Friday, August 17, 2007

two weeks later.....

hi friends! i know it has been what seems like ages since i last made a post to my blog. things have been absolute madness since i last updated things in the blog world. the first week since has been a blur and looking back at the calendar cound not really recall anything super duper exciting to report. sad i know. week #2 brought me back to work as the full faculty orientation began on august 13th. pretty much since then it has been full on school. paul has been such great husband putting up with my overly tired, whiney self. he has made dinner on more than one occasion. he is really into experimenting in the kitchen. :) he makes me so proud.

i made it through the first two days of school which is a good sign. i do have to say that this year feels MUCH better than the beginning of last. what a difference a year can make. this time it did not feel like the blind leading the blind. i actually felt quite on top of things which was refreshing although even when you feel that way there is still a to do list a million miles long floating in the back of the mind. the life of a teacher. my class seems really sweet so far, but i am sure i have to yet to see their "true colors". i definitely have some unique personalities, but i think it will make for a good mix. we have spent the first two days getting to know each other and creating our community constitution. i am excited about this year and have many mini goals set for myself about how i would like to do things, handle things, and teach.

the nicest surprise on day one was the amount of my formerr students that really did come by to see me. many offered hugs, others offered smiles. it really warmed my heart and made my day. they all have seemed to grow a bit over the summer and look more like 5th graders than my sweeties from the 4th grade. so fun! i even had two of them come by after school to hang out for a little while. it was nice to see them. even today i have to make several stops in the hallway for hugs and conversation. gosh, i love kids!

miss foster, mrs. f, mrs. falgout----the many names that i hear all day long. i know that technically my name has changed, but i do think it may take a bit longer for the kids to adjust. i still hear miss foster in the hall often. then my new kids call me mrs. f or mrs. falgout......which is really unusual still. it was weird feeling at new students orientation to introduce myself as mandy falgout. i did hear that there was quite the buzz in the lobby because they wanted to know where miss foster had gone. many kids were confused and thought mrs. falgout was a new teacher. it all came clear when they saw me. so fun to be the talk of the halls!

i am glad it is friday and hope to get some rest. it has been a hard week and i am sure next week will be killer since it is the first full week with kiddos. pray that i can manage to not worry too much, not be anxious, and to relieve my frustrations and burdens to God. it definitely has been a time of blessing to be back at school. i have realized how blessed that paul and i are to have each other and to continue to share our lives together. i am thankful each morning that i am alive and healthy.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

full gospel church...

this morning the new folks were going to the largest church in the world---Yoido Full Gospel Church. it claims that they have 750,000 members. paul and i decided to go see what all the fuss is about and were interested in what it is like. it was interesting. the whole service is in korean so the foreigners have headsets that translates the service into english. i was not a fan of the headset as i was a bit warm and they were foamy and made me feel hotter. the place is huge! there are masses of people and lots of hoopla. koreans traditionally when asked to pray all pray outloud at the same time which was quite the experience considering there were sooooo many people. paul and i have been, so that is that. i am pretty sure we won't go back. it was an experience and we visited.

this afternoon i took some new folks to grand mart grocery in sinchon subway. this is where i do most of my shopping so i wanted to share the love. it was fun and i think everyone enjoyed the trip. i actually quite enjoy grocery shopping here as the store is quite lively with people and things going on. lots of sales folks ready to help and have you try their samples. :) the produce ladies are really friendly and always smiling. much more exciting than grocery stores in america. grand mart rules!

