Sunday, November 30, 2008


I missed everyone back home on Thanksgiving. I guess it was kind of good that I am 14 hours ahead because when I should have been eating Thanksgiving dinner it was still Wednesday morning in America, and America was eating Thanksgiving, it was already Friday morning for me. It would have been harder if I had to think about my family having fun without me while I should be eating Thanksgiving dinner. On Thursday after work, Amanda and I went to part of the city that is known for its cheap shopping. We got there around 6:30 because we had to work. As soon as we got out of the subway exit we could see tons of shopping. Most of the stores were just little tiny closets, and then had things displayed outside. One of the first stores we went into Amanda and I bought jackets. They are the same jacket just different colors. The strangest thing about Korea, is that all of the clothes are the same size. It's called a free size. It's amazing that Amanda and I can wear the same size coat. It fits a little differently, but it fits both of us. The other strange thing about shopping in Korea, is that you can't try anything on. Not only do the clothes have sizes, but you you can't even see if it fits before you buy it. This makes shopping extremely hard. I ended up buying two dresses, and hoped they would fit. One is very short, but if I wear dark tights under it it isn't so bad. The other dress fits perfectly and I'm so excited.
Me and Amanda in our matching coats!!!

On the way home Amanda spotted a Quiznos, so we thought it would be fitting to eat turkey on Thanksgiving the only way we can, in a sandwich. When we got back from shopping we met at Fish and Grill and had drinks with some of the girls from SLP.
Our $10 small Quiznos turkey sandwiches were delicious on Thanksgiving!!!

Friday after work I went and bought a Christmas tree. It was the same tree that two other girls from SLP have, but when I got it home and opened the box, it was a white tree!!!! Yuck. I refused to set it up, and I returned it for a green tree. It was surprisingly easy to return, they didn't even ask me any questions. I set up the tree and it looks MUCH better than the dollar store tree.

The weekend was spent doing the normal Hungdae, Ho bar tour. On Saturday afternoon I went to Korean class and was very very frustrated because I felt like everyone else "got it" and I didn't. I'm going to study this week and hopefully be better next class.

You can't really tell, but this was some rice drink we got at Korean class. It tasted bad and had rice floating in it!!!

My Korean teacher, SoHee. That also happens to be the name of one of the Wondergirls, a famous girl band in Korea!

On Sunday night Amanda, Lindsey, John, and I went bowling in Korea!!! It was wicked fun, and there are pictures on someone elses camera that I will try and get soon. Bowling is the same as back home, except that you kind of bowl with the people next to you. Meaning that they wait and watch you while you bowl, and then you have to wait and watch them bowl. The other bowlers next to us were cheering for us too. And John was bowing to them men next to us, and they were bowing to us after each throw, but I just kind of nodded my head like "Thanks for cheering for me guys" kind of thing. They also went and bought us these energy drinks in a can that tasted like watermelon juice. The other girls didn't like theirs but I thought it tasted pretty yummy! John gave me a 10 point handicap about a week ago, and we made a bet that whoever lost had to do an hour worth of correcting for the other person. I won even without the 100 point handicap!!! I only needed about 40 points to beat him!!! Sooooo now he has to do an hour worth of book reports for me!

After bowling we went to the pool hall on the next level. It was very smokey and bright, and was filled with Korean young men. Amanda, Lindsey and I were the only girls in the place. They brought over a tray of grape soda for us. Strangey...... Also, Koreans think that regular pool is for girls, and they play this other game that I can't think of the name for. It only has three balls and there are no holes. They use different tables than regular pool. There was only one regular pool table, and the rest were tables with no holes. John and this other boy played pool for awhile, and the Koreans were probably laughing at them for playing on the only "girly" table in the place!

Something VERY exciting happened today...... I walked into my building after being harassed outside(I'll get back to that) and I saw there was a note on my mailbox! That means I got a package!!!!! I ran into the office holding the note, and guess what was there......

MY FIRST PIECE OF AMERICAN MAIL!!!!!!!!!!!! My grandma mailed a package before Halloween, and I just got it today! There is a note on it that says "MISSENT TO TORTOLA, BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS." I don't know how that happened! Anyway, I am so excited to get a piece of home here in Korea. Inside is Halloween candy! Thanks Grandma!!!!!

When I was walking to my building after going to Yungsung with some girls from work, there was a man walking the other way, and he stopped me and said he was reading some script and listening to it on an MP3, and he wanted me to listen to it and tell him what it said. I was really confused, and a little nervous, but I said I'd help him, he looked harmless and there were tons of people around so he couldn't kidnap me or anything. I didn't want to put his dirty earphone in my ear, so I just held one up to my ear so I could hear. As I was listening I stood away from him incase he was trying to pickpocket me or something, and I had a magazine in my hand, and he went to touch my magazine and I pulled away from him and he bowed to me and kept apologizing over and over. I told him what the sentence was, and walked away quickly. Strangey..... The noise sounded like a movie or something, and it was an English man saying "Now they will have stories to tell for a long time" and he was saying it really fast.
I will try not to get so far behind on my blog postings. It's just so hard to keep up with all the exciting things going on!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!!! I went to McDonalds today in honor of you and I took some more pictures.

Here is the menu. Cheese burger, Bulgolgi burger, Chicken sandwich, Shrimp burger, Big mac, Big bulgolgi burger, Bacon tomato burger, another chicken sandwich, and spicy chicken strips.

This is what the uniforms look like.

