Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Korea's skyline is really nice because everywhere you look there are mountains, even in the busiest areas. We plan on hiking near the school on our week off.
Near the Doota that I blogged about the other day.
We went out to the bars in this district last weekend. This is where we made our new friends.
Local bat-bar (for Pat)
Yet another funny sign
Rubber chicken at it again
One thing I noticed about the pop selection when we first moved here was that there was no 7-up or Sprite, but look what we found last night. 7-up is apparently "new" and features FIDO DIDO on the bottle!!! LOL!! I love me some Dido.
Apparently Koreans also like their cheap wine, because look what we found. The infamous Boones!
To further elaborate on this countrys' obsession with tomatoes... who wants me to mail them some Tomato popcicles? Jason, I know you do!!
Sunday, September 24, 2006
Anyways, we actually went there for cheddar block cheese..of all things. There was a grocery store in the basement that carried alot of good items. Shawn and I laughed at the "imported food" sign that read: Heinz Tomato Ketchup and the "organic food" sign that read: Frosted Flakes. That would make all the hippies back home cry, we're sure. Anyways, the block of cheese that would normally cost like $2.50 came to $8.00! But we really wanted natchos and fajitas!!!! We bought some Campbell's soup which was displayed in another store yesterday as a "fancy food"...$5.00 for a can of Chunky!!! Hell no!!!I don't care, I'm not paying that for Chunky...besides there was no Beef Burger anyways. Oh yeah, because I'm in Korea, I am extra clumsy. I dropped my coffee on the floor,hurt a girl's hand who was coming in a door and I was going out and stepped on a little girl's shoe which flipped off her foot at a cross walk. Korea,watch out!!
We also went to a Korean Barbecue which was awesome. We had to take off our shoes and sit on our bums on the floor. I was pretty sure that I was showing off my buttcrack to all there...but whatever, when in Rome.(or Korea!!) We got to cook our own chicken and beef which we burned a little and had all sorts of side dishes (mostly cabbagey stuff). I was proud of Shawn because he tried a little of it, even though it was clearly green. After dinner, we were happy.
We came home and had chicken fajitas.
Friday night was a particularly weird night. We had to attend the school's graduation where they make all the children cry and promise to come back (children=sad, school=more $$$$$$).Strange. It's all about the Won, man....
So Shawn and I went out to drink to decompress. First we went to a high rise, super swank bar where we had one drink and left. Then we went to an underground bar where we made fast friends with the bartenders. They were trying to pay us money to french kiss, but it was too strange. Screw that!!! Maybe we'll drop in there again someday for another free drink. Take a look at the pictures. They are pretty comical!
Anyways, that's it for now. Later!
I begged Mel to eat at the octopus restaraunt but she said no.
We found english magazines! Unfortunately they're imported, and expensive. Would you pay $20 Canadian for an issue of Teen People? Maybe in a few months ha ha ha...
There's an Aroura store that sells dogs stuff. (for the Ericksons)
There was even a kimchi museum!! We didn't visit but how can there be a whole museum about a spicy pickled cabbage dish?? We're definately going back.
COEX is in a pretty bustling area of town. The Korean World Trade Center is there and there's a bunch of vendors, sculptures and cool buildings. Some pics outside of the mall:
Because we are gluttons for punishment we stopped at the Doota on the way home. It's this 8-story department store that has the coolest clothes. The Doota is open until 5am so if I ever get the urge to buy hats at 3am I know where to go.
After all that fun and excitement we took the subway home. We are s scared of getting caught in the doors of the subway train when they close. There's no censors to have them stop if something or someone is in the way. We saw a guy get stuck and it looked like it hurt. Luckily, signs like these remind us of the danger:
Good night everyone!
Friday, September 22, 2006
Mmmm so many types of ice cream, fruit and cookies. But this IS Korea and something had to be a little off... so who thought tomatoes would taste good dipped in warm chocolate??
mmmmmmm chocolate ketchup!
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Monday, September 18, 2006
I, however, am still a magician. I had three classes in the afternoon and they were still observation-style. The first class I sat back and watched but in the second and third classes I came up and performed a few magic tricks. I did a coloring book trick where I flip through the pages of a coloring book 3 times and the first time the pages are blank. The second time I flip through it there's drawings and the third time there's color. The trick is that some of the pages are longer than others so depending on where you hold the book the audience will see pics/no pics,etc. Well the first time I did it I wasn't holding the book the right way and the coloring book went from no drawings at all to full color drawings. Whatever, the kids didn't care. In the last class I also did a chopstick trick where there's an 'x' on one side of the chopsticks and you flip it really quick to make the 'x' disappear. The kids figured that one out pretty quick. Overall it was an awkward little experience but It'll be a breeze after a few more tries on my own.
