Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Monday, January 4, 2010
I received a text from a friend when I woke up saying to look outside.... I was expecting there to be some snow, but not a whole lot. I looked out my window and BAM there it was: the beginning of an Iowa winter. We had a lot of snow on the ground, about 6 or 7 inches. Everything was covered in snow. It was awesome! One of my co-teachers that has been here for 4 years said that he has never seen it snow so much. Kind of exciting.
Usually when I come to school on Mondays, all the Korean teachers and all the kindergarteners are there. When I arrived today, however, Mr. Nam (one of the directors) was the only one in the buidling. I didn't get a call saying school was cancelled, but I hadn't yet checked my email for the day... I thought for sure he was going to tell me to go right back home because it was a snowday. Nope! He asked how my vacation was. I said fine. I sat down at my dest and waited for the other teachers and the kids to show up. Little by little, a few people started to show up. I taught my art class and sat down to plan the lessons for the rest of the day.
After awhile, our supervising teaching came in and told us all afternoon classes for the day were cancelled! SNOW DAY!! We only had to teach the kindy class and the rest of the afternoon we had off! Another surprise awaited me in my Kindy class today. I have a new student. His name is David. No pictures yet, but he's a pretty cute kid. He wanted to speak a lot of Korean today, but he really surprised me when he said, "Emily Teacher, ghosts live in a pumpkin patch!" I was caught a little off gaurd because the only thing I had heard David say was "I'm fine" when I asked him how he was today. I think David is going to fit in just fine with our class!
It was perfect for our first day back to school... we got to ease in to it a little. The only downside is that we might have to make up for it on the weekend. But we'll find out about that tomorrow. For now, I'm just going to enjoy the rest of my snow day!!
Here's a picture of some kids playing in the snow...
Sunday, January 3, 2010
Monday we went and checked out Namdaemun Market. You can buy basically anything you want or need there: hats, scarves, clothes, fish, food... anything really! It was pretty cold that day, so we stopped for some coffee before heading to our next destination. There is this stream in Seoul. I believe it used to be paved and then they made it into a stream. I don't really know a lot about it, but I think its kind of a big deal. And, it's really pretty and nice to walk along. Tuesday Meredith and I went to the National Museum of Korea: the biggest museum in Asia. It was pretty interesting and we saw some cool things. Most of the information about the artifacts was in Korean, but there was some English so it was interesting to read about some of it. We then headed to one of the TechnoMarts so Meredith could buy herself a Christmas present. You can usually try bardering with the salespeople here because there are so many people selling the same thing. She got a new Nikon camera! Pretty exciting. We took the subway back to Guri, met with one of our Korean co-teachers, Annie, and took the subway back in to Seoul to go to a concert. Another one of our co-teachers is in a choir/orchestra and she invited us to the concert. It was fun... very interesting as it was all in Korean. It was a successful day!Wednesday we went to Deoksugung Palace in Seoul. I have been to one palace already earlier. This one was a lot smaller, but still interesting to see. Across the street from the palace was Seoul Plaza. They had a bunch of things set up, so we decided to go check it out. Apparently Seoul is the World Design Capital for 2010, so they had several exhibits set up for that. They also had something set up telling about the Korean research team in the Antarctic. They had some interactive things to do as well as information to read about.Thursday night found us back in Seoul, Insadong, for the New Years Eve celebration, which was really cool! There were tons of people standing in the street with probably just as many cops surrounding the place. These cops were really taking their jobs seriously. I'm not really sure if they knew what they were doing, but everything seemed to be running very smoothly. I would say they did a great job that night! Anyway... There was a stage set up where we saw about 3 or 4 performances. One of them was a popular K-pop group, but I'm not sure which one it was. I had heard the song that they sang before, and everyone around us was pretty pumped to see them... I'm guessing they were pretty famous! The countdown kind of happened all of the sudden. We were standing there, looked up at the screen, and there were 30 seconds to midnight! Everyone around us starts the count down... in Korean! And then set (3), dul (2), hana (1)... HAPPY NEW YEAR! Balloons in the air, people shooting off fireworks in the street, and someone ringing a bell on the stage! We bought some fireworks so we could shoot some off. Probably so dangerous to have that many people setting off fireworks at the same time, but made the whole experience well worth it!
This will probably be the only time I can say I celebrated Christmas brought in the New Year in a different language... in a different country. But I had a great time! I missed you all so much and wish I could have been home. I hope you all had a great holiday season... MISSING YOU!
