Friday, June 29, 2012

Bruised and loving it

Recently, I have heard a few comments from my friends where they say that I am either having a rough time or unhappy. Even tonight one of my coworkers commented that generally I appear unhappy or in a bad mood. So here is an official apology for my bad spirit and pessimistic attitude but in my defense I  haven't had the best situations to be happy about. These past few weeks...months have been rough. But I am going to try my hardest to turn this around and focus on the positive things. Like this past weekend :)

Originally, I planned to go to Busan Haeundae Beach and relax and get a tan while befriending a less active and hanging out with a guy I find fairly attractive. Well, my less active friend cancelled the day before and my attractive guy friend claimed he had to play in a basketball game (lame). This all happened the night before and the moment I got off the phone with my church friends, I was invited to go on a major hike the next day. I am happy I did and thanks to hopkido I was not sore afterwards (that badly).

We left early and when I say 'we' I mean: myself, Jeff the mountain, and Hiker James. (nicknames have been approved by the board of 'cyndil's acceptable phrases'). Both of these guys were sporting their awesomely expensive cameras where I dropped mine and watched it skid along some rocks, my point is that they were serious while I was there just for the ride. :)

(Back: Jeff the Mountain, Front: Hiker James) 

 We hiked the wall...fortress...mountainside around Busan city which is about an hour bus ride out of Masan. It was a beautiful clear day and had great views.
We started the hike with a huge meal of the best fresh goat meat I've ever had. SO tasty. The only bad descision about it was the fact that we ate it at the beginning of about a 6 or 7 hour hike. I had a stomach ache the whole day. But it was really good goat.

We got to eat outside on this table thing which was super awesome!

After the meal we headed out and hiked for a few hours and got so amazing sights atop mountains and all along a wall that supposedly surrounded Busan. The views were so amazing and very asian looking. We visited a couple temples and a budha garden. My favorite part of the hike was this area where the trail was just gigantic rocks you had to jump from one to the other. 

This was the awesome trail!

During the hike we somehow got on the subject of Avatar the last airbender and discovered that we were all fans of it. So when we got back to Masan we decided to stay up till three in the morning to watch the finale of Korra. (If you didn't follow this last conversation, no worries, just blow it off as nerd stuff)
Before we left Busan we stopped at a nice chicken place where they had the best fried chicken. I couldn't enjoy it though because by that time my stomach ache had escaladed to the point while I was walking to the restaurant I nearly threw up. I had to sit down and take small sips of water. I lived through it though and the chicken was quite tasty (even if all I did was take one small bite at the time). On our way home our bus broke down so our one hour bus ride turned into a two and a half hour but I didn't mind so much, it was a really good day something bad had to happen to balance it out. 
After I watched the season finale with my friends I walked home around 3 in the morning, surprisingly quiet and the merchant venders were already out setting up for sunday's big market. 

The rest of the week was a breeze, it is test time for the highschool students so they don't come to the accademy which means my normally heavy load of classes got cut in half and the rest of the students had to study for our exam. All my students did surprisingly well. 
We also did phone counceling this week which means I got to call all my students on the phone, it went better then I thought it would and many of my students reaction were quite comical er at least their parents made me laugh as well. I think the best comment I got from a kid this week was that all Americans are from space because all we eat is bread, meat, and soda.

Not gonna lie, this was a great week and I think next week will be just as good. We will find out.


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Funny Signs

Frustrated but still going, that is how I would describe this week. At the moment I am feeling positive, I just cleaned my apartment but I have had a few days like this where the day started out great but by the end of it I wanted the day to be over.

This weeks adventures were calmer than most. On saturday I walked up the side of the mountain here, not all the way; I had a church activity at a certain time so I couldn't spend a lot of time hiking and I couldn't afford to kill myself hiking the monster mountain and still be able to move afterward. It was nice though being able to walk for about a half an hour and be completely surrounded by forest. So I could sketch and be in a peaceful surroundings. It was really calming.

I started going to Hopkido five days a week and I am already feeling better about myself for it. I still feel like I am last in the class and my coordination skills are still not manifesting themselves but if anything I am getting stronger. And I already had my freakout moment in hopkido so hopefully I will catch on better.

