Pardon my excessive delay and the length of this post. But I know for many of you this blog is the sunshine in your life, so I promise it is filled with lots of eye goodies. Do enjoy the recent happs!
I must admit the last couple weekends I’ve been pretty lame because I’ve felt like a pile of crapola. But, you will be happy to hear that I took myself to the doctor to get some drugs like a mature (pronounced like matour) a-dult. Back at home I was pretty bad about taking care of myself, mostly because I didn’t have insurance for a while (UGH), lived crappy paycheck to crappy paycheck, and tried to refrain from the already incessant credit card usage. Therefore, I would just let the fake smoker’s cough grow and grow and I’d slowly die at my desk in my thick cloud of Mucinex. Well, you will be pleased to know that I will be taking care of myself over yonder because 1. I’m terrified of getting sick here, especially when it starts to snow, and 2. it is SOO freakin cheap! This jew likey!
My co-teacher Leni took me to the “hospital” (as they call the doctor here) down the street from my work on Monday. It’s a bit like Urgent Care back home where you can just walk in anywhere and they will see you. All I have to do is show them my ARC (Alien card) and it covers as insurance. So, we left work early at 4 because apparently if we got there after 4:30 we’d have to wait for 1 hour. I walked in, they took my temperature right in the waiting room, which I thought was hilarious, then I sat down and waited 5 minutes to see the doc. I walk in, sit down and he just looks at me. I was expecting to need translation and just use big hand gestures, but once I started speaking a little slow he was like “yes yes, elaborate” and I was so excited to see he spoke damn good English. I told him the usual symptoms, I coughed to show him how gross it is, he squeezed my glands to prove they were swollen (which hurt) and then did a lot of talking in Korean to Leni who then relayed all the info to me. The doctor was super nice and asked me where I was from. When I told him LA he got excited and asked “where in LA? My-uh parents lives-uh in Las-uh Virgeneees.” Well isn’t that a small world. I told him my family is from Agoura Hills and he was vaguely familiar with the suburb. That made me feel a wee bit more at home. We then said goodbye and thanks, I paid the measly 3,000won (about $3) to see the doctor and then walked next door to get my drugs. For 7,000won (about $7ish), I got a bottle of Nasonex, and 3 days worth of a cocktail of pills (I have no clue what I’m taking). I literally lept to pay and sign and then told the pharmacists (who also spoke English!) that a bottle of that same nasal spray (or one similar) back at home cost me a whopping $150 fat ones! Screw you American medicine. Given the cheapness factor, I’m also highly considering getting Lasik done while I’m here. Total it’ll probs cost be a little over $1k for both eyes. Nice-uhh. This is how my drugs came prepared for me. Silly Asians and their silly ways. And yes, that’s and outdated copy Elle of Justin and Mila in the background. Nom. Girl needs her eye candy.
Moving on to the things that I HAVE been doing despite my glorious sickness. A couple weekends ago was a long weekend here, I think it was for the independence or creation of Korea. One of the two. What that meant for us teachers was long weekend! I got Monday and Tuesday off (all my other friends only got Monday off), so it was very very nice. This was the weekend I began feeling not too hott, so I stayed in that Friday and Saturday night like a responsible adult in hopes of getting better. However, I did decide to go on a rigorous hike on Saturday with my lady loves. I don’t really know what I was thinking given the fact that I’m not a big hike lover to begin with, but I never want to miss out on an exploration opportunity so I just suck it up and go because I know I’m gonna want to see that amazing view from the top. So, I went with Katie, Abby, Steph and Liz to hike Dobongson mountain, which is actually fairly close to where I like in NorKo. What started out as an almost vertical incline at the base (UGH) turned out to be more like rock climbing as we got deeper. That was fun, though I’m such a freakin girl when it comes to getting my hands dirty. I kept commenting on how every time I place my hand down I’m looking for the least dirty spot, and then I always dust my hands off immediately after hoisting myself up. I am actually really glad though that it was more rock and rope climbing because it’s way more fun, even though I’m way more scared of climbing up things than jumping off them. Normal right? Anyways, we trekked thru but didn’t end up making it all the way to the top. We met a sweet little Korean man who befriended us and told us we should probably consider making our way down because we still had a little ways to go and wouldn’t want to get stuck up there when it got darker. So we made our way down the very tricky trail. We insisted our new friend come to dinner with us, to which he found us a little bibimbap place, ordered 2 bibimbaps for the 5 of us girls and thought that would fill us up. No no little Korean man. We are North American women who like to eat and didn’t pack lunches for our hike. He ordered us 3 more with the most shocked look on his face, and then sat and watched us eat. He later told us he wanted a hamburger. Go figure. Here’s some pictorals of the beautiful hike, view of Seoul, and the gorgeous temple we saw along the way.
