Saturday, October 29, 2011

Jeollanam-do, South Korea

Pagoda decor.
Well, the leaves are finally changing. The Ginkos lining the city streets have transformed into poufs of gold; the Cherry Blossoms, a deep crimson. Autumn is in full-swing and I'm loving it. I held a trick-or-treating activity for my students yesterday at school... it was a slight fail, because one of the teachers gave away all my candy before my last class came in to trick-or-treat. I felt bad, but I'll probably bring them a little extra somethin' next week to make up for it... 

My students also appear to be dying of dehydration these days, as they've been begging me for water a whole lot lately. (I'm not sure how they fared in the Summer) "Teeeacha! Wata, pu-leasee!" I just have them open their little mouths like baby birds as I pour a few drops into each... the other day my younger ones even snatched the bottle from me and started fighting to the death over that poor, defenseless piece of plastic. One boy reigned victorious and drank up the few remaining drops before the bottle, twisted and balled-up from battle, fell the ground.  

The other day, one of my 5th grade boys asked to officially change his English name to Justin Bieber. And my friend Skye and I won matching pink dolphins in a crane game last night (these machines literally line the streets in the bar areas of Korea.) That's what's new with me.

A few weekends back, I also went on a culture trip held for the teachers in my province. We hit up the Jeollanam-do province in southwest Korea. I have to admit... a little too much time was spent on buses and not quite enough on "immersing ourselves in culture." Now I'm probably going to sound a little sassy and ungrateful. And I am sassy sometimes, but I don't like to seem ungrateful. But truly ... it just wasn't the most organized of trips, and I didn't always know where exactly we were and what, exactly, we were doing...But it was still fun. And it allowed us a two-day vacation from school. So that's always good.

First, we went to a folk village. I really couldn't even begin to tell you the name of the place... It wasn't as neat as the one we visited on our last culture trip, but it was still nice. 

The thickness of one of the straw roofs. Pretty awesome.
We also visited a bay. I don't really know the full scoop on it...just that there was a maze of a boardwalk that ran throughout a field and we followed it to a small hill from which you could look out over the fields and the water.

Shannon, me, and my friend Jason.

The climb up the hill....and the view! I must say, the views were gorgeous.



The coordinators did well, as far as booking accommodations. Our hotel was very nice, and it was just Shannon and I to a room, so we were pretty happy about that. I did a flip on the bed and everything.

The next day, we took a ferry boat to an island...that we never actually made it to. The boat just ended up going in a big circle until it docked once again and we exited via a second boat. The boat ride itself would've been great...if it hadn't been cold and rainy. Not really the best weather for being outside on a boat. But, eh, we saw a cool bridge and some neat rocks jutting out of the ground (maybe that was the island we were supposed to see..? It's still unclear.) 

The 3-hour bus ride back to town... well let's just say I got stuck on the norae-bus. Someone decided it would be a good idea to bust out the tunes, turn 'em up full-blast, and allow tone-deaf passengers to sing along, karaoke-style. Loudly. On a bus. Which, in case you don't know, is a very small space that you cannot exit when you have a headache. And are trying to sleep. 

I tried to tell them to please turn it down a little...but they couldn't hear me. Imagine that.

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