Mel got to observe one class of 'airplane' and then taught the second class. She wore a stewardess' uniform and taught some flight safety. At the end the kids get to go down a safety slide which is a big hit. She did fine but came out a little sweaty (as did I).
I only teach magic classes allll week. Mel has 5 different classes to learn, but they're all easy. Tomorrow she has 'homestay' which is a living room roleplay where the kids play board games. Tonight we observed 'golden bell' which is a game show. It was 2 hours (the classes are usually only 45 minutes) and it should have been called 'golden snooze'. I only have 2 classes tomorrow then at 7pm we observe 'fashion show'. I know a thing or two about fashion so it should be fine.
Did we mention yet how warm it is here. I thought the climate was the same but the forecast calls for 25 degree+ temps all week. Well, I Downloaded the new episode of the Simpsons so we're gonna watch that and get some sleep. Later!
Sunday, September 17, 2006
-Bread is hard to find and mainly available in bakeries only. Also it is creamier than the bread at home. Kind of like a half moon cake (those Jos Louis snacks)
-Coffee, peanut butter, toilet paper, and grapes are expensive here
-Chips are available in 3 flavours- plain, hot (BBQ) and Onion
-Walking around town you will notice intermittant stinky smells. It's the sewer
-The air is fine but the pollution is bad enough that you can't see the stars at night
-'Shopping district' means 20,000 stores or more in one area, minimum. You can buy anything you want and it's usually cheap. Bartering is OK too. Mel bartered on some hand creme.
-Skulls are big here. Skull high heels, skull hoodies, shirts and jewelery are everywhere.
-The subways are bilingual and easy to understand.
-Don't drink the water
-It's warm here! Shorts only even this close to October
-The music is the same as at home, just in Korean. We've heard Korean versions of Ghetto Superstar, some Celine Dion songs, Green Day and such
-Beer is cheap! Soju (rice vodka) is less than a buck at most stores.
-There are lots of American brands available. There's McD's, KFC, Pizza Hut (your pizza is served with pickles), TGI Fridays, Outback Steakhouse, Budweiser, Coke, Pepsi, Dove, L'Oreal, IGA.
- Items we haven't been able to find yet: candles, cups and plates, garbage bags, cheddar cheese (we've only seen cheese in one store and it was mozza), plug converters (the voltage and shape of the plgs are different here so our hairdryer and iron don't work), coffee cream, cafes. If you need clothes and shoes- no problem
-The sugar for your coffee is usually liquid sugar at most coffee shops
-There's a lot of random english on signs though the english isn't always usefull or relevant. It is usually funny though.
-We haven't seen any women smoking but a lot of the men smoke little thin cigarettes about as wide as a toothpick. It's cute!It's not hard to find a man passed out on the side of the road, liquor bottle still in hand.
-Little Korean kids come up to us all the time and say "Hi". We always say Hi back and they love it. It's so cute. You know "HEllo" is the only english word they know.
-Snoopy and Mickey Mouse are huge here.
-We've only seen one cat but some people have little dogs. Unfortunately the conditions of the pet stores are sad :( We saw dogs for sale on the side of the road. They were kept in little boxes with lights on them and they weren't even trying to move or escape. They just laid there. We saw a guy walking a shitzhu that looked pretty happy though.
-They have pigeons and mosquitos here. A lot more dragonflies here, I've noiticed. The spiders are bigger too.
-The shower drains over by the toilet so your bathroom floor is usually wet. We just get changed in the bedroom so we don't really mind. The shower nozzle is removable so you can spray up!
-You have to buy your shopping bags. They're only 50 won (5 cents) but you have to tell the cashier how many you want
-Pork is very popular and sold everywhere. It's white like chicken so I keep accidentally buying it.
-Kirsten Dunst is really popular. She's even on T-Shirts.
-Most departments stores are 4 or 5 floors and some are 10 or more. Usually the big ones have one floor where you can get plastic surgery done while shopping for clothes and shoes.
-Kimchi is served with every single meal, even breakfast. Kimchi is pickles vegetables, usually radish and cabbage and it's pretty spicy. Most koreans eat a full meal for breakfast, like octopus with rice and kimchi.
