So….it’s been a while. Like a long long while. With the insanity that was my July and August I do apologize for not blogging. Where to even begin.
Well it’s been so long I don’t even know what the last thing I wrote was. Probably something about Chess the musical and 2pm concert and the craziness of summer camp planning.
Well to wrap up my August here is a brief over view: summer camp, parents visit, concerts.
To anyone who is contracted through GEPIK or EPIK you will have to complete two “camps”. I had worked really hard planning out what I thought to be fun lessons but educational. All of my other friends have told me that my lesson plans seemed to keep the kids occupied while they learned something.
Turns out my co teacher did not want a summer camp like everyone else. It was to be 40 minutes of teaching something simple and then 40 minutes of a game that had nothing to do with what we learned. Needless to say this was much harder than I thought. Even though I spent over a month carefully planning, I still spent 3 hours every day replanning for the following day.
Positives: The 3rd and 4th graders were beyond cute! They understood way more than I thought they did and I was able to speak freely with them. It was a nice change to have kids so willing to participate without fear of being embarassed.
I understand people who say that teaching them is exhausting at times…but since I never teach them, I found them so cute and fun to teach.
My 5th and 6th grade class was a lot smaller so I really got to know their names and personalites. I had 5 of my fifth grade students. Compared to the 4 other 5th graders, my students had a much higher level and also were so much more confident. The 6th grade boys weren’t as bad but I think it’s because I only had 2 of them. I’ve seen what a class of 30 6th graders looks like and it’s not pretty.
Cons: Other than feeling pressured to change the lesson plans during the course of camp, I really enjoyed my summer camps. The kids were great and i got to really know some of my current fifth graders.
Day 1: introduction, orientation 3/4 -altered musical chair game where they had to identify letters on chairs instead, 5/6-hot potato game where they had to ask a question or answer in the alloted time…if the timer went off when they were holding it they had to roll the dice and do the punishment.
Day 2: My Favorite: learning my favorite things song, make a favorite mobile, play guess “jessie teacher’s favorite thing” game
Day 3: 3/4-Family members, catch the words game, family BINGO game, 5/6-future tense, I will, make a time capsule
Day 4: Holidays- American holiday tour (with my dog as their guide) make your holiday activity
Day 5: Music day- Learn different types of popular American music, listen to sample clips of the music, Water balloon game-choose one card from the bag-if you can’t answer you must sit on the balloon and pop it
Day 6: Money Day-learn about American money, play 4 corners game (choose which corner has the right price) auction/shopping day, scavanger hunt-take pictures of thing or actions
Day 7: golden bell quiz, snack, awards, movies
Parents visit was definetly something that stuck with me for a while. While back in the USA i used to be the kind of person who got homesick very easily. But here, not so much.
My parents came for 9 days after their China trip. They were worn out from going and going in China. I met them at Seoul Station and we took the KTX to Busan.
I have never been on the KTX before. I wasn’t really impressed that much. There was no where to store luggage and the seats weren’t as nice. The ITX saemul is much nicer and cheaper. It takes a little bit longer though. But traveling by train in Korea is so easy and cheap with nice scenery that spending a little more time on the train is NBD as long as you have your tunes, and snacks.
It was nice that we could all relax on the train ride. I had been running around like a crazy person the few days beforehand. I had been house/puppy sitting and only had about a day to deep clean my apartment before the parents got there.
So when I finally had to go to Seoul to meet them, I had no eaten and was tired. Thankfully we were able to just sleep on the train. Which I did….soundly.
Because I’ve been to Busan before I knew my way around the station. But W and I always take the subway to her house. However, with all our luggage, exhaustion from traveling, and not wanting to deal with a super long subway ride, I found the taxi shelter. It was about a 15ish minute ride to the Pacific Hotel.
Haeundae is a cool place. It’s the closest to a beach town I’ve seen so far here in Korea (aside from he short time I’ve been at Gwangali). It’s far more commercialized and tourist friendly than any other place I’ve been to outside of Seoul. There are a lot of restaurants on the main strip, and shops and markets. We were able to see the nightlife as we drove by to our hotel.
