What's up, blog? Been a while...
Yeeeaaa sorry about that, friends. My bad. I'm not really even sure what I've been doing the past month. Korea time is definitely faster than the rest of the world.
Because of my recent blog failure, there is SOOOOO much stuff to write about. Imma break it down into sections and try to make it as light as possible, only hitting the things I feel are worthy of writing about. Here we go......
One of the major trips I've been on the past month has been to Busan. It's South Korea's largest port city, and the fifth largest port in the world.
Though it rained the whole weekend (and by rain, I mean monsoon was in full effect), we still had a pretty incredible time. Spent most of the Saturday in the Aquarium, vegging out in a beach front Bennigan's (LOADED STEAK FRIES FTW!), and hanging out at a jinjabang (which is a Korean bathhouse, or more commonly known as a spa). The aquarium was smaller than I thought it would be but had some pretty cool things.... like a giant tank filled with 9 TERRIFYING sharks. What's even more awesome is the fact that the aquarium offeres SHARK DIVING? What is shark diving you ask? You get to go scuba diving with sharks. Sans cage. Just you... out in the open... with sharks.
And these are some big friggin' sharks. Anyway, the plan was to go shark diving for my birthday, but the instructor was recovering from surgery that is apparently "not shark related," so we're gonna have to pick a new weekend to do it. But I'm definitely doing it. When in Korea, right?
That following Sunday was spent sort of just wandering around. Our hotel was located in Nampo-dong, which is essentially the fish district. This area is home to Jagalchi Market, which is the largest fish market in the world
^^Outside of the market. It's essentially 5 floors filled with isles and isles and isles of live fish vendors.
Not so smoothly transitioning into the day trip I recently took to Damyang....
Damyang is the center of South Korea's bamboo cultivation. We spent the day wandering through the bamboo forest (called Jungnogwon). This was probably the most scenic and beautiful things I've seen since I've been here. The only way to describe it is through photos:
So as you can see, it's literally a forest filled with giant, amazing bamboo trees. In the middle of the forest, we came across a giant opening which held some gardens, old buildings, and a small pond. We also came across a man and woman hand making
bamboo fans. So of course, I bought one. I was then instructed to go to a small house buried in the side of the mountain to get my fan painted.
^^ House we had to wonder to to get my fan painted
^^Hilarious Asian man that lived in the 1 room tiny home. From the outside it looks incredibly traditional. Once we got inside, not only did he signal for me to wait a minute (so he could finish sending a text message), but he also had a TV and stereo system set up in one of the corners.
^^ Finished product he painted for ME! He invited us into his home, joked around and made light conversation (his English was actually pretty good), all while painting my fan. One of the coolest things I'm sure I'll ever get to experience.
Ok. Bathroom break. Get ready for part 2...
Not gonna lie... most of the time it sucks. The language barrier can be extremely frustrating at times because I try my hardest to get my kids to understand, and when they don't (which is the majority of the time) I start to feel like a bad teacher. I don't actually think I am a bad teacher by any means, but the way we are instructed to teach is not conclusive to actually learning. Parents here want to see fast progress, so when we fall behind on the schedule they start to complain.... A LOT. More often than not I find myself trying to get my kids to fill out the pages in the books just to make it look like we are able to keep up with the schedule. It's really quite sad and almost makes my job seem/feel pointless. It's like I'm just there for aesthetic purposes. I like to call it "playing school."
The kids in general are pretty great though. You obviously have the good and bad ones, but the daily interactions can be very amusing. My preschool class is my favorite class. They're only 3-4 years old and speak little to no English, yet we always seem to have loads of fun together every class. I also really enjoy my middle school class because the kids are older and have had a few years of English at this point, so we can actually hold some sort of light conversations.
And now for something completely adorable:
If anything being able to make these kids laugh like this makes the whole exerience worth it...
Grab a drink. Have a stretch. Ready? Part 3...
On Health and Wellness:
Mosquitos suck. For real. The humidity here has been ridiculous because of monsoon season, which apparently also brings a plague of mosquitos. Over the 4th of July weekend, we had a party on our roof. Since I was the supplier of music, I stupidly left my window open so I could run power cords through my apartment. Well in the middle of the night, I was ambushed. This is what I woke up with:
Yes, my eye is swollen shut because a mosquito bit me. I suppose being mildly allergic to mosquitos doesn't help my cause any either. But this beauty lasted for about 4 days.
As far as living in Korea goes, I don't think I'll ever actually be "used" to it. I mean I have my daily routine (breakfast, work, dinner, gym, relaxation), but it still doesn't feel comfortable. Maybe it's the fact that I get stared down in a disapproving manner from all the local ajumas on a daily basis. Example:
Or maybe it's the fact that any concept of personal space is non existent in Korea. Especially when shopping or standing in line to purchase something or waiting to get on an elevator. I'm never gonna understand why people need to push and shove to be first on the elevator. Is being able to push the buttons just that much more fun in Korea? Sprinting onto the elevator and knocking over everyone in your path isn't gonna make the elevator go any faster once you're on. Here's a tip: Use the stairs. Examples:
Or maybe it's the fact that the air quality is SO POOR over here that I feel like I've had a cold or been stuffy for the 2.5 months I've been here. Example:
This is my life.
There are going to be good and bad things about every new place you move to. Though the culture here is not something a foreigner can easily get used to (seriously, it's like a whole different planet... and another topic for a whole new blog entry), there are definitely some things about living here that I love (like the waaaay cheap cost of living/shopping... and the mountains! Holy wow the mountains!).
But like I said I'll dive deeper into that on another post. I think this update generally covered everything that's been going on the past month and a half (seriously though, sorry about that fail). This coming Wednesday (the 28th) starts my Summer Island Getaway Vacation Extraordinaire! It'll be a much needed break to catch up on my sleeping, eating, reading, and general "doing nothingness." Until next time, friends!
(The comic strips were taken from http://roketship.tumblr.com/ ..... I HIGHLY suggest checking this site out to get a comical, yet informative look on what life in Korea is really like)