All over Korea, college kids are celebrating because their two-week final exams period finished on Friday. Vicky and I went to InHa Friday night to meet with my students so we could have some fun. It was packed and crazy there as everyone was taking advantage of their first night of freedom.
We went to a place called Woodstock, an appropriately rock 'n roll themed bar that was surprisingly quiet considering its subjects. I say quiet relative to most other bars there. It was still hard to speak to my students a bit because of the English and the noise.
We did a fair amount of drinking, especially considering I had to get up at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday. Let's just say I got in bed around 2 a.m.
Saturday was sort of a crappy day to start out because I agreed to judge a speech contest for elementary through high school students. Like all things so far inn Korea, we were misinformed about most of it. Eli also judged it with me, and we were both told different things that we had to corroborate with each other and our bosses multiple times.
We were told we would be with a group of other judges and I was told it would take 3 hours on Saturday. Eli was told it would take 2 hours. We were also supposed to get a ride to Bupyeong from our boss, Mr. No.
Well, the start was a bad omen, because Mr. No failed to show up due to a party the night before. good work, boss! So we were given cab fair and got in a taxi with a driver who had no idea where he was going. Fortunately, we only arrived 15 minutes late.
When we got there, the place was dead, which confirmed our ideas. We were the only two judges. And even though the deadline for entries was Friday, they accepted a ton on Saturday morning. We were told that we had more than 100 speeches to which we would listen.
Knowing that it would literally take us 9 hours to do that, I texted Stacy and whined like a little baby. She called them and told them we could only work a few hours. Also, the girl who worked at this community center who was listening with us, didn't want to be there either. So we all decided to listen to just enough of the speeches that we would get an idea of their speaking performance. It was really all we needed to pick the finalist for next Saturday.
We got another blow because after 50 of the speeches, the girl told us that we could go and her boss would do the last 50. But with our coats on, and standing at the door to leave, the boss came in and asked us to stay for another hour. Turns out he had no intention of listening to any of the speeches.
Well, it took us closer to four and a half hours to finish all the speeches. Afterward, two of social welfare center girls took us to a galby restaurant for some lunch. It was pretty good, and fun to meet new people. They spoke almost no English. But between the little they knew, and the little Korean I know, we had a pretty relaxing conversation. Thanks to Vicky and Gemma for saving me there.
Vicky and the other teachers had yet another pointless and unnecessary training day on Saturday. She finished right about the time I was getting home, so she came over and we were lazy for the whole afternoon.
We basically watched Korean comedy TV shows for a few hours. What's funny is that I'm no longer totally confused by watching them. I actually find them enjoyable as I understand the language and culture more and more.
At night, Vicky and I went to InHa to get some samgyeopsal for dinner. It just pork strips we grill at the table. Same as any other self-grilled meat with just a little different seasoning. It was pretty good and pretty cheap, like all foods in InHa.
After that, I convinced her to go to the arcade because I wanted to goof around. We decided not to drink Saturday night, and wanted something fun to do.
The arcade not only has the typical games, but also a bunch of personal karaoke booths. It's perfect for two people. Each song costs W300 to do. That's about 25 cents each song. So we each did 4 or 5 before heading out. It was a lot of fun and pretty cool to see that arcades are so popular here. They're just dead in America. It brings back memories of an elementary school birthday party at Aladdin's Castle at the Cranberry Mall, where my friends and I beat the X-Men game.
Today was even lazier than Saturday, really. Vicky and I went to Shinsegae so she could buy a dress and we could look for shirts for our Christmas trip. She got the dress, but we didn't find shirts. We have REALLY different taste in clothing.
This week is only 4 days for us. We get Christmas off. On that day, Vicky and I are taking a day trip to Petite France. It's a little faux French village (see how I used a French word) in South Korea that is a little bit north of Incheon. We're taking a bus trip there that only cost about $29 each. It should be fun. So check back after that for new pics and hopefully a fun new story.
Until then, everyone back home have a Merry Christmas! I wish I could see all of you. I heard that this time of you is hardest for those of us here in Korea, and it is true. I wish you all well! Have fun and stay safe!