9-8 So, it's a lazy day for me here in the village of Ildong. Ok, so it's not really a village but it feels like it when compared to Seoul and I think's it's just cooler to tell people I live in a village. Ok, so let's see what's happened since my last post. This past week was a relatively easy week as several of my classes were cancelled for various reasons. This is not uncommon here in Korea as you could come into school and be told that a class for that day is cancelled (Cool) or that you'll have an extra class that day (not as cool) but it's not everyday that this happens. Wednesday's are going to be nice days for me to get things done now as I have the entire morning off to do as I please and on most weds it will be used to work on my lesson plans. I now only have an after school class and a parents class on weds as my Kindergarten class has been moved to Fridays.
Wednesday we had a going away party for Ben, an English teacher at a nearby school, in Idong at the Chinese restaurant. I also was able to meet the new English teacher at the Middle School next to my apartment, Sean Chandler. He hails from a little town, Bagdad, in my home state of Kentucky. So, it's nice to have a fellow Kentucky living right down the street. It also proves that it really is a small world. During the dinner, one of the topics was the Typhoon that was supposed to be moving in that evening; Really, a typhoon! So, after dinner I went home and awaited this storm. I woke up at 5am to no storm and thought, "Ok, there's not going to be any storm" and went back to sleep for a while. However, at around 7am I was awoken to strong winds and rain with things flying around a bit. So, I texted my co teacher to make sure I could get a ride to school. Once at school I kept reading on FB about the subway being shut down and other various stories. Although all of our students were here at school they cancelled classes until 10:30, thus another day of very few classes.
Friday, as usual, I headed into Hanam to hang out with the crew. Usually I hop on the first 112 on 30-3 bus I can but this week I wasn't feeling the sardine vibe that comes with these buses and was determined to wait for one with fewer persons on it. Luckily, I had to wait, oh, about 1 min as another pulled up; great start to the weekend. I met several friends at Masigo's around 9 and we had some drinks, etc before heading over to Noraebang to finish off the night/morning! Noraebang for those that don't know is a private Karaoke room that you rent by the hour. It's quite fun and especially late in the evening after hitting the bars.
One thing I forgot to mention earlier about the past week was the many dinners that I attended. I did mention Ben's farewell, but we also held one for our principal as he was transferring to another school. Then of course we had one for our new principal. Now, these dinners are a great time, but I must admit it's a little weird at times as I don't speak the language and can't really contribute too much to the conversation although I did manage to throw in some with the words I do know! Finally, we also had another dinner this Monday in honor of our new accounting person.
On Saturday, I met up with a Chingu that I met a few weeks ago on an Adventure Korea trip, to go hiking. We attempted to go hiking to start, but it didn't quite work as it was extremely hot. So, we decided to try and check out the prison I visited with young Steven soon after I arrived here. The problem with that idea though is that I couldn't remember exactly where it was at and didn't remember the name of the place, making it impossible to ask Korean's where it was. So, after a bit, Krystal's friend Mckenzie decided to head back to shower, etc to get ready to head to the soccer game we were going to later. Krystal and I decided to get some food after our afternoon of failure! We ended up finding an awesome all you can eat sushi/every you could ever want restaurant for 17,000 won! It was awesome, although we were a little under dressed. They had sushi, deserts, orange chicken, soups, etc and it was delicious. We've decided that we're going back soon to and dress a little nicer to atone for our attire this weekend.
After finishing our lunch, we headed over to Krystal's apartment to change our clothes and get ready to head over to the soccer game. After relaxing for a while we headed to the Olympic Soccer stadium and man is that thing big. We finally found our entrance and made our way to our seats. It really was a great atmosphere and we sat near some young Koreans that talked with us and shared their snacks. During the game we also noticed that this weekend is foreigners day which for 10,000 W you get a ticket, a hot dog, and a big beer! There's also a lot of activities before the game. So, we're planning on getting there early and making a day of it. After watch FC Seoul win the game we headed out to Itaewon to meet up with one of our chingu's Jacki. When we got to Itaewon I ran into Glendon, Terryance and the crew and found out our friend Dante was DJ'ing in the area tonight. They were going to his first performance but we needed to grab some grub and stopped at the Quizno's across the street. We decided to head over to Bedlam where Dante would be playing later. It's a nice little cozy bar, and we had a good time but being as tired as we were it didn't fit our needs for the night. So, after checking out Dante's act for a while we headed over to Sam Ryan's to meet up with Jacki.
Sam Ryan's is a nice bar and on Saturday's right now you can be sure that there will be Rugby on, and tonight it was South Africa and Austrailia, so I watched the game as we hung out. Like I mentioned before, we were exhausted from traveling around all day, so we cut out early (2:30) and headed back to Krystal's. I had to get up around 6 to head off to another Adventure Korea trip, so after getting to her place I tried to crash and get at least an hours sleep before the trip.
As for the trip, it was really nice and relaxing. As a nice surprise too, one of my friends from Hanam, Thom, was going on the trip as well with his girlfriend Julie. I really like both of them as they're fun people and nice to be around. I slept, as I usually do, on the bus while going to the ferry. The ferry ended up being nice as it was a gorgeous day and the scenery and mountains were pretty cool. After riding the ferry we headed over to check out the cave. Now, I was very interested in checking out the cave, b/c I wanted to see how it compared to Mammoth Cave, the largest mapped cave in the world, which sits, basically, in my backyard. I have to say it was a really cool cave with lots of stalagtites throughout the cave. It was cool listening to the young children checking out the cave. It was also nice to get away from the heat for a bit as it was HOT outside!
We next hopped on the bus to check out three rocks in the middle of the river, which were very beautiful and neat. There was also a lookout point up the hill a bit to get a better view of the rocks and the surrounding area. Just past the gazeebo there was a natural gate to what used to be, presumably, the entrance to a cave. We relaxed for a bit before getting on the bus to head back to Seoul. This past Sunday was a day many Koreans visit their dead relatives and tend to their graves, so the traffic getting back to Seoul was quite crazy and a lot longer than normal. We didn't arrive back in time for me to catch the express bus so I ended up going all the way up to the Uijeongbu (town where MASH was based) to catch the 138-5 back to Ildong. Now, there's probably a better way to get back, but as of now I don't know it. Anyway, I ended up arriving back in Ildong around 12:15 and pretty much went to sleep right away, school in the am!
This weekend is shaping up to be a nice one as well. Not sure what I'll do on Friday, but I'm sure I'll find something. On Saturday, I'm meet up with Krystal again and we're going to the Seodaemun Prison, for sure, and maybe hike the small mountain next to it to start. Then, as mentioned earlier we're heading to the Soccer stadium to enjoy the festivities before the game and then the game itself! After the game I'm heading up to Uijeongbu to crash with my buddy Andrew and going to try and get some sleep b/c I have to get up early on Sunday (4amish) to be on a bus to leave at 5am to head to the DMZ. I've signed up to run a 10K (6.2) so I need everyone to pray for me and hope that I don't collapse, etc, lol. Actually, I think I'll be fine, just not happy with my final time as I haven't trained quite as hard as I would have liked. Either way, it's going to be a unique opportunity, I mean, how many people do you know that have ran a race at the DMZ, so I feel really blessed for the opportunity, especially since it's a peace race.
Well, I'm about finished but I thought I'd throw one more note in here. I may talk about it again later, but I've been growing my beard and hair out again and can't but help this week, think about my grandmother sighing last year when I cut it off. She told me how much she really liked and enjoyed seeing it when I visited last Sept. Her, birthday would be the Thursday after tomorrow (Sept. 16). So, we'll finish a little humor and say Mammaw: This beard's for you!