Weeks 23 and 24¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

Uhhh so I guess I forgot to write two weeks worth of life? I have a bad memory so this doesn’t surprise me. 

As mentioned previously, we started the new term on June 1st. Things seem to be going ok so far. I like the majority of my classes. The Korean teacher and I have had some issues with one of the girls in a higher level class being rude to us and not being a pleasant person. I scolded her in class and my coworker called her mom. Another one of my classes is probably the worst behaved class I’ve had my entire time here. There are four or five students in the class that are angels and the others…well they’re just not motivated to be there or think it’s social hour. 

I asked the director at my school if she would like me to stay an extra term and she seemed shocked that I suggested such a thing. But honestly, this came about after I had talked to a recruiter for a different job I was interested in and even though I would have about a month between the jobs, I wouldn’t be able to go home. I thought about this and decided it wasn’t ideal for many reasons and let him know I would wait a term and apply later. So, expect me stateside ~December and January at least. 🎄✌🏻

Everyone in my family is/was on baby watch. My brother’s wife, Hannah, was due to give birth to their second child any day and being 14 time zones away is a bit difficult to stay in the loop. On Monday June 12th, Astrid Jean joined the Hokanson clan. 

This year is going to be interesting because three of my cousins and a friend are also pregnant, all due one month after each other… it will certainly make coming home in December all the more exciting. 👶🏼👶🏼👶🏼👶🏼👶🏼

Friday I went out with four of my coworkers. The first bar we went to had ladies night with half priced drinks. Anything other than beer or soju is generally expensive in Korea so we took advantage of that. Then we went to a dance club. I somehow lost my apartment key while dancing. I went to the dj to ask if they had a lost and found, they didn’t but he was kind enough to announce to the whole club I’d lost my r2d2 Lego keychain 🤦🏼‍♀️ and maybe 30 minutes later the bartender comes up to me with my key! I hugged her so hard. I’m honestly really lucky in the fact that the unlucky things that happen to me turn out waaaaay worse than they could. After that debacle we danced for an eternity. I ate McDonald’s breakfast before staggering home around 5:45am. 


Saturday I was not hungover! Yay. I didn’t do much because, although I didn’t have a hangover my body hurt from all the drunk dancing I did. I did laundry and tidied up. I met Asia for pizza and went back to doing nothing at home. I watched Supergirl on Netflix.

Sunday slept in and met Asia and Sharon for 샤브샤브  for a late lunch. I did not eat 샤브샤브 because it’s hot soup and it was hot out. I had a super huge and equally delicious salad for lunch. After that we decided to go walk around a different part of Suwon. I walked over 11,000 steps so I’d say it was a productive day. 

Until next week,

B

Week 13, 2017

This past week we had a substitute teacher as one of the NETs was on vacation. It’s always interesting to meet transient teachers and hear the stories they wish to share.

I literally have no news from the week…other than I got my eyebrows touched up and I look ridiculous because my eyebrows are too brown right now.

Yesterday, I went to the Korean Folk Village in Yongin with my Korean class.

I got excited because it smelled like straw and animal shit and it reminded me of home…

Garlic garden

Coooooorrrrrrrrnnnnnnnn

I was impressed with this fence

A solo cherry blossom

A sign telling about dramas shot here

Basket weaver

 

Wind dancer

Korean pancake. Kimchi, plain potato, green pepper

Only the cool kids from class came on this trip 🙂

A pretty bridge

 

A rope walker


This performer man looks like he hates life lol

 


We were late to see this performance because we wanted to eat ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Week 7, 2017

Can you believe we’ve already made it through seven weeks of 2017!? Me either.

So… after I posted my blog last Sunday my computer decided it’d had enough of the abuse I put it through, being an over glorified Netflix player, and die. Like full on dead. I tried a lot of different things and ended up having to do a full system restore so I lost everything that was saved to my computer. Luckily, I’ve learned from my horrible electronics karma in the past and had important documents saved on Google Drive and an external hard drive. Strangely enough, doing a system restore fixed whatever was wrong with my webcam and Bluetooth. So now, I essentially have a new computer.

