Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A very long-overdue update!

Yikes, it's been forever since I sat down and updated this! Of course, I've been keeping people updated through emails, IMs, phone calls, and picture uploads on Facebook, but that's not really a good excuse.

So what have I been up to since my last entry? Well, several things have kept me busy. One of which, majorly, is school. Working has consumed a lot of my time during the day, along with field trips, activity days, birthday parties, and paperwork (yay report cards and monthly plans)! After school I usually head down to the gym to work out the stress of the day...and to keep healthy, too! If not off to the gym, then I'm usually doing something with one of my co-worker friends around the city. You would not believe how many movies I have seen in the theater since I came to Korea...but it's the best way that we can escape for a while and enjoy the English language! But movies is a subject for another post entirely.

I've also gotten to take a few trips out of the city recently. It's always good to get out and see things in the rest of the country, as Korea is pretty well organized in the fashion that makes it easy.

My first trip with the Gwangju International Center was to Boseong to see Buksori (traditional Korean drumming) and to visit the Green Tea Plantation. Boseong is renowned for its green tea all over Korea, and the effects of drinking it or using it in your lotions is limitless. That day Miriam and I were fortunate to: try our hand at beating a Korean drum, learn how to pour green tea and serve it properly, and experience the wonders of green tea noodles and lattes. Pretty much anything you could imagine could be made from green tea was in fact there! In addition, the fields were gorgeous. Miriam took pictures that I need to get since my camera ended up dying.

The first weekend in May we went to Hampyeong for the Butterfly and Bug Expo. That was pretty good, aside from having to deal with all the people pushing and shoving around you to see things. (And this is while you're already waiting to see a display case...sheesh.) There were a lot of butterflies and bugs there (including some very gross ones), as well as other creatures of the pond and large vegetables. We also saw a very cool band from Guatemala called Sessori who played some awesome salsa music.

On our second long weekend in May there was a trip to Seoul. It was my first time seeing the capital city, and I wasn't disappointed. I got to ride the subway for the first time as well, which was a fun experience! I also got to try some unique food, do a little advance Christmas shopping, and explore some cultural prizes of the city. We went to the National Museum of Korea, toured Namdaemun Market and Insa-dong (the main cultural craft center), and saw Gyeongbukgong Palace, one of the major palaces in the city. It was a nice change from Gwangju because of the increased number of foreigners we saw, especially in Itaewon. Things are definitely a lot more foreigner-friendly in Seoul than here in Gwangju.

And just last weekend Miriam and I headed out to the Sosaewon Garden on the outskirts of Gwangju. It's on the road up to Mt. Mundeung, so it's a pretty trip. After a little "fun" with the buses, we arrived in one piece. While it is a very pretty place (and I have some pictures I have to upload on Facebook), it was slightly disappointing in the fact that the tour book talked it up to be much grander and bigger than it was. It took more time to get there than it did to look around the place. But, all in all, it was a nice trip and like I said before, it's always good to get out of the city when you can. I'm having lots of fun getting to explore the different cultural aspects of Korea, wherever I can find them.

Oh, I have also been going to Korean classes on Saturday mornings. Right now I only have 2 more classes left in the beginner level, then it's the intermediate level. I hope I will be ready for that! Korean is going slow for me, however, since it is a character-based language. It requires me to read the characters, recall what each one means, sound out the word in my head, and then find out what that word means. Whereas in Spanish, I could just look up the word without all the intermediary stuff. At least I am learning some useful things like how to ask what/where something is, or to have a basic conversation with someone about who they are. More useful vocab and conversational pieces coming soon, I hope!

So that has been my life for the past month and change...I hope that you enjoyed this update. I will have to write another post soon about all the movies I've seen recently, just so I can review over some of them. :-p As always, I enjoy your messages, IMs, emails, and the like--so keep them coming! Till next time, annyeong kaseyo!

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