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P is for Pikachu!

So as my last post showed we’ve been studying letters and making a craft for each letter. We reached P and I didn’t like a lot of the other crafts out there. P is for pirate is cool but a bit lost on my Korean students. P is for Parrot, but I couldn’t  get that many feathers in time. Pig and puzzle just bore me so what could really WOW my kids… and me…P is for Pikachu

P is for PikachuPikachu! Something they all know, love, and idolize! P is for Perfect! Well I know it says Pokemon, that’s a little mistake on my part printing out Pokemon instead of Pikachu, but I didn’t want to waste anymore paper and reprint the whole thing. Besides the only words my class can read is: I, a, can, is and, you.

No tutorials for P is for Pikachu so here is how I made mine.Pikachu by Ken Sugimori
First off, for those of you that live without  Pokémon , Pikachu is a rodent like Pokémon that is the main mascot for the Pokémon franchise and also one of the main representative of Nintendo’s cast of characters.

First, you need a P. For all my letters I have been using the uppercase letters and use about.com’s list of letter coloring pages. You can also image search P letter coloring page.

Glue this to some thin cardboard (like a cereal box) and cut out for a reusable template. I also did the same with the tail and ear. I free handed both the tail and ear so sorry for no links for those. I guess you could find a picture of Pikachu and use those as a template.

P is for Pikachu parts

I used a 1 inch hole punch for the red cheek circles and black eye circles. Just used a regular hole punch for the whites of the eyes.

Color ears and tail and add a sideways 3 for a mouth. Now you have a fun way to teach P!

Here are some of my kids and their Pikachu!

Jack's PikachuJason's PikachuRyan's Pikachu Angelina's PikachuHenry's upside-down Pikachu


My ABCs

New school year once again here in Seoul.
This is my first year to have a class of my very own!! No more subject teacher bull and I’m the only foreigner that teaches them!

So this year I got my favorite age: 6-1. I like this age, they’re easy to mold to your style. We are currently learning our ABCs and so far so good. Every week we have two letters we make a little craft for. Here’s what we have so far….

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Filipino Flashback Friday: Laguna

This will be my last Flashback Friday for the Philippines adventure. I’m back in Seoul now and want to keep you all updated on my adventures here. But I had one last area to talk about and that is Laguna.

No, not that clown show Laguna Beach on MTV. It has nothing to do with that.

Laguna is:

Laguna hugs the southern shores of Laguna de Bay, the largest lake in the country.

Laguna is notable as the birthplace of Dr. Jose Rizal, the country’s national hero.

Two big reasons to go to the Laguna province is 1.) the hot springs of Los Banos and the surrounding area and 2.) Pagsanjan Falls.

Los Banos has many hot spring resorts to choose from. I recommend getting a private one for small or large groups. We went as two couples and the four of us had a blast in the hot water. All the pools are filled with water from local hot springs. Some say the hot springs have healing powers and I believe it! My boyfriend was really sick on the first half of our trip in Batangas but as soon as he went swimming in the hot springs he was back to normal the next day!

Los Banos is also famous for it’s Buko Pies. Buko means young coconut in Tagalog. The pie is not like coconut cream pie, because it doesn’t have cream or custard filling. Instead it’s made with slices of buko meat and condensed milk. We went to Orient- The Original Buko Pie. It’s the best buko pie in Los Banos.

The Original Buko PieA tip from my tita ask them to slice the pie for you. I also loved the Pineapple Pie, taste like a traditional apple pies just with pineapple instead!

daintyc and Owner of Orient -The Original Buko PiesI met the owner of the shop, a sweet lady named Tita Helen (I think that’s what she told me, it’s been so long I forgot) who’s sister created the recipe for Buko Pies! She immigrated to the US and Tita Helen continued her sisters recipe and shop!

We also went on a river rapid adventure to Pagsanjan Falls. It was the location of the final scene of  Francis Ford Coppola’s 1979 film Apocalypse Now.

Pagsanjan Falls Riding up Bumbungan River

There are many places in Pagsanjan to rent a boat and boatmen to take you to the falls. Be sure to bring extra cash, it’s customary to tip each boatman at least 50 pesos if not more.


