Anyway, here is the result.
15th Feb 2013 - Departing Brisbane airport
16th Feb 2013 - My home for the next week. This is where Jays brother lives during the university semester. The sliding door on the left is the bathroom and you can see the bed in the reflection in the other sliding door at the back of the photo. Pretty small but cheap. It is costing me about $40 to stay here for the week. There is a very small kitchen down the hall which is shared by every on the floor (6 other people).
17th Feb 2013 - This is a "Rodeo Street" near where I am staying this week in Daejeon. What does that mean? Well, there are no bucking bulls anywhere is sight as the name "Rodeo" might suggest. Koreans seem to have taken the word and apply it to areas like the one below. In short it is a "party" area. There are lots of restaurants, karaoke rooms, game arcades, pool rooms, PC rooms, etc in the area. Jay and I found a place that specializes in fried chicken for dinner. I was intending to post a photo of an amazing Mandu (dumpling) restaurant we went to for lunch, but stupid me forgot to put the SD card in my camera :(
18th Feb 2013 - Today I signed up with olleh, a phone company in South Korea. Pictured is the store where I signed up (one of about 5 olleh stores within a 5 minute walk of my room). Now that I have a sim card I can use my phone to help me get around (maps, bus timetables, etc) and to stay in touch with people too.
19th Feb 2013 - I rode the subway for the first time in Daejeon today. It is very clean and easy to work out what platform you need to go to. During peak times the subway comes every 5 minutes, and in off peak times it comes every 10 minutes.
20th Feb 2012 - Today I met up with John (a fellow Australian who is the brother of one of my primary school teachers) who is also working and living in Daejeon teaching English. He has been here for about 4 years now.
21st Feb 2013 - I arrived at EPIK orientation yesterday but we didn't kick things off until today. After lunch I went for a walk around the KT training facility (sort of like a university campus) and took a couple of photos. This is where I will be living for the next week. I am on the 3rd floor on the far right of the picture.
22nd Feb 2013 - It snowed today! I took this shot walking to my first lecture this morning. I think this is the first time I have ever seen snow fall. It looked so light and fluffy. The day warmed up a little (to around 3 degC) and the snow melted and has now refrozen as a think layer of ice over everything. It is very slippery.
23rd Feb 2013 - Today in my hidden wonders of Korea class we wore the traditional Korean dress known as Hanbok. The pants are mega baggy and really comfortable.
24th Feb 2013 - Today we had an excursion to a traditional Korean folk village. It was pretty good. It was interesting to see the different styles of homes they built and how they went about their everyday lives. I can't imagine living in one of these homes during winter though. I would be sick constantly. Speaking of sick, I think I caught something today being out in the cold all day :(
It would be really nice to come back to the village in the fall when the leaves change colour and it is much warmer.
25th Feb 2013 - Today I thought I would take a photo of my dorm room at the EPIK orientation. Can you guess which bed is mine :)
26th Feb 2013 – While this isn’t the most interesting photo I thought I would share what bathrooms are like in Korea. As you can see it isn’t very big. The whole room is basically the shower cubicle. It is fairly typical (from what I have seen so far) for the shower head to be what I would consider a “disabled” shower head. It can be pulled off the wall. When you have finished having a shower it can be difficult to get dressed again because the whole room is wet and steamy. Oh, and you are also supposed to wear "shower shoes" when using the bathroom.
27th Feb 2013 - Today was the last day of EPIK orientation. I took this picture at the closing ceremony. Up on stage are all the people who made the Daejeon orientation work as well as it did.
28th Feb 2013 - Today I left the EPIK orientation venue and finally met two of the people I will be teaching with. I have 5 co-teachers in total, but the two lovely ladies pictured here are the two that greeted me and took me out to lunch. I was feeling pretty sick but I put on a brave face and tried to be as positive as possible.You know what they say about first impressions.
1st March 2013 - I was really sick today. I spent all day in my lovely new bed (I arrived at my apartment yesterday). I was too sick to go out and buy any food. I had to make do with an apple and some snack foods Jihyeon bought me.
3rd March 2013 - I still felt like death warmed up today, but I ventured outside with Jihyeon to see what shops were near where I live. I bought some fruit at this small market near where I live (about a 1 minute walk away). It was a little expensive but it is winter at the moment so all fresh food is expensive.
5th March 2013 - Today I got a new fridge. My old one did not work properly. It ran constantly but didn't get cold. I told one of my co-teachers yesterday that my fridge did not work and she was kind enough to contact the realestate agent and organise a replacement for me.6th March 2013 - Today I had my first class. I had a few technical problems (power point was not installed properly on the computer). It was just an introduction lesson about me so ended up just walking around the class showing some pictures of me and my life in Australia. This is a classroom dedicated to English, but I share it with 5 other teachers. I have 22 classes a week, of which about 6 are in this room. I wish I had my own room. Then I could put up some Australian things. Oh well...
7th March 2013 - No sooner had I started teaching and all my classes were cancelled (just for the day). All the students had to sit exams all day so I spent the day at my desk doing lesson planning.
8th March 2013 - I told myself I wasn't going to fill this album with lazy pictures of things that I ate, but I thought I would include this meal since I got my appetite back today. Hooray for feeling better. I still have a cough but I am on the mend. This is the lunch that they served up at school today. In the top left is Kimchi, bottom left is rice and some sort of Korean curry and in the bottom right is some sort of cabbage soup.
12th March 2013 - Today my school gave me a key. I no longer have to wait for my co-teachers to arrive to let me into my classrooms. It is a nasty looking key but it works.
14th March 2013 - This is just 1 of 5 chicken & beer pubs/restaurants within a 2 minute walk of my apartment. The only thing they serve is fried chicken and beer. It is very popular in Korea and I guess a sign of the drinking culture here.
15th March 2013 - My ARC (Alien Registration Card) arrived today. It was pretty quick. less than 10 days (including weekends).
16th March 2013 - I traveled to Iksan (Jihyeon's city) for the first time today. I am very proud. I was able to get all the way there without any assistance from Jihyeon.
17th March 2013 - Today Jihyeon and I went to a traditional hanook village. The stylings of the buildings was traditional, but it didn't feel very traditional to me. Inside the buildings were restaurants, cafe's and 7/11's. Pictured here is sort of a fort/temple which houses a painting of the first king of the Joseon period in Korea.
18th March 2013 - I did the washing for the first time today without Jihyeon's assistance to drive the machine. I wish I had of listened to her when she showed me how to use it (I was sick at the time). I randomly pushed buttons until it did stuff.
19th March 2013 - I saw (and heard) a bird for for the first time since arriving in Korea. I have seen lots of bird's nests but this was the first bird I saw.
20th March 2013 - Today I went for a walk to find what looked like a park (a big green area with no buildings) on Google maps. Turns out it is actually an art gallery or something. Thanks Google maps!
21st March 2013 - Another day, another English school. As I was walking home today I spotted some workmen installing a new English school sign. Koreans are crazy about learning English. Many of my students attend a second school after going to the normal public school. At this second school the are often busy studying until 10pm at night.
22nd March 2013 - Today after my final class I returned to my desk to find a Bulgogi burger (basically a normal hamburger) and a can of pepsi. I often return to my desk to find a gift from a parent (normally some home made rice cake). I am not sure exactly what the go is, but I think parents send food to teachers to show their appreciation.
23rd March 2013 - I went for a walk today stumbled on this park which had some traditional Korean huts on display. I tried to take photos of these on my second day in Korea but I was stupid and forgot to put my SD card in the camera. Anyway, I stumbled across them again today so took some photos. Even back in the stone age they were quite advanced. Note the CCTV sign on the doorway ;)
24th March 2013 - Today was Jihyeon's fathers birthday. He was kind enough to invite me to spend the day with them all. The food was all great. I felt like I was going to pop at the end of the day. Pictured here is the birthday cake. It is not like western birthday cake. It is made up of dozens of small rice cakes. Koreans really love their rice cake.
25th March 2013 - I had a lot of work to do this afternoon (rewriting some lesson plans to make them more fun) so I didn't have time to walk too far. I took a picture of the local 24/7 convenience store a stones through from my unit which I have been frequenting to buy snacks.
26th March 2013 - One of my students gave this to me today. Makes all the work I put into making my lessons fun worth while.
27th March 2013 - I spotted this sign today and it made me laugh. Since when do scooters pay attention to ANY rules. They have a free pass to do whatever they want.
28th March 2013 - Giving small gifts in Korea is a pretty big thing. It is often down when you meet someone new or someone does something for you. In this case I bought 6 of these panda cookies for my co-teachers at school to say thanks for being super friendly and helpful. In my teachers room I also shared some tim tams my mum sent from Australia to say thanks to them for eating with me at lunch and being friendly in general.
29th March 2013 - I spotted this birds next up a tree when going for a walk. All the birds nests seem quite large (about the size of a motorbike helmet) but this one seemed to take the cake. I am not sure what sort of bird lives in it but I can only guess it builds such a big nest to try and keep warm in winter.
30 March 2013 - Today I traveled to Seoul with Jihyeon to go to the wedding of one of her friends. It was a little different to a western wedding, but not that different. The main differences were there was no best man or maid of honor and afterwards the meal was basically a quick lunch and the bride and groom were no where in sight.
