Saturday, November 20, 2010

Birthday, Markets, Mexican, And A Lantern Festival!

In the sport of trying to be a good blogger I am trying to update more often and stay on top of things so that blogs are no longer weeks or even months late.  To start off this hopefully new trend I had hoped to blog about my weekend well this weekend and already have posted but that didn't happen.  I did however have an amazing weekend and a pretty dandy week last week. 

I guess to start I should say things at school are going about the same as normally and maybe even a little better.  I am currently working on a blog that is just all about school called "The Ramblings Of A Business Major Teaching English"so keep an eye out for that.  It is to tell more in detail about my classes, what I do with my middle school classes, and to get advice and help on ideas for classes.  Anyways I don't know how it will turn out because well this poor blog can't even get going. 

Ok back on topic we now have started getting ready for the big kindergarten kick off next year.  Ryan and I are both kind of looking forward to the chance to work with younger kids, however the added work not so much.  To get things going our boss has brought in a Korean couple in their early 40's.  So far we have met the husband and over all think he is pretty cool.  He lived and worked in the states for 8 years and has worked at other schools and even ran his own.  He has very good English, a sense of humor, he understand sarcasm and has been really great about talking with us both about what all is going on and just getting to know us. This is a huge thing because most people hear get really quite around us because they  are worried about their English.  He and Ryan have hit it off very well and I am happy to say I think he has a new friend.  I look forward to meeting his wife. 

Ryan is still liking his City Hall class and I am still liking most of my elementary classes and disliking some of the middle school class.  I have reached the point where I can now see some classes making improvements and this makes me very happy.  Kids who were first shy are now coming out of their shells and talking to me more.  Most of them still love hearing about my family, places I have been, school back home and friends.  I have now started to give the middle school kids homework and I  am bribing them with pizza, I'll  let you know how that works out at the end of the month.  Check the other blog for updates. Sadly on the school front for this blog I think that is about it.

Thursday was my 23rd Birthday.  I missed my family and find myself missing the cards I use to get from my grandmother on my Birthday; however I had a really enjoyable day thanks to everyone in my life.  A week or so before my Birthday my parents shipped me and Ryan a care package.  It was filled with Skittles for Ryan, spices for cooking,  books to read, and a few surpasses like Christmas themed towels and an oven mitt, an Oregon College t-shirt to add to my collection, and the Charley Brown Holiday Pack!   I was jumping up and down with joy over just about everything in the care package but the Charley Brown put me over the edge! I am a huge fan and a holiday is not a holiday without Charley Brown and Snoopy! I grew up watching these and having them here in Korea now just makes me feel that much closer to my family as I now share them with Ryan.   I talked to my parents that morning after getting a great Hoops And Yoyo card from them and then we headed into school. 

Here 11/11 is Pepero Day, more or less a knock off of our Valentines Day only this circles around only one candy, there are no flowers, no cards just Pepero a candy made and marketed by the company Lotte.  Pepero is a cookie stick that is dipped in to chocolate, the most common flavor; however they now have over 10 different flavors.  It is said they celebrate it on 11/11 because it looks like 4 sicks of Pepero.  Back to the point I got quite a bit of Pepero from my kids and some of the younger classes sang Happy Birthday.  The Korean teachers always get a really good blueberry cake with fruit on top and will sing Happy Birthday and give a gift card.  One of them even went out of her way to get me a scarf and glove set.  Ryan shocked me later after work with a really cute hand bag and some killer shoes and then we enjoyed galbi (Korean beef barbecue you cook at the table) for dinner and watched the Charley Brown Thanksgiving episode. 

Friday was a normal school day and we found a new chicken place that does amazing ribs for dinner that night.  We also found out at school Friday that they would start some of the work to remodel some of the rooms for the kindergarten classes.  This slipped my mind and I was extremely shocked to find my window gone and room a mess come Monday when I got to school.  Yes I know school life is pretty dull, make me wonder why I can start a blog just about school.

Saturday we had to go take care of something in Seoul so we headed out about 8:30 to catch the bus to Nambu Bus Terminal. After an hour or so bus ride we headed off to catch the orange line to the green line then over one stop to Gongnam and up to the eye doctor to have Ryan's eyes checked and to test to see if I have glaucoma. Fun start to the day right?  We finished up about 11:30 and headed back down to the subway to make our way over to Seoul Station to enjoy lunch at Quiznoes and then hit up some different markets. 

We had planed was to start with Insadong, make our way over to Itawon and then check out the Seoul Lantern Festival going on over at the Cheonggyecheon Stream.  For the most part that is exactly how it went and we even got an extra market in for the day with a stop at Namdamun on the way back to Seoul Station.  So as you can guess for me this was an amazing day, I mean what woman wouldn't love 3 different markets and a nice Lantern Festival along a stream?

