Making the most of the end

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

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The weeks have literally been flying by, which is typical and expected! I've been doing a lot of the same, perhaps just more of it. ^^

The weekend after Buddha's birthday I finally met John's younger brother "Ross" and their friend from Utah, Shane. It's strange to see John and Ross side by side. Melissa and I definitely feel there is a similarity, and yet they don't really look like siblings. I think their smiles and their mannerisms are the most familiar. We also managed to catch up with Wonkyo for a bit on a quiet night. We went to a soccer game with Sam, which Ulsan won!! Very exciting, especially doing the victory dance when goals are scored. Played frisbee in the dark at the university and hung out with the physics boys.

My mom turned 60 (Happy Birthday to you!) and I got to see Pirates of the Caribbean for free! I went on a Monday night with Stephen and Melissa after work, but about 2/3 of the way through there was a problem with the projector and we opted to get our money back and vouchers for next time instead of sticking around for another three hours. So we went back on Wednesday and saw the whole thing, for free!

I made a trip to Seoul, which was quite fun. It was a whitey-affair, minus one of the usuals. I went to Samsandong with Stephen, Yassin, and Melissa for dinner and a drink before catching the 1am bus to Seoul. We had high hopes for sleeping, but they were pretty much destroyed by the crazy drunk (and possibly mentally-challenged) man sitting in front of us. He yelled things and flailed around a lot... and almost got into a fight. When we stopped at a rest stop around 3am, he had fallen asleep on the floor and the bus driver decided to leave him and hope for the best. We got into Seoul at 5:30 and started our weekend fun. First destination: Apgujeong for a Western breakfast at Butterfingers Restaurant. I had some great french toast and Stephen had a bucket of coffee. From there we headed to Hongdae and met up with Daejin and Stephen's Korean friend from Chicago U, Jayoung. Melissa, Daejin, and I wandered along Cheonggyecheon while Stephen, Yassin, and Jayoung went to visit some temples. We met back up in Insadong for lunch and then went across town to check out the 63 (Yuk-sam) Building. We met Miffy, had gelato, and took in the views of Seoul from the top. It was pretty nice weather, although a little bit smoggy. We slipped down to Han river from there and took a relaxing boat tour east to meet up with Gyoungmin (a friend of ours from Ulsan who is currently studying English in Seoul). It was time to head back to Hongdae for some dinner and make a plan for the night. After tracking down Sangjae, we started by going to the Ice Bar! For just $15, you get to borrow a big, warm parka and gloves, one cocktail, and a bit of fun and respite from the heat and humidity outside (and boy was it humid in Seoul on Saturday). We left to find Hyunggun and then found a simple bar (BB) to grab a drink. We had a blast sitting and talking. Melissa and I had plans to spend the night in a jimjilbang (sauna/spa) so we headed out with the Koreans to catch the last subway, except we were too late. Long story short, Melissa, Gyoungmin, and I ended up at a random, small jimjilbang a short ways from Hongdae where we literally slept in a chicken house.
Sunday morning, Melissa and I took our time and grabbed some breakfast before meeting up with Sangjae and Daejin. We had planned on going to Seoul Land to check out the flower festival but changed our minds and went to Hongdae again to wander around, check out the Starbucks, and see a B-boy show "The Ballerina Who Fell in Love with a B-Boy" which is something I highly recommend! Not only was it affordable, but highly entertaining. Cute and funny with some amazing dancing skills -- plus a story line! We found Stephen, Yassin, and Gyoungmin from there and headed out towards the DongSeoul Bus Terminal. A quick dinner and we were on our way back to Ulsan.

Melissa and I made a trip out to the post office to send some packages. I ended up walking the mile carrying a box that weighed about 30lbs! Fortunately it wasn't too terrible hot outside. It was another holiday week, this time on Wednesday. It was a sort of Memorial day but we didn't have any special plans. We went out on Tuesday night of course and managed to see a number of people and ended with noraebang. On Wednesday I met up with Brandon, Melissa, and Kang for a trip to Ulsan Grand Park. There were lots of families there, everyone enjoying the lovely weather and day-off. Our first stop (and main reason for going) was the waterfalls. Brandon hopped right in and started making friends with the kids - splashing and acting like a goofy waegukin. The rest of us just got our feet wet, except for Kang who also got his phone wet! Kang was only there for a bit, but it was good to see him -- a big congratulations to him. He got a job with Air Products! It's a good deal, but unfortunately for us not in Ulsan. Stephen and Charlie caught up with us and we sent Stephen swimming as well. Then it was time to find Hwany and Yassin for some dinner. After that we wandered the park. Stephen tried the small springy-jump, despite his fear of heights. I have never seen anyone look so scared in my life. He was shaking when they brought him down. A girl crashed into us on her bike like we were bowling pins. We Essboarded and Xlidered around the traffic practice area and we toured the 2nd Annual Rose Festival.

