Day 55 -- Movie Theatre, Church-Shopping, and The Great Korean Cookie Baking Adventure

"Linji, you are ready?"

When you are asked this question by your Korean host family, know that it is very much a loaded question. The last time I was asked this question was the day I ended up spending four hours in a car just to drop Sae Yeob off in Seoul when I was expecting a tourist day in the city. Needless to say, I was wary when my host mother popped in my room and posed this seemingly innocent question.

As it turns out, I spent most of the day (which I had originally set aside for teaching preparations and solo errands around the town) going around Nonsan with the family. We went out for lunch, where I was openly stared at by some ajjumas in the restaurant, then headed to the movie theatre to watch some mystery/horror/haunting film. In Korean. With no subtitles. There was a section about five minutes long where I understood every single word and I almost cried. But then I didn't understand the rest and I just stared at the screen dumbly, not understanding why people were gasping or the music was getting dramatic.

Afterwards, the host family took me on a drive around the town while we searched for churches. I'm really interested in finding a youth group somewhere because in my experiences, youth group kids tend to be a lot of fun and incredibly accepting. Considering I'm a foreigner and don't have fun with kids my age here, that's a winning combination. We finally did find one, so I'll try to find a way to get out there next week.

Then... I decided it was time to try cooking. Specifically, chocolate chip cookies. I had asked my host family yesterday if they had everything I needed and after about 30 minutes of hunting, they assured me that, yes, they had everything. Fantastic!

But they didn't. Specifically, no vanilla extract (expected, no big deal) and no white, granulated sugar (not expected, big deal). We throw everything in the bowl and start mixing... and keep mixing... and still mixing... They don't have an electronic beater. Guess what's really difficult to do by hand? Mix cookie dough. We finally get it homogenous and throw the stuff on a (small) baking tray. But wait! The oven only goes up to 250! These cookies need it to be 375! Well, we'll just leave them in a little longer... About 10 minutes and the smell of OMGBURNING later, I realize my mistake.

PROTIP: Korean ovens are in *C, not *F.

We figured it out in the end, and in the mean time, we picked at our burnt cookies with chopsticks. Because this is Korea, and that makes sense.

A picture's worth a thousand words...

Mutilated cookies, milk, the recipe (on the bag), and my needs-to-be-upgraded cell-phone

My host mother with the product of our experimentation

Aw yeah, eating cookies with chopsticks.


Day 54 -- TOEFL Shenanigans, Random Foreigner, and Routines

So, it's been a while. Here's a short montage of this first week of teaching.

--Lessons for the rest of the week went pretty well. I'm bonding with the teachers and I had my first "company dinner". I was really nervous going in, then I realized that nobody places as much importance on these things as was insinuated at orientation. Either that, or my school/principal is just really chill, which is very true.

--TOEFL is ridiculous. I have (1) complete liberty to do whatever I want with the class provided they practice speaking and (2) no idea how to improve their TOEFL scores. I ended up structuring it like KEY Club, where we open with a short lesson on a difficult grammar point or a few useful vocab words or phrases. Then, there's a short discussion group followed by two short speeches.

I say ridiculous though because the boys have gotten over the "new foreigner" factor, so they're not shy at all anymore. When I asked them about their hobbies, my TOEFL Wise Guy answered, "My hobby is watch [sic] AV." AV? He does AV club with the school? "No, AV. AV is adult video." Oh. His hobby is watching adult videos... waitwhat?

Here is a video of them one day after class.

Blue shirt = TOEFL Class Maybe Cousin
Sitting at the PC = TOEFL Wise Guy
Sitting at the laptop messing with cords = TOEFL Helper JH
Sitting at laptop watching video = TOEFL Buena Vista (BV) Applicant

--In other news, the other day I came home only to find a foreigner coming out of the elevator! I was totally shocked to see another foreigner who was young and female like me. To be honest, a lot of the English teachers here are creepy dudes with yellow fever. I didn't even know what to say to her. I froze up, said "Hello?" and punched the number for my floor. It wasn't until the doors were closed that it hit me. I should've asked for her number, where she was from, where she was teaching, see if she wants to hang out some time... oops. Min Kyeong happened to see her, though, and found out she lives on the 7th floor. I'll have to go up there and see her sometime...

