Good-bye Korea, Hello Japan!

It’s been about 5 and a half years since I’ve made my way here and it looks like it’s the end of an era for me. I’ll still be back, obviously. For concerts, for Kpop, for my boys. As for this blog? It’ll still be updated, no worries. At least making sure that the music show stuff is nice and updated because that’s really the only thing that people use this site for XD

But, as of March 1st, I am no longer a resident of South Korea. Instead I will be living in Japan. Please feel free to have a look at my Japanese blog, http://japancodex.wordpress.com where I’ll be talking about how to living Japan and do K-pop and J-pop things there.

Ah, I’ll miss this country but…well, one has to move on with life 😀

Solan Elementary School (A Review)

Ah, it’s time for me to move schools and I thought that it’s about time that I wrote a review for my school now that I’m not going to be here any more. Also for any of my potential replacements, I don’t want there to be just one negative article about my school. Almost every teacher I’ve talked to since coming here has seen it. I know the teacher that wrote that article and I won’t say that what he experienced was invalid or that he was just being over dramatic. He felt that he was treated unfair and that’s his thoughts, such as these are mine.

I came here around 2011 after a very long first year at a hagwon in Suwon. When I first interviewed, I didn’t talk to any of the other foreign teachers as one was absent and the other was teaching, but instead just listened to the requirements needed of me from the Korean teachers. I’m horrible at interviews, but the teachers were very kind to me and I was very happy when I got the job. Granted, I wasn’t being very picky at the time. I knew I didn’t want another hagwon and I definitely didn’t want to live far away from Seoul again. Hence, I moved to Bucheon.

Obviously when you start a job, you get taught the ropes. The former teacher, the one that wrote the bad article about this school, taught me as much as he could about the in and outs of the school. And about the, quite frankly, silly little fight he was having with the Korean teachers. I could see that there was a level of dislike between them and I decided not to get involved. I didn’t want drama. I just wanted to finish my year here and then move to Japan.

Four years later, and I’m still here.

There is obviously things that annoy me, but they are inherent to all jobs and not a thing that’s particularly negative about this school. I don’t really like the principal, he’s kind of sexist, but he’s never really done anything particular to me except saying I should find a Korean boyfriend and learn more Korean. But he’s an old man and you kind of expect that kind of thing from people like him. Oh, and you only see him like…once a semester.

As I don’t want to mention names, I’ll just call the manager of our office, H. Sounds kind of cool when you put it that way, doesn’t it? Like a Bond film hahaha

Anyway.

H has always been an amazing manager. I think that our former teacher (from now I’ll just call him J) just didn’t know how to read her moods well? She will tell you directly if she doesn’t like something and as long as you comply she won’t really harp on you about it. She tries to tell us about the going ons in school but she sometimes doesn’t get a message until the day and you’re left floundering around much like she is. It is true that her English isn’t as good as maybe the other co-teachers, but it’s not like she’s that bad. She’ll have a problem remembering the word, but she’ll look it up. She’s also ridiculously easy-going. I admit I have a problem with coming in on time, but she’s never really harped on me about it. It’s this that makes me want to be a better person so I try to come in on time more (I’m terrible employee, I know)

The co-teacher in the English morning classes, who I’ll call ‘C’ (ㅋㅋㅋㅋ) is really amazing and allows you so much leniency in how you teach your classes but also controls the class at the same time. She doesn’t allow the students to really get out of hand and is just all around amazing as a person.

There is a part time Korean teacher now, instead of a secretary as our student base has grown since the time of the previous teacher, her name is ‘K’. She’s so sweet and adorable and will probably have to manage our office soon as H will have maternity leave soon.

But you don’t want to hear about all the good stuff, do you?