That weekend we started with a bang by celebrating Sangjun and Jussay's birthdays on Friday night at Yes! I even kept my promise to Jinu (although he's since changed to the Gonguptop Yes) and danced with the boys in front of everyone. Saturday I finally bought glasses, though had no luck with sunglasses. Met Youngwoo (always a delight) and ended up getting a bunch of AIP people out in Mugeodong. Brandon gave me his going-away gift... a professionally printed book with photos! I've been getting everybody to sign it. I saw Moonjoo for the first time since AIP. I called it a fairly early night in order to make a trip to Busan on Sunday. Not only did I get to meet Hwaran, but I spent the whole day with her! We had lots of time to talk and wander around (even running into Wonkyo on a date and another English teacher from Ulsan), see Shrek 3, eat lunch, look for a jade bangle, and even meet up with Youngin, Sam, and Melissa for some Vietnamese food for dinner.

Last week was pretty quiet. Melissa and I went for lunch with Sam on Tuesday and I tried to run some money errands on Friday. Apparently I have to have a bank account in my name to get my pension money, but my current one was in my director's name. So with a matter of days left, I went and opened a new bank account. I tried to pay my first semester of tuition, but my director gave me the wrong paychecks. Once I go to work though, all the worries leave because I can't do anything about it over the weekend! Friday night was a bit different from our usual. Due to a severe lack of Koreans (we had zero), after some galbi and makkholi hut action we hopped into cabs and zoomed over to Yes! in Gonguptop. It was my first time there and we got to see Jaeyong and Jinu! Lots of pictures, calling Mimi (Brandon's grandmother in Alabama), and fun ensued, complete with noraebang! Saturday wasn't rainy like we all thought it would be, so I went on an impromptu trip to the beach with Stephen and Melissa, lunch at Subway, and a soccer game with Sam. It was a draw but every other row of seats has been taken out in the supporter's section so it was much roomier than normal! Afterward we had chicken, went to the batting cages, met up with Byoungsoo (lonnnng time no see), Yoonsoo, and soon we were joined by some others. It was a good ole' Yes!-Oeso-noraebang night. Except that when everybody started going home, I didn't. Yassin invited us to chill at his place (conveniently located down the street from our usual hangouts), so I went with Melissa, John, Ross, Tom, and Mihyun (waitress from Yes!) for a few more hours of soju and snacking. Also included: massages, flaming socks, yoga tricks, self-defense demonstrations, hook-up jokes, hand skills, and smoker's tricks. I laughed so hard I was crying at one point. A night I won't forget.

Slowly but surely my students have been finding out that I'm leaving. On Sunday, four kids came over to cook me lunch. Britney, Jacky, Cindy, and Rose came over and we had bibimmyon, tacos, and watermelon. It was a nice few hours and fun. I went out for coffee with Yuran, Brandon, and Stephen later -- and after some issues we ended up meeting Kang and taking Brandon home before grabbing some dinner. Actually it was great because Kang took me to the same place that I went on my last night in Ulsan with Sugeun, his family, and Sam!! So crazy. This week's been going well, but moving way too fast! I went with my director to take care of filing for my pension money, payed my tuition, and exchanged money (into Yen as part of a gift for Melissa), and met up with Stephen, Charlie, and Hwany for lunch. This morning I was supposed to meet Chaerin for lunch... but she overslept and couldn't make it (that girl has had more problems meeting us than anyone can imagine). Fortunately Brandon and Melissa were there too so we grabbed some kimbap and donkkas, ran to the morning glory store, and headed to school.

Tomorrow I'm taking my can of coins to the bank with Melissa. I hope to find another pair of glasses when I go with her to pick up some she bought today. After that it'll be a big lunch affair with Brandon, Stephen, Kwan, Jeon, and even Kang (he has to take the day off of work to come to Ulsan to take his final exam so he can graduate). It should be awesome.
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