Sunday, October 18, 2009

Konichiwa Japanland

Ok so I am about two weeks behind on keeping up with things. For Chesok (Korean Thanksgiving) we went on a little trip overseas. I signed up for a biking trip to the Japanese island Tsushima for three days. I guess I didn’t read the small print but I figured biking meant a leisurely stroll around the island. Well, I guessed wrong.
I should start with the beginning of our trip. After work on Thursday we meet up our group and took an overnight bus to the southern city of Busan, from there we hoped a two hour ferry to the Tsushima. This is where my reality came crashing down, not only would I be biking for the next 6 hours after awkwardly sleeping on a bus I would be carrying all of my belongs (a thirty pound backpack). After hours of rolling hills, reminders of how out shape I might be and some help of a friend who spoke Japanese we made our campground just before sunset.

That night we enjoyed fresh sushi from the supermarket and delicious Japanese beer around the campfire. I was so sore from that day’s excursion I could barely sit down and I was not looking forward to another full day of bike riding but I did get to take our rental car for a little joy ride. I don't know what was weirder that fact that I was driving which I haven't done in 10 months or that I was on the left hand side.
After some moaning and groaning we convinced our group leader to carry our bags in the car to our next destinations. This made the 8-hour day of biking through the rural island with the occasional stop for water and ice cream, way more bearable. As we climbed the last hill to our motel destination the full moon hung low in sky against a breath taking view, almost making the journey worth it. I was so exhausted I think I went to bed at 9pm on Saturday!! But not before prancing around in our complimentary kimonos and sipping on the best green tea ever.

The next morning we woke up early to watch the sunrise over the water and then enjoyed the rest of the day relaxing at a near by beach. I was trying to even out the horrible tan lines I had acquired from riding in the sun all weekend. When the trip was all said and done we had biked over 75km in two days!

That evening we took the ferry back to Busan but the girls and I decided we didn’t want to end our fun. We got the name of a cheap motel and a fun area to go out and extending our vacation for one more day. Probably one of the best decisions ever. Our cheap little love motel room had a gorgeous view of the Busan Bridge, apparently how the city got the name “San Francisco of Korea”. I could see some of similarities. The people were a little more kick back and casual then the fast paced sophisticated Seoulites.

We ended up having one of the best nights ever. We meet some crazy English boys (surprise surprise) and a generous Korean named Kevin who took us to a private Norebong (Korean karaoke). It’s a miracle I have lasted this long not ever going to one, it was only a matter of time. Kevin really pulled out all the stops buying us bottles of wine, beer, cheese and fruit plates.
I have to say Norebongs are a ton fun banging on tambourines and friends singing out of tune, what not to love? Not that I actually sang a single note but I would definitely go again just for the joy of watching everyone else embarrass themselves.

The next day, we spent the day on the beautiful sandy beach soaking up the last rays of sunshine. I am still in complete denial about this real winter thing with freezing temperatures and snow that is approaching shortly.
Final verdict: Busan was awesome. I feel guilty it took me so long to get down, even made me question why I hadn’t considered living there before. Japan was even cooler. The people were extremely friendly and I felt I learned more Japanese in two days then I have learned Korean. But biggest discovery Japan beer is yummy and way better then Korean!! Next I got to get over to Tokyo better it is even better.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Chug Chug....

Things are just chugging along here. Not much is new so updating seems a little mundane. It's actually quite frightening how much I have adjusted to my life in Korea.
Last week we celebrated Brittany's birthday in true Korean androgyny style. Everyone showed up, almost half of our friends we meet in Thailand we there! We had a blast kickin it in the park for 6 hours before making it to our favorite messy western bars where we stayed till morning.
The week before that we had another killer weekend at Global Gathering, an international festival that brought in some world-class bands and DJ's. Not to mention, two of my favorite Korean pop groups also made an appearance. Which always makes me feel like a ten year old teeny bop at a an NSYNC concert
In other recent news I was selected as one of the Native English teachers to teach other Korean teachers from my school district. It means 6 hours more a week of teaching and working till 7 most nights. But it’s a great way to get some more Adult ESL teaching experience and the pay is pretty sweet too!
After almost 8 months away from home, I feel like I have lost touch with what all the cool kids are doing. I have totally forgotten that is not normal for men to carry a purse have way more stylish haircuts or wear tighter pants then me or that staying out till 7am is crazy! I can't even remember what is like to go the grocery store and be able to read all the labels, or have a conversation with a cab drive or let alone understand what anyone is saying anywhere! I have come accustom to the daily challenges of living in Korea, which has in no way encouraged me to learn Korean. Still really sad I only know 7 words, oh well.
The time is almost approaching where I will need to make the fatal decision to resign my contract for another year or pack my bags. My head has been spinning in circles, if feels like the hell of graduating college and not having a clue what to do with your life. My train of thought is going something like this 1. Stay in Korea another year (or 6 months) continue living my amazing life with the greatest friends I could've ever asked for and even save a little bit more money. 2. Go back America, probably just for the summer, visit my family and friends before jetting off to another country (which is a whole another decision) to teach English. 3. Use my free flight home to go to India or Thailand and live as cheap for long as possible...

What is making this so hard? It's relationships! Thank god I don’t have a boyfriend to worry about because parting ways with my buddies here will be hard enough and not seeing my nieces for another 6 months might kill me!! The life of a nomad is not easy but there are so many countries and places to see and my free spirited 20's will only last for so long . . . (approx 6.5 years before society really expects me to be reproducing and such)