Today is Saturday, so I slept in late then made grilled cheese and PB&J sandwiches for Min Kyeong and I, since we were the only ones home. I've kind of settled into a routine here, so it's nice to have that comfort. I wake up at 6:30am, meet a fellow teacher at 7:45am, catch a ride to school with her and arrive at around 8am. I stay at school until about 5:30pm, at which time I catch a (totally unreliable) bus back into Nonsan so that I can get a taxi back to the apartment. Dinner, short run at the public track, TV, bed. When I have time, I like to go to the (only) coffee shop to study Korean.

Things I'd like to change? I need friends my age. I think if I find an easy way to get to the local university, which is in one of the neighboring towns, then I'd have a better chance meeting random people. Even if I just passively sit in one of the coffee shops or wander around the campus, I think I'd be able to meet more people my age than I would if I actively tried to find friends in Nonsan. So yes. On my list: make friends.
Maybe that foreign girl will be up for adventures in downtown Nonsan?

P.S. Welcome to the countries list, UK!


Day 49 -- First Day of Teaching

Last night around this time, I professed to a friend that, no, I was not nervous for my first day of teaching. I then spent half the night worrying about every last detail. I was so nervous. I wasn't prepared at all and on top of those last minute technology checks and material gathering, I still had to make a speech to the entire school staff IN KOREAN.

So, when I woke this morning before the sun was up, I was a bit overwhelmed.

Luckily, my coteacher is awesome and my classroom is super sick. Mrs Soh settled all my concerns, my speech went well (enough), and soon I was waiting anxiously for my first class--one of the senior classes--to arrive.

My lesson was--surprise surprise--on self introductions. I used lots of personal pictures and video because I want to be close to my students. They responded WONDERFULLY. I thought it was just beginner's luck and when my last class of the day--a junior class--walked in next, I was a bit apprehensive that I would get the same response. I mean, one of the students had a little swastika tattooed on his wrist.

As it turned out, that class was my best. The kids had awesome energy and were so responsive. Even my little swastika dude. He actually participated the most and was so willing to speak up in class when nobody else would.

I had them write me little notes introducing themselves, so here are three of my favorites from today. I am QUITE sure I will get even more amusing responses as the week rolls on.

Nice hobby.
He may not like it, but he's pretty good at it. The beginning section was equal parts hilarious and impressive.

At least he's honest?
I had agreed to teach an "advanced" class for an additional 4 times a week. Since I only teach 12 classes (12 hours) a week otherwise, I agreed, bumping me up to 16 hours which is still well under the maximum of 20 teaching hours (not including lesson planning and prep/down time at the school).
I was not warned, however, that this "advanced" class was actually a TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) Speaking section cram class. My six students will be taking the TOEFL in September and I was told that, after this course I'm teaching, the school expects them to score at least a 20 out of 30 possible points. That's a pretty steep standard, since "passing" the TOEFL means getting about 60 points out of a possible 120. So a 50% is passing. And yet, they want me to coach these kids up to a 67% in the hardest of the 4 sections (reading, writing, speaking, listening). Good thing I'm trained in TOEFL tutoring oh wait...


Day 46 -- 30 Minute Seoul Trip and FIRST PICTURES AHHHHH!

I don't even know why I'm writing anything because I figure you'll just be scrolling down to see the pictures, but whatever. I'll warn those still reading that there are only TWO pictures and they're pretty terrible, so there.

Today was that trip to Seoul. We all piled into the family sedan--and I do mean piled, because there were four people in the back seat. Koreans really love their rest stops, so we stopped every hour. What should've taken maybe 2 hours took us 3 hours. When we got to Seoul, a man was waiting at our destination. I got into his car with Sae Yeob as the parents asked and we drove to this dude's apartment. Apparently, Sae Yeob will be living with him for a period of time while he attends the TOEFL cram school that the guy teaches at. Or something. I don't know, Sae Yeob isn't here at the house anymore and he said something about "Ah, I will attend English church every week!" and he brought a carry-on-sized suitcase with him.

