Saturday, February 28, 2009

Courage Is...

Question: What is courage?
Answer: Courage is:
1. Taking your dog to a groomer in a country in which you do not speak the language, and using charades to explain that you would like his hair trimmed.
2. Going to a hair salon in a country in which you do not speak the language, and trusting once again in charades to explain that you would like a trim and a perm. Bonus points if you want layering and a specific type of perm.

Oh, you know this is building up to a good story!

I leave Korea in exactly one week from today, so I am positively dripping with things that need to be done. Fortunately, I have been uncharacteristically productive today. I finished all my packing, with the exception of the two carry-ons, which I will finish later tonight (after dinner). Two other important tasks also had to be dealt with today: Jasper and I both needed to get our hair taken care of. Jasper was beginning to resemble a hairy Sherman tank, and I needed another perm (they're way cheaper over here) and a bit of a trim. Even the simplest of tasks take on a challenging and amusing new dimension when a language barrier is inserted!

Jasper's turn came first, since I wanted to run a few errands while he was at the groomer. I had hoped that someone at the grooming shop might have picked up a smidgen of English from either their child's hagwon or The Simpsons (yes, it's popular over here, too). Naturally, I was completely wrong.

The three employees were very friendly, and happily chortled away to me in their delightful (but for me, largely indecipherable) native tongue. I, meanwhile, put on my best "completely clueless foreigner" face and decided to make with the gestures and hope for the best. I pointed to Jasper, then to my hair, and then made little scissor motions with my fingers. All three employees laughed and nodded (with loads more cheerful conversation in Korean, which I couldn't understand, although I pretended to) and then one of the women solicitously scooped up Jasper and headed for the back room. I pointed to the clock, asked how long it would take (I do know that phrase in Hangul at least), and was answered with three fingers, which I took to mean either three hours or three o'clock. I figured the latter sounded more likely.

After leaving my adorable and beloved companion in the care of complete strangers, in a country that still considers him edible (no, I wasn't worried about that, but it does make the story a little funnier), I walked off in the direction of downtown. I wasn't sure exactly how far it was from the pet store, but I figured it couldn't be too far, and at least I knew which direction to walk in. I was wrong about distance, but correct about direction. On the positive side, I'm sure the insanely long walk in shoes that clearly were designed by someone with a vendetta against humanity was, in some small way, character building.

A wave of dizziness reminded me that I had neglected to eat breakfast, and thus had low blood sugar. Since fainting has yet to make it on the list of my top one hundred favorite pastimes, I opted to eat lunch. This being my last weekend in Korea, I chose to return to CanMore, one of my favorite little restaurants. The bagel sandwich and dalgi bing soo, consumed whilst simultaneously devouring one of Bill Bryson's books, left a lovely imprint on my subconscious. Thus fortified against a blood sugar crash, I continued with my errands.

I needed a new bag to use as a carry-on, since the duffel that I used for a second carry-on on my trip out here has become stained (and was thoroughly loathsome to haul with me the first time around). I found a perfect one for a better price than I expected, and celebrated this victory by nearly getting mowed down by a taxi driven by a man whom, I can only assume, is a paid assassin on a mission to rid Gyeongju of excess people. I almost lost a shoe jumping out of the way, and in retrospect, I should have let him have it. Both of them. Not ten minutes later I almost broke my neck tripping in those cursed shoes, and upon arrival at home this evening, I learned that the vengeful creatures blistered my feet ruthlessly.

After stops at two other stores for a few things, I noticed that it was nearly three o'clock. Ignoring the pain and protests of my feet, I walked the entire way back to the grooming shop, congratulating myself on saving the two thousand won (about $1.30) in cab fare. Yes, the current economic recession/depression (depending on which news source you read) in my country has made me CHEAP!

They were not finished grooming Jasper yet (apparently three fingers meant three hours, not three o'clock), so I entertained myself by perusing the small shop, looking for a carrier that would meet the airline standards (with no luck). A very affectionate Yorkie attempted to assist me (that is seriously one of the cutest breeds). I noted, with a small amount of concern, the rather naked poodle gazing mournfully from an enclosure near the back room. Surely they understood that I wanted Jasper's hair cut, not removed...

