Trip Across Korea Part 4


After dropping Kristen off at the bus terminal I headed north to Andong and decided to visit a traditional village (하회마을). I arrived about two hours  before the place was closing and so I strolled along  aimlessly looking at all the different houses.  I decided to buy some soju for the friend who lent me his car. Andong is known for its soju, so it was a nice gift.  That night I stayed in a jjimjilbang and decided to get up early to visit another traditional village in Andong, however it was closed when I got there. Realizing that I had nothing to do for three hours I decided I would just drive straight to Gangneung.

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Gangneung, Visiting My Second Hometown




Gyeongpo Beach

October happens to be a month that has a few extra holidays in it. Which one of those days turned out to be my new school’s birthday, so  I had the day off. I was thankful for this as it enabled me to go to Gangneung to see my old students. Logistically, my two schools are very far apart and I debated for a week or two, as to whether I should rent a car or not. I decided that I would leave it up to fate and boarded the bus to Gangneung that Wednesday night. When I arrived in Gangneung it was 8:30 P.M., and I was in luck all of the little rental car shops were open! I must have been blind during the year I lived there as I never noticed there were about 10 rental car shops in front of the bus terminal. I decided to go into the shop that looked like it had the door open. (I later learned it was just a piece of plastic off to the side of the door.

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Do you wanna build a snowman?! Damn you Frozen.

For those of you who haven’t seen Disney’s new animated movie, Frozen, you are lucky. Personally while the story was cute there was way too much singing for me. Unfortunately, if you are an English teacher in Korea this movie and its songs are pretty popular. My co-teacher wanted to do a lesson on the song, “Let it go,” lucky for us most of the students didn’t show up to school because of snow on Friday, and the teacher’s also showed up late.

For those who don’t know…it’s been snowing. And snowing….and snowing…for days…for four days. It started last Thursday night and it has not stopped. These are some lovely pictures of the snow this morning, it’s now Monday. And it is still snowing. So lucky for me the stupid Frozen song got stuck in my head…curses.


This is when the shoveled path ended and my trek to school began, it isn’t too far.  However when the snow begins to fall we all turn to children inside. SNOW!!!! Is it snowing?! OMG SNOW!!!!! Everyone stare out the window…oooooooooo.  We get excited like little kids at the fluffy glistening winter wonderland in front of us. Sometimes we have ideas to build a snowman, go sledding, make snow angels or have a snowball fight.


Sometimes….we have a screw loose. I decided that it would be great fun to not follow the snow footprints already made but trek across the snow covered soccer field. Brilliant! Brilliant my ass it took me over ten minutes huffing and puffing. I came out feeling like I had an asthma attack and thought I had just run a mile. Snow is deceiving. Oh it isn’t so deep…when it’s up to the middle of your thigh its not such a bright idea to trek through snow.



What the entrance to the school currently looks like. I went to school and of course like I thought nobody was there…except the gym teacher. He told me to go home as the students weren’t coming to school today. Not only are the students not coming, but the buses aren’t running. Hooray! A snow day!!! Why did I trek across this snow?!



I just received a kakao message from my co-teacher. Come to school late. All the teachers from Gangneung got on a bus at 8:25 and should be arriving sometime after 9. There goes my bloody snowday. I haven’t seen a real plow since I’ve been here. I’ve only seen farmer plows. The students aren’t coming to school…why the hell are we?? Sometimes things don’t make sense.


A little bonus for all those out there. I’m one of the lucky few whose ondal doesn’t function in their apartment and can’t be fixed( I’m supposing this is a fuck up from combining two apartments into one.)  So I have this lovely little heat fan to keep me warm. Isn’t it lovely? Don’t you feel all toasty and cozy looking at it?



As of yesterday there was 54 cm of snow where my smallest school is, however, I don’t know the local total here. All I can guess is that it is close to two feet most likely. It’s a lot of snow. So  off to school I go …again! I’ll enjoy looking at the snow all day…perhaps it will even surprise me by continuing to snow until tomorrow…perhaps.

Off to Gangneung

Today I met up with a few other English teachers who are placed in Gangneung.  I am about 25 minutes away by bus. So this morning I set out early to leave and I asked to make sure I got on the right bus even though I knew it was the right bus. I like to double check these things. A middle-aged man befriended me and talked to me a bit on the bus and then before I knew it, I was at my stop, luckily I saw Home plus out of the corner of my eye. I arrived around 9:30 a.m. and I wasn’t supposed to meet up with anyone until 11:45 , so I grabbed a coffee and enjoyed the wifi. I decided to take an aimless walk and found a historical place in the center of the city and then I went to Daiso (A cheap store similar to the dollar tree kind of), and then off to Home plus I went.

