I’m Still Alive

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I think I just read that my last posting included Dream Concert which was in…May..it’s October.

I could use the excuse that I’ve been busy and I have been. But mostly I didn’t really like where things were going with this blog. It became a mess of things and I had some personal things to sort out as well.

I’m still very much unsure of where this is going.

I know I revamped it a bit.

I still would like to keep certain aspects but I don’t think I have the will to keep it going every day.

For now I think I will just update once a week.

I still want to keep the teaching bit, of course keep the music/concert aspect, as well as maybe adding some other thing…but at this point I’m just really unsure what I want to do. I would like to ad travel but these days (read no money in my bank account) I am doing much less traveling.

So for now I will start with what I do know I want to keep.

-lesson plan

-music/concerts

-travel

 

So the first thing will be lesson plans.

Currently I’m teaching a super super boring lesson.ย  But it’s probably one of the most important lessons the kids should learn.

So my problem this lesson was -How do you turn a dull lesson that is super important into something they will enjoy and be wanting to learn?

My first thought was -play the fun games they love!

Bad news…my school updated it’s systems and no longer supports micrsoft office (something about how Gyenggio-do school system having to pay a bunch of money to microsoft) so any bomb game-or any computer game basically no longer works. Pass the ball, bomb games…..it sucks because not only do I lose games kids enjoy…I have to find something new to make.

So what do I do?

I think this is one of the hardest points for teachers-especially if you aren’t really free to create a lesson plan.

I am still very much tied to the book they supply-and even I know at this point the kids have to learn exactly what the book gives them because it is what will be on te test.

I am still searching for a solution for this problem. Because of the less than exhilarating material the kids talk more, respond less, and become nightmares.

Do you just grit your teeth and hope to get through this lesson plan? Or do you work your ass off and try to come up with something that keeps them interested for at least 40mintues of the class?

I’ll let you know what I decide to do. So far it’s 0-5-my class this morning was a nightmare- we only completed about half of what we were supposed to because they insisted on talking through their classmates turn.

Music/Concerts:

This is usually my favorite part of posting.

So so much. In brief overview I got to go to EXO Planet #3! And it was amazing! So so much…I won’t spoil it for anyone who plans on going. But just prepare yourself…because damn that Artificial Love dance. Sadly Kai was injured again…

Then I have attended some festivals here and there..and the VIXX fanmeet which which was amazing. Don’t underestimate Starlights …on that one day alone I wound up with 34 fans alone…It was a long fanmeet too. Kind of spilt between fanmeet and mini concert. Due to horrible timing though, the ending of the fanmeet became extremely depressing-they were finally have their solo concert that I had been waiting for since Utopia…the same time I would be going home to America….

The amount of comebacks have been insane. Of course I lost my shit over Exact! And then lost it again over Hades! And then had really mixed feelings about Lotto-which I do very much like now sadly…but just felt it was a bit of a letdown . But EXO and VIXX promoting at the same time…it was insane.

Now there are a ton of comebacks happening now and later this month. Luckily for me my major groups are out of the way so I can relax and watch all the other kpop fans have meltdowns-I mean this in the kindest way ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ve listened and watched SHINEE’s new single. The MV felt very 90’s-early 90’s in it’s white background and insane clothes. The song itself felt very early 90’s -New Kids on the Block. For me the 90’s were a different sound because I grew up the mid to late 90’s . Song was good and I enjoyed how good Onew looked despite his ankle..but ugh Minho’s bad hair has to go!

GOT7 new single…felt honestly like a sequel to BTS Fire. I’m not even a BTS fan really so this is my saying GOT7 copied BTS.ย  But the arrangement (where the rap parts were, where it slowed down for some singing, the Trap/EDM chorus feel) felt very familiar. I wasn’t really expecting this and felt a little disappointed because of how much I really liked the past two albums (prior I wasn’t a GOT7 fan at all because of Girls Girls ….I mean come on).

