Travel Vicariously through the Fitzgerald's

We are happy to provide our experiences as a stay-cation for you! If you have any questions feel free to ask. We have a lot to learn and lots to see!


Sunday, May 1, 2011

And the school year is almost over...

Hello friends!
We have been counting the days until we get to board that beautiful plane! Oh, how we miss our family and friends!

The weather has finally started to change. It has warmed enough to wear just a sweatshirt and pants. The rain has also come which is what has kept us inside lately. In Ethan's words "April showers bring May flowers!" and it is SO true! Flowers and cherry blossoms have bloomed all over Korea and there is color everywhere! The green has returned to the hills around us and the neighborhood once again smells like fertilizer/poop.

The car is working out nicely. Gas is kind of expensive but we only filled up once in a month! I must say that it feels like a borrowed car because we are so detached. We really miss our Altima. :(

We have been able to explore more of Bundang by making wrong turns. As a driver Stacy (and I) has discovered a few things. #1 Koreans don't honk because they are upset/road raged; they do it to wake up the other drivers who are multi-tasking while driving. #2 Koreans honk for many reasons like to say "hey, I'm right behind you!" or "hey, move over because I need to pass!" #3 It is okay to make a u-turn just about anywhere. #4 It is okay to park on the side of the road even when there is a no parking sign because EVERYONE does it and their cars never get towed!
Ethan is the one in the Cowboys hat. :)

Relating to school: Ethan completed his first music concert and did magnificently in his part! We are proud parents! Stacy is getting to teach the classes he wanted next year and is looking forward to preparing this summer. I am just ready to complete the year so that I can start over next year fresh. We are down to 7 more weeks, 5 of which are 4 day weeks.
Faculty kids...all 24 of them

Easter was a success with all the faculty families gathering for an Easter brunch and egg hunt. We continued the tradition of making confetti eggs.

We had really good seats!

Cirque du Soliel, my first major social event totally organized by me was also a success! I will be a social committee leader next year with my colleague, Sondra M. It's going to be lots of work keeping up with my family, work, social events and the other random things that come up. I am looking forward to it though!

We also visted the Korean Folk Village in Seoul that was gorgeous and eye-opening. Ethan liked trying out all of the ancient grinding tools. We enjoyed the visit with the Brayko family that have 2 kids that are Ethan's age.

Ethan just finished up P.E. swimming lessons at school and continues to train for soccer. He WILL be the next Messi! He is a strong swimmer just have to keep him working. He is super athletic so we are optimistic that he will do great things in the athletic arena.

BIG NEWS!!! Ethan lost his first tooth April 26 at Pizza Hut. His tooth had been loose for a few weeks and we kept trying to pull it out. We had this thing going where each night Stacy would work on it but it just wouldn't come out. The evening of April 26 we decided to head out for pizza. After we finished eating, Stacy and Ethan went to the bathroom to wash hands. I am at the register paying when Ethan comes running out of the bathroom holding a bloody paper towel to his mouth. I asked what happened and he says with a paper towel in his mouth "Daddy pulled my tooth out!" I wanted to be happier but I had a plan of recording this event with a camera. Why didn't Stacy read my mind??? Seriously! So the best I got were a few pictures. Anyhow, Ethan prepared his tooth for the tooth fairy and low and behold the next morning he awoke to 2,000 won under his pillow!!!

We have a full schedule this May and June. Our flights home have been booked and we land on U.S. soil June 19 around 7:15pm and we have a full 6 weeks home!!! We return to Korea July 28. Time is going to zoom by and we have lots of people to see and visit! We are very much looking forward to it though. :)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Made it to spring break...ahh!

Blog? What blog??? That's how I have felt since I haven't visited our blog in forever. Since the last post, we haven't really done anything. In February we went to see B-Boy and the Ballerina with awesome break dancers. Leave it to Ethan to catch the eye of one of the "hot" female dancers on stage. Better him than Stacy though! Ethan loved the show. Really good music too.

Time is still passing super fast here. I'm in the groove of school and working super hard with my students. Stacy is doing the same. Ethan has been improving at school too. Ethan got to participate in the house team challenge at the last assembly and fire team WON! I know he was a big part of that. Watch the video to see it. I took my Spanish 4 class to see it and they did continue speaking Spanish.