31st March 2013 - This is the entrance to the supermarket near my place. I only found it by chance. I happened to see a flier sticky taped to the wall outside. The supermarket is down a couple of levels in the basement of a building. I can't read the writing on the door, by NH is a bank in Korea which is also in the same building. When I walked past the door initially I thought it was just an entry for the bank.
1st April - I was a little worried about today as it was April fools day. Luckily nothing happened to me but I did hear a story about some students that moved some room numbers around and resulted in teachers going to the wrong rooms. Anyway, I should talk about the picture. Today there was an assembly outside of all the students. The older students (grades 8 and 9) had to say hello to the grade 7 students.
2nd April 2013 - Not that exciting, but I took my rubbish out today. It is a little different to Australia. Here I just leave my bag of rubbish by the side of the street and someone comes along and collects it. There is no designated rubbish day and no wheelie bins. At the supermarket you have to purchase the green bags (pictured) for 1000 won ($1) each for your rubbish. Recycling can be stacked up in whatever you have handy. The brown container is for food waste. In Korea they recycle their food. It will become compost and be used on the local farms.
3rd April 2013 - A couple of weeks ago some disabled students gave me a card welcoming me to Korea. I tracked them down today in their home room and had my photo taken with them. I gave them some small Koalas to say thanks.
4th April 2013 - My first bill power bill. I have been in my unit for about a month. My electricity for the month came to a whopping 6360 won (about $6). That is about 1/5 what I would have paid in Australia for the month. In Korea heating and cooking is (normally) done with gas. I am keen to see what my gas bill is like.
5th April 2013 - I returned to my desk this afternoon to find something pretty nifty. I am sure this is nothing new, but I have never seen it before (I don't get out much). In the top of the cup is a small bowl with some chicken nuggets covered in spicy sauce and under it in the cup is soft drink. Great idea!
6th April 2013 - I didn't get up to much today. It rained all day. I spotted a rubbish truck doing the rounds. Because of the narrow streets and cars parked everywhere wheelie bins are typically not used. The only place I have seen them used is for food scraps from restaurants. All regular trash gets tied up in special plastic bags you have to buy from the super market and left on the side of the road for the trash collection truck.
7th April 2013 - Today I had a chance to try my hand at making rice cake :). Basically you hit a pile of cooked rice with a big hammer and squash it repeatedly. They were pulling foreigners out of the crowd to have a go. The two girls that were before me were pathetic. I showed everyone how it should be done :)
8th April 2013 - Today was the first day of more teacher training. I have training every afternoon this week for 3 hours each day. YAY....
9th April 2013 - The signs pointing to the toilets are drawn on the window with whiteboard market. This sort of thing is typical in Korea (especially in things like coffee shops). They often cheap out on doing something but somehow make it cool and trendy. For example, I have seen a menu hand written on the back of an old cereal box in a restaurant.
10th April 2013 - There are pushbike stations everywhere in Daejeon. I have not investigated how to use them yet but I can see it being very convenient.
11th April 2013 - BREAKING NEWS: South Korea are conscripting school students to build defensive rockets.
Obviously I am joking. I thought it funny that with all the North Korean chest beating at the moment my students are building rockets in science class.
12th April 2013 - Today was the last day of the GET in-service training in Daejeon. The local news station came and did some filming.
13th April 2013 - I could have gone to a FREE PSY concert today... but Jihyeon had to work :(. I went to Iksan to meet her for a movie and dinner after work. At the bar we went to for dinner I spotted a XXXX bottle on the wall. I decided to have a drink :). On the TV you can see PSY onstage at his free concert in Seoul :(.
14th April 2013 - Pictured is a solar powered light thing embedded in the footpath near my place. There are a whole heap of them. They look pretty cool at night.
15th April 2013 - Spotted this guy hanging from a rope cleaning the windows of an apartment building.
16th April 2013 - Some cherry blossoms overhanging a street near my place.
17th April 2013 - Walking back from the school cafeteria after lunch a couple of boys were hanging out the window and yelled "hello teacher Phil". As soon as I took my phone out to take a photo everyone wanted in on the action :).
18th April 2013 - One thing I have not been able to find at any supermarkets is frozen vegetables. It is annoying because they make cooking so quick and easy. I am going to experiment with cutting up a bunch of vegetables and freezing them myself. The teacher that sits next to me in my office was kind enough to lend me a chopping thing to try. It worked really well, but cut the carrot up way to small.
19th April 2013 - Today my school held a debating contest (in English) and I was one of the judges. I was actually impressed with how well the students did.
20th April 2013 - I am sure these are not exclusive to Korea, but it was the first time I had seen one so I decided to take a photo. It puts a bag around your umbrella when it is wet. Pretty nifty invention.
21st April 2013 - This is a picture of my street at night. You can see there are lots of cars everywhere and there are many cars double parked. This is a normal thing in Korea. If you double park someones car it is expected that you leave your hand break off and the car in neutral so it can be pushed out of the way if needed. People park in all sorts of crazy places but (almost) never get booked.
22nd April 2013 - In Korea if you have a large piece of furniture you want to throw away you have to buy special stickers to put on it, leave it on the side walk and then call a waste removal company to come and pick it up. If you don't do this it will sit on the side of the road until the end of time.
23rd April 2013 - YAY, the tap is in the on position :). Yesterday my gas was turned off. It turns out I had been illegally using gas for the last 2 months. The gas company did the rounds yesterday and turned my gas off. One of my co-teachers was kind enough to sort it out for me today and get the gas turned on again.
24th April 2013 - Just one example of Koreans doing illegal things on the road. This guy felt it was perfectly OK to park his truck on the intersection corner and try and sell his stuff. He was playing a loud announcement from the speaker sitting on the top of his truck. Behind the truck you can see a van with it's back open. It is also parked illegally on the side of the road selling clothes.
25th April 2013 - When I go for a walk in the afternoon I often see old people bending over digging what look like weeds out of the ground. The government support network for old people in Korea isn't that great. They often have to resort to collecting cardboard and glass for recycling to earn some extra cash. I can only assume that they are also picking Mugwort for similar reasons (which is sad). Mugwort is a plant that is used in various soups and salads. More info here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mugwort#Korea
26th April 2013 - See the guy in the green jacket? He is actually an attendant who was running around fueling up cars. You don't see that kind of service in Australia.
27th April 2013 - My first ever baseball game complete with cheerleaders.
28th April 2013 - The entry gate to the palace which was located inside Hwaseong Fortress in Suwon.
29th April 2013 - Today I went for a walk to where the World Expo was held in 1983. The whole place was deserted which made it feel eerie. There were signs that it was still in use (vending machines packed with food and marque tents) but it felt like I was in an end of the world movie.
30th April 2013 - One of the many vending vending machines I see around the place packed with crazy stuff that no one in their right mind would buy.... but people must, because it is profitable for the machines to be stocked and powered.
1st May 2013 - It was a public holiday today so I met up with some other westerners for hamburgers. On the way home I spotted this "business room". There is no delicate way to put it. This is a brothel. Everyone knows about these places in Korea but people don't like to openly talk about them. A business room is where (some) business men go to seal business deals.
2nd May 2013 - This is one of the main roads through the middle of Daejeon. On the left side you can see the large apartment buildings which are typically built by one of the big South Korean conglomerates. On the right side you can see smaller apartment buildings (3 or 4 floors) which have been built by average every day Koreans as an investment.
3rd May 2013 - Spring is in full swing in Daejeon. These purple flowers are everywhere.
4th May 2013 - Today I went to the Hampyeong butterfly festival with Jihyeon's family. There weren't many butterflies but there were lots of flowers.
5th May 2013 - I went to a coffee shop with Jihyeon for lunch today. This isn't a mobile phone, it is the beeper they gave us to let us know when our order was ready. While we were waiting it played advertising videos. As you can see in the picture it is alerting us that our order was ready in both Korean and English. It also made an audio announcement and vibrated on the table.
6th May 2013 - The yellow things in the picture are Korean melons. They are for sale everywhere at the moment. They taste alright. In the first week I was in my apartment the local fruit shop gave me one when I bought some apples and oranges. I didn't know what to do with it so I just left it in my fridge. It's still there. lol.
7th May 2013 - Today we had a fire/earthquake evacuation drill at school today. My period 6 class was cancelled :). I am not sure why they lit a fire on the school oval. They tried to demonstrate putting it out with a fire extinguisher but failed pretty badly. The fire was too big and too hot.
8th May 2013 - Korean meals are typically served with an array of side dishes. Pictured are some prepackaged side dishes at my local supermarket. Most of the side dishes pictured are different variations of Kimchi.
9th May 2013 - These lanterns are getting hung everywhere along the streets to celebrate Buddha's birthday (which is next Friday).
10th May 2013 - I went for a walk today and spotted this which was a little odd. My guess is it is a homeless person who has set up under the bridge. I have seen a few homeless people (jackets stuffed with newspaper to keep warm) around town, but this is the first homeless camp that I have seen. There is not a lot of support for people down on their luck here in Korea.
11th May 2013 - Saturday was a day of firsts for me. My first haircut in Korea, the first time I have had my hair cut by a man and the first time in I don't know how long that I didn't get my standard number 4 clipper cut.
12th May 2013 - I went to the Daejeon National Cemetery today. After eating we spent a couple of hours wondering around the cemetery. Pictured here are some families visiting the graves of loved ones. In Korea visiting the graves of people that have passed away is seen as being a really important thing to do. As you can see in the picture it was a whole family affair. People basically have a picnic by the grave and I am assuming tell stories about the person who passed away or maybe even speak as though the dead person is there with them.
