Archive for September, 2010

Lotte World!

I’ve been reading some blogs of other people here I know, and they’re much more personal. I’m sort of staying on the surface of my experiences here, simply because I’ve been burned by being too personal on blogs before. And anyway, I haven’t really sorted out just how I feel here yet. There are things (and people) I miss, but there’s so much that I’m glad I’m getting to experience.

Lotte World, for example.

Yes, I wish that we had visited on a nice, sunny day so we could have seen the outdoor attractions. And yes, I wish so many of the rides didn’t cost extra money. But man, it was pretty freaking awesome looking inside!

We rode an indoor rollercoaster and that Conquistador boat ride which is called the same thing at Six Flags Over Texas.  You know, the one that a bunch of people pile in on and it rocks you way up high. Pretty sweet.

Later we went back to use our MagicPasses on the popular ride of the day- The French Revolution. Isn’t that the best name for a ride?

I especially loved how tempting their food kiosks were. I mean, Peanut Butter Roast Squid? I really regret not purchasing one to try because it was only like 3000 Won (under 3 bucks).

Screw the churros! I want "sqid!"

By now you’ve got to be wondering, are there parades at Lotte World? You bet your ass there are! Two things about their parades that were surprising:

1. They had wehgooks (foreigners) dancing around, not just Koreans/Asians.

2. They had Koreans who played bagpipes.

I’m pretty sure my Scottish friend felt emotional. Like Homer Simpson did when he went to Australia and they have a big contraption in the bathroom at the embassy to make the toilets flow the correct, American way.

Anyhoo, after some more wandering around trying to look for rides that didn’t cost more money, it was time to chillax and watch the people down in the skating rink on the bottom level. I had some mate tea and caramel cone ice cream at the fancy stand, then we caught their Fantastic Odyssey show. It was NUTS. I didn’t take pictures, but seeing as how there were flames we could feel in the back row, I didn’t think they’d turn out well on camera.

On the journey home, we were met with a muddy, flooded, non-functioning subway station. And everyone was trying to catch cabs, so we didn’t have success for about an hour. This trip marked the second time in less than a month where I walked home in the rain. Yet, for some reason I think it’s better than having to carry an umbrella the whole day.

You can see more of my pictures in the gallery below. Oh, and there is video of the rollercoaster up on my Flickr. You will laugh. Make sure your speakers aren’t turned up too high, I’m a screamer.


New photos on Flickr, and thoughts on how life has changed

Heylo! I had just added some pictures from Korea onto my Flickr account. Here’s the link. I’m new to Flickr so if you have suggestions for how to make my page better or how to share my stuff, let me know. It opens in a new window.

Today I spent the second day of the Korean Thanksgiving with my coworker Justin and this guy David we met one night through other friends. We went to Lotte World, which is a theme park you don’t even have to go outside from the subway station to get into. It was surreal. I don’t have pics of that uploaded yet but they are a-comin’ along with a new post about my experience.

Here are some ways that my life here in Suwon is different than life back home:

– At home I could buy as much cough syrup and diarrhea pills as I wanted, whenever I thought of it while out and about at Target. (Er, Walmart. Which one is the good one these days?) But the medicine here is only sold at pharmacy stores. And most of the packages are not in English.

– Tipping is not expected, and is in fact an insult. More money in my pocket is fine with me! When I finally get paid, I’m going to feel so stinkin’ rich.

– I don’t have a cell phone yet so as a result I hardly ever think to use Twitter. I liked getting texts from all my favorite tweeters. It’s a pain to remember to check their pages.

– You can buy beer and soju everywhere, and you can drink everywhere. Today I popped open a can of Hite on the subway train!

– Nobody steals, and so far I haven’t encountered any “bad areas” of town. I don’t think they exist.

– On the el in Chicago I remember there were certain seats designated for the handicapped, but regular people still sat on them without giving a second thought. Here, there is seating on the metro for handicapped/old/weak/moms with children. YOU BETTER NOT SIT THERE IF YOU ARE NOT THOSE THINGS.

