Chili Pepper Bridge

Chili Pepper Bridge

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Overdue update; winter begins

Ok sorry for taking so long to update this thing. A lot has happened since the last time I was on here lets start with...

My schools talent show!  It was awesome!  I sang a Korean song and also preformed in a traditional wedding play with my 3rd grade class.  It all went very well considering I only had a week to prepare everything.  The best part is that my school gave me a DVD of the whole talent show so I will always have it to watch.  If its possible I'll try and upload parts of it on the internet, otherwise you will have to wait to see the performance.

Next was Thanksgiving.  me and 7 other TaLK teachers rented a beach house in the city of Gangneung, which is only 45 minutes away from where I live.  One of the guys had went to the Costco in Seoul the week before to by all the american food.  We had two chickens (turkey was too expensive), garlic mashed potatoes, gravy, bread rolls, pumpkin pie and apple pie, and of course... many bottles of  Martinelli's Sparkling Apple Cider.  We spent the weekend playing board games, exploring the beach area (we even stumbled upon a abandoned amusement park) and of eating lots and lots of food. here are some pictures....

After Thanksgiving life went on a usual... planning classes and what not.  But... we also got our first big snowfall of the winter.   My roommate Kevin was pretty excited because he hadn't seen a proper snowfall since he was about 9 years old.  And I was of course excited because it meant the start of the snowboarding season... Needless to say that first day of snow we had a blast...

Yes the snowfall was epic, and since that day we have had plenty more.  I've been snowboarding already once so far and plan to go quite often.  I've never lived so close to a Mountain Resort so im going to be going more then ever before.  Also, this same week we had dinner with the EPiK teachers in our area who we have made friends with.  We went to a duck restaurant that was delicious...

All in all, the last month has been great.  Lately I've just been preparing my lesson plans for the Winter English Camps I will be working.  I was supposed to only work one but another school requested me to go and work theirs too, soo I'll be making some overtime money.  But other than that the school year is winding down and im ready for some vacation.  Nothing too crazy planned travel wise.  I fell like since I love snowboarding and I happen to be living in the "Mecca of Korean snowboarding" as they call it, I will mostly be doing that and hanging out with the locals.  anyways, I'll try and keep you guys updated more than once a month, but i am easily distracted...

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

side gig and what not

  So me and my roommate started doing this side teaching thing where we go to Yongpyong Ski resort and help teach the Hotel and resort staff how to speak English.  We are doing it for free because legally we cannot hold any other jobs according to our contracts and visas, BUT this gig has a few cool benefits:  first of all we get to meet some actual Korean people our age who live in the area, which is nice because our town is pretty much all old people and children; also, since all these people we are teaching work at a ski resort they said i can get a discounted on a season pass, which is great because i was going to buy one anyway!  We had our first "lesson" today, but its nice because they already have a teacher, and me and Kevin just come two times a month to work on conversation.  So basically they just ask us questions and we respond and talk to them.  They all seem really nice and did i mention THEY ALL WORK AT A SWEET SKI RESORT!  so yea, it looks like i will be able to fulfill my goal of doing a lot of snowboarding in Korea, and with some cool Korean people.  This resort is less than 20 minutes away from where i live too.  not too shabby...

Friday, October 28, 2011

Everland and Halloween week

So I spent another weekend in Seoul.  This time I went up with my roommate and some of the people that he met during orientation.  We left early Saturday morning and arrived in Seoul to take a trip to Everland.  Everland is  an amusement park kind of like Disney land or something.  Some roller coasters, rides, and general theme park stuff.  It was a lot of fun.  It was pretty funny though, I guess at Everland the big thing for girls is to buy fake animal ear (cat, bear, rabbit, etc) and wear them around all day.  It was pretty funny to see.  We spent most of the day there and had blast, even though we spent quite a bit of time waiting in lines.  After that we back into Seoul and had some great Indian food for dinner.

