One of my favorite times of year in Korea is when the trees go from looking barren and dead to this…
I was recently asked by Emma of Emma’s New Groove if I have any advice for someone applying for EPIK (English Program in Korea). I definitely do!
I teach grades 3-6 in an elementary school. Up until a month or so ago, I taught 6th grade twice a week. It was cut back to once a week so that the 6th graders could prepare for their national exam that they had last Tuesday.
Last Friday was my last class with the 6th grade students until September. My co-teacher knew they had been very stressed out over the exam so she wanted me to have fun with them. We played a “Name That Tune” game using Korean pop (K-pop) songs. They were able to listen a clip of the song that used English and they had to write down the name of the song and the name of the band. They also had to list the English words that they heard. Apparently they loved it because my co-teacher told me that yesterday they were begging to play again.
She also told me that she gave them a sheet of paper and asked them to write down things they thought the class was missing. 20-30 students said me. Awww!
I love my 3rd graders. They are all so sweet and very eager to learn. It’s their first year learning English and are just now starting to learn phonics and the alphabet. We had so much fun today. This is the last week of the semester so I won’t see many of them again until September. I’m going to miss them.
- You start telling people they should “take a rest.”
- Blue eyes can put others into a state of hypnosis.
- A single bar of soap can kill the bacteria on the hands of 1,000 people.
- You’re getting used to fruit flies buzzing around your head.
- You love buying food in the supermarket that is scotch-taped to something else.
- The wait staff likes to cook your food and feed it to you.
- You cross your arms in an X every time you say NO or disagree about something.
- You think you’re back in university after hearing loud drunks stumbling home at 4am on a Sunday morning… but then realize its 50 year olds wearing suits.
- Koreans seem to be able to find anything from “www[dot]daum[dot]net” but you’re not even sure what kind of site it is.
- You feel like you’re playing Frogger every time you walk to school or have lunch in the cafeteria.
- Parking a car means turning off the engine.
- You find yourself chopping vegetables while sitting on your bed because there is no counter space.
- Your fate is often determined through a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors.
- People just love to watch your groceries go through the checkout.
- Clerks in the stores stand at attention and ready to pounce on you with customer service.
- Dishes and ironing are taking up too much of your spare time.
- You’ve-ah started talking like-ah this-ah.
- No matter where you are standing, you are always in an old lady’s way.
- You actually prefer bowing to saying hello.
- People only need to walk one block to reach a convenience store or PC room.
- People politely start public trash piles rather than littering everywhere.
- You find yourself disappointed in the equipment offered at the free public park gyms.
- You still have no clue how the garbage/recycling system works here.
- You’re already losing your motivation for temple-stay and learning fluent Korean.
- Everyone is very impressed with your chopstick skills and kimchi-eating ability.
*I didn’t write any of these myself, but they pretty much sum up life in Korea. *
You can find the original post here:
I know I’m extremely behind on posting. I felt so bad about it that I decided to make a video to make up for it. Even though I’ve just started month 5 in Korea, I made this video using short clips I took during my first 3 months here. Enjoy!
Saturday, April 2
One of the most famous attractions in Busan is the Busan Aquarium. It’s located right on Haeundae, Busan’s most popular beach. If you go, watch out for those pesky birds. As always, click on any picture below to see the full size image.
The aquarium is nice, but it’s actually quite small. The entrance fee is 18,000 won (about $16.50). We thought that was a bit too expensive. It’s definitely good to get it checked off of the To Do List, but we won’t be back.
After the aquarium, we stopped off at the darts booth and Andy and I threw some darts at balloons. Here we are with our prize seashell necklaces…
Our next stop was Fuzzy Navel for drinks and chips and dips… and more darts.
Afterwards, we headed to the Wolfhound Pub and had some Irish food and played more darts.
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.
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.
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 *