Sunday, July 31, 2011

Bruised and Sore

So, I got some bruises while carrying one of my bags last night. Before carrying my bag, I had one bruise, and after carrying it, I have about 5 or 6 bruises. Two of which are so large that they actually merged together.

This is what my arms looked like at about 5am.

This is how they look now. Can you say painful? I bet a lot of people think I got beat up or something.

I don't even want to know how beat up my shoulders look. Judging from the way they feel, along with my back, and brusied arms, I'm say I'm in pretty rough shape. To make matters worse, I haven't slept a wink in 31 hours. Fun fun. I think I'm doing pretty well though.

Friday, July 29, 2011


So we're packing up our stuff, because we're leaving Dong-A in a couple of hours. Yesterday we had our final presentations, got our completion certificates, and wrote something about everyone. Last night we had a farewell party and went to karaoke. We had a too quick walk to the bus stop where we said goodbye. Unfortunately, we didn't get to say bye to everyone, and when we got on the bus, half of us were crying. I didn't cry, but since we're leaving today, and seeing our buddies for the last time, I think it's going to be very hard not to. I feel mixed emotions right now. I want to stay here so badly, but I know it's time to go home. I'm just glad that I've met so many new people, and made new friends. I've had an awesome time in Korea, and I don't want to say goodbye. I know I'll be back soon, so hopefully I'll be able to see everyone again.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Class, Nampodong, and Seomyeon

The title pretty much says it all, but basically we had class and then we went on a field trip to Nampodong. We saw part of the fish market, and walked down some of the paths we had never seen before. After that we went to Seomyeon where I bought some gifts, and we had porridge for dinner. Tomorrow is pretty simple; we're having our last class and working on our final presentations.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Slowly winding down

The last few days have been very slow and easy. Friday we went to Keoje Island where we saw a windmill, some goats, and went to the largest shipbuilding place in the world. Of course, we couldn't look at anything because it's only for those who buy a ship. We definitely can't buy one, because the "cheapest" one is $100,000,000. You also couldn't take any pictures, besides this one little spot, where you could barely see anything through the trees. After that we went to the POW Camp, which was kind of weird, because everything was pretty much fake. Basically, there are no remains of the actual camp, so it's filed with props so you can imagine what it was like. We left and headed for our house, which was hard to get to, and we turned around twice. The house was amazing; it was right on the water, and it was huge! We had a barbecue party for dinner, and let's just say everyone else wasn't feeling too well the next morning. Well, I felt pretty good; although I didn't sleep well, and there was no running water, electricity, or food when I woke up. We went on a ferry to one of the islands, which was nice. When we left, we headed back and I spent the rest of the night relaxing. Sunday a group of us went to Haeundae Beach to the largest department store in the world. It was nothin' special to me; I hate looking at a load of stuff that's extremely overpriced. After that, we went to Nampodong and had some street food, which was so, so good. Today we had class and went to Tejongdae, which has a really nice view of the ocean. We just got back a couple hours ago, and I plan on spending my time relaxing until tomorrow morning.

For those who are interested, I'm going to post all of my pictures from this trip on facebook. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Nothin' much

The past couple of days have been pretty laid back, and we haven't done much. We've had class and yesterday we made kimchi and saw Harry Potter. Tomorrow we're going to Keoje Island for two days. Sorry that there's not much to update you on, but the program's winding down, so we're not as busy. Actually, the highlight of yesterday was finally getting money after not having any for two weeks.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Our Intense Temple Stay

So we just got back from our one night, two day temple stay at PyoChoongSa Temple in Miryang. Like the title of this says, it was intense indeed. We got to the temple where we were shown to our rooms, and given outfits which consisted of long pants and quarter length sleeves...I was not a happy camper. Although, I was happy that they were baggy, because it helped with air flow. After changing, we took a tour around the temple, and man was I glad it was breezy. Next, we meditated, had dinner, and meditated some more. When dinner was over, we had some free time, so we walked around the temple grounds. We found a rabbit, which I befriended; I fed him/her clovers, and I even got to stroke his/her head. After that we had tea and rice cakes, and went to bed at nine. We got up at 3am and meditated, had breakfast, and went for a hike. This is where it got brutal; we started at 7am and we wound up finishing after 10am. A lot of things happened during that three hour period; enough to make it seem like the longest day of our lives. We were all thinking, "Hike? No problem, it'll be short. We'll get a little sweaty, but it'll be fine." Wrong. It was very long, and we got a lot sweaty...we encountered various problems. I almost passed out three times due to my own body heat; while crossing a stream, I fell, completely soaking my socks, shoes, and pants; and George fell about six feet off the side of the mountain. I thought my problems were bad, but George had it worse. I'm telling you, we can't go anywhere without someone getting hurt. Anyways, George fell and sprained his ankle, and so the guys had to take turns carrying him up the steep, steep mountain. At the same time, he was blacking out, and to tell the truth, the only reason why I didn't faint myself was because of all the breaks we had to take for George to rest. In a nut shell, we were miserable. When we finally made it to the top, where there was a road, we sent George off and waited for our own ride. When our ride came, with food (yay), eleven of us squeezed into one van, and rode along the mountain back to civilization. That ride was scary; the driver went too fast, and the road was the most narrow road I've ever seen. To make matters worse, the road is one way, and of course, the other van came at us head on...yeah, I had a great time. You don't even know how happy I was to finally get on the bus to go back to Dong-A. Well, I have learned a few things about our hike: I never want to walk again; I will never, ever complain about climbing the 93 steps up to the dorm; and I will never go hiking up a huge mountain again.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Week Two in Busan

