Time Lapse From My Apartment

I set up my computer to record a time-lapse video while I was at work one day. Here are the results. It was very cloudy this day. I'll try and get a clearer video soon.


School Pictures

I took my camera into work this week to take some pictures.

A couple pictures of my classroom before the day I started. I start working at two in the afternoon, but classes get under way at four. I spend the two hours grading essays, preparing for classes, eating lunch and doing the daily crossword puzzle.

Here's a close-up of a calendar I had the class make while studying months and holidays in English.

Before and after shots of the hallway outside my class.

Kids playing at breaktime.

While the kids took a test I snapped some more pictures.

I just happened to snap a picture while this student was peeking at his neighbor's paper.

Here's the view from the window of my classroom.

I went up to the roof of our building to shoot the area around my school.

And finally, the sun setting from the roof.


White Day

Korea, like most countries, has adopted many western traditions and habits. Once filtered through Korean culture, however, these practices are often drastically modified. Consider the time when I had had my fill of Korean food and craved nothing more than a nice big steak.

A friend had spotted a restaurant with a sign, printed in English, proudly promising steak. This was my first year in Korea and I had not indulged in a steak since my arrival. Nor did I speak or read Korean well enough to properly decipher a menu. So, we waited with anticipation, and when payday arrived we sauntered in to celebrate. The menu lacked pictures but mercifully provided English descriptions of the fare. I ordered the most expensive steak on the menu. As did my friend. Twenty minutes later the kindest little 아줌마 appeared clutching two plates of food. What she set before us, however, were two well-done hamburger patties drizzled with a dark gravy and sides of mashed potatoes. Obviously disappointed, we ate our dinner without complaint. However, I realized then the obvious lesson that I was no longer in Kansas, as it were.

This Korean tradition of bastardizing western traditions does not end with food. Take Valentine's Day for example. It seems the western idea of having a day to celebrate affection for a significant other falls short. Korea (though I believe this practice originated in Japan) has turned it into a three month ordeal. Valentine's Day is February 14th as usual with the noted exception that only girls give gifts of chocolate and candy to boys. White Day, March 14th is the day designated for boys to reciprocate. A month later is possibly my favorite of all holidays, western or Korean, Black Day. On this day all single people are encouraged to celebrate their loneliness by eating a bowl of black noodles called 짜장면

Today is White Day and every corner store hoped to cash in on the craze.

A couple of pictures do not tell the whole story. As with most of the "invented" holidays in Korea the retail market works itself into a frenzy pawning off candy and other niceties.