So its been about a week and a half since my last post. I would have preferred to update more often but I’ve been experiencing some technical difficulties at home. Ive been living like Emily Dickinson, just pondering and reading and writing. Not much interaction with the outer realm. Hopefully the issue will be resolved quickly because it did not end well for Emily Dickinson.
Apart from that, a few interesting things have occured. Ive survived my first week teaching, and I’m halfway through the second week. Ive decided that I like two out of the three schools that I teach at. On Mondays and Fridays I teach 5th grade English at the elementary school in town. Its easy, its walking distance, and the kids are always happy. On Wednesdays and Thursdays I teach at another school, grades 3rd through 6th. I think I like this school the most. I have dubbed this school the Trout Academy because of its infamous Welcome Dinner last week. So much trout. (I’d like to add that we had a second Welcome party at a pork restaurant the other day) On Tuesdays I teach at a super small school in the next town, and I dont like this school. The students don’t care about English, and the teachers don’t care about English. I am forced to go by the textbook and it’s so very boring. The textbook isn’t that bad if the students are participating, but at this school they are zombies. Zombie Elementary School. I tried playing a fun game with these zombie children but they didn’t enjoy my fun game. Here’s to hoping that all fire drills, school holidays, election days, and field trips occur on Tuesdays.
This past weekend a group of us from EPIK Orientation (English Program In Korea) met up in Seoul for the 2 days. It was really nice to see them all again. We had spent our first week together getting acclimated in Korea, and then we were all bussed off to our respective towns and cities and left to our own devices. Seoul was totally insane, I expected to be mindblown, and I was. It is so ultra modern, whacky, and fashionable, but also traditional and stately. The first place we went to was called Myeong Dong, and it’s an outdoor shopping district that is comparable to Harajuku district in Tokyo. In fact, I dont understand why people never talk about Seoul the way they go on about Tokyo. Even if you dont care about shopping, go to Myeong Dong to people watch, eat cheap street food, and just look at everything. We also encountered a very orderly protest against the Impeachment of the Korean President that happened the day before. In general I wished I had 12 more sets of eyes. I was so amazed and in disbelief at the artistry that went into the layout and theme of the shops. We also found Itaewon, which is a district filled with fusion restaurants and markets. There was food from all over the world, including many Greek and Middle Eastern places. There were plenty of other foreigners there so we just walked around, got dinner, and left so as to not be confused with other obnoxious Westerners. There were many.
(As I write this in my cubicle, the Vice Principal keeps tapping me on the shoulder and offering me biscotti or Oreos or hard candy. This office always has the snacks)
So after our delicious Korean BBQ dinner (that we split 5 ways) we headed back to our hostel which was at the Hongdae district (pardon if the spelling is incorrect). I recommend staying in Hongdae if you’re young and want to party. I cannot deny, it’s a fun place. We walked to a Norebang (Karaoke house?) a place where you can rent rooms for you and your squad to sing all the Jams at an hourly rate. There were comfy sofas, microphones, a small stage and fun percussion instruments. I sang a Whitney Houston classic along with Beauty and the Beast (in honor of Emma Watsons upcoming singing debut) On our walk home we stopped at a Korean Mcdonalds and got soft serve and french fries. It was the perfect end to our first day in Seoul. In the morning we struggled to wake up and get out the door, but we made it to Gyeongbokgung Palace aka the Palace Greatly Blessed by Heaven. It was much larger than we anticipated and we kinda ran out of steam mid-palace. So we sat on a bench and admired the ambience. We still had a great time, I’m sure we will visit again in the spring when everything is green and pretty. We have some days off coming up, and we will be going to the Cherry Blossom Festival, as well as Jeju Island when it gets warm.
That concludes our first adventure in Seoul. It takes Vanessa and I exactly 2 hours and 15,ooo won (15$) to get to Seoul, so we will try to go as often as we can. And to those smart and lucky individuals wanting to visit me this year (AHEM Chris, Danae, and Paige) I will know how to use the bus ticket machine ASAP so I’ll be ready to guide you anywhere you wish to go. I know I haven’t posted any photos but I’m too lazy to do that now, so I’ll post them in a day or two.