I will admit that it can feel like a very big workload, but sometimes you’re left with so much free time that you don’t know what to do with. Not to mention you have TWO computers at your disposal. I just watch anime and tv shows during my breaks (shhhh…nobody’s supposed to know that…). Prep for class is almost too easy. There’s a book. You do whatever’s in the book, and then you let them play games. Yes, you have to make up your own classes once a year, but it’s not that hard. They almost always try to hire a teacher that’s had at least a year or so of teaching experience so that they won’t feel too overwhelmed. I feel like J might have been overwhelmed by the initial workload. The first semester is always the hardest, but once you get a hang of it, you’ll do well.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions, that’s the main part. All Korean teachers here are extremely helpful and fun. Especially the PE teacher. He’s a blast. I love talking with him. You’re also not restricted as to what to put on your report cards either. This isn’t a Hagwon so you can sometimes be brutally honest with the parents. I try not to, but sometimes there’s just that one kid…

Anyway, you will work about 6hrs of teaching every other day, 4 on some days. And other days, just 2. Those 6hr days can be really tiring, but don’t let it intimidate you when considering this job.

I…don’t know what else to say. J had a petty fight with the teachers and ended up writing his article. I’ve been teaching here for 4 years and never really had any problems and neither has any of the other teachers who have come and gone. If you want to talk to me about this school personally, just leave a message here and if I have time, I’ll talk with you about it 😀 It’s a really amazing school and no one makes fun of your hobbies haha They think it’s cute and encourage it a lot. Also the students are AMAZING. Like, totally adorable. Always looking up to you, giving you hugs and they almost always listen when you’re scolding them.

Except for that one student…

But anyway, yeah. I don’t want to make a counter argument to J’s article and neither did I do this article at the urging of our school, but I do love this school and I’m really really sad that I’m leaving, but I’m too comfortable here and I like adventure, so off I go!!

 

PS. I should mention that I actually took a break from teaching for 6 months and they REHIRED ME right off the bat! They’ve been so freaking understanding like really. This school is so fun.

Update!

Hey guys, so I’ve been quite inactive on this blog, not because I haven’t been going to things or whatever, but because there’s very little outside of what’s already on this blog that I do so there’s no reason to have any more than just what’s here. But I should say that I’m actually…moving to Japan in a few months hahaha. But that might mean that when I come to Korea I’ll probably do more fanbased things than before and be able to write about them. As of now, whatever is posted here is pretty much the only things I do (go to the artrium, go to music shows. the end. I’m really boring) so there hasn’t been a need to write much more than I have been. I’m not closing this down, in fact I’ll probably add to it more than before cause I’ll be back to Korea more like a tourist in the upcoming years! Instead I might make a codex sister blog for doing kpop/jpop fandom things in Japan called Japan Codex…but that’s for another time.

Thanks for reading!

The $58 fruit fly: my experience with emergency medical assistance in Korea.

So I had probably the worst night of my life in Korea, and all because of a stupid fruit fly!!

Was fucking around, reading some late night mcspirk when a fly buzzes around my ear and i go to swat it away. It decides to take refuge IN MY EAR. Obviously I panic and start batting at my ear. It decided TO FLY IN DEEPER.

AND THEN IT GETS STUCK IN THERE. At first I’m like: okay WHAT DO. As batting at my ear wasn’t making it better, I panic and start shaking while I’m trying to type on my phone what do when things in your ear. and then it starts buzzing and then it starts ACHING. And then the hyperventilating starts.

That’s when I was like I CAN’T DO THIS I’M HAVING A PANIC ATTACK AND I CAN’T DO THIS. so I look up emergency numbers. The one I remembered offhand wasn’t picking up (the 02-1339) for some reason so I just was like ‘you know what, they must have someone who speaks English on 119’

I called 119 and they didn’t have anyone that spoke English. I start panicking some more. They said ‘AMBULANCE?’ I’m like ‘NO ENGLISH SPEAKING MEDICAL PHONE HELP?’ because there is no way I can afford an ambulance, even in Korea right now with just going to Japan and a huge country move and the possibility of Rome and Greece.

All I really wanted was some advice and whether or not I should go to the hospital or if I’m just being paranoid and there was things I could do at home instead so I don’t waste anyone’s time. But he insists for my address and I give it to him.