Stacy and I booked our cruise to the Yucatan Peninsula where we will visit Chichen Itza. I can't wait to fill my camera with tons of pics of this amazing place. Plus, Stacy and I need some relaxation time with one another. :) First cruise and we are looking forward to it.

More big news! We are buying a car! We tried to go without one but life has finally gotten hectic enough to need one. Spring break is dedicated to this endeavor. WOOHOO!

Once Spring Break is over we are down to 12 weeks of school. We will be back in the states June 19 for a whirlwind visit. SO looking forward to it!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Caribbean Bay in -15ºC

How did you like your surprise today?
Ethan: I loved it.

What was your favorite part of Caribbean Bay?
Ethan: The water slide where you went "side to side really wildly".

How many times did you ride the BIG water slide?
Ethan: 3 times

Which big slide was your favorite?
Ethan: I liked the twisty-turny one.

Do you want to go back?
Ethan: I want to go there again.

My friend Elka was there so I could play with her. At lunch all my friends went to a table where we had cups that we could play with all together.

Our Experience...
First, it was kind of expensive. I think the tickets all together for all 3 of us was about $75. If we were going to this place in the summer it would totally be worth a year-long pass. This place was enormous if you include all the outdoor and indoor sections of the park. We joined the Carscadden's, Feller's, Gibson's, Trotter's and Longbotham's for the day.

Today we only went to the section called Caribbean Bay and swam in the indoor section. They actually had an outdoor section but I wasn't brave enough for that. Stacy wanted to try it and I think he actually did. Overall, they had great water rides and well divided areas for appropriate age groups. They also had lots of life guards everywhere.

Ethan went on his first water slide today. Stacy chose to try it out first and once he finished he thought Ethan would be scared but there was no way for him to tell us. Ethan went right after Stacy. It was dark inside and you got sloshed around inside. We asked Ethan if he wanted to go again but he said no. Then we caught up with Elka and Sean. Elka wanted to go on that slide again and Ethan obliged. They ended up going on that slide several more times. Then they moved on to the larger, higher slides. Stacy and I are both very proud of Ethan for trying so many new things today.

Lunch was terrible but the company was good. Ethan was head of the kids table. He sat with 5 GIRLS at this kids table. We just sat around and chatted while we ate popcorn chicken, french fries, pizza rolls and churros. LOL! Churros are big here!

Some interesting cultural differences noticed today were men wearing Speedos and tight bathing suits allowing you to see sometimes more than you want. And the other, was changing in the women's locker room and seeing so many women walking around naked with their children. I was actually shocked when I looked to my left, while attempting to change my clothes under my sundress, and saw a lady completely naked walking her daughter somewhere. I was like, "whoa!" "didn't see that comin'." Then looking around women were all changing right in front of their lockers just stripping down. So, I thought big deal. I can do this. Why is America so darn prude?! I mean yes sex is all over the place but when you actually take a real person and say "change over there" they would say "no" or "I need some privacy." Or maybe it's just me...

Back to water fun...So they closed down the wave pool and other parts for cleaning for an hour and so we were all forced (I use this word loosely) to enjoy the jacuzzis. Oh what a wonderful and relaxing 30 minutes! After that we were so relaxed that we decided now is the time to leave. Walking out of the building, what do we see? SNOW! Yes, swimming inside and snowing outside!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Ice Festival

I can't believe I didn't post this immediately! A couple of weekends ago we went to the Pyeongchang Ice Festival or Trout Festival. It was a school sponsored event and we road in KIS buses. It was a long 4 hour bus ride there and back but the 3 1/2 hours that we spent playing and frolicking in the cold was delightful! All the kids had a blast and of course Ethan didn't want to leave.

There were all kinds of activities to enjoy like tractor raft rides, bicycling on a frozen lake, ice skating (the traditional way), butt skating, ice fishing, and a CRAZY fishing style where you jump in the freezing cold water and catch fish with your hands! Didn't try that and don't plan to. EVER.

