Saturday, August 28, 2010

Moving into my Apartment

Friday was the day I was supposed to leave he Love Motel and move into my apartment. The night before I came over to see what the guy who lived here before me left for me. We had talked for months about me moving in(he is an SLP teacher who is leaving). I asked him for the size of his bed so I could bring nice sheets from America because they are hard to come by around here.

So when I showed up on Thursday night, he informed me that he "forgot" that he said another teacher from SLP could have his new bed, and I'd be stuck with a coffin sized SLP bed. Then he informed me that he used to have a really nice brand new SLP TV but since he never watched it he switched with a girl who works for another school. So I would be stuck with the ugly small TV with no remote and no plug for a DVD player. As you can imagine I was LESS than pleased with the apartment I'd be moving into. I was expecting a big nice double bed and a nice TV with a remote that I could plug my DVD player into, and that's not what I was getting. I went back to my Love Motel very dissapointed and sad.

So Friday morning before work I packed up all of my things, and left my suitecases in the room for someone to come get later in the day and move them into my new apartment.

Friday after work I was walking into the apartment building with my new neighbor, a teacher from SLP who I knew from before I left, and she asked if Danny(our boss) had fixed the toilet... I didn't know the toilet was broken, let alone if it had been fixed. So even more annoyed I go to put my new key into the door of my new apartment, and it wouldn't turn and was stuck in the door. I couldn't get into my new apartment, and now my keys were stuck in the door and I couldn't get them out.

I ran downstairs to get the maintance man who speaks a little bit of English, and he was able to get the keys out of the door, but still couldn't open the door. Luckily the door also has a code that you can enter to open the door, so I used that to get in. Sure enough, the toilet didn't flush. I later found out that the guy who lived here before me had had his dad come visit, and his dad flushed a cigar down the toilet and clogged it. That was three weeks ago and the guy who lived here didn't tell Danny until two days before I was supposed to move in.

So after finally getting in my new apartment, I called Danny right away about the lock and the toilet. He said the guy was coming the next morning to fix the toilet and the fan in the bathroom(which was also broken) and he would 'concern' about the lock later.

I had a few of my friends come over and started unpacking. I took a shower, and found out that the water in this apartment gets warm on the hottest setting. So I called Danny again, and he said the guy who was fixing my tiolet would fix the water too.

After a rough day of moving in, it was time to go out for Jamie's last night out in Korea. She was here for about 4 years with SLP, and a very good friend of mine. We went to Hongdae, the area of the city that I spent every weekend at for the fist year and a half I was here! We went to Ho Bar, the gang's favorite starting place, and a few other places. I saw Shala, my favorite street meet vender! He was so excited to see me(I guess he was asking about me while I was gone). He gave me a huge hug, and then made me the fattest, most delicious shwarma! I wasn't used to the Seoul hours, so around 3:30am, while the rest of the group moved to another bar, I headed home.

Saturday morning a man came to fix my toilet and the fan in my bathroom. While I was looking for beds on Craiglist I came across a cordless phone that works with Skype, so I went about an hour away on the subway to meet some man to buy it from him. When I got home I plugged it in and it works great. If you'd like to call me sometime on Skype go for it! Just look me up by my email address!

I went and ate dinner with many people from SLP and the other schools around me, and then I came home and stayed in for the night. It's a little soon to be going out hard two nights in a row! I will get back into the swing of things in no time, I know it!

This morning(Sunday) I was able to find someone who needed to get rid of his queen sized bed quickly, so I lucked out there. I now have a really nice big bed, and my sheets look great on it! Overall things in my apartment look great, and it is really coming together. It was a rough start, but now I'm starting to love it!

Tomorrow(Monday) will be my first day with my new students. I know some of them from the first time I taught here, and I think I have some good classes. The material and overall organization of the class is a bit different than what I taught last time I was here. There is a lot more freedom in what I teach, which may be a good or bad thing.

Besides getting my new bed, the other great thing that happend today was I officially am the owner of a scooter! I bought it from my friend Jamie who is leaving. It was raining today, so I didn't get to drive it today, but I hope tomorrow it won't be raining so I came take it to work! I will be sure to get some pictures of it soon! When I was in Thailand I bought the coolest helmet for it. I'm really excited about driving it.