Nope. When the lady brought out Jasper to me, I was placed in that emotional limbo that exists between laughing hysterically and sobbing. If Jasper has been entertaining any secret desires of joining the marines, he now has the hair for it. I would never have thought it possible, but apparently, a Shih Tzu can in fact be made to look exactly like a Chihuahua. I even pondered (with great hope) the possibility that I may have been handed the wrong dog. Once I looked into the very, very sad (even he knows he looks stupid) eyes of my poor, naked Jasper, I knew with shivering certainly that I had the right dog. I am so glad that one of my errands involved buying a few clothes for Jasper - they do help to cover up a bit of the disaster that is now my dog.

Now after an experience like that, I think most people would hesitate before going about the even more difficult operation of having their own hair styled (and in a style that goes beyond basic). I figured that as long as I have Jasper with me, I can't possibly be the stupidest looking creature in the room, so I dropped my boy off at home, changed shoes, and walked another long distance over to the hair salon.

It would take too long to relate all the many creative gestures I employed to make my wishes known. A team of four Korean hair stylists circled me, listening attentively, asking questions that had no hope of being answered, and eventually, smiling and nodding (that sent a twinge of worry through me, but I swallowed hard and rallied my courage). I reminded myself that hair can always be cut, and it does always grow back.

During this second Korean perm experience (my first being a few months ago), I found myself feeling a lot like an Indy-500 car. The four stylists apparently decided to share the madly-gesturing foreigner, leading me to compare them to a pit crew. One washed my hair, another dried it, another poked it, and after having me sit for awhile, the fourth one came to trim it (I was relieved to see scissors rather than an electric razor in her hand). Next, person number one came back and painted a smelly chemical on my hair and left me to marinate for about fifteen minutes (at which point I was mentally reviewing whether they might have confused my desire for a perm with a desire to change the color of my hair). Finally, I was apparently ready. Two people inserted the curlers, and the third person came back to hook me up to a machine that reminds me of a black squid hanging from a pole.

The "squid" cooked my head for a while, until the timer informed us that I was "well done." Then there was more painting with smelly chemicals, more cooking time, a little more basting, and finally, another wash. I was scared to open my eyes, for fear of what creature might be looking back at me in the mirror. Jasper's fiasco had really unnerved me!

Finally, the crucial moment could be put off no longer, and I had to look into the mirror. Half expecting to see the next winner of a Phyllis Diller lookalike contest, I let out an audible gasp at my reflection. The hairstyle is.....exactly what I wanted! Either I'm the next charades world champion, or those hairstylists were just really clever (maybe both). Either way, it's a relief that only one creature in this apartment looks like a shrunken rat tonight.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Jasper's Coming, Too!

I actually found this out for certain the other day, but I've been a bit too busy with departure preparations to post about it.

Yes, Jasper will definitely be able to accompany me to the USA. He's traveling with the luggage, as I was worried that he would cry too much during the flight to go carry-on (plus, I'm pretty sure he wouldn't fit under the seat anymore). Tomorrow I'm taking him to the pet store to get his hair cut, and then to the vet to get his final immunization and his health certificate (to prove that he has had his rabies vaccine, without which he would be denied admittance into the USA). I also need to track down an approved style of carrier for him, and a bone large enough to keep him occupied and distracted on the long flight.

I can't believe we leave Korea in only eight days!

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Excitement that Awaits...

I am going to be so busy when I get home that I may have to schedule time just to breathe! In addition to getting to know my new car, laptop, and phone, I also have to buy a new wardrobe because I lost weight (wahoo!) in Korea. I have to get a physical for grad school. Then, there's all this other stuff...

March 31 - April 15: I take my long-anticipated solo trip to Ireland, Switzerland (just Zurich, but it still counts), and Greece. I realized yesterday that I have neglected to plan my itinerary while I'm there. Yikes! Well, add another thing to the "do immediately upon arrival in the USA" list!

Later in April: My parents are accompanying me on a one-week fact-finding mission to Virginia to choose my apartment for grad school (still no idea if I'm to be offered a TA-ship, but I've decided to commit to it anyway - I'll scrub toilets if that's what it takes to get my MA). Since that should only take a few days, we're also planning a bit of a vacation.

May 23 - May 31: My much-beloved roommate from my first two years of college is coming up to visit me. I haven't seen her since the wedding of two mutual friends, which was over a year and a half ago.

July 4: My cousin and his very sweet fiancee are getting married finally.

Mid July: My dad and I will be traveling down to Virginia to get me moved into my new lodgings for grad school.

Late July - early August: I convinced my parents (it really didn't take much persuasion) to take a trip with me to South Dakota and Montana. Which is another itinerary that I need to start planning.

