Monday, November 26, 2007

Ellie's landmark discovery

Ellie grew up a little more this weekend... she discovered the difference between boys and girls while Didi got his diaper changed. After witnessing six months' worth of diaper changes, she finally made an important observation and showed heartfelt concern for Didi's "owie."

Props to Aunt Christie for those sweet glasses--three months later we still think its hilarious whenever she wears them, or whenever she forces her short-armed and uncoordinated brother to wear them.

Grandpa's house

Recently, Ellie has become obsessed with a daily construction project: Bapa (h)ouse! Though she has yet to define which grandpa gets to enjoy her brilliant airy design, she started renting the premises to The Colonel until she gives further notice.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

American Standard???

It turns out the rumors I've been hearing seem to be unfortunately true. Somebody help me understand:

How could American restroom standards have dropped this much during my short three months of living abroad?

Is it due to the battered US housing market? Global warming? Flattering the Chinese to get cheaper advertising rates during the 2008 Olympics? I need answers.

Whatever the reason may be, I'm definitely not ready for the words "American Standard" on any of these bad boys.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

My job ruins self-esteem.

This past work week has been a memorable one. Thursday there were no classes because of a music/ dance festival; Friday was the annual sports day. On Saturday, we teachers attended an all-day workshop (in Korean, of course) at a hot springs resort halfway up to Beijing. Now that the week is over, I am convinced that these activities had one hidden purpose: humiliation.

Though the administration masked their embarrassing intentions with "its for the kids" rhetoric, I immediately read right through that garbage after seeing the secondary school teachers perform in Thursday's festival. Take a look:

Is this in the best interests of the students? The way I see it, it's probably one of two things. First of all, it could be the ultimate drag queen act of selflessness to lift the spirits of troubled and isolated Korean teens stuck in China. But to me, after this weekend, it appears as if the untouchable administration enjoys pushing their teachers down to the dirt; you wouldn't believe it, but they actually give monetary incentives to the most foolish-looking departments. I've come to the conclusion that it's a scheme to destroy our self-esteem.

Here is a brief list from the past few days which may help prove my point (This is limited to what I personally saw or experienced):

-3 separate occasions of cross-dressing- all of which included "booty-shaking"

-calling out the skinniest males of each department to run an obstacle course with a balloon between the legs and do ridiculous tasks along the way including stuffing ho-hos down their throats and singing songs

-calling out the individuals of each department with the biggest backside to participate in a balloon popping contest (by sitting on them)

-putting "love marks" (which thankfully turned out to be heart stickers) on embarrassing places on the body

-having a teachers lottery where the host consistently jerked back the prize as the winners reached for it; after the taunting, the host demanded a hip-hop dance (regardless of age or ability) before handing over the prize

-making "forced volunteers" play games which require awkward positions to pass random objects balanced on chopsticks or toothpicks to the next "volunteer"

-mandatory participation in uncomfortable dances and songs aimed to highlight personal weakness and encourage mass laughter at those individuals

Well, I guess the yin-yang forces balance out when everyone makes a fool out of themselves, including the administration. Maybe it isn't to ruin self-esteem after all, but just a part of Korean working culture. And since I've always been the first to jump on the "I willing to look like an idiot" boat, I know I'm gonna like my time at the Korean school.

Friday, November 02, 2007


It wasn't until the start of this week that I became disappointed in my lack of festivity for the Halloween season. I tend to overdo (and thoroughly enjoy it) decorations, costumes, and all things festive and celebratory. With "they don't care about Halloween in China" as my pitiful excuse, I had ignored the upcoming holiday. Well, Ellie and I decorated a paper pumpkin later that day and taped it to our cement walls. There, that was better. But still not enough! So Kyle agreed to allow me to host a party, which took place last night. I baked goodies incessantly all day and the sixteen of us (I'm so happy that we finally know enough people in China to invite to a party!) had a perfect Halloween celebration, although void of trick-or-treating or bobbing for apples. Charades was possibly the highlight of the night where the Koreans and Chinese hilariously acted out new English vocabulary words like: arachnophobia, skeleton, haunted house, etc... We topped off the evening licking "ghost pops" (suckers) and watching the latest Harry Potter movie with Korean, Chinese, and Russian subtitles.