Sunday, February 26, 2006

Goodbye Korea!

Mi Keyong and I at galbi dinner. I love this girl, she's so cool!

Well, it has arrived. I'm leaving Tuesday, so technically I have about another 30 hours in the country at the time of this post. It's pretty awesome.

I had a pretty incredible weekend to say the least. Friday night a bunch of teachers from work went out and celebrated the last day for Rob and I with some excellent galbi. Definitely the best I've had in Korea. It came in a pot marinated and raw with four huge prawns and some vegetables. We threw it on the bbq and it was pure bliss. I definitely reccomend "Nolbu Galbi" to those still in Korea. A little more expensive than our regular joint, but worth it.

Saturday it was the foreigner goodbye party. We all went downtown to Kangnam to a place called Platinum for all you can eat buffet as well as all you can drink microbrew. It was excellent. Good food, good drinks, great company. It was nice to just chill out with some of the coolest people I've met in a long LONG time. ;)

Anyway, tomorrow is my last day and it'll be spent running around, closing bank accounts, getting paid (oh please pray that it happens the way that it should!), moving my luggage to my ever gracious friends' Jamie and Jennica's house for storage, and then making sure that I'm all set to go on Tuesday early morning to catch my first flight to Japan. I'm excited to see all Kyoto has to offer and I think that it's going to be a lot of fun. I'm also super stoked because I got a reservation at this guesthouse in Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand called Julie Guesthouse which seems like a pretty awesome place to stay. They confirmed it yesterday, so that was some good news.

So, I guess this will be my last post from Korea. I will try to keep posting along the way and hopefully with pictures too, but we'll see. Keep the emails coming and pray for me when you remember cause I'm on my own for the first month before I meet up with Matt on March 30th in Singapore.

For those at home, I hope to hear from you, and I'll see you in April!

Love Andrea Posted by Picasa

This is the best galbi that I've had in the entire year that I've been here. The teachers at work and I (and Rob) went out after my last day of work on Friday. Friggin awesome. Posted by Picasa

Mi Keyong is hardcore. She fully popped the lid on this beer bottle using only a spoon. I was impressed. Posted by Picasa

Once again with the smiling! Maybe it's a new trend he's setting? Posted by Picasa

These guys are sooo cool ;) Posted by Picasa

At Platinum. Posted by Picasa

Friday, February 24, 2006

It's a Miracle!

I was looking through some of the pictures on my computer as I'm reminicing over my year in Korea and I came across this find...

Kevin Dueck smiling in a picture!

Since Kevin usually attempts to sabotage all of my pictures by appearing as the creepy stone faced guy with no emotions who somehow slips into a shot undetected, I decided to post the one picture in the world (I'm convinced) that has this guy smiling. Also, to dispell any rumors about Kevin's ability to smile.

Really guys, he CAN do it.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Octopus Extravaganza

Well, I can't tell you really just how odd my experience was tonight. I ate LIVE octopus. I swore before going for dinner with a few Korean teachers from my work that I wouldn't eat, that I would just watch, but they weren't having any of that.

The octopus comes to your table very fresh, they pull it out of the tank and immediately cut it up and put it on a plate on top of some sesame leaves with a sprinkle of sesame seeds. The plate is moving like a pile of worms and you're expected to use your chopsticks to get a hold of one of these squirming tentacles, dip it in some sauce, and start chewing.

It didn't taste all that bad, but the feeling of something wiggling around in your mouth as you chew was kinda weird. I think that it was more the idea that got me than anything else.

I ate the octopus and I ate something else that I swore I'd never try...Silkworm Larvae. It was a night of adventurous eating, so I figured I'd go for it since I had already downed a chunk of Octopus. When you walk down the street in Korea past a silkworm larvae stand, you can't miss it, the smell is overpowering and makes me want to wretch. So it was no surprise to me when the larvae tasted exactly how they smelled. Not at first, but there was a definite aftertaste of putrid bug garbage. I don't reccomend it.

Anyway, I had a lot of fun just hanging out with these girls and I'm glad that I sucked it up long enough to even try what I did tonight cause I never thought I would.