August 12: I make the twelve-hour drive down to Virginia in my very cute yellow 2009 Aveo5 (can you tell I'm just a little bit excited about my new car?).

August 13: Graduate school orientation at Liberty University! I can't wait - even though I looked at my book list yesterday and almost lost all circulation in my body (what kind of sick, twisted professor requires THIRTEEN books for ONE class?!?!).

And for the rest of 2009: I will buried up to my neck (and possibly higher) in lectures, research, reading, and papers. Heaven.

I Have a Date!

Yes, at last I have a confirmed departure date! Not that I don't love Korea, but I really am eager to see my family again and to get started on all of the excitement that awaits me at home. I have a fantastic itinerary this time around; Cate let me book it myself, so I picked exactly what I wanted (and I made sure that it was still one of the cheapest flights available).

Instead of the 23-hour or more epic journey that I was dreading, I have a nice, easy 15-hour trip. Instead of hectic Chicago O'Hare, I get convenient Detroit with their fascinating new-age tunnel of strange lights and music that goes under one of the runways. Instead of a crowded aisle seat for thirteen hours, I get a lovely window seat for eleven hours. I even have a very short layover in Tokyo, so I can finally say I've been to Japan! Yessir, I am one happy traveler. And I leave in only twelve days. Yikes!

I can't believe how fast one year has gone. I knew it would pass quickly; in fact, I recall offering that same reassurance to a few friends who didn't want me to leave last year. Yet even I had no idea just how rapidly the days would melt into a year. Tomorrow is the one-year anniversary of my arrival in Korea, and on March 7, I leave this enchanting land behind. I'll be saying au revoir, though, and not goodbye. I definitely plan to revisit this country again someday, hopefully with my children.

Tomorrow is my last day with my kindergartners. On Wednesday, the little cuties graduate, and move on to afternoon classes, or perhaps different academies. In honor of our last day together, I have planned a large, fun craft for each class, and will be bringing in some cookies tomorrow. They've worked me harder than all of my other classes put together, and I'll admit, sometimes I've wanted to strangle the little darlings, but I really am going to miss them. They were my hardest classes to teach, but they were also loads of fun. And no kids can give better hugs than kindergartners.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

What Do a Car, a Phone, and Stephanie Have in Common?

Congratulations are in order: Yesterday, I bought a new car. I am now the very proud owner of the world's cutest yellow Aveo5. I was intending to buy a car when I got back to the States, but Dad found a deal that couldn't be passed up on the exact car that I wanted. I was hoping for something small that looked good, got great mileage, and could make room for me to haul things. The Aveo5 fits the bill, and the price suits me, too.

Since I also have to purchase a new cell phone and plan when I get back, I suggested to my parents a few months ago that we get a family plan together, figuring it would come out better for all three of us. Once again, my awesome father found a good deal, and he even found the perfect phone for me: a purple Samsung Rant. I'm telling you, this guy is really on a roll lately! I think a certain father is due for a big batch of my homemade diabetic oatmeal raisin cookies (which he's going to get just as soon as I recover from the jet lag when I get home).

Yesterday, I was proudly looking up facts about my new car online when I learned something very interesting: The 2009 Chevy Aveo5 was designed and built by a Chevy subsidiary in South Korea. In other words, my new car and I were both in South Korea at the same time! And, guess where Samsung (the maker of my phone) is from...that's right, South Korea! So, my phone, my car, and I have all spent time in South Korea. Maybe I'm just weird, but I found it pretty amusing.

In other acquisition news, I have also purchased the replacement for my Dell laptop. This laptop has been a thorn in my side for the past several months with its persistent crashing and freezing, and I finally decided that I am through with PCs. I did about six months worth of research (its the history major in me) and decided to switch to a Mac. So, yesterday I ordered my extremely cool new Macbook, which I am mentally drooling over (yeah, there's a bit of techno-geek in me - I admit it).

Dragon Stores and Women

I let the kindergartners play picture bingo yesterday, because they behaved so well for their lesson. Sam reminded me of the Muppet character "Animal" when he shouted out (as I was handing out the boards, which have pictures and words on them), "Woman! Woman! I want a woman!" (He wanted a board that had the word 'woman' on it - could we have a future playboy in our midst?)

Earlier in the lesson, we were practicing the sentence "I went to the ________." I pointed to the picture of the drugstore and asked Eddy, "Eddy, where did you go yesterday?" Eddy replied, "I went to the dragon store!"