This week I went on a lunch outing with my french friend and she and I had an interesting conversation about culture shock and dealing with it. She is married to a Korean and she had some pretty good stories to share. We talked about the direct approach that is very common in french culture and how the french people are so frank and forward about everything and then we compared it to the Korean way where everything is done in a way that will not affend.  The Koreans will say yes when they mean want to say no just to be polite and they can't deal with confrontation. Always a round about way. For example in this culture, if you offer someone food the person should first say no to be polite that they don't want to eat all the food but there is an expectation that you ask them a second time and that is when they will tell you the truth on whether they really want more or not. Crazy, I just don't get why. If they want something they should just say it and we would be able to save time and energy. Annoyances with this culture of

On the upside, my classes are going great(I think), and summer is here.
And they have things called Pak Bing Su, which is like a glorified snow-cone. Oh was my joy fulfilled when I discovered these delicious concoctions! here is a pic and Everyone, have a great summer day :)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Failed Meetings

This last weekend was another Temple trip to Seoul. I spent about 10 hours in a bus reading and preparing my lesson for sunday. I discovered that there is a distribution center next to the Temple so I was able to find young women's 'diaries' for the girls. My lesson this sunday was on personal records.

Sunday was fun because of the lesson. I taught in English and my president translated when the girls couldn't follow. I brought on of my journals to the lesson using it as an example. I thought it was a good idea until on of the girls snatched it and started reading it out loud in front of the whole class. I tried to be polite as I snatched it away, but truthfully they really couldn't understand my ravings and rantings about life so after a few more attempts on their part to steal it away, I gave up and just let them look through it. It was a good example, it had notes from other people and pressed flowers I collected over the years. I got them all to promise me to keep a journal even for just a month and I gave them the YW journals. Next lesson I am going to focus on where they are at with their Personal Progress. Lets see if we can get the ball rolling.

Besides that I had a slight fiasco with some lost communication over a single adult meeting. My friend called me about coming to a meeting but he called me as the meeting was starting.  Then after rushing to the church, I realize that the meeting was about an activity that I couldn't even attend.I also was in pants because Miguel said that it was a relaxed meeting. I just wanted to go back home and take the nap that I was deprived of but then Miguel said there was also a fireside. Irritated, short-tempered and frustrated; I declared I was going in-active for the rest of the day and I walked home. My young womens president said I had reason and she promised to punch Miguel the moment she saw him next. The rest of the day went well.

Sorry no pictures this week, but expect more next week. I am planning .... something.... this weekend. We shall see

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Social? Anything but...

So this last weekend, I had a Young Women's Activity which took up most of the day. It was a combined activity with the young men, so we had a fairly good group. The leaders taught them to do line dancing, thankfully I was just there for support so I was not roped into the self-humiliation that was happening on the dance floor. And when they did try to get me out in the killing field I just claimed stupidity that I didn't understand what they wanted. Even when my friend who spoke did come to ask me to get out there and show how it was done, I simply replied that I was allergic.

 After the dance fest we had a snack time where everyone enjoyed spicy kimbob and salad sandwiches. As I watched others eat their strange things called food I was told that we were going to have a meeting for the singles of the ward as soon as this activity was over. This meant another meeting where I was told that I needed to date more and get married so that I can have children. Apparently, all I am good for is having babies(According to all the leaders in this ward). This little meeting I opted out of a translator in the hope that I could skip that part of the subject. They did write DATING in big letters on the board in english so I got the point. I also was the only girl in that little reunion so naturally awkwardness followed. But we all decided to be nice to the leader and went all four of us on a 'date' afterwards. I with three guys went bowling, only one understood english.

But I schooled them in Bowling though! We played three games and I won two of the matches. The one match I did lose meant I had to buy dinner for one of the guys. So we went to McDonalds, real classy I know. And I am not a cheapskate, they asked for it. We spent the next hour talking, kinda. Well me acting out half the things I said and then I would sit and stare at the wall as they went on in Korean.

That was fun and I really did enjoy hanging out with people that had my same standards. Relaxing in its own way and the fact that none of them were drinking was a great plus. It was great.

The real fun happened this last Wednesday though. We had that day off because it was Korea's Memorial day and I was invited by my friend to go to Namhae Beach. We visited an abandoned high school, behind the school was a bunch of rice fields! Then we walked around in some tide pool areas and then we got to the beach where I could swim and just have fun. I took a ton of pictures which I will put a few here but the rest I will post on facebook, it is just easier to upload more than one pictures.