We spent maybe 30 minutes in Seoul then we were on our way back home (with rest stops, of course). When we got here, TOEFL Student Maybe Cousin came over for dinner. Min Oo shared the American candy I gave the siblings with him. As he was eating a Pixie Stick, he turned to me and said, "Feed it to me?"

Excuse me?

"Feed it to me!"

Okay yeah, maybe this whole teaching-high-school-boys thing would be stranger than I thought... I'm glad I've got the sweet girls to balance out the outrageous things the boys say/do.

Later tonight, Min Oo moved into the dormitory at school. From what I understand, she lives there during the week and comes home for the weekends. Maybe. So now it's just me and Min Kyeong, the youngest sister, living in the house. I don't know when or if everybody will ever be back. Yayyyy Korea!

Yeah, yeah, here's your pictures.

Sae Yeob and Min Oo

(They did NOT want their picture taken so I had to do a quick candid while Sae Yeob was trying to say something to me. GOTCHA.)

Min Kyeong

(Also I candid. I snapped this one while she was sleeping on my shoulder in the car. All together now, D'awwww! ...but not a flattering angle, she's much cuter when she's not unconscious.)


Day 45 -- Ginseng and Indian Bop


My host parents sprung a trip on me today to Kumsan, or something like that, which is apparently the ginseng capital of Korea. We drove maybe 30 minutes to get to this place just to buy $70 worth of the stuff, eat deep fried ginseng, and drink red ginseng tea. All of that took maybe 20 minutes, tops, and then we drove back. An hour of driving through the mountains and backroads of Korea just to spend 20 minutes in some village for a bag full of roots. However, I still have the taste of ginseng in my mouth and it's midnight.

When we got back, the host sisters had the living room floor covered in newspaper and the little propane stove set up for our sam-kyeop-sal dinner (thick, Korean-style bacon). Who walks in the door right then but Sae Yeob – yes, I thought we were picking him up on Sunday, too, but apparently we are not. Does that mean we are still going to Seoul tomorrow? Who knows? Stay tuned tomorrow for the exciting conclusion.


After dinner (and copious drinking for the men-folk), the siblings all gathered round for some Jenga, which was my present to them along with a bunch of American candy (remember??). They LOVE Jenga. However, the way they play involves a punishment system. Practically all Korean games involve the loser being physically punished. There are three styles:

1. Being flicked on the forehead

2. Being flicked on the back of the wrist/arm

3. Being Indian Bop'ped

For Indian Bop, you lay down prostrate so that your back is available to everybody that didn't lose. Then, every person slaps your back repeatedly while saying “INDIANNNN” then, with one hard, final slap, “BOP”.

Yeah, I don't get it either, I just live here. I'll try to make a video of it the next time we play because it's pretty violent and people end up with red slap-marks on their forehead/arm/back. Oh, Korea.


Day 44 -- Drive-By English'ing and Weekend Plans

Sorry about the MIA faux pas list. The internet cut out RIGHT after I posted the last entry. Thank goodness it was after and not before, because I would've been ticked if I lost all that writing.

Today was another boring day. I spent most the day hanging around working on my lesson plan and the folder of photo files that I need for it. I should probably work on the website I started for the class. By "work on" I mean create a completely new blog account for it because I totally don't want my students finding me here on BRBKorea. Oof. awkward.

I'm starting to settle into a routine here. So far it goes like this:

10am --- wake up
11am --- breakfast via Min Kyeong, TV watching starts
1pm ---- lunch
3pm ---- second lunch (seriously, these people eat all the time)
5pm ---- mom returns from where ever she goes (work? superhero-ry?)
6pm ---- dinner
7:30pm - family walk/run at the public track/gym
8pm ---- shopping for the next day's meals
9pm ---- family time around the coffee/dinner table
12pm --- bed time


Today while at the track, I decided to split from the walk and actually break a sweat by running. I ended up apart from the family when it was time for a cool down lap. I was just ahead of a group of three students. Even though I was wearing my headphones, the volume was low enough that I could hear them saying to each other in Korean, "asjglaskdj English!" "No, don't do it!" alsdkfja English alksjdfals!"

