Sound of Vitality

Blowin up Haengsin-dong. Holla!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Hiking the hill

First of all let me apologize for not posting in a long time. This has been my longest hiatus since I got to Korea. I don't want to become one of those dead blogs that you check and you're like 'Aw man, no new posts since 2009'. The summer in Korea is just awesome. It's hot and beautiful outside. Aside from that I have, like, friends now! So I've been hanging with friends and doing all sorts of stuff and the blog just fell out of my mind a bit.

Every morning I was in the habit of taking a walk around the area here just to exercise a little and people-watch and the like. A couple weeks ago my friend Taylor had some of his buddies in town and our English friend Allie recommended hiking this hill by us. So Taylor's friends and I hit it up and I liked it so much I've been back nearly every day since. It's a little hill with 4 peaks that's stitched through and through with trenches and bunkers from the war. Well from the war and beyond - the trenches are maintained by the military that has a base on a nearby hill. Let's hope we don't need to use them.

Taylor's friends Ryan and Mike on the hill. Solid dudes:

Mike's getting ready for war:

Another line of trenches near the first peak:

Here's the view from the first peak - shrubbery in the foreground and Haengsin (my hood) in the distance:

The path to the second peak:

The second peak features an abandoned little military box thing:

Between the second and third peak you have exercise equipment next to trenches:

Mike had a little workout - note the trench directly behind him:

The third peak has a bunker built into the hill. This is the top part that peaks out of the hilltop - when I was there last week there were soldiers there doing maintenance on it:

Ryan is at the door to the bunker, which Mike tried to jimmy open:

Here's another view of Haengsin from the third hilltop:

This is the path to the final hilltop with some random graves thrown in on the left of the path for good measure. This hill is truly multi-purpose:

The little hut at the top of the final peak - you will find many old Korean people up there hanging out. Like OLD old - people in their 70s throw on their hiking outfits, gigantic visors and facemasks and climb up 30% grade hills - it's nuts:

Here's a view of the cemetery, which is on the other side of the 4th peak, in the foreground and the river and Seoul in the distance:

Here's a bridge across the Han river and part of the megalopolis that is Seoul. You can get an idea of the ever-present haze that is the air in Korea. Much spirited debate goes on between my friends and I whether it is pollution or just how the air is here, what with humidity and all. It's likely a combination:

So that's it for now - I know that post was kind of massive which really violates my blog posting rules ('Keep it short and light' - Dad). I swear I'll post more. Time to go hike the hill - holla!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Glasses day

One of the lessons I taught recently featured some stickers that you were supposed to stick like cellophane to and make sunglasses. Well I wasn't prepared and didn't have any cellophane, but that didn't stop the kids from just sticking it to their face anyway. The kid on the left here is the quietest kid ever. His English name is Charles but he said it so softly that I thought it was 'Hars'. Well I'd never heard that name but I called him 'Hars' for like 3 months until I found out he's 'Charles:

This girl is really funny. She's younger than all the other kids in the class - like 6 I think, but she speaks English well and is brave enough to try to talk. Cool girl:

This kid didn't know I was taking his picture:

'Teacher wear glasses!' Ok:

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Student Depictions of ME

One of my favorite things teaching is when the students draw pictures of me. They're often pretty unkind, but funny nonetheless. Here's a depiction of me I found on the chalkboard walking in to class one day:

One of my favorite students regularly depicts me with devil's horns menacing her with a weapon:

Every once in a while I get a kind depiction, like this one I found in Suzanne's homework book. Notice the pen behind my ear. The kids find that hilarious for some reason: