Friday, March 22, 2013

Ground Hog Day

I have just finished the end of my...... I think it is 3rd week? Yes, 3rd week teaching English. I am starting to know how Bill Murray felt in Ground Hog Day. I have been reliving the same day over and over again for the last couple of weeks. Each day is a little different, but my classes are essentially all the same. I change between 3 different lesson plans depending on the grade I am teaching. I am looking forward to teaching something different next week (though I still need to finish off the lesson plans). Classes have gone well but I did have 1 problem class this week. In the class were 5 boys who clearly did not want to be there and couldn't care less about English. I have since found out that they cause problems in all classes (not just English). I am not sure yet what I will do. If I can work out how to stop them disrupting the other students I will be happy. I tried separating them but that just resulted in them talking louder so they could hear each other across the room. 

Weekend in Iksan and Jeonju

Last weekend I traveled to Iksan all by myself to visit Jihyeon. I managed to get there without any assistance which I am proud of. 

On my way to Iksan I spotted someone moving into a new apartment. The Engineer in me thought it was interesting. I have never seen anything like this before. The load up an platform and send it up the outside of the building and then offload it through the balcony window. The elevators and stair wells in the unit complexes are quite small, so I guess this is the only way to get large furniture into the apartments. 

The first sign (that I have seen) that spring is on its way. WOOT!!! I can't wait for it to warm up.

And.... I made it to Iksan successfully. 

Now, I have been making a conscious effort to avoid the big M but Jihyeon really wanted to go there for lunch. I got the Bulgogi burger which is basically a normal hamburger but the meat is covered in some sort of Bulgogi sauce. It is pretty good. I don't know if I will go back to a quarter pounder or a cheese burger again. Also note how they served us in plastic glasses instead of the normal paper cup. I seized the moment and taxed one to use at home.

And yes that is right. Like most food in Korea (you will like this +David van Bilsen), you can get McDonalds delivered to your house by scooter (for free). 

We then headed to the movies to see Warm Bodies (zombie movie). It wasn't great but parts were funny. I crashed at Jihyeons place Saturday night. Her mum seems to like me, she kept giving me food and went out and bought some oranges and apples just for me :).

On Sunday we headed to Jeonju to visit a Hanok village. Hanok is a term used to describe traditional Korean housing. I went there in 2011 when I was last in Korea, but Jiheyon wanted to go with me so we headed off to Jeonju (about 1 hour from Iksan by bus) to have a squiz. It was good to check it out again and have a personal guide to explain some of the stuff to me. 

The painting in the background below is of the first king (Taejo Yi Seong-gye) of the Joseon period. You can read more about it here if you want but I will give you a quick rundown. The Kingdom of Joseon lasted for about 5 centuries and was founded after the overthrow of the Goryeo Dynasty. During this period Confucian ideals were integrated into society and a great deal of emphasis was placed on trade, science, literature and technology. It was in this period that the old Chinese characters were abandoned and a new writing style was invented by King Sejong the Great

The Koreans built sort of a temple/fort around the building where the painting is housed to protect it. This is the main entrance. 

For lunch we went to a Korean restaurant (the queue was out the door waiting for a table) and I had Kalguksu which is a Korean noodle dish consisting of handmade knife-cut wheat flour noodles served in a large bowl with broth and other ingredients. My meal cost 5000won (about AU$5). 

Wondering around the Hanok village I spotted this tree. It is meant to be 500 or 600 years old (I don't remember the exact age)

And next to the Hanok village was the first catholic church in Korea. The church was built on the site where the first catholic missionaries were martyred. 

Back in Daejeon

This week I saw (and heard) a bird first the first time since arriving in Korea. I have seen plenty of whopping great big bird nests high in the tops of trees but I had not seen or heard any birds. I wonder if I will see more as the weather warms up.

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