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Monthly Archives: August 2010

Today during one of my elementary breaks, I stopped at Tour de Jour for a sandwich. The selection was nothing special. My options were between a potato salad sandwich, and a BLT. I was curious to see how Koreans would interpret the ingredients in a BLT, so I paid my 3,500 won and prepared myself for another Korean dining experiment.

Everything was there: the tomato, the lettuce, the bacon. Slight problem…the bacon was uncooked. A little horrified at the soft, uncooked bacon in front of me, I figured I’ve gone this far, I might as well see this through to the end. It was a curious little sandwich. The Koreans even jazzed it up with some sweet pickles (something they love to put in everything, even though it rarely compliments the meal.) Needless to say, I will never eat a BLT from Korea again.

So, Japan is officially booked for chuseok. I’m going with Sarah, a friend I met through an adventure korea trip. We got together a few weekends ago and planned a loose itinerary. We’re flying out of Incheon on the 21st and heading into Osaka for the day. It includes:

  • Nara on the 22nd. We are going here to see Todai-Ji Temple and Nara Park.
  • Kyoto on the 23rd. We are going here to see Geishas.
  • Back to Osaka for the 24th-26th. Himeji Castle on the 25th for a day trip.

Unfortunately, time and money are keeping us from Hiroshima and Tokyo, but that just means I’ll have to go back one day 🙂

We finally updated the photos to the ils website, so let me share with you some precious photos of the kindergarten classes.

This was August’s Birthdays. Two of my tweety girl’s birthdays are in August. Cindy and Sarah are the two girls I’m sitting in between.

This was July’s birthday celebration. My tweety boy Harry had his game face on & loved slapping the watermelon every chance he got.

This was our July field trip to the “swimming pool” I told you all about. Notice the shallow water….This is a standard Korean swimming pool. Obviously no one can scream “CANNON BALL!” and jump without seriously injuring themselves.

This is the 100th day celebration. Notice the three T-Rex’s in the front right corner? Say hello to my Tweety boys.

This was an Activity of the Week; making masks. This included cutting cardboard, gluing charms, taping colored transparencies on the eyes, and taping a stick to hold the masks up. What you don’t see is me sweating in the corner desperately trying to rig together all 7 masks in 35 minutes.

Activity of the week is usually very stressful. Two weeks ago, I had to help them make crowns….with gold glitter. The classroom, students, Anna Teacher, chairs, and desks were all covered in gold. The kids had a field day & loved it…I did not.

High heels

Korean woman seem to be missing the gene that makes them feel pain. I say this, because everywhere I go I see Korean woman wearing 4 inch heels. Walking, riding subways and buses, carrying groceries, and going to historical sights. I can barely stay upright on the bus, and I’m in sneakers or flat sandals. Then I see Korean woman wearing stilettos…either they have impeccable balance from years of yoga, or they’re insane.

I’m going to Japan!

Chuseok is Korea’s thanksgiving. It takes place Tuesday to Thursday, at the end of September. Our boss is giving us Friday off (holler) so we can travel Tuesday to Sunday. My friend Sarah and I are figuring out flights and hostels. We’re going to keep a loose itinerary, but so far we want to see Tokyo, Hiroshima, and Osaka.

How nice everyone is

Given that it’s monsoon season in Korea, you can expect to get caught in some heavy rains when walking home from work. Last Friday, this was a case for my coworkers and I. I was the only one with an umbrella, so my coworker Lauren stopped in a convenience store to see if they had any umbrellas for sale. Needless to say, since it was a small store, they didn’t have much more then ramin and soju. The owner however, noticing the heavy rains gave Lauren her own umbrella. She asked that Lauren just return in when she’s done with it. I couldn’t believe someone could be that generous to a complete stranger. We were all shocked, but it just proved that Koreans are some of the nicest people on the planet.

I brought my camera to school….

These are two of my girls from Tweety class: Sarah & April

My little ham: Harry

The Tweety crew minus Duke: Harry, April, Cindy & Sarah (photographer)

Art class with Barney: Aiden, Jenny, & Jason

My PKD class: Jenny & Jason (Emma was being shy & wouldn’t join in 😦 )

Our summer vacation was for July 26th-30th. A few of us newbies decided to go to Busan for Tuesday – Thursday, and I wanted to go to Gyeongju until Saturday.