Last Monday, I still didn’t know if my computer would be fixed for sure or not by the time I left for school and I was pretty bummed. When I got to school I found out I had two parent meetings straight away at 12:30. I was not in the greatest mood. Buuuuuuut, the day got astronomically better when I received a giant box from my BFF Valerie!!!! That honestly made my day. I opened it up right away because I can’t stand surprises. I knew I was at least getting a shirt because I asked her to include one; I opened the box and there were EIGHT shirts. I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited to see eight shirts from Target ever in my life. This was a welcome surprise as a majority of my short sleeve shirts are totes gross from wearing them for six months.

Tuesday, after I realized my computer no longer had Microsoft Office I panicked a bit and left a frenzied voicemail for my parents… sorry about that Mom and Dad. They were able to provide me with a product key and got that squared away so now I can play around with and edit my documents and stuff.

One of my classes hates having their pictures taken so of course if they’re bad I threaten them with taking pictures.

For dinner on Tuesday, I went to Tony Burger; a weird cowboy-esque themed burger restaurant. I ordered a burger and when it came I was not disappointed but confused on how I was going to manage to eat it. I was, however, disappointed with the lack of napkins provided as this burger was exceptionally messy.

On the way home I saw a crane fishing in the stream with the moon/lamplight rippling across the water. It was super pretty so I took a video.

I have enjoyed Kraft Macaroni & Cheese so much this past week thanks to Valerie. Also, blueberry soju. Aaaah so delicious!

Thursday after work we went to trivia at The Big Chill and I got grapefruit soju. That was really delicious as well. Because I don’t imbibe often some people seemed shocked that I was. We got our trivia on and Sean and I stayed later and danced to S Club 7 and other random requests we could think of. Oddly enough, I still got home before I normally go to bed so I was able to shower and still get in almost nine hours of sleep.

Saturday Fitbit informed me that I’ve lost 17.9 pounds since coming to Korea! Fuck yessss!


I had an appointment at 1pm to get my eyebrows microbladed. ( see What is microblading) I was getting a bit nervous because the technician drew my eyebrows on super dark and I looked really weird. Numbing gel was applied to my eyebrow area and after 15 minutes, she started blading away at my face. It was super weird because I could hear her scraping my skin but I couldn’t feel it. After an hour she sat me up and made some finishing touches. Then I was released back into the wild with my brand new eyebrows. Since I don’t really know much Korean and the technician didn’t know much English I paid her the incorrect amount. After I ate lunch I went back to give her what I owed her. I then went and walked around a bunch. I bought some acrylic paints and plan on painting something dope as soon as I figure out what I want to paint.

My eyebrows before microblading

The scary during photo.

After microblading! Yay! I have eyebrows now!


Yesterday, I went out to eat and sent this to all my Snapchat friends. lol.

Until next week,

B

Week 4, 2017

This week was the last week of Winter Intensive classes so we go back to our 12:30 start time tomorrow. Woohoo!

I attempted to braid my hair but my arms got tired and I couldn’t see what I was doing so I gave up after only braiding a quarter of my hair. I didn’t take it out and wore it to school the following day. Did I look like a dumb ass? Probably, but I don’t really care. The same day, I was attempting to eat pineapple when I dumped the package all over my desk and self. That was fun. Spill was one of the vocabulary words that day, so it worked out. And my boss tried to make me feel better by telling me, “at least you smell delicious!”


Hangman is a really popular game with my students… I’m not sure why. Maybe because they are in control of the class for that time? Whatever, I’m not complaining, they participate and speak English; that’s all I really ask.


Tuesday I came home and I could hear a cat crying. I was confused if it was in one of my neighbors’ houses, outside, or if I finally went completely nuts and it was in my head. I opened the door and the crying was louder. Okay, the cat’s totally in my building. I call out, “kitty” a couple times and peek down the stairs. No cat. So I go up the stairs… four flights in all and there’s a small cat sitting in the doorway to the roof. Um, okay? I hold out my hand and it comes and nudges me. Obviously a friendly thing. I scratch its ears and pet it. Its so dirty and cold. I attempt to pick it up and it runs away. After I gained its trust, I picked it up and started carrying it downstairs. I was going to put it outside and shut the building door, but no, I wanted to feed it first. So I took it in my house. Turns out kitty was  a boy, so I gave him some tuna and I felt really bad. I gave him a wet wipe bath which he seemed to really enjoy. I kept thinking, “omg what are you doing? You can’t keep this cat!” So after playing and snuggling, I put him back outside. Before I could close the building door, he ran up the stairs again. Fine, whatever. I started to feel itchy so I decided that it was good that I put him back outside, but I felt pretty guilty about it. If I knew what I was doing with my life I maybe would have kept him, but I don’t and I like not sneezing every two seconds.