Amanda and I toasting to McDonalds for bringing my mom and dad together, and creating the greatest girl in the world.... ME!!!!!!

I had my camera with me at school today, and when I was on the bus, stopped at a red light, I saw this truck also stopped at a red light. There is a bunch of fish on it, and I'm guessing he is going to park somewhere and sell the fish. None of it is covered or wrapped up. Yummy!!! Tying the fish together with that yellow rope is very common, they even sell whole dead fish like that in the food store!

I ate dinner at our normal Kimbop place, but I got Beepinbop. It looks pretty when they bring it over to the table, its rice with different color vegetables on top, and a fired egg in the middle with spicy red sauce. I take out some of the red sauce because otherwise it is too spicy. Tonight, while we were eating, the Kimbop man came over and was telling me to mix it all together, and I guess I wasn't doing a good job, because it got a spoon and mixed it all up for me. I must say it did taste better all mixed together. Usually I eat all the vegetables separate and then a little of the rice. I guess he knows what he is doing! This is the Beepinbop mixed together.
We had some interesting sides today that I have never seen since I've been here. This was some kind of dish with octopus legs. I thought it was my normal vegetable side dish that I usually like, until I ate it and noticed it was way different, and then I took a closer look and saw the little suction cups on the legs from when it was alive. It was not very delicious at all.
We also got these little fishies that were kind of half dried. They are like a snack in Korea, people snack on them on the subways and stuff. (That reminds me that this weekend, I was talking to some Korean boys at one of the bars on Saturday night, and they were snacking on strips of dried seaweed. The smell was awful!) Back to the fish, Susie loves these little guys, and I tried one and did not like it. The Kimbop man saw me try it and laughed at me and said something to me in Korean that I obviously did not understand. They are full fish, head, tail, eyeballs......
I don't think I have posted a picture of what the inside of the kimbop looks like, so here it is.
My kids took their end of the month test today. Sometimes I am impressed at what they know, but times like today I am just so disappointed in them. They did way worse than I thought they would do! In my last class of the day, I almost killed two students. It was a listening test, so I would read a paragraph, and then questions, and they had multiple choice answers on a sheet of paper and they had to circle the correct answer. They did not have the questions written so they had to listen for me to ask the question. This one pain in the ass kid kept answering the question out loud after I'd read it, even after I explained the whole class that this was a test, and there was to be no talking at all. I threatened them in the beginning of the class that if I saw anyone cheating or talking I would take their paper and they would get a zero and have to go to the desk teacher. I thought that would scare them enough to not cheat or talk, but after giving this one kid so many warnings I had no choice but to send him to the desk teacher. I'm not sure if I am even allowed to give him a zero on the test, or if I even would. I think sending him to the desk teacher was bad enough. The other kid who pissed me off just stared at me the entire test like I had 5 heads. I kept asking him if he understood what he was supposed to be doing, and he said yes, but I have a feeling he was lost. He got a 9/20.
So that was my day today. It's 12:15 and I am just waiting for my laundry to be finished so I can hang it to dry before I go to bed.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Vegas Style

Last week was fairly uneventful... The weekend, however was very eventful and I should be able to fill up a whole blog on just the weekend.

Thursday night was Susie's going away gathering, so we all met at Fish 'N Grill for drinks to say goodbye to Susie, although we will see her when she comes back from her trip to Japan next week. It was her last night in her apartment, so it was a good night to all get together as a group one last time! On Thursday we got talking about a place called a Booking Club, or what a Korean calls a Night Club. It's a place that men go to to pick up women.(You may be thinking, what bar isn't like this? but this kind of bar is a bit special.) So men buy tables and when they see a girl they are interested in, they call over their waiter, and he goes and gets the girl and brings her to the man's table. He buys her drinks and chats her up, and if they get along they exchange numbers. The girls are not allowed to go up to anyone's table, they have to be invited by the waiter. We were going to go, but decided against it. I do want to go sometime though, just to see what it's like. Some of the girls have been before, and they have always been booked.

On Friday night, after work, I went to meet people from work at Pizza Maru, for our ritual of pizza after work. I wasn't planning on getting a pizza because I don't like the leftovers sitting in my fridge all weekend, and Friday nights I get so tempted to come home and eat the whole thing when I come home from the bar. I changed my mind when I got there, and got a pizza, but I am proud to say that the leftovers are still in the fridge and I will be throwing them out tonight!!!

So Friday night everyone was being pretty lame, because all of the preschool teachers had to go into work on Saturday morning and do something with preschool. So Jenn met Jon(From SLP) and me in Hungdea, and we went to a bar, drank and played Tiger(the Korean version of Jenga) and then met up with Adam(from SLP). It turned into a pretty rowdy night that ended with Jon, Adam and myself in a crazy cab ride home.

This was the end of the crazy cab ride home, while wasted Jon was trying to count money, and wasted Adam thought it would be a good time to jump in the front seat with Jon. The cab driver hated all three of us that night....

Jenn had to rock the cash box before we went out, so what a better time to buy a can of beer than when we are in Family Mart waiting to use the ATM???

At the bar the beer comes this this little napkin folded into a hat. I'm not sure why they do it, but I like it. Cafri is the beer that is like Corona.

Saturday morning I did my normal hung over Saturday morning thing, which includes wishing I had someone to whine to and tell how I feel crappy. I went to Korean class and learned more of the alphabet. Janique and Tara have joined the group in going to class. It's fun to have so many friends in the class. After Korean class I went to use the bathroom and saw it had a squatter toilet, and I am happy to say that I used it successfully!!! when looking at it, it looks like it would be easy to pee on yourself, and I thought I'd have to take off one leg of my pants, but if you squat low enough it is fine.