Considering the surroundings (i.e. I was the only foreigner in sight), I figured they were talking about me, so I turned around and gave them a smile that intimated I understood everything they said (even though I didn't). That made them all giggle and finally the one boy got up the courage to say, "Hello! How are you!"

The tally begins. I will try to record every time a complete stranger practices English with me. Students and friends of the family don't count. It has to be a COMPLETE stranger.

DBE Tally: 1


I decided to break out the Korean vocab cards tonight and the host fam thought it was adorable. They made it a family activity to quiz me. We got to the word "plan" (noun) and I tried using it in a sentence: "I do not have plans this weekend." My host mother's smile disappeared and she shook her head. "No, no, not right. Have plans."

And that's how I learned that I would be going to Seoul this Sunday with the family, picking up Sae Yeob at the cousin's place along the way.

P.S. I would like to welcome our newest addition to the country list. Holla at'cha, Hong Kong!

Homestay Apartment Tour



Day 43 -- School Visit, Duck/Dog, and Chinese Food Bonding

It's a day late, but since I didn't do anything today, I'm going to write about yesterday.

I got up early so that I could go to school with Sae Yeob. (EDIT: yes, he was Seo Yeob before, but I've decided to Romanize his name as Sae Yeob since that's phonetically closer that Seo Yeob.) Pink Shirt Maybe Cousin drove us and TOEFL Student Maybe Cousin. (These are their nicknames because the first time I met PSMC, he was wearing a pink shirt and Sae Yeob mentioned something about a cousin. When I first met TSMC it was that day, when he was going to school to study for the TOEFL exam but he may also be a cousin.)

I met a bunch of teachers whose names and faces just blur together into a smattering of Korean stereotypes at the moment. I also got to see my classroom, which is named the "English Only Zone" and includes a virtual studio. The virtual studio is a blue room where students can tape skits, presentations, speeches, etc so that I can grade them on pronunciation and such. The graphic design teacher, the only other unmarried woman besides me, bought me a popsicle. It was a very nice gesture, despite it being about 10am at the time.

My coteacher announces she's taking me out to lunch along with Graphic Design Single Lady. She asks me if I've had pork. Yes. Beef? Yes. Chicken? Yes. "Deok?" Dog? "Yes, deok." "No, no, I haven't had dog, but I would like to try it," I tell her.

We get to the restaurant and the hostess brings out a big platter of raw, pink meat. The whole place smells overwhelmingly of ham, and it looks similar to pink ham, so I'm thinking "wow, cool, dog tastes a lot like ham." Wanting to be sure that this is, indeed, not ham, I ask my coteacher in Korean if this meat is pork. No, she says in English, it is "deok".


I try again, this time asking in Korean, "Is this dog meat?"
"NOOOOO," she laughs, "this is not dog! This is deok!"

Ooooh, it's DUCK. I don't feel as proud and adventurous as I did before.

In my classroom was a handful of students, all advanced English students studying to go to college in the States. They were pretty shy at first, nervous to introduce themselves to me and all. A little later, TSMC and friend started whispering.

Whisper whisper... "Teacher, Teacher, what is your name?" I answer, we go back to work.

Whisper whisper... "Lindsay Teacher, what is 'biosphere'?" I answer, we go back to work.

Whisper whisper... "Lindsay Teacher, do you have boyfriend?" I answer, we go back to work.

Whisper whisper... both boys go running out of the room, returning shortly with patbingsu for all their fellow classmates. TSMC friend walks to the desk, presents me with a bowl of patbingsu, and says, "Teacher, for you."

So. Effing. Cute.

Pink Shirt Maybe Cousin picked up Sae Yeob, TOEFL Student Maybe Cousin and I from school at around 4:30pm. That's right, these kids go to school for 9 hours a day DURING VACATION to study English. On the way home, they asked if I wanted to go get Chinese food with them. My nunchi senses were tingling so I said sure.

When we got there, the boys looked over the menu, arguing over what to get. My nunchi sense was still telling me that I should do something, so after they placed our order, I announced that I'd like to pay for everyone. They were a bit surprised at first and resorted to the typical Korean custom of saying "no, no, don't pay" even though they were thrilled. After the obligatory three rounds of going-back-and-forth arguing, it was settled that I was going to pay. Before you get too high an opinion of me, this was like a $10 check. It was more the gesture, but man, that gesture went a long way with these boys.