– I don’t have a stove. I kinda miss it. What if I want to make cookies in the winter?

– I also don’t have a dryer- we just hang up the clothes to dry. I think I’ll really miss the dryer in the winter.

– An individual size Papa Johns pizza costs about $12. That’s why we go to Pizza School.

– When I get my Alien Resident Card I’ll be able to get national health care. HELLLLS YEAH! Friends tell me that getting prescription eyeglasses will be cheap, so that’s on the to-do list.

– There’s no carpet because the floors are heated, because people take off their shoes when they go into homes and certain restaurants. This means that the hairs I tend to shed from day to day really freakin’ show up on floor. I have a broom and a dustpan, but that really doesn’t cut it for long hairs. I may just cave and get a dust buster.

– I don’t know where the post office is yet.

Oh my dear, I’ve rambled on far too much. I need sleep. Good night!

Home Plus!

Hello, and welcome to my entry on the Home Plus shopping experience. Remember, you can click on any picture to make it bigger 🙂

I’ve been to Home Plus three times now for this/that/the other. It’s basically a Super Walmart combined with a Macy’s, Best Buy, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and a mall. It has a pretty kickass food court with a McDonalds, but that’s not the reason it’s kickass (to be explained below). You can buy pretty much everything here I think- except medicine, unless I missed it in all the hustle and bustle.

Yesterday I decided to go walking and found that Home Plus is closer to my apartment than I thought. Which is cool. I live the farthest from school of the 4 foreign teachers, may as well live close to something else. The Home Plus is also close to this Pizza Hut:

Here are some pics from inside Home Plus, and some cool/weird merchandise I saw:

Grocery/toiletry sections

Checkout lanes

Pixel Friends bag

The Red Face

Hey, me too! Except if they're ugly

If the dream came modesty, shabby as well (a woman's shirt)

After buying a few essentials and non-essentials, I got a bit hungry. Here are some pictures of the food court at Home Plus. These 3 pics below were actually taken at a previous time when I was with my fellow teachers, and NOT eating at McDonalds.

Kalin, Justin, and the food order screen

Tanner and I

Pickled radish, soup, kimchi, and rice with egg/shrimp/a yummy sauce. Plus a smallll cup of water.

How it works is that you look in a display case full of plastic (i think) food and then tell the cashier what number item you want. You pay, then wait for your ticket number to show up. Go to the corresponding counter and receive your tray of food. Alright!

Unless you go to McDonalds, in which case it’s like a regular counter. Most everything on the menu is the same as in the U.S. it seems, so I decided to be exotic and taste the shrimp burger.

No cap for my coke zero because I didn't understand she was asking me if I wanted one

Mmm, pressed shrimp

It was…interesting. Definitely a McDonald’s creation in that it bore little resemblance to actual shrimp but gave you the distinct impression of it.

I decided that was enough fun and excitement for one Sunday afternoon. Here are some pictures from the walk to and from Home Plus.

Gas station

Street signs

Ok, I was mostly taking pictures so I'd have them in case I got lost

Cuuute Kia with flower petal rims

Below is some of my haul from Home Plus. I finally found some stout beer, yay! Cost me about 4000 won but it was worth it. And Coopers happens to make some of the homebrew kits Tim and I have seen around Kansas City.

Dark, the way I likes it

Almonds and Anchovies. Tasted sweeter than expected, but I don’t think I’ll be buying it again. Something about those beady dried eyes is unsettling.

Together at last!


I’ll end this post with a picture of my new cute bathmat/rug, with my uncute foot. Let’s just say I’ll be more careful next time I’m out partying with my shoes off.

Blame it on the karaoke

The airplane I rode 2 weeks ago

Wow, hard to believe it’s been almost 2 weeks since I arrived in Korea. I’m sure I’ll repeat this sentiment at the end of my year here. Time flies when you’re running around teaching little kids and also teaching yourself what it means to navigate geographically and culturally in a new country.

