Saturday, December 26, 2009

Gingerbread Construction and Consumption

Everyone's christmas comes with some traditions. One of ours is making gingerbread houses.


Chelsie made the dough and we rolled out the logs and baked them in the toaster oven. We then went began the cutting and assimbling.



On went the roof and the chimney.

Careful decorations were added: Shingles, Christmas lights, Trees, Ice sicles


The woodplile in the back, and a light coating of snow.

The gingerbread was on display in our house for a few days and then it moved over to school where it was on display for a few days. The day came, and the announcement was made that we were going to dig in and tons of kids flooded in.

Purely chaos.....

They loved it.

Even after the few days on display, it was still suprisingly tastey.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Muju Skiing

This past weekend we bought a package which included transportation, rentals, and lift tickets. Since it was early season it was only about $50 for the deal. No complaints. The week in the classroom sped by as we eagerly waited for the weekend to come. It is now come and gone, just as many things in life seem to do.


It was our first time to ski this year. It was a good warm up. Chelsie and I went with five other friends to the resort. Many of them had never skied before, some had never seen snow, being they are from Indonesia and South Africa.

The lift lines were a bit busy before lunch it was about a 20 minute wait at the base, and then after lunch it was more like 50 minutes. A bit too crazy for me.

Skiing is a very popular sport. Each area caters to a large number people because the population density is so much highter. A drive to the ski area here is alot closer for many more people than it is back home.



Joe Teacher (green hat) headed to the top. He has his mean face on. We call him shredder Joe.

Here is our famous "Marker" teacher. He is use to the warmer weather of South Africa. It was his first day on the board and he did really well keeping two feet under him.

At the summit of the mountain there was this sweet pagoda. It would have been really nice if there was some snow blanketed over it.

The sun set on the other side of the mountain.

The Summit and the landscape. We took "chorus" lift and then had the option of taking "Harmony" or "Melody" to the top.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Tree and The Pumpkin

Whew, it has been a while since I have made a posting on our blog. I think it is a new record. We have been busy, but not too busy. Actually I haven't taken too many pictures in the last few weeks and so this is what happens, nothing gets posted.

No one gets trees here. There aren't even too many plastic ones hanging around. We really wanted to cut a tree, but weren't shure if it was kosher. We talked to our fellow Korean teachers, and had one of our advanced students talk to his mom, who works at city hall. In the end we got the "OK, Just don't drag it in during rush hour. "

I think the tree was honored to be selected. I mean, how many pine trees get to become a Christmas tree in Korea....? Very few. I began with the lights. At the shopping mall, I found a megar supply of lights compared to the vast quantities at home. Lights, lights, lights. This is one of my favorite parts of Christmas
Chelsie had some of her studnets make some ornaments in class. They do celebrate Christmas here, but just not with the same amout of energy. It was good classroom discussion.

During breaktime, I had some of my kids do some origami boxes to hang on the tree as ornaments.
Some ribbon and shazam. It is now a very happy Korean/American christmas tree. We love to come home and plug it in. It makes the house so cozy.
Some friends of ours, Dan and Lindsay, who spent Christmas here last year, left us with their stockings when they went home this fall.
We are also working on getting our Christmas letter in the mail. It was quite fun figuring out where to get it printed, and buying stamps and envelopes.
As winter is here and fall is gone, it was time to call it quits for the jolly pumpkin that sat where the christmas tree now does.

Jack-o-lantern....?
Nope.
Pumpkin pie, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin soup, pumpkin seeds, and more pumpkin to come later.

Our once decoritive pumpkin was enjoyed to the fullest when Chelsie cooked up some tastey dishes out of it.
We have been busy making plans for our upcoming holiday vacation. The holidays are going to be fun, but it will be and has been sad to be away from family this year. We watched an excellent old movie that will become a Christmas favorite of ours. "The Shop Around the Corner" will rank right up there with "It's a Wonderful Life" and "Peanuts Christmas".

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Another Harvest, Another Hike

It is fall. Another beautiful transition into the sleepy winter months. The rice is being harvested, the colors are at their best, and the weather is taking a turn for the colder.


Below the rice combine, which runs on tracks, makes laps around the riced patty. They stop periodically to unload the rice into bags. The rice straw which remains is bailed into small square or large round bales. Sometimes if the moisture content of the straw is high enough they will wrap the bales in plastic to make haylage.
The rice goes from the fields to the roads. The farmers take over the rural roads this time of year. One has to be careful when driving because tarps are layed down and the rice is poured out to dry. The ladies occasionally rake/stir the rice throughout the day, and then put it back in bags at night.

The garden crops have changed as the weather gets colder as well. We see more cabbage, lettuce, and spinach.


Spinach for sale in a small town on the south side of the island. Chelsie and I bought a nice bundle from this cute old lady.



Kimchi crops: peppers and cabbage
It is a bit less fun to ride now that it is colder. We still put on the coats and gloves and go though. We have made a couple trips the last two weekends.

Mark teacher and Joe teacher accompanied us on a trip. Joe is a new teacher at our school. He is from New Jersey.The rides throughout the island are always filled with unique scenery. It is nice to be able to stop and enjoy it.
We took two fall hikes and these are a combination of the pictures. One hike was to the top of Mangsan which I have made a previous posting on, and the other is Nojasan. Both fantastic.


Mark and Joe teachers.



The Asian looking pine trees add to the texture of the scenery.
A break at a summit for lunch.

Chelsie Teacher
Fiona Teacher
Joe Teacher (Sweet shades)
The kids call Mark, "Marker Teacher".
And Jesse Teacher
Enjoying the view inland from the summit.
Father and Son passing by. As you may have already noticed, when Koreans smile for pictures, they say kimchi and give you the peace sign. Even the little guy hitching a ride in the backpack is well trained in photo taking.
From atop Nojasan.
One of many cloud like islands floating in the ocean. They call them a "mowendo". A no man's island.

We were glad that we stuck around for the sunset, but the ride home was brutally cold.

All is well. All is normal. We are making plans for Christmas and New Years in Japan. We are very excited as we are looking forward to a brief look into a new culture.