Thursday, December 31, 2009

Christmas time in Korea

Christmas Eve breakfast at the Heads. Menu: western-style bacon, eggs and pancakes with Korean style syrup. The syrup was an interesting flavor, not like the maple we are used to. It was more honey flavored, and extremely sweet. Nonetheless, the breakfast was delicious! These are the other foreign teachers from our school (left to right: Zack, Allie, Jesse, Christel).

Our Christmas gifts to our co-teachers and office staff. Korean cookies! Yum!

This is what we call a Texas Aggie Christmas lunch in Korea...TGIFridays! Everyone in this picture is an English teacher living in the Busan area. From left to right-Vince, Whitney, Austin, Lauren, Alaina, Loren, Linda, Mr. Choi.

Our apartment on Christmas Eve. We were so blessed to be able to talk to both of our families via Skype on Christmas. Thank you, Lord! If anyone is interested in Skyping with us, our name is "lorenandalaina".

The Head's and the Schauer's outside of the APEC (Asian-Pacific Economic Corporation) house. It is a beautiful building constructed for a one-time meeting of world leaders in 2005.

Outside of the APEC house on Christmas Day. It was quite hazy, but look closely and you can see the "Diamond Bridge" in the background.
Yes, many people still wear face masks here (for numerous reasons). This lady in particular looks quite fashionable with her pink hat and matching face mask! The boy to the left is definitely wearing a John Deere hat.
A traditional Korean style dress called a "Hanbok". These dresses are worn for special occasions.

On the subway in Busan. Which one of these doesn't fit?
We went to see the movie "Avatar" here in Busan. They were showing it in 3D! Luckily, the movie was in English with Korean subtitles, but unfortunately some of the language was in the characters' native tongue, which they did not translate into English. Probably was not too important anyway...

No Smoking on Haeundae beach! With an advertisement this large, even foreigners get the picture.
Christmas Day on Haeundae Beach.

Some of our Koren co-teachers and office girls.
Celebrating a birthday in the office. The birthday girl received a furry hat (on left). This was a first time to eat cake with chopsticks!
Loren and some of his elementary school students. They love him, really.
Koreans have a thing for hoodies and jackets that zip up all the way.

This woman is calling her husband to say "Honey, I got dinner!" (it's hiding in her jacket). Bad joke, sorry.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Week Two!

Here are some photos from our fun-filled second weekend in Busan.

This is an underground market place that sells lots of produce, dried fruits, and pickled everything!

Have you ever seen so much dried seaweed?
To show their love and devotion to one another, Korean couples often dress alike. Not just jeans and a t-shirt, we mean the WHOLE FIFTY YARDS! Still working with Loren on this one...
A beautiful fountain in the Lotte Department Store (the Lotte company owns everything here).
We went Ice Skating at Shinsegae for the Foreigner's Festival :)
Loren in the subway
Everyone is always happy on the subway....not really.

We also made our first trip to Costco. Yeaaahhhh!!

But I bet YOUR local Costco doesn't have fresh flounder.....

Or how about these creations??

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

More photos (Busan)

We went on a hike and discovered a really neat trail close to our home. It was a beautiful view of the city.
The tall buildings in the center are our apartment complex. It's called Bora SkyView Pretty sweet huh?

Our beautiful city, Busan!
In the background is again, our apartment building.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Our Current Address

A few people had asked for our local address here in Korea. It is best to send anything to our school, so here is the physical address:

Avalon English /Loren and Alaina Head
2 Floor Geumho Building
71-1 Sajik-dong
Dongnae-gu, Busan
607-817 South Korea

Here is the phone number if it is required for a customs form:
82) 51-553-0505

Thank you in advance for your generosity! We love you all

Sunday, December 13, 2009


view from our apartment
traditional Korean side dish. Usually put in soup.
Yummy...not really
Friend and co-teacher from Alabama, Zack
another view of the city from our apartment
WORLD'S largest shopping mall-Shinsegae Centum City
it was HUGE!!

Korean Santas on stilts

FIrst Weekend in Busan

Happy Sunday evening to everyone!

