Saturday, May 27, 2006

An evening in Dongdaemun

Here are just a few photos of our evening in Dongdaemun last night.
We didn't arrive until after 10pm - but this shopping district is open almost 24 hours a day...gotta love the Koreans and their shopping habits.
Not only are there several huge complexes full of shoes,bags,clothes and just about anything you could ever want - there is also a large outside market with just about everything (and lower prices).
We spent a few hours ogling Korean fashion...sometimes ridiculous, sometimes very hip (do people still use that word?)...ALWAYS very trendy!
We were all a little giddy...trying on funny hats, pointing out some atrocious "bling" accessories and even taking turns posing Sue and Justin's stuffed moose for photos opps.
(See below)
Justin suggested that these shopping centers pump oxygen in to make shoppers feel happier and more awake...whatever was in the air -we were all feeling very giddy (my apologies to BoNa if we embarrassed you in any way...silly Waegooks! )
After shopping we met up with BoNa's husband Sam, and went out to the market for a bite to eat and a few drinks.
One of the best snacks you can eat is Dubu Kimchi (hot Kimchi and tofu). It is very delicious! Sue and Justin are still pretty new here in Korea and sometimes have difficulty using the metal chopsticks. Fair enough - they are flat and metal...not the best design for picking up food and they do take a long while to get used to.
Sam made a feeble attempt to help Sue correct her 'chopstick form' and we all had a good laugh when Justin dropped some Kimchi into his Makali (Korean rice wine).
- But no worries time I reached over to get a piece of pajeon and dropped it into my bosses soup happens to even the best of us.
Post snack we walked around the street market for a bit - I bought a couple t-shirts - and then we made our way back home.
When we finished shopping it was after 1:00am and the streets were still packed with shoppers...ahh the addiction!
Enjoy the pics and will update you soon.

Sue and BoNa check out some of the clothes in one of the many shopping complexes at Dongdaemun. Posted by Picasa

Myer the Moose loves to try new styles. Posted by Picasa

Bona poses next to some model cut-outs. This display is apparently for a model contest which people can place a sticker on their favorite model. BoNa was hoping to get a few stickers of her own. Posted by Picasa

Justin and Sue love Makali. They think the sweet, milky taste of this rice wine is what makes drinking in Korea an adventure everytime! Posted by Picasa

One of my favorite dishes - Dubu kimchi (hot tofu and kimchi)...and Makali (which is always served in bowls...perhaps it makes it easier to drink from - or share with a friend ) Posted by Picasa

A street vendor in Dongdaemun market...the food is cheap
and very good!
(Street food is one of many things the Koreans do right!! )Posted by Picasa

Friday, May 26, 2006

My week - not so interesting, but still worth a read or two

I hope you are all well and having a good week.

I have come down with my 100th case of tonsillitis and plan to visit the doctor again tomorrow for some more antibiotics (give me the magical drugs ju-se-yo) all of my students were asking me 'teacher hurt?" as they pointed to their throats....
'yep hurts'.
Good thing my job requires me to talk all day (and by talk I mean scream at little kids to sit down and listen)

Last night my coworker Sue and her hubby Justin (my two new best friends) joined me in a fun game of basketball (my excuse to add more exercise to my week).
We found a basketball court pretty close to our school - actually its part of another apartment complex. So we kind of had to pretend that we lived there "nothing suspicious here...move along folks".
It was a lot of fun and I realized exactly how much I suck at playing basketball...soo embarrassingly bad...but good fun!

After our "game" ...and by "game" I mean something that Justin calls 'around the world 6 times’(basically taking turns shooting at the net while moving around the court, doing rediculous poses complete with sound effects..WHOOOUP!!!) - we met up with BoNa and Sam for a few drinks and a bite to eat.
They took us to a new section of our neighborhood that can only be described as "so much better then where I this really Jukjeon?"
We managed to drink so much that the bartender gave us a free soccer ball- whohoo.
Not sure if I have mentioned it yet, but Korea is playing in the World Cup and it is "World Cup Feva!!" (yep...I think I have all of the Korean soccer chants memorized......K-O-R-E-A...Let's go!!).

Anywhoo - we got home just after 1am...was very tired for class today (expected non?)
but well worth the lack of sleep.

Tonight I am off to Dongdaemun (shopping area of Seoul) to look for some new sandals and then grab some drinks with the gang i.e.: BoNa (Sam has a work thingy, so won't be coming tonight), Sue, and Justin.

No other plans for the weekend. I have been saying for weeks that I need to get some things sorted to ship to Canada - so this is finally the weekend (procrastination no more!!)
Next Wednesday is a holiday, thanks to the local elections that are being it will be nice to have a mid-week break from the kiddies.

