Asia » China » Beijing October 9th 2013

The next day, I booked a tour to go to the Great Wall. I opted to head to the Mutianyu section because it has both restored and un-restored sections and is known for being crowd-free. And it was! It was amazing! It was also incredibly difficult! That's something I didn't realize until quite recently. But when you hike the Great Wall, you're hiking all of the mountains that they sit on. And it's hard! The wall is about an hour and a half north of Beijing, so we left at about 8:30 in the morning. We had 3 hours to hike, take pictures, buy souvenirs, and use the cable car and toboggan. I'm glad I booked a tour that didn't include the Ming Tombs because those tours only give you about an hour and a half ... read more
Great Wall
Great Wall
Great Wall

Asia » China » Beijing October 9th 2013

My last week in Shanghai was pretty rough. I had my last Monday class a week before I left and I wasn't even allowed to tell the parents because the new foreign teacher had just arrived and they still weren't sure which classes she would be taking. Friday and Saturday I had full days of teaching, ending with saying goodbye to coworkers. I was a mess. I was supposed to come in on Sunday to do office hours. When you no longer have classes to plan for, "office hours" entail sitting on your computer for 6 hours. This is clearly a ridiculous thing to do on your last day of work, but CHINA. Luckily, my co-teacher for the Monday class got confused and told all of the parents that I would teach one more class and ... read more
Taoist Temple
Taoist Temple
Taoist Temple

Asia » China » Shanghai May 22nd 2013

I suppose that this message is overdue, but it’s very difficult to put observations into writing, especially when you’re still in the process of acclimating. But I’ve been in China for almost two months now, so I suppose it’s time to give it a shot. I got into the Shanghai airport fairly late at night and my plans to meet my friend that I’d be staying with were “meet on the subway platform”. This was mildly stressful. I had been to the Shanghai airport before, but I had only passed through and I had a valid plane ticket out of the country. This time I had a fake ticket in case it was necessary, but not much beside that. Luckily, it worked out and I passed through customs without incident. Once I got my luggage I ... read more
Inside the Pearl Tower
Fort on the river in Suzhou
Beisi Tower in Suzhou

Asia » Thailand » South-West Thailand » Ko Pha-Ngan January 6th 2013

We left for Thailand at 4:30 am Christmas morning, which is a pretty depressing time to be awake if you’re not on your way to Thailand. We flew first to Guangzhou, my third Chinese airport, and my favorite. They had way more food and entertainment options than the others did, so we spent a fine time on our 3.5 hour layover. Ali bought an iPad game and we spent a good deal of the time trying to figure out what the heck we were supposed to do next, which mainly involved us yelling things like, “Maybe you can dig up the blood with that piece of wood over there!” and making everyone around us feel uncomfortable. As we were getting on the plane and having our tickets checked, we found out that Lindsey was not on ... read more
Boat Ride on the Chao Praya
Enjoying our Tuk-Tuk Ride
Sculptures at the Grand Palace

Asia » Hong Kong » Kowloon December 11th 2012

Yes, I’m lazy. And yes, it’s been like 2 and a half months since I got back from Hong Kong. But better late than never. Brittney and I left after my last class on Friday, with what we thought was enough time to get to the airport bus. So we got dinner and then left. We were quite wrong and missed the last bus to the airport by 15 minutes. Whoops. Luckily, we were still in Suwon which is a city we know well enough to solve our own problem. So we hopped in another cab and went to the train station. We had to take a subway into Seoul and then changed to an airport express subway. We hoped that once we got to the airport, the jjimjilbang would still have spaces left. (In Korea, ... read more
Fire Dragon (pre-fire)
Fire Dragon (post-fire)
Fire Dragon (eating vegetables)

Asia » Indonesia » Java » Yogyakarta September 17th 2012

Ok. Finally. I’ve managed to sit down to write about my week in Indonesia. I left EARLY Saturday morning with David, who was taking a flight to Japan. We said goodbye at the airport. Like GOODBYE (?) goodbye, because he isn’t coming back to Korea, but we might see each other in the future in China. So it went something like “See you around…maybe.” I headed to my gate where I ran into a bunch of friends who work at a different school. Just about every foreign teacher from their school was taking this morning flight to Kuala Lumpur, and then heading on to different locations. This included my friend, Sam, who I was travelling with and was currently planning on meeting up with in Kuala Lumpur. Being on the same flight makes that a heck ... read more
Visiting A Temple
Playing Around At Prambanan
Sunrise from Borobudur

Asia » South Korea » Jeollanam-do » Yeosu September 12th 2012

While starting my post about my vacation in Indonesia, I realized that I never got around to posting an entry about the Yeosu Expo, which would be a grave error because it was absolutely amazing! We had a three-day weekend, thanks to Buddha’s Birthday, so I headed down to Yeosu (southern edge of Korea) for an international expo. The theme was “The Living Ocean and Coast”. We left Friday night (BIG debacle because a couple of us had to miss 10 minutes of our last class and even though we found people to cover for us, it still went over poorly). We took the slow train down (about 5 hours) because it costs half as much, which means it costs $25 to cross their entire country the LONG way. Takes about as long as it took ... read more
Wall of Repurposed Trash in Singapore Pavilion
Just Riding My Bike Around Singapore
Eating Lunch in Peru

Asia » South Korea » Gyeonggi-do » Dongtan May 18th 2012

So far this spring, I’ve been enjoying my classes pretty well. I started teaching a class on Thursdays for beginners were we watch cartoons (mostly classic stories, Rapunzel, the Frog Prince, etc.) and then learn some of the vocabulary and do some activities. That’s been a lot of fun since I like teaching the beginning learners a lot but my one regular class of beginning learners is a bit of a handful. This class has some of my favorite students from last year in it, as well as some other good kids from our beginner classes. Next month I’ll be picking up a third grade class that went through one year of our kindergarten program. I taught one of the students for several months last year and I absolutely love him. And I think it’s a ... read more
The Epic Slide
The Science We Broke

Asia » South Korea » Gyeonggi-do » Dongtan April 3rd 2012

I’ve been back in Korea for a month and I have been informed that it’s time for a blog update. So here it goes: The flight back went really smoothly. Absolutely no issues getting back to the country and back to my apartment. Despite being in America for what seemed like forever (2 months), my town seems almost exactly the same (there’s a new hair salon that caters to foreigners, though I’ll never use it due to my loyalty to Helena. She cuts my bangs for free and gives me fries sometimes. Can’t beat that service. Also, my favorite chicken galbi place was pulled out. Luckily there’s another location of the same chain in town. It’s just much farther away, unfortunately.) I enjoy most of my classes. I have to teach kindergarten now. It’s only twice ... read more

Asia » Philippines » Palawan » Puerto Princesa January 2nd 2012

We were up by 6:15 to eat breakfast and catch our van to Honda Bay. Named for the Spanish name “Hondo Agua” (Deep Water), it’s apparently a popular tourist destination for snorkeling, fish-feeding, swimming, and eating. Our first stop was a floating dock in the middle of the bay where you could swim or snorkel. We didn’t stay there long before heading on to Snake Island (named for the shape, not the inhabitants) where I read and wrote, everyone else tanned, and we ate lunch (more grilled tuna and cucumber salad!) After lunch we headed to one last island before heading back to town with the other tourists on the 5:00 flight back to Manila. We learned that if you pronounced Palawan “PAH-lah-wan”, it means someone from Palawan. “pah-LAH-wan” means the island. When we got back, ... read more

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