The QiRanger Adventures

Posts Tagged ‘Culture

Living in Korea: A Vlog

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One of the questions I am most often asked is, “What is it like to live in Korea?” I find it incredibly hard to answer that question, since I believe you get out of life what you put into it. I hope this video does a better job showing what life is like in Korea, at least from my perspective.

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Written by Steve Miller

September 8, 2010 at 7:52 am

They are delicious?

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I had some left over footage from out trip, or non-trip to Jeju. I filmed the toilet bit just before we started back to Seoul and really wanted to use the footage in the video, but couldn’t make it work. So my solution was to couple it with something else.

I also wanted to try my hand at some other transitions, and thought this would be the perfect time to do so! The result was something fun and a little different.

Written by Steve Miller

August 31, 2010 at 12:40 pm

One down…

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It’s hard to believe, but another term at school is coming to a close. Three months of education have passed and my students are all taking their mid-terms and finals this week. It’s really been interesting to see the changes that occurred in all my classes this term.

One of the more frustrated things I deal with falls within the realm of reading and comprehension. This mainly is due to the young nature of my students who don’t equate looking at a page and while the CD is playing as actually reading and listening to the material. The former results in students completing homework, but being unable to actually read the stories or answer questions about something they’ve supposedly read five times in the course of a week.

For the past three months, I did something a little different. Each class started off with an open-book quiz. I’d pick five questions related to the homework reading and give students five minutes to complete the quiz. Students that successfully answered all the questions correctly would earn an additional 20 points for their team.

By the end of the term, students in the higher level classes were consistently earning 100% on these quizzes. In cases where students scored less, it was because they didn’t do the homework at all. I’m quite pleased with the efficacy of my students and am looking forward to those that are advancing to the next level starting September 1st.

With the new term also brings some added responsibility on my part. For the past 15 months, I’ve been teaching reading comprehension and speaking (both of which I really enjoy), but I’ll be getting two, new middle school classes: World History and Science. It will mark the first time I’ve taught a subject based course in Korea, but I’m really looking forward to this new challenge.

Having a science background, I’m eagerly looking forward to discussing science and its application to the natural world. I fondly recall my time back in the 1990s when I had my own lab and taught Human A&P and Invertebrate Zoology. They were so much fun. Now I get to tackle a wider range of science topics, ranging from ecology to physics.

Then there’s the world history class. Oh, how I love history and bringing in relationships to present day situations to see how they’ve unfolded over the years. Furthermore, I love digging deeper into details to uncover the hidden stories to make events clearer. History is such a great format for story telling, I can’t wait to have a class where I can read, discuss, and present the wonder that is our world.

So as I leave you on this fine day, what was your favorite class in school and why?

Written by Steve Miller

August 26, 2010 at 8:06 am

A day away…

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Jo and Little T in the Flowers

When the weekend comes, it most certainly is time to play. One of the things that Jo and I do during the week is try to find something new and exciting to do. In fact, for the next month, we have nearly every weekend planed with a fun outing or gathering.

We weren’t sure what we had wanted to do this past weekend, but thankfully the KTO posted a link on their Facebook page for the Taebaek Sunflower festival.

There were several options on getting out there, but Jo and I settled on grabbing an Intercity bus from Suwon and resting along the way. Once there, we walked over to the Tourist Information booth and were instructed to take a taxi to the festival.

Being up in the high country was a welcome change after over a year in the concrete jungle, I really wanted to see some alpine areas. Taebaek was just what the doctor ordered, too. Everything was spectacular, even though most of the sunflowers had moved on to… greener pastures (I know… lame).

Yeongyeon Cave

From the festival area, Jo and I opted to taxi-it to Yeongyeon Cave. It was even a little higher up the mountain and took us on a 800 meter walk underground. It was an amazing experience, mostly because after being in the direct sunlight for hours, the cool, damp cave was welcomed. I thought it was strange that they gave us hard hats when going into the cave, but Jo and I soon realized why they did this.

While the trail system in the cave is extensive, it really isn’t tall-people friendly. Several times low outcroppings darted into the path, and on more than one occasion, I had to get down on my hands and knees to traverse the cave. That being said, it was a great experience, one that I’m thankful Jo and I made together.

The one thing I didn’t understand was the pace that others were taking through this natural wonder. Jo and I took our own sweet time (maybe 90 minutes) to go through everything. Everyone else seemed to be in some sort of race to see how fast they could get through the cave, and in my opinion, missed out on seeing how beautiful it was.

Hwanji Pond

After lunch, we headed out to Hwanji Pond. It’s located about 10 minutes from the bus terminal and was nothing less than an oasis in the center of town.

Everything was so peaceful there, that I think Jo and I thought this was the highlight of the trip. What’s really unique about this ‘pond’ is that since it produces so much water, it’s actually the source of the Nakdong River.

If you have a free day and want to explore some great natural wonders, I really recommend hopping on a bus or train and giving Taebaek a try. There’s a lot to do, and I know that Jo and I will return to visit some of the other natural wonders in town.

Written by Steve Miller

August 23, 2010 at 12:19 pm

Independence Day

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Taegukgi Placement - Photo by Jo Miller

August 15th is celebrated as Korean Independence Day each year. I find the title a little strange, since most of the world celebrates it as V-J Day.

Victory over Japan Day (V-J Day, also known as Victory in the Pacific Day, or V-P Day) is a name chosen for the day on which the Surrender of Japan occurred, effectively ending World War II, and subsequent anniversaries of that event. The term has been applied to both the day on which the initial announcement of Japan’s surrender was made in the afternoon of August 15, 1945 in Japan and to August 14, 1945 in the United States when it was announced because of time zone differences in the Western Europe, the Americas, the Pacific Islands, and Australia, and to September 2, 1945 when the formal signing of the surrender was made. September 2 is the official V-J Day in the US[1]. The name V-J Day had been selected by the Allies after they named V-E Day for the victory in Europe. – Wikipedia

Each year as this time rolls around in Korea, public servants take to the streets and hang Taegukgis (Korean National Flags) on every lamppost. It serves as a powerful reminder that Korea exited from the brutal colonial occupational period. At my school this year, we took time to remember the events surrounding Japan’s surrender during the war.

All the events surrounding VJ Day mean a lot more to me this year after being in the Philippines and seeing where my uncle served and endured as a POW. It really makes you understand the sacrifices that so many made. Unfortunately, many younger Koreans don’t really learn what happened. That is a shame. It’s also a shame, that 65 years later, many Koreans can’t move past the colonial period. They are imprisoned within their own memories, waiting for apologies and compensation that will never come. To truly be free and independent, one must exercise forgiveness.

Written by Steve Miller

August 15, 2010 at 8:13 am

Rounding out the Philippines

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Adventurer Jo!

It’s hard to believe that I’ve been back in Korea for two weeks! Time really flies when you’re working 12-hour days during the summer intensive season. That being said, I’ve been spending a lot of my downtime working on the Philippine Travel videos. Today, I present the last in the series: Corregidor: Day Two.

As I noted in another post, this was by far the best day. Hiring the driver and getting a more personalized tour really made the experience for us. In this video, you can also see Jo ziplining down to the beach, which was so much fun.

I’d also like to thank everyone who has been so supportive of my travel videos. It really means a lot. I simply enjoy making them and look forward to making more and more travel-vlogs and travel-shows in the future.

Corregidor at Night

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The evening adventure package was amazing. Starting off with a walk through the historic Army Post hospital, the tour then takes you to Top Side and an unimpeded view of Manila Bay for one of the best sunsets I’ve ever seen. Then we were off to explore Malinta Tunnel. Walking through its network of tunnels was amazing!