Page 4 of Tink And Laura Travel Blog Posts

Asia » South Korea » Cheongju » Boeun June 19th 2011

Dear Blog Readers, Exam fever has hit the schools of Boeun. The stress of the inevitable pressure is etched on the faces of my students in the form of acne. My third grade boys and my high school girls have got practice exams throughout the week and I’ve been conducting the English speaking test with my first and second graders. Initially I was worried that my speaking test would fall into the trap of having the students regurgitate nonsense from an already predominantly nonsensical textbook. The speaking test that my co-teacher and I wrote had some pretty common expressions from the textbook as well as some material from the lessons I’d been teaching. We had some absolute gems from the students though: Me: Do you like English? Student: No. Me: How many meals do you eat ... read more
Pool Queen
Pool in the basement

Asia » South Korea » Cheongju » Boeun June 12th 2011

Dear Blog Readers, I weed a little bit at 10am on Monday morning. This wasn’t because I’d drank a lot the previous evening and hadn’t had my morning bladder relief. No, it was because an air raid siren was going off. A real-life air raid siren! You know - the ones you see on old war movies as families race to the shelter as a fighter pilot sets a Zepplin on fire. Laura and I looked at each other in disbelief. Was this the North Korean invasion we’d been anticipating? We started looking on the internet and flicking through the TV channels. Mythbusters still wasn’t on. Damn. After a minute, the sirens stopped and it twigged. It was Memorial Day in Korea and this was its way of signalling a minute’s silence. Unfortunately for the people ... read more

Asia » South Korea » Cheongju » Boeun June 5th 2011

Dear Blog Readers, Maybe titling the blog ‘Password Protected’ wasn’t such a good idea last week so I apologise to anybody who panicked upon clicking the link, such as my mother. The week started off alright. My cheeky second graders weren’t so cheeky after Mr Oh made them stand up and sit back down again for the first ten minutes of our lesson on Tuesday. I didn’t bother putting any wax in my hair in the morning because it had got to a length where it just clumped together and I looked like an idiot. This, of course, meant mockery was coming my way from a couple of second graders during the lesson: Cheeky: “Simon Teacher. Today. No wash hair?” Simon Teacher: “What?” Cheeky: “Simon Teacher. Dirty.” This seemed ironic coming from a classroom which, quite ... read more
The Last Supper
What's going on?

Asia » South Korea » Cheongju » Boeun May 29th 2011

Dear Blog Readers, It’s been a quiet week in Boeun. Maybe the eeriness of Mokpo has rubbed off from last weekend. We only have a few channels that are in English, and our ‘usual’, Discovery has suddenly changed to Discovery Korea so our staple supply of Mythbusters at 7:30am has been changed to some Korean men shouting at each other as they try to do an assault course dressed as women. Consequently, as if Monday morning wasn’t bad enough for the average human being, we’ve had to resort to CNN. Normally I’m choking on my cereal at the terrible reporting, the Cathay Pacific advert being played for the 20th time in as many minutes, Piers Morgan…well, just him being alive, and the ‘banter’ between the weather girl and the newsreader who clearly hate each other’s guts. ... read more
Dongwang Elementary School

Asia » South Korea » Cheongju » Boeun May 22nd 2011

Dear Blog Readers, I’ve been doing a lesson on England, cultural differences and gestures this week. It’s been fascinating for the students being given the exposure and I’ve been fascinated by some of the brilliant answers that they’ve given. Me: Who is the current Prime Minister of England? His initials are DC. Student: Washington DC. Me: What is the most famous river in London? Student: The River Nile. In Korea, the gesture to tell somebody, “Come over here!”, is basically making a limp wrist repeatedly. They find it hilarious that we have our palm up or use our index finger for the same purpose because you only do that do a dog or if you want a fight in Korea. I find it hilarious that they all look quite camp when they do it. I showed ... read more
Admiral Lee Sun-Shin
Mount Yudalsan

Asia » South Korea » Cheongju » Boeun May 15th 2011

Dear Blog Readers, Having exhausted Boeun of all its tourist attractions (both of them), it was time to take Christine to Seoul. In Korea, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day have been rolled into one kimbab sized package and called, imaginatively, Parent’s Day. It was therefore fitting that we had at least one parent with us to celebrate the day with. We went straight to Gyeongbokgung Palace. The palace is built right in the heart of Seoul and is the Korean equivalent to the Taj Mahal. The architecture and grounds were truly stunning and although the palaces have had to be rebuilt because of the Japanese burning them down (twice), it still manages to hold onto its history and the authenticity. The Korean parent’s lapped up the traditional Korean folk music that had been put on especially ... read more
Gyeonbukgung Palace 2
Lots of Buddah's

Asia » South Korea » Cheongju » Boeun May 8th 2011

Dear Blog Readers, I write this blog fresh from another hair cut from my ‘stylist’ Hye Ri (remember her from my last haircut? It's pronounced 'Hai-ry'.) on a beautifully warm spring, or should I say, worryingly summer-like, day in Cheongju. Laura and her Mum have gone shopping. I’d rather run into a brick wall so a blog writing session will suffice. I pretty much had a week off from teaching because the students had exams last Thursday and Friday and the first and second graders went off camping for the first three days of this week. For most of the time I was helping the English teachers try and decipher how to mark the student’s answers from the exams. Some of them were truly exceptional in their imagination and creativity. Furthermore, some of them used pretty ... read more
Obama Bin Laden
Working Out 1

Asia » South Korea » Cheongju » Boeun May 4th 2011

Dear Blog Readers, For all those suffering from the yellow dust this week; how about a double dose of blog reading medicine? Luckily for you, this is a short one. My brother managed to get hold of the video of us dog walking in Boeun a couple of a weeks ago. We were volunteering to walk the dogs in the animal sanctuary just outside Boeun as part of KAPS . Please click the link to visit their Facebook group for more information: I've put my own subtitles to the video on Facebook so you can check it out by clicking here. Many of you have asked for the video to download so I've uploaded a non-subtitled version on YouTube here and you can copy and paste the webpage to www.kee... read more

Asia » South Korea » Cheongju » Boeun May 1st 2011

Dear Blog Readers, Typing ‘Boeun, South Korea blogs’ into Google comes up with some interesting hits. Thankfully, this blog comes at the top of the list followed by a few hotel websites which must be fake since there are no actual hotels in Boeun – just dodgy, decrepit looking motels (my personal favourite being ‘Alps Motel’ where the only thing going well for it is its irony). There is also somebody who has posted on the Yahoo website, “Hi, I am looking for this satellite earth station in Boeun, South Korea on Google Earth.” The only thing that could make this person sadder is by writing a weekly blog about life in Boeun. The beautifully well written blogs from Stephanie and Betty also make appearances but then comes this – ‘Boeun – The Armpit Of Korea’ ... read more
Cherry Blossoms

Asia » South Korea » Cheongju » Boeun April 24th 2011

Dear Blog Readers, After showing a slide of a man jumping over a bull during a bull fight in Spain, Mr Oh stops me in my tracks, “Simon, I have a question.” The students, as well as I, wait in anticipation. Mr Oh, “In England, do you use the term ‘bullshit’?” “Erm…(stunned silence from everybody)…you can’t really say that word…anywhere.” I hoped that he noted the emphasis on ‘anywhere’ encompassed a place such as in front of 35 students in a middle school. He turned to the students and spoke in Korean for a minute, but it felt like an hour, with every other word being “shit” or “bull”, or sometimes, “bullshit.” He turned to me at the end waiting for my reaction (as though I completely understood what he had just said). I assumed it ... read more
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