Sunday, June 29, 2008

Chinese Medicine

Very EXPENSIVE Chinese Medicine (~$150 for 10 days worth). Muscle relaxant, pain killer, and I'm not sure what else.Kinda looks a little like rabbit poop, does it not?

Friday, June 27, 2008


Last weekend I went on a river rafting trip with a few friends from work. We went on an arranged tour that included bus, lunch, rafting, and a BBQ afterwards (check the Facebook group EXCITING LIFE in DYNAMIC KOREA).It was great fun... well, most of it. I was sick on the bus on the way to Hantan, but was fine by the time we got there. Lunch was a sort of boxed lunch of either rice with bulgogi or rice with a few bits of misc. fried meats (chicken, pork cutlet, etc). Then we got all dressed up and ready to go... Or so we thought. We ended up standing around in our rafting gear for who knows how long. We were waiting for buses to come to pick us up. and waiting. and waiting. and waiting.[pic taken while waiting... borrowed from EXCITING LIFE IN DYNAMIC KOREA.]
Finally 2 little buses came and we all piled in, bumping helmets and paddles the whole way. The bus ride to the starting point was about 30 minutes or so (maybe??).
Once at the river, we split up into 3 groups of ~12 people. At least one Korean speaker had to be in each boat to translate as the rafting guides had limited English abilities. We got our group organizer in our boat. We were the "Blue Team" due to the fact that our helmets were blue. We recruited a few guys to join us. Our rafting guide was Alex. There is some discussion as to how we got him. It is said that we picked him. I have also heard that he picked us... will add more to this later, possibly.[pic taken by Tom, posted on facebook and the previously mentioned Facebook group site]
The rafting was excellent. With some white water stretches and some smoother waters (of which some we floated, some we paddled and some we had water fights with other boats), it was both exciting and relaxing. I'm thinking that it is quite possible that our boat ride was the most interesting with one of the girls providing entertainment most of the way. She was flirting mercilessly with Alex, who didn't quite understand all that was said (which is perhaps why she said as much as she said). We all had a great time, though. And she did eventually get pushed off the boat. :P
After the last dangerous stretch, all 3 boats pulled over to a little sandy beach to take a break and enjoy the water. We went sort-of swimming (with lifejackets and helmets still on), and also did some sliding off the bottom of an overturned boat. I'll probably have a scar left from that, as my ankle got a bit scratched on the bottom (the seams? the sand?). I didn't even notice until I was back on the beach watching the sliding and the blood running down my foot was brought to my attention. Oh well. All in good fun.
When we all got back into our boats to move on, the other 2 boats took off and we noticed that we had an extra helmet in our boat all of a sudden, and one less paddle. WHAT? How did that happen? Needless to say, it was decided that our flirting friend would be the one without a paddle. She moved up to the front to make a few poses and cause more laughter. It was sometime around then that she was pushed off. She loved it. Especially when Alex pulled her out of the water (though the under-straps of the lifejacket got a tad uncomfortable).
On the boat ride, my friends and I tried to convince Alex to join us afterwards to share some maekju (beer) and soju. Unfortunately, he still had work to do. We found out that he is from Jamsil, which is fairly close to Apgujeong, so we said he should meet up with us back in Seoul.
Once the boys from our boat carried our boat up the slope to the buses, I got Alex's number and we all piled back into the little buses and headed back to our end point, where our tour bus was parked and where our BBQ and drinks were waiting.
The BBQ was great. The maekju and soju were great, too. :) I'm not even sure how much was drunk. What ever was left was shoved into bags and taken onto the bus for the 2 hour ride back to Seoul. Needless to say the ride back to Seoul was quite different from the one to Hantangang. I cut myself off at on point, but my friends kept on. Not the best move, as a few of them don't remember much after that point.
Once back in Seoul, some of us headed to a rooftop for some more drinks and a little rooftop party. It was good but short lived. Then eventually the remaining 2 of us went out with a trio of Koreans (one was her boyfriend, the other two were his friends) for some noraebang. Gotta love the Korean singing rooms. :D
I guess I could mention that while my friend (who actually has a boyfriend) was flirting with Alex, he had his eyes on me... Anyway, I sent him a message while on the bus, and he responded fairly quickly. We had an ongoing text msg conversation for the rest of the evening. He then came into Seoul on Sunday evening just to meet up with me for a drink. We sat at a soju tent restaurant talking (with a lot of help from his Korean-English dictionary that he stopped in Suwon to pick up). I think I got home at around 5 or 5:30 Monday morning, only to have to be at work at 9. For those that know me on Facebook, that kinda explains the whole "is TIRED" thing. He went all the way back to Hantangang Monday morning, as he is training other rafting guides this week. Normally he lives in Suwon and works a a personal trainer and PE teacher during the week.
To see more pics, check out the Facebook group I linked to above.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


