Sunday, November 25, 2007

Quick update:

Week 2 of teaching went well, this next week features the monthly test on Wednesday, so we've got to make tests for all of classes, but that shouldn't prove to be too difficult. Saturday featured the return of the promotional clown and princess, this time we were even loaded with balloons in additional to school literature. Our fellow teacher Rachel was also dressed up, as the Korean equivalent to Barney, and the post-promo lunch of pork-spine soup was delicious, much better than its name would imply.

Saturday night Anderson made his Pusan DJ debut, and his first time playing in front of a crowd in about 5 years. A local bar/pub, called The Basement, had a "Full Moon Party" techno night, so he played on two CD-decks, with a hastily assembled collection of tunes on burnt CDs. He had the party rocking from 11pm - 1am, and while the dance floor wasn't necessarily packed at all times, people weren't leaving, either :-). Liz and Rachel were definitely getting their groove on, hopefully mostly inspired by the music and less so the discounted pitchers (yes, pitchers) of rum-and-cokes. Anderson will be DJing there again this Friday, for a hip-hop night, which may prove a bit more interesting... we shall see! Once his Mac laptop arrives from the States, then things will get real banging...

Today, Sunday, was also Anderson's debut soccer experience in Korea, with the club DMZ, which is part of a just-starting half-foreign-team and half-Korean-team league. The league officially starts in January, so this is all warm up friendlies, but still fun. He played in goal, since thankfully the club lacked a regular goalkeeper, though the shots were few in DMZ's 7-0 drubbing of rivals Inter Busan. Interesting statistical anamoly - not that any one's keeping them, but - saves equalled assists thanks to the super small field size, 1 of each :-).

We're hoping to get our Alien Registration Cards this week, which we've turned in our passports for, so we're just awaiting processing. That will enable us to get a Korean bank account, as well as a cell phone. Mostly we are waiting for December 8th, though, which is when we finally get paid :-).

A fresh post when it is warranted,
Peace from Pusan

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Had a fun weekend, although Saturday was a bit work oriented. No teaching though, just some promotional work. For about an hour we passed out flyers outside a public elementary school, and then on a street corner to a swarm of potential customers. Afterwards we spent another hour at school during an informational session for parents, which basically meant we introduced ourselves and then hung out and ate snacks.
Oh yeah, and we got to wear costumes, too:

In between our "hours of hard work" we were treated to lunch by the school, and were urged to load up on snacks to take home. Not that working on Saturday is all that sweet, but at least it's easy and fun!
Last night was spent taste-testing Hite beers in our apartment, had to sample quite a few to make sure our tastebuds grasped the full complexities of its flavor :-).
Today we went with our fellow foreign-teacher Rachel to Beomeosa Temple, a gorgeous temple complex at the north end of Pusan. Lots of ornate buildings, most fully painted and well-restored, and everywhere was bustling with plenty of other people. The complex is also the starting point to hiking trails up into the mountains, so we did about an hour's worth of walking along stone paths and steps. The trees were in full-on autumn mode, which meant in the shade it was a bit chilly, but our warm and spicy soup afterwards took care of things nicely. A kindly Korean woman walked around with us, explaining what's what, and introduced us to a delicious fruit: persimmon. We had thought they were weird tomatoes, turns out they are vastly superior, like apples crossed with pears and peaches...
For dinner tonight we combined our very limited groceries to produce a previously unknown concoction: Fish Bacon Corn. It fortunately tasted better than it sounds, although no restaurant will be serving it anytime soon :-).
Week 2 of teaching starts in about 12 hours, we're looking forward to it for sure, although Anderson is more excited for an indoor soccer he's going to join next weekend!
Hope all's well,

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

We're doing fine, settling "down" into our Korean apartment and our new jobs. Liz has returned from Japan, so we're both here for "good" now, and are steadily getting used to teaching. We have the same students 5 days a week, but what we teach is split between M/W/F and T/Th. Classes are short, at 40 minutes, so though it's taking us time to get used to so many new things, time at work definitely flies by! Anderson is currently teaching 6 classes, while Liz only has 5, but those both may increase if more students enroll in the school. Some classes (and students) are easier to teach/handle than others, but all and all things are pretty easy, since after 2 days each we almost feel into the swing of things.
We've got an informational meeting tomorrow morning, so we have to be at school around 10am, but our 2:30 work start time is pretty prime, and then we are finished by 8:30, so our day definitely flies by! There are loads of good restaurants, including several 24 hour places, right around our school (and thus our apartment, too), so we are eating quite well. And for super cheap. Anderson's lunch today was 2000 won, and our dinner for two (soup) was 3000 won. It's around 900 won per dollar, but since we're getting paid in won, once this month is over we don't have to think in dollars anymore.
We'll try to get a more thorough "our thoughts on Korea" post up soon, but eyelids are starting to close...