We took a taxi over to Insadong in hopes to fine a tea set, some Korean China, a few different gifts, and to make sure the antique box we were going to be buying later in the day was the box we really wanted.  It was my first time in Insadong and I loved it.  There were so many more art shops, china shops, calligraphy shops, lamp shops and it was all so beautiful.  We shopped around for a bit finding a few different shops that interested us and made note of things we wanted to come back and get on another day when we didn't have so many other places to go.  We got to see a traditional style parade go down the street, all the women were so pretty, all the colors were so rich, and it was one of those moments I had to pinch myself and remind myself I was not in South Carolina any more. 

Fall is here!

The Bride is in there

After an hour or so we headed back down to the subway to make our way over to Itawon to check out what was going on and pick up a few things.  We started by making our way over to the antique store where Ryan had finally found a box he wanted to check it out again and talk to the man about packing it so we could ship it home.  We went ahead and got it along with a gift for my mother for Christmas and are going back in a few weeks to take him a few things so he can professionally pack them all inside so they hopefully make it back home.  From there we headed down to the Hamilton Mall where Ryan let me pick out a ring for my Birthday, I normally don't fall for the whole "state bird, state flower, state stone" thing however the stone here is Amethyst and well I have always loved the color purple and it reminds me of my grandmother so I got sucked in.  I love it and have thanked Ryan about 1000 times for helping me pick one out and pushing me to get one if I really wanted one.  We shopped around for a little bit longer getting lucky with a coat in one store before calling it quits as it got dark and headed up to Pancho's to eat some dinner.  As we sat and lissened to older Rap music we talked about how we are going to make a Thanksgiving dinner in Korea without an oven or turkey, what we are looking forward to at Christmas, work, memories, and had a great dinner.  It was almost like a date from way back when and was totally relaxing and refreshing. 

We made our way over to the Lantern Festival to find it completely packed out.  Ryan likes to call times like this "The Billion Asian March" and well he couldn't of been any closer to right.  They had fully decked out the river with paper lanterns lining it all the way down and then down in the middle they had huge, beautiful, paper lanterns representing the country's at the G20 Summit.  It was amazingly beautiful and would of been great had it not been for the mad, crazy, and pushy crowd that surround us.  They had a line that was at least 2 hours long that was funneling people one at a time down to the second (main) level of the river.  We opted to pass on that and instead just walked up and down the river jumping into whatever small opening we could see to catch a look.  Poor Ryan hates crowds so after about 30 minutes of feeling like a sardine we finally bailed but not before I giulted him into trying to take one of those do it yourself photos of us.

3rd one but you know what they say, "3rd times the charm"

As we walked back towards Seoul Station we still had a good hour and half before the train left so we stopped in to Namdamun just to see if anything good was going on.  We stopped in a toy store so Ryan could check out the remote control helicopters and then feel upon what I might just have to call Christmas Heaven in Namdamun.  It was 3 or 4 shops they had cleared out and made all Christmas, they had lights of every color, they had trees of every size, they had light up dear, inflatable Santa, pretty much anything you could ask for they had.  I was in aww as I wondered around and could see the look of "oh no" on Ryan's face as I started to look at trees.   So after a few minutes of "do you really want a tree baby" and weak "no I guess I don't need a tree" and "we may not be here next year" followed by "but we may be" and so on and so forth we left without a tree saying we would think about it. 

Back at Seoul Station I bought a news paper to read about the G20 Summit, enjoyed some Cold Stone with Ryan and caught the 9:50 back home.  Once back at the apartment we crashed after what was an amazing but way too long day.  Thinking about the day now gives me a nice big smile.  Some days I feel like all those people who told me I was crazy for leaving Spartanburg I feel bad for.  Life is great and if you don't ever go out side of your box or comfort zone and live it you will miss the most amazing parts of it. 

Life is good!


Chas said...

You aren't crazy for leaving Spartanburg. S. Korea looks so much fun! I love seeing all of your pictures of the parades..its like i was there too. That Pepero Holiday sounds neat. You should make a goal to try all flavors of those sticks candy...they sound good! Your birthday cake looked awesome. The candles looked like fireworks! Loved it! Sorry this is random. I would love to read your other blog about school and your work. I'm glad you guys made a new teacher friend. Kindergarten is fun for the most part. I always like the little songs you learn to teach them things. They are so cute! You guys will really enjoy it, I think! I hope you have a good Sunday! Did you get a Christmas tree yet ?

Megan said...

Ahh Pepero is not one of my favorite things because it is everywhere....the company that makes them makes just about everything and even have amustment parks and hotels. I have finally start the other blog let me know if you can see the link from my profile or not so I can fix it if need be. It is going slow and I need a nice rainy weekend to sit down and work on it. Ryan taught kindergarten last year and loved it so he is looking forward to seeing what they ask us to teach....sadly I have to start doing mini demos of the class tomorrow for science so that will be umm different I hope I don't mess up, I tend to talk to fast for most Koreans to understand me. Sadly yes our Christmas tree came and I am currently trying to work on that....there will probably be a few blogs about our Christmas decorations and hopefully I can finish this weekends blog, the one about marketing on Monday and do a Thanksgiving one....ahh blogging and I don't always see eye to eye....