So now I've been back in Korea for almost a week, and I will say that when I first got here I was having a tough time because I didn't want to leave Thailand, and then it seemed like anything that could have gone wrong, DID go wrong. But now things are starting to smooth out, and I think I will be happy here for another year. It's great to see my friends again, and there are lots of new people for me to get to know.

One cute thing that happend...... There is a convient store downstairs in my apartment building(like a 7/11) and since it opened I've been in there about 3 times a day buying various things. A man and woman run it, and one of them or both of them are there 24 hours a day. They have two kids who are also in the store often. The man speaks a bit of English but the woman doesn't really speak any English. They know my schedule, when I go to work and when I get out of work, they see my buy beer on Friday night, and then come in in my pajamas the next day at 1pm looking haggered and buying junk food, Coke, and water. They just see me so often, yet we never really talk because of the language barrier. But anyway, I know the woman especially loves me, and when I came back to the apartments the first day, I walked in and both the man and woman were there and they were SO excited to see me! They both kind of screamed and had huge smiles on their faces. It was really nice to see them again and be so welcomed back.
In a similar situation, when I got back to SLP I saw my old helper teacher for preschool(the woman who passes out snack and lunches to my preschool classes, and just takes care of them in general) and we realized she was going to be my helper teacher again(each teacher is assigned a helper teacher). She doesn't speak any English, but I think she understands a little, or at least pretends to, so when she saw me she got so excited and came over and grabbed my hands and just looked at me and smiled and said "ohhh!!! Ohhhh!!!" It was also really nice and sweet to see her be so excited to have me back.

I will try and take some pictures of my apartment and scooter tomorrow to post them!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Well here I am, back from a long break from blogging!

I decided to come back for another year to teach English in Korea. I have been talked into starting up my blog again, and sticking with it this time!

As a little catch up... I finished my contract last February and traveled around Southeast Asia for 6 weeks with two of my very close friends that I worked with here in Korea. We went to Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam and had a blast!!!
After I went back to the US I did a little substitute teaching, and a lot of hanging out and enjoying my break from work. I got to spend a lot of time with my family and got to see many of my friends from America. Overall my break from Korea was very relaxing and fun.

Before coming back to Korea this time I traveled back to Thailand, and had an amazing time! I was staying in Northern Thailand, but flew out of Bangkok(about 12 hours away) so I took an overnight bus on Monday night, and got to the Bangkok airport early Tuesday morning. I did a lot of waiting around at the airport, and finally boarded the plane to Korea in the afternoon.
I got into the Seoul airport around 9:45pm. Since I'm very familiar with Seoul by now, I thought I didn't need to be picked up by the service that picked me up from the airport the last time. But After getting to the airport with two suitcases and two backpacks, I found it hard to manage all of my stuff on my own on the subway. So at the last minute I decided to take a bus from the airport. It was a little stressful trying to contact my boss and get a meeting spot, but in the end it worked out and I got to my love motel around 11:45PM.

I am staying at the Love Motel because my apartment isn't ready yet. I have been here since Tuesday night and I will check out and move into my new apartment tomorrow night(Friday). A Love Motel is where lovers come to have some alone time, either because they live with their parents, or they are having an affair. I think mostly people don't spend the entire night here, just a few hours. Anyway, the motel is really nice! I have a huge bed with nice sheets and lots of nice pillows. I have a huge TV screen, and a computer, and Aircon and a bathroom with a huge bathtub with jets! It's so nice here, I love it!

When I got here on Tuesday night, it was my friend Alisha's birthday, so a few people were here already having a little celebration for her. The next morning I had to work at 11am. I did the typical meetings and stuff with the boss, watched a few classes, and then at 5 I got to leave with a few other teachers. I went back and saw my old apartment, it was strange to see someone else living in it! I went and ate Galbi, it was just as delish as I remember!!!

Today I did the same thing as yesterday at work, and tonight I will go and see the apartment I will be moving into, and I will decide what I want to take and what I don't want.
I will start teaching on my own on Friday.
I will post more after I move into my new apartment!!!

