Teaching English in Daegu, South Korea!

Archive for the ‘Traveling’ Category

Off the Beaten Path…Sokcho.

In early June, Lana and I set off to go to places unknown. In the far north eastern part of the penninsula. A little beachy town called Sokcho (속초). We had a 3- day weekend and decided we wanted to spend it away on a trip! The bus ride from Daegu —> Sokcho took nearly 6 hours. Although, it didn’t seem that long I had a lot of sleeping to catch up on. I ventured to a bus station unknown to me called Bukbu which means North. Information was incredibly hard to find about buses at Bukbu bus terminal. I ended finding some old information from an old blogger and just showed up early to make sure that I could make a bus time.

Bus ticket to Sokcho from Daegu!

The bus left at 8:30 and I got in around 3:00 to find that I had no idea where I was going. Luckily, the city bus driver knew I wanted to make my way to Seoraksan. I kept getting further and further into the woods and really started to believe that I was lost but somehow I didn’t care.  It was actually a nice feeling to be a bit lost and have to figure out where I am. Lana and I met up around 5 and went back into town to find some beach and dinner. Our first beach feeling and sightings…

First glimpse of the ocean and our shoes came right off and our feet went straight into the sand and ocean!

Being in the ocean, hell, being near the ocean I could smell good, clean air! Something that if you live in a city…you really miss. My lungs were doing back flips because they were so happy! It was so beautiful : )

We are in the ocean!!!! (© LanaLee)

Day 2

Starting early we headed to Soeraksan. We walked the 2 km to the national park. Soeraksan was so beautiful! Everywhere my camera was pointing it was a great picture! It had nothing to do with me, I have to give the mountain allll the credit. Some highlights from our hike~

Off the beaten path.

It must have been a really popular weekend to go to Seoraksan because the paths were so crowded with people. It was almost like we weren’t on a mountain… Luckily, Lana is a master hiker and took us through her own trail over boulders n such.

Follow me!

Beautiful scenery.

Clouds blanketing the sky.

As we took a break to take in the scenery these giant grey clouds moved above us so fast. The weather was still a nice temperature and an appropriate amount of humidity.

Onward!

Venus...?

Amazing view.

We reached what everyone was calling “Big Rock.” There was this area with beautiful rock and a stream running through it. Naturally, we wanted to go there. We jumped down, across a small stream and rushed to take pictures as an adjushi was yelling something in Korean at us. Despite his hostility, we got some beautiful pictures. : )

On Seoraksan with our Seoraksan hanks.

Next stop…the beach! Since the beach is only about a 20-25 minute bus ride from the mountain to the beach, we were going to head down to the beach for some relaxation. Funny thing is we got distracted on the way down…

Motorized bike ride along the bay.

Sokcho Beachy.

Sokcho Beach.

Sokcho beach was crowded, but not so crowded you couldn’t find a place to park yourself to lay in sand. It had crazy boat rides, a pier and classic beach arcades. It was really nice just to sit down in the sand, close my eyes and listen to the waves.

The sun setting. NOT on the water, which was a strange concept for me to accept.

It was our last night in Sokcho but we had packed so much into our trip that I felt satisfied. I do however feel like there is so much more to explore and am looking for forward to more trips there in the future. On our way to find the bus we met the best member of this city…

Beachy!

So long Sokcho, I loved you! We shall meet again!!!

Winter Camp. 영어 캠프

I’ve read about.

I’ve hear about it.

The stress.

The anxiety.

The madness!!!!

Winter English Camp. NET’s are responsible for this camp, and I guess for the first time ever the Korean teachers do not need to be at the camp. Interesting for me since I teach 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th grade in elementary school. I rely on my Korean co-teachers to help with understanding and to get the blank stares to go away. For 3 weeks I will be solo, ‘teaching English’ to 3 groups of 20 students; all of whose English proficiency differs widely.

First thing- I was told I need to make a schedule for Winter Camp. Soon that turned into a schedule and a booklet. This booklet I thought was just an outline, something to show the principal that I was working on it. After two days of working on it, I found out that it was the workbook/guidebook for the camps. Shit! I have to make 3 workbooks in 1 week!!! Each different levels and differing subjects. I could do nothing else but panic. For a week, I lived, ate and breathed in Winter Camp. I did not do my homework for Korean class, I did not go to the gym- I just planned, planned and made a workbook!!!!!!!!! Somehow, I pulled it off. Friday night I finished and e-mailed it to my co-teacher.