Paradise Hotel was super nice. And it’s prices reflected that. If you are willing to shell out the extra money, it’s a place I’d defiently recommend if you are looking for a little pampering. For example, a breakfast buffet for the three of us was a nice 100$.
We ate at BonChon (the first one I’ve seen since being here) and then hung out in the hotel room. At that point I was so hungry and tired so all I wanted to do was eat and go to bed. Our first night in Busan was that of staying in the hotel while trying to explain why Snoop Dog was on “SMTM4” (a Korean rap show).
The following day we woke up and had breakfast at the Coffee Bean an Tea Shop (I think that’s what it’s called). It’s a short walk from the hotel. We had our breakfast and then went back to change to go to the beach. It was an overcast day but there were a lot of people.
It was a little cold and the waves were pretty rough-but this is coming from someone who was spoiled by the caribbean. While the umbrella’s weren’t free the inner tubes were-I suspect this is to prevent drowning which is a smart idea. Even though it was overcast it was still a nice day. We all had fun watching the teenage boys sit in the breakers and get completely flipped over on their tubes by the waves. We could hear their shrieks of laughter and terror.
On a bad notes, I got taken out by a wave and lost my favorite pair of sunglasses.
After Haeundae we went to downtown Seomyun and wandered around.We had dinner at Seoga & Cook-the place I make W take me every time I visit. Its “italian” but in typical Korean fashion, it tastes a little different. Still the seafood is amazing and the portion sizes kind of remind me of back home which is why W and I always share.
It’s also the place that I was able to hook my dad onto buying “ade” (fruit juice and sparkling water basically) by getting him to try the Hallabong ade. He quickly became obsessed with it and ordered it every single time we got drinks after that.
We then wandered around a little- I took them to Kim’s Club for some drinks and to let them see a Korean grocery store. We then headed back to Haeundae. It was a little strange though. I’ve heard from friends about witnessng racial issues but now it was first hand. Younger people didn’t want to sit next to my dad, and clearly gave them a wide berth. I was shocked because we were in a more foreinger populated area. (W had told me when her mom was visiting that her mom bumped against a lady on the subway, and the lady proceeded to wipe herself with a tissue afterwards). It made me very angry…but also allowed me to see what I might ignore on a regular basis. Because I don’t look foregin on the outside, I don’t have to deal with day to day issues of being different.
The following day we left Busan to come to my hometown Pyeongtaek. We took the ITX Sameul which is my favorite train and once again I slept as I usually do. I let my mom have the window seat both times on the train because she would only be here once. It’s a route I’ve traveled many times despite not actually ever sitting next to a window seat.
We stayed in Pyeongtaek enough time to do laundry, relax and even head up to Suwon for a look around the summer palace. There was an English speaking guide and we found out due to the new holiday (liberation day eve) the palaces were free!
Because my apartment, while bigger than most, does not fit three adutls comfortably, I had to sleep on the couch. My apartment quickly taught me, that more than 2 people is a crowd. We were able to eat pizza and ice cream and overall just relax. I even got my dad asking to watch episodes of Modern Family!
That Friday, we left for Seoul on the slow “regional rail” as I call it. It’s the slowest train, Mungunghwa, and from Seoul to Busan W said it takes about 6 hours. (I did have to one day take it from Busan to Pyeongtaek which while long, didn’t feel too bad. It was about 5 hours but it was at night so I guess I didn’t feel like I wasted my entire day on the train).
It’s a quick 1 hour ride up to seoul, something I do almost every weekend. However, I usually have a standing ticket, so I made sure to buy my parents tickets a head of time so we wouldn’t have to stand with their giant suitcases.
We headed to Seoul where we spent 4 days!! We stayed in Myeongdong at the Pacific hotel. It was also a very nice place to stay. It’s right at the foot of Namsan Mountain, and we could even see the N Tower from our window. It’s also literally right across from Myeongdong Shopping center. IMO…it’s kind of the best location ever.