Saturday, June 27, 2009


Last night was my first real noribang experience. I have been in a noribang in the Irish bar we go to, but that is a big fancy room and isn't like a normal noribang.

We were in Shinchon last night, a city past Hongdae (our normal weekend hangout). It's another college town, and the streets are lined with restaurants and bars that are all lit up like Vegas. We went to one bar called Oregon Trail. It was designed after the old fashion computer game that most people played in 2nd grade at school. When you walk in you have to walk through a covered wagon. I'm not sure what kind of Korean person decided to design a bar around the game Oregon Trail....

Jenn in Shinchon at a dart game. I played and won a heart pillow that says LOVE. This was not from last night, but it is a picture of Shinchon anyway.

We went to another bar that had roof top seating, so we hung up on the roof for awhile. There were fire pits up on the roof, and I bet on chilly nights it's an awesome spot to drink. But it's been SO hot the last few days, and a fire is the last thing we wanted!

We decided to go to a noribang in honor of Michael Jackson dying. Noribangs are so easy to find, there is at least one on every street! The one we went into was in a basement, and we walked down and there was a woman at a desk, we paid her, and she led us down the hall into a private room about the size of a bathroom. There were benches around the outside, and a table with ashtrays and two microphones and some books of songs. We were the only people there I think, because all of the rooms looked empty. There was a window going to the hallway that was frosted, but you could still kind of see into other rooms. There were no windows to the outside and no lights in the room. There was a TV on one side of the wall that printed the words, and in the background they played these really strange video clips of animals and just random scenes, like a car driving by, and kids playing on a playground. It had nothing to do with the song that was playing.
We sang so many Michael Jackson songs, and some others of course. I'm not sure how long we were there, but when the timer ran out we bought another half hour. I don't know how much the first time was, but the half hour was 8,000WON, or about 8 dollars. We had no idea what time it was until we walked out of the basement noribang and saw that the sun was up and very bright. It was about 6am. It was a great night of drinking and singing in Shinchon!

I've been learning a few more Korean phrases and words from my Korean friend. He's been teaching me some words and useful phrases that I've written down and been memorizing. I can pretty much get around easily with my Korean. The biggest problem is my pronunciation. Many times Koreans have no idea what I'm saying in Korean and I have to say it over and over again. Also I know how to ask questions(How much? Where is...? Can I have....?) But I don't usually understand the answer very easily. I guess with more practice I'll get better.

On Friday we went on a field trip to an English Village in PaJu, another city in Korea. The village is supposed to be a replacement for parents who want to send their kids abroad to learn English. I thought it was lame, and not like America at all! It was set up kind of like Disney land, with small buildings on fake streets. No one was really around to talk to the kids, so it was pretty much just walking around the fake town. We watched some play in English, and then went home. The kids seemed to have fun, but I don't think there was anything really very Englishy about it.
Here are my kids listening to a speaker talk about English speaking countries.

My kids eating their lunches. Every kid had kimbop of course!!!

The gate into the English Village.

In customs the kids were asked questions, (What is your name? How old are you? What is your favorite color?) and then got their fake passports stamped.

Before we entered the village the kids ago to go through 'customs.' It looked like an airport.

PaJu, the city that the English Village is in, is very close to North Korea. The highway we took to get there runs along the Han River and leads to North Korea. On the way home I noticed that there was barbwire separating the River and the highway, and every few minutes there was a look out tower, and all along the fence were spot lights that would light up the edge of the river. I thought it was so strange that the river was so heavily guarded, so I asked my Korean teaching partner and she said they are looking for spies who come from North Korea on little boats and try to get to the highway. We even saw an army man in one of the look out towers holding a big gun. Pretty scary!!!

I got a new couch for my apartment last week! I ordered it from a Korean/English website called Gmarket. It's pretty awesome. It's light purple, and it folds down into a bed. Since my family is coming soon, I was going to buy an air mattress, but then I figured the couch is only a little bit more expensive, and is way more useful than an air mattress that I'd never use again. It cost 150,000 WON, including delivery. I will take updated pictures of my apartment soon and post them. I don't think I've put up pictures since I moved in!!!

