Plenty of opportunities exist in Korea to try new experiences. The weekend before last we had a three-day weekend (we had Monday off to celebrate Independence Day) and I managed to fit a bunch of things in.

First, I went to the Dr. on Saturday morning. My friend Robin was going so Katrina and I tagged along. I wanted to ask about some prescriptions and my ankle. The lady spoke English very well and referred me to a specialist. I didn't have to pay anything for the visit, woohoo! Normally back home it would be $25 bucks just to talk to a doctor. After school today I will see about getting my Rx, since I was told to come back and then they would have some on hand.

The next day a few of us were downtown and decided to try out a DVD-bang. It was really neat! Basically you get your own room with a big couch-like area to sit on. The screen is huge and equipped with surround sound. They have many movies to choose from... we ended up watching Lord of War. I wasn't too excited about our choice, but in the end I really enjoyed the movie. DVD-bangs are sometimes places for couples to go and have some "privacy". You know, not really any movie-watching going on. We had five people and it was a little bit of a tight fit.

After that, Toby was kind enough to take Trisha and I to the fortune teller and he translated for us. I asked for some insight into my love life. She said I will meet an older guy that is good at talking, which I guess means good at conversation. Should be in the near future and he will propose. I felt like I had a good connection with her and she even told me that I need to stop thinking about past relationships because they are over. It felt really good to hear it. She mentioned I am very worried about my job and need to focus on what I want, and that whatever decision I make it won't matter because I have close friends that are very supportive. We went back yesterday to see her and she gave me some more information, that my husband will be rich and we can travel together. After we get married we will have a baby very soon... or maybe even before - oh no!

On Monday we tried to go to a jjimjilbang (Korean spa/sauna) but couldn't figure it out. It's probably better that we waited because I have a Korean friend that really wants to go with me so I should wait to go with her. I really want to sweat out some toxins and get my skin exfoliated, maybe a massage. I just don't know how I feel about being naked around people that are potentially my students or other people I know. Whatever I guess, not too big of a deal.

Wendesday I went to see a specialist, luckily there is a clinic near my home. The doctor was cool and spoke English and the X-ray guy was kinda cute... Anyway, my ankle and knee are fine in regards to my bones, but it appears that I have a ligament problem. In order to verify this I will need a MRI. While the costs of healthcare are significantly cheaper than in the US, I don't feel like shelling out 300,000 won right now for that. I really wish I had just gone to the doctor when I had my injury a year ago, but someone told me not to. He gave me some pills I should take for three days and then I did 45 minutes of physical therapy. I have never had PT before so I can't compare it to what it's like in the US, but it was a little strange. They put this really hot towel on my leg - I had to ask them to make it less hot two times, and I'm no wimp when it comes to heat. Then she put some suction cup things on my leg and ankle and there were electric shocks. It was creepy because my foot was moving on it's own... Then she put some red lamp over my leg. All in all, it was pretty relaxing and I will probably go for a few more visits. The total for my Dr. visit, x-rays, meds, and PT was like $10. I was very happy :)

This past weekend my teacher invited me to go to a meeting for an English club she is in. There were about 15 Koreans that spoke English. I was really impressed by them. Some had lived abroad and had interesting stories to tell. We went to a traditional tea house. The one I ordered was way too sweet for me, but my co-teacher ordered a delicious tea that tasted exactly the same as back home - Celestial Seasons' Sleepytime Herbal tea. My dad and I used to drink that so it reminded me of good times. Afterwards we went to a NY-themed restaurant and had rice that you ate with your hands and we made our own kebabs. It was surprisingly really good. I was kind of bummed about eating there because the food seemed similiar to what I had the night before.

Lastly, yesterday I went to a Multi-bang with some friends. You can sing, play games, watch movies, etc. We played the Wii for a bit and then watched New Moon. Unfortunately you rent the room out by the hour and we didn't have enough time to watch all of the movie. I finally was getting sucked in at the end too. I am really curious as to why that movie had some Korean in it.

I took some pictures, but I am at work writing this so I'm not able to include them. If you made it this far, sorry for the novel. :) I don't think many people even read my blog, but that's alright, it's more for me to recount my time in Korea.