There are so many songs out right now ( Ailee, Monsta X, etc) that I can’t spend all my time going over what I thought about them (plus I need a few more listens on some of them). But I will end with “Dancing King” by EXO because ….how could I not?

From everyone else I’ve talked to…it felt that Dancing King is what we all wanted Lotto to be…and wasn’t. It’s a great song. Upbeat and fun and funky with a really cool sounding hook. Not to mention that D.O. gets a lot more lines than normal (for a main vocal of the groups he gets a lot less than the other two *cough Baekhyun cough*) so I was really happy they let him sing more. THe MV was really fun as well because we got to see how YJS learned all the dance moves and saw some of his performance-not to mention the adorable little dances by Lay and D.O./Xiumin!

 

Finally to end today’s much belated, still messy with no direction post…I will talk about travel.

I was lucky enough to go home for Summer break. But in Korea, two weeks after the break we have another week long break for Chuseok (korean thanksgiving). Trust me those two weeks are awful because the kids are trying to resettle into school mode and sleep schedules (which parents don’t seem to care about any time of the school year) with also the idea that they get a break in two more weeks.

Basically it’s like labor day in USA-start school the week before and then have the holiday…it would just make more sense to extend it.

Anyway moving back to Chuseok-because of my vacation home during summer break, I didn’t have as much money to go on a trip.

Plus last year was a bit of a wreck-sure Jeju was beautiful and Udo Island was the best, but the trip advisors were awful, and a lot of things never worked out. WE didn’t go horseback riding or to the lava tubes and only have a few hours on Udo. They gave us like 90 minutes to climb this crater and back down (which I was fine but some people out of shape didn’t even attempt because of the time limit). They they were supposed to provide breakfast every morning which turned out to just be a muffin and instant coffee. Not to forget, the horrendous bus ride-this is a long ass bus ride almost the full length of the country and you are going to put us in crappy buses? the 2 hour bus ride to the airpot has nicer seats.

Clearly…I wasn’t planning on using that company again so I decided to make my own trip.

Ever since..last summer I had wanted to go to Seoraksan and climb it for Chuseok. But at the time I was still pretty new and uncomfortable planning my own trip. And most companies that were planning trips were wanting to go to Jeju. I would love to go back to Jeju but I didn’t want to go again.

So I decided to make a plan and go to Sokcho.ย  Earlier this year Sokcho became so popular due to it’s Pokemon thing. But I had no interest in that.

I would up going with a friend to Sokcho and we met another friend while we were there. Through there were some frustrating parts here and there I mostly did exactly what I planned.

The bus ride there was much longer than I initially thought due to the fact I was traveling on the day that everyone else was as well. Rest stops were backed up onto the high way!

It took about 5 hours from Pyeongtaek to Sokcho but honestly it was a great ride. The scenary was beautiful and the seats were comfortable. I had my own seat because I had booked it in advance. We stopped at a little rest stop closer to Sokcho and it was a cute little place.

I finally made it to Sokcho. But my friend and our guesthouse was at the other bus terminal. For those of you looking to go to Sokcho there are two terminals. One is called the Express Bus Terminal or “๊ณ ์† “-this is for buses that go to the bigger cities like Seoul or Inchon. The other one is the Intercity Bus Terminal “์‹œ์™ธ” bus terminal-this is for the towns like mine which aren’t as big as Busan or Seoul

 

It’s a very easy Taxi ride from one to the other. My friend and I stayed at the HJ Guesthouse. It was a little pricy because of the holiday but it was nice. It was very close to both the beach and the Express Bus Terminal. (walking distance). It was also a bigger room with a kitchenette. It was much bigger than usual for guesthouses and it had a private bathroom. Even though they advertise English Speakers, we were only able to really talk to the 1 man who was there. He was very nice and accommodating when our wifi didn’t work.

You don’t have free breakfast like normal guesthouses because it was technologically what they call a “pension”. Not sure what the difference is really other than maybe this room was usually for like a full family on vacation for a week or two.

