Monday, July 23, 2012

Adventures in Donghae

The Fulbright Office in Seoul gave us a wonderful treat this past weekend.  They paid for a 3 day 2 night vacation in the city of Donghae!  It was awesome!  Donghae is still somewhat rural (although much bigger than Goesan) and is on the coast.  Our hotel was a five minute walk to the beach and I could see it from my room.  By the way, this is what my room looked like.

You may have noticed that our beds are indeed simply mats on a floor.  Not the most comfortable thing in the world, but it did the job I suppose.

We got there and were given an hour or so to settle in and look at the beach.  We didn't have time to play in the water, but it was good to at least stand in it and breathe the ocean air.  Afterwards, we headed into the hotel to have our lunch.  It was a great Korean dish called Bibimap (at least I think that is how you spell it.).  Then we sat through a 90 minute lecture on Buddhism.  I am sure that it was quite interesting, but I struggled a bit to pay attention as the speaker had a very sleepy voice and we were all tired from our 3 hour bus ride and a huge lunch. 

To wake up, we headed out to the temple/hiking site.  It was great to explore the outdoors and go on a rigorous hike.  After climbing high, we were rewarded with views like these:

It was quite the experience to say the least.  After our hike, we had a dinner and then we had the rest of the evening to ourselves.  I just stayed on the beach and hung out with my fellow ETAs.  I tried to play in the ocean but was told that we couldn't.  Still had fun anyways.

Saturday came along and we had another pleasant surprise.  No workshops or meetings!  We had the whole day to ourselves and could do whatever we wanted to!!  We did have to go to breakfast, but I am not complaining since it had wonderful food like eggs, french toast, orange juice, and BACON.  We haven't had a breakfast anything like this as long as we have been here so it was amazing.  Shortly after breakfast, I split for the beach.  Unfortunately, it was a bit wavy so we were not allowed to swim at all.  I really didn't think it was that bad and I have swam in much more worse conditions but those lifeguards certainly didn't think so.  They even blew their whistle at me when I tried to fill up my pail to build my sand-octopus!  I was a bit annoyed but we made do.  I just played a bunch of volleyball and other sports on the sand.

A few of the OCs invited some of the gentlemen to join them at the sauna.  I decided that I mind as well give it a try so I went along.  Our hotel has a nice little sauna in the basement(and I guess Jungwon University where I am staying does too).  So for a mere 6-ish dollars, I had access to all of the amenities of spa (minus massages and stuff).  A thing about Korean spas though is that the patrons are all completely nude.  Clothes are not permitted inside the saunas, pools, tubs, etc.  It was a bit awkward at first, especially since I and some of my friends stood out a bit since we are clearly not of Asian descent (especially Jonathan who is originally from Nigeria) and we received quite a few stares.  Nevertheless, it was a very relaxing and stress-relieving time.  I am planning on hitting up a few more spas throughout my grant year.

The only other thing of note during our Donghae weekend was the bizarre museum.  Apparently, Mrs. Shim, the head of Fulbright Korea, is friends with the owner and feels that it was a great cultural event for us to attend.  While I will concede that it was very cultural and education, I have to confess that I found it to be a bit boring, especially after a long weekend and a 3 hour bus ride ahead of us.  I put some photos of it on facebook but there really weren't any that were that exciting.

In other news:

Camp Fulbright:  CF has officially started!  Basically students ranging from grades 5-11 come and invade Jungwon to have their English camp.  My ETA peers and I are responsible for teaching them a few lessons.  I taught my first one today.  Each day has a theme and today's was mystery/detective (the overall theme is movie genres).  Basically we did a scavenger hunt and the clues that they found told them about the ETAs that would be teaching them.  I also did an introduction to myself and so on.  It seemed like it went pretty well and a lot of the students enjoyed it.  I am doing "night fun" tonight where I will basically be hanging out and playing games with the campers.  My next lesson is on the Love Story day.  I will probably be doing a dating game show of some sort featuring my ETA friends (hopefully) and I will talk about compatibility and so on.

Korean Classes:  These have been a bit rougher than I anticipated.  We have our second quiz tomorrow and I need to get a 16 out of 20 on it in order to get out of mandatory study time.  So I actually need to wrap this up soon so I can go study!

Placement Forms:  We received our placement forms yesterday and this is a form where we can make requests as to what we would like in terms of our school and location placement for our grant year.  I am still very unsure of it generally, but right now I am leaning towards a rural or suburban high-level middle or high school.  But this could change at anytime.  I really don't know where I am going to be but I don't think I will make that many suggestions so as not to disappoint myself by too high of expectations for anything.

I think that is about it.  This Monday and Tuesday are crazy because of Camp and the Quiz, but it should be easier once Tuesday evening hits.  I have all of Saturday free so I might go explore another city...haven't decided yet.  Hope things are going well back home!

1 comment:

  1. your sand octopus sounds amazing! miss ya and I can't wait to hear all your Korean phrases when you get back!! _Conti