Saturday, June 27, 2009

Noribang

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!

6 comments:

ktg7117 said...

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Anonymous said...

Hi Kelly, I stumbled across your blog and couldn't help reading a million posts! :) You are a great writer and it sounds like you had an amazing time. I wanted to request information about the school you taught at. What was the name and location of the school and is there any way you could put me in touch with the people there? I would like to move and spend a year in Korea! :) My email is estherkim07@gmail dot com. Please let me know. Thanks in advance!