Wednesday I apparently put the incorrect actor in a flashcard for the word “handsome” and it caused one of my classes to have a meltdown. “Teacher, ewwwwwwwwwwwwwww!” “Teacher, he’s NOT handsome!” and “Yuck!” were said multiple times. I asked them who they preferred and got some interesting answers. Later that day, in the same level, a different class had the opposite reaction. It was so funny. It told them their peers didn’t like the man in the photo and they were AGHAST.

Thursday wasn’t really all that special. I went to Suwon Station after work and found more shirts. I ate at Banes Taco and it was delicious but I almost pooed when I saw how much the fajitas were. It seems that this is the normal price for fajitas around here. *sobs* After that, I met up with Sunny and we had coffee and talked for quiet a long time.


Friday we didn’t have work because it’s Seollal or Lunar New Year. So… I go on the bus and went to Suwon Station again. I was determined to spend the 60,000 KRW gift certificates I had to Shinsegae. I remember seeing one of these stores last weekend when we went to Jukjeon for the work conference. And, since that is the location that seemed to be closest to home, I went there. The train was so empty is was unreal. Well, that store was closed. I had already spent an hour and half in transit time to get there, I didn’t want to turn around and go home… even though I thought about it. So I looked up the main branch of this store and it happened to be in Myeongdong – cool I know where that is. So I looked up on my handy subway app how to get there. On this journey, I forget where exactly, there was a man harassing people to buy his Josh Groban/Opera/Classical music CDs. Well, three line transfers and almost two more hours later I arrived at my destination. All while relaying my adventure with CeeCee. I got there, it was pretty busy. Walked around, inquired about the largest size shoes the vendors sold, was disappointed and went on my way. I used my gift certificates to buy a new Coach wristlet because my collection isn’t big enough already. I got home at 7pm so it was a pretty busy day of sitting on trains and spending money.

 


Saturday I wasn’t sure what would be open so I didn’t plan on anything. I decided to go for a walk because it was warm-ish outside. A new supermarket had opened on a main street by my house and it was open so I went there. They had tanks with live octopi in them and I wanted to buy one…I didn’t because I’m not going to eat it and it would die. They had a pretty loaded beverage section – I was impressed.

 


Yesterday, Sunday, I didn’t really do anything but do some laundry, watch movies, and consume food.

Today was a bit disorienting because I thought I had to go to work. I didn’t… so I didn’t really do much today either. I did make Sesame Chicken from scratch and that was pretty good but created a disaster in the kitchen. Cooking here, in this house is a pain because there is zero counter space.

Until next week,

B

Weeks 2 and 3, 2017

I had a cold last week and didn’t open my computer at all. I didn’t feel as miserable as the last time I was sick but I just didn’t feel like updating. Nothing of substance really happened anyway.

It’s snowed a couple times in the past two weeks though none of it sticks much.


I had to bring home a stack of book reports to grade last Thursday and I had a pretty good assembly line set up while I was watching documentaries on Netflix.

I had some issues with the delivery person not wanting to leave my packages at my door; I wanted them left there because they were big and bulky and I didn’t want to carry junk over the pedestrian bridge. My school’s director, Chloe, was very kind and talked to the delivery people for me to have the items left even though I wasn’t home.

I walked to HomePlus last Saturday; the weather was windy and cold. I went up to another level I had never been to before. It was like finding the entrance to a secret club or something. There was a bookstore, pet store, music/guitar store, cafe, and random clothes shops up there. I, of course was drawn to the pet store. I looked at all the fish and small pets. Then I saw it. The cat room. There was a mama cat and three babies in a small plexi-glass room. One of the babies had a cone on his head. I wanted to take them all home. I did not. See, I do have some self control!

