Archive | March, 2011

this is what i had to work with.

23 Mar

So the website “The Waygook Effect” posted a great compilation of  videos from the textbook i worked with last semester. The videos are part of each unit we teach and are generally terrible.

My favourite is that the English is usually wrong and makes zero sense.

Check it out here.

P.S. Waygook means foreigner. It’s something we all hear 5 times a day when a Korean person is talking about you. They will say “waygookin” while commenting on your appearance or general demeanor.  If they’re a child they’ll yell it and point at you.


march posting.

20 Mar


Thought I’d post some things about what has happened in the past bit of time since I came back to Korea.

February flew by very quickly, although at times I was very homesick. I got over that by looking forward to the future. At this point, Jacob will be in Korea in just 21 days! How time flies. Six months ago I would never have thought that I would be seeing him in my tiny room!

When I was leaving Canada, one of my consolations was that the weather was nicer here (or so I’d heard). When I arrived it was still frightfully cold, but it has gotten warmer slightly. Most days now end up above 0! Something around 4-5 degrees C is pretty normal. We got really lucky a bit ago and it was about 12 degrees. My friends and I went bicycling around Taereung Station. You can rent bikes for 1-3 hours and bicycle on a pathway around the Han River. We all got the bikes for 2 hours and paid 5,000 원? I think. Maybe it was 3,000 원. Anyway, it was cheap. We went on the windy pathway along the river and it was really wonderful. There were tonnes of people out biking, roller blading, strolling or standing (annoyingly) on the pathway. It was great to be  outside and breathe in what felt like fresh air. It probably was just as polluted as usual but it had the ILLUSION of freshness.

biking along the han river.

The school schedule in February was pretty random and pointless. I returned to work on Feb 7 where I worked (barely taught) for 2 weeks and then the grade 6s graduated. In February I did some cool things, like go bowling (I won the first game and lost to everyone on the second), shopped in Myeongdong (명동), went to the French Village (서래 마을) went to a jjimjilbang (찜질방) and went biking around the Han River (한 강). Also, aren’t you super impressed by my Korean typing? It takes me about 30 seconds a word ahah.

I was forced to take my 4 vacation days leftover after the grade 6s graduated for Spring Break. I had to use them to finish up my 16 days in the winter (as per my contract). I still have 5 more days for the summer.

The French Village was pretty disappointing, although I suppose not really because I had heard that it would be. So that’s a conundrum. Is it really disappointing if I knew it would be? Anyway. It’s an area where around 800 French citizens live who work in Seoul. There is even a French ecole there! I have no accents on here, forgive me. Apparently the Paris Croissant (a bakery chain) in Seorae uses flour imported from France. We didn’t get a baguette. Next time. I did hear a family speaking French though. We just wandered around and tried to find a park which overlooks Gangnam (강남) but instead just ended up eating in a cute little cafe called “Ceci Cela.” The website is here ( There was nothing else French about it. The only really exciting part of the day was when I saw the tricolour sidewalks. They were so dirty I barely noticed them, but they were one of the reasons I went (really).

tricolour, really.

Going to the jjimjilbang was an experience all its own. We went to Dragon Hill Spa in Yongsan (영산). A jjimjilbang is a bath house where you hang around all day in baggy clothes or naked in communal pools/baths and saunas. You can stay there all day, just lazing and eating. You can even sleep at some of them. They cost under $10 for that stuff, but anything extra is well…extra. Erika and I wandered around in the nude (after getting some directions from someone about where to go) and showered before walking to the pools. There were naked Koreans everywhere. We were pretty afraid that we were going to wander into a public area while all we had to cover ourselves was a tiny washcloth sized towel, but we didn’t do that, thankfully. We went to sit in some of the pools and then realized that down at one end of the room were some women who do body scrubs. So we laid down on wet tables in a room, which was not separated from anywhere else (or anyone) and were scrubbed down by ajummas or a middle aged women wearing lace bras and panties. Their clothing choice mystified me, but I suppose I couldn’t really judge at that point, as I was the one who chose to lie on this table. Then the women take something like a pot scrubber and scrub your entire body (ENTIRE body), intermittently throwing massive buckets of water on you to clean off the dead skin. Then they do some hitting/cupping/”massaging” and then it’s over. It cost about $20 for that experience. I probably wouldn’t do it again as I didn’t notice a real difference in texture the next day. I would, however, go to the jjimjilbang again, because it’s the only place to get in a bath in this country.

A few friends and  I went to the Seoul Grand Park Zoo last weekend (?) and it was pretty good! For 9,000 won you get a tram ride, lift ride and entrance to the zoo. Much cheaper than the Toronto Zoo, which I think is about $20 now? There were tonnes of animals to see. I was sad that there wasn’t really anything too special, although they did have an animal nursery. Unfortunately it closed at 4pm so we didn’t get to see it. It was definitely a nice day though and I would recommend it. It did take me over an hour to get to on the subway, but worth it, I think.

sarah and i and our primate friend.

This weekend we went to visit the Filipino Market in Hyehwa. It’s just a bit of street with vendors selling Filipino goods. We bought some tasty spring roll things then immediately left and went for some gross American food at Bennigan’s. We were all surprised that we couldn’t finish our meals at all and got doggy bags. I guess our stomachs have gotten used to Korean portions because here we were shocked at the sizes. We should have gone the Korean route and shared dishes, but we didn’t think it would be necessary. It really was.

In other exciting news, I have discovered where to get hamentaschen in Seoul, from a JCC. I think the Rabbi wants me to meet him and go to the synagogue’s Purim celebration, which might be a strange thing. I don’t think I really want to attend that, but I really want the hamentaschen. What to do?

The real exciting news is that I got accepted to Humber College’s Postgraduate Public Relations program so I will be attending that when I go home. Maybe I will become employable after all!

Hope you’re all well and I have an exciting post about Korean bathrooms coming up.