Thursday, September 24, 2009

another week in ktown

I meet up with Andre at the subway and immediately recognize him, which I was quite worried I would not. So that was a good start. Then he asks if I want to go to a pork bbq- ahh this is just a few days after I've sworn it off. So I mention seafood and we go to a great little fresh fish place 2 steps from the subway. Andre's so much fun! He speaks English really well, more than any other Korean I have met, and is so embarrassed and thinks he's terrible. I try to show off my new Korean and end up messing it up and he just corrects me and tries to help me. I tell him I just learned how to haggle. Sawju juseo. He gets a good laugh of this because I'm actually ordering soju. I was trying to say "give it to me cheaper" which he reminds me is saGAY juseo. close enough. I end up just making up some words and laughing at myself. He orders some raw fish (they all look the same, white, a bit chewy but fresh out the tank) and soju. He gives me the run down on how to drink soju politely. If you're pouring for someone older you must use two hands. You never pour into a cup on the table, the receiver must pick the cup up. And you NEVER pour for yourself. And you drink it like a shot. I had grown rather fond of sipping on my soju. Oh well. Bottle one of soju doesn't stand a chance. And as Brady put it, he thinks he can liquor up some American, but he doesn't know who he's messing with! Another bottle of soju and learning the ins and outs of Korean etiquette and Andre's life, and it's getting a little saucy. Then I try to tell him about this weird drink I had...makali. He says sang makali (fresh) is really quite good so tries to order it but they only have the pre bottled stuff but we get it anyway. It's the same crap I tried before. Picture a carbonated chalky flavorless beverage. Hmm we both agree its no good and he promises next time to take me to a real legit makali place.

The best part of the evening. I don't know if it was the soju or just the blatant stereotype, but he sent me this text message on his way home:

"Rauren- goodnight ^^ <3"

and I think I laughed for a solid 5 minutes before I could continue walking. Kristin I immediately thought of you and Miss Swan. "Uhhhh yeah tank you vely much." To be fair the R and L are both the same sound/character here, but oh man I died laughing. Then the other best part of the night. Just a couple of days ago the street vendors started selling these fish looking pastries. I had heard they were good but hadn't tried one. So on the walk home I stopped by the cart. 1,000 won gets you 4 or 5 of the 6" pastries. They're basically warm waffles filled with a sweet red bean paste. Holy shit. My new favorite food. I know I know, how often do I say that, but this time I mean it. Best. Food. Ever. It's worth coming to Korea if not only to taste one of these bad boys.


So I think I'm making some progress in class. I have the kids laughing at me (I sing K-Pop and do the dances in class when I get bored) and interested in what I have to say. I have also implemented a workout into class. (picture is of my homeroom Cedar class) If the kids won't stay in their seats I make them do 10 jumping jacks, hop on one foot then the other, then do 10 star jumps "I'm a star!" They learn English and get tired out! Wednesday was show and tell so I brought in a bunch of random stuff and let them play with it. One item was a brush so I let them all brush my hair (selfishly of course, I loved it) and I even got some hugs! Then today was a bit of a step back. I started out feeling ok this morning but as the afternoon went on my throat got a bit swollen, my head started pounding and my sinuses exploded. I was in no mood for noise. So why did I get a sinus infection after being here three weeks? Well let me tell you.

I thought I would go out for a nice 30 minute jog yesterday. I haven't been seriously running in over a month so I don't want to push it. And it's super smoggy here so it's rough on the lungs. 20 minutes into my lovely run (i discovered all sorts of new shopping) I decide to head home. At this point i feel comfortable in my neighborhood so instead of running straight out and back I thought I'd make a loop. Yeah that never works out well. Mom, remember Atlanta? So after 40 minutes I start getting annoyed and ask these two little old ladies in some back neighborhood I have stumbled into how to get back to Bongcheon-dong. After they can make out my accent, and lots of hand holding, they're very affectionate over here, they point me in the "right direction." I go to where they tell me and get absolutely no where, just another little random market. So I spot a 15 year old kid with 2 huge diamond earrings and a sweatshirt written in crappy English, and ask him where to find Bongcheon. He somewhat understands me and walks me to the main street and tells me to go through the tunnel and buck a right (in so many words). As I'm going through the tunnel I realize I had inadvertently run over a mountain. How did I do that!? My easy 30 minute jog had turned into a 80 minute quad-burning excursion and resulted in a sinus infection and tired thighs. Good work out though!

I went to the pharmacy and they seemed to know just what I needed. Gave me 2 boxes of god knows what and sent me on my way. I then went to get my first Korean haircut. I realized recently I haven't gotten my haircut since I lived in DC, that's over 3 months now, so I went to this nice looking place down the street from my house. The guy understood me and took me right away (9pm). First off, they don't wash your hair. He just starts right in cutting. They also don't cut in straight lines. Instead just kind of chops around a bit. Usually they do this at the end of a haircut so your edges don't look too straight. Hmm. After 15 minutes he was done, it looks pretty much the same but a little shorter I guess. So he rings me up. 12,000 won. hahah oh Korea you make me laugh. I guess he didn't have to use any product or anything, but $11 for a haircut, that's awesome. I probably have to go back in a few weeks because he didn't cut much off, but for $11 who cares.

Speaking of cheap; I'm going to Taipei for Harvest Fest. I booked my ticket today. I'm taking a solo 5 day vacation to Taiwan. If anyone knows anything about it or has been please give me some advice. I know nothing. It was cheap and it's been in the 90s all week :) Maybe I'll rent a scooter and tour the countryside. If you don't hear from me in October it's because I did just that. Bad news. Lara can attest to this from past experience in Bonnaire. ["ahhh a lizard!"]

Yup so taking it easy tonight to prepare for the weekend and recover from running repercussions. Good night!

PS "The world's largest ice cream social" is a load of crap. I went to Cold Stone with my two co-teachers after my first Korean pizza [delicious, sweet potato crust and all] the Cold Stone people had no idea what we were talking about. Of course we got it anyway, but what bs!

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