TUESDAY

We went to the Yongin bus terminal and hopped a bus to Busan. The seats looked like first class seats- nice and wide, and they tilted back really far and had a foot rest. 4.5 hours later, we were in Busan.

Once we navigated the subway systems, I got us lost trying to find the hostel. Mostly because I can’t read a map… Three people (all random) upon seeing 4 confused white people took the map away from us and began discussing where we were trying to go. We sat outside a convenience store while two people called the owners of Blue backpackers hostel to come pick us up. The owner came up with his son in a stroller and took us to the hostel – which looks like an Ikea.
Our room was standard hostel – two bunk beds and a bathroom. The owner Jin gave us directions and information on how to get around.
We went to the beach to meet up with two other people from Yongin. You can buy a phone charm that subways/buses/even taxis can read, and so I tried to get the blue Hello Kitty riding a cloud, but it was sold out. I had to settle on a heart (lame) The beach was really nice, and the water was freezing…so much worse then the Atlantic.

After dinner, we were exhausted so we called it a night. Back at the hostel, there was a gathering of the Random Peoples Assoc. We had a German in his blue plaid underwear, a Canadian with his shirt off, a Frenchmen talking about headless chickens, and a former Russian who now lives in Colorado.

WEDNESDAY

The hostel boasts a “complimentary breakfast” on its website, so we were very excited to have that included. And disappoint it did not. After my two pieces of toast I was ready to carpe diem. It was raining, so we decided to hit up the aquarium. This event did not disappoint. They have one of those aquarium tunnels you can walk under, with sharks, tortoses, big fish, and baby hammerhead sharks. Some of the sharks really needed Invisalin.

After lunch we headed to Shinsegae, which at one point was the Guinness book record holder for biggest mall in the world. Becky and I stopped in a photo booth to snap some photos. All I know is, asian photo booths are way better then the ones in the states…
We decided to get dinner near our hostel at this Latin American Restaurant.

On the photo, the nacho platter was a heaping plate of nachos. In reality it was 17 individually prepared chips with a marinara type sauce, some cheese, an olive slice, and honey mustard sauce. I think they think it looked yellow so people thinks its cheddar cheese, but we knew…. we knew….

THURSDAY

We decided to go to the the Mt. Kumjeong Fortress. To get there you have to go up a cable car. There are a lot of trails you can walk. We were in a time crunch, so we walked to the south gate and had to head back. We didn’t get to snack on goat meat and makgeolli- which is a milky rice wine in the villages like I wanted… so I guess I have to go back 🙂

Gyeongju

FRIDAY

We decided to explore Namsan which is a mountain area with a lot of hiking trails. We started at the burial mounds of three kings called Sam Neung, and went up from there. We went as far as the hermitage, before the heat and humidity wore us down.

It was not a pleasant easy going hike. It was very steep and almost completely uphill for over a mile. There were also a lot of rocks/boulders you had to watch out for. Along the trail were detours to see Buddhas carved into the rocks.
We found a Korean BBQ place with english writing and decided to eat there for dinner.
When the meal was almost over, the man who was eating with the owners turned around and started talking to us in a very loud voice. The lady who owns the place said he was outraged that we weren’t served rice, even though we declined when she offered. He (being a true Korean) thinks rice should be served – no questions asked- with every meal. He even told us (after he found out we were from the states) that although we like bread, rice is better.
He got us a tofu soup which was delicious. When we were going to leave, he insisted that Lauren and I take a photo in front of the restaurant. Well, I of course insisted that he be in it with us. After taking the picture he told me he thought I was prettier than Brooke Shields. Random celebrity to choose, but I thanked him profusely and told him I thought he was very handsome. Then he told us that he considered us to be sincere friends, and threw me some Korean gang signs (a heart)
SATURDAY
We went to Bulguksa Temple. After a 40 minute bus ride from hell, we arrived at our destination. It is a huge compound with pagodas, temples, and a nice park. It was built in 751 and restored in the 1970’s.