I told everyone I would go to Korea when I graduated. I wasn't lying. I hope you enjoy reading about my first adventure as an adult as much as I enjoy having it. (In case you were wondering, the title of the blog isn't an acronym for anything. It's from one of my favorite songs. See first post.)

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Happy Birthday, Buddah!

Because a good number of Koreans are Buddhists, schools close for Buddah's birthday, meaning we had a long weekend. We decided to go on some kind of trip. It started as a group of less than 10 of us, but (as always) grew to about 25. We decided to go to Geoje Island and rented a mini bus for our group.

This is what happens when you have too many friends...

The trip was pretty long, and longer than it should have been because of the traffic. We had a pretty good time on the bus though, playing 20 questions and whatnot. 

We stayed in a pension and had to get three separate rooms to fit everyone. It was a pretty nice place. Each room had a kitchen/living room area, a small deck and a bedroom upstairs. Of course most of us slept on mats on the floor. The people who ran it were super nice, too. They had an area with grills and picnic tables, so we bought our own food and barbecued both nights for dinner.

Some pictures of where we stayed.

View from the pension deck. 

The first day we just went into the little town area and to the pebble beach and walked around. One of the boys brought a football so we just kind of hung out and threw it around for a while. 

Pebble Beach

We also met this cute little family :)

That night, we went back to the pension and cooked our dinner and played some drinking games and stuff. We were thinking it would be super crazy with so many people, but it was actually pretty chill and easy. 

The next day, we all kind of split up. Some of us decided to go check out a place called "Windy Hill" that one of Laura's co-teachers recommended. When we got to the bus stop we were told it wasn't coming for another 2 hours or something ridiculous, so we decided to walk. It was a pretty long walk and uphill most of the way but, it actually wasn't that bad, and the place ended up being pretty cool.

If Dan's head wasn't in the way, you could see that the sign says "Windy Hill". 
(Meabh, Michelle, me, Dan)

 Some cute little buildings on the way.

Finally, we arrived!

When we got there, first we sat down at a little cafe outside a museum and had some coffee and snacks. Then we checked out some interesting statues and stuff outside the museum. We didn't actually go inside but the stuff outside was interesting enough...

The museum. That brown roof thing is where we had coffee.

Statues outside the museum.

After that, we saw some huge rock formations and people were climbing on and taking pictures and stuff, so we went over to check it out. It was actually one of our favorite parts of the trip. We could look out at the sea and we found a somewhat secluded part to just sit down and hang out for a while. 

Big rock formations.

Next we decided to go see the reason this place is even called "Windy Hill" in the first place: the windmill! It's actually pretty small but it was cute. Also, something about this place made it a goldmine for couples. Meabh likes to take pictures whenever she sees matching couples (which is something they do a lot in Korea) and she found so many here. 

Dan, me, Michelle, Laura, Meabh

Not a couple, but super cute!

After the windmill, we decided to head back- on the bus this time. It was a pretty short bus ride and we didn't have to wait TOO long (still kind of long though...). At night, we grilled food and everything pretty much the same as before. We played a few games again and Mina tried to teach us a new Korean game...it didn't really catch on...

Paudi, Sam, Mina

The next day, it was back to Daegu! We packed up, took a few pictures and got back on the bus. It didn't end up being the trip we had kind of expected (we were thinking more sunshine and sandy beaches) but it was actually a really good time and not as difficult to manage as we had expected with such a big group.

Goodbye Geoje!

(This song is actually in Japanese but the group is Korean, so it's still Kpop to me.)
Artist: Girls' Generation
Song: Love and Girls
Album: Girls & Peace
Released: November 2012

Sports Day/Teachers Day!

Every year, each school holds a "Sports Day". Also, something called "Teachers Day" happens every year. This year, they happened to be on the same day at my school.

During sports day, there are no classes and the students compete against other homeroom classes in their grade in events like relay races, three-legged race, jump roping, tug of war, etc. Also, for some reason, each class wears some sort of matching costume or outfit.

