In my last 365 post on Sunday, I left off wondering when Kevin would arrive home and whether or not he would have an adorable little puppy with him. He arrived home, solo, around 10PM after spending a long day in Seoul (jealous!). I figured they found a random person with a dog and asked to take pictures with it to worry the girlfriends at home, but the dog actually belonged to one of the people they were with at the beer festival. Not as exciting as it could’ve been, eh? Anyway. here’s my recap of this week’s events (it’s might seem long since it’s for a week but I think it’s a quick-ish read at least 🙂 ).
Monday, April 20, 2015
Remember back in grade school when you would get your hair done on the weekends and were filled with much excitement to show it off on Monday? Or, remember that time when someone made a drastic change to their hair and you gasped in shock upon the sight of it and just didn’t know how to react? Well, the latter is nearly how I felt on Monday.
Let’s take a step back for a minute. Our school has a very homogeneous environment. With the exception of the 4 foreign teachers, everyone is Korean and everyone has the same color hair. Even out of the 4 of us foreign teachers, one is actually of Korean descent, so she, too, has the same color hair, and the other teacher pretty much has the same color as well. Kevin and I are the only people at school with different color hair – that was, until Monday. One of my students, Jimmy, walked in from the weekend with honey brown hair! It definitely caught me off guard at first but it has grown on me over the week and I actually like it now. I’m not sure a 7, really 6, year old boy would choose to get his hair fully dyed, but he doesn’t seem to mind it, so that’s all that matters! A couple of the boys at school have obvious perms and I doubt that is their choice as well but they rock it. I’m sorry I don’t have a picture of Jimmy’s new ‘do!
What I do have a picture of is my other student’s nails. Louis’ mom painted his nails a light pink over the weekend. He was showing it off to everyone, haha. I guess in a way it’s nice to be in an environment where there is less distinction between what is “appropriate” for girls and what is “appropriate” for boys. Many boys at school love pink & use princess water cups and/or spoon cases and it’s no big deal to anybody. It was surprising to us at first, but even boys can like Princess Elsa here without any ridicule (and everyone knows the words to “Let It Go!”) Just be yourself.
Tuesday, April 21, 2015
This week in cooking we made bowl brownies! Here’s a picture of my super cute Haenah (해나) after eating some of the delicious treat! She is wearing her fancy purple dress given to her by her grandma, awww! So much love for this one…
As I was walking home from the gym in the evening, I saw in the distance a staircase leading up to the top of a hill. I decided to check it out! I climbed up the 92 steps to find myself entranced by the beautiful view before me! This, ladies and gentleman, is Sannam Dong (산남동), the Cheongju neighborhood in which we live. I took this with my iPhone. I need to get a tripod to capture this properly at night with my dSLR – I think it could be really beautiful! Anyway, you can see our school in the distance and tons and tons of apartment buildings, including ours somewhere. I have yet to see a single family home in Korea. After I took the photo, I continued to walk down the path but not more than 10 seconds into my walk did I hear some critters in the bushes and promptly raced back down the stairs.
I also managed to find this big church I’ve always seen from a distance. All the churches have neon crosses – can’t miss ’em!
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
When packing a year’s worth of personal items in 100lbs, or 102lbs, in my case, it is not possible to really pack that many clothes. I thought i was packing a lot but now that I wear the same things all the time, I’ve already grown really tired of them in 2 months of working. I decided to go back to the GWell City mall and try my luck at the big stores there: H&M, Zara and Mango.
On my way to catch a cab, I found this guy in the middle of the street. He was a stilt-walking advertisement for the “grand open” of a store on the main street that appears to sell very expensive ginger root. Stores turnover overnight here, it’s incredible. Anyway, I don’t think we’ll be buying ginger root for minimum 145,000 KRW (~$145).
The GWell City Mall looks really nice and appealing from the outside and upon entry. It’s sparkly, new, clean, luxurious, and 3 levels tall – mmm mall heaven! The reality of the mall is that the 3 main stores (H&M, Zara and Mango) are nearly the only stores. You see, all three of them span the three different levels of the mall. No matter what level you are on, you can enter those stores. So much for having options.
After basically no success (I really will never be able to buy skinny jeans here and came home with just leggings and socks), I decided to check out the famous Hyundai Department Store. Unfortunately, by the time I got there it was almost closing time for the clothes section (but they had lots of individual designer sections, like an area specifically for Adidas, for example), but their food court and market stay open a little later. Oh my gosh, talk about gourmet! First of all, it was an awesome food court. It had everything from Krispey Kreme to “NY Burger” to a teppanyaki grill, to a bread stand, dessert stand, and special event section. It was awesome. And then there is the market! Wow – gourmet style!!!
It looks beautiful and there are some things that are hard to find elsewhere, like avocados! I bought one for $3. It’s the little things… But let us not forget this is still a grocery store in Korea. It is jam packed with dried squid, ramen, and pickled radishes. It is still hard to shop for the comforts of home even in the most beautiful of stores.
But to show you how high-class this establishment is…. they bubble wrapped my salad dressing!!!
Thursday, April 23, 2015
After work, Kevin and I climbed the same staircase I explored on Tuesday, but this time a little earlier in the evening when it was still light out. It turns out the whole hill is a cemetery of sorts.
All of these mounds are graves..
We walked down the path some more to find it all continued. This was truly a walk among the tombstones, but not Liam Neeson style!
The end of the path took us by this perfectly landscaped grave site. I wish we could learn more about the history of all the people buried here.
Friday, April 24, 2015
I haven’t yet fully recovered from being sick last week. My nose remained a bit congested and this week my coughing started to get worse. I could tell Thursday night that Friday wasn’t going to be easy and I put my insurance paperwork into my purse ahead of time. After working the busy Friday schedule with a bad cough and fever, I went to the health clinic immediately after work. The health clinic is in the same building as our school and is kind of like an urgent care center at home. I was seen quickly and probably spent no more than 3 minutes with the doctor. He surprisingly spoke pretty good English and asked me about my symptoms. Without any warning, he stuck a silver prodding device up my nose and subsequently sprayed something up each nostril. He did the same into my mouth (thank goodness my coworker warned me that that could happen!!). While he was doing that, the nurse took my temperature. He listened to my heart and diagnosed me with sinusitis. “Three days of medicine, come back on Monday.” Right-io!
I checked out to pay and pick-up my prescription. What did I have to pay? A whopping total of 5,200 KRW. Based on the current exchange rate, that equals $4.82. I took my prescription to the pharmacy downstairs and it was ready in minutes! Apparently, it is common in Korea to prescribe a ton of pills for any diagnosis… so here’s what I got (all for less than $5, by the way):
When I got home, I spent some time on this website figuring out what in the world I was prescribed! Nothing seems too bad or out of the ordinary (though I don’t think 6 pills for sinusitis is ordinary….); alas, I am taking it all and hoping it knocks it all out!!
Weekend plans for me: A whole lotta nada! Good health is priority #1!