After HomePlus, I visited Etude House for some skin care products and got a pretty good haul. Then I walked back home because all my purchases from the day could fit in my backpack. When I got home I rested on the floor to warm my body. That in floor heating is good for something!  I then put together one of the big, bulking things I had ordered. A five drawer metal cabinet. It was pretty easy to figure out how to put together and I only hurt myself once to draw blood.

Sunday I didn’t feel right but thought I was just hungry. I took the bus to Suwon Station and then walked to Lotte Mall. This mall is laid out like a western style mall with a central path to get to stores and the stores actually being separated and sectioned off into actual stores. I went to eat at the Mexican restaurant. Though it doesn’t compare to the delicious Mexican food back home, it was pretty delicious. I decided to humor myself and go into one of the clothing shops, Uniqlo, to see if I could find any tops. I went to try on four tops and three of them fit! I was so shocked. So that made me happy. My last stop at the mall was the big grocery store. There are some products that I can’t find closer to my house so I scoped it out and everything I was looking for was there. I took a cab home because I feeling kind of shitty and I didn’t want to be on a crammed bus.

Monday, I woke up with a cold. How nice.

On Tuesday I felt the worst but I had time to rest so it wasn’t so bad. When I got home I realized I needed to wash some socks because I was out. I put a load of laundry in the washer and fell asleep. I woke up about an hour later and was confused. I went to check the wash and it was stopped but the water hadn’t drained out. I was panicking. I went upstairs to the landlord’s apartment and typed in my issue to Google translate. He came down and looked around my apartment before scoping out the washing machine. Then he called his wife to go get the neighbor that speaks English to be our translator. So there’s three extra people in my apartment trying to figure out what’s wrong with my washing machine. They determined the drain hose was frozen and that I needed to wait for it to thaw. That’s not so serious of a problem… I can deal with that. Around 11 pm I finally heard the water draining and made sure to spin the remaining water out of my clothes.

I could fully breath out my nose on Friday so I was happy about that.

Yesterday most everyone in the company I work for had to attend a conference at Dankook University in Seoul from 1 pm to 5 pm. I left my apartment at 10:20 am to grab some McDonald’s before the other foreign teachers and I met to catch the bus for our journey. It was lightly snowing as I sat and ate my breakfast. We got on the bus and transferred to the subway. We we got off the train we ran into one of the Korean teachers from our campus, Kathy. When we got towards the exit for the station, we saw the Korean head teacher, Jessica. We took two taxis to the University then we had to split up as there were separate lectures for Koreans and foreigners. We had to walk up a pretty steep hill, I was so tired after that. It wasn’t as boring as it could have been, so that’s good. Though for the last speaker, talking about games that we were told about at the last seminar, it was really hard to focus. While all this was going on, the snow continued to fall and had accumulated. Big, fluffy flakes were falling and it made me happy.

After the conference was over, we met back up with Jessica and Kathy. We tried to get a taxi but because of the snow there were none to be found. So, we took a packed bus back to the train station. We decided we would eat some Indian food after we got back to Suwon. We met a nice lady, Jen, on the platform for the train from the campus in Busan. We chatted the whole way back to Suwon. After a very delicious meal of Tandoori Chicken, Chicken Tikka Masala, and Samosas Jessica, Olivia, and I went shopping. We went to the cellphone place and got Olivia a prepaid SIM for her phone. Then we went to a clothing store Jessica suggested. I found more shirts! Then we just kind of walked around. We ate ice cream and then came home.

Week 1, 2017

This week we started “Winter Intensive” classes because the students are on winter break from their public schools. This means we start earlier at 10:30 am and end at 6:30. This also means that aside from normal classes, “fun,” extra classes are added. Normally, we arrive at work by 12:30 and start classes at 2:50 which gives us prep time; now we arrive by 10:30 and start classes at 11:05. Depending upon when your break is or if you have multiple breaks can make for a rather exhausting day.

Monday, I forgot we didn’t have the usual preparation time and failed to bring myself lunch. I think I had a bagel in my desk which was the only thing I ate until 7 pm. I made my way for some dinner and gorged myself on mandu. Afterwards making up a song about taking Courtney to the mandu shop to the tune of 50 Cent’s Candy Shop. Later that evening I went to the convenience store to get some snacks for the next day and I considered buying the Spam fried rice but it I don’t even recall if I’ve ever even eaten Spam before so I passed on that.


