Culture shock?

3:13 AM Jmo 0 Comments

Forget Vegas; the party never stops in Korea.

This week has been a whirlwind. All day, everyday I've felt like my amp has been turned up to 11. (That was a weak reference, but if you understand it we can be friends.)
Monday? I don't really remember Monday.. Oh wait, yes I do! On Monday my dear, sweet, coteachers surprised me by turning off the lights in my office and walking in with a cake singing Happy Birthday. The cake was amazing! A light, fluffy, creamy, fruit cake from Paris Baguette. It actually reminded me of the trifles my Mom would make me as my dessert request. And what made it more amazing: eating it with chopsticks. I love my coteachers. They are the sweetest -no pun intended. Ms. Nam also gave me a beautiful traditional Korean mirror.

Now you can have a visual!
Hyo & Chani
Ms. Nam and Hyo

Ms. Nam & Chani
Bday cake with chopsticks.
Monday also marked the beginning of Deajeon GET In-Service Training. Everyday this week, after work, all the English teachers in Deajeon must meet at Deajeon Girls Middle School halfway down the subway line for a three hour "training" session. That makes for a long day. I leave my apartment at 7:40am and get home at appx. 7:00pm. What adds to the misery is that the lectures are extremely basic. Basic to the point of...if we didn't already know these things I would've expected us to have already been fired. But, other than that -it is nice to see everyone and have time to vent and complain. Even if we are venting and complaining about being in the same room with each other! haha

Tuesday night (after training, still in my work clothes, carrying around my work bag) my friend Liz invited me to meet up with her Korean friend that she met at a local language exchange. I was tired and grungy, but couldn't pass up the opportunity or experience. Her English name was Elaina and she is an art student at a local university. She took us to this little eatery in Junjungro (an extremely hip/cool part of town) called D. Deli. She helped us order of course and we ended up with Rahpookie (Dahpookie but with ramen noodles added), kimbap, and spaghetti. Carb-overload. haha Over dinner we discussed our artwork among other things. Her work is...incredible! She studies traditional Korean painting and works mainly in watercolor. To. Die. For. And, she's only a freshman!
After dinner we decided to go shopping. In Junjungro there is a massive underground shopping center connected to the subway. The clothes are cheap and the shopkeepers are pushy. I ended up with nothing due to a number of factors: 1) I'm a giant. 2) My giganiticism was frustrating me. 3) If I picked something out and liked it, Elaina told me "No" and that it wasn't the "right color for my skin". haha! 4)Elaina wanted me to "dress sexy"...double haha 5) I was hot, full, tired, and some of the stores wouldn't let you try anything on.
It was still quite the experience though! When Liz was trying on shoes (another frustration...more on THAT later) a man kept following me around asking the mi-gook (American) for a "high-five". I obliged him like...7 times. haha Turns out he worked at the shoe store! We stayed out til the stores were closing -10:00pm Ughh, time for bed. Friday night I plan to return to that same underground mall with fresh eyes and a fresh "it's-the-weekend" spirit! Even if I have to buy man shoes...

Wednesday was a whole new adventure. In the beginning of my 2nd 6th grade class I had to stop a fight. Not a regular fight. Oh no. An all out Street Fighter style Taekwondo fight. The students were serious...and the blows were even more so. It was between two boys, and you could tell that one was seriously trained. He was in his fighting stance and would even deliver these spin around, close-fisted, back-handed punches. Intense. By the time I got to them and broke them up one boy's face was already showing signs of impact. I guess now I can say that I've almost been round-house kicked to the face...? Bright side?
After work was more training...but to break up the lull of the week, some of us decided to go to the Hanwa Eagles Baseball game! The Hanwa Eagles is Daejeon's team and they play at Hanbat Stadium which was close by our training site. Did I mention you could bring in your own food and drink (yes, beer and soju) into the stadium? It's actually encouraged. Vendors chase you down at the gate. One of my friends even had a bag of chicken placed on her shoulder by a smiling old woman. Ha!
I wore my Detroit Tigers sweatshirt -coincidence that the Hanwa Eagles uniforms were orange? I think not! Also! the away team was the Lions. And their colors? Blue and silver! I kid you not...
We ate kimbap and drank beer in the stands, posed for pictures with the mascot, chanted along with the crowd (what we were saying we will never know), and one of my friends won, yet another, dance contest. She won a set of tupperware. haha! By the end of the night we were signing autographs for children. Honest. So cute. Oh! And, we ended up on Korean tv! One of my friends received a text letting us know that he saw us. Another plus: The Eagles won; a rare feat I'm told.
On our way home, a friend of a friend convinced us to stop in this hole-in-the-wall bar. It was a Wednesday night, woof, so I was about to keep walking and find my own way home. But everyone stopped, looked at me, and said: "If you say it's ok, we will go in." We went it. We ended up having a few rounds right next to the owner and family eating dinner. We cheers'd them everytime. :) Got home at 11:45. Not bad for a Wednesday...

Chanting and cheering!
I think it's safe to say that tonight I'm staying in. Staying in and cleaning my apartment. It's been more of a drop off/unloading zone rather than a living space as of late.

I feel like I'm forgetting something...


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