09.14.2011 76 °F
I have officially been here for over six months and it feels amazing to say that I’m over halfway! I feel like it is all downhill from here and I can totally make it! Plus, we have booked tickets to Tokyo for New Year’s so I am really looking forward to that!
A lot has happened since I last wrote, so I’ll try not to forget anything…here goes.
We had a three day weekend so Gabrielle and I went to Busan with her new coworker. Busan is a beach town or city rather, in the South. It has a population of about 3 million people, so it is still a pretty large city. We loved the beach we were at though, so probably only saw about 100 of those people, but that didn’t bother us much. There are a couple different main beach areas, and we were at one of the more popular ones. Since it was a holiday there were many Koreans vacationing there too. Since everyone works so hard here it is always good to see them relaxing! It was only my second time outside of Seoul, so it was a much needed break!
Gabrielle found a hostel online, and we were in for a real treat when we got there. It was by far the nicest hostel either of us had ever stayed in! The three of us had a room to ourselves and the place was super clean, and even supplied toiletries! It was definitely a pleasant surprise.
When we got to the beach we were in for another surprise though…I’ve never in my life been to a beach that was so crowded. Since Koreans (most) don’t like to tan their skin, the beach was overrun with parasols. The rest of the place was full of people buried in the sand or sitting on their floaties. They seemed to be oddly obsessed with burying each other in the sand...parents burying kids, husbands burying wives…everyone was in the sand!
They also loooove their floaties! Every family had a least two. No one was swimming, or even in the water for that matter, without one. And every time a wave came there was a loud squeal to accompany it. It was so overwhelming. We tried to capture a video to show the ridiculousness that was happening all around us, but it didn’t do it justice. The girls didn’t leave their heels at home either. They are obsessed with them and everyone wears heels wherever they go, and the beach was no exception.
We met some other foreigners there who were having a great time with the locals on the beach. They dug booby-traps (which I haven’t seen since about third grade) that consisted of holes in the crowded sand, and waving to people as they passed. We caught a few in them and it was actually pretty entertaining.
We had a great three days of beaching it, cheesy bagels and sushi, and it was exactly the break I needed!
Busan is a really cool place, but we did only see a very small part of it. When looking into coming here, I thought Seoul was the only place I would have wanted to be…but hindsight is a great thing, and I probably would have loved living there…but oh well, can’t think about that now!
The train from Seoul is only two hours, but it was the same price to fly so we took the train there and flew home. I felt like such a true jet setter. We got the domestic terminal and I’m pretty sure we were the only foreigners there. Once we got on our plane we were definitely the only ones, and after a long announcement in Korean there was a brief announcement in English, to which Gabrielle leaned in and said “We should feel special since that was obviously only for us!” I had grabbed an English newspaper to read on the flight. I don’t think people fully get the extent of how cutesy EVERYTHING is here. I opened the paper and found this – a picture of the UN Chief with his ‘friends’ in a heart shaped pose…ridiculous!
We’ve had a few more ‘field trips’, one of which being an hour long pajama day at school, where I got some pretty cute pictures of the kids I thought I’d share.
A little tired of playing duck, duck, goose!
Lucas is such a rebel, the perm doesn't help much though.
It says "America, kinda looks like a shark or something"...I want one!
Yes, her shirt does say Wendy's
Here are a few more gems of assignments I’ve received lately.
Your guess is as good as mine...
Minor spelling error...big difference!
So Gabrielle and I had been trying to find a weekend that we could go visit our friends on base and we thought we finally had one where we could go down on Saturday, spend the whole day, and get back to Seoul. I’d never been to a military base before so I was interested to see what it was like, and we were told they had a pool with some water slides that we were both eager to use. The base is about an hour and a half by subway, or 50 mins by train. The train we wanted to take was sold out, so we figured to save time we’d just take the subway and get there a little before the next train would have. So we hopped on the train, started chatting, of course, and an hour later decided to start paying attention. I looked up the station where we were….and we had gone an hour in the wrong direction! We are smart girls, and this had yet to happen to either of us since we’ve been here, so we were both shocked that we had made such a huge mistake. We had to call our friends and rearrange for the next day. We had a blast, and it actually turned out to be my favorite weekends in Korea to date!
We had both heard about a neighborhood with traditional houses that we wanted to see. The area is called Samcheon-dong and it is a mixture of old and new. The neighborhood where the traditional houses are is just slightly removed from a main road, but so quiet and peaceful! The houses are beautiful too. We didn’t get to see inside one, but we did meet a friendly foreigner who lived there. He said that the house he was living in was built recently and has a traditional outside with a western inside.
While walking to the neighborhood we saw this random bench called “eating a biscuit together”. We’re hoping it is just a bad translation and the actual name is a little more eloquent!