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As an English teacher in Korea, I’ve hit a milestone (maybe?). First of all, I’ve been here for 10 months now (Woo! Two digits) and second of all, I just celebrated Chuseok (추석). Chuseok is kind of like American Thanksgiving, celebrating the harvest (in the old days), visiting your family and such. I didn’t really do any of that, since there was no harvest to speak of in Yeongtong Suwon and my family is in another country.
But I got three days off from work (WOOOOOO!), from Tuesday to Thursday, and I was going to make use of it some how! Unfortunately, three days in the middle of the week meant I couldn’t easily go to another country (although some teachers still did), and a trip to Jeju that a bunch of us were looking forward to never manifested because the ball was dropped big time. No one actually bothered to book a flight or hotel.
So instead, I spent the holiday/vacation in Seoul and Suwon, celebrating with my Korean family.
Tuesday saw a crazy rainstorm sweep through the area and it just so happened that was the day Quinn and I went into Seoul to visit a cat cafe in Hongdae. Unfortunately, we got stuck in Gangnam, which was practically flooded from the 12-ish inches of rain that was coming down! However, once we eventually got to the cat cafe, we were pleasantly surprised.
It costs ₩ 8,000 to get in, so it’s not something I’d do regularly, but the atmosphere is nice and, unlike at the dog cafe where the animals have ADD, the cats are pretty content to sit there and let you pet them. And sometimes, they pet back.
(Pictures to come)
Wednesday, which happened to be Chuseok, was a much more casual day and a much deserved day to sleep in very late. But after sleeping in very late, I went to a DVD room with Quinn and Linda, one of the new April teachers. What is a DVD room you might ask? Well it’s a room where you can go and watch DVDs! It’s a bit expensive – ₩15,000 for the three of us. But the atmosphere is nice. You get a big screen, comfortable couches and surround sound, at least at this one, so it’s nicer than watching a movie on one’s laptop.
Thursday saw an adventure into Seoul and fun times on the bus system. I’ve slowly been trying to learn the buses in Seoul since they’re way more convenient and usually faster and nicer than the subway system. As of right now, bus 420 is my good friend since it travels between Gangnam, Itaewon and Dongdaemun, three common haunts of yours truly.
Anyway, on Thursday, Quinn and I introduced Linda to the bus system. From Gangnam we had wanted to go to Itaewon and check out the Namsan Botanical Gardens, which is near Itaewon. Now, we did go to Itaewon but unfortunately he ended up exploring in every direction EXCEPT the one direction where the gardens were. And apparently everyone in Itaewon (or at least everyone we asked) had never heard of the Namsan Botanical Gardens before. What a shame, it was such a nice day for garden-watching. But it wasn’t a complete fail. I finally got to sample the Taco Bell cuisine that opened there a few months ago.
After that, we met Derrika, Kevin and Allison in Myeongdong. Derrika is going home on vacation this Friday and she wanted to buy souvenirs for her family before she left. We didn’t by an souvenirs but we did a have a good time in Myeongdong, our little make-shift CDI family. And at the end of the day, we headed back to Itaewon to eat a delicious Chuseok feast at La Tavola, which FYI has the best lasagna (and only real, authentic lasagna ) I’ve been able to find in Korea.
All in all, a very casual and relaxing Chuseok.
(I’m almost caught up on the events I wanted to blog about for the past few months. Woo-hoo!)
The second weekend of August, Quinn’s parents visited Korea, so on August 7, I helped him show them around the Jogno area of Seoul. Which meant a visit to Changdeok Palace and the Forbidden Garden (the King’s garden that no one, not even the highest officials and certainly not some foreign English teacher, was allowed to walk in).
Enjoy the pictures:
We ended up having to pay for and take a Korean tour in order to see the garden, but it was worth it. A peaceful two-hour walk through woodsy gardens was a nice break after a month of hectic classes.
Another term ushers in a new set of students and a new set of duties. Fall term started on Monday.
This term also brought I promotion for me. I’m now the new head reading instructor. As head instructor, I have to watch the classes of the reading teachers and make sure they’re teaching them correctly. And I have to keep a set of teachers, who are my ‘small group’ up-to-date on weekly changes and announcements.
It comes with a raise. But I’m doing it for the experience, not the money. And that’s what I’ll have to keep telling myself as the work piles up.