Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Birthday FUN! :)

This is where we went for part of my Birthday (private Karaoke bar downtown)- picture on left (paragraph 1)

This is the Abalone (Korean delicacy)- shell fish- picture to the right (paragraph 2)

Hello all! last time we chatted I was stuck in my dress and preparing for a Birthday celebration. I must say... it was a LOVVVEELY B-day weekend! All the American teachers took me out for a wonderful Birthday evening. We ate dinner at nice place where we had shabu shabu (a delicious soup for the table to share filled with a variety of vegetables- mushrooms, onions, grass-like something.. etc. once the veggies marinate the broth, thinly sliced pork is added)- it sounds boring but it was very tasty! After dinner we went to a Nori (karaoke) bar. We went into this neat building downtown where we were then taken to a private room over looking all the pretty lights/scandalousness of city. This room was very cool... there was a big screen T.V. where we sang karaoke, a big round table where we drank soju (Korean liquor) and mikjew (beer) and our own private bathroom. They brought us complimentary snacks which consisted of some random Korean goodies- cold noodles, shrimp, fish rolls, Korean meatballs, and some delicious fruits. After a couple hours we left and went to "Bubble" bar.. "Bubble" is one of the foreign bars where lots of people go- very fun! The music is great and the company is even better! I met some very nice people in my drunken state and made sure to do a lot of dancing! Not only are there a good amount of Americans at "Bubble" but there are a lot of Canadians, Australians, Hawaiians, and of course, Koreans. I actually met a very nice guy from Hawaii named Pico.. too bad he's leaving this week! For some odd reason he had this strange obsession with my teeth (hmmm... never heard this before, maybe its good that hes leaving haha)! The night went on and I finally made it home around 4:30 A.M. (this was early compared to what time all my friends got home... remember, bars stay open until 7 A.M.).

Saturday night.... with some friends, went to dinner at this really neat Pirate ship restaurant. The restaurant is near a giant pond/park where there is a really pretty light show on the water every night at 8- we watched before we went into the restaurant. So, at dinner we ordered one of Korea's delicacies- Abalone (a large shell fish). The abalone came to the table alive and was placed on the grill. As picky as i'm NOT, this weirded me out only because I sat there watching the shell fish reaching out of their shells, squirming all around. Once the grill was turned on they really started reaching but then finally started shriveling up to die. The waiter came and cut them up and I tried them. They really didn't have much flavor and honestly I could not get past the fact that I just watched them moving all around. I had a couple bites but just continued to eat the Kim Chee and the seaweed soup... we left there, splitting this very expensive meal. That night we went to a few foreign bars and had a really good time. I made it home around 5 and then got up at 9 for the most intense hike of my like.. Ohhhh my GOD!

So, Laura, Michael and I took a subway to a town about 45 min away where we attempted to climb Muend Mt. (a famous mountain in Korea where many wealthy people are buried in beautiful tombs). Once we got there, we checked out the maps and decided to take the easiest trail (it was our first time, we were running of a few hours of sleep and we had been drinking all weekend, we didn't need anything too exciting). Finally, an hour passed and we found what we thought was the simple trail. We began this intense hike ... 45 min later after Laura and I were about dead and our legs were eaten up by mosquitos, we decided we HAD to turn back! On our way back down the mountain we ran into some locals who told Michael that we were most definitely not on the easy trail.. in fact, we were on the most difficult trail in the town... so difficult, it is not even marked on any maps--- WOW, thanks Michael haha! Good workout! Let me tell you this before I move on... did you know, Koreans DO NOT sweat!!! SERIOUSLY! Here Laura and I are just dripping sweat, shirts are wet, smelly... you get the point, while Michael and every other local on the trail is just chillin, not sweatin a drop! Koreans do not even wear deodorant, they don't need it because they really don't sweat! I can not get over this.. I made sure to bring a lot of deodorant over here- I don't want to be the smelly girl!

This weekend is still going and I am exhausted at this point.... So, it's Sunday now- we got free tickets to the KIA Tigers baseball game (this is like MLB baseball)! It was really fun seeing the Gwangju Tigers play and just seeing what it's like to be at a baseball game in Korea. I love that you can take all your own food and beverages into the game... can you imagine taking a case of beer and a couple of pizzas into an American baseball game -pretty cool!

This week has been pretty crazy and its only Tuesday... almost Wednesday! Like I have said before, the business aspect of this job is very different and new to me. I started teaching my first class (4th grade girls- Erica, Alice and Crystal)... it is surprising that most of the Korean kids at this school don't have Korean names.. maybe i'm missing something, hmm? Anyway, I love my class of girls, they are so sweet and extremely smart. Come September, I have 2 more classes.. one of my classes consists of Matt (the smartest kid at TN English)- he's a 5th/6th grader who is a genius.. it's beyond me why they are letting me be his teacher. I will definitely be brushing up on my facts, my grammar, my writing... everrrrrrything- I will let you know how it goes! My sister's good friend Amanda gave me a ton of packages of "silly bandz" to bring to Korea for the kids. I assumed they would already be very popular over here considering they are made in China but I was VERY wrong. GO Amanda for helping me start a new trend in Korea... my kids loveeeeee the silly bandz and thanks to you I have a ton to hand out!

I know I said there was no cheese here but Laura and I found some at the Lotte Mart (like a Walmart buy way better) yesterday. We got velveeta cheese slices (like 8 bucks for 30 slices...kinda pricy but worth it) came home and made the most amazing grille cheeses of all time! Maybe they are only amazing because they are like home to me... that's ok :) !!!

Korean Facts... Korean Randomness...

-All the apartments at TN English have fingerprint entrances, this is so wonderful! Not only this but I can see who is at the door on a video screen when they ring the bell.
- NO tipping.. NO tax! This is even more wonderful, although I do feel extremely weird when I leave a restaurant and I don't tip... it's considered rude to tip!
- Korea has McDonalds, (they deliver with no charge.. it's delicious, I've already tried a big mac) Baskin Robins, Dominoes and Dunkin Donuts.
- Ramon noodles are all the rage here. People eat them like they are going out of style. In the stores, there are whole isles and more filled with different kinds of Raman (they are kind of expensive too, not like in America where you pay 10 cents for a bag).
- NO trash cans.. this drives me crazy!!!!!! Anywhere you go.. on the street, you will never find a trash can. People just throw trash on the ground and it is swept up every day.
- You could have guessed this but Korean women, especially between the ages of 16 and 45 (random guess) wear crazzzzy high, high heels. My friends told me they even wear them when there is a foot of snow on the ground. At the baseball game there was women in raggedy jean shorts and T-shirts and they even had on the dressiest, tallest high heels. More power to them but it's just crazy to me!
- In the middle of a park or even walking through the middle of downtown there will be a tree or two and some work out equipment... I think it's great! I need to take advantage of this!!!!
- In some women's bathroom, be sure to grab your toilet paper before you head into the stall... in a lot of public stalls, there is only one roll of toilet paper and its outside the stalls! I have finally gotten used to this haha!
- On an average, there are only 8 murders a year in the whole country of South Korea but there are a ton (don't have an exact number) of suicides. The reason there are so many suicides is because the Koreans keep to themselves.. they keep all their feelings bottled in (stress, anxiety, pain, fear)- causing them to eventually kill themselves. In the Korean culture people hardly ever complain, they don't get angry or start fights/arguments in public like they do in America. It's no wonder why there are so many suicides.. sad!
Once again, a novel.. until next time.. all my love :)

p.s... as you can see I figured out how to get my pictures up- check out the last 2 blogs, I added pictures :)

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