December Snow

When Wyll and I first arrived in Korea, the test prep period had just ended. Abby and Grace were beginning the evals for the students. These last two weeks Wyll, Grace and I have been muddling through test prep and hoping that it all makes sense when we get to the other side- meaning that our students do well on tests we have little to no idea what will be on them. Yesterday we saw the first results of student testing, our youngest student received all A’s! YEAH!!!!!! Granted he is an excellent student, but his dad was very impressed so we had a pizza party. If all our students do that well I’m looking forward to eating a lot! ūüôā

 

This week has also brought with it the snow! Some might even say a blizzard. And with the attention I received about dressing warmly there are a few Korean outfits I noticed that I really want to point out here. Some of our students (the older men) wear¬†sandals¬†with socks. I’m talking Nike flip flops with colorful blue and purple socks. This student accompanies us home from school every night. Meaning he has to walk in the same freezing cold as we do. I am not supporting his decision to be so fashion forward. I will continue to wear my three layers of long fleece underwear, multiple sweaters, socks, even my ski hat and scarf (which has given me the title of little matchstick girl). I have noticed the girls bring fleece blankets with them to class to cover their legs sometimes the blankets are worn around the waist like a skirt. Most of the time they are carried over the arm or in a backpack- short skirts are the envy of all.

Best Restaurant

Last weekend it was very cold. As much as we wanted to venture out and see more of the unfamiliar we mostly stayed indoors. We did eventually go out as we were too hungry to stay inside. We went out seeking food and calm refreshment. You would think that would be an easy thing to do Saturday at 4pm. It seems to me that Korea has a night owl culture. Y-Mart always seems to be open while coffee shops open at 11 and restaurants open at dinner 5 or 6.  Friday and Saturday nights are also referred to as fire nights. This is due to the mass consumption of Soju. Korea is also known as The Land of the Morning Calm, I often get the idea this nickname is from sleeping in.

Five days plus a week, Wyll and I walk the same path to work. Over the month and a half that we have been here we have watched a garden/farm in all stages. When we first arrived it was the number one thing that blew our minds. Then we witnessed it being planted. We have also seen all the diakon be harvested and more¬†recently¬†the cabbage- it is Kimchi month btw. There is also a restaurant that we want to eat at, but it is always closed or too late for us to dine.¬†We had seen the restaurant family making their own kimchi over a few days. One of the sons speaks minimal English, I was so bummed that I didn’t have a camera on me.¬†Two and two = our favorite garden/farm is attached to our favorite restaurant. How cool is that?

Unfortunately,¬†they were closed. We still haven’t eaten at our favorite restaurant.

We walked down to Y-Mart. It was getting really cold so we thought we’d walk over to restaurant street. There are two main streets that bring us to town. One has all the restaurants on it and our director called it restaurant street so forever it shall be named. The other one we just call main street or direct street. Anyway, there is this massive log cabin it has a Gochang Top sign that reads “Best Restaurant”. We have been intrigued with this place for a long time. It looks like something tourists are really into. ¬†(For those of you interested yesterday Wyll and I went to the BIG supermarket and got coffee in tea bags- so much better than instant! I’m enjoying it right now). Wyll went into check the menu out. I’m silly and waited outside.

When he¬†okay-ed¬†the menu he came out to get me. There are a few things we look for on a menu, pictures being the main and price- if I can’t eat it, I don’t want to pay too much for it. Although, I should probably get over it b/c I’ve been able to eat everything except some of the ‘fast food’ like spicy ramen, tapoki- a outrageously spicy noodle dish. We sat down and our waiter was looking over the menu with us. He didn’t speak English, but was very interested in our process for picking out food. We decided to get a family style short rib stew. It was labeled ‘best’. It was also pretty much the only thing on the menu. Wyll tried to order the biggest one 30,000 won. The waiter refused. They had a comical finger pointing war. At the end the waiter won, secretly. Wyll thought he had won. When we got the bill they had compromised. 25,000 won.

I think if he could speak English he would have said:

“Kind sir that portion is for 6-8 people; how will you and the lady eat all of it?”

After the waiter left, the hostess returned with a mountain of Banchan- side dishes. (Pictures below). There was pickled quail eggs, some kind of seasoned mushroom, cold greens, spicy pickled diakon, salty kimchi, spicy kimchi, soy¬†marinated¬†kimchi… Wyll loved the kimchi so much he asked for the banchan to-go. Our hostess got a brand new one for us. When the soup arrived they also put a camp stove on our table. The stew continues to cook while you are eating it. This is problematic for me b/c it smells so good I always burn my tongue. I say always b/c the three times I have eaten boiling soup I have gotten over excited and burned my tongue. But not this time! I knew better! I put everything in my bowl, I pulled the meat off the bone, I put some soup on my spoon, I waited, I cooled… I ate! It was delicious!

Note: There are also a few pictures of a soccer competition.

 

Moyang Fortress Festival

Friday was the first day of the festival. It opened with a parade and even though we were working all the staff marched up the stairs and onto the roof to watch. There were three basic groups; marching bands in traditional attire, martial arts in white, blue or maroon and townsfolk in white traditional clothing. The last group looked like doctors. It was very funny. The traditional musician outfit is topped with what looks like a clown wig.

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At the festival there was some kind of special ceremony performance going on. The women were wearing Hanoks which is traditional ceremony dress. They are currently worn only a few times a year for special family occasions- like for a check in with grandparents.

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I also captured some good video of the martial arts performance. I think I have to post those separate.

Mad Crazy life experiences

Friday we officially started to apply for our visa. We also found out our luggage was never sent. ūüė¶ Hopefully it arrived Saturday so we an have it for our Southern California/ Nevada trip. Yesterday we also had our going away party. It was tons of fun. It was a smallish space for a pool party, everyone who came had a good time. We had a potluck and a potlatch (where you give away your stuff).

We also announced our engagement. (Unknown words and expressions!!!) Wyll and I are getting MARRIED!

I am super excited to visit my grandparents and tell them in person. Then we are headed to LA to hang out with Wyll’s grandma and then Tahoe to see Wyll’s grandpa. 26 hours of driving and one week left before departure. Ending in Ukiah to give my mom the car then maybe getting a ride into the bay area or taking the bus. The plan at this point is to stay with Parents until the flight then to bart to sfo. The strange thing is that we don’t actually have our tickets. They will come. It will be amazing.

Right now I’m enjoying the company of my family. Camilo is eating pizza, mom and I are gabbing away about life and change. Thea is upstairs preparing for a day of adventure. I think everyone had a great and wonderful time last night. Both my mom and Thea were excited to meet Wyll’s friends (Kevin the Slam Poet was a big hit). Mom is still lit; talking about Paula and what an amazing woman she is. I see so much of my mom in Paula. So happy that all the kids got to hang out- Mack, Theo, Cayden, Camilo running around, getting into trouble and being best friends forever. Thea and Zoey got to hang out, bonding over Dr. Who. It was just so much dangy fun.

I figure in six to nine months Wyll and I will have a plan about Korea. Will we be there for a second year? Will we be moving back to the State? Will we move to the east coast for school or work? At this point there are so many¬†possibilities. It’s hard to make any kinds of plans about the future. Wyll and I are on an adventure together, right now that’s more than enough. ‚̧