Day 225 -- Last Day at Daegu University

We took our final exam today for Korean class. It wasn't difficult at all, but since I didn't study a lot of the very technical vocabulary, I only came up with a B+. I'm okay with that. I took the course mostly for myself and my own benefit, not for the grade, and I feel like I'm coming away with more than I came in. Winner!

I went out with some of the F*brighters tonight and our new Japanese friend Kaeskae (idk how to spell that) , but we all came back early. The dorms have a midnight curfew (I am pushing 23 and I have a midnight curfew wooooow) so we had to hustle to beat the doors.

Tomorrow Keely and I will catch an early train back to Daejeon, where I'll transfer to a bus back to Nonsan, where I have a date with Doyup to celebrate my last weekend before classes start back up again on Tuesday. boo :[

Doyup and I are constantly learning new things about American/Korean culture. For one, he was surprised when I told him that my style of dating, at least, is pretty low-key. My favorite kind of date is renting a movie and/or having an indoor picnic while in sweats and a T-shirt, rather than the more eleborate flower bouquets and high-heels and complementary couple outfits that I guess a lot of Korean girls really like.

So one night we decided to make dinner together. We switched on the TV, found something fun, then went grocery shopping together to find things for Korean-style grilled beef. It was so laid back and comfortable. I love having date-dates with flowers and whatever, don't get me wrong, but I much rather keeping it simple. I'm hoping we can do something fun like that again this weekend before classes start up and I launch into the new semester.


Day 234 -- Seafood Pancheon Cooking Class

Jane (my roommate in the dorms), Tachiya, and Seth prepping for what will be a legendary pancheon-making class.

From left to right: Matt, Tachiya, Takuya, and Jane. Tachiya, why are you pretending to drink the oil?

After we mixed everything up, Tachiya accidentally poured too much batter into the pan. What to do? Being a 75% American group, the obvious answer was "bigger is better", so we made a massive pancheon that attracted the class's attention when it came time to flip it. Even the teachers wanted to see if Seth would be able to do it.

Seth, triumphant, after his fantastic--read: successful--pancheon-flip!


Day 226 -- Still at Daegu

Classes are halfway finished, and I'm kind of disappointed because I still don't feel like I have my money's worth, considering we missed classes Monday (for Seolnal) and will be missing class again on Friday due to a field trip to Gyeongju. I've already done an extensive (read: exhausting) tour of Gyeongju back in the fall, so I don't think I'll be going again. I've seen the historical sites and it is muuuch colder now. Maybe snowboarding again?

Today I ran into Yuta again, so a few of the kids from class and some of the Japanese students had lunch together. The Japanese boys in my class are hilarious and we met up later to do homework together at the study hall with some of the other Americans. I'll probably miss that the most when I head back to Nonsan next week. Being surrounded by people just as serious as you are about learning Korean makes it a fun environment.

IIIIIII should start seriously lesson planning for next semester... hmm..


Day 224 -- Solnal and Valentine's Day

This weekend I went back to Nonsan for Solnal and Valentine's Day, which happened to fall on the same day this year. Solnal is the lunar new year celebration in which Koreans traditionally honored their ancestors and offered food. Other traditions include flying kites with wishes written on them and eating dokkguk, rice cake soup. DY cooked dokkguk for lunch on Sunday for me and one of his Army friends, Min Oo, who brought his English teacher girlfriend. She was actually not ashamed to use her English, so it was a good time.

Solnal was also Valentine's Day, so Min Oo's girlfriend (who said her English name was Pink) brought the felt house she made for Min Oo. It was filled with candy and kind of tacky looking, big and gaudy and a little like a kindergarten craft. I guess that makes sense though because she's a kindergarten teacher. I thought the chocolates I made for DY looked cuter and more sincere.