Monday we had Korean class, went to Renault Samsung Motor company (I didn't even know they made cars), and finished up our storytelling preparation. Tuesday, we went to YongSu Elementary where my group taught four and five year olds. I was kind of worried about how we would do, but it turned out really well. They were adorable, and everyone joked about taking them home with us. It was a lot of fun, and we didn't want to leave. Mrs. Na said our group was the best. ;) She told us the day before that we had to do well or we wouldn't have Outback Steakhouse for lunch, but apparently, we did so well that we got to order a feast. After our long, beef-filled lunch, we headed over to Haeundae Beach. I know I've probably said this a load of times already, but it was so hot there. Once we got down to the water, I was so happy, because it was freezing cold, and it felt great. I didn't actually go swimming, but I did stand in the water. The boys had a lot of fun throwing the girls into the water, and I was the only one spared. I think it was because they knew I didn't have any spare clothes with me. I got another awkward tan line on my arms; it only goes up about halfway. Add that to my previous tanline on my neck from the first week, and I just look strange and patchy. When we were leaving the beach, I snapped a picture of this gold building. I thought it was interesting, because you don't see that everyday. After we had dinner, we went to see the light show, which they show every night at 8pm. I liked it alot, and I told Corbin that it was a substitute for our fourth of July fireworks.

Wednesday we had class and a special lecture on Korean economy. After the lecture, we met two of the students who are coming to Lander this coming year. We talked for a while, and answered their questions. They were really nice, and I know they were anxious and excited about this Fall. The rest of the day we had some much needed free time, which I spent doing laundry.

Thursday we went to Beomeo Temple, which was followed by a "dyeing experience" and a tour of royal tombs. That night was very interesting, because we went to a Lotte Giants' baseball game. For those of you who haven't heard already, Ziv got hit in the head by a foul ball. It was hilarious. Here's some still shots and a video link.

We also saw a girl eating fried chicked with chopsticks, so I had to take a picture of that.

There's also a tradition at the games where you put a plastic bag on your head, which we had a lot of fun with.

Friday we had to get up bright and early (I woke up at 5:30am) to get to Seoul by KTX. We went to this awesome traditional place where they film a lot of historical dramas. I was really excited because one of my favorite dramas, Sungkyunkwan Scandal, was filmed. Of course, my camera chose that time to die on me, so I only got about five pictures. After that we went ice skating at Lotte World. On Sunday, we went to the British Council where I met Min Moon, who is a coordinator for the TaLK program (Teach and Learn in Korea); I really enjoyed talking to her. Next we went to yet another palace in the center of Seoul. It was really nice, but it poured the entire time. Later we took a cable car up to Namsan Tower, where it also poured. There's a place at the top where couples write their names on locks so that their love will last forever.

Today we went to the Korean War Memorial, which I was personally excited about. I think everyone else was really interested in it too. We watched a video, rode a flight simulator, and went outside to see the tanks and aircraft. After that, we got back on the KTX and headed back to Busan, where we've been resting. Tomorrow we're starting our temple stay, so I'm not sure when I'll be able to update again, but hopefully soon. I'm really sorry about all the delays, but keep reading, and I'll keep posting!

I'm finally updating you guys on the rest of week one in Busan...yay!

Before I just dive into the continuation of what we did last week, I thought I'd start by sharing a few pictures.

This is a picture of the 93 steps we have to climb multiple times a day. Whenever we want to go up to our room we have to use these, and of course we live on the fifth floor. It's so much fun!

These are pictures of our broken fan, before it was finally fixed yesterday. It basically laid on the floor for three or four days. I don't know why they left it on the floor; I guess they didn't know what else to do with it.

Here are some pictures of the downtown area, right below the university.
Anyways, here's what we did the rest of the week.