Schedule:

9:00-9:20 Routine, Key phrases and Vocabulary

9:20-10:20 Teaching subject (“class”)

10:20-10:40 Snack and Break time

10:40-11:00 Story time

11:00-12:10 Game/ Movie/ Choice time/ Free time/ Arts and Craft- whatever!

I had a hard time deciding how to divide the time and kinds of things to do. I found this blog- Kimchi Icecream and she talks about how she set up her Winter Camp. She brought up great points like; it is 4 hours of English. They are not used to such a long time having to think in English. I wanted there to be time to be free, less structured. I know that they wont be used to it, but hey, they wont be used to just having me as their teacher either! A lot to get used to haha.

Below I have given a couple examples of my workbook. I found out that I get paid for making sheets for camp. Strange incentive- “We want you camps to be fun but we will pay you if you make worksheets.” ??? Where is the logic. The catch is- it is capped at 10. I made 3 workbooks 1 17 pages, 2 19 pages. intermediate and advanced are very similar but still!!!

The front page to my workbook. : )

Table of Contents and the Camp Rules. I left space so that they could put examples or maybe even some sort of translation into Korean to help remind them.

Example of the layout of the book. This is the intermediate book Day 1.

Although I am ‘finished’ with the workbook, I have a long road ahead of me. I plan to use this workbook as only a guide. I would be bored to death if this was the only thing we were doing. They will be doing more interactive lessons and to appease my co-teacher I added a little box at the end of lessons so that they could record in some way what they learned. I want them to making something with their hands- not doodling in a workbook.

The Issues:

Other teachers at the school have expressed how “concerned” or “worried,” they are about me at English camp. I am not that concerned- I am way more excited. All of this “worry” is giving me a complex and making me feel like I should worry more? I have done camps for years. I know how to run a camp- let me try it people! Stop projecting your fears onto me. My co-teacher doesn’t want to plan or have much to do with the Winter Camp but her stressing about WC is stressing me out. She asks me nit picky questions like; “What will you do when a 3rd grader is doing (blank) and another is doing (blank)? What will you say exactly? What will you do exactly?”

Seriously? I can’t plan for that, all I can do is put in place an infrastructure that the student will KNOW what will happen to them if they do (blank) and another does (blank.) I think it will be a breath of fresh air for them to have some sort of consistency at school.

In short, I am super excited about Winter Camp and everyone else can get an ulcer while I am getting stickers and glitter. After Winter Camp I am off to a Daegu orphanage and then to Beijing for Lunar New Year : )

Happy Birthday to my dear friend; Merlyn!!! : ) Miss you and love you!

Also, Happy late Birthday to; Candi and Seany!! ❤ you and miss you two as well!!

Busan. Remember when I thought I was moving to Busan?

In the months of October and November I thought it would be a good idea to travel and see stuff- in return feeling very poor and quite tired. I will stay in Daegu for a while (not including the KPOP concert this weekend.)

First off, Jeff and I headed to Busan to visit our friends we met at orientation (Stacey and Eddie– who have a blog too) They are a couple who is from Oregon! It was nice to talk with people who know where you come from. We skipped DEESC Korean Class (sorry Bridgette) and took the slow train to Busan. Did you know that you can buy a “standing seat” on the train? It gets quite awkward having people stare at you as you are sitting ever-so-comfortably in your reclining chair. I almost felt guilty.

Friday Night: Soju and delicious juice. Stacey and Eddie picked up from Busan Station and I was greeted with-

This fountain was playing "Gee" by Girls Generation and flashing beautiful lights at me. I knew it was going to a great weekend.

Saturday: Stacey and Eddie had things to do in the morning so J and I went to the beach that is nearest to them, Dadapoe Beach. Highlights include:

Jeff has over-pet the dogs and cats here because I can't : ( We found these two poochies!

Dadapoe Beach, Busan South Korea.

We left this tranquil beach and were swiftly swept up into chaos.

This is ONE exit from the subway. ONE EXIT. It was so extremely crowded. To Gwangalli Beach we go...

After over 2 hours in transit- we made it to the Fireworks Festival! Now the trick…to find a seat.