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Filipino Flashback Friday: Vigan City

Vigan City, Ilocos SurA bit of a history lesson…
March 16, 1521,  Ferdinand Magellan,  sighted the island of Samar Island, a large island located in the Visayas. Then in 1565 European colonization began and they formed the first European settlements in Cebu. Colonization of course spread all over the archipelago. Today, many of these Spanish colonial are gone due to wars, revolution, and age. However, one still stands and that historical town is called Vigan City.

 

Vigan City, Ilocos SurLocated on the western coast of Luzon, Vigan faces the South China Sea. It is the capital of Ilocos Sur province.

Vigan City's UNESCO SignIn 2007, Vigan City was listed by UNESCO as the best preserved example of Spanish colonial towns in Asia. Its architecture is the conglomeration of cultural elements from the Philippines, China, and Spain, making it unique to the rest of the world.

I hope to go back there someday and really experience it. We missed out on eating  Empanadas and riding a kalesa which are both a must! We did go shopping in the little shops and bought some souvenirs and even some antiques. We also went to Vigan Cathedral and listen to mass.

Vigan City, Ilocos Sur


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Filipino Flashback Friday: Northern Luzon

During our trip, we took a long road trip to Northern Luzon.

The Philippines is an archipelago comprising 7,107 islands, the Philippines is categorized broadly into three main geographical divisions: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. Manila the capital is located on the largest island Luzon. Luzon is the only island of the archipelago that I’ve been on. Until now I’ve only been around the Metro Manila area and CALABARZON Region (formerly a part of Southern Tagalog)

My mom’s friend took us on a three day adventure to the north. She hired a driver, which is the best idea to tour around the Philippines. You have the freedom like having your own car but you have your own personal tour guild. Many of these driver know the areas and can set up activities for you to do. They also give you a sense of security and help to make sure you don’t get a shady deal. If you’re think of going to the Philippines please look into this option! Also for bring cash, once you move away from the big cities, ATMs are rare and usually out of cash or offline.

Here are some of the highlights of our road trip:

Cape Bojeador LighthouseCape Bojeador Lighthouse in BurgosIlocos Norte, built in 1892 it’s the tallest lighthouse in the Philippines and it’s still in use.

Bangui Wind FarmBangui Wind Farm  is a wind farm in Bangui, Ilocos NortePhilippines. The wind farm is arranged on a single row stretching along a nine-kilometer shoreline off Bangui Bay, facing the South China Sea.

Kabigan FallsKabigan Falls (meaning friend) a 120 meters of crashing white water is worth the 30 minute hike through farmland and jungle. Located in the town of Pagudpud it’s part of the tricycle tour and only cost 20 pesos per person. You will be assigned a guide to walked you to the falls. They even stick around while you swim and walk back with you.

blue boat at Blue LagoonBlue Lagoon Pagudpud Blue Lagoon PagudpudBlue Lagoon in Pagudpud is know as a part of the “Boracay of the North.” White sand and blue water, it’s beautiful! There are a few local land marks around the beach area like Dos Hermanos islands and Bantay Abot cave.Dos Hermanos There are a few beach resorts around and several houses and huts to rent.

As I said before, if you want a safe and easy trip around the Philippines I recommend hiring a private driver. You can search for one or here is the email of the driver we used Ricky Daymil. Kuya Ricky was so nice and takes people all over, not just Luzon. daymilricky@yahoo.com


Filipino Flashback Friday: I Want to Ride a Tricycle

Gray Filipino tricycle

Tricked out tricycle in Cavite City, Cavite

Tricycles are one of the most common means of transportation in the Philippines. Used everywhere, except on busy highways, they are cheap and usually a fast way to get around. Tricycles are a side car build onto a motorcycle, hench tri-cycle, three wheels.  Some are small and some are big, I read somewhere that some can seat 9, but they would have to be small people, like me!  Tricycles are colorful and decorated like jeepneys. Chad and I loved riding in tricycles during our stay in the Philippines. I was a big fan of taken pictures of the different colored ones. It seemed like certain areas had special colors for tricycles, but I’m not sure. Here are some of my favorites.