So, all in all, it was a good day. I'll post again in about 5 minutes with a list of faux pas that I've committed since coming here, but I'm anal about keeping things organized so the date will change.


Day 42 -- Settling In and Siblings


My host parents just walked into the house after working out together. Mom's going over a gym membership with my youngest sister, Min Kyeong, whom they constantly tease for being chubby. Min Kyeong is incredibly sweet and kind--this morning, after my shower, there was a knock at my door while I was changing. As I hurried to finish putting on my clothes, the door slowly creaked open and a tray of breakfast was hesitantly offered. She loves KPop and almost half the things out of her mouth are lyrics to the latest chart toppers.

At the other end of the couch is my other sister, Min Woo, who's studying despite it being the summer vacation. Next to her in this wide, spacious living room is my life-line and brother, Seo Yeob, stalking around on Cyworld, the Korean version of Facebook on his laptop. We even have a visitor today, a cousin the same age as Seo Yeob playing FIFA on the family computer. He'll be joining the military next month for his mandatory 2 year service.


My host father has had a lot of trouble pronouncing my name so far, especially the "L" and "zee" sounds. Before I left Chuncheon, a KEY Club friend had decided my Korean name should be Min Ji, since the pronounciation (Meen-chee) is fairly close to my American name. With that in mind, I offered to him that he use "Min Ji" instead of "Lindsay". It fit almost too well--my sisters are Min Oo and Min Kyeong, so calling me Min Ji is perfect. He proudly says now that he has three daughters, and it's only been 24 hours.

In another example, Seo Yeob was acting as a translator last night in a table-side discussion with the family while we waited up for Host Dad to return from drinking with the principal. I overheard him saying "Lindsay Noona", then he turned to ask me "Do you know what noona is? Is it okay?" He clearly doesn't know my history with being called noona. Oh, Seo Yeob, it is totally okay!

Tomorrow I have a meeting with my coteacher, where we'll discuss my teaching schedule, lesson ideas, see my classroom, and get my cell phone. Seo Yeob will be showing me how to take the bus to the school (I told you he was the life-line) so I've got to get to bed early to get there on time!

Still no pictures yet...


Day 41 -- Moving in to the Homestay

I think today's been like 18000 hours long. Approximately.

The morning was, just like Friday, a whirl of last minute packing and a little panicking. We were rushed over to Yonsei University just to wait forever to meet our principals. They had us all line up around the chairs where the mob of principals and coteachers waited. Our names were called and we'd step forward, bow, and wave to whoever was frantically looking for that particular ETA. Many principals brought flowers for their new teachers, and one even had a giant banner that they unfurled when the ETA's name was called.

After that, we all went out to the most awkward, physically uncomfortable lunch of my life (at the time). Sitting on the floor in a suit was not the best way to meet the two most powerful people in my life. The two hour car ride that followed was also not very convenient. But I suppose the crowning moment of the day was getting woken up from an unplanned nap as the car rolled up to the restaurant where, unbeknownst to me, my vice principal and host family was waiting to have ANOTHER floor sitting meal-meeting.

What can you do.

So I sat between my coteacher and the VP, surrounded by my principal, some random other teacher, my host parents, and my host brother. I tried to remember what the right questions were: when do I start teaching; what should I call you, host mom and host dad; do I use a textbook to teach from; should I do my own laundry... there were a million awkward things that I had to ask in between the rapid Korean they were all firing across the table.

When I got to the apartment, my host mother helped me unpack and put away all my clothes. She's really sweet and I hope I get to know her really well this year, helping out with the chores and cooking and shopping and everything. Host brother, Seo Yeop, is a super adorable high school senior who'll end up being my life-line for the year, since his English is the best so he's the de facto translator in the family. Host sisters seem a little shy and scared of me, but I sincerely hope they come around because they both love KPop and I know we'll have a common interest there.

Sorry no pictures again, but since I just moved in, I didn't want to seem like too much of a creep right away. Seoul pictures tomorrow, maybe homestay if you're lucky.

