Sunday, December 30, 2012

A snow day and a trip to Yeosu

  • Today was my last day of school!  Well, it was supposed to be Friday, but we had a big snow day so Thursday was the last day.  I will certainly miss my students, but I'm looking forward to having a chance for the students and I to recharge over vacation.  However, I am very sad that I will not be teaching my second grade classes anymore.  I really had some great classes with them, but they must move on to third grade and I cannot teach the third graders since they need to focus all of their efforts on preparation for the Suneung, national test.  I am actually a little bit nervous about teaching the first graders since their levels tend to be noticeably lower than the second graders, but perhaps with a switch-up with the teachers and classmates, it'll be fine.  I guess we'll see!
  • So my coteacher called me at about 7:20am to tell me that I need to meet the music teacher, Ms. Jin, at 7:42 to hitch a ride with her to school.  I don't know why it was exactly 7:42 but I just go with the flow.  I pretty much have to here haha.  So I scrambled to get my clothes on and I had to run out the door without breakfast and I met up with Ms. Jin, who lives a few blocks away.  We drive through the snow (Suncheon, and from what I hear, the rest of Korea, lacks snowplows and/or salt so it was a bit messy) and we stop in front of my apartment.  I told her it was my apartment and she exclaims in Korean "What? Why didn't you tell me you lived here? Your co-teacher tried to explain, but I didn't understand her directions!" Now mind you, I would never be able to give you an exact translation nor could I ever articulate that myself, but I'm 99.9% sure that's what she was communicating.  Guess I should've told her earlier.  Oops.
  • And coming from my complex about 10 minutes late was the school nurse, who doesn't speak a lick of English and sounds very angry and boisterous when she talks.  She isn't angry, but it just sounds like it.  So we try to make our way to school.  It takes about 20 minutes to go the distance that is normally 5 minutes and we saw several spun out cars on the way.  So we decided that it really wasn't worth it so we turned around and went back home.  My host mother later told me that it took her two hours to get to school when it normally takes a little over 20 minutes.  I wasn't even teaching that day, so it wasn't a huge deal.  
  •  I actually got up relatively early (9:45) to head out early with the host family to see Les Miserables.  They have a ton of Hollywood movies here in Korea and they just have Korean subtitles.  I don't know. I thought it was okay.  I'm not a fan of musicals, but it was definitely really well done.  It's just it was 95% singing and 5% talking which was just odd for me.  I'm sure if I liked musicals I would've thought it was the greatest thing ever, but they just don't appeal to me all that much.
  • Later in the afternoon, it was more family fun time!  We were heading to Yeosu to hang out with my host mother's sister's family.  Yeosu is one of the southernmost cities in Korea (except for Jeju-do of course) and its claim to fame was holding the World Expo last year.  I've been meaning to go for a while, but just never got around to it.  We took the train down got to her apartment.  It was pretty nice.  It was a little smaller than ours in Suncheon, but they have a smaller family.  
  • Once other family members arrived, we headed out to a restaurant for oysters.  I actually really like oysters so I was happy!  They had us sit at a table that had these big covers in the middle of them.  The servers unveiled the covers to reveal about 100 oysters at each of our three tables.  We had about 12 with almost half of them being under the age of 10 people in our party so approximately 300 oysters for 12 people.  We did some major damage, but in the end, we simply could not overcome the challenge. 
  • After dinner, the uncles took me out for screen golf!  I love screen golf!  I only watched this time, but it was still really fun.  We got home and then watched some TV and then turned in for the night.  The family insisted that I take the one cousin's room to myself (he is a super-duper nice 1st or 2nd grader in high school by the way).  Most of the others sprawled out on blankets over the living room floor.  
  • We woke up and had breakfast, which was a huge bowl of soup with some rice and other things.  Then one of the uncles and my host father took me to a nearby sauna.  The water was so hot!  I definitely don't remember the last few saunas being that bad.  Maybe it was because it was so cold out.  It was good, but wasn't quite as relaxing as the other ones I went too.  
  • We reunited and then had some bibimbap for lunch.  I'm not a huge fan of bibimbap, but it wasn't too bad.  Then we headed our separate ways and now I'm here at home typing this up.  It was a great last weekend with the host family before I head to Busan next week!


  1. Very funny with the nurse living in the same building as you.
    Were the oysters raw or cooked? Cooked are yummy. Raw not so much.
    Soup for breakfast - mmmmm. You probably have had a lot of interesting breakfasts over there.
    Happy travels to Busan. Should be good to meet up with some of your pals.
    We went to Uncle Mark's for a raucous good time again. Typical Louis Christmas :)
    Enjoy your break! Love, Dad

  2. Hi Ben,
    Sorry I have not commented in a while. Rest assured, I have been enjoying all the posts. I will be traveling to Seoul twice in January. I will be there Tuesday's 15 - 16 & 22 - 23 from 5pm to noon Wednesday. I know it's not a lot of time and you will be teaching in Busan, but if you happen to be in Seoul look me up. We stay at the Renaissance Seoul in the Gangnam district. You should be familiar with the district. It's where Psy made his famous "Gangman Style" youtube video. Anyway, I hope you had a Merry Christmas. If you plan on being in Seoul, give me a heads up at

    Uncle Mark

  3. P.S. Is there any way we can publish a picture on your blog site?