Thursday, February 26, 2009

What I'm doing in South Korea

I really have yet to talk about what I will be doing in South Korea, so I decided to copy paste exactly what I was told by the organization. 

About the Project

The project is aimed at developing programs for the local children, especially on English and cultural exchanges. The local area is not very far from the city but the local children there have less opportunity to learn foreign languages and experience different cultures due to their family situations. Children in the center vary from age 5 to 15. Children under the age of 8 come to the center in the morning and stay until the afternoon. Children with age from 8 to 15 stay in the center from 2 to 8 p.m. Volunteers will organize their own cultural and educational programs for these children such as art, music, English, mathematics, hiking, cooking, play and others. Any kind of activities and ideas will be welcomed by the host organization as long as they provide the local children the opportunities of cultural exchange. The local children are very open and interested about different countries in the world. You will also visit local school once a week to run a culture program. Moreover, you will experience local farming and have a small picnic with children in the local area. 

  • Volunteers will mainly ...

            1. Lead English conversation class :

            Using games, music, role-play or any other creative methods.

            2. Organize club activities :

            You may organize club activities (eg. dancing, singing, games whatever you like to teach).  

I really wasn't told much more than this. Luckily I have family friends whose business is ESL and they had a lot of material for me that I will take over to South Korea to help me teach the kids english. I also have some fun games that I will bring as well. I downloaded some songs onto my IPod like the Cotton Eyed Joe and the Electric Slide (yes i know they are old, but I think it will be fun to teach them the dances). I really don't know any other kind of dances... but does anyone have any ideas? Oh and I downloaded the Star Spangled Banner onto my ipod touch sung by Whitney Houston as something else to play for the kids. 

Does anyone have any more ideas as to what to do with the kids? I really don't know ages or how much English they speak which makes this hard. 

Alright well thanks for reading this long post! 3 days, 20 hours until I leave. Wow. Just wow. 


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Thank goodness for the Red Sox! :)

I called my bank to tell them that I would be going to South Korea so that my card wouldn't be flagged for thinking its fraud, and everything is going fine, until I get put on hold and the woman comes back and tells me that South Korea (and North Korea for that matter) are on a "country block" and my card is unusable there. There has apparently been a history of fraud and so to "protect our members" you cannot use my banks VISA card for any reason. Not as an ATM card, debit card, credit card, anything. 

Yeah. Just what I wanted to hear. Well here is where the title of the blog enters the situation. I went to a Red Sox game and decided for the heck of it to apply for a Red Sox credit card through the Bank of America to get a free blanket on a cold day. I was accepted for this credit card and use it, but then I went to a different red sox game on a different cold day and there the bank of america people were again with their blankets and I signed up for a checking account as well to get the blanket. I never thought i would use this checking account. 

Well, indeed I will be using it now that I cannot use my main bank account overseas. Yay for the red sox coming through! Had I not opened this checking account, who knows if I would have been able to open a checking account somewhere in time to get the ATM card and be able to use it abroad. 

So once again, thank goodness for the Red Sox! :) 

5 days, 9 hours! 


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Plans for this week

This blog has been a great way to keep everything organized for myself and what I need to do before I leave, so I am going to continue this and make my plans for this week. 

-7:00am - babysitting neighbor until 8:30am - DONE
-Go to my bank, get travelers cheques and then also ask about where I can exchange currency before I leave - DONE
-If I go to the bank in Marlborough, I can go to the DSW and look at shoes, buy a pair of heels that go with skirts, maybe look at the Borders for cheap paperback books?  - DONE but need to go give back and get different ones
-E-mail mom's coworker about getting her to notarize
-Fill out living will online on mom's computer - cant... need a license etc.. have talked to parents about what I want
-Figure out if there is an appliance/whatever with batteries in it that my ipod can use on the plane to help with battery life - DONE ... there is none :(
-Thank you note to Mom-Mom 

-7:00 am - babysitting 
-5:00pm - pick up neighbor from activity

-7:00am - babysitting 
-Go to Waltham, donate old books, buy cheap books at the bookstore for the long plane ride

-Pack up everything day! 

-Dinner etc with my friends, going into Sunday morning

-get ready to leave! Possibly start Korean time? Not sure if this is possible since I have a 4 hour layover in the middle of the night Korean time... 

-Leave for Logan with mom at an impossible hour (my flight leaves at 6:30am)

... wow it really isnt that far away! 6 days, 6 hours until my flight leaves. I'll continue to update this when I've started to complete the tasks and add on new ones that I am sure that I forgot :) 


Monday, February 23, 2009

Thank you, Kira!