Only Six More Months!

I'm a day late in posting this, but yesterday marked that I only have exactly six more months in Korea! I suppose if I were to renew my contract then I would only be 25% through, but I still have a lot of time to mull that over. I miss America and there are still plenty of other places that I want to see. It's unfortunate that I am writing this post now because I think the past two months of deskwarming (coming into school to do practically nothing all day), along with the winter cold, have dampened my mood a bit.

On Tuesday, classes will resume and we will begin our next session. I will still be in charge of the second and third graders. A lot of changes have been made and I'm not really sure what to expect. I am hoping it will be a breath of fresh air. My handler (teacher responsible for assisting me with any problems and day to day responsibilities) has changed. Apparently nobody liked my old one, and while I didn't have too much of a problem with her, I just didn't find her to be a warm person. When I was in need of help I felt more comfortable asking other teachers with whom I had established more personable relationships. Two of my favorite teachers will not be with us for the majority of the semester: one is taking time off to care for her son and the other has a thyroid problem and will be gone for three months. Another teacher I really like is moving to a different school, and our vice-principal is being replaced so that she can become a principal at another school. I am going to have to adapt to the new teachers' methods which may take some time.

I remember really enjoying teaching, but I just haven't really done it in so long! The second graders will all be new to me, but the third graders will be the second grade students I taught last year. I am dreading 2-6, or whatever their new class number will be, but maybe they will have matured a bit? One can hope... I still have no idea what my schedule will be like, and I keep asking for a calendar so I will know when exams are, but I won't know until Tuesday, at the earliest. I am also curious whether I will have afterschool classes or not, along with the staff conversation class. I suspect I may not have the staff class anymore because only one teacher was showing up, and I was informed yesterday that I will have to start creating a monthly presentation on subjects of my choice, such as American culture. I'm trying to stay positive and think of it as a fun activity I can knock out in an hour or so, but I wasn't provided with the purpose behind it.

As for my personal development in the past six months, I am very pleased. While I do consider myself an independent person, I really do enjoy the company of others, so it took some adjusting to living on my own. I was used to living with my family of four, plus four kitties, in a large home. Now it's just me in my tiny studio. I relied on my parents a lot for advice and taking care of household duties. Now I have to do these things on my own. I had to unclog my sink because I was too embarrassed to notify the landlord because I put rice down the drain when it should have been in the food trash... Even cooking can be a chore, especially with my one hot plate. However, there are plenty of 24/7 kimbap places around so I know I will never go hungry. Also, I finally after six months configured my second drying rack. I also learned a valuable lesson in dealing with LG Telecom... some shady guys tacked on tons of extras to my cell phone plan, but hopefully my co-teacher has the problem resolved now. Basically I've learned to be very cautious with my financials.

I've made a lot of friends in Korea and it's been a blast. I even have a few that I consider really close friends and hope to remain in contact with, even when we go our own separate ways. I've also seen a few friends leave and this will continue to happen until it's my turn. Korea is such a transient place, people coming and going all the time. I think when it is time for me to return home I will be saddened, especially since I will be returning to Tampa and many of my friends have moved on to bigger, better things. However, I think when I return it will only be for a brief period of time before I move on to my own next big thing.

One thing that's really great about Korea is that there is pretty much always something to do, but you may have to travel. I don't really mind, I've gotten used to it since I live in Chilgok and everything is far away. If you have a hobby or interest there's a good chance you can find others that are interested in it too. I went scuba diving at the Busan Aquarium this past weekend in the shark tank and it was a ton of fun. I'm hoping to get certified sometime in the near future now. I'm hitting the gym more regularly now too. Back to travel, it isn't as cheap as I had expected in regards to going internationally, but I will be going to Hong Kong in just a couple of weeks. Then I have Taiwan to look forward to in May. I went to Japan over Christmas and hope to go again to see other parts of the country like Tokyo and Osaka. There's still plenty of places in Korea I have to go to as well, but luckily busses and the KTX are cheap. So much to do, so little time (and money!).

Anyway, these are just some of my thoughts, it's been awhile since I last posted. I hope the next six months go as smoothly as the first. I'm really looking forward to making the most of my remaining time in Korea!