Tag Archives: Eastern Mennonite University

Seoul Searching and Other Adventures

17 May

What a great last week! Once upon a Saturday Yunju, my seemingly always-laughing roomie invited me to explore Seoul with her. We hit shopping center Myeongdong, climbed Namsan mountain (where Seoul tower lives), and then hit up Itaewon for some…drum roll, please…TACO BELL. It was a gloriously sunny day and so lovely to spend outside of Chuncheon.

EMU students and add-ons.

EMU students and add-ons. Sorry, my beautiful face isn’t in this one.

 

This past week, a group of students from Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) came to Chuncheon for the first week of their 3-week cross-cultural studies. We hosted two of them in our home, and it ended up being a really fun experience.

During the week (which was busy for me, as all of my work and class times were still in place), we had enough time to squeeze in some 노래방 (karaoke) and a “family” dinner. Come Friday, Jiwon, Yunju and I were given the go-ahead to skip work and attend a Sorak mountain getaway with the students. Two hours of driving got us to a DMZ lookout point which I’d sadly already been to. Thus, my highlight was finding a little green frog to ooh and aww over with some other girls practicing varying degrees of shriekability.

I call him Spike.

I call him Spike.

Once we’d reached our hotel, which was nice, we set to some serious R&R. I opted out of a hike on Saturday, instead accompanying some of the girls to the beach, Lotteria for hamburgers, and then the nearby water park, Waterpia! There we ran into some of the guys and enjoyed the “maelstrom” slide…3 times in a row. (The video doesn’t do it justice. We rode it when the funnel was covered, meaning there was no light at all, and we couldn’t see where we were headed…way scarier!)

A side-note on bathing suit culture in Korea: you hardly see ’em! There was one point at the beach when I looked around and, despite its being crowded, realized NAPAMAs were the only ones in actual swimsuits (points if you remember what that acronym means!). The water park offered a different display: full on nudity every which way you turned in the locker room…followed by almost completely-covered bodies in the actual park. Yes, people wear swimsuits. But they also make sure to wear some sort of t-shirt or sheer hoodie on top of it. I witnessed one couple wearing full-on shorts, zip-up mesh hoodies, and baseball caps. On water-slides! No kidding! Such a modest culture, really. (I found this fun list of Korean quirks, if you’re curious for more. I’ve witnessed every single one of them, but my fave has to be matching couples.)

The weekend ended with puzzlement over the abrupt ending of I am Legend, the Saturday night movie showing on the only English channel at the hotel. We were upset, but it was a good bonding moment. Sunday we all attended JVC, had lunch there together, then said our goodbyes. It was a little bittersweet! I truly enjoyed our short time with that group.

This past week was a short interlude between fun and games. I taught my classes, and finished some actual work at the office. A damper was put on the week when I found out my sister Heather, who is currently in Uganda, has malaria. Naturally my worries, thoughts and prayers have been directed at her, and that’s somewhat exhausting (though definitely not as much as the disease itself). The good news is they caught it early, and she’s being properly treated. It sounds like she’s on the mend.

Anyways, this is to say I need a vacation. And thankfully I have one coming! It sort of started tonight, when I and three friends watched The Great Gatsby in theatres. Tomorrow (May 17) is a national holiday, and I plan to spend it with Connexus friends, shopping and eating summertime favourite 팥빙수 (an ice cream and shaved ice dessert). Then on Sunday I’ll jet off to Korea’s honeymoon destination, Jeju island. It’s well-known for its beaches and curious geological formations. I’ll be there alone for one day, after which Jess (fellow SALTer) will join me for the rest of it. I’m sure I’ll come back with lots of stories and pictures, so hold your breath.