This is the squatter that I actually used, but the picture was not taken as I was using it, obviously. Check out my new Korean sneakers. Again, they are something I would never wear at home, but when in Korea.........

On the way home from Korean class I decided to suggest that we all wear dresses and go Vegas style (Thanks Patrick for giving a name to the act of everyone wearing fancy outfits out!) and everyone agreed. Amanda and Laura came up to my apartment to shop through my dresses and found some they liked. In Korea everyone wears tights, something I would never ever do back home, but when in Korea! So we went to Homever and I bought some crazy black and purple tights.... Totally not my style, but I fit right in in Korea! We went to Alisha's apartment and met everyone from SLP and a few people from other schools, to pregame. We all got into a bunch of cabs and went to Hungdea, and after meeting in one bar, we kind of split up, because there was about 20 people in the group by the time we got to Hungdea and we could not agree on one place. I went with Tara, Janique, Hojin, and Jess to a bar called Tinpan that I have been to a million times. On the walk there Jess tripped and busted her face up on the sidewalk. I actually saw her fall in slow motion and I had flashbacks of a similar fall, and I was shocked she had all of her teeth in her mouth when she stood up. I saw her on Sunday and her face is all bruised and cut. She was shitfaced and ready to go home anyway, and then she busted her face so Janique and Jess went home very shortly after getting to Tinpan. The bar was crazy packed, apparently there are no fire codes in Korea because literally you could not move. Tara and I were loving it but it really was way too packed. We got home around 5:30 and it was overall a great night. Sunday was another hungover morning. Jenn stopped over and we filled each other in on what we missed from the other bar, and then met up with Alisha, her boyfriend Jimno, and Jess and ate shamu shamu, which translates into swish swish. It consists of a pot of soup that you put meat and vegetables into and let cook. It was pretty tasty. Jenn and I went back to my house to watch a movie, but I fell asleep about 2 minutes into the movie. We were supposed to meet the boys to go bowling, which is why Jenn hung out around here all day, but when we woke up it was the time we were supposed to go bowling, and I was sooo tired that we canceled. Hopefully we will be able to go next week. The weekend was very fun, although by Sunday night I was sooo tired.

Tomorrow is the anniversary of when my mom and dad started dating. They met at McDonalds when they were in high school, so my mom thought I should write about McDonalds in Korea this week. So mom and dad, here's to you!

There is a McDonalds across the street from where I work, but I have only been there twice since I've been in Korea because honestly I like Kimbop better than McDonalds. The menu is different than America. They do have a cheese burger and big mac and chicken nuggets. But they also have a shrimp burger, a spicy burger, and a burger called bulgolgi burger, which is delicious. It is a hamburger patty that has been soaked in a kind of soy sauce, and it is sweet. I like my meat sweet, but not off the street.KKKKK (That is Korean laughing.) They do have french fries. They also have corn salad which is mayo, corn, and I think crab meat. It is not very good. When you order you have to ask for a set, otherwise you only get the sandwich. Also, at lunch time there are a few sets that are really cheap, but if you order them for dinner they are more expensive. The bulgolgiburger is $3 at lunch I think for the set. That is cheaper than at home.

On Sunday Jenn and I knocked on my next door neighbor's door because I know that it is a kid that doesn't work at SLP, but he is an American from another school. I have never seen him in the elevator or outside or anything, but I see him out at the bar a lot. Anyway, we knocked on his door and went in, and he had a couch-chair in his doorway that as we were leaving he mentioned he needed to get rid of. I asked if I could have it and he said yes! So now I have two couch-chairs in my room. My apartment gets homier and homier every day! It is bright orange, but its ok... It is in good shape so I like it.

This is Bocumbop, or Korea's version of fried rice. It is not fried and has no soy sauce. It is very good. They put ketchup on it, which is actually very good.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Club Volume

I didn't blog last weekend, but I will make up for it with one huge blog! (I actually started writing this on Saturday, and I've been adding to it since then, but I didn't have the pictures in it so I didn't post it...)
Jenn in front of Club Volume

On Friday night we went to Club Volume, which is in Itawon, about a 30 minute cab ride away. We went because one of the Koreans at our school, the guy who works under Danny and fixes the copy machine, and does a bunch of other things around the office and with the kids, is a DJ at the club. He is a pretty big deal, because Club Volume is supposed to be the hottest club in Korea. I think they call it the hottest because it is the most expensive to get into! The cover was $30 before 11pm, and after 11 it went up to $40!!! I never would have paid that much to get in, but since we work with DJ Swan, he put us on the guest list and we got in for free. It was pretty fancy inside, but the drinks were also expensive. It wasn't my style of music, but I still had a fun time. After Club Volume, Jenn and I went to Hungdae and met up with some other people from work. It was a good Friday night, but Saturday morning I wasn't feeling so hot.....

Tara, Susie, me, and Janique at Club Volume.

DJ Swan doing his thing. His Korean name is Suin, and it sounds like Swan.

Jenn, Janique, me, DJ Swan, Tara, and Susie.

The drinks were mad expensive at the bar, and this was "happy hour" which was at 11:20. They passed out these drinks for free. There were no drink specials.

