Sunday, March 30, 2014

Badger Blogging Blitz: Days 6 & 7

[This post recaps Days 6 & 7 of a weeklong blogging event, Badger Blogging Blitz 2014, during which myself and five other UW-Madison graduates are posting every day about living and teaching English in Korea. The original event was created by past Badgers in Korea in 2012. Here are this week's previous posts: Day 1. Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5]

Badger Blogging Blitz 2014 Days 6 & 7 in Korea

Day 6: Saturday

There was no movie watching last night after all. Adding pictures and finishing the post kept me up later than I would have thought. Today I wake up around 8:20, but feel this cold coming on and really should sleep more. I stay in bed and start watching Moonrise Kingdom after some blog reading and Duolingo, trying to fall back asleep. But I can't, which seems to always happen on the days I could actually sleep in. It's a rainy Saturday and I would really love to stay in bed and rest up, but I also want to see my friends. Weekends are the only time I can see my fellow Badgers since we all live so far apart (in the Gyeonggi-do province).  So around 10:45 I pause the movie halfway through and get up to shower and put my steel-cut oats on the stove.

While eating my oatmeal (with brown sugar and a scoop of peanut butter mixed in, and banana slices on top) I G+ (video chat) with the boy back home for about an hour before I really need to leave the house to bus into Seoul.

12:16 - Leave my house, walk to the bus station. Meant to leave at noon, whoops.

12:20 - Wait at bus station. The "good bus" that takes me across the river to Seoul Station in an hour and a half (with good traffic) only comes once every 35 minutes. Unfortunately the TV screen at the bus stop only shows the number of minutes until arrival for the other buses, not my bus. The "good bus" number only shows up on the screen when it's a few minutes away. I check my bus app, and the information for the good bus is currently unavailable.

12:35 - The "bad bus" comes by so I hop on, since I don't know how long I'd have to wait for my preferred bus. This bus takes the same amount of time to get into Seoul, but only to the south side of the city, below the river.

14:01 - Our bus finally gets to its destination in Seoul. I get off the bus and onto the subway.  Message the girls to say I'm running late (we were meeting at 2!). I have the metro ride now with one transfer. Abby's already at our meeting spot but Anne's running late too, still on the metro.

14:30 - I finally get to the stop. It's a big station, but I walk through to Exit 10 where I'm supposed to meet Abby and Anne.

14:35 - Get out of the exit but don't see anyone. Abby should be here though. Shoot, was it Exit 8? I take my phone out of airplane mode to double check our messages. I see that meanwhile Anne had asked which metro stop we were meeting at, as our previous messages could have been interpreted either way between two stations. I find out Abby was one stop away, and I had misunderstood our earlier messages. Anne was still on the train, so she stayed on one more stop to where Abby was. I go back down into the metro and ride a stop.

15:00 - To my horror, I arrive an hour after our intended meeting time. Ah! So sorry! As you can see, it takes a while to get somewhere in Seoul from my apartment. I also get really exhausted on the bus ride, and often a bit nauseous even though I wear Sea Bands and am sure to sit in the front. So that's why it usually only happens on Saturdays, sometimes just every other weekend.

The area is really neat. We're up in Jonggak and I've never been there before. We stop in an Artbox store (because I've never been). It's filled with everything cute: stationery, folders, pencils, passport covers, stickers, bookmarks, cards, journals, etc. Great place for gifts! I'll have to stock up on some cute stuff later this summer.

I get a small (cute) travel pouch which will be nice for keeping deodorant/toothbrush/retainer and such together in the backpack for a weekend away, or to keep smaller things together in a suitcase.

It's between lunch and dinner time, but turns out we're all up for eating now. We go to a Vietnamese place (with English menu!) which is great because Pho soup will be wonderful for my developing cold. The sizes are small and large, so I opt for the large. Check out my massive bowl below (top & bottom center):

I ate the whole thing and it was delicious! Really great to have a nice long meal with friends and conversation. This only happens once a week max, and sometimes I've gone 2+ weeks without going into Seoul. So I really value and appreciate the time together. We recall that some other Badger friends are meeting for dinner in Seoul tonight, but we've just eaten and they were going to meet in another area of the city, south of the river -- not sure if we can meet up or not.

We go for some dessert in the area at a gelato/waffle place. I opt for a brownie with one scoop of gelato.

One main street in the area is pedestrian only, and it's called the Avenue of Youth. It was really neat to be in a new part of Seoul (for me) -- so different from my town. Lots to do and see and eat. Lots of young people. After dessert we go to a nearby bar for drinks.  And before I know it it's 21:20 and we all need to get going so we can metro to catch our various metros and buses that stop running sometime after 22:00.  I wish we could stay - there's so much more to talk about!