Kira (my sister) and I went shopping yesterday at the Natick Mall for clothes for me to bring. It's a more conservative country than the United States in general, and since I will be working I need clothing that is more... conservative. To date I have knocked off most of what needed to be done, and there is just a little bit left to do! 

-Do the living will/medical power of attourney stuff
-Shoe shopping for 1 pair of sneakers and 1 pair of nice shoes to go with my skirts
-Pick up jeans at the dry cleaner
-Go buy some books for the flight
-Figure out movies to put on my ipod
-Buy uno
-Call banks and tell them I am going abroad
-Travelers Cheques 

Most of the stuff I'm going to be taking is sitting in our guest room ready to go. Time is going by really quickly, and I'm getting really excited for this trip. Tonight we are going to my favourite chinese restaurant Bamboo because it has the BEST buffet on Sunday nights. 


Thursday, February 19, 2009

to do list updated

-Doctors appointment (happening tomorrow at 10:50 am)  + get tetanus shot (UGHHHH) - DONE!
-E-mail/contact dean about coming back to UMass in the Fall (due date is April, and I'll be away obviously)  - DONE! 
-Buy a larger purse that can zip (I have a very small one, and it would be helpful to have a purse I can put more things in - DONE!
-Figure out the camera situation - DONE (parents bought a small camera that I am borrowing for the 3 months)
-Go shopping with my sister for more clothing to wear (need to be more conservative in what I wear)- DONE!
-Get info sheet regarding trip (supposed to be mailed this week) - DONE
-Parents want me to get a living will, and a medical power of attorney. - we got the sheet for the power of attorney but i need to fill out that and the living will 
-Bill payer - put automatic transfers from my bank into my bank of america card every month i'm gone  - DONE... except for the last month which i cant do yet its too far away :( 
-Buy a Korean phrase book and also maybe another book about culture/etc - DONE!
-Go to the really cheap bookstore Mom has talked about to buy cheap paperbacks to bring with me
-still need to go to the bookstore
-return the mattress pad to LLBean (we got a different cheaper in cost one) - DONE
-go shopping with Kira on Saturday (yay for my sister being home!) - DONE
-figure out how to use a skype like product on my ipod touch - DONE
-buy a new purse (I have an impossibly small one) - DONE!
-put movies onto my ipod touch for the flight 

wow I leave in less than 12 days... it's insane how fast time is flying but I am getting a lot done for the trip which is good. 


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

ipod touch

Last night i bit the bullet and decided to purchase myself an Ipod touch after much conferring with people and reviews etc. The capability to connect to the internet via wifi is what did it for me. 

I talked to someone who went to my specific site last year, and she said that the voluteers did bring laptops, however I am not going to bring a laptop instead I am just going to bring my ipod touch. I have been going back and forth on this, but if I bring my laptop, I will be online whenever I can, and I know this about me. This is not the point of the trip for me. I want to hang out with the other volunteers (who will be from all over the world.. i will probably be the only american) and then also with the locals. I can make do without a laptop for 3 months. My Ipod touch already has AIM and facebook and myspace downloaded on it, so I will be able to use them when I have wifi access. I'm also about to figure out if blogspot has an app too to download. We'll see. 

Thats about it. 2 weeks from today I will be on the flight from San Francisco to Seoul. Wow. time is really flying by. 


Sunday, February 15, 2009


My parents set out some valentine's day gifts for me, and I open the first one up, and ITS MY PASSPORT!!!! My dad found my passport under the couch apparently in a place that both my mom and I looked. Anyways, that is $150 that I do not have to spend :) 



Saturday, February 14, 2009

a bit of a phew

No, I didn't find my passport, but it turns out that I don't need a VISA to go on my trip. Its only if you are there for 90 days or more, and I'm going to be in South Korea for 81 days. I might want to extend my trip too, so i have 8 days that I can hang out there before I HAVE to leave. 

I got my birth certificate today because I need that to get my passport which is happening on Wednesday (it's an expedited process for those who are leaving the country in a short time/need visas). Unfortunately it's going to cost me a LOT of money. Guess that will teach me for losing my passport. 

Yesterday my parents and I went out for Korean at a Korean BBQ restaurant where I had poterry bi bim bop (it has rice and small bits of beef and some vegetables) and the bowl that it is in is REALLY hot and it actually cooks the rice a bit and makes it ... semi crunchy? Hard to explain. Google it to find out more. You mix in everything together and it was really good. 