I don’t really recall anything of significance happening Tuesday and Wednesday… just the usual; wake up, go to work, eat, come home, repeat.

Thursday morning I was sorting my trash so I wouldn’t be the subject of the passive aggressive notes about the trash and recycling that are left in the common area of my building, and I found an important looking letter from the internet company in the bin. Checked my internet connection and wouldn’t you know, it’d been disconnected. So I went to try to pay it at the machine in the bank and that machine is turned off. Just my luck.


Friday I left early so I could pay the bill and/or express concern about the machine still being off. It was back on and the man at the bank essentially paid the bills for me save punching in my PIN and my phone number… I still don’t know how to do this myself. Get home from work after grocery shopping and my internet is still off. If I were smart, I would have gone to the store where I got my cell phone and asked them about it, but I’m clearly not. So my internet is still off and I’ve been using my phone as a hotspot.

Saturday, Nick and I went to Gangnam because I wanted to go to the Kakao Friends store. We left around 12:30 and were in transit for just under a hour and a half. We got a bit lost in the subway station because, as I’ve told you before, I’m directionally dumb. We got it sorted out and emerged from underground. Nick expressed excitement to see a Taco Bell so we ate there. Then we went to the Kakao Friends store. It was so packed in there I was being pushed about so much. I bought some junk and he did too, then we walked around looking for something else interesting. If you know me I’m not really a planner. I just like to go places and see one specific thing then see what’s up. There wasn’t a whole lot else besides the Taco Bell and Kakao Friends store that we can’t see closer to home so after I got some Jamba Juice, we headed back home… and it was still daylight out!


Later that night I went out to get food before the shop closed. As I was walking back I saw a former student of mine, Peter, walking with his parents. I waved and he seemed really shocked to see me. I said hi and bowed to his parents and went on my way. As I was getting ready to cross to the other side of the street I heard someone running behind me. It was Peter and he gave me some sweet potato snacks. Interactions like this make me smile. I bowed again and continued my walk home.


Today I decided to get on a random bus and go for a ride and get off at a place that looked interesting. I walked around in a park and looked at the shops in a hilly part of town. I came back to my point of origin and walked around more in my immediate area. I found the post office so I longer have that excuse and a hospital that I never would have known was in the area. I watched some dudes play soccer for awhile and came back home. I did four loads of laundry this weekend and had to bring my drying rack inside my actual apartment because the “chilly” 50 F wind wasn’t drying my clothes fast enough.

Over the past week I read two books – over 700 pages. Since I got a new Kindle for Christmas I decided I might as well make good use of it. I’ve set my reading goal for 50 books this year and I definitely have well over that number of books I’d like to read, the only problem is, as always, motivation.

Weekly Update…

Monday it was pretty cold. I was not expecting a cold snap like that. I wore my down North Face jacket, wool hat, and some gloves. Conversely, Friday felt hot compared to Monday and I was asked several times if I was cold, by students and teachers. It honestly takes quite a bit to make my body feel cold plus I have more insulation than the average person and I generally like feeling cool.


I finally figured out how to pay my bills. There was a nice gentleman at the bank that “showed me” how to use the machine – he did the whole thing with the exception of entering my phone number for me. He didn’t even allow me to enter my bankbook into the machine for an update. I mean, sir, I know how to do that at least.

For the past couple of weeks it seems like I’ve been eating a majority of my meals after work with one of the Korean teachers at school, EunSun or Sunny as she goes by at school. I’ve never met someone whose name is a perfect reflection of their personality like it is with Sunny. She’s very kind and always has a smile on her face. I’m quiet sad though that she has accepted a job else where and will no longer be working with me after this month. Luckily, she lives pretty close to our school so we can still meet up.

Yesterday, I met Elizabeth in Myeongdong again. This time, we went to Namsan Tower. We were supposed to go last month when we stayed in Itaewon but we didn’t really feel like going. Elizabeth is from Florida and from what I gathered hasn’t experienced much of the four season weather that happens in less tropical environments. She seemed in awe of the different colored leaves, something I clearly take for granted.