Five minutes later, the ambulance arrives with a wheelchair and I’m like ‘I JUST HAVE A BUG IN MY EAR.’ and they look at me with judging eyes. I was like ‘I’M SORRY I’M A FOREIGNER I TRIED TO TELL HIM…’ but they were like…whatever, come with us.

So they take me in the ambulance to the hospital right down the road. I’m still in the middle of a panic attack and everyone is staring at me because I’m a foreigner who looks like they’re having a panic attack. because I’m HAVING A PANIC ATTACK.

The nurse, bless her soul, is the only one who seems to not be judging, only really eager to get my information and smiles really kindly and I finally calm down to a simmer of anxiety.

The doctor comes over about 10min later with a scope and REALLY LONG SCARY TWEEZERS OF DEATH. and I’m wide-eyed and the trauma nurses are looking on with interest from across the way. He proceeds to try to DIG IT OUT OF MY EAR. I’m OBVIOUSLY unable to stay still because he’s DIGGING INTO MY EARDRUM WITH THE TWEEZERS OF DEATH. He’s impatient and can’t get at it because he just can’t see it. It’s small and digging its way further into my ear. And I’m here panicking because first of all, in a place I’m unfamiliar with, and two, there’s a FUCKING BUG STUCK IN MY EAR AND YOU’RE TWEEZERING INTO ME WITH THE TWEEZERS OF DEATH.

Obviously I am ridiculously close to fainting by now and the trauma nurses are trying really hard not to stare and giggle at my plight as they watch as I grimace in pain as he pokes and prods repeatedly into my ear.

Finally, after about 5 tries, he gives up and calls a different doctor. This doctor is the ear, nose, throat doctor, the one that people usually go to for shit like severe colds and stuff. The lead me toward this doctor, who is located on the other side of the hospital.

I come in and he’s like ‘sit here’ and turns on this machine that makes this horrible whirling noise.

I remember this noise. this noise is the noise from that time they sucked stuff out of my nose and traumatized me from Korean hospitals. I try not to cry from fear.

He puts a scope into my ear, tells me something in Korean and then I feel a burning in my ear. I ask ‘why does it hurt’ in whining Korean but he’s already got the sucker going into my ear and I can feel the fly fighting for its life as it buzzes insistently in my ear.

And then it’s gone.

The pain, the horrible buzzing, it’s all gone.

I rejoice with the man who has become my saviour and he looks at me with amusement and tells me to go back to the emergency room. I almost skip all the way there and give a little cheer and am promptly embarrassed when the security guard hears me and gives me a shibrow.

The doctors and nurses watch as a waltz in again and they smile at my smile. they know I’ve been cured. they ask, curiously, what it was. I told them it was a small bug. a fruit fly as I had suspected. they seemed unimpressed but I was like ‘that dude could have done major damage who cares if it was small’

And then I had to face the biggest problem of it all. beyond the pain or the buzzing or the anxiety that had evaporated along with my passenger.

The Bill.

Now, I have been living here in Korea for quite the while, so I’m not particularly scared of bills when it comes to medical. but I took an AMBULANCE. to the EMERGENCY ROOM. and that just SCREAMS debt in the worst ways.

As I took my medical sheet over to the ‘home base’ as the doctor had called it when I had asked where to go next, the cashier seemed unconcerned by my trepidation. it was a long night for him as well I’m sure.

He rings me up.

57,800 won. I blink. I ask if card was okay. It was.

For those of you who don’t know the conversion, that’s about 58$. For an ambulance and emergency services. I know I shouldn’t be shocked but i was. I mean yeah, I knew medical was the cheapest in Korea but that should have cost way more than just 58$. I took an AMBULANCE for christ’s sake.

58$ and a panic attack. that should be the title of my memoirs. or at least the blog post I’m going to make of this. The moral of the story is to not have panic attacks when flies buzz their way into your ear. Or, at least to my American friends out there, not to panic over the medical bill whist in Korea.

