A Travellerspoint blog

What's the Hardest Part About Being You?


A big healthy kudos to Sarah for introducing THE MUSTACHE:

She's so handsome.

And she made Rose and I one too!

And then we made them in Pisces class!


The best part was after work wearing it around. Koreans tend to not really know what to do with the foreigners anyway. This made it much, much worse.

One man at a convenience store:
"Oh! Summer Santa! Present where?"
"Merry Christmas!"

Oh the most ridiculous times, these in Korea.

Posted by lrbergen 20:26 Archived in South Korea Comments (0)

Children's Day

another holiday we miss out on this year

Saturday is Children's Day in Korea!

What is this? you may ask. Good question.

Korean children are overworked, overtaught, and generally unable to act like the children that they are. Students from kindergarten to high school go to normal school during the day. Then, from the time they finish school to the time they go to bed, they go to "hagwons," which are the private schools that I've taught at during my time in Korea. These are opposed to public schools.

So the kids go to math hagwons, English hagwons, art hagwons, science hagwons, they have private tutors, they go to soccer, taekwondo, ballet, and "Brain Gym." They are tired. They are prepping for a life where they work, work, work, always to get more. This is Korean society.

So Children's Day is a day when the kids get off of school (unless it falls on a Saturday, like this year) and hang out with their parents, usually go to Everland (a theme park). We had a Children's Day event at my school where we played games, did face painting, made pat bing soo (red beans and ice...some sort of dessert I won't touch), and played with water guns/balloons. My station was the water.

Orange smile for snacktime.

Kevin K. dragon arm at facepainting.

Teaching the 6-year-old classes of Taurus and Aquila how to EVIL LAUGH.

Sam has this thing down pat.

No worries...they actually requested to be sprayed in the face.

But then, revenge is sweet.

John K. as a monster.

Clara as a butterfly.

Jennifer with a flower.

And last, but not least, the day was topped off with DIBO! No, he is not the big guy in "Friday," he's a gift dragon. The teachers got one too.

So Happy Children's Day, everyone!

Posted by lrbergen 17:17 Archived in South Korea Comments (1)




Street in Itaewon.

Posted by lrbergen 17:30 Archived in South Korea Comments (0)


lost in translation?


Yet another appetizing meal in Seoul...

Posted by lrbergen 17:28 Archived in South Korea Comments (1)

Korean Drummers

in front of reebok


For the Hi Seoul Festival on Saturday. In Itaewon.

Posted by lrbergen 05:40 Archived in South Korea Comments (0)


saturday afternoon


Kins Tower in Jeongja.
Waiting for a bus that never came...

Posted by lrbergen 19:25 Archived in South Korea Comments (0)

Taxi Shot

enjoying the mundane


Posted by lrbergen 00:49 Archived in South Korea Comments (0)

Growing Daisies

...in Korea!!!

On a daily basis, I crack up at work. Teaching kindergarteners is a source of constant, in-your-face, draining, interactive entertainment.

We are giving them this huge amount of information while trying to help them assert themselves as individuals and be creative, and not act like babies. This is hard, especially in Korean society, where children are treated like princes and princesses who must conform to all Korean norms. So you try not to baby them too much in order to maintain a balance between home and school, Eastern and Western culture.

I have started collecting some of these witty remarks my kids, and others, have made.

  • Today in Social Studies, I taught my students about rivers and lakes. They love foreign words, so I taught them about Lake Titicaca and the Mississippi River. Jerry says to me, he says:

    "Teacher....is there a Mistersippi River? And are Mississippi and Mistersippi MARRIED?!"

  • My little Jennifer is very wise on the ways of the human body. When my class found out I had some hair on my legs, they were bewildered. I explained to them that when they get older, they'll get hair in places other than their heads. Little Jennifer says to me, she says:

    "Teacher, I will get hair here too!" (points to genital area) "In my jamji!" (The Korean word for the female private parts)
    She proceeds to skip down the hall, singing "Jamji! Jamji! Jamji!"

  • My students have "Korean time" where they have 30 minutes to spend with their Korean teacher (the rest of the time they are with the foreigners to maximize English speaking). Joanne teacher made butterfly masks with them, colored, laminated, and rubber-banded. When I came back in, I generally joked about needing a butterfly net to catch all of the butterflies.
    One of the boys, John C. says to me, he says:

    "Teacher! I'm not really a butterfly! I'm a people! This is just a MASK!"


There are also a lot of one-liners that slay me:

"FEED ME!!!!"
- John K.

"Teacher! And the monster is thinking...'Ant!'"
- John C. and John K. (their monsters are ALWAYS thinking ant, because that’s what the boys know how to spell on their own)

"Oops! I'm old! I forgot the glue!"
- John K.

"Smelly Canadian people!"
- John C.

"Oops! I forgot to be angry!"
- Jennifer

Me: Well, it looks like we have a mystery on our hands!
Jennifer: (looks at her hands, bewildered)


This, people, is why I absolutely love this job.

  • Note: The concept of "growing daisies" was borrowed from Matt.

Posted by lrbergen 00:54 Archived in South Korea Comments (0)

Mr. Bob

or for the lay folk, mr. rice

I assume this place sells....rice?

Posted by lrbergen 17:05 Archived in South Korea Comments (0)

I Believe that Children...

are budding crossdressers...

My boys' favorite pasttimes?

- Stabbing other little boys in the head with a pencil for revenge.
- Calling people 'smelly'
- Laughing at others' misfortunes
- Punching pictures of babies in books.
- Laughing maniacally about any and everything.
- Calling Jennifer a BA - ....con... (after a death look from teacher)
- And now crossdressing.

Even though there are no gay people in Korea (!!!!)....

"Look teacher, I'm a pretty little girl!"


"Me too!"


"Hahahaha! Hello pretty little girls!"


I swear I didn't put these guys up to this....

(All 'earrings' and 'barrettes' are actually magnets...)

Posted by lrbergen 17:08 Archived in South Korea Comments (0)

Engrish (again)

Alive and well in korea

"Crazy Hot Chicken Folder"

Posted by lrbergen 17:00 Archived in South Korea Comments (0)


keeping up the tradition


Wine and Cheese party, hosted on the roof of the Hyundai Arion in Migeum.

Mostly Avalon crew. And me.

Posted by lrbergen 22:42 Archived in South Korea Comments (0)

Which is it?

Italy? or korea?


An amazing Italian restaurant in Migeum.

Holy cow, best lasagna.

Posted by lrbergen 17:18 Archived in South Korea Comments (0)

Who Needs Japan?

korea: fighting the blossom battle


Who needs to go all the way to Japan to see cherry blossoms when we have them right here in Korea? By 'we' I mean Koreans and expats in Korea. I don't mean any of you, actually. Well...tough luck!

Posted by lrbergen 17:08 Archived in South Korea Comments (0)


the future is here.

Information Robot for Canal City shopping mall in Fukuoka, Japan.

Posted by lrbergen 19:23 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

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