     The next day we went to a book store called 'what the book.'  It was great.  I liked it a lot better than the bookstore i went to last time because here they sell used books, and its much cheaper.  I bought, slaughterhouse 5, Jon Stewart's Earth, Catch 22, and Apollo 13.  That should last me for a while at least ( I hope).  Then after that we went to an Irish pup to watch the Rugby World Cup.  My roommate Kevin was really excited because he is from New Zealand, and not only is the World Cup being held in New Zealand, but New Zealand was in the final against France.  I've never really watched Rugby so during the first half Kevin was doing a lot of explaining to me what was going on, but by the second half I somewhat got the gist of the game and understood what was going on.  The game was very hard fought and quite close but the All Blacks (the New Zealand Team) won 8-7!  woo hoo!  Then we had to leave the bar and rush to catch our bus, which was the last one leaving Seoul going back to our town.  It was an awesome weekend.
      At school this whole week I've been doing Halloween lessons.  I couldn't do many crafts or anything because right now my classroom is being switched so I have to teach in the science lab this week.  But we played lots of games and I gave out candy.  The kids had a blast.  Probably the funnest/funniest thing we did was today.  I had the kids wrap each other in toilet paper to make mummies!  They thought it was really hilarious seeing their friends bound in TP and unable to move!

    Also this week, Pyeongchang had its English festival.  Students from my school entered in the speech and dancing events.  It was a great time watching all the kids preform and I got to hang out with the other foreign teachers and meet their students.  I think the kids were mostly excited because they got to miss school for a day though! haha.   Anyway, now im packing to go to Jeonju tomorrow morning where i am meeting up with some other TaLK scholars for a Halloween party.  Goodnight

Friday, October 21, 2011

Don't worry I'm still alive...

Ok, sorry guys for taking so long to update.  but as you know this is my first blog ever, so bear with me.

so...... shit is been like 3 weeks, so went to

Seoul was fun.  finally got to a big city.  Did some hanging out, some conversing, and of course some shopping. My shopping mostly consisted of books though.   getting books written in english is a hard thing to come around these parts, so when i found a massive book store i jumped on it.  I bought "A Thousand Splendid Suns" by Khaled Hosseini and "the Devil in the White City" by Erik Larson.  I would have bought more at the time but the books were quite expensive.  I think i spent about $30 on just those two.... but any way, they are both excellent!

Holy shit, Busan (or Pusan) was amazing!  Its the second largest city in Korea and is known for its sea food.  It is right on the south east coast of the country.  Within half an hour of me being there i was eating something that was still wriggling on the plate when they served it to us (check facebook videos to see it)!!!!!  Also later that weekend i ate puffer fish for lunch, which tuned out to be one of the cheapest and most tasty meals of the weekend.  All in all, I've decided I like busan much better than seoul, but it just takes twice as long to get to (Seoul takes 2 and half hours; Busan takes 5 hours)

So, anyway... that was a very quick update. As I write thing I am packing to go to Seoul again tomorrow, but  to go to EVERLAND, which is the themepark (the disneyland) of Seoul.  So wish me luck (actually you dont need too) and bid me farewell until next time.  Hopefully i get more used to running a blog and update it more often...

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Day hike

So I ended up having the day off on Wednesday, so before my Korean class at 3:30 I decided to go on a small adventure.  My roommate told me about this hiking trail in our town that is only a few minutes away from where we live, so I decided to check it it out.  It ended up being pretty cool.  It was a LOT of stairs of this mountain that led to a veiw point that over looked our town, Jinbu. here are some pics.
                                                         One of several stairways
                                                       A Korean War Memorial I believe...
                                                           more stairs....
                                                          Salvation! The top!
                   View of Jinbu, you can see my apartment complex, tall beige building on the bottom right
                                                       more Jinbu
                                                      the Misty Mountains
                                                      just chillin

After the hike I went home, took a quick shower and went to Korean class.  All in all it was a nice relaxing day.  Went and got some Chinese food with some of the other teachers after our class and then went back home.  I am going to Seoul this weekend so look forward to another update next week!

