Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Getting Naked (Jimjilbangs) and Haircuts


So Shelley and I decided to check out a jimjilbang a few weeks ago. For all of you who don't know, jimjilbangs are Korea's version of a bathhouse. Here you can find saunas, showers, hot tubs, sleeping rooms, tvs, food and drinks, etc. Basically all of the fixings from home, but better and at a very low price (I think we paid around 4,000 won). The jimjilbangs are unisex because everyone is... wait for it.......... butt naked. Now, I have no problem with nudity, but I am not completely comfortable with being nude in front of dozens of strangers either.  Shelley's friend was also supposed to join us but decided to not go at the last minute. Therefore, we were left to figure out how a jimjilbang worked on our own. After paying, we were shown to the ladies area of the jimjilbang. We checked out the area to  figure out what we were supposed to do, grabbed some lockers, and stripped down. I was a little uncomfortable at first, especially when the old women decided to stare for minutes on end. Women were just walking around as if it was the most normal thing in the world. But as the minutes went by, I felt just as comfortable as these other women looked. There were large hot tubs (which I believe were infused with different herbs) that varied in temperature and had different kinds of jets. There was a wet and dry sauna, showers, and a large area where people were scrubbing themselves down. I think that jimjilbangs are things that everyone must try at least once. I am definitely planning on going back again, which is the consensus I've heard from my friends.

Korean Haircut 

I got my hair cut a few weeks ago as well. I was a little sketched out about getting my hair cut due to the whole language barrier. Getting a haircut can be stressful enough when the person actually speaks your language. Fortunately, Shelley knows the owner of one of the most famous salons in Daegu, Seok, and she had also gotten her own hair cut there a few weeks before. The woman who cut my hair knew enough English to understand "layers," "trim," and all of that good stuff. I also brought in a picture of some bangs that I wanted... they turned out more like Korean style bangs, but they still look ok. She pretty much implied my hair had a lot of damage and asked if she could cut it off. Sounded good to me, so off went a lot of my hair. So, to get my hair washed and trimmed it was only 15,000 won (about $13!). Even the worst haircut of your life would cost you more than that back in the states!...And my coteachers said that 15,000 won was WAY too expensive for a haircut here. I think not. My hair feels incredibly healthy and I like the cut. All in all I would definitely recommend going to Seok (www.seok-hair.co.kr). There are salons all over Daegu!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving According to Middle School Boys: "I am thankful for..."

This week I am doing Thanksgiving lesson plans in class. I am just going over the basics of how Thanksgiving started and what we do on Thanksgiving in North America (did you know Canada and the Netherlands have Thanksgiving too?? Well I didn't until arriving in Korea/making this lesson plan.) At the end of class, if we have time, I have the students write some things they are thankful for. I have gotten some sweet answers and also some very interesting answers (it's a long list but worth it):

  • I am thankful for you because you teach English me. [Apparently not very well.]
  • I am thankful for my grandfather because he is my best friend and he give me a lot of information, too. [Awwww....]
  • I am thankful for parent because I love parent.
  • I am thankful for game because it's funed me.
  • I am thankful for my wollet when I pay cost, I bring my money from my wollet. My money makes me happy.
  • I am thankful for my friend An su Hyen. Because, my week point is found by Su hyen. [I think he was trying to say his friend makes up for his weaknesses. Aw:)]
  • I am thankful for my video game because it made me pleasure.
  • I am thankful for friends because I don't know.
  • I am thankful for book because my mind is comfortable.
  • I am thankful for Stive Japse because he made Apple computer. [I'm guessing Steve Jobs]
  • I am thankful for sharp pencils because I write words.
  • I am thankful for the Earth because it makes me to live.
  • I'm thankful for glasses because it helps me see more clean.
  • I am thankful for books because it make me sleep. [At least he's honest?]
  • I am thankful for my mom because she has teach my study and she says, "you can play computer games every day" but, I don't play computer games now. -__- [My favorite part was the little face at the end]
  • I am thankful for the dictionaries because it finds all words.
  • I am thankful for Aran because he helps me in the games. [Aran is another student in the class]
  • I am thankful for born because I see many people. [Not sure where this was going...]
  • I am thankful for health because some people are have hard time on his health.
  • I am thankful for my parent because I am born in my mom's stomach. [A lot of them had trouble with "my mom gave birth to me" type sentences]
  • I am thankful for Bill Gates because computer game is very fun.
  • I am thankful for hand because I can pick it up. I am thankful for leg because I can run. I am thankful for eye because it makes me see [Me too... me too.]
  • I am thankful for me because I exist.
  • I am thankful for teacher because when I feel a teen or walking wrong way she helps me that I could walking correct way.
  • I am thankful for the first victory in Starcraft. Victory is always proudful.
  • I am thankful for Park Tae Hwan because he makes Korea popular.
  • I am thankful for my ipod because it gives me happy feelings.
  • I am thankful for food because well.... [No explanation needed.]
  • I am thankful for my friend because he changed my mechanical pencil.
  • I am thankful for me because I don't know but I am thankful for me.
  • I am thankful for ham because I like to eat ham.
  • I am thankful for rice because it make a power.
  • I am thankful for milk because I can be a cheese and I make me tall.
  • I am thankful for brother because he's fun and he's good gamer and he's fat. [Koreans are very blunt.]
  • I am thankful for garbage because they important for nature.
  • I am thankful for woman because they are neccecery. 
  • I am thankful for family because they keep me. [I am happy they didn't throw you away.]
  • ** And of course a lot of students wrote they were thankful for their parents because they raised them/take care of them/love them/give them money.**