Oh I went to another soccer game a few weeks ago. It was South Korea Vs. Iran. It was a tie game. Of course I was in the bathroom when the only South Korean goal was scored, but I was able to hear it! We didn't buy tickets ahead of time, so when we got there we had to wait on this HUGE line for tickets. We got the cheapest tickets, but since there were a lot of empty seats, we were able to move down to the more expensive area to watch the game.

Tae Han Min Gook! (Go South Korea!)

Dan and Adam, two of my coworkers, eating meat on a stick.

On the way home from the game, Liz was running to the subway, and she tripped on one of those reflection bumps in the road, and she fell on her hand and knees. I thought she was being a baby when she kept saying she was hurt, but I went with her to the doctor the next day, and she fractured two of her fingers, and the doctor said she would probably need surgery and pins to heal it properly. We had to go to the emergency room, but we had our boss Danny with us so he could translate for her. While we were there we saw a dead body wrapped in a blanket on a stretcher pushed through the waiting room. Liz got a cast, and she had to go back this past week to get it checked on again to see if it healed correctly or if she would need surgery, and luckily it looked OK so she has to wear the cast for a few more weeks. She is from Canada, so she was annoyed when she had to pay about $150 for the emergency room visit. That is cheap compared to America, but in Canada it's free so she was shocked.
Pictures of my apartment will be coming soon!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Deokjeok Do

This weekend I went to an island in Korea called Deok Jeok Do. It was Liz's birthday and she really wanted to go camping, but we couldn't find anywhere to rent tents, so our plan was to go and rent a minok, which is like a motel, but there are no beds.

We left at 7am on Saturday morning because had to go to Incheon to catch the ferry to the island. Incheon is another city in Korea that is about an hour and a half away on the subway. We had a few situations on the subway that made us late, but we finally got to the ferry terminal and we thought we would just make it onto the 9am ferry, but then we found out the ferries were all booked until 12:30 going to the island we were supposed to go to. After Liz's boyfriend talked to the person at the ticket counter, they were able to get us on the express ferry to Deokjeok Do at 9:50, so we took that. The ferry took only 1 hour. We didn't have a reservation for a minbok, so we were hoping there would be someone at the ferry dock that was trying to rent a room. On the ferry there was a part of the boat that said 'Priority Seating.' There were no seats, it was just an area with high walls and a wooden floor. It looked like a playpen, except that there were old men and women laying on the floor sprawled out. I wanted to take a picture of it but I thought it would be rude since they were old and disabled. When we got off the ferry there were tons of ajimas(old Korean women) who were cutting up and selling fish.

Here is the ferry we took. Just kidding, this was just a beached fishing boat we saw.
They were able to fit all 10 of us in the mini van on the way to the minbok.
This stage was on the ferry. With all of the lights we were expecting some kind of show. I was looking forward to a good magic show but we got nothing.....

We found an Ajishee (old Korean man) right away who took us to his minbok on the other side of the island in his van. We rented two rooms for $100 and there were 9 of us. The minbok was in a two story old Korean house and there was only one other family in the minbok with us.
Right out of our minbok window was a rice field. I think this is the kind of place my doctor at the travel clinic told me to avoid because malaria lives here........

This is our minbok. Very Simple. In the corner you can see our blankets/beds stacked up...

This is the road to our minbok.

After putting our stuff in our rooms, we went to find some lunch because we were starving. There were only two restaurants close to our minbok-one was playing music and the other wasn't. We went to the one playing music. The menu was stranger than the kind of Korean restaurants I've been to, but we ordered a few things and shared it all. One of the things was kimchi chigay which is a kimchi soup that I've never had before. It's a pretty popular Korean dish but I didn't like it. It was spicy and sour tasting. We also had this really good chicken stew with potatoes and onions in a spicy sauce. Lunch took over an hour to make, which we didn't expect, but finally we ate.
We ate at the hoppin restaurant.

