Saturday, May 22, 2010

Okay Amy...Here is your post!

I was told that I haven't updated in awhile, so here goes!

The truth is, I have not been up to much. After my last post, I kind of just took it easy. Or, actually, WORKED very hard. It turns out, I have a lot of paperwork at this job. So, not only am I teaching, I'm grading and prepping. Hey, guess I'm experiencing what all of those lovely teachers in my life did. A true experience! And here I thought this job was going to be easy. :)

Monday begins the last week of the term. I have to say, I'm pretty excited about this. I only have to teach my "stinker class" for three more times! Yayyyyyyy! Their 7:15 time slot will be replaced by a class of three students at the "seedbed 2" level. Little little ones! Only three of them! Wahoo!

I'll also be teaching a "sapling 2" class, which is the highest level, and a couple of "sprout," or middle level, classes. Should be pretty interesting.

I feel like I've really gotten into a routine and it's getting easier to believe that I am in Korea. Every day on my walk to work, I remind myself, "HEY, you are walking to work. You are walking to work in Ko-freakkin-REA."

It's all coming together. My health has vastly improved--the voice is back to full working mode--and my skin is looking better. I ended up going to a dermatologist and paid a whopping $2.50 for the visit! And, he's fixing me right up!  Antibiotic and anti-inflammatory pills do this girl wonders. Who knew I would have such an extreme reaction to the air here? Perioral Dermatitis, be gone!

ANYHOW... enough about that...I know the pictures are what you came here for.........so here are some from the past couple of weeks---

Two weekends ago, I went to Seoul for the "Friendship Fair." It was amazing! There were food vendors and dance performances from probably fifty different countries around the world. I was so enthralled by the food and people that I forgot to take pictures. However, I did snap quite a few of a fountain nearby.....

I love flowers. Thank goodness Korea does, too.


Here's the fountain! I don't know who the statue is of, but he looks pretty damn fierce.


This is the Cheonggyecheon River. It was recently "renovated" and is now very clean water with wonderful large lanterns, a walkway, and all around wonderful-ness. I read that it acts as a natural "air-conditioner" for Seoul. Awesome!

The next weekend, Justin arrived! He starts work on Monday, so has just been hanging out here in Yeongtong for the week. It's been really nice to have someone familiar around. Today, we went to Suwon City's Hwaseong Palace. The actual palace was destroyed during the Korean War, but "highly spirited" residents began a restoration campaign. They began construction in '96 and was completed in 2003. I'd say, it's pretty freakin amazing!

The plaza/entrance...


















Inside, there are a bunch of different areas with displays about the King who built it/lived there on occasion, and how the people lived.

This is the entrance...complete with guards. YES!



Me with some musical instruments......I know, the lighting is a little off...

The King's living room

Close up of the architecture. Beeautiful!

Another part of the palace where the King performed rain ceremonies.

Tiny door!

We were hoping to hike up to the top of the mountain behind the palace because there is a big gold Buddha and some type of temple...but it started to rain. Big time.

Stopped at HomePlus (aka walmart of korea) and I purchased an umbrella. I don't remember the last time I used an umbrella, but they are all the rage in Korea. I feel like a local.

Ta-daaa!


No promises on the next update........but I'll try to be more frequent in my posts! I miss everyone at home and have many pangs for the Northwest...but so far, Korea is pretty great, too.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Plethora of Pictures....tree pictures

After waiting around for way too long for my stupid water to heat up...I finally gave in to the blinking red light and took a cold shower. Then, it was off on Operation Find an English Book. This adventure would take me to Suwon Station, which is in Suwon City. I am in a different part of Suwon, Yeongtong. Thus, I was on a mission for the 7-2 bus!

Lucky for you all, I made a slight detour prior to hopping on said bus. The bus stop is right across from Kyung Hee University! I LOVE university campuses! I love the feeling of education, of learning, of young people excited about reading. :) You can feel it in the air, you really can.

Anyhow.......while exploring the campus, I found a delightful nature walk. I guess in Korea, it would be considered more of a hiking trail.......but coming from the NW means that to this girl, a mere walk.

But how excited was I to find nature?! VERY excited.

Okay, here are the pictures. Lots of them:

This is not actually on the walk, but just part of the campus. Oh! The colors!




This is what I spotted from an otherwise concrete street.......and yes, I ran to it:

From the top of the stairs


I was headed there.....

This is the face of a happy girl. TREEEEEEES! Lots of them!!!! No buildings within sight!!!


 
 

Taking a picture touching a tree. Now, I can do this at the park near my house...........but it's just not the same. Enter Katrina's crazy face:

Then, I came to a clearing. Now, this place is a mystery. Is it the edge of Yeongtong? Clearly, they are building more officetels (apartment buildings). I stood here for a good ten minutes trying to figure it out and take it all in. I'm pretty sure the Korean hikers around me thought I was a bit odd.

I'm a sucker for crooked trees:

After this, I stopped taking pictures and just enjoyed my surroundings. Then, I made my way back to the bus stop and grabbed the 7-2 to Suwon Station. It took about 20 minutes and only cost 900KW, or about 90 cents US. Woop woop.

Just a quick note about the buses and subway here---SO clean. Comfy seats on the bus. Easy to ride. Wow. Thank you, Korea.

Anyhow, from nature to this:

And, after some exploring, BOOKS. Only a few to choose from, but hot damn, SO worth it. I love books. I have missed them. I bought "Love in the Time of Cholera," which I have been wanting to read for about 3 years. Here's my token picture of the book selection:

I managed to catch the correct bus home. Here I am, a very happy girl, and very proud.

Every time I adventure out on my own, I feel a little more confident in my new surroundings and with myself.

This is good.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Trials...

I am officially at war with my thermostat/water heater gauge.

I've tried coddling. I've tried sweet talking. I've tried being nice.

And then, I tried yelling. Pushing buttons like a mad woman.

Nothing.

I have had a total of 3, maybe 4 hot showers since I've been in my apartment. For 3 days, I thought I had things figured out. Three whole days!

Ohhhh not so. Today, I waited 2 hours for the red light to stop blinking. Fed up, I washed my hair, yet again, in the kitchen sink, beneath shockingly cold water.

Twenty minutes later, guess what?! THE RED LIGHT STOPPED BLINKING. THERE IS HOT WATER.

It is a cruel world we live in.

I need to learn Hangul.

This is really my fault.

In other news....

I proceeded to get quite sickly last Thursday and have been recouping since. During my free time this weekend, I watched movies and television shows for free on the computer, which was quite delightful and kept me from going insane. Ahhhh the internet is not part of the cruel world my thermostat lives in.

This week is an easy one. The kiddos have their "level-up" tests Mon/Tues, so there is very little teaching involved for this girl. (Good for my failing voice after the throat sickness.) Wednesday is "Children's Day" so.. NO SCHOOL! Wahoo! The joys of working with little kiddos! Then, it's back to normal Thurs/Fri. I'm looking forward to tomorrow and my day off and actually having some energy.

I received my Alien Registration Card yesterday, so now I can get a bank account, a cell phone, and whenever my "free" internet goes out, will be able to get the real stuff. Woop woop! I am an alien!

Alright, it's time to finish getting ready for work. I almost want to hop into the shower just to spite the water heater, but it is worth it? No, I guess not.

The battle continues...