-Men's lingerie is very popular and men and women can usually buy matching lingerie.
-Beer is sold in 1.5 litre pop bottles and fun to drink
-Spam is very popular and expensive. They sell a Spam gift set at the grocery store by our place.
-In Korea I am a magician
Saturday, September 16, 2006
Well, I will continue after Shawn's post about our arrival and first day. For the first few days, Shawn and I were obliged to live off food purchased at our local 7-11 stores (there's one on campus and one off). We were taken to Myeong-dong by 3 of the other teachers to go shopping. We were so tired but we wanted to buy items that we desperately needed. Also, we were scared to go anywhere alone. They showed us how to use the subway/buses using a t-money card (like a pass). Meyong-dong was insane. All they sell there are clothes, shoes and accessories. There were sky-scrapers of department stores full of those items, plus alleys and streets jammed packed with vendors. We went out to eat and one girl got chicken teriyaki with fish scales on top. The fish scales were moving!!! (because of the heat, though). It was gross. We couldn't believe that there were so many people and stores for items that are not at all necessary, just luxury...So although we didn't find anything we needed (food, cleaning supplies, toilet paper, etc...), we did have our eyes opened to Korea as a shopper's paradise. We went back there yesterday and Shawn bought some clothes, shoes and I, a robot watch.
Today we went to another "market"- of course, this ain't no farmer's market, it's an area that consists of more clothes, shoes, and assessories. There were 30000 stores! I bought a guitar for 20000won (approx 25.00CDN), of course, this was at a second hand flea market in a baseball stadium! I was pretty happy. I also bought a black pair of shoes for work for about $5.oo!!!Ha!
Dayna will be happy to know that there is about a kilometer of just shoe vendors. (We think it's called the shoe district!)
Anyways, we're getting a lot more confident at using the subway and bus systems on our own. We're thinking of future areas to explore...although I'm sure it's just clothes, shoes and accessories!!!!! We also found a department store similar to Walmart called the Carrefour. This place was a great help because it sold alot of those items we needed that I mentioned earlier.
Well, the job itself will be easy once we get going. Unfortunately, I have been given "Dance" as my first class and Shawn has "Magic". Before we got those, we were like "I hope we get any classes except dance and magic." The Dance is so hard because it's really intricate with alot of complicated dance steps to the hustle and Hip-Hop! I cannot Hip-Hop Dance!!!! I expressed my concern to our boss and I'm not sure what will happen Monday. I just hope that I don't have to do dance right away...give me the Post office...Please!!!!!!
All of our fellow teachers are nice. I think Shawn and I are going to make some friends with the New Zealanders and the girl from B.C.
Anyways, we need to enjoy the rest of our Saturday so I'll end it here for now.
Please leave comments!!!!
Annyong Haseyo! We didn't have home internet access for a little while but hopefully we can start to update our blog a little more regularly now. In case you hadn't guessed, moving across the world makes for a long day lol. Mel left at 6am Sunday morning from NB to get to the airport in Halifax and I left Aylesford at 8 (stopping for one last Tim's on the way, of course). Our families met at the airport and we checked our ginormous bags (with no overweight fee, thanks to a nice Air Canada lady). We said or goodbyes and got on our plane to Toronto. We didn't get to sit together :( I sat next to a guy with bad B.O. who kept lifting his arms to read his newspaper. Blah.
We had about an hour in Toronto and then we got on our connecting flight (AKA the point of no return). Ever see that Simpsons episode where Marge is scared of flying, she's yelling "let me off let me off" and there's that shot of her blue hair running up and down the aisles ? That could have been either of us that day! Our plane was really big and we got to sit by ourselves. It was 15 hours so they showed three (lame) movies, served two meals (chicken and rice/beef and rice, both not so appetizing) and it never got dark because we flew through so many time zones. We flew across western Canada (even over Fort McMurray, Dayna), the Northwest Territories, Alaska, and Japan. We passed the time chatting about Korea, playing crib and skip bo, and watching forest fires in the north out the window. We didn't sleep though.
We were so dry! Because of the new airport regulations we couldn't take any chap stick with us! Have any of you ever known me to go an hour without applying blistex? Our lips were burning when we got off the plane and stll felt the damage days later...