Anyways, back to where it all began- The Flight. For those of you who have never been an airplane passenger before (here’s looking at you, Tim) I highly suggest starting out with a short 2-4 hour flight first. This was a test in endurance, both physical and mental. But I must say, those darn cute flight attendants made it oh-so-much easier:

The male flight attendants were just as classy and adorable

I boarded the flight to Seoul, Incheon from Los Angeles with another girl I’d met on the plane from Dallas. She had been seated next to me and as we chatted it turns out she graduated from Plano Senior High School 4 years after I had. What a very odd coincidence.

The plane was one of those big ones with the middle row, and I felt like I was in the movies or something. Seriously, how lame is that? If most flights you’ve taken are via Southwest or other smaller regional airlines, gigantic planes seem really really really cool. Really.

As fate would have it I didn’t sit next to my fellow Wildcat on the plane to Korea. No, my friends, I sat next to a man who instantly started telling me his life story. This guy apparently was Native American (showed me his CDIB card), had lost his first wife to breast cancer, and was on his way to China to go get married to a Chinese girl. I tried to be polite and listen, but I was focused on the pre-flight instructions and trying to hear what was going on. I sat facing forward and not looking at him, so eventually he got the hint and pretty much left me alone.

Soon we started flying! What’s nice is that Asiana Airlines (and I bet most others) shows you a map of the flight progress on the screen. They repeated everything in English after the Korean so us foreigners could understand. Nice!

My plan was to sleep most of the way. Ugh, it was harder than I thought. I spent most of my energy shifting my position and figuring out how not to use the restroom, because it meant I’d have to ask the Talker to get out of my way. I did NOT want him to start talking to me again.

Sleeping would also mean I’d miss the food. They fed us twice (dinner and breakfast), which was pretty cool. Ended up eating breakfast at like 3 AM my time. I don’t remember eating a meal on a plane in my life, EVER. I was excited enough about it to take this picture.

Steak for dinner

I remember the breakfast option being something like “blah blah blah octupus, or an omelette.” I didn’t trust my stomach to airplane octopus. The egg was fine with me.

When we got closer to Seoul (a mere 12 hours later), they started playing a nice little instructional video about how to massage your pressure points to ease any long-flight woes like a sore neck, tired legs, or stomachache. I think this really demonstrates a fact about Korea that I’ve seen proven many times since I’ve been here- they are traditional and very efficient.

Yay! Airplane story, delivered as promised. In conclusion, this was a great experience and I’m glad to report about it. But next time I just may drug myself to sleep like the guy sitting in front of me did.

Exploring Suwon on a Sunday

Right now, I still do not have internet at my apartment. Yes, I’m upset. But yesterday, I went to Seoul with the 2 other foreign teachers and today I wandered around Suwon by myself.  I saw the fortress wall and climbed up for a better view. Took some pictures, but seeing as how I have no way to upload them, you’ll just have to go to wikipedia to learn more. I’ll post allll the pictures I have ASAP.

I’m in a pc bang, which is this place that gamers go to play Starcraft and all those other games because the equipment is better than something they might have at home. I’ve been here for over an hour but should only cost me the equivalent of a couple of bucks, which is awesome. The only bummer is that my back hurts from the way this chair is set up. But it was really cool, when I walked in one guy spoke English and told me it would take a few minutes to set up the computer in English. Then I sat down and checked my e-mail. After like 20 minutes he came to give me a free soda. McCol- don’t know quite what was in it (wheat?) but it tasted good!

Alright, the enter key on this keyboard keeps sticking and I’m hungry. I haven’t mustered up the courage to go into a sitdown restaurant by myself yet, so I mostly just buy convenience foods. Also, almost everything in the restaurants is super spicy. I’m sure I’ll get used to it, but man, getting through dinner sometimes when I’m out with the other teachers is a sloooow process. 

Next time- pictures of Seoul, Suwon, the airplane, and more fun!