From Heart Surgeon to Pop Singer in One Day

Last Friday (the day before Valentine's Day) was such a fun day. In the morning, we did a special Valentine's Day craft with the kindergartners: we had them color, cut, and glue the words "Be My Valentine" to a large cardboard heart, and then "sew" two cardboard hearts together with ribbon. When the kids finished "sewing," Cate and I stuffed the hearts with candy and then tied the ribbons into big bows. The craft was fun, but of course with kindergartners, there were a few mistakes that I needed to fix (thus, my brief stint as a "heart surgeon"). At one point during the craft, I noticed Jay looked sad.

"What's wrong, Jay?" I asked.
"Teacher, my heart is broken," he informed me, holding up his ripped heart. I managed not to laugh as I taped it up for him.

For the afternoon classes, I had some special things prepared. I found a really cute picture online of two ducks sharing a milkshake in a 1950's style diner, so I put the words "Happy Valentine's" on it and made it into a coloring page for the younger classes. I also made two word searches with Valentine's-themed words (aka hearts, flowers, boyfriend, girlfriend, etc.) - an easy one for the younger classes, and a harder one for the older classes. Ever since I introduced word searches to the younger kids, they have become word search addicts! They absolutely love them.

I also found two funny Valentine poems online and printed out copies for the older classes. I gave the easier poem out to the youngest advanced classes, and the harder poem to the older, and had the kids read and discuss it. Then, in my last two classes, I created a special Valentine's Day mad lib - a love letter. The results were so hilarious that I actually had tears streaming down my face (as did two of the kids).

After school, Cate took all the teachers out for dinner at a really delicious sam-gip-sal (pork) restaurant. After dinner and drinks, Cate learned that I had never been to a norebang (singing room) and insisted that we all go.

Korean singing rooms are a really neat idea. Since most Koreans love to sing, they have private rooms that you can rent for an hour or longer. In the room, there is comfortable seating, fun lighting, and a big screen TV. They bring you snacks and drinks, and then you can flip through the book and choose which songs you would like to karaoke to. While you sing, the lights do a pretty nifty lights show, and the TV plays an accompanying music video (and, of course, tells you the words to the songs). After you finish, your performance is rated on the TV! They have songs in both Korean and English (and even a few Ricky Martin songs). I did an absolutely terrible rendition of "You Can't Hurry Love," which the Supremes did much better! The highlight of the evening (and, in fact, my entire year in Korea) was hearing my dear boss Cate sing "I'm a Barbie Girl." I almost split my insides apart from laughing when she sang the words, "I'm a blond bimbo!"

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Apparently, I'm a Girl

I learned something new today. Apparently, I wear jeans a lot more than I realized. And, apparently, I am indeed female (this should come as quite a relief to my mother). I wore a skirt with tights and boots to school today, and the kids' reactions were hilarious! I had no idea that they paid such close attention to my daily wardrobe. Some of my favorite comments from the day included:

"Step-anie-Teacher, you are a girl today!" (Courtesy of Sue, the most energetic girl in my E3-D class.)

"Teacher, today is skirt beautiful, boots beautiful, tights beautiful, earrings beautiful, and hair is little beautiful. Face is very beautiful." (This assessment came from Amber, one of the older kindergartners.)

"Ste-panie, we are the same today. You are big me and I am little me!" (Charming words from Anne, one of my most enchanting students. We had on similar outfits today.)

"Teacher, wow! Today is skirt-day!" (Dear Mindy, from E4-B)

"Teacher, Teacher. You have no pants today!" (Cleo, the smallest and cutest girl in E4-B - and believe me, it's hard to pick a cutest girl in that class!)

"Teacher, do you have a date after school today?" "You look very stylish today, Teacher." (Input from Rachel and Victoria, the girls in my absolutely awesome middle school class.)

As Saturday is Valentine's Day, the chocolate offerings from my students are already beginning to pile up. From my kids in E3-C (one of the most generous classes when it comes to giving me food), I got enough chocolates to make me love the entire world! I was so delighted with all the chocolate that I happily announced, "No homework today!" to the delighted shouts of the entire class (for the record, I hadn't planned to give them homework in the first place).

