A Year in Seoul - video by Maddy

Monday, June 15, 2009

It's been a long eventful week in which I've barely stepped foot in my apartment. Last Tuesday through Friday I had a GEPIK (Gyeonggi English Program in Korea) Teacher's Workshop so I traded in my regular work days for a sleep over camp/prison for foreign teachers. I was able to sleep in a bit on Tuesday before heading to Guemjong Station where they promptly carted us off to the middle of nowhere. The Workshops used to be held in the city, but the teachers spent a little too much time at the bars so this time we were headed for Guam. We were told we couldn't leave "the compound" past 7 pm, but that the convenience store on the premises would sell beer. There was also a driving range, walking path, and some nighttime entertainment. Goody.

The opening ceremony was interesting, to put it mildly. We were told we were going to see a performance and then in walks three very scantily clad Korean girls with instruments which they preceded to "fake play" to recorded music while they danced provocatively. It was all a little much for a Tuesday morning, but hey, it's Korea. The rest of the time we attended lectures on teaching techniques and co teacher relationships and did some practice teaching. Some of the lectures were really interesting and I left with a lot of new ideas to use in the classroom. At night they played Korean movies and we just hung out and had a few beers. We watched a great movie called the Host which I highly recommend if you can get your hands on it. It was a monster movie, but minus all the Hollywood cheese. This one was funny, thrilling, sad, and satirical all at once.

On Friday we finished at 11 am and the sun was shining. I couldn't wait to get home and was extremely grateful for the half day. I had to unpack then repack immediately because I was off to Jeju Island for the weekend. Jeju is known as "Honeymoon Island" or "The Hawaii of South Korea", but I laughed off both descriptions feeling absolutely sure there was nothing even closely resembling Hawaii in Korea. It's located just off the southern coast of the country and I thought it was too far north to look the way it had been described to me. I was wrong, however.

Maddy and I had signed up for a biking trip through meetup.com and we were leaving early Saturday morning. Luckily, Maddy lives right near the airport, so I spent the night at her place, avoiding waking up before dawn.

The trip was absolutely amazing. The weather must have decided it owed me one, because despite forecasts of rain we only saw sunshine and blue skies. On day one we biked around Udo Island, a smaller island off Jeju's East Coast, then hiked up a volcanic crater for a nice view of the island. We went to ride horses after that, which was more of a kids' pony ride than anything. The horses trotted around for a while then ran around in circles on a track while I tried to hang on to both the saddle and the ridiculous cowboy hat they made me wear.

In the evening we headed to our lovely hotel by the beach for a BBQ (complete with tofu for us veggies) and a campfire under the stars. The next day the weather was even more perfect and after spending the morning at the beach, Maddy and I decided that we just couldn't bear to leave for the scheduled itinerary that consisted largely of being indoors. We opted to catch a cab and meet the others at the airport, so we spent the rest of the day lounging on the sand and eating delicious fresh seafood at a Japanese restaurant overlooking the ocean.

So Maddy and I had a delightful Honeymoon amidst the palm trees and blue green water. We came home refreshed and significantly sunburned and after two weekends away, I'm ready to take on the city again.

Enjoy the pictures below!!

1 comment: