It has been a wonky week at school. The weather is cold then hot, the kids have field trips and talent show practices, and there are constant surprises every day.
On Monday, this was placed on my desk as a thank you for helping one of my co workers mourn the death of her father. Now, I didn't go to the funeral, nor did I actually participate in really anything related to this, but I am often included because that's just how Korea is. I think a sympathy gift from my office was made, so even if I wasn't participating, I'm in the office so am therefore included in reciprocation.
Because so many of the staff at school contributed to the memorial fund or went to the funeral, that person sent us all gifts in response. In Korea, after a funeral or wedding, you often send gifts to people to say thanks for coming.The usual fare is ricecakes, but the new trend is actual, physical gifts.
|I got this lovely, high quality umbrella basically for existing|
I had no special plans for Monday, when Lauren texted me and asked if I wanted to go to a makgeolli meeting with the group we sometimes do tastings with. Apparently, some news station needed footage of one of the meetings and, because of schedule changes, almost everyone dropped out, so they basically needed bodies to fill some chairs.
We ended up at the restaurant super early, and so we started with a kimchi and samgyeopsal (pork belly) jeon and a warm up drink.
|it tastes so good with the meat in it|
|Makgeolli monday with this lovely lady|
After waiting for foreverrr for everyone to come, we got to try some more premium makgeolli (I can't tell the difference haha. I like what I like and have no idea which one has earth tones or was brewed for longer) and we got to hang out with some of the makgeolli club members, who are all awesome people from all walks of life and all types of jobs in Korea.
|we got some bossam, which is SO GOOD|
|Getting my tasting and evaluating on|
|Good food and friends. Yessss.|
It was a much better Monday night that the night at home I had planned for myself (my Korean vocabulary review would just have to wait!)
On Tuesday, I actually had a good time with my 6th graders, who, at this time of the year, normally devolve into uninterested zombies. I love my group this year, so we're still having a good time. We played Heads Up 7 Up, which is a game I think I played in like 2nd grade. They'd never heard of it, and thought it was hilarious and awesome. I loved watching them play.
I'm pretty perpetually exhausted at school these days, because we have extra drama club practices ALL THE TIME now, because our performance is in about 2 weeks. I have no idea how ready the kids are... Only time will tell.
Tuesdays are a long day, and often, for some reason, the lunch that day doesn't quite suit my fancy.
This week was no exception.
|BEAN SPROUTS ARE NOT FUN TO EAT. NOPE. The egg|
thing at the top is the only think I really liked. Rice was nothing
special and that other thing is soy sauce soaked lotus roots.
Because I've been at my school for so long and had many discussions about lunch, my co workers know what my favorites are, and lamented that, while they didn't love lunch, they knew it was the worst for me. I found this pretty adorable and sweet. "What will our Christina do? She doesn't like this stuff!" they sighed, while my heart kind of soared. I'm having a little bit of a "I want to go home, what am I doing here?" patch, but having caring co workers really helps when I'm down.
Lunch was so bad that they ordered (seafood fondue) pizza in the afternoon, because everyone was starving.
|featuring mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce, fondue cheese sauce, |
scallops, crab, shrimp, potato, bacon chips
, mushrooms, peppers, onions and parsely
Not my favorite pizza, as it's got way too many things, but it was alright, especially since I was hungry. Everyone also insisted that I have the last piece because they were so worried about lunch. It was nice to be taken care of.
They also asked me to compare Korean and American pizza in terms of saltiness, and while I cannot for the life of me remember the real taste of American pizza, I don't recall ever thinking it was SOOOO salty. I think Koreans just like sweet pizza, so by comparison, our pepperoni pizzas just taste strangely plain and salty. It was a nice way to wind down in the afternoon with them.
Because it's cool in my apartment at night, despite still being about 80 degrees in the afternoons, I broke out the cutest sweater I acquired from Sarah before she left for Germany.
|Lunch redeemed itself on Friday with beef soup|
and QUAIL EGGS.
Mom, remember how I WAS JUST TALKING ABOUT THOSE THURSDAY WHEN WE SKYPED?!?!? I'M PYSCHIC
|Sometimes when I get mad at Korean, I remind myself|
English sucks too haha
On Saturday, I met up with Cesca and we got lunch at the market near her house, because there was a special thing happening this weekend. We ended up grabbing some handmade mandu as well as some other snacks and random things.
We met up with Lauren later to attempt to go to the Itaewon Global Festival, which included the Great Korean Beer Festival, but, as we should have realized, it was a bust because it was overcrowded and disorganized. There's only so long I can take of people carelessly walking into you or separating your group that is clearly together because, hello, we have the same face, but whatever.
|The lines were waaaaaay to long|
We headed out of the festival to a different part of the area that wasn't as mobbed, and ended up at Cali Kitchen, a new restaurant with adorable decor.
|The owner explained it was like this|
when he bought it. It was cute and the food was great!
|Lauren and I grabbed fall flavored cocktails at Southside as well|
On Sunday, I had to wait for some lady to check something about my gas, and she told me I was great at Korean on the phone. I had to confess that Young Ah called to set up the appointment, haha. My Korean isn't great enough to inquire about strange notices on my door yet. She came late but whatever.
Liz is visiting Casey and Andrea in Colorado this weekend, so we decided to group Skype, since I'm terrible at arranging it myself. I miss them a lot, and while I keep up with their doings on facebook, I wish I could visit them. And my parents. And America in general. I think part of my meh-ness about this school year right now is that I'm pretty homesick sometimes, just because I haven't been home is crazy long. I've also accomplished a lot here that I wanted to do (just gotta keep studying), and I'm feeling a bit frustrated with the system as a teacher. I'm wondering if it's time to start looking for a new job here or at home, but I have plenty of time to decide, since I'm signed till August anyway.
Cesca and I headed out to dance class, where we caught an interesting ad on the subway.
|I'm not sure what eskimo down is... like, foxes have fur. But...|
|We also saw this beautiful sweater after class. Tempted to buy|
it, but it's one of those things you need to explain to people who
don't know you taught in Korea. Still, HILARIOUS.
We practiced the song Bang Bang Bang again today, because lots of people missed that class and wanted to learn it. It was fun to do it again, and I think I worked harder because I already knew it. I'm tired, but it was another awesome week.
I then spent the evening grocery shopping and organizing my life for Monday, which seems to always come so fast. It's just after 9 but I'm already tired enough to go to bed haha.
This week involves a lot of Talent Show prep, so be excited for my next update!!