Saturday, August 04, 2007


the best description for the weather in seoul these days! it has been raining on and off and it constantly sticky feeling. i am sure most of you reading are thinking i should be used to this type of weather being from texas, but in texas we don't spend a lot of time walking from place to place. regardless it has become routine for a morning shower and an evening one to rinse down all the grossness. the morning one is mainly for my hair so i don't look like a crazy lady when i leave the apartment. :)

leslie is here and feeling a bit tired and overloaded which is completely normal for only day #2 in seoul. i was there just a year ago and keep reminding her she will make it through this.

today i took a group on a tour of yonhi-dong and we ended at the sahruga (the grocery store). i bought more items at the black market including whole pecans that cost me 15,000 won. crazy that i paid it but i need them for a dessert i am making next weekend--chocolate pecan pie bars. yum!

i am still not sleeping great. i thought i was making progress in the sleep department until last night. i went to bed around 10pm and i felt like i was just lying there with my eyes closed all night without really sleeping. it pretty much stunk big time. i went to breakfast with leslie at orientation and then came home for a morning nap which did help. i guess i am going to have keep taking some ambien until my body adjusts. i might also drink some sleepytime tea tonight. gosh.....the joy of traveling half way around the world. if anyone has other suggestions i am open to trying them out. i want to sleep....i love sleeping and i cannot seem to manage it. argh!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

making purchases

today paul and i went down to edae to have some coffee and use free wifi at the seven monkeys coffee shop. we tried an iced maple macchiato...yummy! paul did some work and i walked down to the "ikea" store. let me explain that this is not an official store, but more like someone bought some ikea items, opened up a shop, and then sells them. they also can order items for you which usually come from china or japan. i moved some furniture around in the extra room where our closets are to make room for a desk. so today i shopped for one at the ikea store. we wanted something plain like a table top with legs. no drawers or keyboard shelves. we were successful! it is white with gray legs. she had to order the desk so we won't get it until next week. the other bonus is that they deliver for free! we also got some dishes, coffee cups, and drinking glasses. all in all it was a good day at ikea for us!

we came home and had pizza for dinner. we are getting it out of the system now in hopes to begin smarted food choices in the next week or two. :) i also made some brownies! i am so domesticated now that i am married....hee hee! i got the mix at the black market at saruga grocery. life is good!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

BEST find of the day...

as i walked through the costco produde department today scoping what they had i took notice of the most amazing item ever........RAINIER CHERRIES!!! i could not believe it. my favorite cherries in korea! i am super excited. each 2lb containeris 14,000 won, but i don't care. i bought two containers---yes, i paid 28,000 won for 4 lbs of cherries. they are worth every bit of won! paul and i have already eaten at least half of one the containers and it is has not even been 24 hours. WOO HOO......Rainier Cherries make me SOOOO happy!

customer service on a new level

today i went to the bank with barry, the HR guy at the school, before we made a run to costco for the new teachers. in the bank i took notice of the funniest thing that also takes customer service to an all new level for me.

when we walked in there was a gentleman dressed in a suit using what looked like a ruler to smooth out a mouond of red goo on the counter where the deposit and withdrawal slips might be. he was meticulously smoothing and patting. when we entered he greeted us then went back to his smoothing and pattinig. i wondered what the heck he was doing considering it looked pretty weird and was not sure what the red stuff was for. as i sat and waited, i noticed an older man attending to his banking slips. the first thing i noticed was that the glasses he was wearing had a long golden color chain from one side of the frame stretched out towards the center of the counter. i then realized that the glasses belonged to the bank. they were there for the customers to use just like the pens that are attached to the counter. there were three different pairs to choose from. too funny! what a genius idea i thought. i decided that the bank is really trying to meet the needs of their customers. i also discovered the meaning of the red goo. the same man when attending to his bank slips took a small change size zippered pouch out of his pocket. he carefully unzipped the pouch and he took out his chop (the wooden name stamp). he tapped his chop into the red goo and then stamped his slips with it. in korea and i would think most asian cultures the chop stamp is as good as a signature if not better. i found this to be really interesting as i had not realized before that folks used their chops at the bank just for everyday business. i thought chops were used more for official business such as major transactions. i learned something new today.

this is definitely one aspect of living abroad that i enjoy....the people watching. it is quite interesting to just sit and observe and often i learn a lot. reminds me that sometimes i am such a rush that i don't take time to stop and look around me at the world. i am sure there are many lessons to be learned through observation.