Sunday, June 22, 2014

10 Months In!

June is slowly slipping away, summer is officially here, and on Wednesday, I passed my 10 month anniversary here in Korea. I must admit that I am getting homesick as I hear about everyone's plans to go home and visit their families, but I hope that lessens a bit when Cesca comes. 

This week was pretty quiet, but I still have lots of random things to show you.

That's a little bottle sticking into the tree. 

A bunch of trees had these little bottles
sticking out of them. I have no idea why

Impulse purchase of the week

Delicious. Apparently, dairy from Denmark
is popular in Korea?

One of my students brought in muffins
for Young Ah and me. Yessss. They
were delicious. 



Side note: I slept with the fan on a bunch of times this week. I'm not dead. Sorry I worried you all. 

I also very seriously received advice from my Wednesday night Korean teacher when I told her I bought a fan. She was like "Make sure you have a door or window open. There's a hazard sleeping with fans on."
Yes. My Korean teacher, who's in her 30s, still believes in fan death. She was really surprised when I told her Americans don't get scared of that haha. 

Wednesdays special lunch: jajangbap. It's rice
with the jajangmyeon sauce single people eat
on black day. It's delicious.

and we got donuts. YUM.

Pretty flowers at the bus stop near my house

There was a guy selling rabbits on my way to Korean
class. This happens pretty often near subway
stations. I've been tempted by the kittens.

Sometimes, my school lunch is weird. The best advice I heard from a current EPIK teacher was, "Try everything at lunch, but just accept that some days, your tray will be filled with all of the foods you hate." Sometimes, rice is my best friend.

These aren't my favorite, but they're not horrible.
They're tiiiiiny, salty fish.

I got another nice surprise on my walk on Thursday:

Another new kitten!!

Now there are 3

I love when other people's stuff ends up ALL OVER

In my cute moment of the week, my students are adorable. In my contract, I am supposed to teach 22 classes a week, but my school has 23 English classes scheduled. Because my school doesn't want to pay me overtime, I skip 1 fourth grade class a week, usually on Fridays. This week, I skipped class 4-3, and because there are 6 fourth grade classes, days off, cancelled classes, etc, I have only skipped each class once this semester, so the kids aren't used to the system.  Young Ah came back to the office and said that they were all wondering where I was, and one of the students worriedly asked, "Where is Christina Teacher?? Did she go back to America?!??!" Aaaaaw my poor babies. Every time we passed 4-3 for the rest of the day, one of them would run up and be like "Why wasn't Christina Teacher in class!?!?"  Aaaaw, it made me so happy :). I can't even imagine the mess I'm going to be when I decide to move on from my school. Thankfully, I have at least another year to think about it!

This is an example of a YAY SO HAPPY lunch day, because I
LOVE everything they gave us on Friday

There was also a national fire drill on Friday, where all the kids had to go outside and watch how to use a fire extinguisher. 

In an example of "what can go wrong during a fire,"
the first fire extinguisher didn't work...

2nd example of "what can go wrong during
a fire," the fire wasn't completely put out
the first time and started up again...

They got it under control

In an example of how crazy Korean names are, and how hard it is to keep celebs straight, this week, there was a dating scandal between two SM entertainment stars Baekhyun (from EXO) and Taeyeon (Girl's Generation). Well, not really scandal. It's just a huge surprise because usually idols can't date (especially under the super strict SM). Seriously, it's usually part of their contract. Buuut, tumblr has had an epic response. You don't have to know the names or groups, it's just funny how quickly 'rumors' can spread, especially if you mix up the (admittedly) similar sounding names.

I had a very chill weekend. Because I'm renewing my contract, I had to get a medical check. Now, SMOE hasn't been the most helpful with this. They basically gave us the name of a hospital and said "get it done." Now, the problem is that EVERYTHING IS OBVIOUSLY IN KOREAN. Because I had to do a blood test, I had to fast on Friday, which mean I went home, worked out, did laundry, and ate as close to 8 pm as possible. Then I wallowed for hours because I was hungry. My body KNEW I couldn't eat. Ugh.