We didn't really do much on Wednesday. We had Korean class, and a special lecture on Korean Politics. Then we spent the evening preparing for our storytelling, as well as working on our second mission. Our second task was dubbing "Hong Gil Dong," a story similar to Robin Hood; apparently, our voices will be used to make an American version of it. When we got the script, it had been translated, but most of the language was pretty uncommon, so I spent the night rewriting it.


Thursday was also a pretty normal day; we had class and we worked on our dubbing. The process was kind of tough; we had a lot of takes, and all of our buddies were in the room watching the whole thing. It was a lot of fun though.

The rest of the week:

Friday we went to Kyoungjoo, which is an awesome historical city, which is known for its artifacts from royal tombs. We had to leave kind of early, because it was so far away, which is why Corbin slept on the way.

First, we went to a museum, where we met our tour guide. I really liked our tour guide because he told us a lot of facts that we would never know by just reading a plaque. Before we went inside, we saw a bell that has been there for centuries; it was actually still rung every morning at 6 am until recently. They had to remake the bell numerous times until they were satisfied with the sound, which took over 300 years! Supposedly, they threw a newborn baby into the fire when they were making the mold. The baby cried for its mother, and that's why the sound quality is so beautiful today. Fortunately, the bell was analyzed for human remains, and the results were negative, but it does make for a good story.

After that, we went inside to take a quick tour of the museum, which was filled with artifacts from tombs found throughout Kyoungjoo. Next, we went to actually see some of the untouched tombs in the area. Before we saw them, we got to see a tower that was used for stargazing. See the window? That's actually the door; there used to be a ladder that was attached to it.

We went to a lotus field for ten minutes...literally. Then we spent the rest of the day at a temple, which we had to hike up a mountain to get to. That evening we worked on our group presentations; specifically on getting the Korean buddies to learn "Old McDonald Had A Farm." Old McDonald's farm had to become a zoo for our purposes. Our practice was really funny because Kanghoon couldn't get the beat down. Also, because Koreans have difficulty pronouncing the word zoo, it sounded like, "Old McDonald Had A Joo."

Saturday was spent at another the rain...where I fell down the stairs. It was so much fun. I think the funniest thing about me falling down the stairs was me saying, "could these stairs get any steeper?" I said it, set my left foot down on the first step, put my right foot down on the second, and it was all down hill from there. Besides that, we got to see an amazing buddha statue, but unfortunately, we weren't allowed to take pictures of it. All the temples were really pretty, and it was worth the climb and the heat.

Saturday evening, everyone left for their homestay with their buddies. I was glad to spend my time watching some tv, eating, and talking. I really enjoyed staying with my buddy, Sujin, even though her parents didn't know any English. Her house and family felt comfortable which made me feel like I was at home. Sunday we went to Nampodong where we did some shopping, and got stared at by more people. We also got to see a Korean old man dance and do some taekwondo, which was very entertaining. I think we really enjoyed it because it took the attention off of us for a few minutes.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Guess who's been super busy?

Wow, this took a longer time than I thought it would, but without further ado, I will catch everyone up on the past week. I've been running around for a week now, and I'm so exhausted; hence the late response. So, I'm going to try to make this as short as possible through a recap.


We started off the week on the fourth of July, which obviously, isn't celebrated here. Luckily, we didn't have class; we had a brief orientation, which was followed by a special lunch in the teachers' cafeteria. Yes, there is a seperate cafeteria for them; there's actually a different one in each building, and we were told it had the best food. After lunch we toured all THREE Dong-A campuses. Let me just say, I am very glad that the school has a bus, because each campus is not within walking distance, and it was very hot. While we were at the third campus, we got to see the museum, which reminded me a lot of what we saw at the museum in Seoul. After we saw all of the exhibits, we got to put stamps on postcards while we waited to leave. Next we went to Lotte Mart, which is basically the same as EMART, where we bought some more groceries. We had dinner at a place called Centum Buffet. It was really good, and I was so psyched about getting to eat there. Each one of us had to introduce ourselves to the group, which was funny, and we were given fans as a gift. After that, we started brainstorming for our storytelling assignment, which is one of three missions we have to complete. Basically, we had to come up with activities for an elementary school class.

*This is actually Allie's fan. My fan is actually green, and is MIA at the moment.


This was the first day we actually had Korean language class, and man was it intense! We were given workbooks and we started to learn the twenty four characters, which were really hard at first. Now, a week later, we are able to read parts of signs, which is cool.

After we studied Korean for three hours, we had lunch and went to make pottery in Miryang. I took pictures on the way because the road was lined with tons of mountains.