From the subway station we had to do a mini steep hike to get to the cable car station, our legs were on fire by the time be got there. The wait line was so long someone ordered Domino’s Pizza. We made friends with the little baby that was a head of us in line and it made me wonder if I have inherited my dad’s baby stranger magnet – baby strangers love my dad, they always stare and smile at him. We rode the cable car up Namsan which was a bit of what I imagine being a canned sardine is like. I was more interested in the mountain itself as it’s made out of granite and will probably be reading about the geological formations of Korea sometime in the near future because I’m a nerd. At the top and end of the cable car ride, we had to climb more stairs and we were laughing about how out of shape we are. We purchased a two person combo of two drinks and popcorn for our adventure, plus admission to the observation deck. They had peanut butter squid flavored popcorn – we did not try it. We got an obligatory souvenir photo taken and it was amazing. It wasn’t very clear out so we couldn’t see a whole lot. We walked around for a while and took the cable car back down. I have to say, I liked the ride down more than the ride up. It was dark so you could see all the buildings and their lights and the slope at which we were traveling was a bit terrifying.





We made our way back down to the subway by all the shops and decided to look for a place to eat. Elizabeth’s eagle eyes spotted a Dak Galbi place and I was never so eager to agree to eating something in my life. Dak Galbi is one of my favorite Korean dishes. It’s chicken marinated in a mess of red pepper paste and flakes. It’s not spicy at first but as you keep eating it gets spicier – something I personally love. After we ate we walked around more and came upon a cat cafe. OMG do you know how much I love cats?! We had to pay a 9,000 won admission fee but I will gladly pay around $9 to be surrounded by all different breeds of cats. It made me a bit sad and miss my Emily Mittens, but it was fun.



Shit kids say and other updates

I teach at a private language academy and the children I have contact with are ages 6 to 12. A lot of them seem like they’d rather be anywhere else but there because they come directly after public (regular) school or from another academy. Most of them are really well behaved but like always, there are a few trouble makers.

  • kid comes into classroom with realistic looking toy gun, points it at my head, makes shooting noises, laughs and says, “teacher die!”😳
    • I have had several issues with this child already and obviously was not amused.
  • multiple kids like to poke me in the belly like I’m the Pillsbury Dough Boy – probably because it’s not common to see people this fat here, I don’t take offense to this
  • a lot of the little girls give me hugs and tell me I’m “comfy” or “squishy” – again, not offended and I don’t think it’s meant to be malicious, also it’s true so whatevs
  • boy takes my picture as we’re wrapping up class – I ask him why, he says he wants to show his friends; um okay?
  • boy draws a heart shaped thing in his school book, tells me it’s my butt, laughs, and points from his book to my actual butt
  • the past couple of days had been cooler so I wore my hair down – several of the girls tell me, “teacher hair!” and give me a thumbs up
  • I had a cold this past week and some of the girls told me, “Britt teacher should have soup”

I’m feeling better about ordering food from restaurants and shops in the market by my house. However, tonight I went to get some Dakgangjeong (닭강정) but I forgot what it was called so I tried to read the menu. HA! I ordered something of chicken origin, but not what I wanted. I don’t know what I ordered but it is spicy and looks like mystery meat. Luckily, the shop next door sells corn dogs (핫도그)  that are in plain sight so I only have to say, “이거 주세요.” (please give me this) and the shop people ask me how many and if I want ketchup.


Ah, Dakgangjeong (닭강정), I’ll go back to eat you tomorrow I guess ☹️️

Had to bust out my fuzzy north face coat tonight because it’s getting chilly finally. I also tried on my down winter coat, unsurprisingly it fits better this year than last winter. 

First Hostel Experience and Itaewon Travels

Friday after work, Sean, Brittany, and I hopped on a bus and headed to Seoul a little after ten and after getting off the bus and taking the subway the remainder of the way, we arrived at our hostel not long after an hour had passed. We dumped off our packs and headed out to explore. Elizabeth, who works on the other side of Suwon, was arriving a bit later and met us out and about.


Expensive cars errywurr, yo.


