Week 1 here in Korea was quite busy and exhausting, particularly while recovering from jet lag. I really haven’t taken many photos either. I look forward to the weather warming up a bit (though it’s warmer here than where we came from!) and settling in. Once I feel more rested and organized, I’ll be ready to take out my dSLR and capture this faraway land in which I live. I have also managed to get sick already. I felt feverish on Friday night and felt better Saturday until I could no longer speak. I’ve got a bad sore throat and I’m not quite sure how I can teach a full day of class but hopefully I will feel loads better by tomorrow. I plan on not talking much, if at all, today. In any case, rather than spamming your email with single posts for the rest of week 1, I decided to do a recap in one post.
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Wednesday is my longest day at school. I teach a class during every possible period. This Wednesday was my first day meeting my elementary students. Much like my kindergarten classes, I teach 2 extremes of elementary levels: Beginners who don’t know English and upper level students who already read, write and speak very well. (A side note: I will still make a post detailing my schedule.)
Now, my kindergarten students who don’t speak English are adorable because they are 2-3 years old, American age. We play dinosaur train and color; it’s a lot of fun! But my elementary students who don’t speak English… they are older and have the attitudes that come with age. I’ve got a couple students who are disruptive the whole class, laughing, speaking Korean and not wanting to learn. They are a true challenge to my sanity!
After work Wednesday, Kevin and I wanted to have some American food and ended up at Burger King. No joke, this place is gourmet. It’s the nicest Burger King I’ve ever seen. They even have a special receptacle for liquids (though I think that’s a Korean thing). The manager actually speaks English, too (apparently this is rare in CheongJu and we’ve been doing a lot of charades)!
Featured Photo: Post-shaved Kevin about to enjoy a delicious Whopper! (I actually ate a Bulgogi Burger)
Thursday, March 5, 2015
After work on Thursday, the director at our school brought the 4 of us foreign teachers to dinner at a really nice Korean barbecue restaurant. It was delicious!!! A very authentic experience, indeed. We even topped it off with the cold soba noodles. I didn’t know they were going to be cold so that was a surprise when they hit my tongue. Oops. The director is really nice. He’s actually Australian-Korean, so speaks perfect English, which is such an asset to have in a director.
Featured Photo: Korean bbq! Pork is grilling. #Kimchi all day, everyday.
Friday, March 6, 2015
Kevin and I led the morning exercise/stretching routines with the kids. As the students trickle into school, we are on the stage in the “big hall” channeling our inner Richard Simmons for the kiddos. It’s a good way for them to let out some energy before the first class. Must remember to always wear pants on these days! (No worries, i did remember.)
After lunch there is a recess period called “Brain Up.” We supervise and engage with the kids during this time.
The girls like “cooking” together and kept bringing us “food” to eat. Mmm delicious!
Behind me are the kids enjoying “brain-up” time in the school’s gym.
Saturday, March 7, 2015
Errand day! Even though I was still feeling a bit under the weather, we had to go run some errands so we can turn our apartment into a home. We’ve still been living out of suitcases and really need to rectify that. We started the day at “Angel-in-us Coffee” which is apparently “World [sic] Best Coffee.” I had green tea and an egg, ham and cheese sandwich. I’m not sure how it is possible, but my green tea was literally double the cost of my sandwich. Makes no sense.
After breakfast, we walked down the street to the LG Store. We had visited the Samsung Store across the street from it the night before. We are pricing out monitors so we can have a tv screen on which we can hook up Netflix and movies. We also discovered the Daiso store which seems to us like a dollar store in Korea that has everything; it was great!
Later, we took a cab to Shinae, which is the downtown area of CheongJu with lots of shops and a big Home Plus superstore. At Home Plus we were able to get some passport photos taken. Since we are going for our health check on Monday, we need to bring 2 passport-sized photos and we both only had 1 left. The woman spoke absolutely no English but we put “passport photos” on Google Translate with wifi so she knew what we wanted. Other than that, we just motioned with each other. When we picked up the photos an hour later, we found them to be in true Korean fashion: Photoshopped! My skin is lighter, focus is soft, and I’m pretty sure they messed up and made my eyes different shapes. It’s really fascinating, actually. It is the closest to Korean I have ever looked. But we got 12 photos for approx $10 so not a bad deal.
At Home Plus Kevin was also able to get new prescription glasses (frame + lenses) in 20 minutes and for cheap! So amazing. We also bought the cleaning supplies we so desperately need.
We walked around Shinae and it was packed with people. There’s so many cute shops and cafes. I can’t wait to go back and actually spend some time. We had a bit of a “famous” moment when a group of Korean guys stopped us to say hello and nice to meet us.
Saturday night we went out in Chungdae (university neighborhood) with the other foreign teachers, their SO’s and some friends of theirs. We went to a nice Western restaurant and I was actually able to read (in hangul) and understand the dish I ordered! “Mozzarella Pasta” is the same in hangul! We went to a couple bars after that which are open until 5 am. Then people stay up until 7 am eating food. I’m not sure I’ll be able to partake in that lifestyle all the time, haha, but certainly not last night while I’m still a bit under the weather and exhausted!
Approaching one of the main drags in Shinae.
A store called Who.A.U. sells a lot of “California” merchandise. Just what I was looking for…!
Lastly, a really cool wine display in Fabrica restaurant. You can BYOW and there’s no corkage fee either. Cool place! Just be prepared to pay more than double for what you would if you went to a Korean restaurant. We each paid $5.50 for lunch and got a smorgasbord of food, incl. ice cream and paid $12 for dinner for one bowl of pasta.