We found a seat...so did other people.

It got more crowded.

5 hours early- DON'T GET UP TO GO TO THE BATHROOM.

Actually, I did not know this little tid-bit about not going to the bathroom or going to get anything to eat or drink. Jeff and I went to the convenience store across the street and nearly were crushed to death on our way back. The beach had been capped- full capacity. Nobody could go into the beach. We tried to explain- we have a seat, we have a seat! The officers didn’t speak much English so it wasn’t very helpful to keep repeating myself. We waited patiently then all of the sudden the 4 or 5 officers that are barricading the crowd LINK arms and blow on their whistles profusely. I was smashed RIGHT up against one of the officers. His whistle blowing in my ear, a mom crying to the left of me because her small daughter was just trampled by an ajumma.   People in back of me pushing and crying to be let in, I couldn’t handle it I just started crying. Jeff was trying his best to keep people from smashing me but he was being forced by rows upon rows of people pushing forward. This terror lasted only a couple minutes until the officer pushing us through. It did take us about 20 minutes to make it back to our seats but I sure as hell wasn’t about to eat or drink anything until the show was over.

Once the show started it was all worth it!

I recommend the Busan Fireworks Festival to ANYONE wondering if it is worth it or not- I don’t even think fireworks are that cool, but I was not BORED at all. So fun!!!!

“The Stuff You Didn’t See Before.”

In the past 4 months that I have lived in Korea, it has been nothing but extraordinary! The really great and eventful trips (aka the ones with the most stories and pictures…) are the hardest for me to blog about. I find myself having writers block with too much to write. Today that has changed.

Wayy back in September, it was Chuseok Holiday. Jeff, Franki, Alex and I ventured up to Seoul to do some sight seeing. We took KTX from Daegu to Seoul which took about 2 hours. Seoul is the biggest city that I have even been in, so I was looking forward to a ‘big city’ feel. Unfortunately, instead all I got was a slap in the face by a monsoon. We arrive the day before Chuseok, and it just so happened to be the first day in over 100 years that Seoul had been hit so hard by rain. I am an Oregonian, so I know a thing or two about rain, but this was unlike anything I had ever experienced! I was absolutely miserable. We scurried to our hostel (The Open Guest House-highly recommended) where we found Franki and Alex anxious to venture out. We were not about to let the monsoon stop us from doing SOMETHING, RIGHT?!?!

Off to Seoul Tower we went. On the way I thought that A. We might die in the car from scary cab driver driving, B. We might die because there is a monsoon with thunder and lightening and we are going to the highest place with umbrellas standing in water and C. My feet were cold.

1st Seoul Tower. At the top of the Seoul Tower there was no visibility so we ate cafeteria food and contemplated our next adventure. Yes, we should try…

Jeff and I at Seoul Tower. We were there!!! We just couldn't see anything...haha

After wandering down flooding streets we decided to try a new angle…not outside possibly.

2nd. Virtually everything was shut down except for a couple of shops. Mainly the shops that sold Big Bang socks.

Jeff and Alex in the rain at Namdaemun Market.

3rd. Meyongdong shopping area. Not a whole lot of shopping happened here but Franki and I did discover a wonderful place that has cheap prices for t-shirts and sweatshirts! The rain was on and off during this time of day but we were ready to settle in somewhere. After a big dinner of pasta without bread sticks we headed to Itewon.
4th. Itewon. Every foreigner has heard of Itewon. It has a huge foreigner population and US bases are around there. In blogs and books (like the Lonleyplanet) they say that this place is so much fun and there is so much to do. Maybe I am just lame but it wasn’t my favorite place to be. If you like to go clubbing and to places such as the “Ginger Lounge” then this place is for you! Anywho, we went to Mad Dog Grill then Seoul Pub.

Thumbs up for Seoul Pub! Pitchers of CASS....

5th. Gyeongbok palace, Seoul. This palace is massive. It was Chusoek, so there were many people there to watch the traditional ceremonies that they show that day. It was amazing the wide array of people who were visiting- so many languages were overheard, I always wonder what their connection or desire is to be in Korea.
We arrived early and watched the show from beginning to end of the changing of the guards. My favorite part might have been the fake mustache and beards that the soldiers were wearing…. ^-^
Around the palace was a whole new world. Jeff was making connections to a book he was reading about South Korean history and battles that happened inside of this palace. We were walking around the same place where men have battled defending the King and these homes were homes of people who served the king- it was unreal.

