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Friday, October 29, 2010

'Tis the Korean Seasons

I saw Korean Crossroads had a post on seasons so I decided to follow the bandwagon and give my observations...

When I arrived it was definitely SUMMER back home in the Midwest. End of June is certainly full swing Summer. Well not in Korea. For at least two weeks the weather was very pleasant. Cool breezes. You could walk outside without sweating.

After the nice two weeks until... the end of September probably, it was HOT. There wasn't even any relief at night once the sun went down. And my school was always stingy with air con. They would wait five minutes after class had started to turn it on, then turn it off five minutes before class ended. Poor kids, when I would ask, "How are you," would always respond, "VERY VERY VERY VERY hot."

Then once October came it was fall. No in between. No changing seasons. FALL. From shorts and tanks to jeans and jackets. Thats when I got  a stupid sinus infection because the weather changed so suddenly.

We enjoyed fall for a nice month. Well almost a month. Winter will be here next week. It's already announcing its arrival. I'm trying to mentally prepare myself for the cold. I mean it gets cold at home, but it's only cold (for me anyways) when I walk from my warm home to my warm car and from my warm car to a warm building. My apartment isn't COLD but certainly isn't central heat warm. And my school is just cold. I already wear my fleece pretty much all day.

I'm going to be such a big baby when Winter really comes. Ugh. Wish me luck! The only upside to cold weather is the cute hats, scarves and gloves you get to buy!!

Korean children get carsick too.

Hello followers... Here is an update from the past two weeks.

Last week we had a field trip with our babies. We went to a place called Homigot. It's the Eastern most part of South Korea. It's marked by a giant hand in the ocean facing another hand on land. It was so beautiful. There was a nice park for the kids to run around and play at. And there was a lighthouse museum that they ran around in.

The drive TO Homigot was... not pleasant. It was fine - a little hilly and windy but I'm fine in the back of cars. I look over and my little guy Hans looks tired and hot. I ask if he's ok. He says he is. I tell him we'll be there soon.  Next time I look over, he has vomit running down his shirt and more on its way up. I don't know what else to do besides put my hands up to his mouth. Ugh. Should have just let it go all over the van. I yell for the driver to pull over and they get Hans out for fresh air and hand me wet wipes to clean up the seat. And don't let me out. They almost had a sick teacher too...

All in all, the day was fun.

PS: The picture on my blog homepage is Homigot. BEAUTIFUL!!

Friends and Fish

I'm wrapping up a pretty good weekend here in the 'Hang. Saturday I had to work (since I was off last Friday after the Chusok holiday, I had to work Saturday this week). Not a fan of working on Saturdays but it honestly wasn't that bad...

Then I headed out for a night out on the town. And I mean OUT on the town. Had some drinks with some great friends and met some new ones (and met some creepy people too...). Once all the bars closed (at 6 am...) we (me, my friend Annie and a new friend we had met) decided it was a good idea to go to noraebang (Kroean karaoke). So we ventured out into the daylight and sang our hearts out for two hours.

And since we were already up, why not check out the largest outdoor market on Korea's east coast? I've been told it's best to go there early in the morning. And since I will never actually wake up early to check it out, it seemed fitting to experience it before going to bed.

Good night with Fist Fights...

A quick update. [Note: The next two posts actually precede this one. Somehow they were saved as drafts and never posted...woops]

Last we talked, there was a field trip. The weather was still nice.. So since the last post I've been having (more) fun like a freshman in college. Just to give you an idea, 2:00 a.m. last Saturday night was the earliest I had gotten in a cab headed for home in at least a month. If it's still dark outside, that's early...

School has been really great actually. I have seen such an improvement in (almost) all of my students! It's amazing. Soon after I got here (I think I was with the students for one month) I had to write progress reports... WHAT?!?! I made up stuff to write for basically every student. Next month is progress report time again. And I really feel like I'll have a lot to comment on for most students. (Still not looking forward to progress reports though...)

I've gotten back into working out. I joined a gym with my coworker and every Tuesday evening a group of girlfriends get together at the beach (I love how I can say that so casual... at the beach) and one friend organizes and plans a circuit workout. And then we stick around and have girl talk afterwards. BUT, two weeks ago I hurt my knee :(

In 2005 I tore my ACL, MCL and meniscus and had (I would say grueling) surgery to repair the former. I was doing mountain climbers and afterwards I got this awful pain in the same place as my MCL tear... A German... well not sure if he was a doctor or what... man insisted he look at my knee (at a bar, no less) and insisted it was my meniscus and a quick surgery would repair it. NO. Even though it would be super cheap, I refuse to have surgery in Korea. I've rested my knee and taken it easy for two weeks. Now I'm ready to try again.

Now I'll address the title of this post. Living in a town with a Marine base and small Navy base, you'd think there would be tension between the two branches and just the guys themselves. I mean when too much testosterone is mixed with alcohol, the reaction often is restricted to the upper body and results in swinging of the limbs, etc.

Surprisingly, I have yet to see a fight started by a military man. Instead, fights are started by Koreans, which now I know also have a lot of testosterone brewing that reacts with alcohol. The first fight was on a Thursday night at a popular bar. It's pretty big and everyone was spread out in their groups... All of a sudden, back in a corner where pool tables are, a fight breaks out. A (surprisingly large) Korean was causing a ruckus and pushing and shoving other Koreans (which I found out were his friends). The bartender (male) and owner (female) go over to break it up. He then pushes and shoves them!

That's when the American marines get heated. No one pushes a woman. So they try to get a piece of him (and ultimately stop him) and they're pulled back by their counterparts. So the guy is still pushing and shoving, throwing punches and neck-holding people. They finally get him to the door. And he still has outbursts and lunges at individuals. I stayed back but was still scared. What if he made eye contact and lunged at me?!?! A mug was thrown and broken, a Korean was punched in the face. The cops were called.

Now to note the "duty" of Korean cops... After literately 40 minutes, the guy is taken outside and the cops are asking several people what happened. He's still trying to fight. Ok in America, if someone was still trying to fight even with the cops arrived, he would get arrested, tazered, hit with the light stick or all of the above. The cop takes one guy's hand, then the other and forces them to hold hands. And they walk off together. End of story. (And ps, the guy was STILL trying to fight people an hour later while getting into the cab.)

The next night (I wasn't there but heard eye-witness stories) there was another fight, started by a Korean university student. Apparently the guy was looking for a fight with anyone and everyone. He swings at one foreign teacher. A friend of the teacher (also a teacher) sees it so punches the Korean. Then the Korean's African friend punches the teacher. Breaks his jaw in a couple places. The teacher had his jaw wired shut and surgery to put plates in his face.

I'm glad I have only small doses of testosterone in my bloodstream. Oh no! What happens when I reach menopause and no longer produce female reproductive hormones? Will I want to pick fights too?!?! Haha.