The first evening we went to the beach-it was very strange seeing Koreans at a beach. Sure the water was quite cold, but only children went in the water. About 100 adults stood and watched on the beach. It made one very self conscious while swimming in the ocean or trying to get out of the water.

The next day we did the main reason (I at least) wanted to go to Sokcho. I looked up the night before some maps of the park and chose what I thought would be a great hiking trail. I’ve been hiking before in Suwon which is a small mountain. So I knew this would be a little more difficult.

I chose the Ulsanbawi Rock Trail because it was advertised as the most popular. I did look at the map in the park and it said “easy-medium-hard”. The first part was so easy and the second part was pretty easy/medium. So I figured the hard part wouldn’t be so bad…..wrong! The last 1KM or so is almost completely stairs and it’s all uphill. And as if the 1 KM of stairs isn’t daunting on it’s own, just imagine that some of them are metal stairs attatched to the rock AKA you are suspended only by those stairs.

It was extremely difficult the last .6 km or so and it had gotten much hotter than I thought. My friend had never been hiking before and wasn’t really wearing the best shoes or clothes for hiking-it took her much longer than I-but I will give her props for making it up that rock and back.

The hike featured a lot of nice stopping points-a temple-another temple-some great pictures and “temple water” aka delicious mountain water that saved me. But what I didn’t realize was that the map said 2 hours….I assumed this was roundtrip…no it was one way. So between my friend having to stop for a while,s struggling on those stairs and waiting for my friend at the halfway point to climb back down it took about 5 hours. It was a damn good thing we started early.ย  WE finished with some Mountain BiBimBap and a Seafood Pancake that was way too big for any human to eat alone.

The next day we went to the Hot Spring -Cheoksan- so we could soak and relax from the day before. It was pretty cheap, I think about 8000W, and you have access to the hot spring and bath house. Theย  Jimjilbang was a seperate thing.

It was my first time at a Korean bath house and it took me a good couple of mintues before I could brave myself to strip down in front of a thousand naked Korean women.

They do give you a little towel but it’s not enough to really cover anything.

Inside there are about 5 or 6 different pools and a large “bathing” section. The pools are different temps (from super hot, to medium warm to frigid cold) as well as a “neck shower” (basically water just shoots down on your body) and a jet pool. But the real treat was outside-two hot spring pools-one wooden one and one stone one. It was so cool and I couldn’t help but to wonder what it would have been like if this was winter.

After about an hour or two we got out, and went on to the Abai Village. It is supposedly what Seoul looked like in the 70’s but now is mostly known for 3 things: being a North Korean Refugee Village, Special Abai Sundae, and the filming location of a drama.

Now I did try the Sundae -literally the whole street is lined with Sundae shops- along with fried shrimp. Because Sundae is normally blood sausage I have never eaten it but this sundae is seafood. So I gave it a try-not really my thing but the broth the sundae came in (we got the soup) was delicious.

Afterwards we did the “pull boat’ which was made famous by this drama Song Hye Gyo was in (a long time ago) where you pay 200W (sooooo expensive I know) and cross this little river.ย  The “captain” pulls the boat along with these hooks and you are more than welcome to help. It takes like ….30 seconds…but it’s a lot of fun and puts you at the other side of the river. I will say-if you are looking to go during weekends or holidays it is a bit of a wait so make sure you are done looking at the Abai Village when you cross.

The other side puts you in a cute little area with coffee shops and gift shops and some more seafood restaraunts. It eventually puts you out across from the Fish Market. (This fish market we tried our first night but my friend doesn’t really like fish and can be a little picky so we didn’t eat there-this however is the place that EXO came during Showtime when Suho and Luhan and Chanyeol went out shopping-you can even find the Hotteok place they ate it-the line is long!)

After the Village we went back and spent some relaxing time on the beach. I guess I’m used to spending a lot of time on the beach so I know to bring a beach towel, sunscreen and a book. Your Korean guesthouse will not have a “beach towel” or even a bath towel for you to really use to lay on. I would suggest bringing your own if you can.