Toward the beginning. I think they were getting ready for jump roping.

Short clip of a three-legged race.

Some third grade (US 9th) students.

 Second grade student (US 8th). This picture was her idea...I don't know why she looks so miserable...

 Second grade students. I don't know why so many Korean girls cover their faces for pictures. 

 His homeroom teacher really wanted a picture of the back of my jersey (it's "April" spelled out in Korean).

Jessie Park (Park Jae-Eun). She's a first grade student (US 7th). She lived in the Philippines for a while so her English is really good. I spent a good amount of time sitting with her watching the games. I met her baby brother and her mom :P.

 The four in the middle are like my little fan club. (The two on the ends are their friends, but I don't see them very often and I don't know their names). Left to right the four are Sooyeon, Su-a, Yeojin and Dajung. They're all super sweet and funny. Su-a is the only one with any real English ability so she translates for the other three quite a bit. They're really mad at me for leaving and I'm going to miss them a ton!

Now, about Teachers Day. On this day, students give small gifts to teachers and some go back to their middle and elementary schools to visit old teachers. I got to talk to some of the previous third graders who are in high school now, which was pretty cool. 

 Su-a gave me a little flower with ribbons on it.

 Some girls who came back to visit from high school. The one on the right is Juhyeon. I don't remember the other one's name but they're both super nice and fun.

 Remember "Dongbyun Style" from a previous post? These are some of the stars who came back to visit, so they thought we should pose like this. 

My Teachers Day gifts!

Artist: TaeTiSeo
Song: Twinkle
Album: Twinkle
Released: April 2012

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Lunar New Year Festival

(Suuuuper late, I know. I think I'll just stop mentioning it.)

I don't know if everyone's seen this, but it's a bridge like right outside my apartment with a river running underneath it. Well, in the winter, there's not always water in this part of it. I'm not sure whether that's intentional or not.

The river during spring/fall/summer.

So anyway, one day I was on my way to have lunch with some friends when I saw this going on in the area in that picture. 

I showed it to my friends during lunch and one of them had remembered hearing about this ceremony that would be going on in a bunch of different places throughout the city (and I'm assuming, Korea). The ceremony is to celebrate the first full moon of the new year (정월 대보금 or jeongwol daeboreum – New Year Full Moon). They have a huge bonfire (달집 or dalchip – moon house) and it's supposed to burn away the bad luck from the previous year and bring good luck for the upcoming one. Also, people write wishes and tie them to the firewood, hoping that the burning will send them to heaven and they'll come true. 

My friends and I decided to go check it out. It was so close to my apartment, I'd hardly have been able to avoid it anyway. Also, I saw some students there which was cool because they were third graders (US-9th) and they were going to high school once school started up again, meaning I wouldn't teach them anymore.




They also played some drums and other instruments. 

And finally, the whole thing ended with a fireworks show. 

So yeah, basically it was just a cool random festival in my backyard. (Well, not completely random...but we didn't know we'd be attending an event that day.)

Don't worry, I haven't forgotten to add some Kpop! ;)

Song's called "Fire"...so yeah.

Artist: 2NE1
Song: Fire
Album: 2NE1 EP
Released: July 2009

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

My Only Chingu in Korea

I took my vacation earlier than most people so that it would line up with Annie's winter break. Because of that, all my friends were gone during pretty much the same two weeks. Luckily, my friend, Alicia, needed a babysitter for her kitten while she was gone. The kitten's name is Chingu (친구), which means friend in Korean. She was about 8 weeks old when I had her.

She was a bit of a handful but it was really fun having her around while everyone was gone. There's not a whole lot to say, so enjoy some pictures :).

I swear this was an accident...

I try to keep these somewhat to a theme...

Artist: Girls' Generation
Song: My Best Friend
Album: Hoot
Released: October 2010