How to get to SM Town Artium/Where is the SM Town Artium

 

The SMTown Artium (I think it’s still pronounced ‘atrium’ but they were being clever) is a store created especially for SM Town artists, featuring many of their signature styles as well as souvenirs for you to buy. It also has a pop-up cafe, a studio for make up and photos, and a hologram theatre and event hall (some of these will not be open until mid-January)

ADDRESS:
METRO STOP: Samseong Station (삼성역) Exit 6 – COEX Mall (direct passageway)
DIRECTIONS: Just continue on straight out Exit 6 (there will be stairs and then a passageway of pillars) and it will open up to roofless open space with a bit of a pathway to the side for visitors of the mall. If you continue to go straight, there will be a sign telling you where the artium is and some escalators going up. Take those escalators and then turn right at the top and the glass doors should be right there (there should be lots of pillars with SM Artist names on them)

PHOTO DIRECTIONS TO COME
(I forgot to take them when going the first time I was too excited)

RECOMMENDATIONS: The pop-up cafe has a lot of different signatures of your favourite artists. When I went, I sat at Tao’s table. I really liked the Super Junior ice cream. I have yet to try their cakes or cupcakes, but don’t get the chocolate éclair. That didn’t taste very good at all.

WHAT (NOT) TO DO THERE: Try to listen to staff, especially if there are lines. Don’t cut as it’s unfair for those who stood behind you. Also it’s just rude. Don’t cut any line. Ever.

How to get to Grill5 Taco/Where is Grill5 Taco? (Super Junior Donghae’s Restaurant)

Grill5 Taco is a restaurant owned by Super Junior member Lee Donghae.

ADDRESS: 15 Seolleung-ro 152-gil (88-10 Cheongdam-dong) Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea ‎


METRO STOP: Apgujeong Rodeo Station (압구정로데오역) Exit 5
DIRECTIONS:

1Go out of exit 5 and head straight until you come to a Burger King

2

At the Burger King turn Left

3

Grill5 is located right after the Butterfingers Pancake restaurant.

4

RECOMMENDATIONS: I recommend the Seoul Fries which is big enough for two people. They tend to load their burritos and tacos with onions so it might be better ask for less of them if you wish. The nachos are free, but you must order the sauce for them separately. The menu is in English so you should have no problem ordering. The staff is very used to international staff so don’t hesitate to ask for help if there’s something you don’t understand.

WHAT (NOT) TO DO THERE: The boys come over to eat a lot, so please don’t disturb them when they do, despite it being a tempting thing to do.

How to get to/Where is Mouse Rabbit (Mobit)? Super Junior Yehsung’s cafe.

 

Mouse Rabbit cafe is owned by Super Junior member Yehsung’s family. It is a beautiful little two story cafe that is very homely and welcoming for visitors.

ADDRESS: 5-14 Hwayang-dong (10 Neungdong-ro 11-gil)Gwangjin-gu, SeoulSouth Korea
METRO STOP: Konkuk University Station (건대입구역) Exit 2
DIRECTIONS:

Mobit is a five minute walk from the station.

IMG_3629IMG_3632You’ll want to go out exit 2.

IMG_3638After you’ve ventured down the stairs, you’ll want to turn left. There is a angel-in-us cafe there on the corner so you’ll know you’re going the right way.

IMG_3655IMG_3661

Go straight from there and keep on walking until you reach The Girl shop and a Samsung Mobile shop. This may change to different stores and I’ll try to keep you updated as they change.
IMG_3647 IMG_3649

Here you’ll want to go down the alley between the shops to reach Mouse Rabbit Cafe.IMG_3650

 

RECOMMENDATIONS: I, myself, like their frappes. The chocolate mint is to die for on a hot day. Mobit also offers an arrangement of merchandise you can buy from them that changes with the seasons. Very cute stuff to take home as souvenirs.

WHAT (NOT) TO DO THERE: Do not, and I repeat, DO. NOT. take pictures behind the counter at Mobit. Yesung goes there a lot since he started his military service but you MUST NOT take his pictures right now!!! Please try not to disturb staff or ask for pictures with Yehsung’s family as this is a work place and isn’t an event you can attend.