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Monthly Archives: December 2008

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Coming back to Canada has really opened my eyes about some truths about my ‘home’. One thing I noticed is how boring a place it is. Walking my dog down the street the other day, I wondered to myself where all the people were. It’s absolutely dead in my area. Even at Niagara Falls, a popular tourist attraction, there are very few people compared to Seoul. I don’t have to navigate my way around huge groups of people. I have to wait more than a few minutes to cross the street. I (and drivers here) aren’t used to me crossing the street and coming so close to the cars.

Another thing is how much this place sucks for public transportation. I live in Southern Ontario, in a small city called Thorold. We have one bus. If I were to take the bus from Thorold to Niagara Falls, it would take me at least an hour, with a lot of complicated transfering. In Seoul, the same distance would take maybe 20 minutes with a few transfers. But these transfers are very easy and quick. There, to transfer to another subway line, there is virtually no waiting. Here, you’d likely be waiting 15-30 minutes for a transfer. Also, you’re outside, above ground, waiting in a bus shelter. In Seoul, you’re 5 floors underground, with heating.

Also, the food is much different. I got sick the first day from having pizza. It was simply too greasy in comparison to the food I’m used to in Korea. The food in Korea is so full of vegetables and is (from my choices) very non-greasy. There are, however, a couple of Korean restaurants around my area. Here is some of the food they offer:

food

As you can see, it’s quite a bit more expensive than in korea. Dol sop bibimbap is $7.50, compared to about $4.50 in Seoul. And that $4.50 bibimbap comes with 5+ different side dishes. Funnily enough, the restaurant picture I posted is run by Chinese.

Here’s a picture of downtown St. Catharines:

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As you can see, it’s nothing compared to central Seoul:

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These places literally are a world apart. But you know what? I am and always will be Canadian. Plus, where else can you find characters like this guy?:

dsc_2731He got PISSED that I took a picture of him.

I leave to go back ‘home’ in 2 days. I love and missed my family, but to be honest, I can’t wait to get back. I miss the rush and hustle of the big city, and there’s also a special someone waiting for me. Life is good.

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Surprise!

I am now in Canada, with my dog resting his chin on my knee. Yesterday I arrived in Toronto at 3:40 or so. I left Seoul at 11am Seoul time. My total travel time was about 20 hours.

I booked my flight on November 12th, basically on a whim. A $2000 whim.

It’s great to be back home. I really missed my family. I made it back to Thorold at 5:30, right on time for Christmas dinner with my family. It was surreal to see everyone. I didn’t even have a chance to shower. We went directly to my aunt and uncle’s house for dinner.

After I had a delicious dinner, I came home for a ‘quick’ shower. The second I entered the house, my dog was right at the door, just as he always is whenever someone comes home. But this time, he was different. He jumped up on me as usual, but then did a double-take and realized who it was. I’ve never seen him react the way he did last night. He started screaming. It almost sounded like a young child. He up on his back legs, actually jumping.

So, my ‘quick shower’ turned into me spending about an hour cuddling with Mackenzie and just taking in the whole experience of being home. It was absolutely surreal to be back in my house.

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The flight from Seoul to Japan was about 2 hours. The flight from Japan to Detroit was about 12, and the flight from Detroit was about 35 minutes. It was unreal.

Anyway, I’m going to a party tonight for my friend leaving to Argentina tomorrow. Nobody knows I will be there, except for 2 people. I can’t wait to see everyone’s reaction.

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Sorry it’s been so long since the last update.

This past month, I’ve really grown to love my job. I never thought I would really care about my students as much as I do. I’ve begun to notice that I am excited to go to work on Monday to see them. Who would have thought?

I have taken it upon myself to improve their readin, no matter what. I have been enforcing a “Reading Express every day” rule, where my students are to do their reading homework every night, or else! The ‘or else’ part usually involves me simply ^_~ing at them, which is me raising my eyebrow at them, furrowing my brow, and probing as to why they haven’t done it.

Through this, I have learned a lot about how Korean parents are with their children. I shouldn’t say that all Korean parents are like this, but bear with me for a moment.

Never before have I heard a 7 year old say that they don’t have time for something. When I was 7 years old, I was riding my bike between the two side streets between my house. No further, lest I get lost. One of my students has the following: English class, Tae Kwon Do, violin, and swimming. All in one night. How is a 7 year old supposed to be a 7 year old with so much to do, and so much pressure to excel in everything?

Have a look at this:

img_0004This was written by a 7 year old.

When I was 7, I had no idea what a Master’s or Ph.D. degree was.

I feel it’s sad, and takes away the magic from childhood.

And so, I do my best to ensure that my kids have a good time while learning against their will.

That’s all for now. Here’s a nice finisher:

img_0001Mr. Clown looks a bit too happy. My student agrees.