Pink  Filipino Tricycle

Macho pink tricycle in Angono, Rizal

Blue Filipino Tricycle

Blue rainy day tricycle in Pasig City, Metro Manila

Orange Filipino Tricycle

Orange tricycle in Pasig City, Metro Manila

Back of  Filipino Tricycle

Back of a tricycle in Pasig City, Metro Manila


Filipino Flashback Friday: Baroque Churches of the Philippines

There are four Baroque Churches of the Philippines.  These are UNESCO World Heritage sites, this means they are protected by the United Nations Educational, Scientific & Cultural Organization. One of my goals in live is to visit as many as these sites as I can.

Three out of four churches in one vacation isn’t bad!

Why are these church important and protected? According to UNESCO’s website:

This group of churches established a style of building and design that was adapted to the physical conditions in the Philippines and had an important influence on later church architecture in the region. The four churches are outstanding examples of the Philippine interpretation of the Baroque style, and represent the fusion of European church design and construction with local materials and decorative motifs to form a new church-building tradition.

To read more about these Baroque Churches visit their website.

The first one we went to was The Church of San Agustín in Paoay, Ilocos Norte. This church is know as “Earthquake Baroque” because it was build to withstand earthquakes. Construction on the present church began in 1694 and it was completed in 1710.

The Church of San Agustín at Paoay

side doors, leading into the church

side doors, leading into the church

The Church of San Agustín at Paoay inside

The Church of San Agustín at Paoay inside

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The second church was Church of Nuestra Señora de la Asuncion in Santa Maria, Ilocos Sur also located in the northern part of the island of Luzon. It’s unusual because it’s build on the top of a hill and surrounded by walls. The mission at Santa Maria was founded in 1765.

Santa Maria altar

Santa Maria altar

Santa Maria inside

Santa Maria inside

Church of Nuestra Señora de la Asuncion in Santa Maria

Church of Nuestra Señora de la Asuncion in Santa Maria

The third was close to our family’s home, only an hour drive into the heart of Manila’s old city, Intramuros. The Church of the Immaculate Conception of San Agustín was the first church built on the island of Luzon in 1571, immediately after the Spanish conquest of Manila.

The Church of the Immaculate Conception of San Agustín

The Church of the Immaculate Conception of San Agustín

The Church of the Immaculate Conception of San Agustín ceiling

The Church of the Immaculate Conception of San Agustín ceiling

The Church of the Immaculate Conception of San Agustín, inside altar

The Church of the Immaculate Conception of San Agustín, inside altar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The only one I’m missing is The Church of Santo Tomas de Villanueva at Miag-ao, Iloilo in the Western Visayas region.


Things the Kids Made

Well it’s been 5 months since my teaching contract ended at Sungbuk ECC. Even longer since my last post. I guess to wrap up my time at Sungbuk ECC here are some pictures of some of the cool crafts my lovely students made.
Since the end of my 6 month vacation is coming to an end I’ll give you some pictures from all the fun I have! We’ll call it Flashback Friday and I’ll post one for each week this month! For now, enjoy these!

For a How-to for the Truffula Trees click HERE

For the printable for the rainbows click HERE

For a How-to for the Rainbow Rain click HERE

Truffula Tree Craft from Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax

Dragonflies made with paper, pipe cleaners, and foam

Hanging Rainbows

After the rain goes, RAINBOWS!

U is for umbrella

U is for umbrella

Rainy Day Classroom

My Rainy Day themed corner!


Photo Booth Photo-Strips

Found a great tutorial and template to make some photo-strips for our carnival day. You need Adobe Photoshop.

For the tutorial and template visit HERE

Here’s what I came up with:


Mini-Carnival Day! +FREE Printable Signs

Go Fish

Had a fun day with our pre-elementary students. I was tasked to come up with some games that would be fun, but not rile the kids up too much so they could study during their second class. So I came up with some carnival games, ya know the usual: GO fish, ring toss, bean bag toss, duck-o-war, and a photo booth. Go FishRing and Bean Bag Toss

The 7 year olds had fun but it seemed lost on some of the 6 year olds. Oh well can’t please everyone. There are tons of great websites that give tips to run a carnival for schools or for birthday parties.

