Hello again! Quick shout out to my friend Nicole who just got engaged this past weekend. Congrats Nicki and Jens...I'm excited for you both :) But please no getting married until I'm back in the states!
Is it ok if I give another (and maybe even bigger) shout out to Wisconsin for WINNING against Minnesota and keeping the axe for another year. I was nervous and also fell asleep before the game ended at 4am, but don't worry...a few true fans stayed awake for the entire time over here.
Dedicated Badger fans...thanks ESPN for streaming overseas :)
Shortly after my last blog post, I received a message from my co-teacher, Jin, telling me that the father of one of the teachers at my school had passed away. I was supposed to go to the funeral. Surprisingly it wasn't entirely different from what I know of funerals in the U.S. The women were in black hanbok (traditional Korean dress), and the men had bands around their arm to signify they were family. Mostly it was just a lot of eating and drinking. Sitting on the floor Korean-style of course. There were a few differences, but nothing entirely notable so I'll save it for another day.
I'm nearing the end of my little vacation from school, and its been pretty good. Tuesday-Thursday of this past week I was in Osan City with my fellow Badgers and all the other GEPIK teachers. I was hoping to meet some cool people in my area, since most of my friends live south of Seoul, and I'm north, but everyone was pretty much off-their-rocker crazy. I'd like to know what's really going on with them. Like old greasy men that I just don't really get why they're here. Overall the "orientation and training" was completely useless but it did give us a chance to miss school for a few days so now that its over, it really wasn't so bad. We spent most of our nights teaching all the other people how to have a good time, so at one point we began a game of Flip Cup, Wisconsin vs The Rest of the World (and by the rest of the world, we meant everyone else in America and then...well the rest of the world). We did, admittedly, have to brush ourselves off once or twice, but overall we completely dominated and I think we proved that Badgers may just be...the best drinkers in the world!
After that, it was out at our usual spot in Hongdae for a typical party til the sun comes up kind of night. We did have to take a short cat nap in a Burger King, but please don't be alarmed, the chairs were comfy and everyone else was doing it. Such a bizarre culture, but its sort of acceptable to sleep anywhere over here.
This weekend was Chuseok. Its sort of the Thanksgiving of Korea. Its probably the biggest holiday here, so everything shuts down and even crazy busy Seoul becomes deserted because everyone goes to their hometowns for the weekend. Because of this holiday I was given Friday off of school and Monday. On Saturday, a group of us went to the Korean Folk Village in Yongin, near where Anna lives.
사랑해요 (sarang hae yo) = I Love You!
Rebecca, me, Isabelle, Sara
We saw a few shows, traditional houses, precious little kids dressed up in hanbok (한복) and ate some yummy Korean food.
Little girl in a 한복 on a swing
Rebecca, me, Sara, and Isabelle in our "traditional" clothes.
Overall, it wasn't entirely authentic because its pretty commercialized, but some parts of it were worth seeing. Others I wouldn't recommend, but either way I'm glad I saw it. On Chuseok, you are supposed to "pray your wishes" to the full moon, and so we all wrote our prayers and wishes on little pieces of paper and tied them to this big...rock? or something, and hopefully they will come true :)
Praying my wishes..
Also visited the World Cup Stadium this weekend with Sara and Rebecca.
We were unable to get into the actual stadium but may look into a tour for another day. The stadium was really nice though and has a beautiful view of the mountains. The stadium was opened in 2001 and was built for the 2002 FIFA World Cup. Now its home to the FC Seoul team, and I read somewhere that it can hold over 65,000 fans. Leland, you said you read this thing sometimes right? Why don't you come play soccer over here? You don't even need to learn Korean!
And finally, as promised, I will leave you all with some K-Pop songs. A favorite among my friends and me is a song called Pretty Girl by KARA. Part of the chorus goes like this: "If you wanna pretty, every wanna pretty.." and then goes into Korean that no one can understand. We are all incredibly confused because we don't know how anyone can want to pretty. Maybe they mean if you want to BE pretty? Or if you want a pretty girl? I don't know. But its hilarious and kind of catchy. I may need to teach my high schoolers, however, that its not really possible to "wanna pretty". Another favorite that is incredibly catchy is called 가라 가라 (Gara Gara) by the group Big Bang. G-Dragon (remember the cute blonde from a few posts ago?) was formerly a member of this band. See if you can pick out which one he is with the group. Hint: he's not blonde yet at this point. Click here to watch!
I think that's all for now. Currently deliberating on what to be for Halloween. They don't celebrate here, but we figure there's enough of us Wisco kids here who are notorious for throwing the best Halloween parties ever. Plus - there should be plenty of Americans between all the other English teachers in this country and the military guys running around. Costume ideas so far include : stealing outfits from our students and being Korean schoolgirls, 2NE1 (another huge K-Pop girl band over here), Girls Generation (K-Pop band with about 13 members), annddd that's about all. Any suggestions?
"We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm, and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if we only seek them with our eyes open." --Jawaharial Nehru