Thursday, February 21, 2013

Christmas in Korea

Christmas in Korea was not something I was very much looking forward to as I love Christmas sooooo much and Koreans dont really celebrate Christmas so it would just be a let down. Turns out I was wrong, its not really celebrated but there were decorations around still, trees in the subway stations, father Christmas hats and lights in the shops and some decorations at school. What made it even more Christmassy was the weather! I remember smsing mom about a week before Christmas as I was walking in the snow listening to Micheal Bubles new Christmas album, it really made it feel like the Christmas you see in movies J For Christmas eve we decided to do a potluck dinner at one of my friends houses and do secret santa, it was so much fun! And we turned out a great deal of good food. Celebrating Christmas with all my friends in Korea was great, we have all substituted for the families none of us have here so I didnt really feel like I missed out on much. This might be due to the fact that I was going home four days later but oh well, Christmas was great none the less! A few days before we also went and took really cheesy Christmas card photos at a local photoshop wearing the most ridiculous Christmas jumpers we could find! I am sure most of you received this photo over e-mail but Ill add a few for you all to see J

Christmas celebrations in Yeongdong. Simone, Nicky, Lauren, me and Daisy (All from SA)

Christmas morning opening presents :)

My fav SA girls 

Christmas eve dinner party

Christmas cupcakes

Jamming it up in a noraebang (karaoke room)

Owen and gabby's home made Christmas sweaters

Christmas eve dinner

Mo and I had matching jerseys 

All the girls on Christmas eve

Cheesy xmas photo's. Wendy being a tool in the middle haha

Makkoli christmas celebrations 

Skiing at High 1 resort

At the end of last year when it was snowing quite heavily we all decided to join this tour group that was going up to High one ski resort to do some skiing and snowboarding. Now besides for the 2/3 days I spent in Switzerland, Korea has been my first snow experience. We went sleighing in Switzerland but it wasnt exactly hard as all you pretty much had to do was sit on a sleigh, fly down a mountain, steer with your feet and pray you dont fly off the side. Skiing on the other hand involves a whole lot more skill. I am pretty sure that you all know my athletic abilities are pretty much non-existent so I was a tad scared but most of all just so excited to be able to be in the snow! We arrived on the Saturday afternoon, had lunch and spent some time getting all our equipment and then hit the slopes. Included in the tour package was a beginners ski lesson, which I was very happy about seeing as I was so inexperienced. This lesson turned out to be a Korean guy showing us how to put on our skis and then standing up and leaning to the right while saying this, how turn left, then leaning to the left and saying this, how turn right, he then brought his knees inward and slanted the front of his skis together into a triangle shape and said this, stop and then ok, go!. Ya so as you can imagine I was scared shitless, and since I fell about 2 seconds after he said go it really didnt make me feel better. I didnt fall much after that though so I was pretty proud of myself, but that could also be that I was probably the slowest person on the whole slope, 5year olds were zooming past me (no lies). I absolutely hate speed that I cannot control and as much as he showed us how to stop, when you are going straight down gaining momentum the whole way, that doesnt always work! So I spent a lot of time flying down the mountain screaming and hoping my knees would stop shaking long enough to get me to the bottom before I bail and break a leg. Only when one of the foreigners stopped and showed me that if I go down the slope in a zigzag I go much slower (youd think Id have gathered this by then) anyways once I followed her advice it was much better but I still couldnt stop my legs shaking and by the end of the afternoon every muscle in my body hurt!
The best thing about this resort though, after all this nerve wrecking skiing was that you could go and relax in the outdoor hotsprings sitting in boiling water in your bikini while the snow falls all around you, truly magical! After soaking our muscles we went to a all you can drink beer and all you can eat fried chicken party that was arranged in the tour package, was a lot of fun! So we ended off the night with way too many rounds of Flip cup and all passed out in our hotel room at the end. The next morning we all got in a few more rounds on the slopes before taking the long 4-5 hour bus ride home, An exhausting weekend but one I hope I do again soon as I really need to work on my skiing skills!!

In our hotel room, pretty exhausted after the day

In the hottub!

My ski suit made me look like a fireman!

I found some beginner skiiers to join me :)

Zeke and I in the boiling hot 2nd hot tub

Turns out, opening your eyes in hot water, not such a good idea...

Gabby, me and Liz

Zeke, Gabby and I ended up wearing the same hoodie. woops.

Our awesome hotel room crew. 

Asanda and I 

Liz and I

Ashley and I

Liz, me and Aubrey outside our hotel. Jason photobombing in the back!

Global Festival

The DMOE(Daegu metropolitain office of Education) decided to hold a Global Festival where each country that has native teachers in South Korea is represented and volunteers take part to teach students about each country. So they sent out e-mails asking us to help out with the event. One of my friends Justine and her husband and I decided to help out with the South Africa part of the festival. It turned out to be a lot of fun but also a lot of work! We had to decorate two classrooms, make posters, organize materials we needed the dmoe to buy for us etc. It took about 4 afternoons of setting up to get the rooms done and I wont lie they looked pretty awesome. The SA embassy in Korea sponsored us some huge flags and mini flags and a few posters and then I painted a huge South African flag too. The DMOE also got a whole bunch of great posters made for us. What I found quite surprising was that South Africa is the 2nd largest country represented in Korea! So we had two classrooms for us to use and there were about 14 of us volunteering so I got to meet some new people J We had to have different activities so we did a face painting zone and photo booth area where we painted the kids faces and they could take photos with props. Then we also did a scavenger hunt, beading(in all the south African colors and they learnt what each color meant), Making Makarapa hats(which I had never heard of before this thing), cultural spin the wheel where you learn about the different cultures, learning about the big five and making a South African flag with painted hand prints. It was a two day event on Saturday and Sunday and there were 1000 people there on Saturday alone! It was crazy busy and I think I must have painted hundreds of kids faces. I can safely say I never want to paint a South African flag again! Also I realized through this thing how little I actually know about my own country. I had to make the big poster of the map of South Africa and label all the landmarks. So obviously I know where all the main landmarks are like table mountain and such but there were some that I was like, oh yes I know that landmark but I have no idea where on the map it goes! I had to google like 80% of it! I am SO bad at geography! I have taken to studying a world map because it is definitely not only South Africa I am clueless about. Wooops I clearly slept through those classes at school!
Anyways here are a few photos showing you what the room looks like and all. The other countries represented were Ireland, UK, Oceania(Australia and New Zealand)-who had to recruite USA volunteers cuz thats how few of them there are teaching here haha, USA, Canada, China, Japan……….
Ill add some photos of their rooms as well.

One part of the first SA room

The photobooth area, once they had their faces painted they could have a photo in front of either picture 

Making makarapa hats 

One of the fussy kids who didnt want the face paint on his face. sigh.

New Zealand (That's Dorian)

New Zealanders serving veggie mite and marmite on crackers







I had to draw that flag, you wouldn't think getting the proportions correct would be that hard, took forever!

One of the girls drew the outline of the face and then I Painted it and the jersey (pretty proud of my springbok)

Props for the photobooth

Photobooth fun 

A well deserved hunters after a long day! (Only one place that stocks it!)

Our SA Global Festival team. Yes I was the ONLY unmarried one...