Saturday, April 26, 2008

Sunday morning

It definitely turned out to be a good weekend. Friday I had tonkatsu(a popular Japanese dish, fried pork) and had a nice walk looking for a coffee shop with my friend Mikyung. It started raining so we ended up just going to the coffee shop in front of Homeplus(a Korean walmart-type place)

Saturday morning I got up a little early(9am) to go to Lottemart and pick up some stuff. I was able to find most of what I needed, but I ended up with this toothpaste that taste like hospitals. Then I got my hair cut and my shoes shined and headed up to Gangnam(Seoul). The free Korean lesson was... challenging, as usual. Then I met up with the English club for dinner, we had some different kinds of maki (Japanese california rolls).

I was a little disappointed nobody was up for drinks, but I headed back to Suwon to have some drinks with Namu. As soon as I got there, we got back on the subway and headed back up to Seoul... long story... but we met up with some of his co-workers for drinks and a noraebang(karaoke room). We stayed out until morning, when Namu and his crew had to start their 4 hour ride down to Busan to do some filming. I got to meet a popular Korean TV star, and she gave me some bottled water that has her picture on it. Then they dropped me off in Suwon and I took about an hour on buses to figure out how to get back to my apartment. It was about 7am by the time I got to sleep, so I had a nice sleep until about 2. Today will be pretty lazy, my students have exams this week so I don't have to prepare a lecture (assa!)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

tak-gu = ping-pong

Pretty eventful weekend, no good pictures though.

Friday I went to a swanky 'naitu'(Korean night club). It was pretty fun, and the music was ok. Saturday I played takgu with my coworker and some of the students, which was pretty embarrassing but still fun. Then I went up to Seoul for a Korean lesson and met up with the English club briefly. Sunday I went back up to Gangnam for lunch at a nice sushi restaurant then to a movie. We saw Taken, which was pretty good, exciting even though it was an old guy doing all kinds of James Bond stuff. Then I came back into Suwon and had dinner at a nice traditional Korean restaurant I'd been meaning to go to. It's on my way to work, so every morning I stare across the street at it, but I never had a chance to go in.

Today I'll go to Muay Thai practice, and then supposedly there's a nice jimjilbang(public bath) nearby that I should go to. I may just end up napping... Classes have been pretty rough. Between not understanding and general noisiness. It's the week before midterms though, so I shouldn't expect much.

Friday, April 18, 2008

08 - week8s2

That's how I title my file folders on my computer, in an attempt to keep organized. After next week I have a nice bit of a break, the students start midterms April 28th. Couldn't have come too soon, since I've been given a few extra tasks this week. On top of my extra class, I have to prepare 20 posters to decorate the school with English. I'll also need to prepare a 50 question quiz, as some students will be selected to take part in a city wide English competition in May.

Outside of school has been pretty successful this week, so it should be a pretty busy weekend. Tomorrow morning I'll be playing ping-pong with some of my co-workers, which will potentially be pretty embarrassing, but fun. Then the usual Korean lesson and meeting with the English club in Seoul. Sunday I may try out another Korean lesson offered at a Buddhist temple nearby. Fortunately I got most of my lesson for next week planned out already, which is unusual, so I wont have to worry about getting things together so much Sunday night.

I've had a couple good chats with some Korean friends on the Korean messenger service NateON. Occasionally I can manage to speak in Korean, which is pretty fun.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


I haven't written for a while, mainly because at school my internet connection was blocking this site. But I'll try and give a quick update on the past... 4 months?

January - Philippines - dirty, lovely, romantic, confusing...
February - Japan - Expensive
March - New classes - 1st grade fun and loud, 2nd grade fun, 3rd grade uninterested.
April - Extra class - Amazing. Only 22 students, most of them interested, no real troublemakers.

That pretty much sums up the big events for each month.
Some underlying events:

Meeting with my Korean friend Namu's English club, making new friends and getting perspectives on Korean politics and sociology from natives.
Weekend jam sessions that have gone really well and fairly regularly.
A few dates...
Talking with Koreans in Korean a little more regularly.
Started Muay Thai last month, still pretty exhausting but I can tell I'm getting a little better.

Last weekend I had a lot of fun with the English club. We went on a retreat (they use the Konglish MT - Member Training) to Gapyeong, at a lot of food and played a lot of drinking games. Korean drinking games are pretty unique. Most of them require timing and reflexes, and a certain level of pain tolerance. Things get pretty crazy, I don't really know any American equivalents.

We had the day off yesterday, so I got to spend some time with my Korean friends, which is rare during the week because of their schedules. Korean work hours are typically 8am-8 or 9pm. But we went out for some naengmyeong(I had bulgogi instead), saw a movie "The Other Boleyn Girl", and went a fancy Italian restaurant for some wine afterwards. As for the day itself I got a lot done, some cleaning, some practice(Korean, bass, drawing, etc), and some extra sleep.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Long time

So it's been kind of a while since I updated this blog, whoops. Nothing too exciting has happened really. I've been spending a lot of weekends at home just kind of relaxing. Last weekend I went to Yeoju to see my friend's band play, which was fun. This weekend there's a Van Gogh show in Seoul I might go to. I should do some more planning for my winter camp though.