13th May 2013 - Most of the students at school were away today so the teachers in my staff room decided to have an cookup.
14th May 2013 - While out walking this afternoon I spotted this interesting contraption. I took a video and uploaded it here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4mJEK4QpDeU. It is making Korean rice cookies.
15th May 2013 - Today was a easy day. I had no classes because my grade 1 and 2 classes were away on camp, and my grade 3 classes had to go to the local park for a photo shoot for their school year book.
16th May 2013 - Old women selling fruit and vegetables on the side of the road is a common sight in Korea. Many elderly people have barely enough money to survive, so they do what they can to earn a little extra. They resort to selling vegetables on the side of the road, collecting cardboard and glass for recycling and often are employed as cleaners.
17th May 2013 - Today Jihyeon and I traveled to Gyeongju to visit some historical sites in Korea. In the morning we went to Bulguksa temple and then climbed the mountain to this giant bell. It cost 1000 won to ring the bell.
18th May 2013 - Today we were still in Gyeongju visiting the different sites. We took this at another temple much closer to the city. The pagoda used to be 9 levels, but it was knocked down at some point. During the Japanese occupation they rebuilt it to only 3 levels.
19th May 2013 - Still in Gyeongju but on our way home. It was a wet and yucky day so we headed home earlier than we intended. On the way home we encountered this electronic warning system to warn pedestrians when it was unsafe to cross. If you stepped onto the road while the red man was flashing, it would play an audio message telling you not to cross the road.
20th May 2013 - I went shopping today. I didn't buy either of the things pictured, but I could smell them..... from way out on the street. This supermarket is down in the basement of a building. The smell was so strong that it made its way up two flights of stairs and out onto the street. Koreans love their squid.
21st May 2013 - In this picture you can see that the arrow used to point in the other direction. There is very good reason for this. During the Japanese occupation Koreans were forced to walk on the left hand side of the footpath (rather than the right hand side which was common at the time of the Japanese invasion). A few years ago there was a big campaign to change it back to the way it was before the occupation. All across Korea arrows were spun 180 degrees in an act of defiance.
22nd May 2013 - Something common to most apartment buildings in Korea is is gas (or oil) under floor heating. Each apartment has its own heating unit placed out on their (for want of a better word) balcony. In this picture you can see the gas pipes running up the side of the building and the heat exhaust poking out the side. You will also notice that all the balconies are enclosed (and also have double or triple glazed windows). This is because it gets damn cold in winter.
23rd May 2013 - For the last couple of months the trees have been showing signs of life (fresh shoots) but it has only been the last couple of days that they have undergone the transition from sticks to fully leafed trees. It is nice going for a walk under them in the afternoon.
24th May 2013 - It is exam time. This last week I have been relegated to the hallway to conduct English speaking tests outside my classrooms while my co-teacher manages the class. Students were given (a couple of weeks ago) a series of questions that I may or may not ask them. Their task was to prepare and memorise responses. On the desk you can see three green slips of paper. I let fate decide which set of questions I will ask them.
25th May 2013 - Went shopping for a couple/engagement ring today. Traditionally in Korea couples get what is called a set of couple rings before they get engaged. When they do get engaged there is no engagement ring. My full blog post about couple rings can be found here.
27th May 2013 - This is one of the things I find interesting about Korea. Everywhere there is rampant development going on as cities continually expand and build new buildings and roads but it is still not unusual to see a farmer tending his field on an empty block in the middle of the city.
28th May 2013 - YOU SHALL NOT PASS! We had some steady rain last night so I went for a walk down to the river to check out what it was like after a little rain. Under the water in this picture are a set of large stepping stones you can (normally) use to cross to the other side. As you can see they are under water.
29th May 2013 - Golf driving ranges seem to be popular in Korea. When I travel to Seoul on the KTX I pass quite a few a long the way. Pictured here is a golf driving range built on top of HomePlus (a large supermarket that sells everything from food to electrical goods and clothing).
30th May 2013 - This is the first graffiti I have seen here in Korea. They are no work of art, but as far as graffiti goes, it isn't ugly.
31st May 2013 - I often go for a walk around here in the afternoon. You can see the stepping stone river crossing (center front), the place where the world expo was held (left at the foot of the mountains) and the many apartment buildings and the area where I live (right).
1st June 2013 - Watermelon season has started. There are watermelons for sale everywhere. This guy (giving me a weird look) parked his truck (illegally) on the side of the road and was selling them for bargain prices. Jihyeon warned me to never buy from these people because the quality is often not very good.
2nd June 2013 - It only seems to be in the last few weeks that the city has finally turned the fountains back on. During winter they are all drained of water to stop the frozen water damaging the pipes and I'm guessing to also remove the safety hazard frozen water can be for pedestrians.
3rd June 2013 - One thing you don't see many of in Korea is motorbikes. There are oodles of scooters terrorizing pedestrians, but I rarely (if ever) see motorbikes (even Japanese crotch rockets). I spotted this bike parked outside a fried chicken place in my street. There were a bunch of middle aged men standing across the road admiring it.
4th June 2013 - I snapped this while going for my afternoon walk. I like the symmetry. There are a number of small rivers running through Daejeon. They are not very deep and have rocky bottoms.
5th June 2013 - State of Origin Game 1
6th June 2013 - It was a public holiday today so I went to Iksan to visit Jihyeon. We went to.... a DVD room. In Korea because people live with their parents until they get married there is a market for places such as this. There are small private rooms where couples can go and watch a movie together and have some private time together. Jihyeon got very embarrassed if I said "DVD room" too loudly because anyone that might overhear would immediately think.... "oh... i know what you will be doing ;)"
7th June 2013 - For the last couple of weeks I have been working with the debating team to get them ready for a competition in a weeks time. I've been working back late at school (as late as 7pm) but I don't mind because they are so full of energy and work so hard. I really enjoy discussing different topics with them.
8th June 2013 - So today was kind of a big day. I met with Jihyeon's parents to get permission to get married and discuss the future. I gave this orchid to her mother. The ribbon says "Jihyeon's father and mother think you" (right) and "From Phillip Suthers" (left).
9th June 2013 - I did something silly today. I fell asleep on the KTX train when heading home to Daejeon. It only took 25 minutes to arrive at the next station, but because the KTX is so fast I ended up half way to Seoul! I had to get off at the next station and buy a ticket back. It wasn't cheap. It cost me 10,000 won (about $10). While waiting at the station some express KTX trains thundered past at 300km/h. It was cool/scary.
10th June 2013 - I often see men fishing in the many rivers that run through Daejeon when I go for an afternoon walk. It seems to be a popular thing for older men to do, especially after they have retired.
11th June 2013 - These UV sanitizers seem to be a fairly common thing in Korea. This one is located in my staff room. The school also has one in the cafeteria. Cleanliness and health in Korea is inconsistent. For example, Koreans are crazy about drinking bottled or filtered water and will insist that drinking water straight from the tap is unsafe, but soap in the bathroom (something I would consider to be of vital importance to good health) is completely neglected. The soap dispenser in the teachers bathroom has been empty for months.
12th June 2013 - I have spent every afternoon for the last couple of weeks working with these students to help prepare them for a debate contest on Friday. We normally stay back until 6 or 7pm, but tonight they are staying back until 9pm. We normally buy some snacks. Tonight we bought pizza.
13th June 2013 - When you visit a toilet in South Korea it is not unusual to see a rubbish bin. Now while it is not unusual to see a rubbish bin in a toilet, what is unusual is what Koreans put in it. They put their shit covered toilet paper in it. Why? Well, apparently the sewage pipes are not big enough and if you flush the paper down you will clog the system and... well... you get the picture. To be frank, I think this practice is disgusting. You can see in the picture there is some poo on the thin white pipe that goes to the toilet seat. I always flush my toilet paper down the toilet. I am yet to have any problems. The way I see it, as long as you don't use half a roll of paper to wipe your bum, it should fit through the pipes just fine.
14th June 2013 - The debate competition is today. My students are seated on the left and are about to start the first round. I am happy to report that they won the first two rounds and made it to the semi-finals. I had to take this photo through the window because teachers were not allowed in. You will also notice that none of the students are wearing uniforms. This is so that judges can't favor a particular school. The first couple of rounds were held in small classrooms, but the semi-finals and finals were held in the gym on the stage.
15th June 2013 - This is Geumsansa temple located at Moak mountain in Jellabukdo province. On Saturday I traveled to Iksan where Jihyeon's parents took me out to lunch before driving (about an hour) to see this temple.
16th June 2013 - Today we put down a deposit on the wedding hall we will use. Afterwards we went for a walk through a rose garden a short walk from the hall. Jihyeon is posing with the contract from the wedding hall and wearing her favorite pants.
17th June 2013 - The water pressure in my apartment is terrible. This is what happens when too many people flush their toilets, do the washing or have showers. Normally if I wait half an hour or an hour it comes good again, but it is bloody annoying when the water pressure drops to nothing when you are in the middle of a shower.
18th June 2013 - In Korea businesses pay scooter drivers to drive around the streets flicking their business cards at doors to try and drum up business. I honestly don't think it works and I dislike it because it amounts to littering. There is 0% chance that I am going to 1) pick up something that has been on the ground for who knows how long 2) take the time to read a random business card tossed on the ground.
