Thursday, December 20, 2012

On How I Can't Work a Washing Machine

My birthday cake from work!

Not really sure why I don't look more excited,
but I'm about to blow out the candles...
The "good" galbi restaurant we went to for my birthday.

Birthday dinner.

Hot coals, just awaiting some samgyeopsal and galbi.

Samgyeopsal surrounding by a nice kimchi omelette.

Steaming hot tofu soup, nice and spicy.

Delicious galbi.

Banana milk, which I had for the first time.
Highly recommended, surprisingly good.
Monday was my birthday! My first birthday away from home, my only birthday so far outside of the country. Work was fun. My coworkers got me a tasty birthday cake, which everyone ate with chopsticks, of course. Koreans eat everything with chopsticks, even cake. By the time I come home, I will undoubtedly be an expert with chopsticks and will have forgotten how to use a knife and fork completely! Many of the students wished me happy birthday, and were really excited to hear that it was my birthday. When I had them guess what age I was, the younger classes agreed that I was 45, sadly. I guess I look a little bit older than I expected!

After work, I went out for dinner with a few friends--Lily, Adam, Jen, Sarah, and Charles. Adam had met Sarah on the bus that morning. She has been in Korea for a month already, but because she is the only native teacher at her school, she hadn't really met anyone new yet! I hope to say that we met a new friend, and I'm sure I'll see her again soon. Charles is the newest teacher at work. For dinner we accidentally ordered samgyeopsal at first (the best way to describe this is as thick bacon), but ordered galbi after that was gone. Everything was very delicious, and their tofu soup was delicious, nice and spicy too. We ended up chatting with a table of guys sitting next to us, who were asking us to rank them in order of handsomeness. I guess they appreciated the input, because they bought the table an extra order of galbi. In America men buy you drinks, in Korea men buy you meat, I guess. Or maybe just in this instance... Still, it was very nice of them, and everyone left absolutely stuffed after spending a mere $7. It was a nice quiet evening, as nobody really likes to drink when they have to work with children the next (this would be absolutely awful with a hangover).

I got so many birthday wishes and emails, it was fantastic to hear from everyone! Thank you to all who said something, it definitely helped to know that I'm not forgotten back home. :) It was heart-warming to open my card from Kelly on my birthday (before I left she handed me a pack of about 6 different cards to open on certain holidays and for when I feel sick/have a bad day/need a friend), and I know I have a card coming from my dad soon too. And a special thank you to Jessica and Curtis for sending me the package of goodies below that I received today:

I have to say, I have some pretty awesome friends!
Speaking of receiving that, I can now confidently say that the address I have will work. And if anyone in the future wants to send something, you can mail it to me at:
SPOL English Institute
c/o Stephanie Bonde
114-3 Bun-Ji
Republic of Korea
Ph. 031-8003-9404

I guess it's recommended to include the phone number on the package because if the mail carrier cannot find the building or if they have a question, they just call. It should get to me without it though!

Charles is a new teacher at work because George, sadly, went back home to England. I will absolutely miss George at work. He was a great help when I was first starting--he took me to get pictures, get my medical check, and he gave great advice about classes and students. He also showed me my two favorite coffee shops! I'll miss the nerdy conversations about Lord of the Rings and other random topics, of course. Luckily, he will be coming back to Korea in February, so I'm going to hold him to the promise of showing me the best sushi place in Byeongjeom! We went out for lunch to celebrate his last day at work, and I got this tasty dish:

Fried shrimp udon, really tasty! Also incredibly difficult to eat
using only chopsticks and a spoon.

Right now, I'm having fight #2 with my washing machine. The first time, it took about two hours to complete one load of laundry, and I had to have a friend that lives in the building come over to help me. Right now, it's already been two hours and I'm still waiting for it to finish! I'm not really sure why I can't make it work, but it probably has something to do with the fact that there are eight different buttons, only one of which I can confidently identify (the power button) and all of the controls are in Korean. One nice thing is that when it's finally done, I can hang everything up on the drying rack and then dry anything that doesn't fit on the heated floor. I never have to go to the laundromat because the heated floor dries everything in a few short hours!

My jerk of a washing machine.

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