When we got into Seoul we went through customs, grabbed our bags and left no problem. Flying in from the US my bags were searched, immigrating to Korea? Walk on by. So first we had to call our school contact, Mr Kwon. We had no idea how to use the phones. Mel tried to put in 10 won to pay for the call. That's worth less than a penny!!! LOL It wound up costing 10 won, about a dime, not too bad I'd say. Anyway, the phone had a touch screen and was a little intimidating but we got a hold of the guy, in all of his choppy english glory.
Next we had to buy a bus ticket to the Holiday Inn an hour and a half away. That was easy. Finding the right bus stop, not so easy. Luckily a Korean girl came up to us and asked if she could help us so we showed her our ticket and she assured us we were already in the right line.
The bus ride was cool, though we were nodding off as we'd been awake for 30 or so hours. There was a surprising number of english billboards and signs and we drove past crazy skyscrapers, Trump buildings, and all these different bridges- each lit up a different colour. When we got to the Holiday Inn where we were supposed to meet Mr. Kwon the bus driver put our stuff on the side of the road and we got off. We were a little concerned. We could barely carry our stuff and we were on the side of the road in Asia. Luckily Mr. Kwon appeared out of nowhere and introduced himself and helped us with our bags.
The drive through Seoul to the school was crazzzzy. It was so disorientating and intimidating. Everything was in Korean! When we got to our school he showed us to our room and one of the head teachers here helped us up. Our room was much nicer than we thought because we'd been told we'd have to share a bathroom and such. Nope, we had our own bathroom and kitchen and a balcony. The bathroom was not clean, however and was very rewarding to clean a few days later.
We unpacked our stuff and (cried- Mel) and slept like babies. We had to meet our boss at 1:50 Tuesday and we didn't wake up until 1:15 in true Mel-and-Shawn fashion. She took us to meet another head teacher who did an orientation. The school is really really nice and looks expensive/new. We found out that we'd spend the rest of the week observing classes together which was cool because we don't like doing anything alone. Overall, our first 24 hours were a series of ups and downs. There was fear of the unknown on the plane, shock and uncertainty on our drive through Seoul and relief when we found out our school and home were pretty safe and friendly.
Well, I think I'll pass the torch to Mel to let you all know how the rest of the week went. Oh and Mel wants me to tell everyone that "LOL" means laughing out loud because some of you are computer illiterate I guess.
Sunday, September 10, 2006
Friday, September 08, 2006
I'm just doing a short post here as I am a novice and I don't know much about doing anything on this machine. Yes, we are leaving very soon for an amazingly long journey to Korea. The flight will go something like this: Halifax to Toronto, Toronto to Incheon, Korea, then a bus trip from Incheon to Seoul, and then who knows! I hope we get to sleep as soon as we arrive at our final destination. I should be going on about 30 hours by the time I predict my next sleep! Crazy. So right now, I'm just sitting and relaxing in the countryside of the Kingston Peninsula (New Brunswick, Ca). I'm super excited, though. Wish us luck!
The above pictures are of our babies: Rufus (grey) and Bella (white), who we will miss more than anything!!! I hope they still love us when we get back....
After we left Fredericton I spent 6 days with Mel's parents on the penis-ula and now I'm spending 6 days with Mom and Dad in Aylesford. I had a good time hanging out on the deck with Mel's family. My cats were there and Jason was able to come and visit too. He brought me a Beaker toy, as we are big fans of the Beak'. Mel, Beaker and I will be a good team in Korea!
Beaker guides the way/freaks out traffic
That's Jason's REAL nose!
Rufus settles in at the Ericksons'
Since I've been home with my parents I got a new camera and in true Keddy fashion, I have been taking all sorts of pictures of myself. I've been doing a lot of visiting with my grandparents and family but most of them are camera shy lol.
Anyone remember 'Fresh Surf' hats?
Mom and Dad's house: Where the dead outnumber the living
I can't wait to teach 'singlish!
Candles taste like wax so matter how deliciously they are shaped :(
My Dad's friend power para-gliding at my Grandparents'. He basically flew a lawnchair attached to a gas tank and propeller in the sky. It was cool!!!
Dad and I have been playing Crib since I've been home and he always seems to have a horseshoe up his ass. Well tonight he went down 3-0 and in the last game I had a near-perfect hand. Three 5's and a jack, and we cut a 5. If the Jack had been a different suit I would have gotten one more point and it would have been the best hand possible. Boo Yeah!
Last, but not least: home sweet home.
This post sets an awesome tone for this blog because no matter where you travel you can never forget (or escape lol) where you came from.
Now I have to teach Mom and Dad how to leave a comment!