We went to this bar that had really random taste in music but seemed to be a pretty popular place and the beer was reasonably-ish priced. We met a really attractive Egyptian man who was there on business and he bought us a round of drinks after he realized I was drink-less. (So, being cheap and refusing to buy your own drinks, while not being a huge boozer to begin with, pays off sometimes.) He dropped off our drinks, we said thank you, and he went on to the next group of peeps to mingle with.


That says, “transgender bar,” I don’t know what all that entails but Sean and I were pretty proud to be able to read that.

After that we decided we wanted to actually dance and went to a club down the way. The music was better, but still not really my taste; I clearly didn’t mind because I danced so much I had sweat invading my eyeballs. My back started to hurt and I got tired around 3 am and tried to walk back to the hostel alone without getting lost. (I really should stop being confident about where I’m going, because I have no clue.) I stopped off to get a travel kit at the convenience store and didn’t realize the hostel was right across the street. I did, however, cross the street but just kept walking then realized I didn’t recognize anything and turned around. *face palm*  Then I had to walk up four flights of stairs, ew. I showered; it was awkward because I haven’t used a communal bathroom for like twelve years so it caught me off guard every time I heard the door open, but I was honestly too tired and a little tipsy to care.

We all woke up, my back was still killing me, and went to eat traditional Korean food for lunch. We originally decided on Indian but it was too expensive for everyone’s budget. I was pretty disappointed I couldn’t eat Tandoori Chicken. We went to go to the fish market because Brittany wanted to eat the wiggling cut up octopus; as I’m morally against eating one of my favorite animals and my back was killing me I opted to sit at a cafe, chug water, and take ibuprofen. Sean wasn’t into some aspect of the fish market either and he stayed behind with me and we people watched. We also had a time trying to find a western toilet. Having back pain plus only bringing one pair of pants for this trip, I was not about to fuck with those squat toilets – no thanks.

We went back to the hostel, made friends with some people that were staying there, watched random Korean television, loafed on the couch, and ordered in Koreanized Chinese food. We were supposed to go to Namsan Tower, which I’m sure was beautiful, but Elizabeth, Sean, and I weren’t feeling it. Brittany tried to go by herself but the bus didn’t stop at her bus stop so she just came back. The hostel had a beer pong night set up so I watched and everyone else played. We talked more to the others staying there and it was pretty cool – lots of seasoned travelers.


View from the top.


Later we went back to the first bar we went to the night before with a new hostel friend. The atmosphere was totally different. Better music and more people. There wasn’t really a designated dance space but if you know me, you know I will dance just about anywhere. While dancing I befriended a really REALLY drunk girl from Uzbekistan, so that was cool. She seemed really stoked that I was the first Uzbek person I’ve talked to. Because of the amount of people in the bar and influence of alcohol, I wasn’t really paying attention to what my hands were doing or where they were going – I was twisting my arms about my body when my hand made contact with this dude’s butt. He was like super annoying about it too saying shit like, “If you’re going to touch my butt, at least let me know first,” and I was all like, “dude, no. I don’t want to and didn’t want to. It’s called we both weren’t aware of each other’s proximity to each other, fuck off.” I danced some more and called it a night shortly after. I took a shower and decided I was against eating my random bag of cookies in my bunk so I went out and chilled in the common area with some other people.

Elizabeth went to church and Brittany and I went to Gyeongbok Palace. I had to purchase a new transit (T Money) card because I seemed to have lost my other one. It was raining so it made out commute a bit more interesting. There was a National Geographic DSLR exhibit on our way out of the train station. We got to vote on three photos we liked the best.


While we were en route, Sean messaged saying that he was just going to go back to Suwon. We made it to the palace and there weren’t loads of people there because of the rain, which was a perk. It was super pretty. I would have liked to roam around more but my shoes were soaked and I was still tired from the night before.


On our way back one of the escalators was out of order and I thought I was going to die! Brittany and I already joked that I was too good for stairs before seeing this and I said “oh helllllllllllll noooooooooo,” when I saw that. There must have been over 100 stairs I had to climb with people behind me so I can’t stop or go slow. I never want to see that many stairs ever again.


After all those stairs we decided we wanted to go home too. Two train transfers and a cab ride later, I was home by 3:30 and then it started to downpour. I did the bulk of my laundry immediately so I don’t have to anything tomorrow and can be the loafer I was destined to be.