Monday, September 19, 2011

In the swing of things

     Well its been a while since my last post so I figured I'd give an update.  So far I have just been getting used to life here and getting into my routine.  During the week life is pretty quiet.  most days I wake up around 8:30am, have some coffee and breakfast, which is usually cereal.  I usually spend my mornings preparing my lessons for class, if I didn't finish them the night before.  My roommate, Kevin, has to be at his school earlier than I do so most mornings I have the apartment to myself.  At 11:40 I catch the bus to Jangpyeong and get to my school around 12:15.  I eat lunch at school, and so far the food has been pretty good.  My first class of the day is at 1:30pm so after lunch I have just under an hour to get my classroom ready and set up for my lesson.  I teach classes from 1:30 until 4:30, then I usually stay at school until just before 5.  I will clean up my classroom and maybe plan a little bit for the next days lesson.  Then I catch the 5:17 bus back to Jinbu.
     My evenings so far have been pretty uneventful.  A few nights a week me and my roommate will make dinner together, but for the most part we fend for ourselves (he's vegetarian and I need my meat sometimes).  We will play cards or watch TV shows on our computers, and we spend a bit of time swapping lesson ideas, and talking about what we did for different classes.  That is one benefit of having a roommate is that we always have someone to talk to and compare ideas with.  I know some people that are starting to feel lonely and homesick because they live far away from everyone.  Once I get a cellphone it will be easier for me to contact the other foreign teachers in Jinbu and we will spend some more time together.
     So thats my basic schedule for a typical week.  Oh yea, I started taking Korean classes with the other foreign teachers last Wednesday.  We meet every Wednesday at Jinbu Elementary school at 3:30.  The class is taught by the schools Korean English Teacher.  Since we are all at vastly different levels (some of the EPIK teachers have been here for 2 years) its mostly like a self study, but on Wednesdays you can ask any questions and have them answered by a real Korean person.
     Well thats about in for now, I finally feel settled in.  I really like my school and town and this week I should be getting my first paycheck!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Sports Day and Chuseok Weekend

    ahhh yes, another end to a wonderful week.  This week was especially good too.  My school had sports day on Thursday, where all the students competed in various events ranging from standard races to balloon popping contests.  A lot of the parents came out as well and participated, it was tons of fun.

     Also, my settlement money finally came today, so I am no longer broke! woooo hoooo, which is perfect because I have a 5 day weekend now.  I get Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday off next week because it is Chuseok, Korean thanksgiving.  So now I can actually travel a bit and see some people, instead of spending the vacation in my apartment living of rice and water.  I also signed up for a Korean class in my town with some of the other foreign teachers.  It meets every Wednesday starting next week.  I'm really excited to be able to learn some more Korean.  Trying to learn by myself on the internet was proving to be difficult.  On another note, I finally set up a Skype account so you people can call me through the computer for free.  My skype name is:  risi.anthony
                                                     TUG OF WAR!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Has it really been a month?

   So officially one month ago today I arrived in Korea.  Wow, that went by fast!  Although now that I'm getting into the swing of country life, things will slow down a bit...probably not though.   So I had my first day of teaching last Thursday which went fairly well.  My lesson plans fell apart for some classes, to hard for my 2nd graders, to easy for my 6th graders.  Plus most of the kids were a little shy at first and I really had to prod them to get them to participate in class.  I noticed several of them were "playing dumb" and acting like they didn't know what I was saying when they actually did.  However, its amazing what just a few days can do.
   Today was definitely a great day for me.  All my lessons when great!  The kids were participating, my lessons actually took up the allotted amount of time, lol, and I really felt that the kids were able to pull something out of it.  It was a very good feeling.  I am starting to get the hang of lesson planning for my different classes and it is not taking nearly as long as it used to, although making interesting PowerPoints to use in class are what takes up most of my time.  However, lately I've found several good websites for ESL teachers that have a lot of resources already made, so that should save me a lot of time.  Also, all of the TaLK scholars have been sharing information with each other and that has been very useful (although today I actually found myself giving tips to several other people).
                                                 My school: Jangpyeong Elementary

                  My 3rd/4th grade combination class.  That's right, only 5 kids! (well two were absent today)

