Saturday, March 24, 2007

Seoraksan Mountain

Over the Lunar New Year holiday (that's big here) my compadres and I took a long weekend to travel to the mountains. Seoul is on the West side of Korea, so we hopped a bus and traveled 4 hours to the infamously beautiful east coast.As you'll see here, there's a beautiful ocean. The name of said ocean is under debate: the Koreans call it the East Sea, and the Japanese call it the Sea of Japan. There's also an island (well, a rock, really) between the two countries called "Dokdo" that both countries claim as their own... Geoff and I enjoying a refreshing beverage on the beach at dawn . We took the night bus, so we arrived at 3:30 a.m. Just in time for some barbecue and beer! We stayed up until 8:30 a.m. Frisbee was played on the beach.
A view of the beautiful snow-capped mountains through the buildings. This city is called Sokcho. Tallest peaks in South Korea.
The crew (Nicole, me, Geoff, Les and Gilles) in front of a ginormous Buddha. We are in Asia! I asked a passerby to take a group photo for us. On the first attempt, she took a nice shot of us, but cut the Buddha out. I thought it was pretty obvious that we would have wanted the Buddha in the background. But you know what they say about people who ASSume....
Les totally ruined the picture below. Sheesh, can't you find some other sacred palace grounds to walk on?
Anyway, we were there for three nights (if you count the first one where we just were on the bus and beach). We hiked a bit. It was nice to get out into the fresh mountain air. We did our share of partying, playing games, bowling, eating, and singing at noraebang. We also went to a true Asian arcade and played some video games in the middle of the night...Dance Dance Revolution was quite a workout! Geoff is oddly skilled at it...he kicked all of our asses. No comment.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

My new nephew

My new nephew, Riley Garrett, was born on March 21, 2007. He is 6lbs. 12oz., oddly enough the same weight that my brother weighed when he was born! He looks so cute "what's going on? Can I go back to where I came from now?"

The proud, tired parents.
I'm so excited to be an aunt!!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


I'm settled into my new neighborhood. It's called Hoegi-dong (or "the Hoe", as my ever-so-creative friends like to call it). It's a 10 minute walk from work, and because I work at a university, I live in a university neighborhood. Fantastic! I have all the restaurants, bars, cafes, shops, and whatever else you can think of outside my front door. Plus, I can actually see the subway station from my window. This is a big deal because last year I had to walk 10 minutes from the subway to get to my apartment. It's ever-so convenient. I have a supermarket and a cheon won (dollar) store directly across the street. In this next shot you can see my apartment building. Look for the tall one in the middle that says "Osvill" (you can click on the picture to make it bigger). That's my building. I live on the 6th floor. And look! It's right next to Pivo Skybar. How convenient. There's also a noraebang right next to the entrance of my building. It's fate.
Down below you can see the entrance gate to my university. I walk through it everyday. My work building is right on the other side. My office and my classrooms are in the same building.

Although I've only worked about a week and a half at my new job, I think I'm going to like it. I have 2 classes (that each meet twice a week), and the students have been really great so far. It's SO nice not to have to worry about discipline like last year. These are actually mature-ish university students! In addition to teaching, I'm advising. This entails meeting one-on-one with students and Korean professors who are teaching or taking TTE (Teaching Through English) classes. I help them with their writing, speaking skills, and teaching/learning strategies. I'm also developing some workshops for them to get some hands-on experience. It's pretty cool so far.

Oh, and did I mention that I get 8 weeks of vacation? Alright, I'll shut up now.

Back in the land of the sweet potato latte

That's right, you read correctly. Koreans looooove sweet potatoes. I thought I'd seen it all when sweet potato came atop my pizza (along with corn), but I was wrong. Standing in line at a coffee shop ("coppee shop-uh" to the Korean tongue) today, I saw nothing other than an ad for a sweet potato latte. What WILL they think of next???

Another oddity at the coppee shop---they will not, for the life of them, fill your cup to the brim. There's always a good inch and a half of emptiness in the cup. Now why did I just pay $3 for half of a Cafe Mocha? I asked a Korean friend, and she said "It's our culture not to fill the cup." Sigh. Some things I'll just never understand. This photo shows my newly purchased mocha, before taking a sip. That's right. Fill 'er up!