Happy Birthday Buddha!

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

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

A lot's happened in the last month. More importantly, I'm down to my last month in Korea.
I am definitely going home when my contract ends... because I need to get my study visa for Denmark! That's right! I was accepted to Aalborg University's Culture, Communication, and Globalization Masters program and I start on August 31.

Last time I wrote I was excited about my Seoul trip... which fell through. That weekend was a blast anyway! Stephen left us at Yes! to head for the bus (he opted to go to Seoul anyway). Not five minutes after he left a Korean guy came over and sat down. We ended up meeting and drinking with him and his friends. That is, until the night came to a crazy halt because one of their friends had to go to the police station about a fight and Melissa had to go to the hospital because she hurt her foot! John his friend Jinsu showed up and they happened to know the new guys already! Alex came, too and was such a help going with Brandon and Melissa to the hospital while John, Jinsu, and I went to another bar to wait for them. They came back and everything seemed ok, it was just a sprain. It was also the beginning of more great friends. The next night Brandon and I thought we'd be alone because so many of our friends were taking tests on Sunday and Stephen and Melissa were out of the picture. We ended up seeing Youngin, JP, Hwany, Kang, Hyunji, Yuran, Yonghwa, and even Tom! That Sunday I met up with Yuran, Jisaeng, and Jinsu for dinner and drinks in Samsan. It ended up being a very late night, but I had a blast between the company, the twetgigogi, Juju Club, and more drinking in Mugeo. Jinsu even made sure I got home ok... what a nice guy!

The next Thursday, Stephen and I met up with Kang, Brandon, Jeon, and Kwan in Samsan for a late night showing of TMNT (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles). We got stickers and Leo masks!! Friday night was the arrival of Stephen's good friend Yassin. He'll be here teaching until the end of July. We were at Yes! of course, with Brandon, Kwan, Jeon, Kwan's friend James, Jinsu, Jinsaeng, Yuran, Byoungsoo, John, Johnnie, and Yonghwa. The next day I met up with Brandon and we went for a nice walk with Youngwoo along the Taehwa before meeting up with Hyunji, Kang, Stephen, Yassin, Yuran, Yoonsoo, Grace, and Jaeyong for dinner and the usual Yes! Later Brandon and I went out with Sangjoon, Kibong, Jussay, Hwanseok, and two more friends (those are the boys we had randomly met the previous weekend - called "the playboys" here on out) and ended up noraebanging and going home at 6:30 ^^ which meant we totally saw Jinu, the Yes! captain going home. On Sunday I met up with Jinsu and we ended up seeing the Reaping (when I first met him I promised we would go see a movie), followed by a nice evening walk around Munsu park.

Spiderman 3 came out the following Tuesday. Stephen and I headed out after work again to meet Brandon and Kang in Shinae to see it. I went to Brandon's Thursday night to make jello shots for the birthday weekend shebang we were planning. Jinsu came over to check it out, too. Friday was Yoonsoo's birthday, but we went out and celebrated Kwan's birthday which was Saturday. It was a good little party at Yes! with me, Stephen, Brandon, Melissa, Kwan, Kwan's lady friend, Kang, Jeon, Yuran, Yonghwa, Jinsu, Jisaeng, John, and Yassin. We saw Ballack and found out he's leaving for the military at the end of May. The birthday party died down a bit but some of us went to Junco. I headed out before the rest to take Jinsu home, which resulted in him crashing on our couch and him screwing up his back. Koreans and their drinking man... That night I recieved the sad news that my great uncle had passed away (RIP Father Clint). Saturday morning, nice and early, I recieved some very good news and my very first phone call from my parents! I was accepted to grad school! Needless to say my head was all over the place Saturday, so I took it easy and relaxed. Later that night I met up with the waeguks, Sam, Hwany, Charlie, Insuk, Yassin, Yoonsoo, Grace, Ben, and Sooyoung to celebrate the Soos' birthdays. I wasn't drinking and ended up leaving pretty early. Sunday evening I headed to Daundong and took a long walk with Brandon, ate some dinner in Shinae (soondooboojjigae love!) and caught a bus home.

A quiet week (isn't it so often the weekend is the only time there's really news on this blog?) followed by a relatively quiet weekend. Friday night we promised Jisaeng and Jinsu to go to their charity event. They are members of the Red Cross Youth club at the University and to raise money for starving children their club hosted a one-night hof event. Basically they rented a soju-bar and sold booze and food! I went there with Melissa and Stephen and we met up with John and his friend Hans. I ended up ditching for over an hour to go meet Brandon, Kang, and Yuran... we ended up sending Kang home but the rest of us went back to Hongshi for the hof. I texted the playboys and they showed up moments later with two new friends Dongsu and Jack. We moved to Yes! with them and had a blast. Saturday was a simple dinner with Brandon, chance meeting with Sunjoong, and drinks with him, Yuran, and two of her friends. It ended up being a pretty early night. The most notable event would have to be when Jinu was announcing someone's birthday and had the birthday boy dancing on the table they had borrowed from us... and then he called out that I should be the girl to dance with him. Oh lordy no. I refused which caused plenty of issues. Jinu told me later, using his phone's dictionary, that I was obstinate. He didn't like that I wouldn't submit to him being older and do what he told me to (in this case wear a Sppaggi wig). On Sunday I was home alone when my student Lisa stopped by with her dog. I felt bad for her because I think she really didn't have anything better to be doing, so I spent a couple hours with her. That involved a couple of trips between our apartments, collecting her friend, and trying to meet up with her brother. Later I met up with Yuran for dinner, which was nice because we actually got a chance to talk.

