Monday, December 20, 2010

Keeping Busy Before Christmas

Last weekend ended up being great. It didn't go exactly to plan, but that was probably for the best. I was humming and hawing about staying in Friday night since I had a lot lined up for the rest of the weekend, but I forced myself to be social. I met up with some other teachers to go to a "house party", here in Osan. Since houses in this country are hard to come by and english teachers are usually shacked up in the ghetto, the party resembled the kind we used to throw in our dorm rooms at uni.
The Korean wine was freely flowing. I wish I had a photo, speaking of university days, my wine was poured to me in a plastic freakin' measuring cup! I guess desperate times, call for desperate measures (pardon the pun!) It was a Christmas potluck party, not quite like the ones we throw at home, our hostess was in her PJ's with reindeer antlers on and the only seating area was sitting cross legged on the floor or cheek to cheek on the bed. Classy, n'est pas? Not that I'm complaining, it was fun. But, there are definitely some odd folks in the small circuit of teachers here, it made for a fun and colorful evening.
When I got home I had a post party skype date (which I heard was pretty amusing for Garry considering the shape I was in), so when my alarm rang Saturday morning I was feeling a little worse for wares. I had a Christmas lunch in Suwon with Gezina and her friends and a splitting headache from the Korean poison I was drinking last night, that was begging me to go back to bed. I think this may be my first hangover in Korea. Not bad considering I live in a country that would give England a run for their money on alcohol consumption and public drunkeness.
I made it to lunch and luckily the Korean BBQ re-energized me back to my normal self. I was included in a Secret Santa with a bunch of relative strangers and we had SUCH a lovely afternoon. It was a beautiful mix of people from Korea, S.A, Oz and North America. Lunch turned into coffee and then strolling and a little shopping. My original plan was to venture back to Seoul for a big night out but luckily one of the girls bailed and we decided to postpone till January.
I was so pleased that I was able to fully enjoy my Saturday, wear myself out, and have the guilty pleasure of heading home around dusk and crawling back into my PJ's and having an early night in. SUCH a better option in the state I was in, rather than traipsing around Seoul on another drinking binge unaware of where I would eventually lay my head to sleep (IF I lay my head to sleep) until the subway opens up again in the morning to take me back home.
Sunday was another great day. I took the bus for the first time into Seoul and though a little steeper in price (a whopping $3, as opposed to the usual $1 on the subway), it was worth its weight in gold for the comfort of sitting the whole way, no stops and a door to door trip time of about 45 minutes to Nambu Station, in somewhat central Seoul. Costco was the main purpose of heading into Seoul. It 's supposed to be a foreigners delight because there is a lot of western brands there, for a little taste of home. But......not sure it was quite worth it. I got peanut butter and cheese, my 2 objectives, but like most costco trips, I walked out with WAY more than I needed. And UNLIKE most Costco trips, I didn't have a car to walk to in the parking lot. And if you think Costco's at home is busy......this one was insane. As much as I love Korea and it's inhabitants, common courtesies of letting people get past you, or saying excusing me when they almost knock you over, are unheard of, (old grandmothers, called Ajumma's here, are the WORST culprits of this, they're ruthless). Add shopping carts, whole family shopping expeditions, 3 floors of stuff to buy, 10 minute cues for the escalator to get from one floor to the next and you have the perfect recipe for a shopping trip from hell. I think that may have been my first and last trip to Costco in Korea.
Our next destination in Seoul was a much more pleasant one. I went to Itaewon, another westernized part of Seoul, for the afternoon with Gezina. Itaewon is a city district, catering to foreigners, packed with bars and restaurant and shops advertising "big sizes". We shopped the dozens of market stalls and just wandered around until we pitstopped at an Irish Pub for a lunch of bangers and mash. I love exploring new parts of Seoul. It seems every weekend offers something new to do. As I've said before, this experience in Korea is amazing. Not only do I work and get a paycheck, and have a wonderful little place to call home, but I also still feel like I am travelling. Everyday and every place opens up new adventures to have and new people to meet. Happiness.
This week I have something going on pretty much every night leading up to Christmas. It's a defence tactic to keep me from getting homesick at the holidays, but also it seems like fun things to do keep popping up around all me!
Only a few more days till Christmas!!

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