I don't think I've mentioned this guy before, so here it is....
In the alley behind my apartment building(when I say alley it's not what you are probably thinking, it's more of a dead end road with restaurants, a hospital, a church, and some other things on it.) there is this old man who stands outside one of the restaurants handing out fliers. I always shake my head no, and he makes this huge grunting noise and gets mad. He does it every single time anyone refuses his fliers.

On Saturday I was feeling pretty hungover, and Amanda and Susie came by on their way to get coffee. I don't drink coffee, and I was too hungover to get out of bed, so I declined the invitation. Susie is leaving next week because her contract is up. She is trying to get another visa so she can come back in February to go to college here. Her mom is Korean, so she can get a visa that would make her like a Korean citizen, but her mom is missing one document that is important, so her other option would be to work at SLP part time, and still go to school. Since she is going home, and not positive she will be able to come back, she has to get her Korean Won back to the US. Right now the exchange is AWFUL going from Won to US dollars, and if she transferred money now she would get only $6700 for 8,000,000 won. When she first got here it was almost an even exchange and it is killing her to loose so much money. I hope by the time I got home in 11 months the exchange will be much better!

I met Amanda for lunch before Korean class. I still wasn't feeling so hot, but I did want to go to class because it was starting over today. Alisha has joined the class too, so we were too many people for a cab, so we took the subway. It was kind of a pain, and we had to transfer a bunch of times, and it took forever and we had to stand the whole time. We were a little late to class, but we learned the alphabet! There are a few letters I haven't memorized, but I did pretty well. After class Amanda and I went to Yongsung, the electronic market where I bought my cell phone. We bought speakers for our computers, and I also bought a humidifier because it is very dry and I wake up every morning with chapped lips and a sore throat. The speakers are really nice, they were originally $31, but Amanda and I were both buying some, so I tried to give him $50 for two. He said no, so I said ok, $55 and he said no again, but I just kept telling him we were going to give him $55 for two, and he boss came over and finally said OK. So we got them for $27.50 each. My humidifier was supposed to be $25, but I knew there was one at Homever for $20, and I said $15 and he said OK. So we got a lot of good deals! We also ate at a fried rice restaurant that was really good. We had this salad that was shredded cabbage with strawberry yogurt on it, and surprisingly it was really really good!

In all the subway stops they have bootlegged movies for sale that are 2 for $5. They are new movies, usually still movies out in theater, so it's a good deal. They have Korean subtitles, but that doesn't even really bother me anymore! The one we were at on Saturday had Max Payne, which I wanted to see, but they were sold out of the other two movies I would have chosen as my second choice. If you only buy one movie it's usually $3, but since they were out of the only other two movies I liked, I told him I'd give him $2 for Max Payne. At first he said no, but then I just kept pointing to the one they were out of, and then I gave him $2 and he gave me Max Payne. I was in a real bargaining mood and I wasn't going to pay more for one movie just because they were sold out of the other two movies! I was getting so good at bargaining on Saturday that when Amanda and I bought mittens at a legit store, I was thinking about haggling with the clerk to see if I could get a discount!!!

After shopping, we went to see Eagle Eye in the movie theater in the mall we were in. It was really good. I'm shocked at how many Koreans who can't understand English go and pay to see a movie they know is going to be in English. I would be so pissed if I had to go to a movie in my own country and read subtitles. It must be so annoying, but the movie theater was packed! During the movie my throat started hurting a lot and I thought I was getting sick again, but the next morning it felt fine again.

It's very interesting spending so much time with Amanda, who doesn't drink. We have been doing other things besides going out to bars. She does go out to the bars with the group, which is nice, so it's not like I have to choose to hang out with Amanda or drink, because I can do both. But sometimes it's nice to just hang out and do sober things. (I know, most of you are probably shocked at this statement!!!) Apparently I made a comment one time that has been quoted... and it was "Amanda, if you drank, you would have no problem peeing there!" as we were walking miles to find sober Amanda a bathroom after a night of drinking. Janique said that is when she fell in love with me. haha You would think that not drinking would save me money, but really it doesn't. Because instead of drinking cheap beer while getting ready and then going out for cheap drinks at the bars, we tend to go out shopping and I spend way more money than if went to a bar!

Amanda and I went into a food store we went into while we were waiting for the movie to start. They had samples galore! It was so fun walking around trying all the weird things they were cooking up! I did skip the Spam and dried squid sample tables though... There were about 5 beer samples set up. It was amazing, I've never seen so many samples in one food store!

On Sunday we went to Costco. I'm not really a big fan of Costco, because I am only one person, and how much food can one person who eats out every meal really eat? But they do have American things there, like oatmeal and cereal, and stuff that you normally can't find in Korean food stores. I got a huge box of oatmeal for $27. It killed me to spend $27 on a box of oatmeal, but there are 55 packets, so that's about 50 cents per breakfast, and that I can be happy about. I know everything is in bulk, but there are just some things that I can't see spending so much money on at once. I did find sheets for $22. The coolest thing, is that I have Pajamas that match the new sheets!

Where does my arm end and my sheets start???

I also bought laundry detergent. Liquid, good smelling, bubbly laundry detergent! The stuff I had been using was powder, and when I took the clothes out they had the powder still stuck to them, and I watched an entire cycle one time and it didn't get bubbly at all! I feel like good detergent was a good investment.

On Monday after work I went to the dollar store, and found a Christmas tree for $2. It's about two feet tall, and I really wanted a tree, so I bought it, but when I got it home I realized I made a mistake. I need a bigger tree..... It's a start, but I need to be patient and wait until I see a nice tree and buy it. I do have a start on some decorations though.