    Well, now that I've caught you up a bit on my school live I'll talk for about about settling in.  So far its been great.  I've met about 4 other foreign teachers besides my roommate who live in the area and they are all really nice.  Also, many other people in the TaLK program live in bigger cities not to far away.  This past Saturday a group of about 12 of us met up in Gangneung for a beach day trip.  It was great!  Not only was the beach awesome, but it only takes me 40 minutes by bus to get there.  So we all spent the day together, swapped stories about our respective schools and towns and just relaxed.  I was really surprised at how warm the water was.  I jumped in expecting it to be freezing and was pleasantly surprised to find it to be about 70 degrees.  After hanging out in the surf all day we grabbed some really good seafood noodle dish, I forget what it was called, that had shrimp, clams and squid in it.  After that we grabbed some coffee at a cafe and chatted a bit more before we all headed back home.  It was good to reunite with some of the other people, even if we had only been apart for a week.
                                                                      Beach in Gangneung

Monday, August 29, 2011

First day at school

    Woah!  Finally I got to go and visit my school for the first time!  Its really nice looking.  I got to meet my Principal and Vice Principal and they both seemed really nice.  The VP could speak some English but the Principal could speak none at all so my mentor teacher had to translate.  I got a tour of the school and got to see my classroom.  Its simple but quite nice.  I have a white board, lots of at supplies, and a computer that hooks up to a big screen TV so I can use power point for lessons and play videos from the internet.  I was hoping for a Smart Board, but no such luck, oh well!   I also got to meet a lot of the 3rd grade students.  They are so cute and nice!  Meeting the students made me feel a little less nervous for my first day of teaching on Thursday.
    I ate lunch in the cafeteria next and the food was actually really good.  Pretty much all the teachers, even the Principal and VP eat the cafeteria food.  We had fish, greens, some beef and bean sprout soup, and of course....kimchi and rice!  My Principal and VP were very impressed with my ability to use chopsticks, lol.  Also the kindergartners where eating lunch in there at the same time and they all kept staring at me and waving, I think the only English word they know how to say is HI!  After lunch I went up to my classroom and did some basic lesson planning for the week.  The first few days is just going to be a lot of review so I can see what level the kids are at.
     Next I got to use my settlement allowance.  So in my contract it says that when I arrive I will receive a 300,000 won (about $300) settlement allowance, which I assumed would just be cash given to me.  But... no.  What it is is my mentor teacher took me out shopping for things I needed for my apartment, and we had a 300,000 won budget cap.  It was still good, but I was hoping for cash.  Anyway we got some extra bedding, so my floor mat is a little more comfortable, some floor cushions to sit on so me and my room mate don't have to sit on the floor, and a toaster.  We didn't spend all the money so once I think of some other things I need I can get a few more things.  Well that's all for.  I teach my first classes on Thursday so I'll be sure to give you and up date then with some pictures!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Provincial Orientation and moving into my apartment

     So the time at SungWoo resort flew by, well I we only really stayed there for two night so that makes sense.  We had a few lectures that were more specific to our province, on things to do and places to go, where the hospitals are, and how to get around on the buses.  They also gave us a handy schedule of all the local festivals, I am personally looking forward to the salmon festival where you can catch salmon with your bare hands!  Also, yesterday we took a field trip to Alpensia resort where the winter olympics will be held in 2018.  Its only about  20 minutes away from where I live in Jinbu!
     Well anyway, today we had one more lecture on practical lesson planning and then our mentor teachers came to pick us up.  I was really nervous waiting for her to come because I had had no contact from her and did't know what to expect.  She was really nice though and friendly.  She is the English teacher at my school so she  can speak very well, which was good.  So peoples mentor teachers speak little to no English.  We dove past my school, she told me a little about it, and then took me to my apartment.
     So, my apartment... I had no idea what to expect.  Most people get a little one room studio, of varying levels of cleanliness.  I was much more fortunate.  First off I am going to be living with another TaLK scholar from my program.  His name is Kevin and he is from New Zealand.  He's really cool and i think we will get along very well.  Well, because we are living together, our schools and pool our rent money and get us a nicer place.  We have a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom apartment on the 18th floor of a building.   We each have our own individual outdoor patios that go out from our rooms and the view is amazing!  Its such a nice place.  The only down side so far is that there is literally no furniture at all here.  No tables, no chairs, not even beds.  We have mats on the floor to sleep on.  So hopefully in the next week or so we can see if our schools will buy us a few things to put in our place.  But other than that life is great, the apartment is probably one of the best ones anyone will get in the entire program.   Also, my city, although small and rural is still decently sized and there are several other foreign teachers who live nearby.  Kevin and I met a girl who is currently a teacher through the EPIK program which is run by the same people as TaLK.  She took us around the city, showed us where to buy food and random apartment things and even bought us dinner!  So anyway im gonna unwind and read a little and enjoy the country air.  GOOD NIGHT!

