"Kilometers are shorter than miles. Save gas, take your next trip in kilometers." ~ George Carlin
11.6.12 - 11.15.12
Wow... I just realized how long it has been since my last post. I can't even say I have a good reason this time. Well I guess I could considering nothing too exciting has been happening to me lately. Well nothing much to write home about anyways.
The week after climbing the mountain followed the same amount of normalcy I've come to expect. Wake up. Go to school. Teach all day. Come home. Be super tired. Hang out with people. Eat dinner. Waste time on the internet. Go to bed way too late. Rinse and repeat. And add the extra bonus of having absolutely no control over how much extra work you shall receive. Although granted I cannot hold this circumstance against anyone and I gladly took on the work with no fuss because my co-teacher's grandfather passed away so I ended up taking all of her classes for Wednesday and Thursday. That doesn't sound too bad but it added 8 extra classes to my two days... Again I can't complain. I'm sure she would have preferred being at school than her grandfather's funeral. I am terribly sorry for her loss. A cultural tidbit. When someone dies in Korea their family members will bring food for everyone they work with, I know it the other way, but she brought candies and these corn cakes for everyone when she came back and I know that is the culturally expected thing to do in Korea.
Then came Saturday and the official start of my birthday celebration. Since my birthday fell on a weekday I decided to do something the weekend before. I had planned on taking a weekend trip to Jeju-do (an island off the southern coast of Korea) but decided that it would be too cold for an island trip and to stay closer to home. So a weekend getaway turned into a day trip to Everland!
Everland is the Disneyland equivalent in Korea. Or at least that is what it seemed liked. It is a lot smaller and a whole lot cheaper but it boasts the same concept. There are five different "lands" - American Adventure, European Adventure, Zoo-Topia, Global Fair, and Magic Land. It was quite entertaining to see the Korean perspective on the rest of the world and to see what they deemed important to put into an amusement park. I took the most note of things in American Adventure (obviously). They have a Columbus Adventure ride in which you ride either the Nina or the Santa Maria ships (it's like a huge version of fair rides where the boat just swings from side to side and you get higher and higher each time). It was actually quite fun. They also had a "rodeo" ride but you were riding in cars that looked like the DeLorean meshed with the Jurassic Park Jeeps. Yes live with that description because that is the best way I could think to describe them. This ride also boasted a large banner that said "Best Rodeo: Greatest Champions West of California." Yup if you didn't catch that, reread, then think about it a moment. Yup, there it is. This is the "American Adventure" area.... so how exactly do we get west of California? I was unaware that Hawaii had such an amazing rodeo scene. Clearly I was mistaken.
They at least got the food right in this area, haha, it was pretty much diner style and hamburgers and fries as far as the eye can see. The creators and designers of Everland were really trying to get as many eras as possible into one theme park too. There were 50s style diners with 60s and 70s decor and 80s and 90s style neon banners and signs and a lot of the buildings looked liked they belonged in the early 1900s steel and "look ma, a train" type architecture. I loved it. It was everything meshed into one tiny space. You can never be homesick... just go to Everland.