Day 39, 40 -- Seoul

It's already 1:00am and I have to get up crazy early tomorrow for Yonsei Day where I'll meet my principal! Therefore you will obviously not be getting pictures.

Day 39 -- Friday

I left Chuncheon in a whirl of last-minute packing and last-minute goodbyes from KEY Club. Most of the day was spent settling in and having talks about various Fulbright-y things. HOWEVER, after all that was the Ambassador's pool party, where there was all kinds of American food and a pool. That seems pretty obvious by the name of the party but in Korea, you never know. Seeing hot dogs and burgers and chips and tater tots and chicken nuggets was an out of body experience. Swimming in the pool while eating a s'more was almost lethal.

Later that night, I went out with a group and one of my classmates brought us to a place called the Pirate Bar. The beer came to us with dry ice in it, making it not only super cold but also bubbling. Need I say more.

Day 40 -- Yesterday (Saturday)

I spent most of Saturday on my own. I woke up late because sleeping in is a luxury I won't have for a long time now. I decided to go on my American junk food run so I took a taxi over to Youngsan, the Army base here in Seoul. Walking through the commissary was pretty ridiculous... so was the $50 bill I racked up on Campbell's soup, jerky, marshmellows, Jello, chips, Lucky Charms, and a whole bunch of other American food.

Afterwards, I managed to successfully navigate the Seoul subway over to Myeong-dong for some shopping. I met up with some of the ETAs there by pure coincidence, which was lucky because I got to tag along with them for some Mexican dinner. The evening was rounded out by another trip to Pirate Bar. Of course.

Day 41 -- Today (Sunday)

I woke up this morning with the strong desire for Western breakfast, so I scouted out a pancake place over in Apgujeong, the ritzy Beverly-Hills-of-Seoul district. I didn't actually find the right place, but I did still get to a Western breakfast place for some eggs, pancakes, bacon, and ham. I hit Myeong-dong again after that in hopes of finding some good teacher-heels, but no luck.

My last solo excursion of the day was to Kyobo Books, the biggest book store in all of Korea, apparently. I wanted some self-study books so I could continue learning Korean on my own but I didn't find much besides textbooks. I wanted a good slang dictionary/book and a vocabulary aide. I found a vocab book, so I guess I half-succeeded.

Tomorrow is Yonsei Day, where my principal and co-teacher will bring me to Nonsan and my host family. I found out Friday that my host family includes 5 people:

  • Dad (unsure what his profession is, maybe self-employed?)
  • Mom (housewife)
  • Brother (senior in high school)
  • Sister (freshman in high school)
  • Sister (6th grade in elementary school)

I'm super excited to meet them and I hope everything works out really well tomorrow with meeting all these people who'll be so important over the next 12 months. Additionally, this week I'll be setting up my Korean bank account, getting a cell phone, and touring the school--if not actually teaching my first classes.

This ends orientation, I'd say, and starting tomorrow, all my tags will be "Homestay Family", "Teaching", and things like that. Wow... time is going so quickly...!


Goodbye, Chuncheon/KEY Club

just a few pictures for me to get all nostalgic over

The only picture I have of everybody together--miss you guys already

Isabelle from KEY Club, the heart-throb of all the guys, American and Korean alike

My KEY Club language partner, Danny/Kohn-woo

My favorite non-biological little brother, Seong Jun

Teacher (선생님) teaching us yearbook-signing phrases

A message from one of our RAs

Daily Schedule at Orientation

Every day was the same for the most part, but I was still at the stage where every little thing was new and exciting just because it was in a different country.

Day 38, 39 -- Talent Show, Seong Jun's Invitation, and Graduation

Day 38 -- Wednesday

I had decided a week or so ago that I would volunteer for the Talent Show planning committee. For the most part, things went without a hitch and it was a great time. WE did end up going way, WAY over the time limit, but the atmosphere told me that people were all right with the lengthy show. (That's about all for this because I plan on posting a few videos once I bang out this update.)
Also, a few days ago, Seong Jun invited a few of the ETAs to his house. We weren't entirely sure what we were going to do there but we inferred that it must include dinner or something just because of the time at which it was set. He took us over to the apartment complex and into his family's home. We took our seats on the floor while his mother bustled in and out of the kitchen, bringing drinks, home-made cchan (Korean pancakes), and an impossibly massive pile of kimbap (Korean sushi).