Promise to update you again soon

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Koreans, Canadians and cocktails

Here are just a few photos from a dinner party I went to on the weekend.It was hosted by my coworker Bona and her husband Sam.
We ate; we drank and had a fabulous time (but a not-so-fabulous-morning-after).
One of Bona's friends, Julie, just came back from Canada and brought with her some ice wine...needless to say it was very well received.
Although I am not sure the Koreans entirely understood the etiquette of drinking ice wine, considering they served it in shot glasses and each time my glass was filled Bona yelled "Colleen...One Shot!!"

However...when in Rome...or I mean get the point.

Bona and Sam were very welcoming and made sure that everyone was well taken care of.
Sue and Justin are vegan/vegetarian (respectively) and often have a hard time getting people to understand the concept- but Bona did just fine and there were a ton of veggie dishes and delicious tofu/rice dishes to feed even the pickiest of vegans (Sue that means you ..hee hee).
I of course eat just about anything - so never a problem.

Anyways, it was a fun night and hopefully not the last.

This week I am busy giving tests to all my junior classes - which really isn't too bad considering I am only teaching 4 classes this semester (ahh the joys of being head teacher).
Still trying to get to the gym most days. Although to be honest I haven't been since Thursday. Today was very stormy - remains of the typhoon that hit Vietnam and the Phillipines - so it felt like a good night to stay inside and relax.
But seeing as how Thailand is but 3 months away - I will be sure to get to the gym in the morning.

Right now I am off to bed.
Enjoy the photos below!!!

Ciao Colleen

Dinner at Bona's

Dinner at Bona's
(Sue, Justin, Gary, Bona - in the kitchen, Jay and Julie)
Some of the delicious food Bona prepared
(even vegan dishes : something for everyone!)
Some incredible banboo/rice thingies...yummy!
Sue, Bona and Justin Posted by Picasa

Dinner at Bona's

Beer anyone?
me and Gary after a few too many whiskeys

Sam and Bona
Julie and Jay Posted by Picasa

Dinner at Bona's

Julie and one of Bona's puppies

Gary and Justin playing a few video games
(boys will be boys)
Just a few of the wine bottles
(oh Korea...I love you) Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Nama nama

Ok everywhere I go I am hearing this the gym, at the grocery store, as I walk down the street past the ever-friendly 'Chicken Man" students are humming it, and now I am humming it.
Apparently the original is by some European band, but here is the Korean version (and the one I unvoluntarily listen to almost every day).
The video is pretty funny and will give all you Canuks a little taste of Korean pop culture...ahh the fun of it all!!

Monday, May 08, 2006

Time to make it official !!!

Well, I have been hinting for a while and the time has come to let everyone in on my plans (I know some of you already know...but here are the full details).
After a lot of thought I have decided not to extend my contract when it finishes in August.
I love my job and my position as head teacher has given me a lot of opportunity, but I have realized that there are bigger and better things out there for me.

Maybe it's the events of the last year, maybe it's because I just turned 27 - but I have re-evaluated what is important to me.
So my plan is to finish the next three and a half months at my job and then I will fly to Thailand. My good friend Julie will meet me in Thailand and we plan to travel around for a month and then I will fly onto to India (and Julie will move onto Australia). I have decided to spend just over 2 months traveling in India before I will return to Canada for the end of November. I've missed the last two Christmas holidays with my family and I am determined to get home this year to celebrate with everyone close to me.

But don't fret! I am not finished with Korea just yet.
My current plan has me returning to Korea sometime in early 2007 and I am planning to move to Busan. My good friend Helen has just moved there and has convinced me to join her. Not only will I be a lot closer to friends but I will be living near the ocean - a dream come true!

Anyways, I will keep you all up to date with my plans as the time gets closer. For now my goal is to enjoy my last few months at my school and prepare for my travels ahead.

Ok...gotta get some sleep.

P.s. Some of my photos were published in a recent edition of the Ulsan Pear - you can see them if you download the April 2006 issue p.16. The article was written by my friend Helen. (yeeahhh for me!!)


Monday, May 01, 2006

Lotus Lantern Festival

This weekend I went to the Lotus Lantern Festival in Seoul.
It was a beautiful and impressive event held in honor of Buddha's birthday.
My friends Sue and Justin came along with me and we spent the day walking around Insadong enjoying the festivities.
There were plenty of activities for visitors to join including lantern making, bracelet making, traditional Buddhist painting and even folk games.
We each had a turn at playing some folk games and even got to paint some artwork.
The festival ended with a large parade (we didn't stay for the parade, but I 'borrowed' some photos to add to my collection.
Next weekend is a long weekend, so I am looking forward to some time off.
Enjoy the photos below

Traditional Korean dancers

Women waeving baskets and rugs

Sue and Justin outside of Jogyesa Temple

Lanterns and Pagoda

Lanterns at Jogyesa Temple

Lotus Lantern Festival Photos

Man painting flowers

Carving a Buddha

Me trying to make some Buddhist art with a stamp


Making Lanterns

Buddhist parade: Lotus Lantern Festival
(Photo courtesy of The Korea Times )

Beautiful parade floats at the Lotus Lantern Festival
(photo from The Seoul Times)