We went to the N tower out first day which was insane! I’ve been twice now but it was so crowded it took an hour just to ride the cable car to the top. It turns out that the Friday was a new holiday and there was some speical event going on at the top of the Mountain….it was so crowded and busy…but my parents seemed to like it.
Afterwards, we went to Myeongdong to look around at the shopping and ate street food. I’ve never gotten the chance to do it so I had a lot of fun!
The next day My parents did the DMZ and I slept in and did some shopping! We wound up meeting in Itaewon. It’s the foreinger district of Seoul, and happens to be within walking distance of the Seoul US garrison. It’s not my favorite place but if you want decent foregin food, or need imported supplies, Itaewon is your best bet. We ate at some pub before wandering around the area and then headed back to Myeongdong.
My parents claimed that they had no intention of shopping with me…well like everyone, Korea changed them. They became Nature republic addicts, doing the foot and hand shea butter treatment and face masks every night.
That’s also when the collection of Nature Republic EXO fans started as well. They are free and you get one each time. They let you choose. I wound up with Chanyeol (who I didn’t know at the time) and we used the fan a lot that weekend. Sadly I lost him in the subway…so we went on a hunt for a new one. And we wound up with 4 at the end of the trip.
We went to church on Sunday at the Catholic Cathedral in Myeongdong and ran into an old co worker of my dad’s! Afterwards we went to Gyeongbukgong Palace which was also free! We got to see the changing of the guard! They place is huge! You could spend an entire day there! It made Suwon look like a dwarf palace.
My dad and I went to the Olympic Stadium and the Olympic Park afterwards and wandered around. We went to a chicken and seafood place as well.
The following day we went to visit the World Cup Stadium and the adoption agency. We learned that I have a twin sister after thinking it was a boy for 25 years! It was cute to see at the babies! We bought diapers and baby wipes as a donation.
Our final night we had BBQ and mango cheesecake bingsoo and it was amazing!! I’ve had about 3 different types of mango cheesecake bingsoo-Sulbing, Cafe Bene, Mango Six…but nothing compared to Twosome place…
It was hard to say goodbye the next day and I was sad for some time after that but luckily I have great friends here who knew that I didn’t really want to be alone!
Left Over Vacation:
I went back down to Busan to visit W (so much traveling…esp to Busan!) The Gwangali Beach Water gun festival was happening that weekend. Even though we didn’t participate in the water gun festival, we had fun watching the performers and people getting soaked. To sum it up as best as I can…Gwangli Beach looked like a Korean version of Spring break in Daytona Beach.
We decided to eat at a new place that weekend, and had amazing pizza and fries. Even though the crust was filled with sweet potato it was so good.
Even though summer break was only 2 weeks it felt much longer than that. It makes me want to work hard to get to that next vacation!
So in August…I went to a total of 3 concerts which doesn’t sound that bad….yeah right.
Teen Top- I let W drag me to Teen Top-her favorite band. We had standing of course and while it wasn’t quite as impressive as Vixx… Teen Top put on a great show. They made me a fan through their concert. Despite Niel’s lips, the 3 hour concert was a great time! Ever since then I’ve been watching their Hawaii and Guam trip and listening to their music!
The final weekend of August I decided to be crazy and go see Beast on Saturday and then do the Daejeon super idol concert the following Sunday.
Well…W told me “you have to go to fan events!” which take place a few hours before hand. So I went at around 1230 and did not sit until at least 10pm that night. Why you may ask? Let me tell you one thing : FREAKING FAN EVENTS!
If you don’t know what fan events are let me break it down for you: fan clubs before the concert hand out free stuff to the fans…..and it’s insane. If you ever choose to do this…take friends! You basically stand in lines, run around like a crazy person, and get free stuff. Sometimes things run out, especially if the person is popular. It’s fun, despite getting sunburnt and being exhausted even before the concert started. The concert was really good! I had been wanting to see BEAST since they are one of my favorite groups! I had never been to a concert before by myself so it was an interesting experience.
They all looked and sounded great! Even though Hyunseung’s freshly dyed red hair leaked down his face due to sweat and kind made him look like he was bleeding, he looked so much better than I have seen him. If it is true that they will be enlisted in the military soon, I’m glad I sucked it up and went to my very first concert alone.