Friday, October 30, 2009
Friday, October 16, 2009
Apparently, there is a restaurant in the area called Tuna that a bunch of foreigners go to about once a month. Meredith and I were invited by one of our coworkers to attend the monthly event, so we decided that we might as well give it a try. Keep in mind that I have never, ever had tuna before in my life, so I am really going to just give it a try. Well, we went to the restaurant after school and were waiting around for a little while until everyone else came. As we were sitting and talking, I was asked how much I liked raw fish. Well, I have never had it, but I guess I am always up for trying something once was what I told them, while in my head thinking no way, no how! And that's when it all came crashing down and I realized... this restaurant is for eating RAW tuna! Now, the owner of the place was very friendly, maybe a little too friendly, and was really bragging up his tuna (his raw tuna!), so I figured I could give it a try.
The owner brought us the first slices of the night... prepared it for us, and literally stuffed it in our mouths, saying "Best.. Best!" It was, in fact, not the best. I nearly gagged! He brought out another cut and, again, shoved it in our mouths. The experience was the same, and I had to discretely spit it out in a napkin and put it in my purse until I could dispose of it later! I tried one more piece and still couldn't do it! When he saw us struggling a little, he said he would bring out some grilled tuna. This, on the other hand, was actually really good.
As I left Tuna, the only positive thing I could think of was the fact that I could now say that I have actually tried raw fish! Even though I will not be going back there for raw tuna again, I am glad that I went.
Until next time...
Monday, October 12, 2009
Our hike started out pretty easy. There was a path/paved road for quite awhile. There were even some little restaurants and shops along the way. We stopped to eat some lunch at this little clearing where there were a lot of people taking a break. After lunch, we kept on going, getting lost only once or twice. Luckily for us, Koreans are very nice people and want to help you out in any way they can. We had a couple tell us to follow them... but we were just a bit slower than them, so we had to slow it down a little and find our own way after that! Towards the top is where it started getting a lot harder! Walking along the path turned to climbing up the rocks, and I started getting pretty nervous! From this point on, there were these rope cables staked into the ground that we had to use to pull ourselves up. I used these at ALL times for fear that I would slide down the mountain (which I thought was likely to happen at any point!) Anyway, thankfully we all made it to the top. The view was amazing! We could see most of Seoul and all the mountains surrounding it! Words cannot describe how beautiful it was. It made the whole 7 hour hike worth it!
This past weekend wasn't quite as adventurous. Friday was girls night! One of our friends had all the girls over to her apartment for some food and games! The girls that I've met are all so nice, and it was a great night just hanging out with all of them. Our game of Taboo got cut a little short when one of the neighbors knocked on the door telling us we were being too loud, so we had to move girls night somewhere else. It was a really fun, but very late night!
On Saturday, Meredith and I went to Dongdaemun with two other girls that we met here. Dongdaemun is one of the shopping districts in Seoul. I was looking for a new purse, but had to settle for a scarf! On our way back to Guri, we stumbled on a fashion show and a dance contest! We watched both for awhile. When we were at the dance contest, the MC looked over in our direction and says, "Foreigner... Hello! Nice to meet you!" I start looking around, and of course he's talking to me, the tallest one in the crowd with semi-blonde hair! He procedds to tell me that the dancer group that was just on are 19 with no girlfriends, and then asks me if I know the dance and if I want to come up on stage to dance! Had I known the dance, I probably would have gone on stage, but the girls that went on stage were so serious about their dance moves... I would have been booed off the stage in a heartbeat! It was a fun day, and I'm sure I'll be back there soon to do some more shopping!
I'm having a lot of fun, meeting a lot of new people, and learning a lot about the culture here. I hope everyone back home is doing great! I heard it snowed in Iowa this past weekend! Crazy! I hope you are all staying warm!
Thursday, October 1, 2009
I've been in Guri for about 2 weeks now, and I have just moved in to my new apartment for the year. Until now, I have been living in the famous Love Motel, which is about a 20 minuet walk from my school. I am now about a 1 minute walk from the school and live right next door to an amazing pizza place... this could be a big problem! But my apartment is pretty nice (I'll post pictures soon), and I think I will like living here for the next year!
I start teaching full time tomorrow!! I am so excited for that! I have been teaching 1 class everyday for the last 3 days, so tomorrow will be a big change. I will be teaching every day from about 1:20-7:30, which is nice in a way, but I always say good morning to people... and its not. A lot different from what I'm used to. I have a Kindergarten (Kinde) class that is from 1:20-2:40, and then about 5 other elementary classes throughout the rest of the day. I will be meeting my Kinde class for the first time tomorrow, and I have no idea if they speak any English at all. Tomorrow should be an interesting day!
Other than that, I have been meeting tons of new people, all of them are extremely nice. I've been to a palace, a waterpark, and even to my first nuraebang-a karaokee room that you rent with a group of friends. The nuraebang (could be spelling that wrong) was so much fun and I can't wait to go back!
I know this is kind of long, but I had quite a bit to say! Hope you are all doing well! Don't forget I want to hear from you too! Until next time....