After lunch we headed to the beach that was very close to our minbok. It was very empty, and I was expecting tons of people to be there because it was a beautiful day and it was also Memorial Day in Korea. We laid out on the beach for awhile, and then the boys went and got some fishing poles from the store. The fishing poles were just long, skinny bamboo sticks with a string and a hook on it. There was no reel. We sat on some stairs and fished for awhile. There was one tiny fish that one guy caught, and also a few people caught crabs that grabbed onto the worm and were pulled up.

The beach

Greg, Liz, and Dan fishing.

View from where we were fishing.

After fishing we headed back to the minbok. Each person was in charge of a meal, and Allen and Christie(Greg's friends) started cooking dinner. They made a really good Moroccan soup. While dinner was cooking we played some cards, and then went to collect fire wood. We asked the ajima where we could buy wood, and she said you had to just go find it in the woods, so went and collected a bunch of dead logs and small trees and brought them all back to the Minbok, but when we got back there were a bunch of ajishees standing outside telling us we couldn't have a fire. We didn't understand there reason for not allowing a fire, but we took the wood down to the beach anyway.
For the camping trip I tried my second attemp at a vodka(this time I used soju) watermelon. I tried once on Block Island and it didn't work, and the one I made for the camping trip with soju didn't really work either. The soju didn't get soaked into the whole watermelon, only the very ton. So one half of the watermelon was very soju-y and the other half was just regular watermelon. It was delicious anyway.

After dinner we went to the beach and found an open fire pit(we think the ajishees were saying we could only have a fire in the fire pit, not on the sand) and started a fire. We sat around it talking for awhile, and some other foreigners came over and joined us after awhile. Graham crackers do not exist in Korea, so one of the guys we went with made homemade Graham crackers that were sooo good! We had chocolate and marshmallows and made delicious smores.
Many people kept walking past us on their way to the ocean with buckets and flashlights, and we thought maybe they were clamming. But then some old ajimas came up to us and they were cold and wet and wanted to warm up by the fire. They had a bucket with them filled with these tiny crabs they found on the beach, and we were looking at them, and all of the sudden one of the ladies threw on the grate over the fire and threw about 5 crabs on the grate and walked away. We weren't sure how long to cook them for, and I'm pretty sure we cooked them too long. They were sooo small that there was almost no meat in them, so I think the women must have boiled them down to a crab soup or something. But we ate the ones she threw on the fire for us and they were pretty good.

On Sunday morning Jamie and I were in charge of breakfast, so we made some french toast. After breakfast we packed up and the man from the Minbok drove us back to the ferry and we left the island. It was a great trip and I'd like to go back and maybe try a different island!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Field Trip and Baseball Game

On Friday the preschoolers went on a field trip to a cucumber farm!!! It was outside Seoul, of course, and it took about 45 minutes to get there. Here are some of my kids on the bus.

This is Julie K.(The same girl I almost lost in the first few weeks of school. I found her in the bathroom.) In the background is Laura relaxing on the bus ride....

This is Han-Bi.

This is Allie, Albert, and Christina. All of the kids wear hats on field trip day.

We got a little lesson on how to pick cucumbers. You have to twist them ten times and never pull them! And we were only allowed to pick big cucumbers, although some of my kids didn't know what a big cucumber was so in our bucket we had many cucumbers that were more like pickle sized. The kids had to wear gardening gloves when they were picking the cucumbers. Another class had two kids bring in wool mittens instead of gardening gloves. I guess their parents didn't know what they were for when they sent them in with their children... They looked so funny picking cucumbers in winter mittens.

After we picked cucumbers for about 10-15 minutes in a boiling hot green house, the kids had to line up to get their pictures taken. The kids were all hot and whinny and the last thing they wanted to do was wait around to get their pictures taken. Another teacher had the idea to bring a spray bottle full of water, so while they were waiting for their pictures I was spraying the kids in the mouth with water from the bottle. They loved it and it kept them occupied for a long time!
These were the posed pictures that every class had to do. The kids really don't look happy but I promise they had a good time!!!

Amy, Allie, Coral, Julie, Julie K., Kayla, Justin, Alvin, Han-bi, Michael, Tony, and Cherry

These are the girls from my other preschool class:Christina, Alice, Sally, Laura, Lucy and Mi-Jin.