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Well, so much to say, but don't quite have the energy for the "full version" right now.

But... we are settled in in Pusan, we spent our first few nights in a hotel (a love hotel, meant for couples getting the noise on, so the room was pretty deluxe with a big TV, bathtub for two, and a sex chair that we didn't realize what it was at first!) but have now moved into our apartment. We live on the 10th floor of a pretty modern apartment building, it is fully furnished, though it is a bit used at the same time. But we have a TV, couch and all other furniture one could need, a very comfortable bed, nice bathroom, and even a "porch" where our washer is looking out over our part of the city. We live two blocks from our school, so its a very short walk to it as well as anything else we could need.

Our school is amazing. Everything is brand new, the design was professionally done, with brightly painted rooms, and modern decor. Our director is extremely nice, as are the other Korean teachers, and they all speak English quite well. There are three other foreign teachers, they are all nice, too, and we went out with one of them, Rachel, last night to a techno club. The Vinyl Underground was having its 5th Anniversary Party, so we danced until around 5 am, met a lot of cool Koreans and other English teachers, and burnt a lot of beer energy dancing to house and drum'n'bass music!

Food here is simply fantastic, kimbop (veg "sushi"-type rolls) is our current fav, and both our director, Rony, and another school admin, John, have taken us out to fancier meals which were spectacular. We had a simple breakfast this morning at our apartment, great to cook a semi-real meal for the first time in ages.

Anderson spent Thursday and Friday in Japan, getting his work visa, and Liz will do the same tomorrow and Tuesday. That involved taking a ferry from Pusan to Fukuoka, the riding a few buses to the Korean consulate (which was entirely painless), then lounging in an upscale hotel for the night, enjoying the complimentary breakfast buffet in the morning, and then picking up the visa and returning to Korea by ferry. Anderson managed to only ride the wrong bus twice (so much for those high school Japanese skills...), and squeezed in a visit to a very relaxing visit to Sumiyoshi Shrine, which was within walking distance from the hotel.

So, how did we get to Korea you might ask?

It was quite the journey: we left Kathmandu on Tuesday at 1pm, flew to Singapore, where we had a short layover but ate some tasty food and sampled some free high-quality whisky. Then onto Seoul, where we arrived at around 7 am on Wednesday. We found out that our second bag, which cost $2 and was cheap plastic, had effectively ripped open, but luckily nothing had fallen out and we were able to tape it back up. Then we took the 10am flight to Pusan, which took around an hour and gave us a great view of our new city and home. Pusan is situated right on the water, with a river running through the western part of the city, and has mountains on the side without the ocean. A beautiful natural setting without a doubt.

We were met at the airport by Kelly, our recruiter, who is even nicer in person than she sounds by email, and who is also our own age which is great, so we will be going out with her sometime soon. We headed straight to our school, though Liz got to call her family for a few minutes, and we got to talk to two of our nephews which hopefully made their day! Liz's mother got the "hi, mom, we're pulling up at the school now, but we love you and miss you, bye!" which we were and we do!

As said our school is sweet, more details to come soon, but since Anderson hasn't actually taught yet, we'll save our first impressions for a later post this week. We've been trying to catch up on sleep, but at the same time enjoy Korea as much as we can, which means we aren't really sleeping that much! So be it :-)

Much more to come soon, but we don't want to live at this PC Bang (net cafe) any longer...

Peace and much love,

Anderson Teacher & Liz Teacher :-)

Sunday, November 04, 2007

We have tickets to Korea on Tuesday, at 1pm. Going via Singpore, then to Seoul, then a domestic flight to Pusan. We'll get to Pusan around noon on Wednesday, just in time to go meet our students. We're so excited we just can't hide it... :-)

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Our patience is currently being tested, much more so than even our "sub-continental hardened" selves could've expected. Every flight out of Kathmandu has been full, if not overbooked, since our last post, and thus we're still stuck here since we've been unable to get confirmed seats.
We're optimistic about tomorrow, since Saturday is a one-day "weekend" here in Nepal, so theoretically at least things should be less hectic on Sunday. We will most likely still be going via Bangkok, but there are also two flights to Delhi tomorrow afternoon, and if we can get on one of them then so be it.
So we're just sitting around, anxiously attempting not to be anxious. Jealous, aren't you?
Again, hopefully our next post will be from Korea...