So I’ve been in South Korea for 33 days…

As the title states, I’ve been in Korea for 33 days now. I’ve experienced and learned loads of things.

Things I’ve learned:

  • moving to another country is OVERWHELMING as fuuuuuuuuuuuuuck
  • students are really impressed when you can spell your name in Hangul
  • students are also exponentially impressed when you answer them, outside of their paid class time, in Korean
  • taking the bus at night when you know nothing about your surroundings is terrifying – especially if you get lost
  • you get lost a lot – like A LOT
  • you will have so many blisters on your feet from walking around – like incepta-blisters (blisters on top of blisters, on top of blisters, on top of blisters)
  • the general public is either terrified of you (locking their car doors when they see you walking) or exponentially happy to see you (waving and smiling and trying to speak English to you)
  • bus drivers are really REALLY nice and will try to help you as much as they can
  • If you want American style pizza, like Papa John’s, it’s going to cost you about $30-ish for what we consider a medium size and it will be their large size
  • Koreans put sweet corn on their pizza – like wtf and I’m from Iowa
  • Korean shampoo makes my hair super greasy feeling – yuck
  • not having a clothes dryer actually kind of sucks in a really humid environment
  • if you can read Hungul but don’t comprehend what you’re reading it doesn’t really help that much
  • people like to abruptly stop in the middle of the sidewalk and you will bump into them and they will act like it is your fault
  • if you are female and someone calls you “pumpkin” it means they think you’re ugly
  • if you’re female and someone asks you if you’re Russian, it means they think you’re a prostitute
  •  you will make a ton of mistakes
  • just when you think you’re getting shit together, something else happens and you’re back to feeling like a loser who always fucks up

Yesterday I went to register myself as an alien. I love that I can say that. Yo, I’m an alien guys! The director’s assistant, Hyo Bin, and I went to the clinic to pick up the results for my health check that I had last week. He was exceptionally hung over and still reeked of alcohol – I wonder if he would have passed a breathalyzer.  I passed, obviously because I have neither HIV nor do methamphetamines which seem to be the most important tests they run on you. So we went to the opposite side of Suwon and I paid money to register myself as an alien. I also had my finger prints re-scanned and gave a picture of myself for my alien registration card (ARC). 

On the way back to school a 방탄소년단 or BTS song came on and I was trying very hard not to burst out in uncontrollable laughter. The song, Fire, is totally my jam and I tucked my lips inside my mouth over my teeth to keep from embarrassing myself. Well that shit didn’t work! I was humming along and Hyo Bin grabbed my shoulder in shock and asked me if I knew the song. He also asked me if I liked Kpop and I did my best to appear casual about it. And then he asked me which groups I like and I just pointed at his radio. He was like, “aaah but they’re babies!” And I was like ¯\_(ツ)_/¯   Yeah, so? He seemed so surprised that I knew that song though. 

This week we started calling students at home for phone speaking; where we have to call all students we have in our classes once per term. I found out I screwed up my phone schedule I handed out to the kids (see aforementioned fuck ups) so that was fun. My Korean and native English speaking coworkers were really understanding about it though and said some kind, encouraging words to me. I at least got a trail run to make a phone call to one student and it went pretty well. It is a bit weird though, calling students who don’t ever really talk in class and you’re like, wow you have a voice!?

One of my Korean co-teachers told me today that when she spoke with the kids’ parents the kids always tell the parents about how kind Britt Teacher is. That made me feel pretty good.

Today I learned if students are missing from class longer than three minutes I am to notify staff as they might have been injured or tried to attempt suicide. 😳

Monday, October 3 is Gaecheonjeol, or National Foundation Day. This is a pretty cool holiday because it celebrates the creation myth of Korea as the founding of the nation (see Creation Myth). Because of the three day weekend, my coworker Sean, girl who works at our parent company Brittany, and another girl who I have yet to meet Elizabeth are going to stay in a hostel and putz around Seoul. Luckily, there are loads of free or relatively inexpensive things for our broke asses to do. I know we’re going to the Korean War Memorial, Namsan Tower, Gyeonbok Palace, and some sort of theme cafe.