In three days I will have been in Korea for exactly one month - how insane is that?! I feel like this month flew by, it wasn't even a month... is this real life? By Friday I will have taught three weeks of classes, and I think it's safe to say that I'm getting the hang of things (or so I hope). If not, I just have loads of misplaced confidence in my teaching ability. I'm about one class away from learning all of my kids names, there's just a few of the incredibly quiet girls whose names I have yet to really truly remember. Most of them are little terrorists, but in the best way possible. They're so funny, they say the most hilarious things and I can't get enough of it - except when they call me fat/ugly/weird/stupid, then I obviously hate them. Their favorite thing to threaten them with is that you're going to throw them out of the window, which is partially hilarious but also partially depressing because my classroom has zero windows. I hate to say it but I definitely have my favorites, and surprisingly they aren't the best behaved kids in the classes, either! So far I'm really enjoying this job, the people I work with are excellent and the kids I have in my classes are (for the most part) really enjoyable.
These two pictures are from their Critical Thinking Projects (CTPs), and I couldn't help but share them... they are seriously hilarious. And so bizarre. And sometimes actually kind of upsetting. Drugs? Really? You're 11.
The last two weekends I've tried to be proactive about getting my butt into Seoul and seeing some parts of Korea other than our little town of Suji. Most people here like to go to one of two places, I've gathered: Itaewon or Hongdae. Itaewon has a lot of foreigners, pretty much everybody speaks at least a bit of English, and the bars are really interesting... lots of good places to dance, and also lots of good places to probably get arrested (just kidding mom, don't worry). There's a spot called "homo hill" that I'm quite fond of, it's a street full of gay bars that is quite literally a hill, or maybe even a mountain, depending on how tall your heels are. My coworker, Matt, took me out on Friday night after work last weekend (or was it two weekends ago? I honestly forget) to Itaewon, and first we went to this bar that serves a thing called a Soju Kettle. It's basically a sawed-off plastic soda liter bottle filled with Soju (that poison vodka thing that Koreans drink like water) and this sweet Kool-Aid like mix that basically makes the soju taste like candy. A true conundrum of disgusting and delicious at once.
The buses we take to get into Seoul are like, phenomenal. They're so clean and so cheap - it literally costs around $2.00 or less to go all the way into Seoul.
Last weekend was also a going away party for a girl at another branch that I tagged along for, and got to see one of my relatively reserved co-workers in rare form... I won't name any names, but it was easily the funniest thing that happened all weekend. Inappropriate quotes and comments withheld.
I'm still really fascinated with the architecture in Seoul. There isn't much to be said for the buildings in Suji - they're all pretty standard, depressing looking high rises. But the creativity and thought behind some of the buildings in the city is phenomenal. Here's just a few I took a minute to take a picture of this weekend. The top one is near Itaewon (I think) and the bottom two are near Myeongdong.
Another really lovely thing is the way Suji looks at night. It's not a particularly gorgeous city, lots of neon signs and ugly buildings and advertisements for plastic surgery and cell phones and other obnoxious things Koreans love. But at night the "river" (aka polluted stream that somehow transforms when the sun goes down) can be quite nice, I even went running along it a few nights in a row... until I remember I can't run and then I cried myself to sleep. Kidding not kidding.
The building down the street from mine - obviously I was mistakenly placed in the wrong apartment complex.
Anyway, sorry most of these posts are just pictures with really long obnoxious explanations about them. I'll try to be better about actually posting content rather than just nonsense and stupid pictures of what I'm doing... but really, who reads a book without pictures these days? I miss and love everyone a lot, definitely had a trying day last week but am feeling a lot better now. I'm meeting people that I actually click with quite well here, so that's been nice too. I joined a gym (not sure if I mentioned that in the last post) so hopefully I'll actually make good on that and not gain three thousand pounds in rice weight. I guess whatever amount of rice I eat I'll probably end up sweating out over the course of the day anyway (oh, if only that was how it all worked...)! Thanks for all of your kind words and thoughts, I really appreciate it more than you all know.