There is a new girl who came named Laura. She is staying in a hotel until Susie moves out of her apartment.. tomorrow. I'm sad to see Susie leave, because I liked her, but she will be back in February. Laura is from Canada and seems very nice so far. Last night Susie let us walk through her apartment and take things she wasn't keeping. I got a mirror, a cute chair, a pair of green sneakers, some beautiful Korean cereal bowls that are actually meant for beepinbop, and the curtains that Susie had hanging, but it may be awhile until I can figure out how to get them up in my apartment.

Something really cute happened today... I'm teaching one of my classes about prepositions (under the desk, in the desk, on the desk, behind the desk, in front of the desk, etc.) and for homework they had to draw pictures of sentences. One of the sentences was "The mouse is in the kitchen" and when I was checking their homework, I looked at one boy's paper and he had drawn a circle with what looked like drum sticks coming off the sides with a mouse in the circle, and at first I was confused, but then I realized he thought it said "The mouse is in the chicken." I tried not to crack up laughing when I saw it. I understand how he confused the words kitchen and chicken, because they have similar sounds, but I wonder if he thought it was strange that I wanted him to draw a mouse in a chicken.....

This is the famous Suin du boo! The big bowl of soup is on the left, and I spoon the tofu and soup over the rice. Most of those sides I do not eat, but the side that looks like noodles is actually some kind of vegetable that I do like, but it is a little spicy. I put a fried egg in the soup too, but that's not in the picture. You can see the tiny tin cup in the picture too. I get all of this for $4. It's very delicious!!

I finally found a famous squatter! I never need to use a bathroom in public, so I have never seen one, but when we were in the subway I wanted to take a picture of one so I went to the bathroom. I'm still not sure how to use it without taking your pants all the way off, or peeing on your pants... When I need to use one I will let you know how it goes....

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Korean Traditional Porridge Restaurant

Amanda and went to a restaurant in front of our apartment building, and it only serves porridge. It was so much nicer than any other restaurant I have been to in Korea! It was actually clean, and didn't look like every other restaurant. I guess porridge is Well-Being Slow Food, because, well that is what the sign said...

It isn't breakfast porridge that we have at home. I got porridge with broccoli and tofu, and Amanda got hers with tuna and vegetables. It was both delicious and fancy!!! After the meal they even brought over plum juice, just like when I ate with Danny! It was a little more expensive than a normal Korean meal, it was 6,000 won, but it was huge and Amanda and I probably could have shared one.
The restaurant was so clean!!!
Before: Porridge, kimchi, some kind of weird meat that tasted like cat food, and some hot spicy paste that I obviously did NOT use!!! Also is came with this soup that was cold and thick. I didn't like the soup.
Mmmmmm yummy porridge! Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in a bowl nine days old!
This was carved into the table.
I don't think I've mentioned this yet, but in Korean restaurants, they do not offer drinks. Some have suju or beer, but the kimbop places that we eat lunch in don't sell anything to drink. They all have water coolers, and these tiny metal cups that you drink from. The cups make the water taste like metal, so I usually don't drink anything. At this restaurant the water cups were ceramic, like a mug, so I drank the water. Normally you get up and get the water yourself too. They keep the cups in these disinfecting boxes that look like big toaster ovens. I don't think they are actually turned on, but they are supposed to disinfect the cups.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

11/11 in Korea

I had been feeling really sick allll weekend, so I decided to go to the doctor today. Jane, my boss, called and made an appointment for me. A girl from work walked me there this morning. When I walked in I was surprised, because it was much dirtier than I think a doctor's office should be. But hey, when in Korea... right?? There were two woman sitting at the desk with these metal rods, and they were twisting cotton around the ends, making metal Q-tips! (Of course they were not wearing gloves.) I gave them my insurance card, and they sent me straight back to the doctor, who was sitting in a huge room. He had a desk on one side of the room, and what looked to be a torture chair in the middle. I sat down, and of course the first thing he did was stick one of those unsanitary metal Q-tips down my throat! He looked around a little, swabbed a Q-tip in something, and stuck it to the back of my throat. It tasted awful in my mouth and hurt. He wrestled my throat a little, and then sprayed some crap in my mouth that tasted even worse! He got up and told me I had tonsillitis! He then instructed me into this tiny closet with a bed, and a nurse (one of the girls from the front desk) told me to lay face down on this little bed with my pants down a little. I thought about pulling a "Jim Campbell" at the doctor's office, but I really just didn't want to embarrass myself! (Sorry dad!) So she slapped my butt a few times, and then stuck me with a needle, and then rubbed the spot where she stuck me for a few minutes. It actually hurt like hell!!! Then I had to go to the weird pharmacy, where they gave me three little pouches with 4 pills in each packet. I had to take one packet (4 pills) three times a day. The pills were not in bottles, or separated by what they were. They were 4 loose pills in a little wax paper pouch. They also came with vitamin C tablets that look like condoms. I took a picture of how they came, and I will post them in a future blog. The doctors visit was $3.90, and the pills were $1.60. I have to continue this shot in the butt, tons of pills routine for 5 days!!!