And the boys.... Albert, Daniel, Andrew, Alex, Jake, and Alexander.

We went on a tractor ride, ate lunch, and then went back to school. I love field trip days!!!

On Saturday Liz, Jamie and I went to this island in Seoul called Yeouido. It's only a few subway stops from us, and we were planning on renting bikes and then having a picnic, but when we got there were found this nice little floating convenient store with picnic tables, and we just hung out there and drank some beer and played cards for a really long time. Liz is babysitting a dog that belongs to one of the girls who worked at the school that was contaminated with Piggy Flu, so we took the dog with us to the park. (Liz just found out that the girl is getting fired because she left the country and now isn't allowed back in because she has to be in quarantine. So Liz might be babysitting the dog a bit longer because the airline said that it's too hot to ship the dog in the normal cargo area, and the owner isn't allowed in the country.)

The dog looks a lot like Riley, but is smaller and VERY well behaved out in public! She doesn't jump up on anyway or try to pull away. She lived in New York City before Seoul, so I guess she is used to being a city dog. Even on the subway with tons of strange people and new smells, she was just laying down relaxing. It was so cute, every time the train stopped or started she would slide on the floor and Liz would have to slide her back towards us.
Here is a picture of Liz and the dog on the subway.

On Sunday we went to a Baseball game. The stadium is so close to us, it only cost us 5,000WON($5) in a cab. We got there super early because we didn't know if the tickets would sell out and we wanted good seats and it was a beautiful day. The tickets were only 9,000WON($9) and they weren't assigned seats. I'm not sure how games in America are, but the field is divided in half, and one sides cheers for one team, and the other side cheers for the other team. Since we didn't know either team, we just found good seats, and then we figured out which team we were cheering for.
We were sitting right above the dugout on the side of the Heroes. At one point someone came around with a box full of those sticks you blow up, and bang together to make noise. They said the name of the team on them. The beer was very reasonably priced, it was 2,500WON for a car of mekjew(beer).

Baseball fans in Korea are CRAZY. Everyone was so into the game it was unbelievable. Every time the Heroes were up to bat, 4 cheerleaders and this man who called the Spirit Conductor, would come out and lead the fans in cheers. The Spirit Conductor wore a baseball uniform and white gloves(which reminded me of a crossing guard), and he had a whistle and he was so animated and would get so into the cheers. He had these whistle blows for each chant, and all the fans knew what to be cheering. Just like at the soccer game we couldn't understand what everyone was chanting, but we just made up our own words and banged our noise making sticks together. When the other team was up to bat they had their own cheer leaders and Spirit Conductor to lead their chants.

This is the Spirit Conductor....

During one of the breaks in the game, they had a pizza eating contest. There was even a foreigner in it, but we think he was European. He lost.....

At another time in the game this Hite truck just pulled out onto the field and was driving around for no reason. Hite is my favorite Korean beer so I was excited to see the truck!

We were eating popcorn at one point during the game, and Liz offered the some to the young Korean couple sitting next to us, and they were grateful, and then later in the game they handed us a shelled egg. Liz took it with some confusion, not really knowing what to do with the egg, and then guy laughed, and smashed the egg against his head to crack it. It looked like a hard boiled egg, except that it was a dark brown kind of transparent color, and then inside wasn't yellow, it was brown. Since the couple gave it to us we couldn't NOT eat it, so we all took a bite until it was gone. It was really really gross and tasted nothing like a hard boiled egg. Luckily we had beer and popcorn to wash down the gross egg taste. This morning I mentioned it at work, and someone said it is called a 1000 year old egg. It's basically a rotten egg soaked in some gross things and left for a long time. You can read about it:
That has by far been the strangest ball park food I've ever heard of!