Martha Stewart has some great ideas HERE

Catch My Party has a long list of great examples of a circus or carnival themed party HERE

A big list of carnival games HERE

I couldn’t find signs that I like that were free, so I made my own. Here are some FREE PRINTABLES for the signs I made (for personal use only of course) ENJOY!

Here are some of the highlights of our mini carnival:


Jeondeungsa: Korea’s Oldest Buddhist Temple

Happy Birthday Buddha! I know I’m a bit late for this post but I wanted to share some of these great photos of Jeondeungsa.

The temple is said to date back to 381, which would make it the oldest temple in Korea. It’s a beautiful place, especially with all the Buddha’s Birthday festivities.

The Korea Tourism site mention to check out the corners of the main hall Daeungbojeon—you’ll see little carved figures of what kinda looks like a naked women holding up the roof.
“According to legend, the engineer building the temple fell in love with a barmaid in town. Unfortunately for him, she absconded with all his money. In revenge, the engineer worked her image into the temple, where, at least figuratively, she would have to hold up the temple roof for all eternity.”

Wow Korea is so good at revenge.

There are several national treasure here too, such as: Yaksajeon (Treasure No. 179), Beomjong Bell (Treasure No. 393, constructed in China in the 11th century), and Yangheonsu Victory Monument (Tangible Cultural Treasure No. 26). There are also many ancient trees.

Here are a couple of my favorites from the day.

It was a dainty adventure!


A Day in Incheon

We had a long weekend back in May for Buddha’s birthday. So with some friends we went straight down line 1 and went to the last stop headed west: Incheon.

Right across the street from the train station is Chinatown. This has got to be the closest Chinatown to China. Full of reds and golds you feel like you’re in a Chinatown.

Head up some stairs you’ll find yourself in 자유공원 Jayu (Freedom) Park. Here you can find The Korea-USA Centennial Monument which is a beautiful structure at the top of a hill.

 Also in a big rose garden you will find General Douglas MacArthur, in giant statue form. The statue of General Douglas MacArthur gazes out to harbor where he lead the amphibious landing at Incheon.

This statue was erected in 1957 to honor General MacArthur for what he did as a military leader in turning the course of the Korean War.  I think General MacArthur was pretty cool. He told the Philippines he would return and he did which was very good and exciting for all.
To finish the day we had cupcakes and got lost. It was a typical dainty adventure!!!

What travel lessons have you learned the hard way?

Ah, this randomly popped up one day after posting. WordPress usually gives some kind of random inspiration to bloggers, like a muse or excessive drinking. This title caught my eye. “What travel lessons have you learned the hard way?” Let me put this out there and say I am in no way a globe trotter. I have been to my share of strange, different, and exotic places but I haven’t been everywhere. But in my time overseas and a few self-planned trips I can say mistake were made….

# 5. No Faffing About: On the way to Sokcho, Chad and I were almost left behind during a routine pit-stop in the lovely countryside of middle-of-nowhere Korea. Luckily, Chad and I can run fast. However much time the bus drive says you have, just take a piss and hurry back. Whatever you want to buy, or do, or look at, forget it, just pee and hop back on the bus.

#4. On the Map: maps, most are for free, we have them on smart phones and GPS and navigation systems. There are all kinds of neat and niffy way to access a map nowadays. Don’t waste your vacation time lost- look at a map! Everywhere I go, I bring a map or get one at the local tourist information center. If you don’t want to look touristy, cause you’re just too cool for that, check your map in a private location, like a bathroom. Just check it. Most places in Korea (if you look pretty lost and are staring at a map) some kind Korean, will an urge to practice English, will ask you if you need help. You never know, you can make a friend!