And the award for the BEST answer so far this week-

  • I am thankful for Earth's gravity because gravity makes me not fly. [Me too... Although, it would be fun sometimes.]

Happy Thanksgiving everyone :) I am very thankful for my friends, family, great/entertaining students, and this AMAZING experience in Korea!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Pepero Day and Crazy Inventions

Pepero Day was on November 11... 11-11. If you have ever heard of or eaten Pocky, Pepero is the EXACT same thing. It is basically like Valentines day. People buy loved ones boxes of Pepero, which you can find at every single store weeks leading up to 11-11 (get it? Pepero is like a stick, so they symbolize the 1's). I got many boxes from both teachers and kids :) Let's bring this holiday to America!!

The week of Nov 8, I taught inventions to the kids. They got a chance to come up with their own "crazy inventions" and here are some of the results...
"Fly unblella" They were going for umbrella, I believe.

It's a TV you can control with your voice!

Great illustrations

ddong=poop and the kids love talking and writing about it


The boys names were Jack, Up, and Down.
Therefore they named their group: "Jack is up and down."

Best drawing of the week.

"but, you must say English food name."

Group name: "KKK"
"If we turn clock niddle..."
What is it worth?: "$100,000,000,0000 (Don't buy it)"

Hahah I enjoyed this drawing.

Group name: "Copy and Paste" (a popular song in Korea right now)
What is it worth?: "More than you can imagine.~!"

The face copier

"We have many idea than Don't tell me secret"
This later turned into "Pandora's box"
(My kids are so imaginative!) 
And then, two random name tags that I recently noticed: "I want to make facebook friends!" and "Daniel P.Y.T."

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Korean in Motion, Daegu and COSTCO!

The DMOE gave us Native English Teachers the special opportunity of going to some Korea in Motion shows for free during the weekend of November 5-7. Korea in Motion is basically a weekend long event with many non-verbal shows being performed per day. These shows are performed in an effort to bring together people from all around the world in Korea, despite language barriers.
I went to 3 shows total during that weekend: Breakout, Return, and Sachoom. 
1. Breakout was about a group of men who dance, breakout of jail, and befriend some nuns at the local church (I don't even know, I was confused for half of it!). The break dancing dancing was great, there were some humorous parts, and it was one of the smaller shows of the evening.
2. Return was by far the best show. It was performed in one of the culture & arts centers in Daegu. It was about 2 groups of rival break dancers who were competing to become the World Champions. Amazing dancing and extremely entertaining.
No, no. Not "World Championship"... it's "World of Championship"
3. Finally, Sachoom was also one of the bigger shows of the weekend (but I can't say it was the greatest). First off, I got there a little late....... cue confusion. Then, just minutes after I arrived, there were people with weird costumes squirming about the stage. Me to Shelley: "Ummm, are those sperm dancing on stage?" Sure enough, sperm appeared on the screen alongside the wiggling dancers. Soon after, a woman in a white, round costume came onto stage and a sperm dancer raced toward her. A baby swimming through fluid came up on the screen. Shelley and I burst into laughter... How did no one else think this was weird?! And why were there kids in the audience?? Either we are extremely immature or didn't realize this is completely normal in Korean culture. I vote for the immaturity (but common, dancing sperm and eggs? Really?!) I guess this show was about the cycle of life but it was a little (ok, a lot) strange. And it got better... the English translations of everything they showed on the big screen were completely off. They didn't make sense and by the end, I was laughing so hard that I was tearing up.