The baseball game was SO much fun and we will be going back for sure every Sunday!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

I almost saw my first dead body last night

Last night I was supposed to go to this part of Seoul that has night shopping. There is this huge mall with many many floors, and it doesn't open until like 11pm and stays open all night. Malls in Korea are NOT like malls in America. There are no stores, there are just little booths with a bunch of clothes from a certain brand crammed in. You can't try anything on. It's a lot different from malls back in America. Anyway, this isn't really a mall like other malls, because the booths have clothes in bulk, and buyers from department stores and real malls come at night and buy clothes in bulk to sell in their stores. Well I haven't been there so this is all what I've heard. Since the clothes meant to be sold to stores, you can buy a single item for fairly cheap. But I heard that sometimes the people at the stores can be very rude because they are looking to sell in bulk, so when people like us come and are picky and want to look for just one size and buy only one thing, they aren't really happy. But people say you can haggle(My favorite thing to do!) and get some cheap things. We were planning on meeting at 10pm to go, but then when we all got together, we quickly decided not to go shopping and to go out to Hongdae instead.
We went to o Bar first, like always. Liz, Jamie and her boyfriend Colin, Anna, and Megan came out. We normally get all dressed up to go to Hongdae even though it's not necessary, but because we only decided to go out drinking at the last minute, we were all in our shopping clothes. A famous quote of the night was when I screamed over the loud music, "I'VE NEVER WORN PANTS TO HONGDAE BEFORE!!!!" We played some darts, drank a lot, and then decided to head over to a bar called Jane's Groove. I've been once before with Liz who loves the place, and when we got there we were the only people there, and she promised it was never like that and it is so much fun. So we gave it a shot again last night, and sure enough it was very busy. They play a lot of old fun dancing music. Oh on the walk to Jane's Groove we saw a HUGE pile of garbage on the sidewalk, so Liz ran up to it pretending to jump into it, and she slipped and actually fell into it. It was hilarious and disgusting.
There were mostly foreigners at Jane's Groove. It is a great place, everyone was dancing and having a good time, and then right behind us a fight broke out. It hardly ever happens, and when it does happen it's always foreigners, never Koreans. So these two big white boys where fighting, we didn't really pay much attention to it, and then Jamie said, "Oh shit, that guy just stomped on that other guys head!" And we looked over and one of the guys was just laying on the floor not moving. The other guy ran out of the bar. Everyone around him just kind of looked at the guy on the floor, and he was not moving at all. I thought for sure I was looking a dead body for the first time in my life. It was so scary. Then he started making these weird convulsions, so a few people turned him on his side, and Liz told the bar tender to call and ambulance. After a few minutes of him shacking on the floor, he opened his eyes a little but still didn't move. His friends, or maybe just some guys who were at the bar, picked him up and carried him outside. He wasn't dead because I saw his feet moving as they dragged him out. It was very very scary because we honestly thought he was dead right there on the bar floor.
Anyway, besides that fight the night was awesome. My oppa came with some of his Korean friends and it was just a great night. We ended up staying until about 5am. When we came out of the bar the sun was up and it was super bright out. We all at the same time said, "Wow, it's morning!"

I'd like to share that I have given up drinking soda!!! I was drinking about 3 cans of Coke per day between work and home, and I quit cold turkey about two weeks ago. Well I saw cold turkey, because I didn't try to cut back and drink less, I just stopped drinking it. I did slip up a few times. Once my oppa brought me a Dr. Pepper because he didn't know I gave it up, and I drank it anyway. Another time I ate at KFC and I had one soda with my sandwich(no refill though). And the other day at work we had pizza day and I had one half of a small bathroom cup of Coke. I'm pretty proud of myself for making it this long(Unlike the time I tried to give up drinking for two weeks and only made it 3 days!). At first I got sooo tired at work. I barely made it through my classes and by the end of the day I had to come home and nap! But I think my body has adjusted to the lack of caffeine I was ingesting throughout the day. I don't know if this is a long term split between Coke and me, but for now I think I'll keep my distance for as long as I can.

Some pictures from Jane's Groove will come soon!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!!!

Happy Mother's Day!!! Well I wouldn't be my mother's daughter if I didn't procrastinate! So there is no Mother's Day card in the mail to USA, but as a Mother's Day gift I'm updating my blog for my dear old mother. Happy Mother's Day mom!!!