Today was Pepero Day in Korea!!!! On 11/11, kids bring in Peperos for their teachers, and they exchange them between friends. Peperos are a cookie type stick. They are long and thin, and come in three varieties. There is the green box, which is the cookie stick with almonds and chocolate on it, the red box is just the cookie stick covered in chocolate, and the tan box, my personal favorite, is a cookie stick with chocolate inside. It tasted VERY much like a chocolate covered pretzel! MMMMMmmmm delish! It is definitely a holiday created by a company, since Peperos are a name brand, and it is celebrated on 11/11 because all of the 1s and the / looks like Peperos. Many of you may be getting Peperos for Christmas this year!!!

The reason I decided to write a blog this late, was because I was inspired by a dear aunt of mine! I have been trying to hang up the calendar that Katie made for me before I left alllll month, but it will stay up for a few days, and then fall. I decided I should just crazy glue the hook to the wall so it can't fall, because even three hooks are too weak to hold it up! I bought this weird crazy glue tube, but I couldn't get it open, so I went to use my mouth, and thought, oh wait, this is NOT a good idea. Then I thought back to the days when I was a small child, and the thought of crazy glue in someones mouth made me laugh. So aunt, you will go unnamed, but you know who you are!!! I will never forget the days of crazy glue! By the way, I still can't open the crazy glue, and I know there are directions on the package, so I will bring it to work tomorrow and have someone translate for me!

Amanda and I ate at a very special restaurant for dinner tonight, and I'm excited to tell you about it, but at the moment I am way too tired, and I have some good pictures, so I will perhaps devote an entire blog to it!

I almost forgot to tell you about the highlight of my day(Besides getting a shot in the butt)!!!
After the doctor I was able to talk to my mom on the phone for the first time in a month!!! She later compared it to getting a call from heaven, which was lovely! I talked to her before the doctors appointment on the computer, and after the appointment I had some time before work started, and was at work so I was near a pay phone, and I called her with my phone card! She didn't answer the first time, but I know how easily the phone gets lost in the Campbell house, and I know that my mom and dad usually waste 2 rings on deciding who the call is for(meaning who should get up to answer it), so I tried back right away and sure enough she couldn't find the phone the first time. I was glad I called back a second time because I was able to talk to her for quite awhile. This is something I have forgotten to mention, and my mom got to witness on the phone today. In Korea, they love to use loud speakers and megaphones. They announce sales with them, tell people where to park with them, and all kinds of other weird things. Even when you walk into Homever, there is a girl standing with a microphone and she says something(Probably welcome to Homever, enjoy your shopping) and then does this magical jazz fingers thing with her hands, and bows, all while on a mini loudspeaker. She does this for everyone who walks in the store......... When I hear a megaphone, I always think of movies about the Holocaust, when the Nazi soldiers would drive around and order all the Jews out of their houses and onto trucks. Sometimes trucks drive by with a man talking on the megaphone, and I wonder if he is demanding that all American English teachers get on his truck...... But anyway, the phone booth was near a "big" sale, so sure enough there was someone standing outside with a megaphone yelling, and my mom could hear it. Oddly enough, she said the same thing about the Holocaust thing, so I guess we are cut from the same cloth!!! Talking to my mom on the phone was very very nice.

So I had a pretty exciting day, between talking to my mom, Pepero Day, my first Korea doctor, and the super dinner I had(that I will talk about later). I am exhausted and ready for bed! Goodnight, and Happy Pepero Day!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

First Month in Seoul

Well I have almost survived my first month in Korea!!! Saturday will be my one month anniversary. I also survived two weeks of preschoolers!!! They are adorable, and I liked teaching them most of the time, but they were soooo draining!!! It was especially bad because I would teach an entire morning of preschool, and then have to start teaching afternoon classes. I normally just afternoon classes, so this week after I felt like I had worked a whole day, my day really hadn’t even started yet! I have been very tired, and am looking forward to Monday morning when I don’t have to be at work until 12:10!
One really exciting thing that happened this week, was that I bought a fish!!! It is a Japanese fighting fish, and his name is Mool Kawgee, but is pronounced Mool Golgi. The name means fish in Korea, but is literally translated to “water meat.” The picture I have of Mool Golgi aren't great, so this week I'll take some more.
Later in the week I also bought a little table to put my computer on next to my bed. I had been using my computer at the table in my room, but then I started using it in my bed, and when I wasn’t using it I was keeping it on the chair from my room. The table is much nicer!

Wednesday was Guy Fawkes day, and I’m still not sure who he is or what he did, but I believe he was from England and did something for Canada, because the kids from Canada were all about celebrating it! We went up to the roof top and set off fireworks. The fireworks ended up only being streamers/confetti, but it was still a lot of fun! Before we went to the roof, some of the girls went to a restaurant called Fish and Grill for some drinks. They brought over chips, salsa, peanuts, pickles, full cloves of garlic, and some kind of wilted green leaves. It was great. The beer there is only $2 each, and they are big mugs of beer.
These were all the snacks that the waiter brought over to us!

After the roof party we went back to Fish an Grill, but everyone from the roof party was there, so we took up almost all of the restaurant. We played cards until late. One of the girls I work with brought her Korean friend, who’s name is Hojin. It’s funny that his name is Hojin, because in our Reach Out books that we use with our older kids, one of the characters in the book (It’s a work book, but there are characters that are in different lessons..) is named Hojin, and he is in a lot of the activities that we do. So I soon as I was introduced I was thinking about all the stuff I have been teaching my kids, and when I was alone with the girl I work with, I said It’s Hojin, like from our books! And she said that was exactly what she told him when they first met! I know all about Hojin’s hobbies and about his family tree! So anyway, Hojin was making these shots, where he put a shot glass in a beer cup, filled it half way with Pepsi, then put another shot glass stacked on that one and filled it with Soju, which is the Korean version of vodka, and then he filled the rest of the cup with beer. I didn’t do one, because of my inability to take shots, but it looked like a lot of fun!!!
Tara taking the soju, pepsi, and beer shot!

