Ooops! It’s been ages since I posted anything but you know what they say about time flying when you have fun and all that…
Here’s a few highlights from the past few weeks that I definitely want to remember.
On St Patrick’s Day we spent the morning exploring our neighborhood and getting delicious breakfast from Isaac Toast before walking around the reservoir (our favourite/only running route so far). Later in the afternoon we travelled to Suwan in the North West of the city to meet some friends, dressed in green of course!
After checking out the area we spent a couple of hours putting the world to rights while sitting in the sun outside of a 7/11. I love Korea – the land where it’s acceptable, nay – encouraged, to drink outside wherever possible.
Once it started to cool off we headed to a BBQ restaurant for sam-gyeop-sal (three layered pork belly) and pork neck (omg so good). At some point Jod, Chris and I each thought it would be a very good idea to eat some very spicy chillis. I didn’t find it TOO bad and after a hell of a lot of water Chris was okay, but Jod ended up being unable to speak and we went home shortly after… a very memorable evening!
At some point over the next week our Alien Registration Cards arrived which meant we could actually do stuff like get bank accounts, get phone contracts and (more importantly) get paid! We have come to love our bank because they have an amazingly chill queuing system with numbered tickets, comfy chairs, TVs and free, delicious coffee.
One warm and sunny Sunday we met up with the gang to go to our very first baseball game! Our local team is called the Kia Tigers and we are now full on baseball converts – I even bought a hat! It’s traditional to eat fried chicken and drink beer while you watch baseball here and far be it from us to go against tradition… Although we also saw plenty of people getting pizza delivered right to the stadium. Did I mention that I love Korea?
Having Korean phone numbers and bank accounts means a whole new world of convenience has opened up for us here, including the wonder that is YoGiOh. This is a delivery app somewhere between Just Eat and Deliveroo and covers every single restaurant you can imagine. Traditional Korean food is SO CHEAP to order and it usually arrives between 15-30mins after you order. Your food is often delivered with proper plates and silverware and once you’re finished you just pile the dirty dishes outside your door and the delivery driver comes by to pick them up again later. There’s also no tipping here.
Around a week ago we were surprised when our school’s principal took our entire department out for dinner after work. She took us to an Italian place that serves pasta, salads and steak grilled at your table on hot stones. The food was delicious and it was so nice to be able to talk to our co-teachers outside of work and get to know them a little better as they’ve all been really helpful and kind. I hope that the next time we’re able to eat with the principal our Korean will have improved enough to be able to thank her properly ourselves and tell her how much we appreciate it!
We were also treated to a delicious dinner by Yeonhee, the very kind daughter of one of our co-teachers. We’re really looking forward to hopefully visiting a Korean pub with her soon!
One thing I’m loving about Gwangju is the abundance of awesome cafes where we can sit and chill and plan our upcoming adventures. Generally I try to stick to an iced Americano but it’s impossible to refuse the allure of a croque monsieur on a saturday morning…
Last weekend we celebrated Laura’s birthday with delicious mexican food (thank you Chris and Amanda!) and SO MUCH BOOZE. We picked up this cake from Paris Baguette and it was delicious.
Last week we were lucky enough to see the cherry blossoms bloom. They only lasted a few short days and were so beautiful. All our students told us how amazing it would be and they were right! We enjoyed seeing all the themed displays in shops and had some Cherry Blossom flavored drinks in Starbucks, the milk tea is SO GOOD!
As well as all the fun we’ve also really got into the swing of teaching and I love all my students! It’s amazing how even if you’re having a kind of a down day (for instance, if you fall up a set of stairs first thing on a Monday morning – ouch…) the little ones can say something hilarious that just lights you up from the inside. We had some very sudden and bad family news this week so it was especially helpful to be surrounded by smiling faces each day.
We’ve also been working hard to improve our Korean and so far have had four lessons. I’ve been trying to make time a few times a week to really study hard so that I’m not too far behind as I do find reading hangul really difficult to do quickly. Last week before our lesson we spent some time just chilling in a pretty garden in the city centre draped with fairy lights as the sun went down. The huge random statues of giraffes and polar bears were so surreal, but than again, so is this whole adventure.