Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Birthday Party

Last week after returning from Seoul I found myself battling yet again another cold.  I've been told by numerous people that for your first month or two in this country you'll be sick on and off.  I haven't consciously noticed a higher level of air pollution but i'm starting to believe that's the culprit behind my hacking cough and scratchy throat - hopefully it goes away soon.  So back to last week, I thought it was going to be hell teaching all week but once again luck was on my side.  Tuesday my students were all testing so I sat at my desk, Wednesday was a national holiday for the election, and Friday we had a half day so the afternoon could be spent celebrating the school's birthday.

Quick side note on Korean elections - the campaign process is like a big party, nothing like it is back in the US.  For close to a month before the elections we would come across groups of people singing, dancing and bowing on street corners.  The first time I saw it I thought they were promoting a sale or something, but no they were promoting the candidates for the national assembly.  Each wearing their specified matching polos.  Not only do they dance they also drive around with mobile billboards, complete with the candidates face plastered on the side.  I must say it's kind of weird now that elections are over that these groups aren't out dancing in the street.  

So back to last week Friday, our school day was over at 12 so that we could prepare for the school-wide hike that afternoon, in celebrate of the schools birthday. Another tradition we should incorporate into the American education system, first we got the day off on Friday the 6th and then we gather as a school and go on a hike - pretty cool. The hike started at about 2pm and unfortunately was accompanied by some light rain.  We pushed through and about 2 hours later reached the top - I must say it was a bit harder than I was expecting, but well worth it.  I wish the weather had been better, the overcast skies make my pictures poor representations of the amazing view, but it was still a lot of fun.  The best part is this path is literally a two minute walk from my apartment so It'll be super easy for me to go back (or bring a visitor - Dad?). 

Biology teacher - 강병권
English co-teacher  나형진 "Mr. Nah"
I spent a majority if the hike talking to him, he thinks my Korean is "excellent" and is impressed that I've traveled here and am doing what I'm doing. He's also concerned that I'm bored in this small town and has already offered for me to stay at his house or travel with his family, super nice guy. 

Two of my other co-teachers "Anna" 이혜진 and 류현정
class 1-8, one of my favorites
2-6 boys, what a handful 
While i'm on the topic of school I thought i'd share some what it's like to eat in a high school cafeteria.  Now obviously I came here knowing next to nothing about "good" Korean food.  I think we have like one restaurant in Milwaukee and i've never attempted cooking anything before.  So for me, the lunches are awesome, something new almost everyday and tons of options.  My kids seem a little less enthusiastic about lunch but i'm assuming it's because they get better food at home.  Yeah, there are some days that I wonder what the hell i'm eating, or get sick of gnawing on mystery pieces of chicken, beef or pork, bone included, but in reality I have nothing to complain about. I'm paying the equivalent of about $2 - $3 per lunch and never go come away hungry. 

One of my favorites: Jeyuk (spicy pork), sam (leaves), kimchi, lotus root


  1. I thought hiking the bluffs was cool. Apparently Korea's version of bluffs you've showed trumps La Crosse's. "IF" I come out I would love to hike with you or you should come to La Crosse when you get back and hike with me, if I'm still here, I might be In Colorado in a couple years, but then we can do the mountains and eat OCD for 11 dollars, not cafetieria food for 2-3 dollars :)

  2. OCB (old country buffet) not obsessive compulsive disorder :-P

  3. The hiking here is sick, you'd love it. But i'm up for the bluffs or CO whenever I return. and ocB is a must!