Day 140 -- To Seocheon... 일박이일!

The host fam took me on a weekend vacation to Seocheon, which is a little vacation town on the west coast. Yes, the beach. Yes, it is freezing cold.

It was a pretty good time. I like family bonding and there was quite a bit of that going on. I'm really lucky to have such a relaxed, fun-loving homestay. We didn't really do much--spent about 20 minutes taking pictures on the beach, then eating, and then the adults were all drinking and playing Go Stop while I hung out with the kids watching Twilight and the MNET Asian Music Awards (equivalent of the MTV Awards, except with 300% more Taeyang performances YES).
We also went to a little fish market, where the host family found it hilarious to see my reaction when they picked out a live fish, had a dude hit it on the head with a hammer, then fillet it while it's still futilely flapping around and bleeding everywhere. That was gross.

*also, 일박이일 = One Night, Two Days, a popular TV program where a group of celebrities are taking to various locations and given "challenges" to determine everything from what meal you eat to where you sleep.

The hotel we stayed at was shaped like a clump of mushrooms. lol wat?

Min Kyeong is my little buddy. She's always linking arms with me and holding my hand when we go places. AAAAA-dorable.

Sae Yeob, who's leaving in a little over a month for college in America. He speaks the most English so we end up sharing a lot more than other two. (Note: he's wearing a hat because he got a straight perm and he's all super freaked out about his hair now. Oh, Korean boys.)


Day 135 -- New Friends, Spontaneous Haircut, and Random Student Pictures

Uggggh so not a lot has been going on. Teaching in Nonsan, relaxing in Daejeon, the usual. The only thing that's really happened is that I've met a number of boys? So I guess pointless post will introduce you to the new cast of characters in my life, you know, for future reference.

Rosa: an Australian of Korean ethnicity--i.e. she speaks Korean fluenty--who I met through Hallie and the TaLK program
Cheong Pil: 26(?) year old from Seoul, job is repairing motorcycles, comes to Nonsan to visit his friends in the military
Seong Jeol: 27(?) year old living here in Nonsan, air traffic controller in the Korean Army
Do Hyeob: 27(?) year old also living in Nonsan, helicopter pilot in the Korean Army
Min Tae: 23(?) year old in Nonsan, some kind of soldier in the Korean Army

Cute Trainer: a trainer at the gym who is cute. duh.
Short Shorts: a wicked hot dude at the gym who used to wear short shorts all the time, but now wears beaters and sweats...the name stuck
Sleeveless Tee: another hot, but very short, dude at the gym who usually wears sleeveless tees
The Other Guy: hangs out with Cute Trainer, Short Shorts, and Sleeveless Tee, says hello to me every day, but isn't particularly attractive

Sae Yeob has decided to join the gym as well to get a six pack and lose his butt (?) before he goes to America. Y'all upcoming freshmen ladies can thank me later. A fun exchange at the gym yesterday while Sae Yeob was grabbing some things from his locker:

Cute Trainer: (having observed Sae Yeob and I joking around with each other) "So, is that boy one of your students?"
Me: "Yeah, he's one of my students. He's also my homestay brother."
Cute Trainer: "Homestay?"
Me: "Yeah, homestay. I live with him, together."
Sae Yeob: "I'm ready! let's go!"
Cute Trainer: (expression somewhere between confusion and horror)

So I think Cute Trainer doesn't understand that I live with THE WHOLE FAMILY, not just alone with a Korean boy. Losing critical details in translation--HILARIOUS! While we're on a vignette streak:

Sae Yeob: "My breasts hurt."
Me: "What? Oh. Your chest. Your chest is sore."
Sae Yeob: "Yes?"
Me: "Your pecs. Pectoral muscle."
Sae Yeob: "Ah, factorial! Like math."
Me: "Nnnope."
Sae Yeob: "My hips!" (slaps his butt)
Me: "That's Konglish! That is your butt, THESE are hips."
Sae Yeob: "Ah. I want to detach my butt. Like the cute trainer."

Apparently, it's the Korean ideal for men to be completely flat in the back, from shoulders to heels. Sae Yeob knows about Cute Trainer, apparently checked him out, and noted that he does not have a butt. In other news, that kid is going to KILL with the ladies, between how ripped I'm going to get him, the adorable Engrish, and the random noises he makes. (see previous video on making animal noises--today, he made the noise "boogle boogle" which is apparently Korean for "gurgle gurgle")


Student 1: "How do you spell Lindsay?"
Student 2: "ah, I don't know..."
Student 3: (super confidently) "L-I-N-G..."
Me: "Noooo try again!"
Student 3: "L-I-N-Z..."

