Ok, here is an attempt at remembering everything I have done in July and August 2009 while here:
One of the first weekends after I arrived, Jill took me into Seoul to show me how the subway worked and to try and help me get a feeling for Seoul we did a bus tour of the city. The bus went on a big loop around the major sights of Seoul, which took about 2 hours. The day that we went it poured with rain, so the bus tour was a good way to get to see things without getting soaked through!
After getting off the bus we went to Kyobo bookstore. It is the most amazing bookstore I have ever seen - its massive. The English book section is probably as big as a largish book store in England, and this is tiny in comparison to the size of the whole store! The bookstore is always really crowded too and it sells things other than books, like CD’s/DVD’s/games etc.
Since arriving I have tried to meet other English teachers and I met up with a guy called Justin who was teaching English in Uijeongbu which is about 30 minutes on the subway from Deokjeong. We met up for a couple of hours and just chatted about things as we were both really new to things, and then we went for lunch in a restaurant where no-one spoke any English and the menu was just a list written in Korean, with no pictures! We just had to guess what to have with the help of some wild gesturing from the woman in the restaurant who was obviously trying hard to be helpful! What we ordered turned out to be rice and vegetables with a nice seasoning and a fried egg, so it worked out alright in the end!
When we walked to the nearest subway station we realised that we had walked about 4 subway stops to Dubongsan, which was actually quite useful as this was where I had been told was the best place to go hiking, so I got an idea of where I needed to go when the weather is finally cool enough to attempt a hike!
The evening after I had been into Uijeongbu, me and Jill held a movie night for some of the older kids from school. We had Sunny (who is the student that I teach individually) and then Doris and grace from the Zenith class (which is the top class) and also Brenda who is Doris’ younger sister.
We had pizza delivered about half way through the movie that we watched, which was Kung Fu Panda! All in all it was a pretty good evening, but the kids were a little demanding. I don’t think they are used to visiting other peoples houses and therefore don’t really know how to behave. I also think that they haven’t quite mastered the whole ‘Can I’, ‘Could I’!
After the movie we got out Jenga to play until their parents came to pick them up, which was a success. Jong Sool even stayed for a game with us when he came to pick Grace up!
The kids also brought us some nice gifts for inviting them over. Sunny brought some grapes and Grace brought some cake which we all enjoyed during the evening. Doris and Brenda brought us a gift set of scented candles which was really nice, and they are now living on the bookcase in my apartment!
Ok, the pancake! Basically I found some pancake mix in the supermarket and as it had some nice pictures on the side I thought that I may just be able to manage to make one (as they were so tasty when we had one in the restaurant). Unfortunately the pictures didn’t extend to the quantities to use and so I had to guess how much water to add to how much powder! The end result was that I ended up with a disgusting mess that after 2 mouthfuls ended up in the bin! I won’t be trying it again any time soon, but at least I did give it a try!
SEOUL DAY TRIP:
I got invited into Seoul by Jong Sool one Saturday and I went with him, Sara, Grace, Sunny and Jin Sun really early in the morning (he had to have his car at the garage for 9am in Seoul) and we first went to Kyobo bookstore, where I helped Jin Sun find a book to help her with her English and I had a look at some ESL books with Jong Sool.
After the bookstore we walked round the corner to a narrow strip of land between buildings to where a new park had been created. There was a large statue in the middle and in front there was this amazing water fountain that was full of people playing in it because of the hot weather!
Behind the water fountain was a really colourful arrangement of flowers that was really beautiful. We all wandered around the park for a while and then we headed for lunch at a steak restaurant which was really tasty!
After lunch we went for a walk along Cheonggyecheon stream which is a relatively new and popular area for people to go, especially on such a hot day as people were paddling in the stream to cool down!
The stream and the pathways either side are set down from the road so it’s quite easy to forget that you are actually in the middle of Seoul!
After walking along the stream we walked along the main street in Insa-dong and Jong Sool explained some of the more traditional items being sold on the stalls which was really interesting.
We then stopped off for a cold drink to cool down a bit before heading back to the subway and home!