This pond was my favorite part.

6th. Insadong Art Fair. Just down the street was Insadong Market. Insadong might have been my favorite place to be in Seoul this trip. It was calm, beautiful and full of great food.

Street food!

The Dragon Egg that we waited in line for 25 minutes to eat. Delicious.

The Dragon Egg up close.

After the Art Fair we visited a temple near by and I learned a bit about Buddhism.
7th. Noryangjin Fish Market.
Only a picture can tell you about this place.

Noryangjin Fish Market.

Thats a crab...

Live octopus! Lunch...

Trolling around this huge market looking for fresh seafood takes farmers markets freshness to a whole new level. I do worry about the humaneness of the fish…I think some of the fish were blinded by the people who sell them. : (
We chose to eat for lunch this day:
1. 2 octopus
2. 2 crab
3. 4 oysters
We were laughed at a little bit when we went to the restaurant to get our food prepared because there was little food to prepare. IT WAS VERY EXPENSIVE! It was so expensive that even 4 of us couldn’t afford to buy anymore food. Altogether for those 8 items its was close to $50.
Let me back up.
See here is how it works-
Step 1. Pick your food from a vendor. Pay them.
Step 2. The vendor brings you to THEIR restaurant.
Step 3. Tell them how you want your food prepared. PAY THEM TOO.
Step 4. Eat your food and your side dishes too!! Get all of your money’s worth!
Okay, so with that said there were extra costs that we were unaware of. I think that we paid a little bit for the experience and it was worth it, but just be warned that it is expensive.
  • My friend Alex (Alex & Franki have a blog too and they featured a live video of Alex eating the octopus!!! Check it out! 

8th. National Museum of Korea.

Korean cave men.

The museum was so large that we didn’t visit all of the exhibits. I do recommend visiting it though.
9th. Han River. Park???

Jannon on the Han River.

10th. Hongdae.
Hongdae was a blast! This was my first night in Korea that I witnessed people partying until the sun started to come up- it was insane. After grabbing dinner and dancing at S Club, we wandered into a park. Yes, a park with swings and a slide. From then on we were harmonizing with other Koreans and forgieners to such tunes as Build Me Up Buttercup.
 

Franki and I with the mascot for a (smoothie bar?) in Hongdae.

The coolest norebang I have ever seen!!!!!

11th. Korean War Memorial.

Jeff and I didn’t actually go into the museum- but there so much to look at just outside of it. The statues say so much and have so much emotion written all over their faces its hard not to feel something.

Korean War Memorial, Seoul Korea.

Brothers.

Korean War Memorial.

Korean War Memorial.

12th. Anyang.

Jake's birthday!

Our final destination was Anyang city, to visit friends from home- ❤ Anyang is a beautiful city and it showed us a very good time. Lana houses us in her Offictel- a big apartment! It even had its own shower and a heated toilet seat : ) We celebrated Jake’s birthday and the fact that we were all in South Korea! It was a perfect way to end our amazing trip!

Our farewell at the subway station!!!

That was our Seoul trip.
love, Shannon

JinJu Light Festival

A little back story to the festival.

“The yudeung (lanterns) that are floated along the Namgang River in Jinju commemorate the anniversary of the Jinjuseong Battles that took place during one of the most violent parts of the Imjinwaeran (Japanese Invasion of Korea starting in 1592). In October of 1592, General Kim Si-min gathered no more than 3,800 soldiers to miraculously defeat over 20,000 Japanese troops invading Jinjuseong. The ‘Jinjudaecheop (Great Victory of Jinju)’ immensely heightened the pride of the Korean nation and has become a much-celebrated part the country’s history, marked annually by the Jinju Namgang Yudeung Festival.”

http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/SI/SI_EN_3_2_1.jsp?cid=697197

I got a similar story while talking to my co teacher about this festival. She mentioned that during this invasion the Japanese soldiers would take company with Gisaeng (Korean women entertainers.) One in particular Nongae, seduced the Japanese General while on a rock that over looks the Namgang river. She attacked him and locked her fingers around his body and fell into the river- never letting go. She wanted to kill him but in return she sacrificed herself.