#3. Sail the 7 Seas with me, just find your own way: don’t book trips for friends. It’s been a few times now that I’ve planned and booked a trip and was a kind and handy travel agent for my friends. But unlike a travel agent I didn’t get paid and got the shaft. Then I’m left to pay the bill and make the recalculations. (Ya know like reckoning the price on sharing a condo with 5 instead of 6.) If you want to travel with friends, that’s find and it’s a great idea to travel with others, but have everyone book their own way and meet up later.

#2. 867-5309!!! This may seem simple but make sure you have the  address and phone of the hotel or hostel or where ever you are staying. Lots of things ask for this. Customs want to know it, some random forms at the airport want it and it’s good to have it on hand if you get lost. (Also try to have it in English and it that country’s language/alphabet.) Even if you know the location and everything- just in case! I knew exactly where our hotel was from the subway station, unfortunately, I forgot which subway station and the name of them hotel once we arrived in Tokyo. It wasn’t until I was staring at a neighborhood map that it click, we were at the WRONG subway station…. This may seem like a no-brainer but simple things just confuse and scary me.

#1. Ah, take the Cash in hand: This may seem strange to some, and I’m sure some people will say I’m all wrong about this one, but trust me when I say, keep cash on you. Not a lot, and always enough to get a train, or bus, or cab, back to the airport, ferry or whatever that brings you home. The morning we were headed back from Tokyo we had spent all our cash, not wanting to carry a bunch of yen back to Seoul. “I’ll just use my card” I thought. Except in Tokyo the only ATM’s that have any English options require you to withdraw a minimum of 10,000 yen which, at the time, was roughly 100 USD. We had just under 100 bucks in my home account, because the night before I used my card to buy dinner. We were stuck with the crippling fear of no way to buy a train ticket to get back to the airport. We were stuck in Tokyo! We had Korean won and even a 50 US dollar bill in my wallet but no Japanese yen. Luckily, the other train company in that station opened at 6:00 AM and Chad was able to scrap enough Japanese to buy two tickets to the airport. This train company had a ticket booth that took card. Thank God for the JR line (Japan Railways Group.)

So these are my top 5 tips for travelers. Bon voyage!!


Highlights For Kids: April 2012

Wow, fantastic baby!

Where did April go?? It’s already SO hot, summer will be here before you know it, and my second year in Seoul will come to an end.


It’s a GRAND ole Park

Seoul Grand Park is a huge park complex full of fun, beauty, and nature located in Gwacheon a satellite city only an hour from downtown Seoul.

Facilities at Seoul Grand Park include: hills and hiking trails, Seoul Grand Park Zoo, Children’s Zoo, A rose garden, SeoulLand amusement park, and the Seoul Museum of Modern Art.

Right on line 4 it was very easy to get to from my location in Donam-dong. You need more than just a day to see everything it has to offer, and repeat visits are a grand idea if you want to get away from the city and see all it has to offer.

We spend our time at the zoo. The zoo was pretty cool, lots of animals and each area themed and decorated. We didn’t even get to see everything because it was getting late.

Here are some of my favorites:

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Highlights For Kids: March 2012

Some pictures from this March! Enjoy!


Highlights For Kids: February 2012

Here are some of the highlights from this past month! Hope you enjoy!


Happy Valentine’s Day!

Hope you have a great Valentine’s Day! I did, my boyfriend is very awesome. I maybe bias but he is no doubt the best boyfriend ever…. These roses were on my desk waiting for me at 9:00 this morning.

I hope your Valentine treats you awesome too, if not then punch ‘em, in the FACE!


Highlights For Kids: January 2012

For Christmas, Chad got me an iPod Touch. He’s a good boyfriend! (For the record I got him an iPod Touch too.) I love the camera and different apps that enhance photos. My favorites so far have been: Vintage Camera, Diptic, and Instagram. If you have any suggest on other apps, please let me know!

Here are some of the kids doing what we do best… playing…

 


A Look At Gyeongju: Cheomseongdae Observatory

Cheomseongdae (meaning star-gazing tower) is the oldest astronomical observatory in East Asia. The observatory was build during the reign of Queen Seondeok of the Silla Dynasty. It’s 9.4 meters tall and 5.17 meters in diameter. Built with square granite stones and filled with soil and pebbles to the 12th layer.

