So I’ve been in Korea for 2 1/2 weeks and I’m just now getting the chance to post my first blog. It has been an absolutely crazy few weeks, so hopefully I don’t forget anything. I left MN Tues, Aug 23rd at 8:45 am, then 3 planes later I finally arrived in Daegu on Wed, Aug 24th at night. In theory this should have been a simple task of getting picked up, but like most things, it wasn’t. I was suppose to be picked up by a guy named Aaron at the airport and when I arrived I quickly realized that the entire plane was full of athletes for the IAAF event and there were hundreds of people at the arrival gate….yes, please let me try and find the Korean named Aaron in the sea of Koreans when I have no clue what he looks like! After a highly stressful hour a very nice guy called Aaron for me and we figured out where to meet up. From Wednesday to Tues morning I was put up in a motel, which are commonly refered to as “love motels”.
The oh so classy sex toy vending machine!
It may look all generally innocent at first sight…..but then you walk down the stairwell and THIS is what you find ====>====>====>====>====>====>====>====>
Oh yeah, thats when you know it’s all just a little shady! ha ha!
Thursday night I met the 3 other new teachers at my ECC: Claire, Rebecca, and Jeremy. Aaron brought us out for dinner that night….Korean BBQ. Not the highest quality of meat, very fatty and cartilage in several, so I was a little concerned about what the food situation would be, but I later learned that wasn’t the norm.
Friday we went through the conveyor belt of a medical check…blood, urine, x-ray, height, etc, etc. Nothing like them handing you a dixi cup and telling you to give a sample and walking back and setting it down in front of all your friends. Sanitary kinda goes out the window here. After that we went to the school and observed some of the classes. That night we went out with 7 teachers that were currently at the school for drinks….got some good advice on the do’s and don’ts of Korea and teaching. Great people and a great time!
We began by hanging out at one of the local places. Eventually we went to go eat at Handome fish ((which I’ll come back to in another post, but hands down my fav meal thus far)) for dinner. One of the teachers that were leaving, Tristan, order gahl-bee, which is rib tip meat. Some of the other guys out with us regularly order spicy chicken feet…when in Rome as they say, so I ventured to experience the chicken feet. Lets just say I won’t exactly be acquiring these for my birthday dinner! The spice alone could have destoyed me, but the texture was far beyond what I find pleasurable. Crunchy yet chewy all in one…just imagine what the texture of a nose would be like. Or don’t….you really probably shouldn’t. But I did it, and I’m proud to say I tried. After the Korean food adventure we continued down our journey to experience a nouribang, or a karoke room. Korea has tons of places where you rent the rooms for various entertainment ((hmm, that kinda sounds dirty :/ )). There are dvd-bangs, wii-bangs, etc. If you haven’t figured it out “bang” means room, though fyi it’s pronounced bong.
Jessica, me, and Claire at the nauribang
The nauribang room.
One more time...with feeling!
Dancing at JEEEP
On Saturday we made the big adventure to downtown Daegu. The bars and food places basically never close and there is always somewhere to go, something to do and people to meet. With 3 army bases, an extremely large number of foreign teachers, and highly intrigued Koreans it is difficult to feel like you don’t belong with the people here. We eventually went to a dance club with was great fun…not quite the same as the Haze in Kato==> generally not as good of music from what I noticed but a heck of a lot safer!
After a great weekend out getting an intense taste of the nights out in Daegu, we spent one more day at ECC observing some of our future classes. On Tuesday, we had to leave our motel at 6:30 a.m. and headed to the KTX bullet train to make our way to Seoul for training. From the train we had to figure out the workings of the Seoul subway. If anyone has ever seen this map, you know what an intimidating task this is to take on. Surprisingly though, we had no troubles. So after 2 hours on the train and 1 hour on the subway we were devistated to discover we had missed the “ice breaker” portion of the training…tears were spilt ((NOT!))
Another ECC’er had also joined us for our journey north. Tim ((the priorly mentioned ECC’er)) is from the other Daegu ECC school. After 7 hours of invigorating training (sarcasm folks!) the four of us and the handful of other new teachers that were not from Seoul made our way to our new classy love motel. This one is for sure not to by out done by the last….glass doors, glass between the bathroom and bedroom, mood lighting on the ceiling, and of course our favorite fact: we had to check out during the day because they “use the room for other things during the day”…wink wink nudge nudge, they rent it out by the hour during the day. Yeaaahhhhh, um, ew!
Classy love motel #2
Oh how could you not feel comfy and cozy in the love motel!?!?!
==>though disclaimer: not all were as classy as this. Tim’s did contain some lovely floral print wall paper and actual wood walls between his bathroom and bedroom. How lame! ha ha<==
The first night, we all went out for some lovely Korean food and out for a beer. We went into a place and I asked if they had beer at the location ((keeping in mind that “ask” really is a metaphor. Lots of pointing, guestures and “hite” “cass” (their beers) do somehow equate into an asking process)) The man said yes and invited us in. We sat, ordered and then quickly noticed that he was running to the store to buy our beers….um, oops! Korean hospitality is quite phenominal! Our appetizers, which are never lacking at any location, consisted of some lovely dehydrated minnows. I tried to find an accomplise in this adventure, but at first try there were no takers. It began in an okay manner. Then, there was a crunch and a disturbing explosion of nastiness!!! Intrigued by this perhaps, Tim decided to be my fellow brave adventurer and also try one. Sadly, same miserable eperience. okay. crunch. pop. OMG! Needless to say I had to have them move the bowl because I didn’t want to smell them anymore, the lingering burps were enough reminder of my experience. After, everyone went to sleep accept my brave accomplice and myself. The second night, we all decided to go hangout and have a little fun since everyone was a little more rested. Again there were some great conversations with some great people! Also yet again, I was part of the late night group with Tim and Claire this time. Always a night owl I am
Tim and I wandering in Seoul
Claire, Kelly, and Julie
Tim, myself, and Surgio
Finally, after 3 days of training and getting ourselves prepared to teach, we left directly after class to begin our 3-4 your journey back to the original love motel for a few more days. My Korean adventures will alas have to continue another day in another blog. If anyone besides my mom happens to read this, I hope this is at least semi-entertaining and gives you an insight into the adventures I’ve been encountering. Believe me when I say this is probably the most boring blog there will be since I look forward to many travels and meeting more great people along the way. Love to all! Take care!