AboutI'm Emily and I'm living in Daegu, So Korea where I attempt to teach Englishee to 400 elementary school students. Eight months in and I have yet to see a single lime for sale.
Lately, when I’ve had a little too much to drink the night before I no longer dream of pancakes and greasy bacon. Instead I wake up fiending for raymen- how asian. I figured I should post the “recipe” before I forget how awesome it is
Emily’s Hangover Ramyen:
1 package Shin Ramyen (reallly spicy)
some vegetable- bok choy, carrots, peppers, WHATEVER
1 egg protein- tofu, tuna, cooked chicken, mandu
1 slice of disgusting, processed orange cheese
Bring one pot of water to a boil. Add noodles and seasoning packet. Cook until noodles are mostly cooked. Add egg and stir with chopsticks. Cook one minute. Add protein. Cook one minute. Turn off heat and add bok choy and cheese. Pour into bowl. Let cool. Slurp your hangover away!
With just over a month left to go in Korea, I’ve started saying my goodbye’s, mainly to the students, but to some teachers i’ve become close with also. I was really anxious about saying goodbye to students because I do feel like I’m deserting them a bit, leaving them with a little bit of English and a slight impression of American culture. My co-teachers and I decided it would be best to wait until our final class to tell the students. So we help the class as normal and in the last 10 minutes I told them,
“guys, I can’t be your teacher any more” - confused faces
“I have to go back to America” - more confusion, and some “teacha, why?? Teacha come back Korea?”
“No, bye bye Korea”
Then, they let out a joint disappointed sigh to various degrees. Some classes didn’t seem to care, while in others, students cried and clung to me for dear life. It was really difficult, but i managed to suppress the lump in my throat until they left. The best part of it all was that Monica, my favorite co-teacher and good friend, had her 4th and 5th graders write me birthday/goodbye cards. So now I have this huge pile of cards that all say adorable things and often include small gifts and oragami art. What a lovely bunch.
On Wednesday we had a teacher’s trip to a beautiful park/mountain base where they film a lot of Korean dramas. I kept expecting someone to make a speech or thank me for my hard work or give me a gift, SOMETHING!? but no one said a word.
They got me again on Friday when they said I could choose our lunch spot. So I told them shabu shabu in chilgok, and we wound up near Palgong mountain eating oysters or something like them. Again, no one said thank you or we’ll miss you. rather disappointing.
I still have to go to work the next three weeks for camps, so maybe something will happen then, but I think it would be best to keep my expectations low.
The last time I was out of the US for my birthday was on a People to People trip to Australia. That day, we were touring an awesome limestome cave that had such amazing acoustics, they often held wedding ceremonies deep in the heart of the cave. It was there that the group sand Happy Birthday to me. Needless to say, it was a tough birthday to one-up. BUT my 24th birthday in Korea was actually pretty great also. Jamie planned tons of surprises inc, inluding dinner with friends at my favorite restaurant in Chilgok, fireworks, a surprise visit from Jax and Zach, which resulted in me wearing a onesie at the bar, and finally a trip to Woobang Tower Land, a Daegu theme park we haven’t had time to visit yet. So yeah it was pretty great. Really the only thing that would have made it better was having loved ones from home there. But I guess I will see them soon enough!
I’ve discovered a new way to bond with my students and co-workers, and its only costs 15,000 won! Its called nail art and its reaalllllyy popular in south korea and I think, is becoming more popular at home. The manicurist usually has a gallery of completed projects and you can choose what you’d like, she can give her artistic input in broken english and tweak the colors, and yogi-o! wearable art. Here is the nail art that earned rave reviews and some new friends.
http://fuckyeahnailart.tumblr.com for more nail art!
Remember that delightful childhood snack, ants on a log?? celery, peanut butter, and raisins? well i tried making it with 26 korean kindergarten students last week and it earned mixed reviews. i observed many kids munching happily while others built their ants on a log carefully and then threw them away or gave them to me as presents. I learned celery tastes like korean medicine, peanut butter is too oily and looks like dung, and bilingual koreans have never heard the word raisin. fun fun fun. here’s some adorable pics
Today Jamie and I saw Korea’s longest running show, Nanta. The show has traveled to over 40 cities worldwide and even spent some time on Broadway. The performance was a lot of fun. The actors were talented and entertaining and the story creative. Like many modern art forms in Korea, there was an element of traditionalism hiding beneath a very contemporary mood. We learn that a small kitchen crew has only 2 hours to prepare a Wedding Banquet for a very hard to please boss. Though the story supposedly takes place many years ago, much of the choreography is heavily influenced by popular music in Korea, otherwise known as K-pop, and the set and props are clearly of our time. Yet the cast continually prays to a shrine that stays lit throughout the show and one character in particular believes he possesses mystical powers.
So yes we enjoyed the show, but after seeing three theatrical performances in Korea, I have to say the formula is getting a bit predictable.
1. Prepping the crowd
The lights dim, and narration is projected in English and Korean in neon letters on a cloth backdrop. Yes, we are at the right show. Wow, I did not know this is the most successful show in Korea. Now my expectations are unnaturally high. You want me to clap? Louder? You haven’t done anything yet, why am I clapping? Now clap and cheer? I think I’ll hold off.
2. Meeting the cast
We are introduced to our adorable cast one by one as they join in a heavily choreographed dance. We know we’ve met everyone when they convene for one last pose and wide mouthed smile. At this point I usually experience momentary confusion: am I at a K-Pop concert or the Suseong Art & Culture Center? Perhaps we have identified the village idiot of the cast based on appearances (he’s the only one who does not conform to the shining standard of Korean beauty), or maybe he’s already done something hilariously dopey like get his head stuck in a bucket.
3. The Show goes on
There is narration in English and Korean projected on a backdrop to pump up the crowd. Usually this consists of cheeky commands to clap or shout or do a little dance. The show opens with a BANG! A heavily choreographed dance where we meet our adorable cast who look like they’ve just stepped off the set of a Girl’s Generation video. They jump around a bit until they are satisfied we know they are talented. Then the show really begins. In my experience there is some sort of storyline going on. For example, today the cast was supposed to prepare a wedding banquet in just two hours, a very daunting task. There were times throughout the show however, when I just forgot what was going on amongst all the silliness.
So yeah, enjoyable, but it’s no Broadway.