It’s one of Korea’s National Treasures and it’s only cost 500 won  to enter the grounds. It’s easy to get to take buses 10, 11, or 70 and get off at Daereung-won Tumuli Park. There is tons to see and do in the area too.


A Look At Gyeongju: Anapji

Anapji (meaning goose and duck pond) is an artificial pond that was a part of a palace complex in the ancient Silla Dynasty. It went into disrepair, but during a renovation project in 1974 it was restored to it former flourishing glory. The complex is located in central Gyeongju and only a three minute walk from Gyeongju National Museum. You can take city bus number 11. It was highly recommended to visit at night.


A Look at Gyeongju: Bulguksa

Gyeongju is the former capital of the kingdom of Silla Dynasty that lasted for almost a thousand years. The city is rich with history and ancient treasures. One of the biggest and most famous spots is Bulguksa or Bulguk Temple.

The temple, along with Seokguram Grotto, was added to UNESCO World Heritage List in 1995. It’s also the head temple of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism. The temple is classified as Historic and Scenic Site No. 1 by the South Korean government. With all that, you can see why it’s a big deal and a major tourist site in Gyeongju.

The most highly recommended thing to see at Bulguksa are the two stone pagodas. These pagodas were build in 751 and are prime works from the Silla Dynasty, which is considered the golden age of Buddhist art. One pagoda Dabotap (pagoda of many treasures) is elaborate, full of details and unique sculpting. In contrast, Seokgatap (pagoda of Sakyamuni)  is a simple and basic design. Both compliment each other nicely in the courtyard of Bulguksa.

One of my favorite things I saw at Bulguksa wasn’t old at all but a courtyard path filled with tiny rock stacks.

You see a lot of rock stacking in Korea, at temples and on hiking trails. Someone once told me that you add a rock to a stack and make a wish. If the stack stays the wish will come true, but if it falls then all the wish won’t come true. Some rock stack as a family, each rock for each member. Some use it as prayers. I have even seen rock stacking in the current video game I’m playing Skyrim. It’s a bit of an enchanting sight to see so many little stacks of rocks, it’s a peaceful feeling to gaze at all of the mementos of prayers and wishes of hundreds of people and families.


Forget Me Not, Gyeongju: Promise of a Thousand Year Dynasty

Gyeongju is a beautiful city in the southeastern part of Korea. It was the capital city of Korea during the Silla Dynasty for about one thousand years. It was the longest surviving kingdom in the history of Korea.

Gyeongju is packed with things to see from burial tombs to temples to a theme park.

We stayed at a really inexpensive hotel called the Sajo Resort. It was about ₩80,000 a night divided by five people, it was a steal. The room was condominium style with a living room/kitchen area and two small bedrooms. We got a taste of Korean style sleeping, which means sleeping on a pallet on a heated floor.

Getting to Gyeongju is real easy and similar to our trip to Sokcho. We head to the Express Bus Termial in Gangnam right on line 3. Thanks to Sunny we already had our tickets so we all got some breakfast and waited for our bus. Tickets for the bus only cost about ₩20,000 for one way. (Round trip cost about ₩40,000.) Due to the holiday traffic the bus ride was about 5 hours instead of the usual 4 hours without traffic.

Once you enter the city you know you’re miles away from Seoul. You enter a city full of Hanok style homes and buildings. You can see the mountains that surround you and no skyscrapers to obstructed your view.

The air is fresh once you step off the stuffy bus and be sure to stop by the travel information center that is located right next to the bus terminal. Grab a map! There is a bus stop right across the street that leads to most of the hotels and Bomun Lake area.

If you want to know more about the ins and outs there is a great blog I found written by this guy that has lived there about five or so years, check it out!


Happy Lunar New Year!

It’s the Year of the Dragon! Hope this year brings you joy and love.

We went to Gyeongju for Seollal (설날) Korean’s Lunar New Year. Will post more later, for now here is a picture of an ancient dragon…


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