That weekend I also made a trip to Costco! YES we have Costcos in Korea, YES there are samples at Korean Costcos, and YES the Costcos just as amazing as at home. Our Costco in Daegu is 2 stories, one for all of the food products and one for electronics/clothes/etc. The food court has all of the essentials that American Costcos have such as Costco pizza and hot dogs. But, one major thing that is different is the existence of the bulgogi bake (similar to the chicken bake). I have yet to try it, but it is on my to do list :) I only bought a few things considering I was taking the bus home: big bag of Kettle chips, coffee, soy milk, a soft blanket, and a block of cheddar cheese (the only place you can find real cheese... unless you don't mind Kraft single type cheese). I told one of my coteachers about my trip to Costco and he didn't understand why I was so excited... uhhh because it's COSTCO (in Korea nonetheless)!

Still loving Fall in Daegu!
Beer King
What's "itarian"??
Green tea waffle at Coffee & Waffles downtown. AMAZING!
Bathroom stall 1
Bathroom stall 2 (they don't shy away from poop here)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Today's Lunch Menu...

Today's lunch menu: rice & kimchi (as always), corn dog, and curry. I swear, in Korea they throw together any and every type of food combination!

Some of my favorite lowest level first graders are teaching me low level Korean... the conversation went something like this:
Alex: "You speak little Korean?"
Me: "Oh, no. Not really."
Alex: "Just a little??"
Me: "No, sorry."
Min Gi: "Annyanghaseyo." (Bows)... This means "hello"
Me: "Huh? Hello?" (confused. Is he saying "hi" to me?)
Min Gi: (Still staring at me and bows again.) "Annyanghaseyo!..."
Me: Ohhh I get it. "Annyanhaseyo...?"
Alex and Min Gi: "AHHHHHHHHHH!!!!" (clapping their hands)

And for some reason, I was really proud of my students this week. I found myself thinking, wow that was incredible, a lot. I did a kind of difficult lesson on inventions this week for all of my classes. They are incredibly creative and will randomly say some vocab that I didn't know they knew. One student said that the most useful invention was a clock because back in the day, they had to tell time with the sun... (and he went on about it for a little). Way more advanced than my student who said, computer because computer games I like play. Their imaginations are amazing and they came up with very unique inventions. To be honest, I think a lot of people lose their creativity as they become adults, so it is nice being able to hear all of the crazy things these kids come up with.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

My Week in Pictures (Nov 1)

Fall in Daegu
A mug a found at Home Plus
Too cute, I had to buy it!
In our office- the teachers teaching me Korean
1) means enjoy your meal 2) means have a good class

We went to Dr. Fish last week... for anyone searching for it, it is located downtown across from Uniqlo (2nd floor). Not knowing what to expect, Shelley and I walked up the stairs and into this cozy, quaint little bookstore and coffee shop. We paid an entrance fee and for the fish treatment (a little more than 5,000 won... a treatment that costs at least 8 times that in the Western countries). This price included unlimited coffee and delicious breads. We sat in the cafe, a little unsure of what we were supposed to do. We could see the fish tanks from our seats but no one really told us instructions. So we enjoyed the bread bar for awhile, looking around every once in awhile to see what other people were doing. Finally, a girl (Korean, with an Aussie accent... odd) brought us to the tanks. We washed our feet and then dipped them into the water. Swarms of these little fish started nibbling on our feet. This treatment is used in order to get rid of dead skin... which the fish eat (ew). I really am not the most ticklish person on the world, but this was deadly. I was squirming for at least a few minutes until I got used to the little bites. It basically felt like little bubbles or jets all around your feet. Probably on of the more odd things I've ever felt but I would definitely do it again! My feet felt very smooth after (or maybe it was my imagination?) and it was a very relaxing 15 minutes. The cafe is also a place I would go back to, even sans fish!
Not sure how to feel just yet....

Attacking my heels, in between my toes and the sides of my feet!!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Make Your Own Sports Team!