Although I haven't been quite myself this week (I've been fighting off exhaustion and crankiness all week for some reason), it looks like the week is ending well. I have a replacement coming soon who sounds terrific (and, interestingly enough, is also a Michigander, which means she must be great!), I've got some fun things planned for a few of my classes tomorrow, and my middle school class has spent the entire week once again proving to me that they are five of the neatest kids around. I love having an advanced class that behaves well, always does their homework, and enjoys discussions.

A common problem here is that many girls over the age of about ten suddenly seem to lose their ability to speak, which makes them quite a challenge to teach in an English class. I have four of these silent students in another class, and they drive me nuts (I once threatened to check their pulses if they didn't start speaking)! Fortunately, this is not the case with my two middle school girls. Victoria and Rachel are sweet, fun, and interesting to talk to. Yesterday I had a really good discussion going in their class about the differences between American and Korean middle schools. I learned quite a bit from them. About a month or so ago, when we were studying an article about famous places in Asia, I discovered that each student in the class had been to one Asian country that the others had not visited (Chris had been to China, Luke had been to Japan, Rachel had been to Cambodia, Jacob had been to Thailand, and Victoria and I had both been to the Philippines). We had a fantastic round-table discussion in which each student had unique insights to offer - I think it was possibly my favorite class period of my entire year in Korea.

One of my other advanced classes was quite amusing today, albeit not intentionally so. I have been assigning them quite a bit of homework this week, since they are working on a more difficult unit (it's all about Canada, so at least it's interesting). Yesterday's fill-in-the-blank homework generated some very "creative" responses. Here are a few that made me chuckle:

"There was a lawyer of dust covering the table."

"India was once a prairie of England."

"India was once a community of England."

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Trying Not to Hold My Breath

On Friday, Cate informed me that she has found and hired a replacement. He already has all of his paperwork and is at present in Japan, so it looks like he should be able to be here pretty soon. I may still make it out on the 28th of this month if nothing further goes wrong. Now my biggest concern is whether or not Jasper will be able to accompany me. Since I will not know very far in advance when I am leaving, and on which flight, I don't know for certain if I'll be able to get Jasper on the flight.

If I do leave on the 28th, it means that I have only three weeks left in Korea. Considering how rapidly weeks go by, I am worried that I won't have sufficient time to say all my goodbyes. It's sad to think that next month I won't be able to meet with my cell group every Tuesday, hop a bus to Seoul or Busan, walk over to Lotte for persimmons and jajang myeon whenever the urge strikes, or be greeted in the street by friendly Buddhist monks. I also won't be able to see any of "my" kids anymore. Being kids, they'll probably forget me before too long, which is the way it should be. Children shouldn't cling too tightly to memories - they need to be out creating new ones. I, however, shall never forget them.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Once Again, Korea, I Stand Amazed

A few months ago, I somehow scratched the right lens on my rather expensive glasses. It was a large scratch, and became an annoyance whenever I wore my glasses instead of my contacts. I decided to have it fixed while in Korea, since anything medical-related is cheaper over here than in the USA. I asked Cate to write me a note explaining that I wanted my lens fixed, which I could then take with me to the eye place. Cate insisted on taking the glasses over for me, which was unbelievably sweet of her.

One day after the glasses were dropped off, they were ready to be picked up. In the USA, I have never had glasses fixed in under a week (usually it has taken about two weeks). The lens could not be repaired, so instead they replaced both lenses. I should stop to explain that I have such a strong prescription that even after paying extra for the thinner lenses, my lenses on my glasses were still quite thick. Apparently, here in Korea they have come up with an even thinner version than what is available in the US, so this is what they replaced my lenses with. So, I got both lenses replaced, with much better (and thinner) ones, and in only one day's time. The cost? The equivalent of $36 USD! They also threw in a very nice new case and cleaning cloth (those things get pricey) for free. Korea, I love you!

The search for a replacement for me is still ongoing. Cate has found a few possibilities, so with a lot of luck she may have someone by the first of March. It looks like I will almost definitely be here until March 8th. I was starting to really look forward to going home, but I am not terribly upset at the delay. It does give me a little longer in Korea, and I really do love Korea. I am still upset that poor Cate has to have so much extra stress thrown at her, but I am okay with having to stay here a little longer.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Replacement Woes

A few words for anyone considering teaching English in South Korea: Please do your future director a kindness and start getting your paperwork done the second you accept the position. Better yet, get started the minute you decide to pursue teaching in Korea. Also, please be considerate enough not to try to hide a criminal record. If you have ANYTHING, anything at all, on you record, then please be up front about it.