19th June 2013 - The wet season started a week ago here in Korea. I have not seen much rain yet, but the humidity has gone through the roof. There is a pedestrian underpass near my house that I regularly use. Even on the hottest summer day it is really cool. It is so cool that condensation covers the roof and the floor is covered in water.
20th June 2013 - I picked up our rings today^^
21st June 2013 - The days have been getting hotter, the humidity has shot through the roof, my school is too cheap to turn on the air conditioning and the fan above my desk has been broken. A repair person came by to fix it today^^
22nd June 2013 - Today I guess you can say we are officially engaged (we exchanged rings). We also left a lock on the "locks of love" wall at Mt Namsan summit.
23rd June 2013 - Today we went visit a wedding planner that was recommended to Jihyeon. The wedding planner was located in Gangnam which is a very rich and expensive area of Seoul. We spent about an hour discussing what we wanted (I say we, but Jihyeon did all the talking in Korean). After the meeting the wedding planner took us to a local Jewlery shop. Since the person handling our wedding is the head wedding planner at the company, we were shown the royal treatment and ushered into a private room where a pushy sales person tried to pressure us into buying a ring. Long story short, we decided not to buy anything there.
24th June 2013 - The man pictured here is wearing pajamas. Is he crazy? Is he drunk? no, he is a patent at a hospital around the corner. It is quite normal for patents to walk around the streets in their hospital clothes sometimes even dragging their IV drip behind them.
25th June 2013 - The wet officially started about a week ago, but there hasn't been much rain. Just hot humid weather. Today was the first day of moderate constant rain.
26th June 2013 - I needed to pay my gas bill tonight so I went to the ATM room at my bank to pay it. You can transfer money to any bank account in Korea from any ATM at any bank. Originally I was using internet banking but it is a total pain in the ass to use in Korea. The banking site only works with internet explorer, you need 3 different passwords, a special security card code (which changes depending on the date) and a security token on a USB key to transfer money. It is complete overkill and never works for me. There is almost always a bug that causes the page to refresh and log me out before I can finish a transaction. It is much easier just to walk to my local ATM, punch in the account number and the amount. ATM rooms are open 24 hours 7 days a week and is a popular hangout for kids on hot summer days (because of the air conditioning).
27th June 2013 - It rained quite heavily this afternoon. I arrived home to find water pouring down the stair well in my apartment building. I walked all the way up the the roof (using my umbrella inside felt weird) to find that the drain was blocked. I am happy I am on the second floor and not down in the basement. I contacted a coteaher who called the real estate agent for me.
28th June 2013 - My class today was about different countries and what they are famous for. As an end of class activity I got my students to draw a picture of a country they want to visit. Many of my students are obsessed with North Korea. They either want to go there to see the nuclear bomb, or to kill Kim Jong-un. I especially like the way Kim Jong-un was portrayed in this picture. You can also see the Ryugyong Hotel and a nuclear rocket in the background.
29th June 2013 - I try and go for a walk most afternoons along the river near my house. As you can see in the picture it is a popular walking area. There are many kilometers of walking tracks that follow the rivers and streams that flow through Daejeon. It has been very hot and humid for a few weeks now, but the wonderful thing about this time of year is it stays light until quite late. I snapped this picture at 8:15pm.
30th June 2013 - In Korea I have never seen a car get towed or get issued a parking ticket. I'm not saying it never happens, just that it almost never happens. Every day there are multiple cars and trucks parked in this "no parking, you car will be towed for parking in a school zone". I am yet to see any tickets issued or a tow truck raking in the money removing peoples cars. If you want to get rich in Korea, start a tow truck business and start locking up cars. You will make a fortune.
1st July 2013 - Space is a premium in most Korean apartments. They simple don't have the space for a large conventional drier. I spotted this at home plus (large department store selling food / furniture / clothes / electronics). It is a super compact mini clothes driver that can be mounted on the wall (above the toilet, in the spare bedroom, even in your living room).
2nd July 2013 - Koreans love their fashion and are obsessed with their appearance. If you go hiking (or even just for an afternoon walk) you will see people dressed up as though they are appearing in a national geographic documentary exploring the wilderness or climbing Mt Everest. It is a little ridiculous. In Australia you would be labeled as a try hard, but here it is considered normal and "fashionable". I still don't know how they manage to wear this stuff in summer. They must be stinking hot. I guess you need to wear long pants and long sleeve shirts to protect you from nature....
3rd July 2013 - This afternoon (after students finished their exams) was Korean teacher bonding time. We spent the afternoon at school playing a game where you throw 4 sticks on the ground, and depending on the outcome you move tokens around a board. My co-teachers tried their best to explain it to me, but I still don't have much idea what was going on. They were all yelling and cheering. It was interesting to see the competitive side of the teachers I work with.
4th July 2013 - Pictured here are some plants outside a restaurant in my street. They all have large ribbons tied to them. The plants were gifts from family and friends to congratulate the owners on their newly renovated restaurant. These sorts of gifts (a plant with a big ribbon and a message written on the ribbon) are common in Korea and reserved for special occasions. Businesses will proudly display them out the front and people will place them in a prominent location in their home for all to see.
5th July 2013 - In Korea you have to pay to dispose of all your trash. It is not like Australia where you can take large mountains of junk to the local dump for free. If you want to dispose of old furniture you need to pay to do so in Korea. Not everyone wants to do this and they sometimes leave stuff on the side of the road illegally. In the picture is a security monitoring box with a camera, flashing red light, a spot light and an audible message to deter people from dumping illegally behind this park. As you walk past the light turns on and a loud message is played (in Korean) warning you not to dump things there illegally.
6th June 2013 - Hopefully I will be moving to this apartment in August. With my school, I am discussing the possibility of breaking my lease early and moving here. Jihyeon will be married in a little over 4 months and my current studio apartment isn't big enough for the two of us. At the moment, my whole apartment (kitchen, bathroom, bedroom) is about the size of the living room in what I hope will be my new apartment.
7th July 2013 - Given that the wheels are in motion and I won't be in my small studio apartment much longer, I thought it was time I added a photo to try and capture its size. I have uploaded a video on youtube here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLqXMHCgY6Q
8th July 2013 - In Korea you MUST take your shoes off at the door. Koreans will just about have a heart attack if you walk around their house with your shoes on. ALL homes in Korea have a small tiled area at the front door where you are to take your shoes off. It is always about 1 or 2 inches lower than the floor in the apartment. This is intended to be a subtle way of telling people to take their shoes off.
9th July 2013 - On my afternoon walk I saw a father duck teaching/supervising the duckling while it was looking for food in the rapids. The duckling is almost fully grown. Spring time is almost at an end.
10th July 2013 - 2 years ago today Jihyeon gave me her email address in Muju. I was digging through some stuff in my bag the other week and stumbled across this. It has some water damage and some ink from the page behind has faded through.
11th July 2013 - There is a large grassy flood plane that flanks the river near my home. In the warmer months, it is common to see Korean families enjoying the outdoors. They normally sit on the ground around a gas bbq and share a meal, but this family has gone all out and set up a tent to keep the bugs away.
12th July 2013 - In Korea you often have to take your shoes off when you enter a building (in restaurants, schools and some palces of business). Pictured here are the cupboards by the front door at my school where teachers have to put their shoes. http://gdaykorea.blogspot.com.au/2013/07/when-should-you-take-your-shoes-off-in.html
13th July 2013 - Today I traveled to Iksan again, this time to meet Jihyeon's uncle (on her fathers side) and his wife. As usual Jihyeon's mother put on a feast and insisted I eat until I can't move.
14th July 2013 - Today we went shopping for some furniture for my new apartment that I will be moving into next weekend. We didn't have much luck (everything was ugly and/or overpriced or shoddy), but I did learn that in Korea you can buy a stone bed. Yes that is right. You can purchase a bed and they will put a big slab of granite on it for you to sleep on. In winter it is even heated! These beds are targeted towards older generations who like a good solid surface to sleep on.
15th July 2013 - My English camp book arrived today. Not long now....
16th July 2013 - The last time I will cook in this kitchen. Moving in 5 days time. WOOOOT!!!
17th July 2013 - In Korea you can get a wide range of food delivered to your apartment FOR FREE! Whenever a delivery person makes a delivery to your apartment building he will leave a menu on everyone's door to try and drum up business. The apartment doors are metal and the menu's generally have magnets on the back of them.
18th July 2013 - Today I got a certificate from the district office of education thanking me for helping my debate students a couple of months ago.
19th July 2013 - First day of camp. Students had a closing ceremony in the morning and then came back to school for the first day of English camp this afternoon. They are busy making team posters.
20th July 2013 - I moved to my new 2 bedroom apartment today. Jihyeon gave me this as a house warming gift.
21st July 2013 - I went shopping at Emart today for a few bits and pieces I needed for my new place. I spotted this essential for any Korean girl. It is a face roller. The idea is that when you are young you roll this on your jaw to change its shape as you grow. Koreans value a V shaped face. This is meant to help you achieve that.
22nd July 2013 - Another camp day today. The theme was "movies". We have some computers in the classroom so I decided to let them make their own animated movie using goanimate.com. My advanced class came up with some really great and creative ideas.
23rd July 2013 - The theme of the camp day today was "bridges". I had a science experiment planned in the afternoon (make your own bridge from paper), but in the morning I played a game called running dictation. Students have to copy a paragraph by memorizing it and then running back to their team. Lots of fun. I will be doing this in my winter camp.
