Saturday, February 13, 2010

i've had numerous requests for an update...i can't believe you guys aren't sick of me yet! thanks for being such faithful readers.

things were much easier for us this week TESOL-wise. we are now officially halfway through...woohoo! we're all ready for the next 2 weeks to go by quickly. currently, we are enjoying a long weekend. the 14th is when koreans celebrate Seollal, or the lunar new year. this is one of the country's 2 biggest holidays. the city is quiet as most people travel to visit their families and most shops close down for a few days. our teachers were gracious and gave us no homework for the weekend, so we are all enjoying the time to relax, explore, and (personally) study korean.

we were all able to get our cellphones this week! it was a long and grueling process, taking about 3 hours with alot of communication via hand motions, broken english, and minimal korean. it was also a hilarious experience, as the cell phone store employees got so excited to have so many new contracts signed at once. they all started clapping and yelling and shouting: "we love you! we love america!" towards the end, the manager started running around and handing out bills of 10,000 won and shouting "discount, discount!" hahaha. it was like a little party in the cell phone store. they have become our new friends - i was walking past yesterday with one of the other teachers when the manager happened to look out the window and see us. he yelled and ran out the door to meet us and walked a block with us, just talking in the little english he knew and laughing with us. koreans are so friendly!

we also had a hilarious experience at dinner this week. a bunch of teachers were trying to decide where to eat, when i suggested we walk until we found a new place we hadn't tried yet. everybody looked at me like i was crazy and expressed concern over the fact that we probably wouldn't be able to read the menu, but i talked them into being adventurous. we walked til we found a place that had an interesting design on the window that caught my eye, and i decided that's where we should eat. hahaha. we went in and took our shoes off and sat down and all of the koreans started swarming. whenever a group of us goes out, they always assume that i am the translator, since i am the only korean in the group. i think it makes some of the other teachers uncomfortable - like they are unsure of how i will react or nervous that it will upset me. hopefully they will get to know me better as time goes on and they will see that i think it's hilarious. anyways, all the koreans start talking to me really fast and i'm trying to make them understand that i don't speak korean. all of the teachers are just gawking, like "how is she going to make this work?!" i finally got them to understand that i had no idea what they were saying to me and we decided on what to order (samgyupsal, google it!). they started bringing out all of these side dishes til our table was literally overflowing with food and everyone was amazed. the koreans realized we were dumb when it comes to things like trying to figure out what the food is and how to eat it, so they started treating us like kids and cutting up our food for us and passing out chopsticks and napkins and just laughing with us at our pure ignorance. hahaha. it was awesome. i loved watching the new teachers go from fear and trepidation to laughing and enjoying a new experience. and i loved interacting with the koreans and finding ways to communicate with them without having a common language. the whole experience turned into a night that left me laughing until my sides hurt. here are a couple shots of the spread & everybody who got to experience this hilarious evening:

i should probably note, too, that this entire meal cost each of us a little over 5,000 won. that's equivalent to about $5 USD...and we considered this meal to be a little bit on the expensive side! relatively speaking, everything is so much cheaper in korea!

this country is full of broken english and improper translations, and it's so funny. just walking down the street, you will see signs and things written totally wrong and just laugh your head off. a good example was when i was looking up movie listings today. the local theater normally plays all korean films and then about 2 american movies. i saw avatar and then this other movie i could not figure out for anything. after a good 2 minutes of racking my brain, i finally realized that "if the food falls from the sky" was "cloudy with a chance of meatballs." hahahaha!

i've had alot of questions about what types of things we have here that we also have in the states. the answer is: alot! you could easily find a pizza hut, krispy kreme, kfc, or starbucks here...but why would you want to if you have so many new things you could try?! i will note that all of the mcdonalds restaurants here have a delivery service! you always see the mcdonalds delivery guys zipping around the streets on their motorized scooters. hahaha. i do have a few staples here that i can't go without, such as...
this little can of heaven will run about 500 won, or less than 50 cents. diet coke is light coke here. :)

i've also been nibbling on these...
korean has alot of sounds that english doesn't have, and vice versa. so you sometimes just have to make do. this literally reads (backwards, of course): hershey's kee-sye-se.

oh and i'm currently on a card-writing frenzy. the post office workers here now recognize me when i come the door as that korean who can't speak korean. hahaha. they know i am always sending to miguk (america).
maybe one of these has YOUR name on it?! you'll see soon enough...these will be 미국 bound on tuesday!

time to go scavenge for some food. hope you all have a great weekend...happy lunar new year! :)


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