Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Tomorrow is Chusok. Or as my Korean friends have roughly translated it for me "Korean Thanksgiving"

All I know is that I got the day off and a present from my director. Imitation SPAM and tuna fish.

And isn't as crazy as it sounds.

First over all, the traditional main course isn't Turkey. Why would it be...they love their pig, chicken, shrimp and squid here....ohhh and rice...they have rice or noodles with every noodles...but they are understandably short of American game birds in Asia. Their main dish is something called Seong pyang. Its a form of rice cake with things mixed in.

But every Korean housewife knows how to make this dish...and has their own special family recipe for making it. So the stores can't sell they come up with something else.

Second, SPAM is a luxury meat over here. I don't know why...but they are willing to pay a lot of extra money for something that, in my opinion, isn't worth it.

Finally, when you put 2 and 2 together...the stores inherit desire sell things...and a special holiday...well...what comes out is SPAM in a briefcase shape box.

Monday, September 28, 2009


Last weekend I went on a Korean Adventure...with a company ironically called Adventure Korea. They packed 2 buses filled with foreigners and headed to the Eastern half of the country.

I experienced a strange sensation once I was in the mountains...


I guess I've gotten used to the air the way it is...I forgot the way it should feel like.

The mountains are nice..but not very tall. Two hikes were was to the National Park's namesake...or to go to a second...shorter mountain. Well Soraksan had a Gondola going to the top. THAT'S NOT HIKING!!!

So I settled for the second tallest mountain....but the better hike... The hiking trail itself was quintessentially that I mean along the trail there were 3 minimarts, 4 restaurants, and a Buddhist monk at the top of the mountain selling beads.

The hike itself wasn't challenging until the last part...then came the stairs...lots of them...steep too. But even then...the air was so clean I practically flew up the stairs as my friends huffed and puffed away.

That night we wander around the tourist trap and entertained ourselves at the norebang (Korean Kareoke) and a jinjibang (Korean Spa)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The happiest place in Korea

The biggest amusemnt park in Korea is called Everland. It's a combination waterpark and theme park. Think Enchanted Village / Wild Waves combined with Disneyland done Korean style.

Me and my lotley crew of English teaching friends headed down early on Saturday....and went to the Caribean Bay first.

It's just a water park like all the others that I went to as a teenager. With one decernable difference...


Every slide in the park had at LEAST an hour line...some of them had 2 hour lines!!! Everything except the wave pool and the moat.

As patience is a virtue I've never quite had enough of, I started in one bored....moved to another line...managed to wait around long enough to actually go on one water slide...then I spent the rest of my time doing things that DIDN'T require lines. (the Wave Pool...floating in circles in intertubes...and looking for my friends)

One major disadvantage of waterparks is that there is a lot of water. Funny how that works... But if unless your cell phone is as water resistant as your one has their cell phone on them.

This makes finding your friends a little difficult after you've lost them...

But some strange, unplanned reason...we all went to the changing rooms at 5:00. It was a happy we all walked out of Carribean Bay over to the amusement park section of Everland...called oddly enough...Everland.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Hagwons and Dragonflies


I have a couple of stories from my school... I live right across the street from my school, in an 8 story apartment complex...I guess it was inevitable that I live near my students.

I can't tell them where I live! So while I manage not to tell the older students, but the potential to play a joke on my kindergarteners to just too great. I've convinced her I live in the garage. Considering she has less than a 6 months of English...the conversation goes something like this...
"B2, car car teacher car....

Second, the boys in this country are a little different than in America. Case in America...its the boys who play with bugs and scare the girls. Well, not so in Korea. Well, not so. Here, two of my girls released dragonflies in class. AND THE BOYS WERE SCARED STIFF!!!

Finally, speaking of being scared stiff. The resurgence of swine flu has all the school paranoid. The a few of the public schools have closed for a week (the incubation period of swine flu) A many of my friends that have traveled overseas on their summer vacation receive a week of quarantine (aka another week off) when they return. (Sadly, I had to go straight back to work after Japan)

But the private academies, like the one I teach at, are a business. And businesses need to make money. The only way they are going to close their doors is if mothers pull their children out of the academy. And those mothers ARE SCARED that their kids will catch the disease!!! So...

I've installed a "soap dispenser" in my room. But instead of soap, it gives out a gel that smells like rubbing alcohol. Everyday, every student that comes into my classroom must put some on their hands. And everyday I get to wash down all the tables with a special magic bottle that they special that they ordered.