Jenn, Amanda, Lindsey, and Janique on the roof for Guy Fawkes Day.

Tara, Amanda, Janique, and me on the roof on Guy Fawkes Day.

I also would like to mention that they don’t sell cases of beer, or even 12 packs or 6 packs. They only sell single cans, 20 oz. and 40 oz. bottles. I have gotten very used to it, but at first I thought it was strange walking around with a big huge bottle of beer. There are no liquor stores, and you can buy booze 24 hours a day at any Family Mart on any corner.
This week in preschool I had to teach my kids about the continents. In there book was a picture of the world, but it was missing Antarctica! Unless I missed something, Antarctica is definitely a continent! When I was in 3rd grade I had a great teacher, Mr. Parker, who taught me the continents by having us point to them on the huge pull down map in the class room, and say them in order until we memorized them. He also taught us to say Antarctica in a low, deep voice and hold our hands like we were holding up Antarctica. I don’t know why he did that, but it worked because to this day I have the continents memorized and I always say Antarctica in a booming voice and move my hands in the order that they are. So all this week, I have been drilling it into my kids. I have them all stand up at the board and play teacher one at a time, and say the names of the continents and have the class repeat after them. They loved going to the board and playing teacher, and I could tell who knew them and who needed practice. It’s hard to tell when one person is saying something wrong or not saying it at all when you have 9 other kids screaming. One little boy was saying “It is Arctica” instead of Antarctica. Another cute thing about the preschool kids is that they LOVE the teachers. In these two weeks, I heard how pretty and nice I am more than in my whole life! Sometimes they would just come up and hug me and tell me how much they like me. It was a definite self esteem booster! They also do strange things, like when I am standing behind them and pointing to something in their books, they will just start rubbing my arms like they have never seen an arm before. It’s the cutest thing. It can also be really annoying when I’m just walking in the hallway past a class lined up in the hall, and there are 10 kids clinging to me as I’m trying to walk.
This is one of the preschool classes that I taught the continents to. Annie, Aladdin, James, Sally, Audrey, Ricky, Rachael, Kevin, Tommy, and Michael.

Annie playing teacher and naming the continents. You can see my awesome drawing of the world on the white board....

I asked James to show my his best Antarctica face, and this is what I got...

Another lesson we did this week, was “Where are you from?” And they were asking where all the teachers were from, and the weird thing was, that the kids couldn’t tell who the Korean teachers were and who the foreign teachers were! They would say things like, ‘Cathy teacher from Canada?’ when Cathy is clearly Korean! I wanted to ask them if they noticed that the foreign teachers looked different, but I didn’t. The only reason I can think that they can’t tel the difference, is there is an American girl, Susie, who’s parents are Korean, so she looks Asian, but has lived in the US her whole life. Maybe that is what confuses the kids….
I started writing this blog before the weekend, but I have been very sick this weekend, and have been sleeping on and off. I have a wicked bad sore throat, and it hurts to swallow. I haven’t eaten anything since Friday, and I have only been drinking small sips of OJ throughout the day. If I don’t feel better by tomorrow I am going to have to go to the doctor because I am starting to get hungry!

Sunday, November 2, 2008


It has been a VERY exciting few days here in Korea! I was going to start with Friday at school, but when I uploaded the pictures they were in a different order, and they are a pain to move around, so I will start with what I did today. Amanda, Jamie, Susie, Janique, Tara and I went to a place called Myung Dong, which was about a half hour from our house. We went to go shopping. This statue was on our way home, and we thought it was photo worthy. The arm actually moved up and down.

The girls in front of Forever 21. Jamie, Tara, Amanda, Janique, Susie and Jenn in the front.

This was the HUGE fancy Forever 21. It was 3 floors, and had 2 bouncers out front! After I took the picture one of them came over and told me I wasn't allowed to take a picture of the building. I'm not sure why but now the picture seems way more special!

This is in front of my apartment. It is the SBS studio where musicians come for radio interviews. These young girls camp out the night before and wait around ALL day just to see them pull away in their cars. They scream a lot and are VERY annoying.

This is the shortest escalator in the world.

I saw this snack in Family Mart (Like 7-11). It had dried fishies, peanuts, dried squid, and some other things that I did not recognize...

This is one of the MANY street vendors who sell vegetables on the street. There are lots of people selling lots of weird things. We passed an old woman who was sitting on a blanket selling Q tips and sponges and some other weird household things. I don't know where she would have gotten those things from, it is very strange.

Besides vegetable and Q-tip stands, there are also SO many street meat stands! They sell the weirdest street meat. This man was selling fried shrimp.

I finally bought a cell phone!!! we went to the electronic district(I can't remember the name of it) and every floor was selling a different thing. One whole floor of lap tops, another floor of cameras, a floor of ipods and fauxpods, etc. The cell phones were on the 8th floor. There were a ton of booths celling phones. We just went from booth to booth until I found the phone I loved.

This is me buying my new phone!!!!

My new snazzy cell phone!