So my winter vacation is from December 29th to February 11th. It was going to be from January 5th to the 11th, but some things worked out and I can teach my winter camp during the week of the 17th, when a bunch of the kids will be at English institutes elsewhere. I'm looking forward to seeing some more of the country in the first couple weeks, then I'll be doing some international travel afterwards.

I'm looking at going to the Philippines with some people toward the end of January, which will be fun. We've got a nice hotel for pretty cheap, and just found a cheap flight. We'll be there two weekends, so I think we'll have plenty of time to do some fun stuff. The fellow who has family in the Philippines has been doing most of the planning, but I hope to get a travel guide soon so I can pick out some spots that would be good for me.

Then I'll meet up with a friend from the US in Japan early in February. I might end up going a little early so I can tour the country a bit and get the most out of the two week rail pass I'll have to buy(for about $400). I need to study up on my kanji though, so it will be a little easier to get around. But I'm excited about the trip, I've wanted to go to Japan for so long it's hard to believe I'm only months away. Even if it turns out to be a horrible place, I'm sure I'll still be happy to be there.

So I'm thinking about those plans a lot, more than I should be. I still have to prepare for two more weeks of lectures and the winter camp. But I've gotten a little better about lesson planning, and teaching has been a lot less stressful lately. I've kind of relaxed my noise restrictions a bit, and let the students who talk in the back talk as much as they want. I just make sure they're quiet enough that the ones with desire to learn can still hear me. Even this can get out of control in some of my 2nd grade classes, but for the most part it's been pretty good. I just have to remember that I'm an assistant teacher and don't really have that much authority over them anyway. Also if I waste too much class time trying to get the groups of noisy people in line, the students who want to learn are going to suffer.

The picture is of construction on the subway line that's going to have a stop right outside my apartment. Unfortunately it wont be done until 2010, so even though I have to endure the noise at 3am on Sunday mornings I wont be able to reap the benefits. But it's kind of a pretty picture isn't it? I was hoping to catch it when the sun was a little less bright but in the same position, sometimes it's a really nice red. But this worked out I think.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Sunday Update

It's been a while since I've updated. I was having some trouble getting blogger to accept my photos for some reason. I hadn't done much the past couple weekends anyway, but this weekend was pretty good.

Friday - I had a good Korean lesson after work. My tutor says she learns enough English teaching me Korean that we'll be able to spend most of the time on Korean, meaning I get 4 hours of Korean instead of 2. After that I came back to Suwon, did a little Noraebanging(Karaoke room) for a friend's birthday.

Saturday - I meant to go see my student's festival, but I slept in. I went to the music store in Seoul again with a friend. We each got a acoustic guitars, then went to Cheongnam stream and jammed for a bit. I might go back next weekend, and maybe Yongsan too.

Sunday - I got to meet my co-teachers family, which was interesting. Her sister lives with her now, who was friendly and speaks a lot of English. Her two sons, who both speak Japanese, and I talked with the eldest one(about 19) about anime and computers a bit. I think he tried to sell me his laptop... But I may have misinterpreted that. Then we went hiking on a "small" mountain. It was a good hike, very pretty with the leaves all changing color. There were a couple spots coming down that I slipped cause of the leaves, but nothing serious. Then we had some salmon at her apartment and I came back.

Hopefully I'll get to go hiking again before it gets too cold, I need to bring my camera along sometime to take some pictures. Tomorrow we're heading to the coast in the afternoon for a place that specializes in what I think is rock bass(she called it rock fish), so that should be a good meal. I still have some more lesson planning to do tonight, so I should get to work.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Second Hongdae visit

After learning a little from our mistakes of the previous weekend, which involved standing around for hours, we(the Madison group) were able to do a little more exploring Friday night in Hongdae. Once everybody got the subway station went to eat, split off and went to some bars, then met up at another bar. I think that's probably the best course of action, to split up into smaller groups, it's hard to get 13 people to all do the same thing. Plus it's a lot less conspicuous.

We slept at the bath house, which was more like what I expected it to be like before I got here than what people seemed to say it was like. It was nice to take a shower and get a couple hours of rest, before heading around Hongdae for more shopping Saturday.

We were able to find a nice music shop in Jongpo(very close to Hongdae). It was a lot like Yongsan, with about 50 music shops all competing. I found a good accoustic/electric bass for $300(originally $455) with a little haggling, but I probably could have done better with a little more effort. It's a good bass though, I don't think I could have gotten it in the US for any cheaper. I was able to bust it out and play randomly when we were stopped a couple times shopping, which was fun and didn't seem to bother anybody.

I took the subway back around 5, got back around 7:30, and slept from 10:30pm-10:00am. A good weekend overall I think.