Monday, October 18, 2010

Good Bye Yellow Haired Emilie

1: "Happy Day" machine in the love motel (I can't imagine what your thinking now.. just wait till you read the 2nd to last paragraph)
2: Calgook soup- cutting squid
3: What each "couple" got at the love motel (the couple's love pack)
4: The Kindergarten, some English staff, some Korean staff and myself at Family Land

What an eventful week its been… although its Monday now, i'm referring to last week (you know how I do).

On Tuesday, I volunteered to go on the Kindergarten field trip. I never get a chance to hang out with the little kids and I love them, especially these guys. They are sooo freaking cute and hilarious! At 9 a.m. we all met in the lobby of TN English. There is only 3 classes, each consisting of 4 to 6 students. We took one of the TNE busses to Family Land.. what a place this was. It looked like some sort of run down amusement park built in the late 80's, early 90's. I could just imagine a scary movie taking place here. It didn't help that there were scream masks being sold so tons of kids were running around with masks on and holding plastic machetes! Luckily it was a sunny day so the scary atmosphere wasn't too realistic. We started off in the amusement park and let the kids ride a few rides. We saw a creepy puppet show that was all in Korean and later ate lunch while watching Beauty and the Beast, the play in Korean (it's not the same when Bell is a Korea). The Korean staff finally let us teachers go off on our own to ride two rides (thank god, I really needed to get my fair fix). We rode a somewhat decent roller coaster and a really fun bob sled ride… I laughed the entire time while Alicia, who was sitting next to me, closed her eyes and prayed that we wouldn't die.. haha! I didn't tell her this but I'll admit, part of me thought our sled was going to fly half way across the park and land in the tigers cage.. we survived, and just in time to take the kiddies to see the animals. Did I always think that zoos were sooo incredibly depressing??? If I didn't before I came here, well I sure as hell do now. It was so sad to see all the pretty birds flying around in circles in their tiny netted cages. You know how I told you that there is really no wild life, other than the rat I saw a few weekends ago…well, it was pretty funny to see that they had a variety of different ducks and geese in their zoo when in America, all you have to do is take a walk to the nearest pond and there ya go! I explained to the kids that we see see animals all the time… they were just beside themselves. I love how we are constantly amazing each other with the details of our own cultures.

On Thursday my Liazon/boss/friend, Michael took me to the phone store so that I could put more minutes on my phone- prepaid phone. We went on such a nice little walk. On the way to the phone store, which was really close, (at most, a 20 minute walk) he showed me where the dry cleaners is located and where a decent gym is (I am hoping to join there once the weather is just unbearably cold to jog in)… who knows though, maybe i'll tough it out! As directionally challenged as I am, I am kinda proud of myself for knowing as much as I do (I miss my GPS and my car).

work…. where do I begin… i'm still apart of this so-called research team but, this week they decided to pull me away from the team for a little while and use me for something that i'm good at. Since my passion is art and I taught Kindergarten for a year, they thought I would be a good person to re-write the art curriculum for the Kindergarten aged students. YES…. oh man was I excited! Wait… I should have known better. What they wanted me to do was copy an already made curriculum but to just change it around and dumb it down for Kindergarteners… they always take the easy way out (not my style) and then call it their on. I did a few lessons of this and realized it was more work because it was so difficult that dumbing it down for younger students just meant more preparation work for the teacher. Plus, the lesson's content was not at a Kindergarten level… what are they thinking!!!!!!! Tonight (Monday), I sat down with management and talked them into letting me create my very own art curriculum. How exciting would it be to create an art curriculum based around themes and seasons… DUH (I know, all my teacher friends are saying, YESSS- we do this all year long and with everything we teach- INTEGRATE, INTEGRATE, INTEGRATE… see, finally I am using what I learned in school). The kids will be way more excited to discuss Halloween and participate in a Halloween craft rather than do some random higher level activity on lines, movement and space. I am excited to create lessons that integrate the holiday/seasonal culture of America… after all, we are an English school. The Koreans are always more into quickness, rather than quality. It's no wonder they are always changing things. I hope that I can create a wonderful Kindergarten Art curriculum that they will keep and have for years to come.

Ohhh thank you.. it's Friday. Laura and I finally got a chance to test out our new soccer ball. AHHHhh, I sure did miss soccer. We had a blast playing around, dribbling, shooting, passing… great work out! We had the field all to ourselves and the best part was… it was somewhat dark which meant we were't getting the usual stares. It was a good thing too because I lack ball skills… that's why I was always a defender haha!

Ryan's birthday was on Saturday so Laura and I went on a search for cookie mix Friday night. I get such a kick out of these random adventures. Can you imagine two American girls in the grocery store, racking their brains trying to figure out what is what. I mean really, we stood in one isle for at least 15 minutes trying to decide what was baking soda. It's pretty much trial and error. We could have been buying some type of white fish powder… who the hell knows! The powder we got ended up being just what we thought, well, hoped… baking powder, good thing!