 

Nongae. She was very respected and now there is a shrine with this picture on the cliff where her and general fell in the river.

 

 

A painting of Nongae conquering the Japanese general.

 

On Saturday we woke up early and walked to the bus terminal (thats right by my house!!!) and hopped a bus to JinJu for 8,700 won. Aside from the screaming baby next to me, the fact that we were sitting in the very back in the elevated seats I slept and it only took about 2 hours.

Once we arrived, I don’t really know what was happening- I was just following my teachers who speak Korean. Jeff and I could relax and enjoy the fact that it felt like summer further south. Humidity was back but NOT nearly as bad as orientation. We stopped at a restaurant along the water and ate eel. I am pretty sure things got awkward as I keep hearing my teachers explain that “Eel is good for stamina.”

me: “Oh, well good!”

Co teachers: “haha well, Jeff you should eat more eel. See, men should eat more eel. For stamina like at night.”

*blushing*

Co teachers: “Men will fight each other to be able to eat the tail of the eel. They believe that it is very good for them.”

me: “Jeff theres the tail! You’re supposed to eat it!! Eat it!!”

*giggles all around*

Before I spoke, I didn’t realize HOW awkward that was. I looked at Jeff and he was red, I could feel my face getting hot. I made them all laugh so that is worth something. ^-^

The rest of the day was walking around the festival and visiting the national museum in JinJu. While we were inside the museum there was a sudden DOWN POUR! The rain was reminiscent of the rain we saw in Seoul the day before Chuseok (which i still haven’t blogged about…) It was crazy- people were coming from the woodwork to stand under the roof of the museum.

After the museum, we walked across the Namgang river to walk under tunnels of lanterns that were lit up to represent 1 Korean soldier who had died during that invasion.

We were able to make wishes and attach it to our “Year of the (insert here)” We are both Year of the Tiger so we found what looked liked like a tiger and found a good spot. It was a really great day and even though it got super rainy and muddy and my shoes are probably ruined- I’d recommend it!

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Sun Seng Nim

First off, my ‘air con’ smells like pee and I don’t know how to change the filter? Can I change the filter?

I have come to the realization that I am an English teacher- not a homeroom teacher anymore. Things will be different and I need to accept and adjust. Yeah, I don’t get to teach every subject anymore and get creative and go over in time and say; “we’ll do that tomorrow,” but that is okay. I am an English teacher so I will have to work on things with students such as pronunciation and introducing ‘key phrases’ in a mundane way- but you know what I am okay with it now. No matter how much I hate that text book and curriculum I am determined to try to have fun with it. Today I made up dance moves that would accompany the song we had to learn. I tried to get the students UP and MOVING with them but they were resistant for the most part…I guess they are 6th graders haha. It was great though. My co-teachers and I are getting along great, working together and talking through problems and PROBLEM SOLVING! hooray!

The students are also so wonderful. I mean in class…they are reluctant to speak…but when you catch them on the playground boy are they ready to test out ALL THE ENGLISH THEY KNOW. I had students ask me;

“Do you havea a cell pone?”

“What is your cell-a pone numba?”

Then I had a conversation with a 6th grader about how his “pone” has internet on it and he can play a game called Star 65 or something. He was asking me if I was going to teach him pronunciation in English class. In class he was not paying attention though so…haha.

I have received a couple of gifts over the past few days from students. : )

Strawberry Head handkerchief from a lovely 4th grade girl.

A pencil holder from a 4th grader.

A beautiful picture drawn by a 5th grade student : ) I called her an artist the first day I met her because she was sketching a picture of a rose and then I got this 2 weeks later : )

So I am really enjoying my life at school and making a lot of friends; Korean and non. Right now Jeff and I are planning a trip to Seoul with a group of other EPIK teachers. Franki, Alex, Jeff and I are going to share a bunkbed hotel room in Seoul for a couple nights. Christ is going to be there too!!! THEN THEN! Then Jeff and I are heading to Anyang to visit Lana!!!!!!!!!! She is finally here! So we will go explore Anyang for a night and head back to Seoul to catch our train to head back to Daegu for the weekend. Then…then…then…we go back to work : ( I am really looking forward to a long break though.