After the restaurant we went to LLBean to go shopping for some stuff. We bought a mattress pad thing for me to sleep on (we sleep in sleeping bags). We also looked at backpacks (I'm going to need a big one for bringing with me on the plane and then for weekend excursions) and bought me this nice jacket which will be the only jacket that I take. 

Only 16 days and 11 hours until I leave!!!


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Freaking out

My ability to lose everything has come back to haunt me now in a horrible way. I needed my passport because the confirmation slip for going to South Korea required the passport number. I filled out this confirmation slip on my computer on the couch in the family room. Now, I cannot find my passport. 

I have looked everywhere for it. I looked in my car (which actually for once is really clean!), we took apart the couch, I looked in my bedroom, etc to no avail. I keep hoping that its going to show up somewhere, but it has not. Now I have to go get my birth certificate from Boston, get a new passport, and get my visa after that. I only have 17 days. I'm really worried about if this can all be done in time. I don't have an appointment to get my new passport for a week (but I'm doing it at this place where you bring everything including passport photos and you actually get your passport that day .. its for people who are leaving the country soon). This is all going to be extremely costly. 

I know my passport is going to show up somewhere, but it will probably be after I come back from my trip. Please everyone cross your fingers for me that it shows up today. 


Monday, February 9, 2009

To-do list

There is a lot that I need to do before I go to South Korea, so I thought that I would start to write them down here so that I have a place to keep track of them all. Also, any addedPa suggestions or anything you can think of would be greatly appreciated! 

-Doctors appointment (happening tomorrow at 10:50 am)  + get tetanus shot (UGHHHH) - DONE!
-E-mail/contact dean about coming back to UMass in the Fall (due date is April, and I'll be away obviously)  - DONE! 
-Buy a larger purse that can zip (I have a very small one, and it would be helpful to have a purse I can put more things in 
-Figure out the camera situation 
-Go shopping with my sister for more clothing to wear (need to be more conservative in what I wear)
-Get info sheet regarding trip (supposed to be mailed this week) 
-Parents want me to get a living will, and a medical power of attorney. 
-Bill payer - put automatic transfers from my bank into my bank of america card every month i'm gone 
-Buy a Korean phrase book and also maybe another book about culture/etc
-Go to the really cheap bookstore Mom has talked about to buy cheap paperbacks to bring with me

That's it for now that I can think of off the top of my head.. more to come later. 


Sunday, February 8, 2009

Plane tickets

Now that it is official that I am on my way to South Korea, my parents (THANK YOU!) bought my plane tickets to go to and from South Korea. I am leaving on March 2nd at 6:30am on a United flight from Logan to San Francisco, and then I have I believe a 3 hour 55 minute layover until my next flight (also United) which goes to Seoul, South Korea. It arrives in Seoul at 7:35pm the next day (local time of course). On the way home, I leave on May 23rd, arriving at Logan Airport at 8:26pm. 

My current plan is to start changing my schedule a couple days before my flight so that I am on South Korean time. South Korea is 14 hours ahead of Boston time (switch the AM to PM or PM to AM and add 2 hours). This will help me to adjust a bit faster to my new time. I am also planning on abiding by this time on the airplane if at all possible, although I just realized it will be the middle of the night during my layover in San Francisco. Oh well, I will figure it out. 

Thank you all for reading this blog, and I can't wait to share with you all my adventures in South Korea!


EDIT: Oh and the countdown right now is at 22 days, 14 hours!

Saturday, February 7, 2009


I have been officially accepted to go to South Korea for 3 months!!!!!!! I just found out a short time ago, and have been pretty much flipping out ever since. I will be volunteering at the Haennam Center in Jeonnam, South Korea. YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Semi-acceptance to South Korea!

Alright so technically I have not been officially accepted to volunteer in South Korea yet, but I got an e-mail today from the head of the organization I'm volunteering through stating this 

"Dear Gabrielle ~

Our partner in South Korea has let me know that they are now trying to place
you your 2nd choice project for the dates from 4th of March to 22th of May.
Please email me to confirm that these dates will work for you. The project
is SkoIwoMtv11-09 Haenam Center Jeonnam ~ they tell me it is one of their
best projects and that they think you will like it.
They will let me know soon if you are confirmed.

Best wishes
Amy at Volunteers For Peace"

Anyways, I know that I need to still keep my fingers crossed, but it's a positive sign! 

I have no idea what my internet will be like in South Korea, but I will try to update this blog as often as I can (I will not have my laptop with me) so you can see how things are going! 

I have to go for now, but later I will write an entry with more on what I am (HOPEFULLY) doing, where I will be, etc.