Sunday, April 11, 2010

Pay Day!

We got paid on Friday, April 9th!! This is quite exciting for our crew and a huge relief that we finally made it to pay day... To celebrate being a millionaire (I make 2.4 Million Won), Travis and I decide to go to the Doosan Bears Vs. LG Twins baseball game at Jamsil. I then went on a hiking trip this weekend and had a blast!

First off, my boss Jason let me out of school 30 minutes early so that Travis and I could catch the subway in time to make game time. We didnt... There was a huge line for tickets and we finally got into the game mid way through the 1st inning. I bought tickets on the LG side (even though I said I wanted Doosan!) and we sat down and ate our KFC dinner. For 10,000 Won, we got 2 sandwhiches, 2 pieces of chicken, 2 cokes, and a towel (blue sky with heart clouds on it). It was delicious! We immediately noticed that the Doosan side was much more energetic and into the game than LG fans were. We decided right then to be Doosan Bears fans! We walked out to the main area and bought ourselves a Bears hat and white thundersticks. After blowing up the thundersticks, we wandered over to the Doosan side (in Korean baseball, there are sections where each teams fans sit, unlike America where everyone is mixed together). Korean baseball is one of the greatest experiences I could imagine having here. There is so much energy and excitement that we barely even watched the game. Instead, we joined the singing, dancing, and drinking that we hardly paid attention to the play. What we did watch though, was awful! I think there were 15 walks and 6 errors! The game did end in a 7-7 tie after they played 12 innings. I realized in the morning that I had broken my camera... time for a new purchase much sooner than I was expecting!

I think I crawled into bed around 1:30am and that was rough as I had to be up by 6am at the latest to meet up with Tom and Mary Anne to go hiking. We went hiking at Gayasan National Park in Goryeong and saw the Haeinsa Temple. The bus ride took about 4 hours and most of us slept while our guide played The Good, Bad, and Weird on the tv. This was a Korean movie with subtitles. I decided I was too tired to read, so I slept a majority of the trip. We got to Mt. Gayasan and began our trek up Sanghwangbong which is the highest peak. Midway up, while taking a small break, I finally got to speak with a few other people on the trip. There was Simon (Australia) who loves rugby and politics as I soon found out. I also met Simon (England) who enjoyed talking about US-England in the upcoming World Cup. I then met Suzie (just visiting from Austria), Mary (Orange Co, CA), and Sonali (NY) as we resumed our hike. We enjoyed breathe-taking views, great conversations, and many laughs! Once we got to the peak, we rested for about 30 minutes, took pictures (even a group photo), and built up the energy to head back down the mountain.

Once back down the mountain, we headed out to take a look at Haeinsa Temple. It has a ton of history (Ill try to post more about it later) and I really enjoyed this site. I walked with Mary and Suzie to the temple and we had a blast. Suzie kept wanting to hold a Korean baby because she thought that they were cute. Mary decided it was my job to ask the Korean moms for their babies. I thought it was the worst idea ever but we shared a lot of laughs as we egged each other on. Mary is better at Korean than I am, so she began teaching me a few phrases to use (Mostly to get the babies). Later that night, I got to practice those phrases at the bonfire with our tour guide. Anyways, the temple was amazing and felt so peaceful even though there were a ton of people there. Many worshipers were walking through a labyrinth with a tablet on their heads. There was a Buddhist song playing and everyone was chanting with it. It was quite the experience. I even bought my parents a gift while I was there.

After looking at the temple, we headed to our accommodations for the night. We stayed in thisamazing small town where only 100 people live. It was the true essence of a community! We stayed in a real Korean house with the family sleeping in the next room. I shared a room with Simon (Australia) and Steve (Alabama) and all 3 of us slept on the heated floor. We had a BBQ that night and shared a few drinks. Our guides created a bonfire and we all shared stories and laughed the night away. Somehow Mary, Suzie, Sonali and I got separated from the pack and really enjoyed ourselves. We were talking to Suzie quite a bit about Austria and her experiences in the week shes been in Korea. Pretty soon, the tour guide (Byung Min) game over and we asked him to teach us some Korean campfire/drinking games. We had a blast just talking with each other from so many backgrounds and lifestyles and sharing what we have noticed in Korea. Mary and I tried out our Korean with Byung Min, and he loved the attention. Again, Mary's annunciation is much better than mine (I only learned these phrases earlier in the day, or the previous day). They both laughed at my attempts and helped me correct my speech. I love speaking Korean and learning how to communicate. I think we crawled into bed around 12:30am.

We were up at 7:30am to make breakfast at 8. After breakfast, we decided to try our luck at the stilts in the playground. We werent very good but it was a blast trying! We then had a long jump competition as we launched ourselves off the swings... needless to say I won! After the jump offs, we headed out to the Daegaya Kingdom Festival. This place was a blast and I felt like a little kid again. We dressed up in ancient Daegaya attire and took tons of pictures. I even got to wear armour and carry a sword. I felt like a movie star as well, because there were a ton of Koreans asking to take their picture with me. We put on several dramatic shows as I let some children slay me with swords as their parents took pictures. We even watched a re-enactment of a battle where we saw a ninja, and heard many odd screams and grunts. Odd show, but entertaining none-the-less! We decided to head over to the fire station exhibit and get some pictures doing CPR. As soon as I began trying, the lone female fire fighter made a comment that I was "her style". I didnt catch it but Mary, Suzie, and Sonali began laughing and told me what she said. I started laughing as she asked if she could take a picture with me. She said she was the hottest firefighter in the world (she was cute). Her English wasnt very strong so it made it all the more humorous that she knew these phrases!

After the festival, we went back to our homestay and picked strawberries. I have a large container of fresh strawberries and probably ate twice as many than I put in my jar. I do love strawberries! We then headed back to Seoul and arrived safely around 6pm. Its nice to be home but I sure had a great weekend and met some fantastic people!