God I love long weekends. That Monday a bunch of us met up for a day in Olympic Park. It was such a gorgeous day out. Twas super chill and just nice to hang out with good peeps and drink the Makkali (sp?). Makkali is this milky soju alcohol that is sort of fizzy and weird. But it’s aight. My lovely recruiter Dia, who I LOVE came as well, so that fulfilled the Korean quotient. Some friends played soccer with the cutest little Korean baby, some lounged and read like scholars, some listened to music and drank to happy times, and all gazed up at the phallic statue towards the sky. It was a lovely lovely day had by all. Take a gander will ya.
Then Tuesday rolled around, and I had been planning to venture into Hyehwa to show myself around the artsy part of Seoul since I had the day off and I had been dying to go there. The day turned into a full on walking tour with a British lad. He lives 2 stops away from Hyehwa, so we met at his exit and walked there. There wasn’t much going on since it was during the day, but I got an idea of the area and decided I needed to come back at night. We then walked further to Dongdaemun, which is what I would compare to the Fashion District in Downtown LA, but with a huge temple in the center. We walked along the river (at quite the brisk pace because he walks too fast) where there was some religious group performing on the river stage (interesting), and then got caught in the huge textile building that we thought was going to be a mall. Holy hell was it hot and clusterfuckish in there. Moving on, we made our way back through Myeong-dong, which is hardcore for the shopper. My feet were killing me but it was a pretty awesome day, and the company wasn’t too shabby either. Shockingly, I snoozed on the photo taking, but here’s a couple of the ones I took.
Random street in Hyehwa
I did end up going back to Hyehwa at night, which I will get to in a bit. Before that though, I would like to say that I can check off going to a silent disco from my bucket list. God bless you Hongdae Park and your random happenings. This past Saturday night I was about to send myself home early after a long day of voice-overing (saving that for another post) because I was feeling like crap again. But thank god I didn’t. The silent disco cost 3,000won for the headphones and it was just a party in the park and freaks all over the place. I think you can imagine what it was like, so here’s some pictorals.
Back to Hyehwa! I went back Tuesday night after my plans to go to a soccer game got changed. I went back with that British lad for dinner and then a jazz bar. I must say, it has been something I’ve wanted to do for a long time and just never did. This one was called Jazz Story. It was so cool and I’m glad it was my first. Twas delightful company, the ambiance was gorgeous inside (I kept thinking their interior decorator did a bomb job lol), and the band was divine. It was an all Korean band but they sang pretty much all English songs from the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s with a few Korean jams thrown in. I think I really got off on the right foot when the first song they sang was the theme from “Grease” (aka my favorite movie ever). They also sang some Beatles, Stevie Wonder, and some Hotel California amongst others. LOVED. IT. This is their sign which I just love. It’s made from car headlights!
I know this was an intensive course in the past couple weeks, sorry, but I hope you enjoyed the visuals 🙂 Today and tomorrow my 5th and 6th graders are gone at some Halloween/Talent show camp so I’ve got my days wide open which is an awesome and welcomed break. I got to Skype with Kayla and Mama, Papa and Brotha Schaeff and show them all my classroom too. I will leave this post with 3 different images. One that will leave a disgusting taste in your mouth (or eyeballs), and two that will make you giggle. Enjoy until next time. Mwah!
Just some innards of a fish being sold on the street. nbd.
Drunk, passed out Korean man occupying a few too many seats on the subway, and oblivious business man.
This is what my parents look like when they Skype with me. Love you 🙂