We have been SO very blessed these past few days....
To begin, we were able to meet up with our dear friends Austin and Lauren Schauer (from Texas, and Aggies!) on Friday night after we got off work. Remember, we work from 2-10 pm so we keep very interesting hours. We met up with the Schauer's and some of their co-workers in the Pusan National University area. There are a lot of students that hang out here. This place in Busan is really cool and a great place to eat, just walk around and also find deals on shopping (Alaina=happy). Austin and Lauren so graciously dedicated their entire Saturday afternoon to showing us around this beautiful city and helping us master the subway system. We saw the world's largest shopping mall (oh wow.....) some awesome Busan highlights and we finally saw the BEACH!!! The Sea of Japan is practically in our backyard (well....almost, just a few subway stops away at least). We were overjoyed and so very thankful for the Schauer's generosity.

We went to an International church this morning that we had heard about from a few other foreigners. ICC (International Community Church) was extremely welcoming and the biggest blessing for us. We met a few more Aggies (whoop!) and enjoyed a worship service and sermon in English! After church we all went out to eat (when we say "all", we mean everyone. The entire church! It was amazing). From the moment we walked in, we were pulled in all directions being welcomed, it was truly heartwarming. After lunch we then went to grab some coffee with a smaller group. We had such a good time just enjoying the day with new friends. Later in the afternoon we were able to meet with the married couples in the church. They have a special Bible study within ICC and are very close brothers and sisters in Christ. We now have friends from Houston to Canada and everywhere in between. When we say we have been blessed, we mean WE HAVE BEEN BLESSED. We have experienced fellowship and God's amazing love through people all weekend long.

Our school officially opens it's doors tomorrow (Monday)! So wish us luck and please say a prayer for our first day of class and teaching.

Thank you for your prayers. We want to wish (a very late) Happy Anniversary to our dad and mom (Head's) and congratulate them on 31 years of marriage! Thank you for setting such a great example for us to follow :)

Love you all!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Past Few Weeks...

Well Hello Family & Friends!

The Head's have had a wonderful, whirlwind of a month. First off, we were married at the Grand Melia Resort where we had a picture-perfect wedding in Puerto Rico. We were so blessed to be among the family and close friends who joined us. We then honeymooned on the beautiful island of Dominican Republic. After some days in paradise, we spent the next week taking care of some paperwork and legalities for record reports and our VISA stamp for South Korea. We visited the Korean embassy/consulate and successfully received the necessary documents and were on our way to our home for the next year!

We arrived safely in Seoul (the capitol of South Korea) on Sunday evening. We had training in Seoul for two days with several other foreigners (English speakers) who had been hired by the same school. 2 other Americans and 2 Canadians were hired to teach English at our franchise which is a brand new private school (Hagwon) in the city of Busan.

As many of you know, Koreans highly value their education. The kids will attend a public school during the day from about 8 am-3 pm, then they are enrolled in "private" schools during the evening. These private schools are more like additional tutoring in a special course. in this case, Avalon schools (our employer) focuses on reading, writing, and speaking English. The kids will be taught at multiple Hagwons a week anywhere from 4 pm- 10 pm. Needless to say, the students are physically and mentally drained. This part will be quite a challenge for us as teachers. Parents are extremely competitive with their children and will do anything for them to excel and get ahead of the bar.

After a few days of training in Seoul, we moved in to our apartment in the city of Busan. Busan has over 3 million people and is the second largest city in the country (Seoul wins, of course!). We are located on the south-east tip of the country near the ocean. From the short time we have been here, we have seen beautiful hills and lots of businesses. We have a breathtaking view from our 19th floor, corner apartment! We are still figuring some things out in our new home....There is no clothes dryer or dishwasher, but we have heated floors and a toilet seat that sings! Koreans are pretty funny about some things....more stories to come!

We visited our brand new school yesterday where we met the teachers and director (Mr. Kim). Everyone is very sweet and so welcoming. After interviews with the director, we were placed with either the upper level, older kids (IVY) or the little, elementary age kids (CHAMP). We are not allowed to teach at the same level being married. Loren was placed with the little ones, and Alaina has the middle schoolers. We began our lesson plans yesterday for the first day of school. Avalon English opens this coming Monday (14th). We have to give a mock lesson to a head teacher today so they can see how we plan on conducting our classroom. We will see how this pans out. It will be an interesting semester to say the least!

We have discovered that there is a 15 hour time difference from Busan to east Texas. We are a day ahead of Texas time. We wake up about 8 am (Busan time) then go to school from 2pm-10 pm. Once we get a secure internet connection we would LOVE to skype with anyone!

We miss you and love you all...thank you for your support and prayers. Prayers are always needed and we are constantly praying for YOU, too!

Love, Loren and Alaina

PS--> We promise to load pictures once we figure out how :)