                                      The view of Jinbu at night from my deck on the 18th floor

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Goodbye Jochiwon

     Well, in a few hours I will be leaving the lovely University of Korea campus at Jochiwon and on a bus to Gangwon-do province.  I can't believe how fast these three weeks went by!  It's been a crazy experience so far. I've learned tons of stuff about teaching, and lesson planning, and also made tons of new friends who are going to be placed all over Korea.  Although I will miss this place I am definitely ready to leave and start teaching.  I got a little taste of it yesterday when we went to the Global Village English Camp and I got a group of kids and taught for 3 hours.  Well,  I gotta take off, I got 3 days at SungWoo Resort before I go to my school! See YA!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Another week down

   Well, week two of training is now complete.  It was long but I got a lot of useful information.  We did workshops of lesson planning and curriculum development, and we were also given a lot of teaching resources to supplement our text book, which on its own is a little dry.
     Probably the most exciting part about this past week was on Friday when we got to meet out Provincial Office of Education Supervisors.   They are essentially the bosses for the education system in their province.  I was a little nervous because basically this guy is my boss, even over the principal of my school.  He ended up being really nice though, although he spoke pretty much no English at all.  We had to have a translator the whole time.  He told us what schools we are going to be placed in and some information about them.  The school I'm going to be working at is Jangpyeong Elementary School, in Pyeongchang.  Here's the website if you want to check it out  (its all in Korean though).  Its a pretty small school, only 125 students total, covering kindergarten through 6th grade.  I also found out I wont be getting a Korean co-teacher.  Most people in my program get a Korean university student who helps them run the classes, but I guess for whatever reason I wont be getting one.  On the plus side I think will be getting paid extra since I will be running my own class room.  They also gave me the email address of the previous TaLK scholar who worked at the school, but apparently that email doesn't exist anymore so basically I will find out everything when I actually arrive at my school.  Hopefully my apartment is close to the school, I know some people have commutes of up to an hour to get to their schools.
   Well, anyway I have one more week at Korea University for training, then I go to my province, Gangwon-do, for another orientation, but only with the people who will be working in my province.  I am really excited for this because we will be staying at SungWoo Resort for a week.  It looks awesome!  You can check out the website for this place and be jealous  (on the left hand side there is a button that makes the page in English).   Then after our resort stay someone from my school will pick me up and take me to my town.   Then I will finally get to see what kind of apartment I will be living in, as well as how close to work I will be.  Well that's all for now, time for lunch.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