As you may have guessed, my former-replacement did not follow these "suggestions." No, she dallied around as long as possible, and then at the last minute (today) revealed that she has a criminal record and cannot get a visa. Now my poor director is beyond stressed, and I can do little to help. I have agreed to stay as late as March 8, since my visa allows me that long and no longer. I have also been frantically posting on Facebook about the available job, hoping that someone who either already has their paperwork or is already in Korea will be interested.

Let me repeat, if you want to go abroad, but have a criminal record, DO NOT HIDE IT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE!!! You help no one (including yourself), and you may screw over a really wonderful person (i.e. Cate) who doesn't deserve it.

The Recent Exploits of Sir Jasper the Strange

I'm not sure whether to classify my dog as "very creative" or "not very bright." All of my readers, of course, are familiar with his box fetish (or rather, box-on-head fetish). Lately, he has adopted a few other unusual habits:

For some reason, Jasper thinks that my bathroom is the most fascinating place in the world. Every time I want to take a shower, I have to chase him out! In the evenings, Jasper likes to nap in the shower area, or to stare at the toilet and whine mournfully (I'm not sure if he's sad because he's too short to drink from it, or if it somehow disturbs him). As soon as I let Jasper out when I get home in the evenings (I pen him up in my entryway when I'm gone), his first course of action after thoroughly welcoming me is to examine the bathroom inch by inch, apparently to make sure that nothing has changed since he last made rounds.

Jasper never begs for food (I'm sure this will be subject to change once he meets Mom and Dad's dogs), but I do occasionally give him small table scraps. The other night, I discovered that Jasper loves lettuce. I noticed him giving an usual amount of attention to the large leaves that I was wrapping my sam-gip-sal in, so I let him have one, curious to see what he would do with it. My little boy did not disappoint. After sniffing the leaf carefully and completely, he frolicked about the apartment with it, growling "ferociously" and shaking it assiduously (I suppose to make sure it was dead), before finally laying across my feet to consume his plunder.

Jasper currently has a new favorite toy that he plays with for hours each day, and occasionally sleeps with. Since this is Jasper we're talking about, this new toy obviously isn't anything usual like a teddy bear or a bone. No, my Jasper is currently crazy about a small pink (disposable) plastic spoon that I dropped the other night, and have not had the heart to take away. It may be accompanying him on the plane ride to the USA, if he doesn't break it before then. He was pretty cute last night, running about the apartment quite happily, with a spoon sticking out of his mouth. I'll try to get a picture later this week and post it.

I guess I just have a knack for picking unusual dogs!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Welcome Back, Voice!

My Monday is off to a very good start. When I awoke this morning, I discovered, to my delight, that most of my voice had returned to me. Huzzah! It's wonderful no longer sounding like a dying bullfrog that has somehow swallowed a freight train. My sinuses have cleared up quite a bit, too, so I no longer feel like my face is a burning explosives' storehouse. Relief be mine!

Since I am now minus my monster-child, my youngest kindergartners were once again absolute angels. Cali and Amy almost made me tear up today during class when they both informed me (almost simultaneously) "Teacher, very very big I love you!" I've decided to see if I can fit both little girls into my suitcase to take home with me...

I've discovered that word searches are a really big hit with Korean children. On Friday, owing to my loss of voice, I created word searches (using Excel) for each of my classes. Most of the kids had never seen a word search before, since Hangul (the Korean system of writing) doesn't really work for that sort of word puzzle. It was very easy to teach the children how to do word searches, and all the kids enjoyed them immensely. Today, I had similar success giving a word search to my older kindergartners after they had completed their lesson. I told them that whoever could find the most words in the time remaining would get one extra sticker, and the little smarties set to work! It was a close race, but Sam was the eventual winner, having managed to find 17 words in only eight minutes (keep in mind, he's only six, and this was the first word search he had ever seen).
"Passage—immediate passage! the blood burns in my veins! Away, O soul! hoist instantly the anchor!
Cut the hawsers—haul out—shake out every sail!
Have we not stood here like trees in the ground long enough?
Have we not grovell’d here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes?
Have we not darken’d and dazed ourselves with books long enough?

Sail forth! steer for the deep waters only!
Reckless, O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me;
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go, And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.

O my brave soul!
O farther, farther sail!
O daring joy, but safe! Are they not all the seas of God?
O farther, farther, farther sail!"

~Walt Whitman, "Passage to India"