The other two ETAs and I dove into the food--in this culture, food and drink are hugely important so we tacitly agreed on finishing all but a meaningful few as is customarily done to show that the host has provided so much delicious food that the guest cannot finish it all. We tore into the cchan and kimbap like the ship was going down.

While we took a breather for our bellies to adjust, his mother brought out dinner. The cchan and kimbap were just appetizers. We managed to finish everything in a very Korean-satisfactory manner, however, and it was so fun to see the Quintessential Korean Household before I go off to live in a homestay with my own Korean family.

Day 39 -- Today

Today was graduation, where all the ETAs were recognized for the intensive study program we were put through this past month. We all received diploma-like certificates that verify the successful completion of the course. It was a nice ceremony they held for us and it brought some closure to this whole orientation chapter. Some.

Tomorrow, I leave for Seoul where I'll spend a few days relaxing before I meet my principal and he whisks me away to Nonsan. The past few weeks have gone by so quickly and it's hard to believe that not only have I been here for 6 weeks now but I'm already torn apart with saying goodbyes...


More IETC Pictures

As promised! I stole these from the KEY Club members' Facebook pages. The ETAs are encouraging them to make Facebook pages because getting a Cyworld for us involves faxing our visas to some headquarters and that's just weird.

Getting Seong Jun ready for Miss KEY

In the middle of the traditional-Korean-bonfire-bonding-dance, we had to hold hands and spiral around the end person in line (me). This was the result. D'awww, look at all that cross-cultural love!

Team 4's Americans cooking spaghetti for dinner. It was a long wait for the water to boil, but I'm pretty sure everybody ate it, which wasn't true for all the American meals that ETAs cooked for the KEY Club members.

A group shot with everybody before we boarded the train back to Chuncheon. <3


Day 29 -- PLACEMENTS!!

Today I finally found out where I'll be living for the rest of the year!! Without further ado...

I will be teaching a co-ed high school in Nonsan!

My school is the Chungnam Internet High School ( I'm teaching 16 classes there, all with 20-25 students per class. I'm totally pumped and I think I'll really like it there. It's a fairly small place, very spread out, and it's mostly known for its strawberries and the big Korean army base nearby.

I'm so excited to learn more about it and I can't wait to get there! I'll post more after I'm done squealing and running to everybody to find out where they were placed. :D

Day 26, 27 -- Intensive English Training Camp (IETC)

Where to start... I'll keep it as on-topic and short as possible.

KEY Club has an annual outing to initiate the new members and build friendships amongst the club. These kinds of outings are common for Korean clubs and they're called MT (membership training). KEY's MT is known as IETC (Intensive English Training Camp). Don't let the name fool you because there really wasn't even much English going on except when they had to communicate with the ETAs.

On Saturday, the 20-some ETAs that went to IETC boarded up on a train bound for Seoul. We got off somewhere between Chuncheon and Seoul, journeyed down a gravel road, and ended up in a camp-site-slash-MT-place. There were a lot of other people there, but we had our own large room and an outdoors area that included a creek.
Upon arrival, we were split into teams--a handful of Koreans with a handful of Americans. (Pictured is my team, Team 4.) We played various games to win points, such as tongue twisters (some teams had English, some teams had Korean) and relay games. Some of the relay games were... well, different. But it was a lot of fun, even if my group wasn't great at anything but the couple games. Later we went swimming in the creek (with all our clothes on, of course), had dinner, and went to the bonfire, where we learned a traditional Korean dance. Afterwards, we had a short candle ceremony during which we said a few words about each other. We followed up that cute ceremony with drinking... HEY it's Korea, this is what they do here!

The drinking was basically the same as always--lots of drinking games and lots of bonding. The only difference was that (1) we taught the Koreans how to play Kings, Kings Cup, and Flip Cup and (2) there was lots of drawing-on-people-that-fell-asleep. The hazing was ridiculous, but so funny!
There's a lot of pictures that haven't been uploaded yet so I'll definitely make another picture post. I had a great time and would probably write more but there's an important announcement to make that I want to give a separate post to...