Time is flying by!

Trip Start Jun 29, 2006
Trip End Jun 26, 2007

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Flag of Korea Rep.  ,
Monday, February 5, 2007

I can't believe we're already into the second week of February. Time just flies by here. I think a lot of it has to do with the strict week/weekend schedule. I've never had one before this teaching job and it really makes the weeks zip by.
Yesterday was almost Spring-like in Ulsan and although the weather has still been cold something in the air strikes me as Spring. The 18th is Seollar, or Lunar New Year. It is the biggest holiday in Korea, with Chuseok in close second. Many people will visit their ancestor's graves and eat some special foods. It falls on a Sunday this year so the only guaranteed holiday in Monday.
January was a chilly month but fun none the less! It involved me learning poker (and winning multiple times), seeing a couple of movies, and seeing Koreans! The waeguks (that's me, Brandon, Melissa, and Stephen) found a new place in Mugeodong to go on the weekends. It's a Korean bar but with a tiny stage that sometimes has performers! A nice little change from sitting around with old Korean men drinking soju and making fun of things. We got to hang out with Youngwoo again which was of course a super-fun night. We also had a belated celebration of his birthday.
The waeguks went and saw Eragon and Blood Diamond. Stephen and I went to see Miss Potter with two "students" one weekend. It was our director's daughter Kelly (who's a senior in high school) and Jacky, our director's nephew who sort of still comes to our academy. Melissa and I went to Costco in Daegu, which was her first time in a Costco. We bought some things that didn't fit in our bags, like an eight-pack of canned kidney beans and a giant tub of animal crackers so we attracted some fun attention on our trek home. I went glasses shopping but didn't even try any one. Brandon picked out a stylish pair and now looks oh-so-hip. Even with his really bad left eye, the frames and lenses cost less than $100! I am definitely buying glasses and sunglasses before leaving. There are some very cool and inexpensive frames available!
I got to meet up with Sangjae briefly one week. He wrote a really good essay in English for a prospective job and wanted me to read it. He's still hunting like a tiger for a job, and we're all pulling for him. I told him he should scratch that idea and go study his masters for free in Sweden. He looked interested, but the application dates have all passed. I don't really picture him there...
Stephen and I went out to dinner with our co-workers one night for a sort of welcome and farewell event. As it turns out, the farewell was unnecessary... our temporary PELT testing study teacher is staying on as a part time teacher! She's really nice. After we all had dinner, our director dumped us in Mugeodong with some money and told us to have fun at noraebang. Stephen and I took them to one of our favorite places and we rocked it until almost 2am!
Last weekend we got to see Kang and he took us to the beach!! Doesn't everybody like to go to the beach on freezing cold winter nights? Stephen opted out, but it was a party for me, Melissa, Brandon, and Kang! We ran around, jumped in the sand, chased each other, and picked each other up. It was a really good thing, I loved being at the beach. The next day we played video games while waiting for Melissa's glasses and then met with with Stephen, Kang, Yoonsoo, and Yuran. After they left us, the waeguks went to Boston Bar and played some poker with our random assortment of beers (we got 5 beers for 20,000won -- Bud Ice, San Miguel, XXXX, Hoegaarden, and Corona). On Sunday I met up with Brandon and Melissa for a trip out to Ulsan Grand Park. I've never seen most of the park and I haven't been anywhere near it since AIP (even though I meant to many times). We wandered around, Melissa and Brandon went sledding, and then we trooped across one of the hills to cut across the park. Something about Sunday nights make me want to walk, so when I left Brandon and Melissa in Mugeodong, I walked home. That's a long walk. Especially since there is a significant lack of sidewalk or even shoulders so I had to go to Beomseo first. I took advantage of it though and snapped some pictures. It felt really good to just walk and walk and have a destination. It got dark as I walked and everything felt right.
I'm trying to get stuff together to apply to a university for this September. I really hope everything comes together and I'll post as soon as I know more. There have been some significant changes this week at our school. Whole classes changed, others more subtlely. I'm sure you'll be hearing more about that. In the meantime I'm going to remain optimistic!!
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