21:48 - I get to my bus stop at Seoul Station. I always take the "good bus" home; it's the only inter-city bus I know from this location that goes to my town. The sign says it'll be here in 24 minutes, which isn't so bad. There have been many nights I've gotten to the stop and seen that it'll be here in 74 minutes. Yeah, groan. I'm usually exhausted by that point, too.

The bus comes a little after ten, and I'm home around 23:30, tired as ever. I kind of feel like a zombie walking back to my apartment in the light drizzle.

Day 7: Sunday

I'm up at 8:30 again after getting to bed after 12.  I have about an hour before the Badger game starts, so I start blogging about yesterday and make sure I'm set up to stream. Add some water to the rest of the oatmeal in my pot I made yesterday and reheat it on the stove.

I watch the Badger vs. Arizona NCAA game live from around 10 in the morning until sometime past noon. We win in overtime! So exciting!

I clean up in my apartment this afternoon. It's super nice outside, I've got my window open.  In the late afternoon I walk to the grocery store and get some more of that chicken I got for the first time on Friday. I have those Sesame leaves to use up in my fridge, and I'm feeling lazy. The lady who works at this booth in the grocery store is so nice to me. She gives me coffee while I wait for the regular chicken to be done, and then has me eat a sample of the spicy chicken. Lots of smiles, and she tries to use some English words interspersed in her Korean. I smile a lot because I don't know what she's saying at me in Korean hah, but she's very nice and I appreciate it. Lots of people outside. When I feel healthy next weekend (I'm assuming I will) I'll spend more time outside on Sunday. It was so nice out today.

I eat while reading right in front of my open window. Read for an hour. Finish cleaning, blog, call mother because I see that she's awake super early via an email.  It's 20:30 now, so I'll finish this post, shower, and then in bed to read/write and have some tea before bed.

Fridays are great when I get to the weekend before everyone back home, but I'm always a bit envious on Sunday afternoons when Wisconsinites are having their Saturday night with a full day yet ahead of them. Meanwhile I've got Monday staring me in the face, and I'm not sure what lesson I'm even teaching yet. Luckily I'll have first period to figure that out; hopefully my co-teacher is around to ask.

Here are the BBB's final questions.

Days 6 & 7 Questions:

1) Do you always try all the foods offered? Have you made an effort to try a variety of new foods or do you tend to stick to the things you've found and like?

Yes, I try all the foods at lunch every day (usually eat most of everything too), and at the Korean dinners I've been to I try whatever's on the table. I may eat more of one side dish than another, but I usually have at least a little bit of whatever's there. Korean food is good, even if it's tentacles from some sea creature!  Eating the food gets you huge bonus points with your co-workers, too. Regardless of its logic, they tend to have a more positive/favorable view of a native English teacher who eats Korean food.

2) What plans do you have when the yearlong contract is up? Will you renew? Why/why not?

No, I will not renew. While it would be much easier to finish the current school year (through February 2015) after all I've learned since last fall, one year will be enough for me. Korea is not a country I could live in long-term, though my time here so far has been irreplaceable. 

There's more of the world I want to see, and I do have family, friends, and a boy back home who would all like to see me - and I, them.  I have about two months of travel/visiting friends planned in my mind for when my contract ends, and then I'll return home late fall and happily be around for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's. Who knows what the next adventure will be.

BBB 2014 Bloggers

A huge thank you to my fellow Badger bloggers for doing this project with me throughout the past week! It's been so fun to read, and I think we've made a great resource for others. Here are everyone's final posts:

Abby @ Bodging For Apples II

Ashley @ ...meanwhile in Korea...

Maggie @ The Traveling Flamingo

Drew @ The Hungry Partier

Vicky @ Outside the Pyxis
• • •


  1. I didn't realize you were feeling as under the weather as you were on Saturday. I hope you're feeling better -- spring weather is tricky. I always take off the layers too soon, which is why I think I caught that cold a week or so ago. That's awesome that you got to watch the game! I was following updates on twitter but to actually watch it must have been AMAZING. I had a really great time with you and Anne on Saturday -- it's a life saver to be able to hang out with you guys. I'm excited to see where we all end up after this year. Thanks again, Rebe, for organizing the blogger blitz! Talk to you soon!

    1. Surprisingly I might have ended this cold before it could do any real damage -- felt better today, not worse, so in the end it wasn't much more than a runny nose with the feeling in my throat of a cold. ...Fingers crossed (but not for good luck!). Saturday was wonderful - the time always goes by too quickly, but it's because we're enjoying ourselves. Before we know it, it'll be next weekend and hopefully we'll all see each other again. Thank you for bogging in the BBB! Have loved your posts, as you know ^^

    2. It was the pho!!! And hahahaha fingers crossed. I'm glad it's not gotten worse. Happy Wednesday, halfway though the week!