Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Hmm sorry the pictures aren't bigger! I'll work on fixing that for next time.

Still managed to avoid karaoke...

So in the time since my last post, Austin and I have been consumed by school, trying out new restaurants, checking out the local street food, making repeat visits to Dominos, getting food poisoning, and making new friends! It's been a busy two weeks, which would explain for my lack of updates.

We're slowly but surely getting into the swing of things with teaching and just began our third week. Pretty soon Camlin and I will begin planning for the big kindergarten play that will take place in June. If anyone has any good ideas for a musical, send them my way. I've never produced or directed anything in my life, so this should be interesting. Managing a class of kindergarten students is plenty of work, so I'm curious to see how this will all pan out.

We've met a lot of new friends through the foreign teachers' group on facebook. It's a great network of people who we're really lucky to have found. So many interesting people who have traveled all over world and have so many experiences to share with us. We've had some great nights of food and drinking with them so far and look forward to the many more to come. So far my favorite has been a trip to the saunas last Sunday with some of the ladies. Definitely not something for the shy folk. I paid the equivalent of less than $5 for the opportunity to soak naked for an unlimited amount of time in a number of different style pools, plus the use of the sauna (complete with tv), steam room, and crazy cold showers that pound on your body. I started in the hot tub pool, moved to the freezing cold pool, then to the green tea bath, then to the steam room, sauna, and around again. I have never felt anything more relaxing and sedating in my life. Moving from the hot to cold was like an out of body experience. To top it off, I was surrounded by over 50 naked Korean women ranging in age from about 3 years old to 75 years old. Then comes the showering and exfoliation time. These women scrub each other like there's no tomorrow. Mom's scrubbing daughters, sisters scrubbing sisters. These women must have the softest skin ever. I purchased my own little exfoliation mit and got to it. I felt like a brand new person after the experience. Some of these women go once a week to the saunas, some every day. I can see why. I will definitely go back.

Here are some pictures from the last two weeks. Hopefully someday soon we'll actually bust out the good camera.

Bar Juke: We saw this and had to go in. We even got to play DJ and pick our own music from youtube to play throughout the bar. Amazing. Below is a group shot at Bar Juke with our new friends.
One of our first attempts with the street food. So many amazing steamed dumplings. Austin and I ate dinner for about $10 and had enough leftover for a 2nd meal. Oh and yes, that is a plastic glove they gave us that Austin is wearing on his hand while he eats. I guess instead of napkins?

One of our first attempts to eat at a Korean restaurant on our own. We loved the egg frittata/scallion pancake thing. I enjoyed the meat skewers below... Austin not so much. I only recognized squid and chicken. I have no idea what the other types were, but I ate them.

Funny cartoons everywhere. This was on the back of a delivery scooter.

The view of downtown from our apartment.

Making new friends at Jazz Bar. The bartender, Cesar, and Austin bonded over Weezer.

The ladies we met were amazing. They kept feeding us food (literally forcing it in my mouth with chopsticks) and free whiskey. I love how generous the Korean people are.

Dunkin Donuts! So many kinds to choose from. They even have bagels (though I haven't tried one just yet). It's just like being home in NJ, with the exception of the kimchi croquettes and curry donuts.

Next up: our St. Patrick's Day celebrations in the ROK (or lack thereof).....

Monday, March 1, 2010

We have arrived! Our first few days in Geoje

Note: Annyong is the informal term for hi and waeuguk means foreigner

After 24 hours of traveling, Austin and I arrived on the island last Friday evening. Luckily we really haven't felt too much of a culture shock just yet. Granted, we did eat burgers, chili cheese fries, and made a trip to the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf on our first day here. Thanks to our our new friends, Camlin and Preston (the other American couple at our school), we've been hiking, sightseeing, and got our first taste of Korean cuisine.

We start teaching classes Tuesday at the International Language School and have already received a brief tour of the school. The school is a private academy and with the exception of the kindergarten students, it's 1 out of normally 3 schools the students attend throughout the day (1 for math and science, 1 for English, etc). Austin and I will be sharing an office with 2 other Korean teachers and have a pretty similar schedule. My classes will be from 11am-7:30pm on MWF and 2-6 on TTh. Not bad at all. We'll both be working with a combination of kindergarten, elementary, and middle school students and Austin has 1 adult conversation class he'll be co-teaching.

So far we're having a great time and looking forward to our experience teaching English. While the first month will be stressful I'm sure, I hope to keep this blog updated on a fairly regular basis.

Here are some photos from our first few days in the ROK (Republic of Korea).

Our tv and computer set up - Lots of "how-to" post it notes from Sabrina, another teacher at the school and previous tenant
Our kitchen - 2 burner stove, motion sensor lights when you walk in

Austin at our desk/eating area

View of the main room, it's basically a studio but with sliding glass doors that lead into the kitchen. The small screen above the bed shows us who's at the door.

Bathroom and shower are all in one

Plenty of closet space

Hallway outside our front door

Washing machine

Enclosed patio

Another view of the bathroom

Yep, that's a whole squid I'm holding

Delicious seafood meal with mussels, shrimp, squid, and some type of hot dog like meat

View of the city on our hike

Camlin getting her stretching on

2-person karaoke room at the arcade near the bus stop

Karaoke rooms

Stadium at the base of the mountain/hill we climbed

"Stylish" beer, complete with added fiber for good health in young people. Seriously.

Chanel motel. I wonder if there's a Korean word for "copyright infringement"

We stumbled upon some drummers on the street.

Combo pizza with shrimp, potatoes, bacon, crab, and chicken topped with sour cream. Not so healthy, but delicious. The crust was filled with sweet potato mousse!