A relatively interesting, although not too eventful of a week then occurred! There was a big festival at the university and Brandon and I had made plans to go out with the playboys on Tuesday. Well I never heard from them so I ended up walking around Cheonsang/Beomseo with Jinsu while Stephen and Yassin chilled at the apartment. Of course I got a call from a drunk Dongsu at 11:30 asking why I wasn't there! I talked to Ali as well (the Pakistanian from my Korean class). The next night, Brandon and I were supposed to meet Ballack for a going away sort of party, but that fell through. Jinsu came over and watched some tv and I got a drunken call from Sangjoon. What a riot - he had met some other foreigners and assumed we were friends. So while I was talking to "Steve" who teaches in Taehwa, Sangjoon was yelling that he was my girlfriend in the background. Haha. Hilarious. On Thursday I went to the University and saw Wonkyo to recharge my phonecard. I also ran into one of the Taiwanese girls from my Korean class and Ali. Then it was a chobap lunch with Sam before heading to work. Friday night was not my smartest move... but well worth it. The waeguks and I met up with Hwany, Kang, Kwan, Yuran, and the playboys and hung out at the physics tables at the last night of University festival. However we felt bad for basically running off the playboys with all our friends, so we moved our party to Yes! (I was so sad to leave them!!) but at Yes! things got even more mixed up. I ended up at a different table with John and a bunch of his friends and ended up going to noraebang with Brandon, John, "Aaron" and "Nick" until 4am. The reason this was not smart was that I had to be up at 6am to meet my coworkers for a weekend of membership training. Haha. You only live once though.

Membership training was a whole other story. Both Stephen and I (even though he went home about midnight) didn't wake up until Kerry teacher called me at 7:05 and asked where we were. Oops. We ran out the door, total messes. It was a few hours in the van but we made it to our first stop on time. We visited the Suncheon Folk Village of Naganeupseong. I believe it's the oldest standing walled village in Korea. Or something along those lines. We walked around, had lunch, and saw part of a big, multiple-party traditional wedding. Then it was back in the van until our destination. We went to SW Korea, to the province of Jeollanamdo (also called Jeollado). We stopped at some random location to check out the location of a famous Korean's exile location. There was a museum, some walking, some hiking, and some sights to see. After checking out our accommodations, we went to catch the cable car up Mount Duryun. It was late afternoon and the weather was lovely. After that it was back to the inn to grill up some samgyupsal and drink. I thought it might be an early night, until my coworkers suggested we go to noraebang. Our director obliged and drove us into town so that we could belt our hearts out before bed (and sleep was all I really wanted to do). Sunday morning we made some breakfast and headed out about 8. We went into Haenam and to the port at the "village at the end of the land," which is the Southernmost mainland of South Korea. We caught a ferry and went about an hour away to Bogil Island (Bogildo). It was a lovely ride and we got to see seaweed farming. On Bogildo we checked out some sights, including a temple, Seyeonjeong, and a little bit of hiking. We didn't see any other foreigners and so when we got out of the van at one location we were instantly summoned over by the group of ajummas selling a variety of dried seaweeds and strange drinks (Stephen tried the Maple Soju) and I got free seaweed. We drove around for a while before catching a ferry back. This time the ride was almost two hours, so we all took naps. After that we drove a ways more before our last stop at the tea fields in Boseong. The DaeHanDaWon green tea fields were lovely and a nice little sight. Again it was late afternoon so the weather was just perfect. From there it was straight back to Cheonsang, arriving only 15 minutes off schedule. I pretty much took a shower, talked to Brandon and Melissa on the phone and crashed into bed. I was beyond exhausted. I did get a phone call at 2:30 in the morning due to a misunderstanding. It was cute though, "Sorry I called. Oh, but you should be trying to get some sleep!" I explained that I had been. Ha.

It's currently Thursday, May 24 in Korea. Today is a national holiday in Korea in observance of Buddha's birthday. Last night I met up with Melissa, Brandon, Yassin, Kang, Jeon, and Kwan for a trip to the beach. We drove out to Donggu, about an hour from the university. We found a place to sleep and set up for dinner. We cooked some hamburgers, sausages, samgyupsal, shrimp, and bean pate and drank on the shore. It was such nice weather. We ended up building a bonfire, walking 20 minutes away at 3 in the morning, and having a lovely time. This morning we got up, tried fising, relaxed, and played on the beach. I ended up taking a quick swim before leaving with Kang (I realized I had pj pants that I could swim in!). Then it was lunch time and back to town.

I'm sunburned and worn out, but it was a lovely little holiday. Being on a Thursday it definitely made the work week more managable. I've got three classes of interviews tomorrow, a few games, and then party hard cause it'll be Friday night! Next weekend is another attempt to go to Seoul. I pretty much figure I'm going regardless because it will be my last chance to go. I think Melissa feels the same way. It'll be a real waeguk affair because Brandon, Stephen, Yassin, Melissa, and I are going. Hopefully we'll manage to see some of our friends up there. I'm quickly running out of time to do things. I've also been much busier lately trying to get Denmark issues figured out. Getting all the right forms filled out, mailed in time, and money details sorted is such a challenge! As it is, I'm going to the bank in the morning to try to transfer some money for my accommodation deposit. Hopefully everything works out.

I hope everyone is well. My family and friends have been in my thoughts a lot lately and I can hardly believe that I've been gone nearly a year and that I'll see you again soon! Lots of love and well wishes.
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