We had trout for lunch and it was delish! We ate a plateful of fried trout. I would go back on a four hour bus ride just to eat it again. It was FRESH. Actually this on-site restaurant is one of those where you can catch your own fish and walk it right up to the cooks where they prepare it for you.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Lunar New Year Coming up...

Hello all! Hope to find you in good health and happy. We are just getting into the groove of things here and preparing for 2 more days of school. What's next? Lunar New Year! Another week of vacation! We are looking forward to some time off.

These last couple of weeks have flown by. We have been crazy busy with school and just the daily routine of things but we will slow down very soon. Ethan had hat day at school a couple weeks ago and he rocked a Sooner's hat...such a handsome kid! Just this past Tuesday, they had "Hero Day" and he dressed as Super Soccerboy. I failed to get a picture of him with his get-up but he even had a mask like Zorro!

We are currently planning vacations for next year so although this year we missed out on all kinds of warm weather destinations, next year will be amazing to make up for it. :)

Stacy is staying busy with school work, although not as busy as I have been. I think I assign more homework than he does. I should adopt his homework philosophy.

At school, I have started a new club...can you guess what it is called? The Photography Club! We've only met twice but I'm sure the results will only get better since just about all of these kids have Digital SLR's.

Neighborhood news: There is a man that we that we have dubbed "Don Juan de Marco" because of his looks. He has a fancy mustache that curls at the ends, hair that is long enough to tuck behind his ears and he wears these fancy sunglasses. So he has a dog farm right in the middle of the neighborhood. Unfortunately, it is right next to an apartment complex that several KIS families reside in. The dog farm has at least 30 adult dogs and pups combined. They are very noisy and they get to roam freely on Don Juan's land. Many of you know that dog is a type of meat eaten in Korea. NO, we have not tried it and don't plan to. Anyhow,  many people make a living on dog farms providing a certain type of dog to restaurants that serve dog. It is strange to talk about dogs as food. I had told Stacy this but he wasn't a hundred percent convinced until he was walking back from the convenience store this afternoon and saw Don Juan and 2 of his buddies roasting one on a makeshift spit on the corner. According to Stacy, they tried to block his view of this by huddling together but he saw it from another angle. My how life has changed.

Friday, January 14, 2011

One week down!

So we are celebrating! Our first week back to school since a LONG Christmas break ended and we survived. This week has been about getting back in the routine of daily life. Wednesday was my birthday and a blessed one at that. Thursday, my Spanish colleague and I took a group of 42 students from levels 3, 4 and AP to Deoksu Palace Modern Art Museum where we analyzed works of art by Picasso and other great artists of the 20th century in Español. Afterwards, we ate at a Korean restaurant and had shabu-shabu which I can describe as such: you are seated at a traditional Korean table (sitting on the floor), the waitress sets a cauldron looking pot on the burner at the center of the table. It is full of some type of stock. Then they bring out a large plate full of cut raw vegetables and a large plate of thinly sliced beef or pork. You put the vegetables in the pot a little at a time once the liquid is boiling. Once your veggies are cooked (5 minutes) you start putting the meat in. It cooks almost instantly. The waitress then brings out a multitude of small side dishes that everyone shares. It was extremely satisfying, healthy and warm. Our Korean guides (our students) were excellent in explaining to us how to go about eating this new meal. The whole day was quite an experience.

To end the week on a high note, here was my Facebook post: 
I just received flowers from a "knock and run" husband! He knocked on my classroom door, set the flowers in front of the door and took off! It was a fantastic surprise when I was ready to chase the "punk" who was trying to prank me, or so I thought! Thank you for the birthday flowers baby! You really know how to make me smile! :) Ethan deserves some thanks too as I'm sure he had a hand in it too :)
It has been a great week! Now we are gearing up for 2 more weeks and then a week vacation for Lunar New Year. This is also another opportunity for Ethan to wear his hanbok.
P.S. Ethan thanked us for buying him seaweed, like the kind they use in sushi, because he loves it. I think Korea and his Korean friends are influencing him...
Also, here is a picture of Ethan from today which was "Hats for Nepal" Day, a fundraiser for the children of Nepal.