Afterwards my friend and I met up with our other friend went out for dinner and ice cream. It was our last night in Sokcho.

The next day we departed. I went back to the Intercity Bus Terminal. The ride back was equally as beautiful and I took a lot of pictures. We stopped at another cute rest stop that I finally managed to eat those lovely “rest stop potatoes”. Literally they are just baby potatoes cooked in butter and salt…and they are amazing.

But after about the 3rd hour I was ready to get off the bus (and pee). We managed to make it back by the time it was supposed to get back despite all the traffic.

Overall I would love to go back to Sokcho but it won’t happen probably until after the winter because it takes too long for me to get there-I would only have a few hours there.

Transportation: My friend and I didn’t really want to learn the bus system for the few days we were there and we could walk to the beach or CU if we needed. We took cabs to and from Seoraksan , Hot Spring, Fish Market, and Abai Village (as well as my own taxis to and from the other bus terminal). It wasn’t overly expensive the most being 20,000W because we got caught in Seoraksan traffic.

As for traveling to Sokcho. As I mentioned above there are 2 bus terminals. Unless you are traveling from a bigger city like Busan or Seoul, you will be at the Intercity Bus Terminal. The bigger cities are at the Express Bus Terminal. Make sure you know which is which. They are only about a 6 mintue taxi ride apart and the taxis here are always at the stations.

If you are looking to book in advance, ask your co teacher to help you. The websites are in Korean and some of it is hard to navigate. I would suggest this if you are traveling on a holiday. My bus to Sokcho was packed full….my bus back however was not.

Bring some goodies and entertainment-the bus does have a 15-30 min rest stop but you might get hungry or bored.

Food: There are a ton of restaraunts around. The city is famous for “Korean style sushi”. I love seafood but my friend is super picky about her food so we didn’t get to eat much that was local to the town.

Activities:There are just so many things to do. Sure play your Pokemon but then take your head away from your phone and enjoy. You can go hiking Seoraksan (there are so many different things you can do there) or take the cable car for 9000W (I think …maybe it’s 12,000), do the Zip Line, relax in a hot spring, eat, visit Abai Village ,fo the Teddy Bear Farm, relax at the beach…so much to do in Sokcho.

Ok I think that’s all for now. Hopefuly I will remember this for next week! And hopefully I will figure out exactly what I want to do with this blog.

As I have mentioned before i do not edit these because I’m lazy. SO I’m sure there are a ton of grammar and spelling and …whatever else mistakes.

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The EXO Concert!! Chanyeol was by my section the most ๐Ÿ™‚

 

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So full! This was Day 5 of the 6 concerts. My new lightstick and this super cute D.O. fan!

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Top: The Temple at the bottom of the hike. I think I read this is the oldest Zen temple in Korea. (Right) A huge Buddha…duh. (Left) The start of the hike-you can see the Ulsanbawi Rock in the far far distance!

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(Top) In the middle of the horrendous final 1km (Left) some of the rock stairs (Right)…the evil suspended metal stairs from hell

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(top) the highest rock is the finish line! (bottom two) view from the halfway point -which isn’t really a halfway point but it was the rest after the “easy to medium hike” with a temple

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Top-Mountain Vegetable BiBimBap Bottom-Pajeon that would take 8 people to eat it

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View from the top. Sadly it was a cloudy day and you couldn’t see too much.

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Abai Village

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Abai Village- I don’t fancy myself a photographer…but I find that this shot looks like a professionals ๐Ÿ™‚

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Mountain photos from the bus ride home-felt very LOTR

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This is the cable car-you have to purchase tickets in advance for it.

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the 3000W potatoes from heaven

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this is why I love Sokcho-I don’t have to choose between Mountains or Beach…literally you look to the left you see mountains and to the right you see ocean.

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The fried shrimp (delicious) and the sundae soup

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Try to swim with all of them staring at you. It was strange.

 

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