2 months in Korea!

2 months in Korea!

Wow-where has the time gone?! I cannot believe I have been here for 2 months…I also cannot believe it is Easter and already April 20th. Time just continues to fly by-I am glad that I am taking advantage of this opportunity and living in the minute (hence why the blog lagged the last few weeks!).
As I was thinking back on the last month I realized that so much happened…

  • Celebrated friends birthdays-Busan one weekend & a Samsung Lions baseball game another
  • Went to the Jindo Sea Festival-small island on the Southwestern side of South Korea-and got to bring Flat Stanley with me (thanks Korb & Team Palmer!)
  • Saw Phantom of the Opera (in English) and Swan Lake-both were amazing!!!
  • Got sick and went to the doctor twice (she spoke English) & the school nurse twice!
  • Started going to Korean class & made a new friend there (Marie rocks!)
  • Had a few friends book their flights to visit me/meet up on vacays-woohoo
  • Had a crazy wonderful surprise and had my first visitor last week-so fun!
  • Booked my first trip out of the country-Tokyo in May
  • Taught about dung (yes you read that correct) TWICE to my fifth grade classes
  • Had a teacher outing where I got to bike on a 2 person bike with my co-teacher who doesn’t know how to ride a bike-while I was sick with bronchitis (it was rough!)

So, where do I begin…I gave approximately 200 Korean kids (my 3rd and 4th graders) English names. That was STRESSFUL. Seriously, I have a whole new respect for parents giving their kids a name when they are born. I mean, this was just the English name I was giving these kids and I felt a ton of pressure LOL. I had this ‘list of names’ that I read to them and they selected what name they liked (or liked the way it looked). It was hilarious-my one young co-teacher (Soyoung) had asked me the week before ‘Do you know a lot of English names’ and I was like ‘duh’ and then…wow! I seriously just started writing down every name that came to me b/c you blank when the child is just staring at you…so yeah-it was quite funny! I went through my friends names, my niece and nephews names, you name it-you might be a part of that list 🙂 There were some fun names too-like the kids wanted to be named Olaf (yes from Frozen!) and then I had a SpongeBob request. Super cute. So yeah, the teaching thing is going…every day is a new day and a new obstacle can come up, or a new adventure. Last week I had 2 crying kids. It was hilarious. The one girl, 3rd grade, was crying b/c we were playing Simon Says and some boy said something to her  (in Korean) and yep-niagra falls happened. And she was a LOUD crier. Then, the next day, when the kids come in to clean the rooms after their lunch this boy had to take out the trash. I mean, first off all 5 of the kids played rock, paper, scissors to figure out who was going to be ‘stuck’ with the job of taking out trash so he won/lost fair and square BUT for some reason he was soooo pissed about it. Obviously I can’t understand anything that the kids are saying so I asked my one student (Anna) and she told me. I bit my tongue so I wouldn’t laugh in front of them. 

I went to the beach town Busan for my friend Erin’s birthday and went to Spaland (yes ladies-it is amazing!) and enjoyed the beach and warm weather. I cannot wait to spend many weekends in Busan. We took the KTX there (the high speed train) and it was close, fast & easy to get around! We found yummy sushi, drank sake from a wooden box-that was a first-and found a great hostel that was in the fabulous area of Haeundae Beach. I already have another trip planned in mid-May and will be cheering on the Lotte Giants baseball team (yes I find baseball wherever I go AND Giants to cheer on!).

The weekend after Busan I experienced a miracle…no really-the Jindo Sea Miracle. It was quite an adventure, let me tell you! One of my friends here had mentioned it to me-it sounded amazing. I mentioned it to my friend Andrew. Poor thing-he then got stuck planning it (well his co-teacher did a LOT of calling for us to figure out how to ‘skin this cat’ as Andrew would say!). It wasn’t an easy trek-that is for dang sure-but it was well worth the 4 buses and train it took to get there 🙂 There was an international food festival and music the night before the sea parting (which we got up at 3:45 am for…and you all know how I love those early mornings!). Basically there is one time of the year that the tide is so low that you can walk from the mainland to the island of Jindo. It happens twice a day (when the tides go out) for about 4 days. It was such an awesome experience-we didn’t have a place to stay because you are off the grid where this takes place (thank goodness Hayley let us sleep on her bus for a few hours!) and then it was still dark out at that hour so you had torches to walk across the ‘water’ AND don’t forget the super awesome rain boots we got-the best purchase I have done since being here. The boots kept you warm & dry! The water wasn’t as ‘low’ as I had thought it would be…at one point we were walking in water up to our knees. You can see in the pics below all the people that were also in the water walking toward Jindo. The morning group didn’t get all the way across…at one point the people ahead of us stopped. None of us knew what was going on, it was pitch black out and super windy. We heard the faint sound from the shore saying ‘please exit the sea road the tide is coming back in’ soooo after some chit chat amongst all the ex-pats in the water we walked back toward the shore. 

I also started Korean classes this month! My friend Bill’s co-teacher offered to give us free classes. It is soooo hard-I feel like a little kid and have a whole new level of respect for anyone learning a foreign language! I really just want to be able to communicate with the cab drivers and be able to order food. Let me tell you, I have a long way to go! I do fairly well with the cabbies-I can say straight, right, left, u-turn and stop/here. Whew! There are 5 of us in the ‘class’ and it is held at her home. We have a lot of fun and I even made a new friend-Marie! She is great, lives around the corner from me, loves to bake AND has an oven. It was friendship at first sight 🙂 She actually baked brownies for class last week-they were bomb!

