Soup and well behaved kids
Suji, Korea Republic
May 22nd, 2005.
This is my first entry while actually in Korea. I'm officially done
with my first month here in Korea South and it's been just what
I expected....all things completely new. I've just spent the entire
weekend sort of "vegging" out with my friend Mandy and
after last weeks events, I(we) needed it. For some reason not having
to be to work until 2pm denotes an almost automatic lifestyle of
staying up until 3am or so, especially if you do anything at night
after teaching until 10pm. I'll have to break that habit or I'll
be worthless when I come back to the States.
I'm now finished with 3 weeks of teaching and the kids are awesome....loud
as all get out but so well behaved it's eerie, I'm used to being
a bit more of a disciplinarian at school..I'm sure I'll see some
bad behavior sometime. I'll upload a few pics of my school when
I get the chance but I'm going to make sure it's after my classroom
is decorated a bit more. I have about 60 students spread over the
course of 5 classes per week. Three 2 hour classes on MWF and two
3 hour classes on T-Th. I applaud any student who can sit through
a 3 hour class...I could barely do it in college. My staff is 10
strong with me included. 3 Americans, 1 Aussie, and 6 Canadians.
There are tons of Canadians who teach out here because their dollar
is so weak they get a huge return on their take home pay...I know
of one teacher that paid off $38K of loans in 2.5 years...insane,
and she didn't even struggle to do it. Hopefully that means good
things for me in the future.
The town I live in is actually a suburb of Seoul called Suji. It's
by my best estimates ~25 miles south of the greater Seoul area.
After traveling to Seoul many times over the last month, I'm kind
of glad I live where I do. I have all that I need within a 5 minute
walk of my apartment, gym, restaurants, stores, bars.....everything.
Really fresh food, even though the spices/herbs are hard to come
by out here. I try to cook as often as possible and have some success
even though the gochu pepper is more popular than jalapenos in Texas.
They're everywhere and used even more, which leads to the next thing,
Some of you that know me better will be disappointed to know that
until now, I haven't tried the snack delicassy known as silkworm
larvae, but I will, and yes Mike S. you will see documented evidence.
Other than that, the food here is incredibly healthy...not a lot
of unhealthy fats, not a lot of breads/pastas, just mainly rice
as a starch, pork, chicken, fish and a ton of vegetables. Kim-chi
(fermented cabbage side dish) is alright, pretty spicy so the cabbage
taste is completely drowned out. One of my favorite things so far
is called kim-pap (kim=seaweed, pap(pop)=rice)...it's a seaweed
roll with a bit of ham, but mainly pineapple and radish inside...really
good, healthy, and cheap, about a buck each for a huge roll. Mandu,
a Korean filled dumpling is also really good as well....almost reminds
me of gnocchi. The soups here are really good...one consists of
a spice veggy broth that has whole chunks of potato with leeks,
veggies and chicken...it's called Dak-tori-dan. I'll tell you all
more as I try more. I do, for comfort's sake have a McDonalds, KFC,
Pizza Hut, and a Domino's within 5 minutes of me, although I'll
do my best to avoid them...I don't even like McDonalds in the U.S.
The weather here has been kind of whacky lately but it's nice temperature-wise.
about 22C for highs, with about 16-18C for lows. The rain spits
but I haven't seen it rain for real here yet. Not to worry though,
monsoon season is coming in about 6 weeks, days on end of thunderstorms
and torrential rain, fun stuff. Everybody hear warns me of the heat
during the summers and while Texas isn't quite as humid, it can
be and Korea I know for sure doesn't get hotter than Texas. Most
people have warned of highs around 36-38C, or ~96-99F. It gets there
regularly in Texas and most of the time hits 40C regularly...needless
to say, I'm not too concerned.
Okay, I'm tired of typing and I'm sure you're tired of reading so
I'll mercifully end this entry...future entries guaranteed to be
shorter, I promise. Look for more sometime soon.