Last week, I celebrated my birthday in Korea. I wasn’t sure what we would do since we were still getting settled into our new home, but we’ve already met some great foreigners in our area, so we decided to have dinner on the night of my birthday. It was a lot of fun! We went to a local pizza place and ordered a pepperoni, vegetable, and sweet potato pizza. Pizza is different in Korea in that there is no tomato sauce…but it’s still really yummy. Some pizzas here also have strange toppings, such as corn! The other foreigners even got me a birthday cake and a jar of peanut butter and crackers — too awesome!
It was great getting to know some of the other teachers in our town. It was also nice to have some quality conversation about TV shows and movies — all in English 🙂 At the end of this post, I’ll include a couple of pictures from my birthday. Before going to dinner, Nick and I also went on a small hike. We hiked up to a rock that overlooks our town. It was really cool to be able to look down and point out different shops as well as my school. We both were told to leave school a little early, so it was nice to spend the afternoon and evening together.
While it didn’t feel like a birthday at home, I had a great day! I am so thankful for all of the wonderful people that we continue meet.
Last week, Nick told me about an upcoming Saturday field trip. It was a hiking trip with some students and Korean teachers from his school. We both decided it would be a lot of fun spend our day hiking as well as interacting more with his students and fellow staff members. So, on Saturday we walked to his school and arrived around 8:45 to wait for the bus to pick us up. We left a little after 9:00 after being handed water, oranges, candy bars, and kimbap rolls to snack on. (Kimbap is similar to sushi but with other ingredients inside such as tofu, ham, and veggies…it has a rice inside and seaweed on the outside). We were shocked at how many snacks were provided.
We unloaded at our destination. After being handed more water and sandwiches (so much food!), we started our adventure. We weren’t sure what to expect since this was our first real hike. We’d hiked a few times on our own, conquering small mountains and trails but never hiked in a large group. It was a fun experience, but it did kick our butts a little! As soon as we thought we might be near the top, there was more to climb! Some of the trail was a a concrete trail and steps, which was easy. Eventually we got to a section that was no longer concrete or steps and this was the real challenging part. We had to carefully climb up by grabbing on to rocks and trees. I couldn’t believe how well some of the kids were doing as they were 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th graders. It’s kind of funny to say that 10-year-old kids were kicking our butts 🙂
We were climbing the Palyeongsan Mountain, which is a big mountain in our province that has 8 distinctive peaks to it. This mountain is located in the Dadohaehaesan National Marine Park, which was beautiful. The peak that we climbed was the Gitdaebong Peak and it was 608m or about 2,000 feet. Once we finally got to the top, the views were breathtaking and it was all worth it. We spent some time on top of the peak taking pictures and enjoying the view. I think that it was even harder to get down the mountain, especially at first, because we had to get through all the rocks. As you were sliding down, rocks were flying. I can’t picture this being a field trip in America, but the kids were loving it and they were really tough, even though they kept saying they were tired.
After our adventure, we went to a Chinese restaurant. This particular restaurant featured Korean Chinese food. We all shared a fried pork dish that had a sweet sauce and carrots and peppers. We were also each given a big bowl of noodles with a thick onion sauce. We were both surprised at how similar the Korean Chinese food tasted to food back home. The noodles were definitely different. It was nice to spend some time interacting with the other teachers. You could tell the other teachers were beginning to feel more comfortable around us and they started using more English and opened up about their hobbies and personal lives.
We had a really great time on this particular field trip. This was the last hiking trip for the school year (the semester ends at the end of December) but usually there is about one field trip a month. Nick and I plan to take part in these as it’s a great way to explore more in our area and a great way to interact with the students and other teachers.
As far as our apartment goes, we ordered a toaster oven which will allow us to cook more. In Korea, it’s very rare to have an oven (we don’t have one) so we wanted something other than just the stove top burners that we have. We were so excited when the toaster oven arrived. We do have a rice cooker and a microwave as well. We also finally got a bed! It’s so much more comfortable than sleeping on the floor. We just need to get some more bedding soon.
In other news, I finally signed up for Amazon Kindle Unlimited. I’m really happy about this decision! I’ve always loved reading, but over the last couple of years I always found myself being busy with other things. In Korea, I have more free time and it also helps me to unwind each night. I can also tolerate reading on my short bus trips to my school’s town each morning, which is a 17 minute bus ride. Unfortunately, I get motion sickness if I read on the longer bus rides.
Amazon Kindle Unlimited is only $10 a month and you can read as many books as you’d like. While you can’t get access to all of the best sellers, there are many great books available that I’ve been meaning to read anyway. I signed up in the middle of November and have already read 7 books so I think this will be a great thing for me and I will be getting more than my $10 worth. If you have a kindle, I do recommend checking out this service because you get a free month-long trial.
I’ll post some pictures, below! (I fixed the issue that was making some of the pictures flip sideways when you clicked on them…so that won’t happen from now on 🙂 )
Well, that’s all for now! Talk soon 🙂