My new phone number is 010-3037-6029. They let you choose the last 4 digits, so that's how I have the same last 4 digits as my phone at home. It wasn't a coincidence. The phone was $70, and came with an extra battery and an $11 phone card. It's a prepaid phone, but texts are only 3 cents each I think, and calls are like 5 cents every 10 seconds. I get free incoming calls and incoming texts, so feel free to call or text me!!!

Some more street meat. These were silkworm larvae. They smelled SO gross.

On Saturday Amanda, John, and I went to Korean classes at a college nearby. We thought the class was starting over this weekend, but it turns out that they were on week 4, so Amanda and I were SO lost. We are going to go back in two weeks, when it actually does start over. On the walk to get a cab, I found this HUGE leaf. It was bigger than Amanda's head! The Korean classes cost $1 every week, and $1 for the book. They ran out of books, so we had to share someone else's, so we couldn't write in the book. In two weeks we will have to get there early so we get a book! The language is very hard to pronounce! We were reading the letters, and she was saying two different letters that sounded exactly the same to me. I know I will have to take level one over several times. Especially only going once a week, it will be tough to learn. I almost wish it was more phrases instead of the alphabet, but everyone says its easy to learn the letters and useful.

More Street meat.

These are fish patties. They are like fish pancakes on a stick that are in the shape of a fish. I haven't had one, but that's what I've heard!

On Halloween we started out at Susie's apartment and then went to Hungdae to several bars. I lost my witch hat, but I was a witch. After I lost my hat I was just a girl in a black dress.

John and a Korean teacher. The kids in Korea do that with their hands and it means cute. They also say Kimchi instead of cheese when they take pictures! (I just found these things out today...)

At Susie's apartment.

This is one of my classes. They are 8 and 9 years old, so really they are 7 and 8 years old. Since they are not preschoolers, they weren't allowed to dress up. Only the morning preschoolers wore costumes.The boy all the way to the left with only half of his face showing is Kyle, the boy who pulled out his penis on the first day I observed the class. He hasn't done it since. I got mad at him the other day and made him write his name on the board(So I know not to give him a stamp at the end of class(it scares them to death as well), and he wrote Kai on the board, and after yelling at him for not spelling his name right, he informed me that his name is actually not Kyle, it is Kai, like the Hawaiian name. I found out that his English name is really Kyle, but his mom complained about it and wanted him to be called Kai. I don't know if it is part of his Korean name, or if his mom just liked it. I am going to continue to call him Kyle. There are actually 10 kids in the class, but some of them didn't want their picture taken.

This is Chon-Bin, one of the preschoolers that I've been teaching all week. He is the cutest Korean kid I've seen since I've gotten here, but he is a naughty boy! He talks allllllll of the time and never shuts up! He also tells me that he is from Philadelphia, and he tells me stories about when he lived in Philadelphia, but Amanda and I are pretty sure he isn't from there, but maybe just visited. He insists that he just moved to Korea Philadelphia....

This is the whole class. The bumble bee in the middle is Min, the worst boy in the school. He kicks kids all the time and doesn't ever pay attention. This is the pumpkin we carved in class.

We were about to go Trick-or-treating. The kids are: Olivia, Sophia, Min, Chon-Bin, Lucy, Justin, Sue, Amy, and Tony.

Alisha, Tara, and Janique in the office before class started.

Jamie in our office.

Riding the bus on the way to school because it was raining on Halloween morning.

For my preschool classes, I had to come up with two activities to do. The first activity was the classic tissue over a lollipop so it looks like a ghost. The second activity I thought was absolutely awesome, and I think I invented it. It's called Bat Bowling. I painted 20 oz. coke bottles black, and glued black bat wings to the backs of them. I glued a face to an orange ball so it looked like a jack-o-lantern. I thought it would be a huge hit, but it turns out that the kids didn't like to wait their turn or wait for me to set the pins up. Oh well. I still thought it was an awesome activity.

On Friday at work, I saw our SLP couches that used to be in the lobby of the school stacked up downstairs, and we had new couches in the lobby. I asked Danny if I could have a section of it(it was a sectional) and he said yes! So I tried to get a cabbie to put it in his trunk, but he wouldn't, so I had to carry it home. At first I thought it would be no problem, but about 5 minutes into the walk I could not feel my hands. It seemed like it got heavier as I walked! It took me about an hour to walk home, and it normally takes about 15/20 minutes. The part of my arm between my wrist and elbow still hurts, and I can't make a fist. It was well worth it cause the couch looks great in my apartment!

Here is what the Korean money looks like. The top is a $10 bill, the bottom is $1. The left card is my bank card, and the right is my alien card. They also have a $5 bill that is pink. The $10 is the highest bill they have, so when you get money out of the ATM, you get a stack of 10 dollar bills!

I had something new to eat. It is pronounced Suin du boo. It is tofu soup with rice. It was a bit spicy, but not too bad at all!! I liked it. It comes in a bowl that is still boiling when they bring it over to the table. I'm not sure how they do that, but its pretty impressive. The rice comes in this small little dish on the side. You spoon the soup and tofu over the rice and eat it.

On Saturday night Amanda, Lindsey and I went to a movie. We saw the Bank Job. It was in English with Korean subtitles. They have assigned seats that you choose when you buy your tickets. On the way to the movie we saw a man selling movies in the subway station, and I bought Mamma Mia! and p.s. i love you. they were two for $5.

sssooo that was my weekend! I had tons of fun. I know there aren't many pictures with me in them, but since I used my camera I was taking most of the pictures. When I get pictures from other people's camera I'll post them. I'm sure someone got me in my Halloween costume!