first week finished, relaxing weekend

     Well the first week of orientation classes is finished, thank god.   A lot of the classes were really interesting and useful but man, 6 hours a lecture a day, 5 days a week!  Needless to say I was exhausted.  A lot of people in the TaLK program decided to go into Seoul this weekend, however I decided to remain at the University in Jochiwon to relax, catch up on sleep, practice Korean, and go on the free day trips they have planned for us.
     Today we went to a Buddhist Temple (Kaspa Temple I think it was called) up in the mountains.  It was AMAZING!  All the buildings were beautiful and the scenery was killer.  Trees, flowers, and waterfalls and pools that you could swim in and hang out.  Swimming in the waterfalls was my favorite part.  It was very calming and peaceful, plus it was really hot out and the water felt great!  There was also some time of ceremony going on with Buddhist Monks chanting and lots of people praying.  I couldn't tell what was really going on but it was really cool to see.  After walking around for a few hours we had a lunch provided by the temple of Bi Bim Bop.  It was delicious and really spicy!  I feel bad for the people in my program who don't like spicy food, the British people especially seem to be having a lot of trouble with it.  Good thing had had all those years of eating spicy Mexican food to prepare me.  Anyways, after lunch we got to talk to one of the monks and we made prayer bead bracelets and we also made posters where we had a engraving, and we put ink on it by hand and pressed down to make a copy of the picture, its was pretty cool.

    So now I'm back in my dorm room at Korea University writing this and it just started pouring rain outside.  At least the weather was nice earlier, I would have hated to miss out on the Temple because of a little rain!  So tomorrow we have another trip called the "Mud Experience".   I'm not really sure what this is but I think its going to involve me getting completely covered in mud, so I should have some funny pictures of that soon.  Until next time!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Day in Seoul and First day of lectures

     So yesterday was the first official day of my training in the Teach and Learn in Korea (TaLK) Program and it started off with a bang.  Well actually the first day didn't involve much training at all, we took a field trip to downtown Seoul where we embarked on a photo scavenger hunt!  Seoul is a beautiful city, with lots of cool buildings and shops and restaurants.  The most beautiful part about Seoul I think is the close proximity of the very modern aspects to the ancient Korean monuments.  All over there are high rise buildings made of glass and steel yet right next to it could be the ancient Imperial Palace that has stood for thousands of years. Amazing!
     However it is still the rainy season here in Korea so the whole trip it was very windy and wet (that didn't stop us from having fun though).  I saw several peoples umbrellas get torn to shreds by a strong gust of wind, luckily mine held up.  Anyway, me and my group had about 3 hours to walk around get our photos and eat lunch.  Our pictures included the Imperial Palace, stone statues, a Korean Starbucks, the river, some crazy purple statue that looked like a sea shell, and a statue of a a famous emperor.  I'm still trying to figure out how to get more than one picture on this blog (can you tell I haven't done this before) so hopefully soon you can see them.  We ate lunch downtown which was an interesting experience because several of the girls in my group couldn't eat pork, and trying to find a dish without pork, or even just explaining to a Korean person that they couldn't eat pork proved very difficult.  But in the end after a long and confusing conversation with lots of pointing it all worked out.  After we returned from Seoul we went out to celebrate one of the other TaLK scholars birthday at a norea-bang (singing room), which is just a room that you rent out with a karaoke machine in it.  Lots of fun!   Then headed back to the dorms since we had our first "real" day of training to look forward too.
     So today the lectures began.  The schedule is pretty intense, 5 to 6 lectures a day from 8:40am to 5:40pm everyday for the next 3 weeks.  Man right now I am exhausted!  The lectures today were pretty interesting though.  We learned about Korean history, coping with life in Korea, how to deal with culture shock, travel tips, and got to talk with a current TaLk scholar about his experience teaching over the last year and a half.  Very informative but man, I am tired.  Its been over two years since I've gone to classes like that!  Anyway, tonight i am just gonna take it easy.  Just practice my Korean and spend some time learning how to read and write Hangeul (the Korean writing system).  More updates (and pictures once I figure this out) soon to come!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Cicadas, Sunspots, Peppers, and Peaches