For class this week (the ones that aren't still taking the speaking tests), I have been teaching the kids a little about American sports. One of the tasks for the higher level students was to invent their own sport. The lowest level was responsible for picking a sport and creating their own team. Here are some of the more creative results (click on the picture to get a bigger view):

Survivor ball
Players are have to hit the another players with the baseball.
Championship game: battle royal
Insect fight
Insect avoid obstacles and fight each other. 
War with Ball
Equipment: mask, ten volleyball, ten soccer ball, five basketball, +chair & desk, twenty baseball, fifty tennis ball, and one golf ball
Put on mask and throw ball to each other; who give-up that team is lose.
Championship game: money or die
Hit Frank with bat! (side note: "Frank" was one of the members in the group)
Equipment: bat, Frank
Hit Frank far away.
What does MLB mean?
"Major League Baseful"
"Daegu Snakes.
Our team is great but."
Please note the shoes.
"Daegu Stars
Our team is the shine and best."
"Daegu Human
Our team is ball SPEED is very goob but bat Hit is bad."

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Happy Halloweenday!

Happy Halloween! or as they say in some places in Korea... Happy Halloweenday!
Like I previously mentioned, I kicked off Halloween week with a plethora of holiday themed lessons. "This is Halloween, this is Halloween, Halloween, Halloween!" Not only did that song get stuck in my head for DAYS, I also got it stuck in the heads of the kids (muhahaha if I have to suffer, they have to suffer with me!) I was playing the song on Friday for my last class, meaning almost every other student in the school had gone through my Halloween lecture already. After class, one of the math teachers said the students in her class could hear the song from across the hall and were singing along haha. Uh oh, I feel as though I may be hearing this song for many weeks to come....

I don't know if I've mentioned yet, but every Friday I have Korean language lessons, put on for free by the District Metropolitan Office of Education. (Let's be real... I have only been to 2 classes out of 7. Not completely my fault though. I joined the 5th week.) I can now read kind of, even though I may not know the meaning of what I'm reading. So, I went to Korean class on Friday. I get to leave about 45 mins early from school so that I can make it to class by 4:30. We got filmed by some random people for a promo thing, talked about ordering in a restaurant , and then class was over at 6pm. Some of us then went to dinner downtown at a Korean BBQ place. So delicious....
After dinner, we headed to our favorite bar, Thursday Party. Somewhere along the line, we picked up our friends from out of town (Hannes, David, Tim, Malcolm). We had drinks and fun, as always with this crowd. We are lucky that all of the cities in Daegu are close enough that we can hang out almost every weekend if we want to (which is what has been happening)!
Patrick, Malcolm, Shelley, David, Hannes
Jose and I playing with our food (salty, dry spaghetti noodle type things?)
The next day, we all met up for lunch at a place called The Holy Grill. Think all of the comfort foods you are used to eating from home. I ordered a delicious (yet still not like Cali) breakfast burrito. Little fact: people not from America do not know what a breakfast burrito is. How bizzare!! Other foods around the table were steak sandwiches, nachos, western style breakfasts, hamburgers, and more. After we did a little more costume shopping. For the record, there are hardly ANY costume shops in Daegu. We found one in the subway shops near the Lotte store. But, besides belly dancing shops (apparently it's a big fad here) and wig shops (every corner), there was next to nothing. Time to get creative.

Once night rolled around, we met back at Thursday Party. There was a giant Halloween pub/bar crawl in the downtown area, but we chose to make our own route. We hung out for awhile, saw friends, roamed around to a few different bars, and somehow ended up at a norebang by the end of the night! Plenty of foreigners and even Korean with amazing and creative costumes! All in all, excellent Halloween (but still nothing that even compares to Isla Vista!)
Erin, David, Ross, Bridgette (loved the costume! crazy cat lady), Me
Minnie! Had to make my own shirt. Do you know how hard it is to find a tank top in Korea!? And then, find one in red??
Bah bah black sheep (Stole this from Roberta) 
"Where the F*ck am I?!" (Roberta too)
Stole this from someone but thought it was awesome... Lego man
Jose as a very convincing Ajumma
Best costume: Edward Scissorhands, with Shelley and I
Late night norebang!

And apparently someone at VAVi decided to put me on the Halloween posters/tickets for the Halloween party at Typhoon. I'm famous in San Diego and I didn't even know it! I all of a sudden started hearing from friends that I was all over SD. Thanks guys..... haha :)