The school is switching the teachers for the afterschool classes. At first I was to swap classes with another teacher - same level, but slightly lower (grade 1 advanced English). I wasn't happy about that as I LOVE my class. My kids are fantastic. Of course the fact that there are only 3 of them helps, but even when there were 8 of them, they were great. The class dynamic was perfect. Even the supervisor sometimes sat in my room doing her work because she loved listening to us talking. We would get things done so quickly and efficiently that we almost always had time to do other things such as learn songs, card games, memory games, talking games, etc. We'd often work on pronunciation, making even that a bit of a game. The kids love my class. :) They are VERY unhappy about having a new teacher. A lot of parents aren't happy, either. The other day my kids were saying the'd write a hundred letters to try to keep me as their teacher. :) They are so sweet!!!
Then they changed it again. Instead of my swapping classes, they're giving me an all new class. They all of a sudden have a whole bunch of 5 and 6 year olds signing up for after school classes and needed to move one of the teachers to teach them. Since my class was so small, they just combined them and the other class (which the parents are REALLY NOT impressed with). The school decided I'd be a much better teacher for the little ones (compared to the other teacher of my class' level) so that's that.
In some ways it's good for me. It means I finish teaching at 2:30 on Fridays rather than 4:30, and I don't have summer intensives to teach (working to 6 instead of 4:30) as they are only for the grade 1 classes. But now Mondays and Wednesdays I have a class of eight 5 year olds (Korean age 5, so normal age 3 going on 4) and Tuesdays and Thursdays I have a class of eleven 6 year olds (actual age 4 going on 5). A lot of work. I won't have all of the tests and writing assignments to mark, but I will have to make the lesson plans and write report cards every month rather than every 2 months. I guess it is a toss up. But I'd rather just keep my class. :( I'm going to miss them. They're going to miss me. :( Oh well.

Sunday, June 22, 2008


How I love signage in Korea.If you don't get what we found interesting enough to stop to take a picture, check out the little people on the sign. Hmmm. Hand placement.

pink hummer

The Hummer is uncommon in Korea to begin with. Cars of any color other than black, white or grey are uncommon. A PINK HUMMER? Kinda like it. :)Gotta love Apgujeong!!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Muuido, again.

A couple of weeks ago I finally made it back to Muuido. For the past few years, friends of mine have planned a big end of May trip to the island. I went a couple of years ago and loved it. Then last year I was unable to due to a sick rabbit. :SThis year it was a group of over 50 going (though it sort of broke off into smaller groups, of course). It was perfect weather for the beach, at up around 28 C.Muuido isn't really a swimming beach, as it is pretty much all tidal flats. Yes, you can swim, but when the tides are in, it doesn't get very deep, and when the tide is out, you've got to walk a mile to get to the water.During the day, Koreans are out digging for clams and snails and little crabs that were everywhere. It is a great place, though, to lounge around on the sandy beach enjoying the sunshine and friends.You can also ride a horse around the beach for 5000 Won, or ride an ATV around the other end of the beach.Jared is always great at planning things (and a handy car) and so we had food for the entire time. For lunch, grilled chicken kebabs. For dinner, barbecued steak (sandwiches, if desired), sausages, salad, potatoes, etc. For breakfast, bacon, eggs, sausages, coffee (thanks to David), donuts, etc. At night after dinner, a pit was dug and a fire built. I love bonfires. Everyone sat around the fire or stood nearby talking, drinking,roasting toes, roasting marshmallows, burning marshmallows (one Korean girl had never roasted marshmallows before and doesn't like marshmallows, but loves burning them!).David had a great idea of giving people shots.... from a watergun. He spent almost the entire evening perfecting his aim (though he still missed every now and then).We had some entertainment in the form of one of the guys tossing knives and flames around - a hobby like juggling is a great thing to pull out at a bonfire.The next morning, we had a huge breakfast and then everyone did their own thing. Some packed up and left, some took naps on the beach, some hiked out across the flats to take a dip, some wandered about the beach and the tidal flats.Eventually it was time to pack up and head back to reality. The trip out to the island and back into the city kinda sucks. The length of time really depends on timing. To get there, you take an airport bus to the International airport and then catch a bus to the ferry. The airport buses run every 20 minutes and can take up to an hour (or more?) to get to the airport. Then the bus to the ferry runs only once an hour, at 20 past the hour. If you miss that, you've got a long wait. It is possible to catch a taxi, but it costs 10000 won for only a five minute drive. Worth it if there are a few of you. The ferry across takes about 20 minutes. Then you catch an island bus to the beach.Waiting for the ferry, David decided to try the little shellfish that were being sold and bought a bag. A couple of others tried with him. The verdict - he said they were okay but kind of tasteless. I say no thanks.