This weekend was DJ Fest. People had been talking it up for months, and we even bought tickets in advance weeks ago. It was on the Han River in a park, and it was set up pretty well. We got there around 3:30 on Saturday afternoon, and there were lots of booths set up and things to do. We were drinking, of course, and so around 12pm, after drinking pretty heavily all day, I was ready to go home. It was a fun day. We did some body painting(Which after two showers still hasn't come off!), made a T-shirt, listened to some live music, and overall had a great day!

Amanda and I spent about 20 minutes picking out shirts that were written in Korean. We had to have the guys translate each shirt. The "man" to the left of me was dressed in drag. He gave us his business card in case we ever need to hire a cross dresser I guess.....
Somehow during the afternoon I picked up that construction hat. It's unclear how I ended up with it, but I woke up this morning and the hat is in my apartment so I guess I kept it on all day.

We made some silk screen T shirts. We were the first customers so we got a discount. Nice-uh!!! This is Janique making her shirt.

DJ Fest

Children didn't really seem to get many fun toys for Christmas, but I recently found out that many children get tons of toys on Children's Day. We even had the day off from school in honor of Children's Day! I was walking through Home Plus and I came across this toy. In America little girls get Easy Bake Ovens, but in Korea little girls get Kimbop makers!!!!

A few weeks ago we went on a field trip in Preschool to the Olympic Park. We had kind of a field day, and also each class went on an Easter Egg Hunt. It was a fun day, and I was able to see a different side to a lot of my students. One boy specifically shocked me. He is always a brat in class: he never sits in his chair, he annoys other kids, and he never listens. But on the field trip he didn't have to really follow rules and he was allowed to run around, and he was one of the most fun kids on the field trip. He is a sweet boy, and I guess he just doesn't like to sit and do work. I thought he was just a brat of a kid, but after spending time with him, I realized he isn't so bad when he isn't in class.

Both of the classes I teach were on the same bus with my Korean teaching partner, Julia Teacher. Here are some Pineapple and Apple students on the bus!

In April we went to the Cherry Blossom Festival. It was held on an island in Seoul. When we first got there we followed a group of people into a park, and after not seeing any cherry blossoms, we realized we weren't actually in the festival. We finished our walk through the park, and then found the festival.

There was a man selling some paintings at the festival, and I spotted this painting of Big Head. He is a Korean comedian who used to be a famous wrestler. He does commercials and advertising for Home Plus, and he has a few shows on TV. We see him fairly often at Fish and Grill, because it is right across from SBS, and him and his friends eat at F and G after they film the shows at SBS. He waved at our table one time.

There was a long sidewalk that has cherry blossoms covering it. It was so beautiful to walk under!!!

This was a huge statue in the park. It is of the guy who invented Hangul(the Korean alphabet).

One night in Hongdae we went to a Hookah Bar. It was awesome inside, it had this plaster all over the walls and floor that made it look like a cave. There were little nooks all over the place with pillows on the floor to sit on.

One Saturday we went on a walking tour of Seoul. Part of the tour was to stop by a former president's home. This is the bed that the Korean president and his wife slept in. I thought it was a little creepy that they turned the house into a museum and left everything how it was, but it was kind of neat to see.

A view from the park we hiked to.

This was our silly tour guide for the walking tour. He is talking about kimchi.

The tour guide took us to this home, but apparently there was a motion alarm around the house that he didn't know about, because as soon as we stepped up on the porch the alarm went off. He was not concerned at all about it, and no one came to see what we were doing there.

We went to a Korean soccer match one night after school. It was North Korea vs. South Korea. There were tons of people there and we had decent seats to watch the game from. In this picture you can see the tiny group of people wearing blue jackets. We think that was the only group of North Korean fans at the game.

There are some of my students that I started teaching in March. They are in first grade and come to SLP after they go to elementary school. I teach another set of twin girls. There names are Jan and Julia.

Our preschool birthday party. It's so set up, the kids get pushed into a room to take the picture, they blow out the candles, and the kids go back to class. We have a birthday party once per month with all the kids in the class with a birthday that month.

Some of my preschool kids eating lunch.

Happy Mother's Day to all of the mothers reading my blog!!!