Hye June, Me and Mi Keyong having octopus for dinner. Posted by Picasa

Rob diving in for his first bite. Posted by Picasa

Raw and cooked fish that we also ate with the octopus. Posted by Picasa

Me eating bugs this time...for the love... Posted by Picasa

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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Last night I spent a night out with two middle school students. Once again, the youth leader in me can't be escaped, even in Korea. We went for dinner in Hyehwa, a university area in Seoul, ate pizza and then shopped a little before eating some Bing-su (ice flakes, fruit, and ice cream). We also jumped into a Korean style photo booth and got some pictures taken. You may have seen similar photo booths in Richmond Center, the ones that look typically "Asian" where you can doctor up the pictures with borders, stamps and writing. Yeah, that was the one. The girls, Princess and Betty, were really excited when they showed up at my house with gifts, Korean traditional dolls and some good luck thingy.It was nice to hang out with these students one last time, they were very appreciative of me, even though really I only taught them for four months when I first got here and then about 5 Saturday classes last semester. I've been trying to encourage them to do home stay in Canada for a year, but they are reluctant. Who knows, maybe I'll see them again.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Shopping for stationary, they friggin love it. Posted by Picasa

Common pass time of Korean middle school students and beyond Posted by Picasa

At Canmore, a Bingsu place that has bench swings for seats that are bolted into the ceiling. Posted by Picasa

Korean Photo booth. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Jamie's Birthday

Well, this past weekend not only consisted of me buying a 200GB external hard drive (and 1GB of RAM yesterday!) for my computer, but also of Jamie's 24th birthday (even though in Korean age he's 25 anyway).

Jennica planned a multi phase party, of which I attended all three phases. First was bowling at a random bowling alley in Suyu. It was fun because we didn't keep score, we just watched Nathan's random bowling style and did a LOT of trash talking (mostly started by Kevin...I think).

From bowling we moved to Sweet Tree restaurant in Junggye and had dinner with 21 others. It was a big group, but the best moment of the night was when the waitresses played the "Congratulations" birthday song on the speakers (no one actually sings) and Jamie's face went SOOO red. He tried to play it off by pointing at me, but no one bought it...the tomato red face gave it away.

After dinner we walked to Jamie and Jennica's apartment and had ice cream cake. The highlight of this phase was Jennica handing a plate of cake to Nathan and saying "do it!" and Nathan walked up to Jamie and smashed it in his face. At which time Jamie immediately accused Lydia of cooking up the whole idea...rumors dispelled, it was Jennica, so he couldn't actually get mad....or could he?

Anyway, it was a good time and great to hang out with friends. I'm really going to miss things like this when I'm gone. Although I'm very happy that most of my friends from here also live in the Lower Mainland.

My bowling "team". Nathan definitely had the most original bowling style and Kevin was definitely the most confident of the bunch, making bets on his "guaranteed" strikes. As for the rest...gong show...myself included. Posted by Picasa

Celebratory Pose: Bowling for Phase 1 of Jamie's Birthday Shindig. Posted by Picasa

Happy Jamie at his birthday dinner. Posted by Picasa

Skull Factor Posted by Picasa

Rob: Spike the punch and take a sip Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The construction out my window for the past 9 months

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I'm feeling some sort of strange closure with Korea over these past few days. It's nice really because I don't feel like I'm in a panic to get things sorted. I feel like I'm just kind of slowly weaning my way out of things. I guess we'll see how I feel two days before I leave though. Anyway, I said goodbye to a few people this weekend. One, the people at my gym, whom I spent the most part of my summer days with. And another being Angie, possibly my favorite kid in Korea. She was my student for the first four months of my stay here, then she was another teacher's student, and then she changed academies altogether. All the while she continued to come by my house to hang out and even had me to dinner at her house with her family. She's about 11 years old and so much fun to have around. Always reminding me of just how much I love kids. It was sad to say goodbye because I know that I'm really going to miss seeing her around as much as I do now.

This past Sunday Matt, Kevin, Dan and I visited a North Korean style restaurant and had some NK lunch. It was pretty good, nothing wildly different, but pretty good overall. Matt did his typical random sleuthing and discovered this place through the newspaper and we all got to reap the benefits.

After lunch, Matt and I spent time wandering around the Hongik University area. I'd been there once when I first arrived in Korea...and again with the closure, it was nice to see it and have some more good times in it before I left. We did all sorts of odd exploring that day, like trying to get into Hongik University, which we did, although a security guard said something in Korean to us, which made us turn around and leave. We also visited some Korean bars with unique names. For example, our night begun at "Space Beer" which looked like a spaceship and progressed to "Cocks", "Ho's" and "Pirate Bar". It was a great time and just a preview to what kind of fun we'll have when Malaysia hits, or when we have our "Malay-over" as Matt likes to call it. It's going to be wicked. Anyway, three more weekends left until Japan strikes! That's out!

North Korean Lunch and one handicapped kid we picked up

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My Bike and I

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My corner store: Hyundai Mart

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