24th July 2013 - The theme for today was food. I decided to do a quiz but added a twist. Students had to blow up a balloon and write their answers on the balloon. It got lots of laughs.
25th July 2013 - Today was the last day of English camp. The theme for today was fashion. I let them make their own clothes from newspaper. The kid on the left is dressed as iron man. The girl on the right is dressed as a bride and holding a bouquet of flowers. They were all very embarrassed.
26th July 2013 - I went to Seoul to visit my parents today (they arrived a couple of days ago). Fight sight to check out was Namdaemun Gate. It was once one of the three major gateways through Seoul's city walls which had a stone circuit of 18.2 kilometres (11.3 mi) and stood up to 6.1 metres (20 ft) high. Last time I was here was in 2011 and the gate was bring reconstructed. Some wanker had decided to burn it down.
27th July 2013 - Today we visited the three main palaces in Seoul. Pictured here is Gyeongbokgung palace. It was first constructed in 1395 but then later burned and abandoned for almost three centuries. It was reconstructed in 1867 and was the main and largest palace of the five grand palaces built by the Joseon Dynasty. In the early 20th century, much of the palace was destroyed by Japan. Since then, the walled palace complex as been slowly restored back to its original form.
28th July 2013 - Today we jumped on the KTX and headed for Daejeon (where I live). It is about an hour south of Seoul by KTX.
29th July 2013 - Today was the infamous meeting of the parents. It all went well. From left to right in the photo is Jihyeons father, mother, sister, brother, myself, Jihyeon, my mother and my father.
30th July 2013 - Today I took my parents to a traditional Korean folk village (the same one I went to on my orientation). It was interesting to go back in summer when the trees were green rather than dead sticks.
31st July 2013 - Today was Hanbok shopping day. Jihyeon, her mother, my mother and myself had to choose what style of Hanbok we were going to wear to the wedding.
1st August 2013 - Today we all crammed into the car and went on a road trip to Busan. On the way we stopped at Haeinsa Temple. Haeinsa Temple is most notable for being the home of the Tripitaka Koreana, the whole of the Buddhist Scriptures carved onto 81,350 wooden printing blocks, which it has housed since 1398. The temple was first built in 802. Korea has seen a lot of unrest over the years (various Japanese invasions and the Korean war) so it is amazing that the temple has survived. During the Korean war UN forces were ordered to bomb Haeinsa with four bombers. However, at that time Kim Young Hwan, Leader of air Force pilots, was worried about the loss of the temple and did not obey the command. Due to his lack of action, haeinsa weathered the crisis and did not experience the bombing.
2nd August 2013 - Today we went to the most famous beach in Korea, Haeundae Beach. All the people looked like ants floating on the water, and the sand was hidden by a sea of umbrellas. It was just a short drive from where we stopped for lunch (about 1km away), but we were literally stuck in traffic for close to an hour. Had I known it was so close, I would have suggested getting out and walking. Everyone in Korea seemed to be trying to get to Haeundae Beach.
3rd August 2013 - Today we caught the KTX from Iksan back to Daejeon were my parents would rest before going back to Australia. Here, at Iksan station they joined two KTX trains together. I thought it was pretty interesting.
04 August 2013 - The restaurant game in Korea is a tough game. There is a lot of competition and restaurants regularly go under. I was out walking tonight when I saw this restaurant had (supposedly) been in business since 1937 (before the Korean war and even world war 2). I wonder if this is the oldest restaurant in Korea? and if it has been in the same family all that time?
5th August 2013 - In Korea you can park practically anywhere you want, and up until today I thought no one every got booked or towed. Looks like I was wrong. There was a tow truck having a field day around the local department store. All the illegally parked cars had fines slapped on their windscreens, and the tow truck was slowly taking them away one by one.
6th August 2013 - I felt like a Korean tonight. This is soju (popular alcohol in Korea) and was the only thing in my basket when I went through the checkout. I bought these for my parents to take home with them.
7th August 2013 - My parents went home today. This is them boarding the bus to the airport.
8th August 2013 - I awoke this morning to the sound of jets flying low over Daejeon. They were busy doing some kind of training over the city for a good 15 minutes. Blog post here http://gdaykorea.blogspot.com.au/2013/08/i-was-awoken-this-morning-to-sound-of.html
9th August 2013 - I finally sat down and spent some time studying the Korean alphabet today. Long overdue. Hopefully I can stay motivated and press on.
10th August 2013 - Pubs in Korea are different to pubs in Australia. In Korea you generally sit in a booth which has high walls on three sides to give your group some privacy. Sometimes… you will even have your own private room! Tonight we went out for dinner to a pub which had small private rooms for groups of 4 or 6 people. In the room we had a TV, air conditioner, light level control dial, and a button we could press for service.
11th August 2013 - I was washing up the plates tonight when this fell out of the bottom of my bug. It was a WTF moment. A paranoid person might think the north Koreans were spying on them. I think this mug used to play music when hot liquid was placed in it. The battery went flat long ago.
12th August 2013 - LCD's are everywhere in Korea, even in the supermarket in the instant meal section drawing your attention whatever they are selling.
13th August 2013 - Look closely. Can you see the cultural difference? You never see teenagers or young people on the checkouts here. Come to think of it, I don't think I have ever seen a man on the checkouts either. Teenagers are too busy studying or serving in the army to work at the supermarket, and the men are either working as laborers or have high paying office jobs. The women that are on the checkouts in Korea are older women who have children, or need to work to support themselves (due to divorce or never getting married).
14th August 2013 - I walk along this dirt path every day on my way to school. This is apparently a special kind of dirt and walking on it in bare feet is good for your health. I often see people take their shoes off and walk along the path with shoes in hand.
16th August 2013 - A YELLOW CAR! This is the first yellow car I have seen in Korea. 99.9% of cars are either black, white or silver.
17th August 2013 - Fresh Seafood! Fresh seafood restaurants are everywhere. They can be easily identified by the stack fish tanks sitting on the street out the front of their restaurants.
18th August 2013 - I was a little surprised to see this store. This sort of thing is really taboo in Korea and people don’t like to talk about sex. Dave pointed out to me that it is interesting which English words they chose to put on their sign.
19th August 2013 - One of the great things about Korea is the shops are open quite late. There are 24 hour convenience stores everywhere, and mega stores like the one pictured here that are open until midnight (but annoyingly they are closed every 2nd Sunday). This store pictured here is called "e mart" and is like a Woolworths, Target and Harvey Norman all rolled into one massive store with a food court and multi story parking.
20th August 2013 - Walking home today there were soldiers everywhere. Given that North Korea has been pretty quiet of late (I think their army is busy helping with the rice harvest) I assumed it was just part of military training. The soldiers seemed bored out of their brain and were busy playing with their cell phones and listening to music.
21st August 2013 - Possibly related to the military training I saw yesterday, we had to practice a war drill at school today. It was late in the afternoon and all the students had gone home after lunch (since it was so hot). There was a public announcement played over the loud speakers of the the school and we all had to go outside. Personally, if we were under attack I would have thought the safe place to be was inside... but anyway. Outside we went.
22nd August 2013 - Since it was the first week back at school I tried to keep my classes as fun as possible by keeping English to a minimum. We played "Superlative Olympics" and held events like "the tallest person" or "the oldest person". Pictured here is "the best drawer" competition. They were tasked with drawing a Koala.
23rd August 2013 - Finally some rain! It has been stinking hot and humid for the last few weeks, but no rain. I thought the rain would cool things off, but it only increased the humidity to about 10,000% and made the walk to school even worse.
24th August 2013 - Today we headed to Seoul to go wedding ring shopping. Full blog post here http://gdaykorea.blogspot.com.au/2013/09/wedding-ring-shopping-in-korea.html
25th August 2013 - While walking Jihyeon to the KTX station today there was a really foul smell. It turns out at this time of year there is a particular type of tree that grows a nut which smells horrible. Thanks for ruining autumn stupid tree!
26th August 2013 - The cleaning fairies paid a visit to me today. There was a mountain of recyclables (bottles, cardboard, etc) piled up in the space next to my front door, but when I came home it had magically disappeared! Jihyeon's parents had to come to my unit today to fix a plumbing issue. While here her mother did my dishes, put my washing in the washing basked and disposed of my recyclables and some food trash I had frozen in my freezer.
27th August 2013 - Today I met up with some other westerners from my orientation to celebrate Danielle's birthday. It was the first time I had seen many of them since March.
28th August 2013 - I went out to dinner tonight with my co-teachers to say fairwell to Eugene (lady sitting next to me). We went to an Italian restaurant a short walk from my school.
29th August 2013 - See those cylindrical shaped signs hanging off the side of the building? If you see this kind of sign in Korea there is a 95% chance that it is for a "special ending" place. Either a business bar or a karaoke room. I am not familiar with all the ins and outs of these businesses, but since prostitution and brothels are illegal in Korea the two people that enter into a "business arrangement" go to a near by "love motel" where they hire a room for the required time.
30th August 2013 - Feeling like a boss with my Yoda lightsaber chop sticks.
31st August 2013 - Here is what is known in Korea as a "love motel". Funny enough they often have castle like features such as turrets and round towers on the corners of the building. Another common feature are the half height flaps hanging over the entrance. This is to offer the patrons some privacy when entering and exiting their cars from the prying eyes of passerby's on the street. If you are going to pay for a "good time" or have an affair, this is the place people come.