Yeah, cute as hell, right? I can totally do the Korean-girlfriend thing. DY said he hated getting gifts on Valentine's Day though because the bigger Valentine's Day is, the better White Day has to be. HAHA TOO BAD

In unrelated topics, it is around that time of year to think about extending for a second year of teaching English in Korea or finding a biopharmaceutical job back home to America. I'm getting a lot of differing opinions, but when I lay out the pros and cons for me--personally--I really feel like I have more to gain at this point in my life by staying in Korea. Professionally, maybe it's not the best choice because staying out of the field for long isn't a great resume bullet, but I guess in my less-than-wise-years I'm figuring that there's the rest of my life to work on my professional life. I should do this adventure-kind-of-stuff while I'm young, right?



Day 219 - Daegu University Korean Classes

I got to Daegu University fine on Sunday. Saturday was a bust--I went all the way to Seoul with my luggage only to find out that the refugee classes had been canceled. I was pretty pissed. they forgot to contact me because that first week I went to the hospital and they didn't get my cell phone number.

Classes are pretty good. I'm in an intermediate level with a bunch of F*bright English teachers from my Chuncheon orientation class and a handful of Japanese college students. It's really interesting to live in the International House because there's so many people from all over the world, but we're all speaking to each other in Korean. I made a Japanese friend, Yuta, and went out for grilled pork with him and a few friends last night.

We don't have classes on Monday due to the Lunar New Year, so I'm going back to Nonsan to hang out with the boyfriend there since Sunday is Valentine's Day and fo'sho I didn't slave over those chocolates and the scrapbook to present them AFTER VDay. Besides, there's nothing to do at Daegu University because the university is actually a good 30 minutes from Daegu city = nothing to do. It's not even much of a college town, not many bars or restaurants out the front gate. And the weather here is super poopy. It's been foggy and rainy since I got here. Maybe paying the extra first-born-son for Ewha University or Ganada hagwon in Seoul would've been worth it... hmm...

But, all in all, it's nice to be back at a college. I love learning and I feel like my Korean is improving a lot, so it's a nice way to spend my last few weeks of vacation. Now, I just need to make Yuta my bff so I can travel to Japan for cheap... (don't tell DY!)


Day 210 - Snowboarding, Big Bang Concert, Valentine's Preparations

Jan 25--

Doyup took Monday off from work since it was his birthday weekend. He really wanted to go snowboarding so we made preparations to go dawn skiing. If you go early in the morning, you can get a big discount and there's not a lot of people around for early morning skiing, so it's not very crowded. We woke up at 3:25am so we could get there for the 6:00am start time.

We rolled into Muju Resort about half an hour before 6am, perfect because I needed to rent equipment. In Korea, you can even rent snowpants and jackets. All together--board, boots, and clothes--I only paid about $10 for everything.

BUT, when we got there, all the lights were out. Everywhere. We drove around in the pitch black wondering where all the people were. DY finally called the resort and it turns out dawn skiing doesn't start until 8:30.


We found a restaurant that was open and had a very slow breakfast to pass the time. It was a lot of fun though and here's a butt load of pictures!

Jan 29 -- BIG BANG!!!
I went to the Big Show. HEEECKKKK YESS! I have no pictures because I was too excited and too close to the security guards to break out my camera. But I was inches away from Daesung and Seungri so THAT WAS AWESOME! I was filmed by the crew so if I end up on the concert DVD I'm totally buying a copy so I can show everybody how ridiculous I am. But I loved it. It was great. I loooove Big Bangggg!
These days I'm busy preparing for my 3 weeks in Daegu studying Korean at their intensive 3-week language program. I move there on Sunday, so I want to get my hair cut/styled/dyed, study a lot for the entrance exam, and finish my Valentine's Day presents for Doyup. Here in Korea, Valentine's Day is only for boys. The girlfriends give gifts (read: hand-made chocolates) to the boyfriends on Valentine's Day, and the boyfriends give gifts to the girlfriends a month later (March 14) on White Day.
I've been working pretty hard making a scrapbook of all the important dates in the relationship so far--first time we met, first time we talked, stuff like that--because he really likes handmade ridiculously cute things like that. I am also obligated to make chocolates for him because they are the standard Valentine's Day gift in Korea, even though he doesn't like chocolates. I also need to think of a cute date so if you have ideas, let me know!