Sunday, December 18, 2011

A whole lot of goodness!

 It's been quite a week for me so bear with me on this one because I have lots to tell hehehe.
      I'll start with Wednesday. Nothing too exciting, but our school had a "party" for the staff. I put "party" in quotations because that's what they were calling it, party, but it was more of a boring-sports-compition afternoon. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy sports, but ping pong and badminton are not my cup of tea (maybe because I also suck at both?), I'd rather play soccer, baseball, foot-base (which apparently is famous here too), volleyball, etc.
      Teams were assembled by grade, so I was with the 4th grade teachers, event the principal got into the action. His ping-pong skills are actually pretty good; it was a bit intense to see him play. They also had clementines, soda, dry eel w/cabbage (the specialty of Pohang), and chicken as the party food. I didn't play because they only needed a couple players for each team and my group had already decided who would compete, but it was really fun just cheering for them hehehe. We got second place in ping-pong so we got a little gift.
party food! (?)

   I then went to E-Mart to find American snacks for my kids and guess what, I finally found Christmas lights!!! They were expensive, but who cares!? I need my place to feel like home, otherwise I'll feel sadder than I already am not being home for the holidays.

     On Thursday, I had a little Christmas Party with my after school class. We all brought snacks to enjoy while I played Christmas carols, they learned Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. I told them about Christmas traditions, and when I told them about my Christmas tree from last year (I showed a picture), they could not believe their little ears when I said it was a real tree, not plastic. They were the cutest little things ever, seriously, they were amazed. When we wrote letters to Santa, two of them asked for a Christmas tree!!!! OMG, it totally broke my heart.


Tight budget calls for cheap decorations hehehe, but they loved drawing them

foooooooood, look at the choco cake!

    I didn't have plans for the weekend since I'm running low on money, I just thought I would stay in. So Friday after work I went to they gym, came home, and as I was having dinner, Joyan sent me a text asking if I wanted to go with her to Daegu, and being the awesome person she is, she said she would cover my bus fare...I was in! hehehe.

    So Joyan, Ana, and I made our way to Daegu. On the bus we met Rick, a fellow Pohang resident. We talked about our plans of hitting some bars and since he had lived in Daegu for a year, he offered to take us to a couple places. We started at a bar, which I forgot the name of, but had some great Mexican food and drinks. We ordered nachos and a pitcher of long-island tea....yum! We then headed to another bar where Rick was meeting his friends. We didn't stay long because Joyan wanted to meet her friends, so we went to a place called Underground (I believe?). There was a live band and it was OK for a bit, but Joyan's friends had moved to another bar called Old School (a hip-hop bar). Again we did not stay long, this time because we were not feeling the vibe of the place, it was a bit guetto. We then went on the hunt for dancing! We first found a place that had no cover for foreigners hehehe.


     We danced a bit, but Joyan suggested we check out Frog's. The place was pretty good, it had good music and a good atmosphere. We were probably there 'til 5am. Yes, that's right, here clubs stay open pretty much 'til the next day. By the time we left, there were still plenty of people dancing.
    We met up with Rick again to grab a bite. We went to a place where his friends were eating and ordered a dish with what we thought was only going to be sea food, wrong! =(. Whatever, I ate the contaminated food because I was super hungry and was not about to order something else. We continued with soju; and I believe this was the first time I have that much soju. We decided to call it a night (or day?) at around 9am.
I so don't remember taking this picture lol

     Rick suggested we sleep at a jimjilbang as the cheaper option. I have heard plenty about these before, and well, why not?! (and I'll also explain why people sleep here)

    36. Korean Jimjilbangs (coolest things ever btw)
    So these are communal bathhouses, separated by sex. I'll try my best to explain my experience, but unfortunately I did not get the FULL experience and try  I'll explain that in a bit (if you want more info or pictures, just google them). Anyhow, anybody that does visit Korea, has to try these, it's part of the culture.
     Bathhouses are pretty much that, a place to take a bath (since not many homes have bath tubs), plus other things like saunas.
     When you get there, you pay and you go to your designated floor. They give you a shirt and a pair of shorts to wear (yes, you have to wear these; they are comfortable, they are like PJs,). They also give you a towel and a locker so that you can store your stuff. The first thing Koreans do when they get here, is they go into the huge bath tub (which is pretty much like a pool) and scrub their bodies like there is no tomorrow. The ajumas scrub, scrub, and scrub. You can also take a shower here at the available showers. And yes, everybody is naked....scrubbing naked. Well, this is the part I didn't do because we weren't there to do that, we were there to sleep.
    Now, if you're asking, "wait, I thought these were bathhouses, not hotels." Yes, they are not hotels, but  you can sleep at the communal (mixed sex) sauna's/sleeping rooms, which is where people go after taking a bath (and no people are not naked here, everybody wears their sexy orange PJ-looking-things). This the coolest thing ever. There are different rooms with different temperatures (ranging from really hot to cold, as in ice cold!), so you can sleep/rest/chat anywhere you want, some of them have TVs too.
   On this floor, there was also a restaurant, a little snack place, a gym, a manicure place, and a massage place. You have to pay extra for those of course, but isn't that amazing?!?! You can spend the whole weekend here and it's like a little vacation! You can do whatever you want, like us who didn't take a bath, just slept and showered after. Like I said, if you're on a budget when traveling in Korea, jimjilbangs are your best bet if you don't mind sleeping on the floor, but you do get a blanket and a pillow =). We paid around 9,000 won (~ $8)....and no reservation needed hehehe....Europe and its hostels have been demoted! Here's the link to the one where I stayed, it's in Korean, but you get the idea.
   You do have to be somewhat comfortable with your body because like I said, even if you only shower, you'll be naked in front of other people of the same sex, and you'll be surrounded by naked people. For me, I guess since I kept thinking "it's normal," I felt pretty good =P
Anyways, that's all for now.
Two more days of teaching at my school, plus four days of English camp and then, San Diego!!!!

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