Our pottery class was about an hour away, and when we finally got there, we passed it on the way. We had to walk up the road and up a huge hill before we finally reached it; of course, it was about a hundred degrees out. I didn't take a lot of pictures inside, because my hands were covered in clay, but here are some from before we started. I decided to make a bowl, which I'm pretty pround of. We're going to get our pottery back before we go home, and it will be "perfected" by the professionals by the time we get it.

*The guy in the picture who's sitting next to Corbin is Ziv; he's one of the other students from the UK.

*The girl on the phone is actually my buddy, Sujin.

I'm going to have to upload all the days in parts, just because it won't all fit in one post. Please wait patiently!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


For everyone out there who is waiting for me to update, I'm sorry. I'm super busy at the moment, so I'm not sure when I'll be able to post something. If I don't put something up today, I'll definitely do it tomorrow. We're extremely busy, and the only free time we have is used for sleeping. I'll update everyone as soon as possible, so stay alert!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Dong-A University

Yesterday was the last time we got to see our friends from Incheon. Unfortunately, we spent most of our time together in "clumsy silence," as Mr. Choi likes to call it. I'm really sad that we had to leave, especially since this is the first day without them. This was the last picture we took with them before getting on the KTX train. I miss them already!

The bullet train was nice and fast, plus the space was much nicer compared to the cramped airplanes we've been on. When we got off the train we met our buddies at the station, and we took a cab up the many hills to the dorm. The campus is really different from Incheon, because it's extremely high up since it's on a mountain. It's a really pretty campus, and the views are amazing, well the view from Corbin and Lane's room anyways. The view Allie and I have is of what I like to call "The Haunted Corridor," because it looks like it's straight out of a Korean horror movie, especially at night.

Corbin and Lane's view (you can see the beach, and the 93 stairs up to the dorm)


Our haunted corridor view

After we settled down in our rooms, ours without a working fan...don't ask; we decided to go to the store. What I really like about this campus is the bus system; it would be brutal trying to climb all these steep hills on foot, while carrying groceries. What's great about the bus is that it brings you all over campus, and also into town; another plus is that it's free! When we went to the store, Allie and I didn't know what to buy for food, so we just kind of threw some stuff in the buggy, like this...

Froot Rings

Last night we ate dinner in the cafeteria, and we were definitely being looked at. I don't care when people look at me, because I get stared at when I'm at home. It was funny because we knew we were being watched, but we tried our best to blend. We had some fried mini hot dogs, rice, kimchi, and green tea, because that's the only drink they serve in the caf, no water. Corbin joked that they probably only made hot dogs because we were there, which might be true. Lane wanted to know if she could get seconds. There was a brown liquid with ice which we put in our bowl, and we weren't sure what it was. We soon found out that it was coffee, and Corbin decided to look around to see if everyone else was using a spoon or just drinking it from a bowl. Dinner was interesting, and it was comical because we stood out and we knew it, which I think made it even funnier.

I thought I'd show everyone what our dorm room looks like, so here are some pictures.

It's super messy because of all our junk, but besides that it's a good size. Also, there's a load of storage areas, which really come in handy. No tv, which is a little sad considering Corbin and I have gotten used to watching it for the past week, but we'll manage. We do have internet access, which makes things so much easier.

This is our bathroom, and I'm super thrilled about us having our own; it makes things so much easier. Many of you are probably wondering where the shower is. In most of the older style homes and buildings in Asia, there is usually just a shower head which is attached to the sink, and a drain in the floor. That's how our bathroom here is; it doesn't bother me, I'm just glad we have a shower!

This is my sloppy looking bed. Last night, at about 1am, all of the British students must've gotten here, because I got woken up by a lot of noise coming from the hallway. Of course, from what I've heard so far, only the four of us are up; I've heard no movement from any of the surrounding rooms. I guess we'll be meeting everyone on Monday.

Last, but not least is my  rant about my lovely coat rack, which I have loaded down with my clothes, all of which are not dry yet. So, last night, we struggled a little bit with the whole laundry situation, but I'll explain it briefly. Dong-A only has one dorm because not many students live on campus, so it's co-ed. Everything has a designated area; guys and girls have seperate laundry and ironing (drying) rooms, and that's where we got lost. There are signs outside all the doors, as well as in the hallways, and we knew which laundry room was ours. The problem was figuring out which ironing room was ours. The signs in the hallways are double-sided, and on every sign, one side says mens' ironing room, while the other side says women's ironing room. It's safe to say that it was very confusing for us, and I'm pretty sure I dried my clothes in the men's ironing room. Luckily, there was no one there to witness me taking my stuff out of there, because that would have been embarrassing. Back to the coat hanger, basically, our clothes didn't even dry, so we had to get creative, which is why there are clothes all over the room.

I hope everyone is enjoying reading about all the things we've experienced so far! I'll update soon to let you guys know what's going on!