1st September 2013 - Today for the first time ever I went to a baseball batting cage. This was also quite possibly the first time I ever hit a baseball too. I remember playing softball once or twice at school, but never baseball. 20 balls cost 2000 won (about $2).
2nd September 2013 - Today in one of my classes there was a wasp invasion. I arrived at my room to find students running around screaming throwing books at wasps. I yelled at them (rather loudly) telling them to sit down and grow up. I then proceeded to squash most of the wasps.
3rd September 2013 - This is the lovely site I often come home to. Out the front of my apartment building is the place where the people in my street have decided to dump their trash. When it is in the green plastic bags (like it is supposed to be by law) I don't mind, but there are always those that think they are above the law and just throw shit everywhere. Not their problem right? It's not out the front of their building.
4th September 2013 - This is the view from the roof of my apartment building.
5th September 2013 - I had a student who constantly causes trouble, disrupts my class and doesn’t follow directions. It reached boiling point today when he tried to undermine my authority in the classroom by refusing to follow directions. The punishment? Writing out the dialog for that day 6 times in my office at lunch time. He only managed to do 3 pages at lunch time, so I gave the rest to him as homework.
6th September 2013 - The day before the federal election in Australia and my postal vote finally arrives.
7th September 2013 - Participating in democracy. There are a ridiculous number of people standing for senate positions.
8th September 2013 - The autumn change is still a little way off, but I have noticed the bright green colour trees have had is starting to dull.
9th September 2013 - A couple of things in this picture. First is the delivery drivers parked at the front of the traffic queue ready to run the red light as soon as their is a break in traffic. The second is the ambulance 4 cars back. It had it's siren on but no cars even tried to move out of it's way to let it through. This is normal in Korea.
10th September 2013 - Chuseok is just around the corner and stores have started stocking various gift packs. One of the more interesting gift packs I have seen is SPAM. Yes, that's right. Want to show someone you care? Buy them a box of SPAM!
11th September 2013 - Chuseok is just around the corner and my local emart supermarket can't fit all the stock in the store, so it is left piled up outside.
12th September 2013 - Typical construction site in Korea. No safety fence, building materials all over the footpath and there are actually people (a family) living on the construction site. As you walk past you can see into their kitchen thanks to there being no wall.
13th September 2013 - Delivery drivers are a law onto themselves in Korea. You gotta be careful on the footpath. Even when there is no traffic on the road, deliver drivers still choose to race along the footpath.
14th September 2013 - We went wedding dress/tux shopping today. I felt like james bond.
15th September 2013 - This is the entire soft drink section in my local supermarket which is of a comparable size to a large Woolworths in Australia. In Australia the section dedicated to coke alone would be bigger than this.
16th September 2013 - As I left school today I spotted a couple of my students shooting some hoops. It looked like fun so I joined in. A little boy wondered into the school yard and started talking to us. I think he had a mental problem because my students couldn't understand him. They said he didn't make any sense. We had a shoot out and I lost, so I bought them a drink at the corner store.
17th September 2013 - Drivers love to run red lights in Korea. On my way to school in the morning every pedestrian crossing has someone on it who walks out (with either a flag or a orange stick) when it is safe to cross to stop cars from running pedestrians (mainly school children) down.
18th September 2013 - Today was a public holiday. I traveled to Iksan to spend some time with Jihyeon and help her mum get ready for Chuseok. Here I am making songpyeon. Small rice cakes filled with red bean paste, chestnut paste and other things. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Songpyeon
19th September 2013 - Today is Chuseok, the day when families remember and thank their ancestors for the good harvest. http://gdaykorea.blogspot.com.au/2013/09/my-first-chuseok-korean-thanksgiving.html
20th September 2013 - Today I traveled to the grave of my mother in-laws brother who is buried in a military cemetery about an hour from Iksan.
21st September 2013 - Here is something interesting that I think is a really good idea. The tickets for the KTX (high speed train) in Korea tell you how you are saving the environment by catching the train. A trip from Seoul to Busan creates 9.98kg of CO2, which is 1/7th of what a car would pump out for the same trip, and the difference is equivalent to planting 12 trees.
22nd September 2013 - I was really excited. I thought I had found a place in Daejeon that served meat pies. Sadly I was mistaken. It is listed on the menu as a pie, but it is more like an egg Quiche. It came with a lovely over serving of pickles and rubbery sausages.
23rd September 2013 - No, that is not the Nazi symbol. It is actually the Buddhist symbol. Hitler took the symbol (which means peace) and reversed the direction of it and turned it 45 degrees to literally reverse what it stands for.
24th September 2013 - This is the door to my apartment. It's very high tech. There is a touch pad where you punch in a pin code to unlock the door, and a video camera so you can see who is waiting at the door. No more keys :)
25th November 2013 - This seems to be a standard construction technique in Korea and to me makes it look like an afterthought. In Korea if you have a gas stove (most homes) you will have a master tap poking out of the bench top like this somewhere next to the stove.
26th November 2013 - My old phone died (Samsung Galaxy S2) but lucky for me Jihyeon's sister was able to lend me her old galaxy S2. This is something that I was really surprised to initially see. The Korean version of all Samsung's phones has a TV aerial built in so you can watch TV on it. Why they don't just ship the same phone internationally... i don't know.
27th November 2013 - Daejeon is a rapidly growing city. A couple of decades ago the Korean government decided to move many of it's offices out of Seoul and relocate to a number of cities around Korea... Daejeon being one of them. As a result Daejeon has been undergoing rapid growth. When I arrived earlier this year these apartment buildings were still under construction. They have now been completed and are ready for people to move in. There are more than a dozen new apartment buildings!
28th September 2013 - Today we had to go to Suwon to do some wedding related things. We decided to pay a visit to the toilet museum.
Welcome to the toilet museum of Suwon, home of Mr Toilet (aka Mr. Sim Jae-duck). He built this unique home in 2007 to commemorate the establishment of the World Toilet Association. After his death, his surving family donated this toilet bowl-shaped house to Suwon City as stated in his will. The city turned the home into the Toilet Culture Museum in 2010 and opened the Toilet Culture Park in 2012. The cities plans don't stop there. Their long term plan is to turn it into the world's first toilet theme park.
29th September 2013 - Today I picked up my tailored suit which is a gift from my in-laws. It fits like a glove.
30th September 2013 - I am not quite sure what the occasion was, but my school had a teachers dinner tonight.
1st October 2013 - Preparing lesson materials for the next week. This is for a game I will play in class. I will read a sentence and the students have to make that sentence using the cut out words.
2nd October 2013 - Some people (I think from the local church) handing out free cups of some kind of tea water.
3rd October 2013 - On just about every street corner in Korea you can find a church.
4th October 2013 - Late Friday night we stayed at a hotel in Seoul so we could start early the next morning and get ready for our photoshoot. This was sitting by the window. It is an emergency exit rope in case of fire.... wonderful.
5th October 2013 - Today we went to a photo studio in Gangnam and had some wedding photos taken. In Korea couples go and have professional photos taken a couple of months before the wedding so they can send out digital invitations with nice photos attached.
6th October 2013 - There is a small mountain near where I live. Today I finally got around to checking it out. At the foot of the hill people have planted vegetable patches.
7th October 2013 - My school has their yearly sporting carnival in the next couple of weeks and students are busy preparing and practicing the various events. I snapped this out of my classroom window while waiting for my students to arrive.
8th October 2013 - If you walk the streets in Korea you will often see elderly people sorting through trash on the side of the road looking for recyclables like cardboard and plastic or glass bottles. They take them to recycling centers where they cash the recyclables in to earn some money to help them survive.
9th October 2013 - I explored the hill near my house again today. Some of the paths are nothing more than a goat track. I reached the summit and found this. I'm unsure of the significance.
10th October 2013 - On my afternoon walk I came across a new tunnel that was yet to be opened to cars. There were no barricades or signs telling people not to enter, so I decided to go for a walk through it. It was kind of spooky.
11th October 2013 - An interesting shaped sea food restaurant. I wish I liked seafood more. I'd love to eat here just for the novelty of eating at a restaurant shaped like a ship.
12th October 2013 - Last weekend I met some more of Jihyeon's relatives in Iksan for a strange ceremony that roughly translates as "breaking the basket" (함받기). The ceremony is mean to symbolize breaking bad luck and ensure the couple of a prosperous future together. http://gdaykorea.blogspot.kr/2013/10/breaking-basket-ceremony.html
13th October 2013 - Because it gets so cold in winter, many of the pipes need to be insulated to stop them from freezing.
15th October 2013 - The wild Chrysanthemums are out in full bloom at the moment.
16th October 2013 - How do you paint an apartment building? You hang over the side on a rope with a bucket of paint.
17th October 2013 - On Thursday last week was my schools sports day. It was pretty different from the sports days I had in Australia as I was growing up. http://gdaykorea.blogspot.com.au/2013/10/korean-middle-school-sports-day.html
18th October 2013 - Friday was the work experience day for grade 3. I was lucky enough to be able to tag along with one of my co-teachers and her home class. We would be going to a training center for a couple of hours to learn how to cook. Not exactly what I would consider work experience, but who am I to complain. I get to cook some food and then eat it. I never got to do that when I did work experience in Australia. All I remember of my work experience was the mind-numbingly boring work. http://gdaykorea.blogspot.com.au/2013/10/korean-middle-school-work-experience-day.html
19th October 2013 - Big day of blogging for me. I had a few weeks of blogging to catch up on so I just stayed home most of the day.
