This past weekend was Jenn and Colin’s last to enjoy in Korea, as they are flying back to the Arctic north that is Canada next Saturday. Really incredibly hard to believe that they’ll be gone soon-this officially means that I am halfway through my own contract. RT will be a strange place without them, particularly without my “husband” Colin(as the children believe Colin and I are in love. Of course we are, I mean our classrooms are next to each other, isn’t that the only basic law for love and marriage: proximity?) I have my fingers crossed that the two new teachers, both of whom started training today under Jenn and Colin’s tutelage, will be good ones. The last couple got canned and were less than capable in every way. Send your good vibes to Reading Town people, it’s a hostile environment when shit teachers abound!
Back to the weekend’s festivities. J and C love Big Rock Brewery in Gangnam. It’s a international transplant of a national chain of breweries in Canada(or local chain? I don’t know, I’m American, geez) and we’ve ventured there several times this year to grab a meal and a few delicious Canadian beers-so much better than the horrible watery Cass/Hite/Max that Korea has to offer! J, C and I spent a lovely evening there a few months ago just chilling and teaching Marisa how to play euchre. It’s been a good place for us, so it was fitting to go one last time with our fave Canuck couple. Seven of us arrived by about 8 pm, and we settled into a yummy meal (mushroom penne for myself and Caitlin, several large burgers for the posse) and many many mekju. I played, and beat Jon, Colin, and Jeff in a few rousing rounds of darts. Well I won one, lost one, and didn’t play anymore. Good record, nonetheless. Sayler and Kim joined us close to 11ish, and eventually we moved the party to one final nuraebang, just for old times’ sake. By this point all that were left were myself, Jenn, Colin, Marisa, Jon and Caitlin. We found the most wonderful singing room yet-all the rooms were named for candy, including one labeled “rollipop.” The decor was frothy, pastel and delicious looking. I was in heaven. Post-nuraebang, we hit up a local McDonald’s-which is not a common thing, the excitement of seeing one when we walked out of the place was palpable, and we gobbled our food with much panache. Was saddened by the lack of hot mustard sauce for my fries, though-we cabbed it back to PDong by 4 or 5 am. My cell phone apparently fell out of my bag at some point on the crazy taxi ride (honestly frightening ride, the ajoshi cabbie screamed heavily accented Korean and drove 100 mph the whole 40 minutes), but via Caitlin and the paying of an extra 15,000 won, I won that crappy little phone back just this afternoon. Success? To be honest, I wish Caitlin would have left my phone in the cab, then perhaps Mr. Yoo would have hooked me up with a non-crappy
one. Overall, a great send-off for Jenn and Colin Teacher.
Sunday Marisa and I found our way to a very cool rooftop pool in Itaewon, the creepy/dirty/interesting/wonderful very Western section of Seoul. It’s populated by many an American military person because of it’s proximity to the base, and the overall vibe is much, much different than anywhere in Korea. It is both refreshing-lots of ethnic restaurants, interesting shops, and dance clubs-and unsettling-blatant disregard for any type of culture, lots of prostitution and downright dirty behavior. During the day though, quite enjoyable. As it is Marisa and I took the train and arrived at the Hamilton Hotel by 12:30 to find the pool and it’s surrounding area completely and utterly packed with flesh-wielding humans dying for some sun exposure. There were many more Koreans than I would have imagined; the numbers were more like 50/50 Western to Korean. And no frilly one-piece old lady Korean bathing suits either! Lots and lots of skin, I mean it. So strange for Korea, the land of strictly imposed laws regarding when one can and cannot enter the OCEAN when one is at the beach. In May. Seriously. We laid our bags down literally two feet from the pool, squished into a little spot along the wall, and enjoyed the sun and the overall experience (mostly people watching-lots to talk about!) until around 6 pm. Then we met Jon, Jenn, and Colin for a very yummy Greek dinner before catching the train/bus combo back to Pyeongnae. A tiring but supremely satisfying Sunday, and a fantastic end to the weekend.
This week we are taking the kids to see a movie. Yay! I believe the plan is to see Ice Age 3, and I’m not going to lie, I’m excited. It would even be good if it’s in Korean with English subtitles, although I think the school is trying to find it in English-I mean, we are an English academy, you know? This means Thursday I won’t have to teach any actual morning classes. Score. We also started new afternoon classes today, and everyone now teaches a new subject. I do conversation with Jenny Teacher. I think it will be fun and a good change of pace. I love talking to the kids, they’re hilarious. And it means I don’t have to worry so much about art prep anymore, nor do I have to keep a crap ton of art supplies on my tiny and very cramped desk. All good things. I’m trying to stay positive about everything going on right now-new teachers, new classes, and it’s almost my favorite season, fall! I hope everyone is well at home. Korea is a-ok.