So… speaking of trial and error… I had my own little adventure this past Saturday morning. So let me just explain real quick the background/reasoning of this scenario: In April, my roommate in college got me this so-called natural highlighter. It was something you sprayed in your hair before you laid in the sun… it was a blonde booster (it was supposed to take out the brassy blonde and leave the pretty blonde)- Ohhh my god what a mistake. I didn't notice that it had been dying my hair until my natural blonde started to fade out and my roots were my winter color (very dirty blonde). I don't like roots, I really missed the all-one natural color. I couldn't take it anymore , I had to do something about it.. I felt like a lie haha! On Saturday morning my Liazon took me to a very nice hair place at the mall. I got the stylist to dye all my hair the color of my roots. Now, it's not the prettiest color but it's more realistic than the brightttt ass blonde that I had before. It's kind of a dirty, ashy blonde/brown but I like it better! I have never gotten my hair dyed before so I don't really know what it entails in America but the way they did it here was really strange. The funniest part about my whole hair experience was the other people in the place. People over here all have stick straight hair… I didn't realize this until just recently. All the people that you see whose hair is wavy or curly…. which is actually a lot, it's not real… it's a perm (they say, perma). I'm not just talking about girls but tonsssss of guys (they are all very metro-sexual here) and kids. In the couple of hours that I was there I watched 3 kids, 1 woman and 2 men get perms.

The best part of my weekend was Saturday night/Sunday… I went to a town called Daejon with a couple of friends (Laura, Ryan and John) for a Rock Festival. This town is about 2 hours north of Gwangju which meant we had to take a bus. We left around 5 p.m. on Saturday and got into Daejeon around 7. We went right to the festival which was located right along a really pretty river. They had hot air balloon rides and hang gliding all day until about 9 p.m.. The festival was so much fun… it was mostly foreigners so I enjoyed meeting lots of new people. The food was delicious and the music was great! I ended up finding some friends I know that are from Cheongju and others from Gwangju. Also, I finally met up with a guy that I know from Raleigh. I have been emailing/facebooking him since I found out I was going to S.Korea. He is friends with some guys I worked with this summer at the pool. Originally, I was supposed to be living in Cheongju which is where he lives. When my plans got changed I thought I wouldn't ever meet up with him but luckily I found him and some of his Raleigh buddies at the festival.. good times! Did I mention, the beer was rather yummy as well… once again, another Saturday night of drinking… drunk, gone! The festival was supposed to go until 5 a.m. but, and this is why the foreigners get such a bad rap… they were throwing bottles, knocking over tables , chairs, etc… just stupid and reckless! I wasn't one of these people, actually I was so enthralled in the music, friends and alcohol… I did't notice this recklessness! The shut the festival down around 1 a.m... UGH! We could have gone out to bars but the alcohol has gotten the best of us if you know what I mean.

So, where do you stay in a town that you don't know anyone… of course, you go to a love motel. Did I tell you about these love motels? Well if so, i'm sorry… if not then here ya go… typically these are motels that men take their mistresses or their whores/hookers/booty calls, whatever… you get the idea. You can tell that a building is a love motel because in it's parking lot/garage it has a special little awnings that hangs down to disguise the cars. When I hear the words "love motel", I think run down and trashy. Ohhhh wow was I wrong.. these places are like a mix between an elegant hotel room and a nice little bed and breakfast. Don't get me wrong.. it's got a hint of sleaziness here and there, for example: the "happy day" machine in the lobby that was full of a variety of different sex toys and dildos, and the couple packages for each room that had the following items: 2 toothbrushes, a razor, 2 condoms, shampoo/conditioner, massage cream/ KY jelly, and some type of "love brochure"- it was all in Korean so I couldn't read it. The four of us just wanted to pass out for the cheapest price but that was not going to happen. Since this was a love motel, I think the man at the front desk wanted to make sure we were all going to be making love.. ahha! We had planned on getting one room but that just wasn't an option. He made us get 2 separate rooms… that, for some reason were very far away from each other…oh well! The walls of this entire place were brick… no sound was getting through those- i'm assuming that was the point. When we got in the room we tried to watch a little TV before going to sleep…but, can you guess what was on every channel… yes, PORN! What an experience that was!

Sunday morning, John (he used to live in Daejeon a few years ago) took us to one of his favorite restaurants. We ate such a delicious soup, it was called calgook. We got a giant bowl of this soup for the table and we all shared it (that's how most things work in Korea… if you don't like to share then it's not a good country for you). The soup was a clear, chicken-like flavored broth with herb noodles, whole squids, millions of clams and shrimp. Like a lot of Korean dishes (especially kimchee) you use scissors to cut things up. While cutting these big squid, John explained to us that women generally do the cutting when they are with their families. If it is just a group of friends, it doesn't matter who does the cutting but if a girl is on a date or with her spouse then she cuts. This is an interesting way to see if someone is one a date… check out who is cutting the kimchee.

It's been a long one… i'll save my "Korean Facts/Randomness" for next time ;)

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