20th October 2013 - Room 204 in my apartment building. The husband lives here and his wife visits him on weekends. They are the noisiest people in the apartment building and last night was no exception. I woke to what sounded like the place getting torn up and a woman sobbing and screaming.
21st October 2013 - Another gift on my desk today. I'm not sure what it was for or who it was from, but thank you~
22nd October 2013 - A student tried to play a practical joke on me today. He turned the whiteboard eraser inside out so that when I tried to use it, it just smeared the text all over the board.
23rd October 2013 - Today I had to go to some special training for NET's (people like me) and co-teachers. Unfortunately my school had an open day today and all my co-teachers were busy, so I went alone. Overall it was pretty useless. We spent most of the time sitting around listening to presentations and then watching a supposedly a co-teaching demonstration which was more like a Broadway performance.
24th October 2013 - I went for a walk today. It is getting cool in the shade but it is lovely and warm in the sun. The grass is starting to die off and the trees are starting to turn orange. The sky has also been quite blue of late too which is a nice change.
25th October 2013 - My nemesis. My kitchen sink has a trap to catch food. I always forget to clean it out and it ends up smelling horrible. My solution? I put the plug in the drain to stop the smell coming out ^^.
26th October 2013 - Today we had to go to Seoul to pick up my tailored wedding suit. We killed two birds with one stone, and also stopped off at a pet cafe which was on my todo list. http://gdaykorea.blogspot.com.au/2013/10/pet-cafe-gangnam-seoul.html
27th October 2013 - Wifi everywhere. Pretty much everywhere you go you see these wifi access points.
28th October 2013 - I scored a free table and chair today. Someone in my building didn't want it anymore and just left it out in the stairwell. After it sat there for about a month, I decided to take it.
29th October 2013 - A teacher gave me a plant as a gift today. I'm not sure why, but she had gotten a whole heap for her students. She had some left over and gave me one.
30th October 2013 - Must.... not.... get.... sick. Only 2 weeks until the wedding. The cold weather has arrived and I am fighting something off. Good thing mum sent me these from Australia. They helped me fend off whatever was attacking my immune system.
31st October 2013 - Stray cats seem to be pretty common in Korea. Much more than stray dogs. I don't think I have ever seen a stray dog.
1st November 2013 - Autumn is here and the trees are all changing colours. I snapped this on my way home from school today.
2nd November 2013 - A couple of things in this picture. Firstly all (newish) cars have mirrors that automatically fold in to stop them getting smashed off by passing cars in the narrow streets. Secondly, see the blue foam on the door? I'd say 50% of cars have these to stop doors getting damaged when opening in the tight car parks.
3rd November 2013 - Quail Eggs in the supermarket. Nuff said.
4th November 2013 - More autumn colours on my walk home from school.
5th November 2013 - For the Mannyon school festival I have been roped into dancing with a bunch of other teachers. Every lunch we have dance practice.
6th November 2013 - In my grade 1 class this week we are learning about animal body parts and students have been creating their own mythical animals. I give you... fish man.
7th November 2013 - Today was Sooneung. Sooneung is the national college (aka University) entrance exam in South Korea. It started in 1994 and happens only once a year, every 3rd Thursday in November. About 700,000 students sit the almost 9 hour exam, which starts at 8:40am and finishes at 6:05pm.
8th November 2013 - Today was the big performance day. After all the students had done their performances, it was the teachers turn. We got up on stage and did our dance, but there was a hiccup. The music stopped half way through. While waiting for the song to restart I pulled out my phone and took this photo from up on stage.
9th November 2013 - My birthday is still a little over a week away, but with the wedding next weekend Jihyeon's parents wanted to take me somewhere for my Birthday, so we went to Naejansan National Park to check out the autumn leaves. It was a wet and cold day, but good. http://gdaykorea.blogspot.kr/2013/11/naejansan-national-park-and-jeongeup-city-sanwye.html
10th November 2013 - We popped into the wedding hall to do a dry run for next weekend and iron out the final details.
11th November 2013 - Today was pepero day. Students give pepero sticks to their teachers. I'm not a huge fan of them, but I appreciate the thought. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pepero
12th November 2013 - The temperature finally dropped below zero today.
13th November 2013 - Every morning on my walk to school I pass a team of elderly people walking the street picking up trash. I'm not sure if they do it voluntarily, or if the government pays them. They all wear yellow vests, so I assume someone is sponsoring them to do it.
14th November 2013 - My parents arrived in Daejeon today, just in time for my wedding on the weekend. We went out for dinner to a restaurant near their hotel.
15th November 2013 - It was the night before the wedding and all through the house.... were ravenous Australians eating everything in sight. http://gdaykorea.blogspot.com.au/2013/11/night-before-the-wedding-getting-married-in-korea.html
16th November 2013 - Wedding day. Check out my blog with loads of pictures. http://gdaykorea.blogspot.com.au/2013/11/wedding-day-in-korea-getting-married-in-korea.html
17th November 2013 - We are unable to go on our Honeymoon until February, so we just hung out and relaxed in Daejeon today. We had brunch at 73Cafe and both ordered bangers and mash :)
18th November 2013 - Jihyeon had to go back to work today, but I met up with my parents and took them out to lunch at my favourite restaurant near my house.
19th November 2013 - My mum was keen to visit my school and see where I work and meet some of the people I work with. I got permission from the principal and gave them the grand tour. The principal invited them to stay for lunch.
20th November 2013 - Today was my birthday. I met Jihyeon at her work and we went to a korean fusion style restaurant for dinner.
21st November 2013 - I bludged at Jihyeon's parents house today and sorted through the photos from the wedding while eating bags of onion rings her mother kept giving to me.
22nd November 2013 - Taking Jihyeon's dog, Haru, for a walk.
23rd November 2013 - Ahhh Ha! Caught you red handed eating my Aussie snacks!
24th November 2013 - Autumn is in full swing. I took this photo a short walk from my house, near the shopping and restaurant district.
25th November 2013 - I gave out small packs of rice cake to all the teachers at school today to say thank you for the gift money and coming to my wedding. http://gdaykorea.blogspot.com.au/2013/11/thank-you-for-coming-to-my-wedding-in-korea.html
26th November 2013 - The autumn leaves are really starting to pile up on the footpath now, and every day gets colder and colder.
27th November 2013 - In Korea it is still possible to get milk delivered to your door (though, it's not ultra fresh like back in the olden days). People hang these bags from their apartment doors for the milk man to leave the milk in.
28th November 2013 - Another morning of snow. It was cold, but made a nice change for my morning walk to school.
29th November 2013 - Upside down exit sign in the stair well at my school.
30th November 2013 - Tonight we met up with a friend of Jihyeon's from years ago. Long story short, Jihyeon went to her wedding 6 years ago and lost contact with her. We invited her to our wedding so we could get the gift money back ^^.
1st December 2013 - The last time I have to catch the train home after visiting Jihyeon in Iksan. Woot! It is such a pain living in different cities.
2nd December 2013 - Two boys getting punished in my office. Corporal punishment has been banned, but it doesn't stop teachers putting students in these awkward positions as punishment.
3rd December 2013 - Say hello to Mr Bill.
4th December 2013 - The high tech solution to preventing ice building up on your windscreen over night.
5th December 2013 - In the colder months small shrubs and trees are sometimes insulated from the cold using these grass mats. Seems like a lot of work. It would be more sensible to just plant trees resistant to the cold weather.
6th December 2013 - Study is big business in Korea. Check out this intense desk for elementary school children. $1400 for the desk and $600 for the chair. Total rip off.
7th December 2013 - We found a place that serves really nice hot chips with all sorts of sauces.
8th December 2013 - Unique! (in Korea)
9th December 2013 - I had to go for my yearly medical test today so I could renew my contract. It's a load of crap if you ask me, but I have no choice. This is the hospital building.
10th December 2013 - These giant buckets at the intersection hold grit and salt that is thrown onto the road when it gets slippery and icy.
11th December 2013 - It's really started t get cold. The trees have become dead sticks and the grass is now brown.
12th December 2013 - More snow last night. Someone left some artwork on a car windscreen.
13th November 2013 - Even with the room heater turned on, it still gets really cold in my office. Students insist on leaving the door open as they come in and out of the office. The teacher next to me has her own private heater hidden under her desk. Talking to teachers at other schools this kind of thing is often frowned upon, but my school doesn't seem to worry about it too much.
14th December 2013 - Buying soy sauce in bulk at emart
15th December 2013 - Moving Day. Jihyeon is moving all her things into my apartment in Daejeon. She finishes her job in Iksan later next week.
16th December 2013 - Exams are over and students don't really want to do anything in class. I am showing Christmas episodes of the simpsons (20mins) and then doing a quiz game about the episode afterwards.
17th December 2013 - I am not sure who these are from, but I came back to my desk to find half a dozen KrispyKream doughnuts on my desk. Thanks mystery person~
18th December 2013 - Today I re-signed my contract for a second year of teaching English in Daejeon. The budget was almost cut, but luckily the administration managed to claw back most of it and save the jobs of most western teachers.
19th December 2013 - Student pre-class artwork by two girls who couldn't stop giggling. It took them half a dozen tries, but they eventually spelled my name right.