We walked around a bit. I saw real life monkeys but for the life of us we could not find the stupid penguin and lion cages... I was thoroughly annoyed. We went in, I honestly can say, scariest horror maze I have ever been in. This maze takes the cake on horror mazes. Let me describe the amazingness that is this horror maze. You line up outside and this is where the fun starts. As you are waiting to be let inside TV screens flash creepy insane asylum pictures with bloody doctors and people slumped over beds and in bathtubs with blood and gore surrounding them and various other lovely images like that. Speakers are set up so you hear the screams of the people who are in the maze already and the exit is right by the lines so every five minutes or so random groups of people come running out of the maze, often times screaming and tripping over themselves. Great way to psych you out. Kudos to you ride planning people. Then the moment of truth arrives. You are put into lines of 6 people. Did I mention this ride makes you bond with complete strangers? Well it does. You are in this line of 6 people and, depending on the size of your group, you will most likely not know that many people in your group. There are three lines at a time. The employee then stands in front of these lines and gives instructions and if you are like me you don't understand a word she is saying. She then directs everyone to take all their lose bags and whatnot to a locker that the entire line shares and then you are ushered back into line where the lead person gets a flashlight. And not a real flashlight, this light is just a tiny red light. You then are instructed to hold onto the shoulders of the person in front of you and to not let go until you exit the maze. Instant bonding. Then all three lines are led into a small room that is pitch black save this creepy portrait of a man whose eyes keep moving back and forth. One line enters the maze at a time. When it is your line's time to go through the maze you walk through almost total darkness and see creepy after creepier rooms that look like old hospitals, psych wards, other things I can't even remember. And if your mind is not playing as many tricks as it possibly can on you: enter the scariest thing ever. People dressed as axe murders, psychopathic doctors, asylum patients, etc jump out of dark corners, follow you through metal barred hallways whipping the bars with chains as you pass, show up through apparently solid walls to scare the crap out of you as you wonder where the heck they came from, and, of course, the kicker. Take a moment, if you will, and think to a time you've gone to a haunted house in the states. You are not allowed to touch the employees and they are not to touch you. Well that rule does not apply in Everland. Case and point. These nightmarish ghouls who work in this maze will grab your feet or legs or arms or whatever is passing as you are going through this maze just to make you scream. It works. Keep in mind you are still supposed to be holding onto the person in front of you. Yeah.... scariest thing ever. I so want to go again. We ended up literally running out of the maze at the end because as you are exiting the last long hallway people grab at your feet and stick hands out behind curtains.
The whole of Everland had been transformed to a Christmas paradise the weekend we went so it was really beautiful and when the sun went down the whole place exploded in beautiful Christmas lights. It took a very long bus ride to get to Everland so we decided to cut out early to miss the hoards of people who would be taking the bus back once the light parades and such had ended. It was great.
My work week thus far has been slightly easier albeit not stressless. My co-teacher is super stressed again because she keeps getting project after project thrust on her and we are having another open class on Tuesday (oh man I can barely contain my excitement... WOoooo...). I am spending a lot more time at work than I like at the moment and it still seems like there is so much to do! I do have to say though I am getting very good at being able to make lesson plans on the fly and to write out my weekly lesson plans in no time flat. Yay practice.
It seems that since I have been here I have been go go go and see see see. I am tired. I am taking a much needed break from going and doing and seeing this weekend to just stay home and relax. Perhaps I shall go out and take a nice long walk around Lake Park, or, who am I kidding, I will stay in my nice warm apartment and watch countless mind numbing hours of television. Because it is cold. The app on my phone may say it is 40 degrees outside but the wind chill is ridiculous. I wear leggings under my jeans, long socks, boots, two or three layers of shirts, and a down jacket and I am still cold when that wind hits me. We had freezing rain a few days back, which according to Koreans, means fall is over and winter has started. We should be getting snow anytime now. I am excited! I have always wanted to live somewhere where winter actually happened. Eeee!!
It is also weird to me that we are reaching the end of the school year. Koreans actually make sense... there school year starts in March and ends in December. Huh, imagine that... ending the school year with the actual year... yeah that just makes way too much sense. But it also means that I don't get time around Christmas off. I have Christmas day off but I am back at school the next day. Classes end on the 28th and my winter camp will start on the 31st. After winter camp I have two weeks of vacation and then I have no idea what I will do while I wait for school to resume. I assume I will be doing a lot of desk warming and "planning" for the next year. I do know that one of my two weeks will be spent in Japan and the other I am going to Taiwan. I am starting to plan the Japan trip with KL. Tentatively we are going to take a cruise ship from Busan to Japan, go through Hiroshima, Osaka, and then hit Tokyo (where we will go to Tokyo Disney), and then possibly head north and go to one of their famous spa/resort things that I have no idea what they are called. Again these are all tentative plans but we will have nine days to play with so I am excited! And for my Taiwan trip I am hoping to go in February so I can be there for the lantern festival. The lantern festival I have had my heart set on seeing for years and made exponentially more so by the movie Tangled. And we've also decided that, because we can, we are going to take a weekend trip to China and walk on the wall. Probably during Buddha's birthday so we have a long weekend but a weekend nonetheless. Woot!
Well, hopefully all these plans actually pan out, but so far my luck has been pretty amazing with trips actually happening. This really was the best decision! I could not be happier at the moment.
Well, until the next time!