We heard that Phantom of the Opera was playing in Daegu AND was in English so a group of us decided to go. It was so good! I hadn’t seen it in years and forgot how much I loved it. The crazy ‘small world’ part is my friend Sheyna’s cousin is in the show and was also staying in Daegu! She had told me that when I found out I was placed in Daegu but there was so much going on at the time I didn’t put two and two together until later. 

After all this fun my body decided it needed a break…and I got bronchitis. Good times. Being sick sucks when you have the ‘comforts’ of the things you want/need when you are sick but being sick here is a whole other level of sucking! I finally went to the doctor since after 5 days I was just getting worse (after going to the school nurse) and she gave me a ton of medicine (see pic below!). She also told me to come back 3 days later to see how I was doing. Her name is Dr. Kim and she is AWESOME. Zachary told me about her (again, Zachary saving the day!) and I am so happy to have a great doctor right down the street. So I was sick for 2 weeks…they don’t believe in sick days over here and let me tell you (my teacher friends at home will appreciate this) being sick and TEACHING is also a whole other level of not fun! I would go teach all day and be ‘on’ and by the end of the day be soooo done for it wasn’t even funny. I would come home and just go straight to bed. You can only imagine how annoyed I was by this since I don’t like to not be able to have fun 🙂 The funniest story from me being sick (or according to Hayley and Elaine at least) is my teacher outing last Friday. So, I was told the Monday before (when I was getting sicker by the day) that we had a teacher outing on Friday from 2:30-9:30 (after classes were over for the day). I was partially dreading it b/c I am usually done for by Friday and also wasn’t feeling good. Well, let’s just fast forward to the funny story…my one co-teacher can’t ride a bike. She asked me mid-week if I liked riding a bike and I said yes. Well then she mentions that we are going to be riding bikes on Friday and that maybe she can sit on the 2 person bike behind me and I can bike/cycle/drive her around. Well, I was mid-fever at this point and was only partially listening so just ignored this. Fast forward to Thursday and she tells me that I probably shouldn’t bike at all on Friday since I was so sick. This kinda annoyed me (we all know how much I love being told what to do) but again, didn’t feel good so just let it go. Friday rolls around and since everyone else was biking she was embarrassed she wasn’t so insists that I bike with her and basically ‘drive’ her around. It was like Driving Miss Daisy. No joke. Have you ever been on a bike with someone who doesn’t know how to ride a bike? Not fun or easy. AND have I mentioned that cars do NOT stop for you here. So, we were trying to cross this busy road to get to the bike lanes and she was pedaling when we needed to STOP so we didn’t become roadkill. Aye yiyi. After about an hour (yes an hour) I was done. She wanted to go uphill (and we weren’t on a mountain bike-it was like a beach cruiser!) and I said I couldn’t bike anymore. She of course thought it was because she was too heavy and I said no, it is because I am tired. The outing ended with us having a yummy Korean meal and then taking a walk.

Elsa’s birthday was last weekend and since she likes baseball I figured let’s all go to a baseball game! We had a big group go and cheer on the Samsung Lions. Going to a game here was so fun and I cannot wait to go to more-I already put their schedule on my calendar (of course I did!). We brought in good ole Costco wine (woohoo Costco rocks!) and there were tons of vendors selling food outside the stadium to bring in! We got some fried chicken and it was the BEST fried chicken I have had here yet. After the game our group decided to check out the ex-pat bars (my first time to both of them) and then of course ended the night out at the norebong (karaoke rooms). It was a super fun night and I was glad that I was able to celebrate Elsa’s bday with her 🙂

In the midst of being sick I had some downtime to research where I was going to travel during my holidays. I booked my first trip and am so excited to be going to Tokyo in just a few weeks (we have a 4 day wkend b/c of Children’s Day and Buddha’s bday). There are 5 of us going-my friend Anna is flying out from Texas to join us at the happiest place in Tokyo-Disneyland-and I am thrilled! Speaking of friends coming out to good ole South Korea…I was super excited to have a surprise guest last week-Rachel was visiting her aunt in Shanghai and they decided to come out to see me in Daegu. I mean, it is just a hop and a skip over the sea 🙂 I had tickets to Swan Lake with some of the girls here and was soooo excited that Rachel and her aunt Julie could join us. It was an amazing show and we had killer seats! We had a great time during their visit-full of laughs and trying to figure out things in a foreign land. Starting with finding each other on Thursday night in the midst of rain and bad directions and ending with almost getting stuck in an ATM Saturday night after going to yummy Korean BBQ. You can only laugh when these things happen-they make for great stories to share with others!

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page” -St. Augustine

Cherry Blossoms took over Daegu!
Sake from wooden box-first time for everything!
Marie made brownies for Korean class snack 🙂 
Medicine from my doctor!
Andrew & me at Jindo Sea Festival
Erin & Erin-celebrating birthdays!
Elsa’s bday
First KTX ride!
Hayley with me at the Sea Festival in Jindo
All the people getting ready to enter the sea
The view from in the water crossing the sea-lots of people!!
My Korean class teacher-she is the sweetest!
Korean BBQ when Rachel was in town
The list of names!
Norebong with Erin! We sang Beauty and the Beast:)
Phantom of the Opera
Rachel and me downtown
Subway fun!
Sunset near the Opera House
Swan Lake
My Theater class singing Tomorrow from Annie
4th graders
Jindo Sea Festival with Flat Stanley
My Easter brunch!

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