Tag Archives: dongdaemun

halloween has come and gone.

1 Nov

halloween has come and gone.

i apologize for taking so long to write something. it’s been ages i know. my one excuse is that the “a” button on my keyboard stopped working and i haven’t yet bought a new one. i didn’t want to write a message without “As.” it’s terrible, really. so i’m writing this at work and sending it to myself in an email.

i’m pretty sure the last thing i wrote about was how i get to go home in january now. well that is still true. what have i done since that time period?

shopping at dongdaemun: i have gone shopping to this area a couple of times now, not ever really buying anything but seeing a lot to buy. dongdaemun is a strange area of mall type stores. basically there are two major malls that i visited, each about 9 floors high. the inside reminds me more of a market or something, especially in the cheaper mall. each store is about the size of a closet, and is just packed with stuff to buy. usually there are no prices and no changerooms. you can haggle, although i’ve been mostly afraid to do so and have relied upon others to get me 5,000 won off (like $4). the better of the two, doosan, is more expensive and only opens at 7 pm! this is because it stays open until like 4:30 am. why? i have no idea. we left around 11:30 on friday and that was late enough for me. plus the subway closes at like midnight or something equally ridiculous.

teacher’s hike: last week i went for a hike with my co-workers and then for dinner. the hike itself was very light (a walk) and only about 30 minutes long. it was a lovely opportunity to talk at length with julia on the way up and mia on the way down. then we went to some restaurant and ate these delicious soups and drank 덩덩 주 (dong dong ju), a sweet rice wine. i accidentally told mia that i’d be leaving after my one year contract here was up. she was surprised. apparently they expect you to stay longer, despite the fact that the majority of people do not. i just hope this doesn’t negatively affect me in any way. sometimes they hesitate to give extra vacation because you’re not as trusted. oh well. there’s nothing i can do now.

halloween: halloween in korea left something to be desired. it doesn’t really exist, especially not in the schools. i suppose it’s up to the foreign teacher to bring it in, in the form of costumes and candy, but i wasn’t planning on buying treats for 800 students, and i think i stand out enough without wearing a costume. we went out on saturday night in hongdae to celebrate the day. i dressed up as a widow, as it was easiest. overally, i was unimpressed. lackluster costumes (everyone was probably in the same mindset as me) combined with the fact that it just didn’t FEEL like halloween had me a bit blue. although it was only for one day, i suddenly felt very far from home. i always miss people from home terribly, but it was worse than usual on halloween weekend. all i wanted to do was be back with my friends and seeing little kids in costumes running around. halloween is just such a wonderful time and i really missed it. it made me mostly worried about how i’d be feeling in decemeber when christmas and new year’s rolls around. obviously horrible. i’ll just remind myself on those days that it’s only for one day then too. on the plus side, my family is waiting to celebrate christmas and channukah until i return in january. a nice silver lining on that cloud.

on top of this, i had to come to terms with my financial reality. despite coming to this country to learn and experience, a large motivation was that it was simply a job that i am getting paid to do. i have to save a large sum of money in order to afford going to college next year, so at this point i’m almost putting away half of my take home pay a month to do that. i still can live a reasonably good life, but i had to realize that i probably wouldn’t be going on as many of the trips i had hoped to take. it simply isn’t possible with the amount i need to save. i’ve tried to be positive about this and to think that i’ll just  spend more time in korea itself instead of traipsing around over asia, but i really did want to traipse around asia. i’m still planning on going to japan for a bit in may with jacob, but i don’t know how likely it is that i’ll head over to china in the summer. right now there’s no real need to dwell on this, because who knows what the future will bring. however, it is a choice that i’ve made to attend college and saving money is just a sad fact of life. although, if i don’t get in i’ll be a bit mad.

one of the more odd things that happened on the weekend was at coex mall. dave and i noticed there was some g20 thing going on, and so we were invited to take a photo with the g20 leader of our choice on a green screen. of course we chose stephen (probably the only ones who will) and then also recorded a 20 second video “to the leaders.” i have received the video in my email and have no idea where else it went. an interesting aspect of this booth was that there were caricatures of all the leaders. in one, obama had a basketball, the india pm was on a flying carpet, and stephen was holding a beer. can you imagine what would happen if that went on in canada? the world would probably be up in arms. all dave and i could do was sigh and say, “oh, korea” and just move on.

my last thoughts will be about the upcoming winter. i am dreading it. the reason for this is because the school keeps the windows open, or has up to this point. the heat is not on. all the teachers are wearing coats and blankets in the office and the children wear coats to class. this is normal. as well, everyone is sick. well, i wonder why! i’m sure the fact that it’s 10 degrees indoors and the children seem to be inexperienced with the thought of covering one’s mouth when sneezing or coughing have nothing to do with it. or the communal bar soaps everywhere. actually, the majority of subway goers (from my experience) do not cover their mouths to sneeze or cough. HOWEVER! they do wear those masks! i don’t know if they wear them because they’re sick or because they don’t want to get sick, or both. either way, i’m sure some basic hygiene could do a world of good here. i know that comes off as “white man knows best” but sometimes the western world’s fear of germs is just appropriate in flu season.

alright. i’m going to buy electronics accessories.