I wound up with so many fans, stickers, photocards, that I have them all in a bag under my desk, trying to figure out what I’m supposed to do with it all
The following day I had to go to Daejeon for the super idol concert. SISTAR MBLAQ Crayon Pop Block B and Vixx were all playing!!! The venue though was really unorganized and we were all very confused.
It was my friend K’s first concert in Korea! Sadly the disorganizaion and lack of fan events wasn’t so great. But once the concert started it was amazing!
I saw my student E who had told me about the concert in the first place! He was with his dad. He came over and wasn’t shy about conversing in English with my friends and me and even gave me two fans from the Vixx fan meeting of my favorite two members.
Crayon Pop was first: I knew 0 of their songs. But they weren’t bad.
MBLAQ was next. I was sad that I wouldn’t see Lee Joon but shockingly the trio did a great job! I barely even missed Lee Joon and Thunder. the vocals were on point and Mir looked really good.
Sistar was next: all the soliders that had showed up in one big group got very quiet all of a sudden and was focusing 100% on the stage. It was hysterical to watch. I was so happy to finally see “Shake it” performed live! Sadly the original choereo for ‘Touch my body” was used instead of the remix.
Vixx was next: and W and I proceeded to turn into total fangirl mode. Although they didn’t perform my favorite song they were so good. They all looked great and sounded perfect…there’s just not much more to say otherwise I could go on forever. I will say this: unlike dream concert where I completely blanked out during Love Equation…I do remember this.
Block B was last: I think because they haven’t had much come out in the past year I just wasn’t as excited as I usually have been about them in the past. They sounded good and it was fun to see them again, but their outfits were really awkwardly put together. While PO and Jaehyo had on suits, others had on t shirts or flannel….it was a strange mix.
The concert was just over 2 hours which felt short and I wish it had been longer. Each group performed 3-4 songs. I’m glad I got my Vixx fill and hopefully it will carry over until their next comeback! (not counting Vixx LR)
This past weekend W and I did Show Me the Money 4 Concert: It was at Korea University and up a big hill. I’m still sore in the butt from walking up it. It was a smaller concert but still fun. Jay Park and all of AOMG showed up (minus Simon D). Tablo and Epik High also showed up with Jinusean performing after. I understand now why Jinusean is no longer too popular. They definetly have that 90’s sound. I liked it but I can understand why some people might find it out dated.
The most dissappointing act of the night was Zico. Not only was Zico sick so his voice sounded whiny and nasally (which is so not Zico which is why I like his voice) but Song Minho didn’t even show up. According to WINNER fans he was in Japan. If you’re the runner up I think you should show up. It was just not that great of a set. Luckily Verbal Jint/San E/Sanchez made it up.
I had never really listened to Verbal Jint before, but with Sanchez the two of them make a lethal pair. It was so different and less angry sounding that every other rapper that performed that night. Overall while rap and hip hop isn’t really my style I enjoyed the concert.
W and I then went shopping in Myeongdong to find her BTS comic books while I finally picked up Mamamoo’s first album and EXO’s overdose album. I don’t know what possessed me to buy it…actually I do but that’s another long story and this post is getting too long as is.
Then we sat down for about an hour before heading back to Hongdae where we had a really good chicken noodle dinner and watched street performers. Men performing girl songs never fail to make me smile.
We tried mango six mango bingsoo but it just wasn’t that great. The mango’s were almost too tart and it melted way to fast. I was dissappointed. You would think something called “Mango Six” would have the best mango bingsoo…not the case.
We left the next day after sleeping in and enjoyed time in the coffee bay near seoul station! Finally I went home and spent the day cleaning my apartment.
So that’s it all caught up…it took forever. But with Cinderella coming up in two weeks (Ken is playing the prince…kill me now) and then Chuseok in Jeju a week after that where W and I will re-enact our very own Vixx One Fine Day vacation I don’t know the next time I will be able to blog.
So for at least today…that is all…..WOW