    Wow, ok its been a very long but eventful two days.  One thing that you notice right away here is the constant sound of the Cicadas buzzing all around.  Seriously, non stop.  although by now i have mostly gotten used to it and find the noise almost relaxing, but it definitely took a little getting used to.  These bugs are HUGE too, and they are everywhere.  So as you read this just imagine a constant sound, almost like a high pitched buzz saw ringing consistently throughout.
     Well anyway, I'll fill you in on the weekend.   So Saturday started early; breakfast at 8am and by 9 we were on the road.  We drove about an hour and a half to some mountains that we would hike up in order to reach an observatory at the top.  The scenery was beautiful, however until we reached the top the thick tress blocked any real views.  Once at the observatory we got to look into this huge telescope that was pointed at the sun and look at sunspots.  It was really cool!  We also go to watch some 3D movies that were kind of strange and I'm not sure what they had to do with astronomy at all, but they were interesting none the less (even though i couldn't understand anything they were saying).  Oh yea, I also used a Korean vending machine for the first time...I got some pineapple juice.
     After the observatory we went to a little place to get lunch.  However it took almost 3 hours for us to get served because we didn't have reservations and the cooks had to make food for 40 people!  However, once the food actually came it was delicious.  We had Bi Bim Bop, which is essentially mixed vegetables with rice.  It was also served with Kimchi (of course), bean sprouts, a soup, and some seaweed (at least it looked like seaweed, I'm just guessing) dish.  It was most excellent.
     After our long, long lunch we headed over to the Cheonjangho Suspension Bridge.  This bridge was really cool because in the middle it had giant statues of chili peppers!  actually everything in that town was decorated with peppers.  The bridge was neat because it was for pedestrians only, so we could all walk across.  It also was on ropes so as you walked the bridge swung back and forth and you kept getting tossed from side to side.  I was very surprised to see lots of elderly people jaunting about and going across the bridge.  But I guess it makes sense why Koreans stay so healthy, they eat tons of vegetables and go hiking in the mountains all the time!
     We headed back to Korea University, rested up a bit, and then decided to explore the town of Jochiwon where we are staying.  And guess what, a Peach festival was going on!  It was crazy, tons of food vendors, fire works, live music, and even a beauty pageant, all in the name of peaches.  A few of us courageous ones even tried boiled silk worms (not a gross as it sounds, but probably wont be eating those again, haha).  After several hours of gallivanting around the festival me and a few other people decided, well we are at a peach festival, lets get some peaches.  So we bought a box of 18 peaches for only 15,000 won (about $15) and ate away.  Let me tell you, they were delicious!  And we even had leftovers to eat at breakfast the next day.  After that we headed back to the dorms and went to bed, as we had another jam packed day ahead of us. 
     So Sunday, started much like Saturday, we had breakfast at 8am (only this time with fresh peaches!) and were on the bus by 9.  Today we were headed to the Korean Folk Village, which is basically a replica town of an old style Korean country village.  We saw live music, and acrobat tightrope walker, flower gardens, live animals and all kinds of other things.  Lunch today was much better as well, mainly because this time we had reservations so we were served right away.  We had some type of sesame beef dish served with vegetables and rice.  On a side note, I'm also starting to get pretty damn good with chopsticks, which in Korean restaurants  are metal, instead of the wooden ones I am used to seeing.  
     Well after lunch me and my group got some ice cream and and then rested/napped in this gazebo type structure (they have lots of these all over the village) where you have to take your shoes off.  We just sat there in the warm humid air, eating ice cream, full from lunch, and listened to the hum of the cicadas before nodding off for about half an hour.  This was one of the most enjoyable parts of the day, just pure bliss.  We then headed back to the buses and came home, where I am now writing this.  It's has been two completely full days and the official orientation hasn't even started yet!  Well anyway, time for me to run to dinner and then perhaps pick up another crate of peaches.  Anyeonghi jumuseyo!  (good night)

Friday, August 5, 2011

Long day of travel, arrival in Jochiwon

Well, after a total of nearly 16 hours of traveling, the long trek from San Diego to Incheon South Korea is complete (although my connecting flight in San Francisco was nearly missed to the damn fog!).  The flight itself, not so bad, just very...very...long...  But anyway I made it (although I did have a brief stint of getting lost at the airport)!  But any now I am shacked up at Korea University in Jochiwon in the dorms for our 3 week training period.  It's a pretty nice campus, at least from what I've seen of it in the dark (I didn't get in till after 10pm), but tomorrow I will explore more.  Anyway just a brief update for all you people.