20th December 2013 - More snow last night, and with it comes black ice. If you are not paying attention you will quickly find yourself on your ass.
21st December 2013 - Tonight I cracked open the Jatz and Vegemite my mum brought me. ^^
22nd December 2013 - As the son in law of the building owner I am often called upon to do miscellaneous jobs in the other apartments while my father in law is at home (in a different city). Tonight's task, disassemble a bed using a butter knife.
23 December 2013 - Another week of classes where students don't want to do any work. I thought making Christmas cards would be a fun activity.
24th December 2013 - Christmas is just around the corner, so this week I've been dressing as Santa and handing out candy to students that speak English.
25th December 2013 - Christmas day today. I was totally knackered from English camp planning and taking classes Monday and Tuesday so I just stayed home. For Christmas lunch I had a sandwich. Yum~~~~^^
26th December 2013 - They don't celebrate Boxing Day in Korea, so I had more classes today (we made Christmas Cards again). Just before I went home my vice principal gave me this to congratulate me on my marriage. Unfortunately he got the name of my wife wrong. He looked at the invitation and copied the name of my father in law by mistake....
27th November 2013 - Last day of school for the year. Presentations were held in the brand new sound and recording room.
28th December 2013 - More drama from the person in unit 204 last night. We woke to the sound of crashing and banging in the early hours of the morning. I peaked in the door to see the wife standing there pissed and the husband nowhere in sight. I think he was out drinking.
30th December 2013 - My lovely wife helping me count fake money for one of my English camp games.
31st December 2013 - New years eve with other EPIK teachers in Daejeon.
1st January 2014 - Today was a public holiday so Jihyeon and I went for a walk together. For months she has been raving about these hot custard fish snacks you can buy. Finally we found a stall.
2nd January 2014 - Today was the 3rd day of winter English camp. It was a cooking themed day, so we made lamingtons.
3rd January 2014 - English camp today and we watched Toy Story. It made me feel really old when I found out that it was made almost 20 years ago!
4th January 2014 - When you order take out delivery food in Korea you have to leave your trash by the front door. The delivery driver will return a few hours later to pick up the dirty plates.
5th January 2014 - In Korea people love to hack up the goodness hiding in the back of their throat and spit out on the street to share with everyone.
6th January 2014 - Today was the last day of Winter English camp. We made catapults and students had to catapult candy onto a score board and answer quiz questions. It turned out to be a really great day.
7th January 2014 - Renewing my ARC and the immigration office. Unfortunately I forgot my apartment contract so we had to come back later.
8th January 2014 - Since Jihyeon is out of work she has applied for employment benefits. I can report that Korean employment offices are just as useless and boring as back home in Australia.
9th January 2014 - Tonight we traveled to Suwon to see the new apartment that Jihyeon's parents have moved into. Unfortunately we got stuck in the elevator for what seemed like forever....
10th January 2014 - The view out the window from the in-laws apartment.
11th January 2014 - In my newly found free time I finally started making a concerted effort to learn to read Korean.
12th January 2014 - As the daughter of the building owner, it falls on Jihyeon to sign official documents from time time when new tenants move into the building. Most agents are good and are willing to bring the paperwork to our unit, but this woman was painfully annoying and insisted we go to visit her at her office.
13th January 2014 - Jihyeon took her charm bracelet to the jeweler to get repaired today.
14th January 2014 - An electrician came today and replaced the light fitting in our living room.
15th January 2014 - Fried, home made mandu (Korean dumplings)
16th January 2014 - Even though I have no classes and all the other Korean teachers can stay at home, I have to go to school and "desk warm", which entails sitting at my desk watching video's and/or studying.
17 January 2014 - One of the other western teachers in Daejeon organized the girls on her English camp into an army to raise money for the Philippines.
18th January 2014 - One of Jihyeon's friends took over a Japanese restaurant from his father so we dropped by to support his business and celebrate.
19th January 2014 - Soju is the most popular drink in Korea and gets all the international fame that goes with such a title, but a close second would probably be Makgeolli. Makgeolli is an alcoholic beverage made from rice or wheat and was traditionally drunk my farmers. In modern times though it has made it's way into cities and is popular with younger generations who drink it while eating pajeon (파전) or bindaetteok (빈대떡).
20th January 2014 - It's snowed a couple of times, but normally it melts as soon as it hits the ground. This was the first decent snow coverage. Apparently it is a mild winter this year, which might explain why we have not seen a lot of snow.
21st January 2014 - It's too cold to go out at night (sub zero degrees plus wind chill factor), so instead of going for an evening walk I'm trapped inside my apartment watching CSI and NCIS re-runs on TV.
22nd January 2014 - It's vacation time, English camp is over, and I have to go to school and keep my desk warm. I try to get up and move every couple of hours. It's strange walking the empty hallways at school on vacation.
23rd January 2014 - One of the bathrooms at school. I thought it a little strange that there is a massive glass window in the door that allows passerby's to take a peak.
24th January 2014 - Bored and walking around my school again. I snapped this picture of the stairwell. I think it's kind of an interesting architectural shot.
25th January 2014 - A digital shop assistant in one of the stores. She wasn't particularly helpful.
26th January 2014 - You will see this on doors quite a lot in Korea. One half of a twin set of glass doors will have a "fixed" sign on it and often be locked. I've heard a conspiracy theory that this is done because one company has a monopoly on doors and charge ridiculous prices, so to stop the doors from wearing out, one of them is permanently locked shut. Talking to my wife, she says this is done for safety reasons so people passing in and out don't get nailed between doors swinging in opposite directions. I dunno, maybe try looking up from your phones once in a while to look where you are going. I'm sure that would resolve that problem.
27th January 2014 - So.... it took me almost a whole year to find it, but I found the Brisbane sister city plaque here in Daejeon today. Brisbane and Daejeon are sister cities. In Brisbane there is a plaque for Daejeon on a nice rock surrounded by tropical gardens. In Daejeon however.... I thought it was pretty pathetic and was disappointed.
28th January 2014 - Another day of desk warming and wandering the halls to stretch my legs. This strange contraption is for cleaning blackboard dusters.
29th January 2014 - Many subway stations in Korea are equipped with reading spaces where you can find books to read while you are waiting for your train (never far away) or if you are waiting for someone to arrive (could be a while if they are running on Korean time).
30th January 2014 - Playing go-stop, a popular card game that often involves gambling in Korea. The point system is quite complicated and I don't fully understand it, but I'm better than Jihyeon which is all that matters. My father in law is very good at the game though, he won just about every game.
31st January 2014 - It was quite chilly, but I really wanted to take some night time photos of an old fortress in Suwon. I'm really happy with the shots I ended up with. In the picture you can see Jihyeon walking down the stairs and the one of the main gates at the bottom of the hill.
1st February 2014 - About a 20 minute walk from my apartment is a public garden with a pond and a water wheel. It's a little bland in winter, but in spring, summer and autumn it is quite nice.
2nd February 2014 - This is a major intersection a short walk from my house. I've been playing with my camera and getting to know all the functions before our honeymoon to the Maldives. This is my first long exposure night shot. Happy with the results.
3rd February 2014 - In Korea, people park anywhere and everywhere. Block one way of a busy 2 way street? no worries. Drive onto the sidewalk at an intersection while you duck into the shops? No worries. Double park people? No worries. Just make sure you have your phone number on the dashboard so people can call you and tell you to move your car.
4th February 2014 - Jihyeon filling out her Canadian criminal record check paperwork so she can apply for her temporary partner visa (subclass 309) in Australia.
5th January 2014 - The school cafeteria. Girls on the left, boys on the right. They even have separate food dispensing lines for boys and girls.
6th February 2014 - This is something I see often in Korea and it worries me quite a bit. This is an emergency exit for the eastern end of my school... and it is locked shut with a chain. I hope there isn't a fire. Safety really isn't in the forefront of people's minds in Korea.
7th February 2014 - When students enter the school building they have to take off their shoes and put on slippers. I don't really get it. They walk to school on footpaths (no mud) and sit on chairs at school (not on the floor) so why take your shoes off? Anyway, outside each classroom is some shelving where students can leave their shoes.
8th February 2014 - Took me a while to work out what this was, but I worked it out today when I saw someone stuffing clothing into it. It's a charity bin where people can deposit their old clothes (and I assume other things) so they can be given tot he poor.
9th February 2014 - The Korean way of recycling is a little confusing to me, so I'm happy to let Jihyeon handle it. In Korea cardboard, plastic and glass has to be separated and left in a trash collection spot where an ajumma (an old married Korean woman) will collect the trash (after sorting it a little more) and then take it to a recycling center to earn a few dollars (literally, a few dollars) as the aged pension in Korea isn't enough to live on.
10th February 2014 - Grade 3 students are putting on some sort of concert. I think the classes have a competition to see who can do the best song.
11th February 2014 - Woohoo, graduation day for grade 3 middle school. Congrats to all.
12th February 2014 - Packing our bag for our Maldives honeymoon. Gundi (my teddy bear) is going to make the trip too. I hope he doesn't get lost.
13th February 2014 - Before we go to the airport we had to stop by the Australian Embassy in Seoul for my certificate of no impediment so we could register our marriage with the Korean government.
14th February 2014 - Waiting at the airport late at night for our flight to the Maldives.
15th February 2014 - It's almost 1:30am, but we are on our way to Maldives for our honeymoon~~~~~ What a way to finish my first 365 days in Korea.