“Too often travel, instead of broadening the mind, merely lengthens the conversation.” – Elizabeth Drew
12.20.12 - 12.28.12
Merry Christmas! Or more importantly, 몌리 크리스마스! Granted it is now three days past Christmas but who cares. I will tell you to have a wonderful Christmas if I feel like it, which I do, so deal with it. I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas full of family and food. My Christmas was definitely not per the norm but it was still a good one. As I said before Christmas is a couples holiday here in Korea and so not exactly celebrated the same as back home but I made do with what I had.
Christmas eve I went out to dinner with KB and KL and we sat and ate and talked for quite a while. Unfortunately it was not a typical Christmas meal but it was still delicious (mmm I love Indian food). We then went and really experienced Korean culture at 노래방. And we experienced this culture for 3 hours because Koreans really love us. So what is 노래방 you ask? Karaoke! It is translated into 'song room' and Korean culture really loves 노래방 (no-ray-bong, if you want to pronounce it). We paid for one hour (which was slightly expensive, 30,000 won, but not so bad when you split it between three people). We began searching through songs and picking what we wanted to sing and generally having a good time while slowly watching our meager hour dwindle down. We were getting close to under ten minutes when suddenly our meter jumps back up to 30 minutes. Well, alright then, we'll take it. We continue to find songs and fill our time when yet again the ten minute mark jumps back up to 30. There is a culture in Korea known as 'Service' which just basically means you get stuff for free. If you are at a restaurant usually you get sides or something as service. If you are at a store and spend a certain amount of money (or for foreigners who use Korean) they employees will sometimes tack on some extra goodies in your bag. Buy a certain magazine and get samples of different advertised products. Service is everywhere in Korea. Love it. So we are sitting in this room that we only paid one hour for and our time just doesn't ever seem to end. We ended up getting two extra hours free for a grand total of 3 hours. Plus at one point in the night one of the workers brought us chips.
So yes, that was my Christmas Eve. AND I finally have had my very first white Christmas. It started to snow around 1030-11 on Christmas eve. We walked home at 330 in the morning with a fresh inch and a half of snow on the ground. It was lovely. When I finally dragged myself out of bed on Christmas day I was able to talk with people from back home so that was extra nice. I don't get to talk to them as much as I would like because of the time differences and (certain people who shall remain unnamed, you know who you are) do not have webcams yet. Good thing that instant messaging is good enough when you want to catch up with people.
I have finally come to a point in teaching that I recognize from back home! Vacation is soon so classes have stopped being about learning learning learning and more like fun fun fun. We watched a movie in class for the first time. I just kept thinking 'yup this is more like it.'
Oh life... I have caught another cold. I was wondering when it would happen because I can hear the coughing and sneezing wherever I go but I was hoping I could hold out and not get sick. Wishful thinking. It's not too bad, your typical cold, but it still sucks. I just hope I am better soon because winter vacation has started therefore I am off work for the next two weeks! Woot! Which also means I am travelling!!! Yay!!!
January 3rd through the 10th I will be in Taiwan! I didn't have a lot of notice for planning a trip or I would have chosen to go somewhere warmer like Vietnam or the Philippines but tickets were too high when I finally got around to looking for them. I am excited though, I have always wanted to go to Taiwan and this gives me a chance to explore. I am actually going to be doing something I have never done nor ever dreamed I would be doing, completely flying by the seat of my pants. I have a hostel booked for the first two nights but then I have no idea what I am doing. I don't know if I will stay in Taipei or head farther south. I am going to look into tours or just hopping a train and seeing where it takes me. I just know I will have to be back in Taipei for my flight home. I do believe it will be a grand adventure.
I am going to be spending the next few days glued to my computer as I research different things to do and see in Taiwan and hopefully have a list of potential things and places and also a little know-how before I head out, I am not that daring... I will have to know at least something first. I will try and blog at least a few paragraphs about each day while I'm gone. Depending on internet connections and all.
But until then I am off. Stay warm! Until the next time...