After eating lunch with everyone I remembered the directions from the cafe we went to early that I wanted to go to a bookstore. The cafe shop owner told me to go straight. So that’s what I did by myself and I walked and thought that maybe I had walked too far. So I asked an older gentleman where the nearest bookstore was and he pointed behind me. He turned his bicycle around and walked back with me and then I saw the sign with flashing lights in english “bookstore”. {Insert dumbass moment here.} I laughed and said thank you. I was looking for a vocabulary book but I couldn’t find one. The lady in the store at first avoided me and muttered something. I don’t think she wanted to help, so after looking around a little confused I asked her where the TOPIK books were. She led me to the right section and I was able to pick up a grammar book and a test book. I can now start studying and figure out when I will be ready to take the test. I am thinking maybe July or October.

After my purchase I headed back to homeplus and found the others. I left and realized I had just missed my bus, that comes every hour and a half in the evening. So I waited for a bit at a coffee shop and came out again when it was time to get on. I feel exhausted today. However, I managed to muster through it all. Carrying shit with me all day was kind of annoying. It is times like this I wish I had a car and at the same time I realize maybe I will lose weight just from walking. Hah~!

I suppose I should give an update about my life too in the process of today’s adventure. So, my apartment is cute. I live above the gym teacher and his family on the second floor apartment. My gas range stove isn’t hooked up yet, need to ask about that.  I have a washer in my apartment, however, it isn’t hooked up and I don’t see the hookup hardware. My shower I have figured out how to turn on the boiler and get in, however, I think I can’t run the water for the whole shower. So it has to be a rinse, soap up, rinse, and get the fuck out shower. I have had two cold showers in less than 6-7 minutes. Starts out nice and warm and suddenly its cold. A little much for the winter. I have a heated floor, but I barely turn it on. I don’t know how long it takes to warm up but it is too long for me. I heard it is expensive as well. So, I have been using the heat fan that my neighbor gave me. I have had a debate with myself for the past 3 days on whether to get  a heavy comforter or not. They are expensive and I am cheap. So the combination is not in my favor. So I have resorted to the tactic of layering, fuzzy socks, two pairs of pajama pants and two sweatshirts. I sleep in that too. Call me crazy but my mother used to keep the heat in our house very low it was always  cold. Her solution but on some layers. So, since winter will be ending soon, I will just suck it up and layer.

On another note, I am also the type of person who does not like to bother others. With that being said I have been needing to do laundry. But my washer isn’t hooked up. So today I just decided  that fuck it, I would wash my clothes by hand in cold water.  And the solution seems to have worked rather well. Half of the clothing is drying and I still need to do the other half once the other clothes have dried. I will get around to the washer later it really isn’t really a priority on my list.

I met my co-teacher and she seems very nice, she is two years older than me and it is her first year teaching too. When we met for the first time she told me her English wasn’t very good, so I told her in Korean that I can speak a little Korean. Well that made her sigh with relief and then we went to meet the principal. Who she told that I can speak Korean. I did mention that I only understand probably half of what she was saying. Needless to say the whole meeting was in Korean and I was a bit lost. I will have to ask about details later as my co-teacher left on Thursday to go to Incheon and will be back at some point before school starts. I report to work on Monday at 8:30 a.m. Not sure what I will be doing, but it should be interesting to say the least. So in my co-teacher’s absence the special education teacher took me out to dinner on Thursday night and I ended up eating Cow-head soup. (Basically all the meat from the cow’s head.) The soup was good and I decided not to question the types of meat I saw in the soup. Sometimes it is better not to know. I did identify a piece of tongue though.  We went to my neighbor’s house and had a beer and ate fried chicken. The gym teacher’s wife told me to treat her like an older sister. Which was very nice of her. I went with the gym teacher’s family to E-mart on Friday to get some supplies that I needed. And fast-forward back to today and I went on my adventure.

I have realized a bicycle might be a worthy investment. I don’t mind walking but I am lazy. I want to go to the beach but I don’t know if I would make it there and back walking. I think it was a 10 minute ride by car so that would translate into maybe a little under a 2 hour walk.  Living in a rural area makes me think of how nice owning a car is. Yet, at the same time I am surprised that even small towns like this have public transportation.

2013-03-02 13.18.42 ( A lovely cow head at the market in Gangneung. Never have I seen so many shops selling Cow Head Soup (소머리국밥) I’m thinking it may be a regional thing.


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