Sunday, December 2, 2012

Catching up for the Week

Hey everyone!  Sorry I haven't posted much this week, but I'm trying to get my internet connection sorted. It seems to work for about 15 minutes every three hours, so it's a bit difficult to be productive. Technology truly hates me.

And hey, for everyone that is curious about the time difference, I am 15 hours ahead. That's 15 hours in the future! It's kind of strange thinking that the time for all of you is so different.

Anyways, this week has been quite interesting, to say the least. It's been filled with new friends, great food, and finally moving into my permanent apartment!
This is the hallway of the place where my rented room was.
There was no way to get a good picture of that tiny room, so
this will have to do!
I arrived on Monday night, and then really started at work on Tuesday. I just shadowed the three other teachers to get a feel for how they ran their classroom. It's a very strange time for me to be starting at SPOL, because it is the end of term for them. Right now, pretty much all the work is done, so the teachers are showing movies or playing games and having fun instead of instructing the students. After classes, I went home to sleep because I still felt pretty jet lagged.

On Wednesday, I had quite a busy day. Before school, I had to go get a medical checkup that is required in order to get my ARC (Alien Resident Card). George, a coworker, thankfully came with me because I had no idea where to go and I speak absolutely no Korean. They took all sorts of tests--blood, urine, EKG, chest X-ray, and the infamous boob measurement. I say infamous because apparently everyone talks about it, and it's the strangest thing because that is the only place they measure. I have no idea why. After this, George and I got bibimbap for breakfast. This is a traditional breakfast that has some rice, chili sauce, sprouts, and other vegetables topped with an egg. It was pretty tasty, but definitely not something I am used to having for breakfast!

I had classes by myself for the first time on Wednesday. This was terrifying, to say the least. I didn't have a lesson plan, and I had no idea what English the kids knew so I had to go through all the different books to find out what they should know and then construct games based on that. My coworker Dan, who is head teacher for the native teachers (meaning those who speak English as their native tongue) was greatly helpful in figuring out what to do with the class too. 
On the way to the bathroom at the galbi restaurant, and
the most likely reason they call this place General Pee's.

Galbi. So fantastic!

Galbi! And that green glass bottle is of soju
a rice vodka that is not bad after you have a couple...
After class on Wednesday, it was the going away party for Tom, which is the teacher that I am replacing. We met at Floatie's, which is a bar near where most of the teachers live. At this bar, they had all the beer and glasses in a cooler on one side so that people would just go up and grab a beer, and take the empty bottles to the cashier at the end to pay their tab. It seems like a system that is much too trusting, and I'm sure that one unlucky person gets stuck with paying for a few extra beers at the end of the night! Well, we had a beer there while waiting for everyone to arrive, then set out for General Pee to eat some galbi. Galbi is kind of like a stir fry with beef or chicken--it is absolutely delicious! After this, we went back to Floatie's and just chatted for a while before going home.

Thursday was nice, but uneventful. I got up early to meet other teachers for Youn’s going away brunch. She is a teacher at my school that is also leaving. We went to Ashley’s, which was a buffet that featured some American food like waffles! It was pretty tasty, and it was nice to see everyone outside of work. After that, I went to school, and played some more games with the kids. I think that I do not like the unstructured classes very much, it’s very difficult to fill 50 minutes with games and whatnot. I can tell you that I have not sung the song “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” so many times in my entire life as I have this week!

The big blue butt.
Friday featured classes that weren’t too eventful. After school, I met people at the Big Blue Butt near my rented room to go to a dak galbi restaurant. Dak galbi features chicken rather than beef or pork like regular galbi, but it is just as delicious. This particular place also had cheese for on top! This is a pretty big deal, because there is not much cheese in Korea. And when there is cheese, it is usually crappy American style cheese. After a pretty fantastic dinner, we went to Baby Guinness, which is a nearby American style bar. It was almost strange to walk in and see a room full of non-Korean faces, but it was a lot of fun! Next time I go, I’m definitely getting in on the foosball games.

Dak Galbi before it's fully cooked. A bunch of people who
work at the restaurant come over and stir it every thirty seconds
until it looks like the picture below!

Finished dak galbi, complete with melted cheese!
More to come soon about the weekend!

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