One week until I have been here for 2 months already! That seems totally wild. Time has flown. Especially when I think I only have to do what I've done 5 more times before I'm heading back home. My schedule makes the weeks fly. The days themselves, not so much. But I wake up most mornings betweeeen 9 and 930 - work out - eat lunch - and head to school and don't get home til 9. Then I eat dinner and go to bed. Time is definitely flying. Plus most weekends I have to look forward to. I stayed at a farm last weekend with a Korean family. This weekend I have something mandatory for school. Whatever. Butttt i met this awesome group of girls last weekend and I'm hanging out with one of them - Allie- this weekend going to a flea market, grabbing dinner and drinks later. And next weekend I am doing a 3am hike - yes 3 am - so we can watch the sunrise at 7am on the peak. Should be amazinggg.
This past weekend, we visited down in the Jeolla-buk-do province, and stayed with a local farming family, listened to their daughters play the traditional korean gayageum, which is like a 20-ish string guitar that sits on your lap. We farmed and dug for our own Ginseng roots on their farm. I picked one that was the size of about my pinky finger, and they said it was a year old. When you realize that you can find them as big as your head/torso, you realize how much work is necessary to grow these, and how valuable they can end up being. We made our own kimchi and deok (rice cake) ... and spent the night drinking homemade makgeolli and sleeping in their farm home. We awoke to the roosters crowing, and went on a short walk around the farm, when we saw rice laying out on huge tarps to dry. We also saw many tombs, on the mountain sides, and picked as many persimmons as we could carry. We also got to see inside their homes, and she showed us her children's (now grown) yearbooks from when they were in college. Sweetest family alive.
The next day we visited the Boseong Green Tea Fields, which is my picture in this blog entry. Incredible Site, and incredible tea we drank there as well. Overall, a fantastic weekend with wonderful people. (this may become the mantra of my blog).
In other news:
So obviously everyone and their grandmother has heard of Gangnam Style fever sweeping the world. And luckyy me gets to live a short 20 minute subway ride from where it all began. Needless to say I was sick of it before it started. Though my 3 coworkers and I will be dressing up as them for halloween at school - but that's another story.
Anyway, the one English mantra in the song is "Hey sexy lady.... Oppa Gangnam Style!" Oppa meaning basically "big brother" its also a term of endearment for like - your boyfriend. Well regardless, we have this book in my class, called "Writing Styles." And the other day i told my class, "ok...lets open writing styles!" .... this one kid is like..."Hey Rachel Teacherrr... open writing styles!" and got up and started doing the dance.
Classes are so serious, clearly.
Last weekend we also went to Namdaemun Market - this HUGGEEE market - essentially the likes of china town in NYC - with stand after stand of cheap knockoffs, sunglasses, and food stands. I found this stand of workout pants - which im def gonna neeed for running outside in the winter - I packed NONE because i had no space. They were 10 dollars , so I was gonna buy some without a doubt. Should have bought like 3 pairs but the budget was running low. Anyway - I was trying to decide which size to buy... and the guy was like... "small.. you want small." Thinking I'm a small in Asia? Heart melted. I was like... forget the pants can I have you?
I also taught myself Hangeul - the korean writing system. Before I brag too much - it's actually incredibly easy. I taught myself in one day. But it's quite useless until I learn the names of anything Korean. I know places - because every place is written in both english and korean - so if I should ever see a sign in only korean that dictates the name of place - I can totally read it. Which I actually did this past weekend when I read the name Boseong when driving to the Boseong Green Tea Field. Which is necessary because I'm constantly asking "are we there yet?" on long rides, and not being able to read any signs is enough to drive me insane.
At the grocery store then, I was trying to utilize my new found talent. I was buying orange juice - for my mimosas on Friday mornings, of course, and for fun, I was seeing if I could read anything. This one GIANT "orange" juice was much cheaper than another one - so I was trying to figure out why. I sounded out it ... "mahn - go" ... taking about 7 seconds to realize - that says MANGO! For some reason, a lot of korean words just sound out the english words. Like some cookies are legit labeled "soft cookie" in korean. Wouldn't make an ounce of sense if a korean person read the korean symbols sounding out the term soft cookie... but i'm pleased. So I avoided a mango mimosa. Probably not the worse thing that could have happened, but I was still pretty ecstatic.
Last entry, I also wrote how many guys like to practice their english on us - even if it means blocking my running path to say, "Hi!" ... I just humor them and say hi... though I've thought about replying with "Anyeounghaseyo!" which is korean for hello ... just to throw them off.
So anyway I've realized how pathetic - and conversation starved - i've become - when I see a white girl or man and immediately want to run to them and say hello and ask them everything about themselves. Possibly invite them out for drinks or dinner. If they need a place to stay.. etc. So I sympathize with all the korean folks saying hi to me. It's understandable.
Well off to school! TGIF.