“Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.”

Sooo it’s been a few weeks. I guess I will blame the nightlife culture here. Seoul is the craziest nightlife I’ve seen since Vegas, and I think it’s even more intense. Everything is open 24 hours- restaurants, bars, grocery stores, etc. No one leaves their house until 11pm (ish) unless it’s to go somewhere to play foozball or hookah. I guess since everyone gets started later it gives them permission to stay out until anywhere from 5am-8am. I think my record was 6:30 or 7 so far but we have a friend who stayed out until NOON one night because he met a girl and they stayed out till the morning having a snowball fight and getting breakfast, haha. Here’s a few highlights from the past few weeks:

  • I went to a concert in Hongdae (a district in Seoul) where there are bands set up all along the perimeter of the bar and the crowd is in the middle while the bands take turns playing 1 song at a time. It was suuper cool and they even handed out really fun stickers:

  • I actually went out and bought a cell phone. I even put one of those lame-o phone charms on it that I got at a vending machine in Japan. I feel like a local now
  • Somehow the stars aligned one night and we managed to get 5/10 foreign teachers out together. For whatever reason, it’s pretty hard since everyone has their own things going on. We found the most American bar ever after some Mexican food and I convinced 2 guys I was a semi-pro dart player back home. They must have been really drunk because I was missing the dart board a lot. It was good bonding for the teachers though.
  • I finally found someone who was willing to leave their house on a Saturday for some city exploration! We hit up the War Memorial and Museum last Saturday and then went to explore the “Little America” part of town, Itaewon. It’s pretty sad how little I knew/ remembered about the Korean war, but they managed to make a museum interesting and really cool (a rare thing). I’m excited to get out and see more of the city though. It’s about time!
  • Kat’s birthday was last Wednesday and we went to a casino in Walker Hill. I guess Gambling is illegal for Koreans so it was only foreigners, mostly Japanese and Indian. We played like $40 at roulette all night and the best part was they hook you up with anything you want. We ordered Shrimp Fried Rice and chocolate ice cream!
  • My favorite foreign teacher, Annie (from the ski trip) has introduced me to Tuesday Wing nights at Rocky Mountain Tavern, the Canadian bar. This may be the best thing ever. Very cheap wings, Hockey or American Football, and random stuff with new Canadian friends like a big group of people playing invisible double dutch jump rope… who knew Canadians were so cool?!? Art and Kat have opened my eyes.
  • An extremely nice Korean who spoke perfect English helped me get the equivalent of a Safeway Club Card at my local grocer. I’m officially the only foreign teacher lucky enough to be getting a 2% discount.
  • The Wangsimni crew has discovered a new club they think is worthy of spending every Saturday and most Friday nights at because the owner knows them, there is no cover, and there are plenty of Koreans to mingle with. Jason has actually started dating a Korean, Yura, who may be the coolest chick ever and is very handy to have around. These Saturdays have been leading to yummy Sunday breakfasts cooked by the Canadians. Here’s Yura, Jason’s sister/my friend Amanda who visited, and me:

One of the crappy parts of the last few weeks was that my brand new, beloved Canon camera decided to die. This couldn’t have come at a worse time between it being Art & Kat’s last month in Korea, the beautiful snow all over the city, my kids’ last month in kindergarten, Lunar New Year coming up, Joon’s Birthday, and 2 big events at school where my kids will be all dressed up: Festival and Graduation. I’m glad to have such an exciting month ahead but in the mean time, my wonderful mom and I are shipping the camera all over the US.

Teaching is going well. I finally understand what my parents meant when they said they loved my sister and I the same amount, but in different ways. I’ve totally fallen for my kiddos. Festival, basically a pageant for the parents, is coming up and we’re in charge of coming up with something worth video taping. I lucked out and convinced my co-teacher to do a Beatles song, but only because she recognized it from a movie. Yikes.

Soo I’ve decided to head to CHINA for the Lunar New Year/ Chinese New Year. Not only is the flight under $300 to Beijing or Shanghai, but when would I ever get to celebrate Chinese New Year in China? The school is giving us a 4 day weekend, probably because Koreans usually travel back to their hometowns and everyone celebrates turning one year older (remember how all Koreans are born 1 year old?).

I had a really weird moment yesterday: since Seoul has been snowy and insanely cold for the past month, I’ve become used to wearing tights under my pants at all times and gone out to buy some warm clothes. I usually check the temperature gadget on my desktop in the morning and I’ve become “used to” seeing it in the single digits. When I woke up yesterday and it said 34 degrees I actually thought to myself, “wow it’s warm out.” California has officially disowned me.

One more picture, and it may be the best of all time:

That’s all for now. Sorry to be a very socially centered posting, but it’s bound to happen every once in a while. I promise to be more tantalizing next time : )