Living.

6:53 AM Jessica Montgomery 2 Comments

You will never guess what I'm eating right now. Go ahead. Guess!

If you said peanut butter and jelly you deserve quite the prize. I'm assuming you've heard of the "7 Year Itch"; well I feel like I may be experiencing the..."One Month Crave". On the 19th I'll be coming up on my one month marker. Definitely the longest I've ever been away from US soil. Lovely and refreshing and exciting yes! But I don't know what's been with me these past couple days. Within the past two days I've had: pizza, a donut, a blueberry bagel with cream cheese, and now I just bought the fixings for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I don't even like blueberry bagels! I think it's just the fact that when you feel like you "can't" have something you just want it more. The American in me is seeping out. Terrifying. hahaha

Korean class was awful. I'll just be upfront about that one right now. The teacher was really sweet and adorable -but didn't speak any English. Or write any English. So, pretty much the class was just us sitting there dumfounded, mouth agape, listening to Korean. Pretty much how I spend most of my days here. (haha, no, not that bad..) He was having us repeat words and phrases without any context and then proceeded to show pictures of fruit on his phone. Yep. It was however nice to be able to audibly practice forming sounds. Regardless if you knew what you were saying...just trying to make the sounds took effort. I'll go back next week. If anything to practices the sounds...and pick up the textbook I bought. Mehh...

The past couple days have been pretty fabulous. On Thursday and Friday I had students constantly wishing me a "happy birthday" and I even received some gifts! From one of my 6th graders I received a planner (so grateful!), one of my 4th graders and little notebook and pen, a sucker from a 5th grader (haha), and a 'Korean Made Easy' book from one of my coteachers. Students were also popping into the office to say hello -to which my head coteacher said: "You're so popular! How long have you been here...19 days?!" haha! It felt good.

Thursday night I met up with some friends I haven't had the chance to hang out with really. I stayed out far too late for a school night, but it was worth it on so many levels.
Friday night was a round two of Thursday. The same group made plans to go out and get "fire chicken". Supposedly one of -if not the hottest meals in Korea. Had to test my will!
Two of my friends in the group were Korean so navigating the restaurant scene was fabulous. We made our way to this restaurant a little off the beaten path of our usual stomping grounds. As the 'foreigners' walked in...heads definitely turned. But, like I said, we had two Koreans in our group which made things a lot easier. The food was amazing. One of the best meals I've had yet. We ordered the "fire chicken", but it wasn't all that spicy. Turns out the kitchen lowered the spice level because they were afraid us waygooks couldn't take it. We ordered another and asked for it to be upped. And, yes, this one was...HOT. haha After battling through the heat and extinguishing the fire with beer it was off to meet others. I wasn't planning on staying out late at all (hiking at 930am) but it was already my "birthday" somehow and I was held captive. haha Any excuse to party...

Saturday -officially my birthday- was incredible. Quite possibly one of the most varied and jam-packed days I've had in Korea yet. Starting off the day hiking was beautiful. I met up with with Alex and Melody at the Wypyeong subway stop (I may have been a little late due to an impromptu personal concert being performed on my behalf :) ), and we walked over to Melody's apartment to meet Sora, Melody's coteacher. Sora was adorable! She was so sweet, funny, and helpful. It was great to have her along as our tour guide.
The bus ride to the base of the mountain was...not for the weak. I think Alex and I must have collided into each other at least 7 times just trying to keep our balance! But, it's amazing...the oldest, frailest, Korean woman can walk around the bus no problem. haha Once we reached the base of Gyeryong Mountain we headed straight into a little shop for water and a little souvenir. Each of us got a bandanna with the hiking route on it.
To get to the trails you need to walk past a few shops and restaurants. Everyone was super friendly and, quite frankly, interested in us! The entrance to the trails had a beautiful hand-painted arch and on the way we made 'wish totems'. They are essentially little cairns (hiking trail markers in the US). Each stone you add (you can add one stone onto someone else's) grants you a wish. After you place your stone, think of your wish and bow. I found this incredibly gratifying considering it was my birthday after all... :)

The hike was intense. I've never done a hike like this. The entire "trail" was boulder after boulder, rock after rock. All up hill. Steep up hill. Only small segments had hand rails and I'm actually really surprised that no one fell. But! Once again, the elderly were cruising by! Amazing. -I asked Sora how the trail was made and she said that each stone was brought up and placed by the Buddhist monks. Incredible.
We decided to take the route that led to the 'Sister Pagodas' -only half way up the mountain. That half-way route took us from appx. 10am-3pm up and back. Once we made it to the top we stopped to take photos and drink from the 1,000 year fountain. After you drink from this fountain it's said that you can live for a thousand years...which is good because I'm pretty sure I lost a couple years making it up the mountain. I was spent! My legs were shaking and my knee was about to sign a letter of resignation. haha, but it was so worth it and I can't wait to go back. I was even smiled at and waved to by a Buddhist monk! So surreal...who would've ever guessed my 24th year would be this amazing?
Once we were back down we stopped at this lovely restaurant in the little shopping village at the base of Gyeryong. We sat on the floor in an open room next to waterfall. Sora helped us order and we ate and drank to our hearts content. We had kimchi-jun and pak-jun -pancake-like deliciousness, an acorn jelly dish, and macolii to drink.
After that excursion of a life time I had to run home, shower, and get ready to meet people for dinner halfway across town at a Mexican restaurant called Takorea. haha The food was decent for what you'd expect Korean-Mexican food to be...but to our surprise, the restaurant was actually owned and operated by Mexicans! The owner even surprised Marisol and I with a sangria and sombrero. After Takorea we ended up back in Dunsan -Timeworld. After a random stint in the arcade batting cages we were off to the Gangnam Style party at a club called Yellow Taxi. Low and behold...there was a Gangnam Style dance contest. And, who do you think won?

ME!!!!!!!!

Round after round, elimination after elimination, me and my 5in heels busted out the Gangnam Style. At the end it was down to me and a supremely energetic Korean man. We actually had a dance-off. And I was judged the winner! I'd like to think it's because I'm a good dancer and that...it had nothing to do with the fact that it was my birthday...hahaha, sure.
I thought it would be hard to top that. But, Korea is always full of surprises. We left Yellow Taxi in search of a norebong (karaoke room). Unable to read Korean we asked a group of Koreans where the best place to go would be. The took us to a place and ended up staying and singing with us. Singing Backstreet Boys and Spice Girls with a group of smartly dressed Koreans...dream come true! haha

Incredible birthday. How can 25 top this? I challenge 25.

2 comments:

  1. I don't know if anything can top that haha! what a way to start off a fresh year! <3
    -Susan

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sounds like an awesome few days!!! :) and Pizza alwayssss sounds good! like everyday good lol So glad you had a great Birthday! :)

    ReplyDelete

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