Night Out with the Teachers

Thursday, March 17

Last night the English teachers from my school went out for a night of food and bowling. We ate at a shabu-shabu restaurant. This was, by far, the best food I’ve had in Korea. If any of you come visit, we must go eat at this place. They bring out a pot of seasoned broth and you boil the broth then cook very thinly sliced beef in it. You are also brought loads of veggies and rice paper. You wet the rice paper then fill it with veggies, meat and sauce and then wrap it. It’s so good! The girls said that it’s like Korean/Vietnamese fusion.

After dinner, we walked to the bowling alley, which is located about a subway stop away inside of Home Plus. Bowling was such a blast. There was tons of high fiving going on, even for gutter balls. The ladies I work with are super sweet. I was in second place the whole game, but I had a comeback on the last two frames and won.

Something I thought was really neat about the bowling alley was the way you rent shoes. The shoes are actually distributed through venting machines. The fee is 1,500 won (about $1.40). You insert your coins into the machine with your shoe size and the shoes drop out of the bottom. So cool.

After the game we walked around Home Plus to buy some snacks and supplies for the English teachers’ office. My two co-teachers shared a taxi back and JuHye and I took the subway. I only live two stops from where we were and I wanted to find out where the subway station was so I could come back on my own sometime.

I look forward to many more teachers nights in the future.

Shark Attack

Life at my school is pretty good. We moved offices not that long ago. It was nice to be able to have my own desk, but I soon discovered that I’d be sharing an office with this…

One of my co-workers and I ended up carrying that darn shark all over school. Our new office is on the 3rd floor so we carried it down to the second floor science lab to see if they wanted it, but they didn’t. Next, we carried it down to the first floor to take it out to the trash. The man we took it to said he actually tried to throw it out before, but they didn’t want to. Oh well. It’s gone now.

Yonggungsa Temple – Part 2

Yesterday, I left you wondering what crazy thing I could have possibly done as I was leaving the temple. Today is the big reveal, but I’ll let the pictures tell you…

We ate silkworm larvae.

Can you believe it?!

It was disgusting!

Pancake Day

Tuesday, March 8

When my friends talked about having pancakes on Tuesday, I honestly thought it was just because they were missing pancakes. I had no idea there was a reason behind it until that night. I stopped by the store on the way and picked up real maple syrup, which was super expensive (18,000 won, which is about $16.50 USD), but you can’t have Pancake Day without syrup, right?? Apparently there’s a super cheap Korean version of syrup that isn’t bad. I’ll know for next time.

Anyway, Pancake Day is an actual thing. My friends from the UK all celebrate this day. They didn’t really know how to explain the significance other than on Shrove Tuesday (Fat Tuesday) you get together with your family and eat pancakes. Apparently, many people in the UK really only eat pancakes on this day.

So about 10 of us all got together in Beth’s apartment and had pancakes. We ate them British style, with a squeeze of lemon and sugar sprinkled over top. We also had chocolate chip pancakes and we had regular pancakes with syrup. It was such a great time.

* Click on the pictures above to see the full size image *

Food in Korea

When I told people back home that I was moving to Korea, one of the questions that was asked the most was, “What are you going to eat?!” I really didn’t know, to be honest. I knew Busan was a coastal city so there would be lots of seafood so I was just hoping that there would be options for me since I am not a seafood lover. I do tend to take a lot of pictures of the food here because I know everyone back home is curious about what I’m eating.

I’ll have to admit that when I first got to Korea I was worried that I was going to starve. I wasn’t impressed with the food at orientation and my neighborhood didn’t really seem to have a lot of options. I definitely craved Western food.

I do have a few options close to my house. I have fallen in love with a bakery called Paris Baguette. The one by my house is quite small in comparison to other locations, but I have found some things there that I love. There is also a Caffe Bene close by. They have tiramissou!

I have become great friends with one of the English teachers from my school. She took me to Home Plus to help me find some things I need for my apartment and treated me to dinner in the food court afterwards. It was different, but pretty good. We had some sort of fried pork. It was nice. The salad was good also. I still don’t know how I feel about the rice stuffed omelet thing, but it was a nice meal overall. The longer I’m here, the more the food grows on me. There are a lot of really great restaurants in Busan and it’s fun trying new things.

I was pretty pleased when I went to the movies in Korea for the first time. I saw Rango (in English with Korean subtitles) and enjoyed it quite a bit. It was also quite lovely because I got to eat nachos!

My friend Faith and I went to Seomyeon one Friday night to meet up for dinner. Seomyeon is like the city center and has loads to see and do. There are also many restaurants, including several Western options. We opted for TGIFridays. It was so yummy. I had a burger and Faith had fajitas.

I don’t just eat Western food here. There’s a lot of really good Korean food, as well. One weekend I got together with my friends Cilla and Sonal and went for lunch. We ate at a really great chicken place. The chicken was lovely, but it was quite spicy.  The waiter scared us a bit because when we ordered this dish, he did his best to warn us that it was spicy and even pointed and something different on the menu. I really enjoy the spiciness here. We all shared the spicy chicken and then did some walking around before we dropped by Angels in Us Coffee for some dessert… hot chocolate, cheesecake and a blueberry waffle.

Pictures of my School

Here are some pictures of the elementary school I teach at in Busan, South Korea…

My main English classroom. We have a Smart Board!

The main entrance

The English hallway… and a student that really wanted to be in the picture

The back of the classroom

Curious students

English story books

Our school doesn’t have a cafeteria so each class eats together in homeroom. The food is kept in these lunch carts.

Together We Can Do It

Students are responsible for keeping the school clean

Entrance to the bathroom

Bathroom sinks

This is one of the toilets. You have to bring your own toilet paper.

The stairs… no outdoor shoes are allowed upstairs

More stairs (keep right)

The students leave their shoes here. The pink shoes are the girls’ indoor shoes/slippers and the blue ones are the boys’.

Character Building Room – I’m not sure what they do here, but this is the best named classroom at my school. First time I walked by this room there were students fighting. Talk about character building!

This is the view from one of the hallway windows

Another view from one of the hallway windows

English Teachers’ Office

English Teachers’ Office – This is where we sit and drink tea & coffee.

I finally have my own desk! But no computer yet. 😦

The view from my office. My apt isn’t far from the high rise apartments in the background.

Across the street from my school

Crosswalk

School Zone

The walk towards my apartment

Busy, busy, busy!

I am loving Korea so much! I have been in my apartment just over a week now, and it is really nice. It is a studio style apartment, but I think it’s just enough room for me. I’ve been fortunate enough to inherit furniture, appliances and cleaning supplies from the previous EPIK teacher at my school. He also left me peanut butter, which made me quite happy (and I’m all out now, which makes me quite sad).

I have had some ups and downs since being here, but things have been getting better with time. I started teaching last week and things at school are going very well. I really like my co-workers and I think they like me too. I have made some really great friends here, including these 5 girls…

I have so much to say, but not enough time to write it all down. I just wanted to write a short post to let everyone know that life in Korea is good. I will post an update very soon.