainly nowhere close to native speakers, but they do pretty well.  Plus, they actually do their homework.  I can't tell you how much easier that makes my job.

For their weekly spelling-and-vocab tests, they have twenty words they have to spell, and they have to match definitions with eight of those words.  Plus, I'm a complete stickler for capitalization and punctuation; if there's a dash missing or a lowercase letter where there should be an uppercase letter, I take off half a point.  On this particular test, they had words like leather, brighter, Indian reservation, the Rocky Mountains, and--the piece de resistance--the Mississippi River.  (It was mentioned in one of our textbooks.)

And do you know what?  Out of seven first-graders, ONE missed that word.  She forgot one of the "iss"es.  The rest of them nailed it--capitalization and all.  In fact, with two bonus words, my little rockstars had an average grade of 100.


Saturday, December 13, 2008

New pictures (with stories!) on facebook!

Go look!  You don't need to have a facebook account.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


On Saturday, I went to see Billy Joel in Seoul.  It was EPIC.  And I really should type out the whole story for y'all, but honestly, I don't feel like it.  Sorry!  HOWEVER, I put up pictures on facebook and captioned them copiously, so you should check out that album.  You can look at the pictures even if you don't have a facebook account.  I hope you'll go check them out!  It truly was an amazing experience, and I have some really fun pictures from it.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Adventures in Grading: part epic punishment.

Picture Diary
by Polly

Today my family sat on the sofa.  We watched on TV.  It was very fun.  I was looking for it many hours.  I watched and watched.  Then my father came with my younger brother.  I said that I had to watch on TV.  My mother was angry to me.  "Polly, you must be nice to your father!"  I was so scared.  I had to go out of the house.  I walked slowly outside.  Tac... Tac... Tac...  I cried and thought, 'I don't know how to do.'  2 minutes went by.  I jumped 5 times on the ground.  My nose was cold, and my ears were cold too.  I wanted to go in.  Soon the door was opened and my mother said that I could come in to the house.  I was so sad in that time.