Wednesday, October 8, 2008

[I got soul, but I'm not a soldier]

My second weekend in Korea! It's a long weekend; Friday was Foundation Day and therefore a national holiday. Friday was depressing. I didn't know anyone and without work to keep me busy, I had nothing to do but sit at home and contemplate how lonely I was. Luckily I pulled myself together and the rest of the weekend was fun.

On Saturday I made myself get up and clean my apartment. It's a tiny little thing - about the size of my living room in Rocky Mount - but it's not like I have much stuff with me. I finished unpacking, cleaned my kitchen and figured out the trash situation. In Korea, you have to use official government issued trash bags. There are different bags for food trash and other trash, plus recycling is mandatory (whee!). I had a huge pile of trash that had accumulated over the week that I needed to throw out, but I wasn't sure what bag to put it in. Saturday evening I met up with Ji-Won, my co-teacher, to go over lesson plans. Last week all I officially did was observe English camp, but this week I'm responsible for preparing material. We went to a truly terrible cafe and spent a few hours going over the textbooks and our ideas for class next week. Then we went out for ice cream. Koreans keep insisting that we eat western food. I know they're being kind and doing it to make me feel at home, but western food in Korean is often very bad and I would much rather eat good Korean food than mediocre overpriced western food. The ice cream, however, was excellent.

On Sunday, I went to an expat Stitch n' Bitch in Seoul. I found the group on Ravelry, the facebook of knitting. When I found out I was moving to Korea, I typed Korea in Ravelry's search function and it spit out a group called Knitters and Crocheters in Korea, and in addition to finding out where I can buy precious precious yarn in Korea, it mentioned that there was a SnB every first and third Sunday of the month. I had a fantastic time! I was worried about getting into Seoul, but it was super easy. Ansan is a suburb south of Seoul, but it's part of the Seoul National Capital Area and I live just down the street from one of the twelve subway lines in the city. It took an hour to make it to Seoul, but it was a straight shot. There were about fifteen knitters, including Cheryl, who lives in Ansan. Cheryl and I exchanged info and are trying to make plans to meet up sometime this week. After the SnB, Siobhain (another knitter my age) and I went to Itaewon for food. Itaewon is the foreigner district in Seoul and it has a huge American presence, both from tourists and from the nearby Yongsan Garrison, the primary American military base in Korea. After a week in Korea, it was a treat to see other people who looked like me and to understand people's conversations as I walked past. We ate at a truly excellent Indian place and scoped out a supermarket specializing in foreign food. A block of mild (!) cheddar cheese cost $16 which is a depressing depressing fact. After dinner we went out for ice cream, exchanged contact info and I headed home. It was a great day and a fun weekend.

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