I texted Lauren in the morning to ask how it went, and she told me it was basically impossible without help, because of all the really specific Korean. She was at work, but Ga Hyeon was around and she must have told him I was worried, because he texted me and was like "I think it would be really hard for you to do it yourself, so I will take you!" Which was like, the super nicest thing ever. 

So off we went. The nurses laughed when he walked in and asked him how many waygookin he was bringing in, since he'd been there just an hour or so before. It was a little awkward, because I was (again) the only foreigner, but it went fast. 

Ga Hyeon kept laughing at me during the eye test, because they use numbers instead of letters. He said it was like an eye/Korean test combined. The woman kept pointing at the chart and waiting for me to respond. I think she kept thinking I couldn't read it so I was squinting or something, when really, it was because I had to count up from 1 every time to figure out what number it was... WAMP.

The urine test wall in the bathroom. Fun stuff.

I'm so incredibly grateful that Ga Hyeon was able to take me, because I would have been frantically googling for hours to fill out that form. The best part was that, although SMOE told us it would be around 30,000 won, Ga Hyeon asked and it cost nothing. Apparently, because I work for the government, a basic test is covered. Wooohooo!! I'm still nervous that they'll tell me I did something wrong, but I'm hoping that, since Ga Hyeon talked to them, everything is all set. Keep your fingers crossed!

Of course I broke my fast with a Taco Bell feast with Sarah

Sarah and I windowed shopped after Taco Bell, but I wasn't feeling that great, so I headed home mid afternoon. I bummed around, napped, watched some tv, worked out, and tried a new recipe.

I found out you can 'hard boil' eggs in an oven,
so I tried it. It worked pretty well!

My Wednesday Korean teacher brought
me soy milk. Aaaw. I like the random gift
giving that happens in Korea.

In the vein of a pretty slow weekend, I spent Sunday cleaning, chatting with friends, working out (I'm super excited I had time to get in 3 good workouts this weekend! Huzzah!), studying some Korean, and just laying around in front of my fan while watching TV. Because my apartment is hot and apparently only successfully retains heat in the summer.  Oh, and also drinking tons of water. Trying to be healthy, but mostly because dehydration headaches are the wooooorst. 

So are mid afternoon migraines, which I also got today. Wamp. Thankfully, they come much less frequently here in Korea, but ugh, they still suck.

Sadly, during my cleaning today, my Italian
leather belt from Florence broke. RIP, you
were a good belt for 2+ years. 

10 months in and I finally got brave
enough to go to subway

Yes, my big adventure today was going to Subway. After 10 months. I loooove tuna subs and sandwiches. I've been having lots of tuna kimbap while here, but I cannot remember the last time I had a tuna sub. Tuna is cheap here, so maybe I should invest in mayonnaise, tho I doubt I could finish the jar even in a year. One person and a big jar might be too much. They don't have as many size options in the foreign food section at my little supermarket. 

Now, ordering a sub may not seem like a huge deal, but everything is sooo much more difficult in Korean (heck, I'd have been nervous to do it in Italian), and ordering food is the most daunting, especially ordering toppings on a sub. But I successfully managed to get a delicious sub (most of the labels are in Korean and English, since it's a foreign franchise), and on my walk home, I contemplated how strange it is that I, a person who hates having attention called on her, and who hates ordering things, ended up living in a country where I stick out like a sore thumb and where getting double takes and stares is a part of daily life. Odd that I don't mind it. Maybe the Christina of 5 years ago would have, but me? Not anymore. Most of the time haha. As long as they're not creepy.

It's been 10 months and I'm still enjoying it and having a blast! It was nice to have a weekend of downtime, since my weekdays tend to be pretty busy with Korean classes and life, but don't worry, I've got some interesting plans for next weekend :)

Happy summer everyone! Stay cool! Don't let fan death get ya!

Bringing back some Beast (officially spelled B2ST) this week (Pronounced Beast- 2 in sino korean is pronounced 'ee,' tho many foreigners get a kick out of saying ba-too-st to be silly.)

Lots of my 6th graders like B2ST, but they are more into Infinite and Exo. I just listen to whatever I like.

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