And here are some random pictures

The class pretty boy, he didn't know I was taking this and demanded I retake and delete this one. His posed one was stupid so I deleted that instead and didn't tell him.

The funny guys in the class. They posed like this but I'm not sure why?

The class captain. She is a total B.A.M.F. and whips those boys into shape whenever they step out of line for me.

The best doodler in the class. He is, apparently, in love with my sister, Katie. And wants her to wear bling bling. (who the hell taught these kids the word "bling bling"??)

Tae Yang look-alike makes his second blog appearance, again being too adorable. This time, he finds this class on Giving Thanks PARTICULARLY interesting. I guess he's not into it if there's no baby bunnies involved.


Day 118 -- Cheongju Craft Festival and Meeting Konyang University Students

A few days ago, I got a call from Bora. Bora is an English professor at Konyang University, down the street from my apartment, and her nephew is one of my students at the Internet high school. She came to visit me at the school festival last week and was shocked to see me wearing jeans, sneakers, a ratty Penn State sweatshirt, and a baseball hat. She was so surprised to see me singing and dancing along to KPop songs with the students that she commented about me looking like a college student.

Well, duh. I only graduated in May.

After noticing that I do not, in fact, look, feel, or act like a member of the "professional" adult world, she told me that I should meet some of her students. SCORE. She called a few days later to ask if I'd be free on Saturday (i.e. Halloween) because her students wanted to take me to an exhibition. Regrettably, I had to tell her I already had plans. She said she'd call back another time.

Ten minutes later, she called again and we were set for Sunday at 1pm. Since I was in Gwangju for Halloween, I got about 2 hours of sleep from the time I left the bars/nightclubs and then had to wake up in order to start the 4 hour journey back to Nonsan for this meeting. Not even complaining though.

I wasn't sure what to expect because all she said was that I would go to an exhibition and I would like her students because they're "cute and smart". Now, since this is Korea, I didn't know if this meant I'd be meeting some nice girls, or if I was being set up with a boy because blind dates in Korea are called "meetings".

I met Bora across from my apartment after she ran to the grocery for some snacks(?). She was with a female student.

Okay, so I guess we're just going to the university to talk and hang out.

Then we got to Konyang and there were two male students waiting in the parking lot.

Okay, so it's a double date where we'll talk and hang out.

Then we got into a car and started driving away, picking up two more girls along the way.

Okay, now WTF is going on?

After two hours of driving, we finally arrived... somewhere I didn't recognize. It turns out we were in Cheongju, east of Nonsan on the other side of Daejeon, for a craft festival. Well, as long as everything makes sense, right?

In all honesty, though, I ended up having a great time. Things were awkward at first, with the students being way too shy to use English with me and my Korean being painfully limited. I bonded with two girls, Yae Ji and Chi Su, as we wandered around the exhibits.

Yae Ji was super cute--my first impression of her was that I thought she looked so Western: relaxed-fit jeans with sneakers, a sweatshirt, and puffy vest. Compared to the other girls, who wore designer-style suits, she seemed the most laid back. As we walked around, she kept linking her arm with mine. Adorable.

Chi Su was the most talkative. She was thrilled, it seemed, to discover I'm just like any other girl, despite being foreign. That is, when she commented on how cute a particular guy was and I agreed by pointing out another cute one, she almost died of shock. We spent the rest of the day picking out hot guys from the crowd and fawning over the artists showing little kids how to make wheel-thrown pottery.

Next to that booth was a tent offering edible house-building kits. In other words, the Korean almost-right equivalent of a gingerbread house. Never mind the fact that it was the day after Halloween, or that instead of gingerbread and candy it included saltine crackers and Ritz, it was great constructing a hideous monstrosity of carbohydrates and sugar. I'd say that was the turning point, when we went from slightly-awkward-and-unsure to this-is-weird-but-mutually-enjoyed.

At the end of the night, the others had opened up a bit, too. At dinner, one of the boys admitted he had a lot more fun than he thought he would and that we should do this type of get-together again another weekend.

I really should text Yae Ji or Chi Su to maintain contact, because this kind of interaction is EXACTLY what I've been craving out here in Nonsan. I haven't had that much fun since Chuncheon and I know the reason why: I need friends my age here in Nonsan. This may very well be a huge milestone and an emotional turning point in my grant year, if I play my cards right.