That was the abandoned Highschool, really cool!
Berry Picking
The Rice fields

My friend wanted me to eat a bug, no worries, I refused

The tide pools
And Namhae Beach!

Friday, June 1, 2012


 Well this week was definitely better than last week. Mainly because I had a three day weekend and I got to have an adventure!
Actually things are turning around at work as well. The Spring Term is over with and we just had our first day of Summer term. Along with a new term, the Hagwon surprised us English teachers with an unexpected present. They upgraded our plans for our cell phones. This means that I have evolved from my flip phone days to the smart phone era. It is so awesome, you can put games and music on your phone and I have already downloaded the complete scriptures onto my phone which means I don't have to keep forgetting my bible when I go to church! It is awesome!! This phone is a big adjustment but I am enjoying it.
This weekend was a roller coaster of a weekend. I felt good to go somewhere and get away from Masan but there were a few activities that I wish didn't happen or the fact that I had to deal with them did not make me like the trip.
I went with my English teacher buddies to Seoul, the capitol of South Korea and supposedly the best place to visit here. It was Bhudda's Birthday on Monday so we had it off and we were planning to spend the whole weekend in Seoul. Most of the group wanted to stay in Jinjabongs (this is a public bathhouse) I personally didn't want to sleep in a room crammed with a bunch of strangers on the floor, so I said I was going to find a motel and sleep there. That was a mistake because the cheapest motel we found was a hook-up motel and I didn't sleep well because of how dirty the place was. But I am getting ahead of myself.
We left Saturday morning and the first thing we did was visit a War Memorial Museum. There were old bomber planes and helicopters and tanks and missiles. We were able to go into the larger planes and see what it was like during each of the eras of war. Inside the museum I got to brush up on Korean war history, mainly when the North divided from the South. The design of the Museum was really ingenious because they created an area where it felt like you were crossing the 39 divide and enter into North Korea.
After the museum we headed over to Itaewon, this was the area of town that is the highest concentration of foreigners. We met up with the other teachers from Masan and found the nasty Love Motel. The rest of the night I followed my friends around to the bars and basically spent the evening wishing I had done something else. It was m first time I have ever been to a bar and I hope that was my last, but with the friends I got, it probably wont be. At one of the bars, one of my friends accidentally dumped her full cup of beer on me. Right after that I decided that I was going back to Masan the next day.
The night I didn't sleep well for the fact that I was creeped out about my room and I didn't want to touch the sheets because they hadn't been washed in a while and the walls were paper thin. The whole place was racy. And the area had not the most tasteful people around.
Anyways the next day I met a few of my friends and we visited a few fun locations. The first area we went to was called Namdaemun Market, it was awesome to see all of those little booths and the festive life happening all around you. Picture:

Then we headed over to Bukchon Village which was supposed to be a small traditional style village in the center of Big city Seoul. It took  a  while to find it and we did run into a really cool Buddhist temple on the way there. The Buddhist people had covered the courtyard and surrounding areas with festive lamps celebrating Buddha's Birthday. The effect of all the multicolored lamps above your head was almost magical. In one area they created a roof of lamps around a tree which made you think that the tree itself had lamps instead of leaves. Pictures below :)

We finally found the Bukchon Village and walked around that area for a while but there wasn't that much to see so we headed over to a Palace. Discovering we had to pay to get in and the line there could have competed with the line for the Eiffel Tower. We decided that we would try another weekend to go into the Palace. Seoul isn't that far away. It was around that time that I said I was planning on going home. Amazingly enough two others decided to join me in that proclamation and after a quick icecream break and a little shopping we got on a bus to go back to Masan. Thankfully I slept most of the 5 hours. It felt really good sleeping in my own bed and I definitely washed every piece of clothing that touched that nasty room.

It really was a fun weekend though at Seoul, but it finished well because on Monday I spent the day with my ward in a Sports Day like activity. I played a game of ultimate Frisbee and got chosen to be the follow-up soccer penalty shot taker..person. And kicked a few people while jumping rope. That was an accident but now I am labeled as dangerous. I only kicked the lady in the knee and shins twice and elbowed her forehead once.... yeah. oops, she was still laughing as I was apologizing though.
Pictures provided :)
(This is a picture after I hurt that lady...she was laughing..really)
Overall a really nice week with its ups and downs.