On another good note, I start Korean Survival class this Friday and starting in October Jeff and I will be learning Korean Monday’s Thursday’s and Friday’s. In no time we will have a better understanding and be communicating more with co-workers and people around us. I can’t wait to show my Principal and Vice Principal what I can do haha. I am having a hard time buying the tickets as of now but hopefully we will be smooth sailing on a BULLET TRAIN by next week

: )

Hopefully soon we will be on a KTX to Seoul!

P.S. When the humidity went away the mosquitoes got worse and I was eaten alive in my apartment yesterday!!! I smashed one this morning with my bare hands and when I opened up my hands…there was blood- MY BLOOD I’M SURE!!! “It’s a sort of revenge,” says my co.teacher. teehee

P.P.S. This is my new pet…another type of flying species that lives in my bathroom. Apparently I have to have the pips cleaned because they are born inside ::shutter::

So they are shaped like a heart...but are some sort of moth or fly. I don't really care, I just want them gone.

12 hours is Half a Day

12 hours is half a day. Just on the airplane, you spend HALF A DAY. We were at the airport early ‘just in case,’ but Portland airport is always pretty easy. SFO on the other hand was kind of a nightmare. I thought I was at Disneyland the way that there were lines, long lines for everything. I had never been on a flight that lasted more than 6 hours…so needless to say I was feeling a little nervous for the 12 hours flight. Before we boarded we had a 4 hours layover in SFO so naturally, we ate cheeseburgers at 9 am.

We swept the currency counter clean of won after we were through with them and set for…another long line. This line was crowded and chaotic.

12 HOUR FLIGHT turned into 11! Somehow some way we landed an hour early- I have never been on a flight that has done that. We went through a short line at immigration and customs was funny because you just hand off a piece of paper as they are RUSHING you past them. We found Henry Oh who gave us our cell phone…mine was dead…along with the spare battery… so let me charge it on his for ten minutes… he told me to buy a charger if I wanted to make the battery last longer. hrm.

Ticket and Passport!!

Korean Air was a delight to be on, these blankets were very soft. I understand why they have a disclaimer about stealing it.

Watch movies the whole time? OKay!

The device that helped you watch movies and play tetris!

The bus ride was FULL of luggage and people. On our way to JeonJu I saw a sign leading to Angyang~ I wanted to take a picture but it wasn’t humanly possible. It got dark soon after we boarded the bus and all of the sudden the sky started to light up. I thought it was just a car, but Jeff pointed out that it was lightening in the sky. It was hot, sticky and lighteninginging. We stopped at a rest stop in (I can’t remember the name and I don’t know how to change my google to English at the moment so I can’t figure it out either.) It was hotter outside than in the bus where the air was actually beginning to freeze me. An hour to go, but it felt like 4. We finally arrive at JeonJu. Everyone is tired, grumpy and very sweaty. We get our “gifts” from EPIK and a room assignment. We staggered to the elevator, limped to our room and TOOK A SHOWER. We both took showers and went to bed wet. It took all of 6 seconds to fall asleep haha. I woke up at 6 am with excitement and wanting to clean up the room, organize my clothes for the stay. Jeff was having none of that. He had to plea with me to be very quiet so he could sleep the extra hour while I was having fun organizing.

The entrance to the JeonJu University village.

This morning we ate breakfast next to a couple from Corvallis, what are the odds that in a room full of people- we meet the people from Oregon? haha They were really nice and they are staying right next to us!

Next, was our tour of JeonJu Uni which was brief and told us how to get to places. Then we walked around JeonJu Univerisy village. Thats right, we are sectioned off in a village of university. When we reached the end it was hard to tell how far we would have had to go to reach anything else!

So, we are at JeonJu, everyone is real nice and it is hot as hell. The air barely moves and when it does you can hear it because of the cicada beetles.

Things I found after I set up my computer…

*Pandora doesn’t work in Korea : (

*Netflix doesn’t work in Korea : (

Day 1: Welcome to Korea- here are some acts that show a little Korean culture…

Traditional Drums!

Yep, hes braking a piece of wood with his foot...no biggie. These are the JeonJu University Taekwondo club. They were so much fun!

Traditional Korean Fan Dancing.

It was a long and hot day. Tomorrow I have to wake up early to have 4 viles of blood drawn out of me…without eating or drinking any water beforehand… doesn’t sound right does it?