Thursday, May 29, 2008
Aaaah..... sorry for taking to so long to update! I don't have internet in my apartment yet and I feel strange posting at school. I'm waiting to receive my Alien Registration Card, after which, I can have a bank account, cell phone, and Internet in my apartment. Korea makes foreigner register their alienation!
Above is a picture of the lobby of Reading Town, my school. I only watched classes all last week and this week is the end of the month testing and beginning of new session. I will have two full weeks at school before I have classes of my own, which is pretty unheard of. I just arrived at strange point in the session. I like my school and all the other teachers and staff. They are super friendly and helpful. The other foreign teachers have taken me under their social wing. I'm excited to start teaching on Monday though.
Matt started teaching this week and really likes it. He's the new heartthrob in Gwangju. Middle school girls titter as he walks by or in his classes. My boss fluttered her hand on her heart when she met him! However, everyone thinks that he and I are brother and sister. Even strangers on the street ask us that! I mean, we both have brown wavy hair, little noses, and are white. Maybe that's enough.
This is a calm, empty classroom at Reading Town. This quickly changes at 3Pm. Our school is moving in July to the same building that Matt's school is in. It will be much nicer and I will have a desk there! The teachers' room is currently full and I keep hearing that they are going to give me a desk in the staff room/book closet, but that desk has yet to present itself.
These roses are on my walk to work. I love this little section of sidewalk, the road is about 15 feet below, which you can't see in this photo, but it has a neat effect. Our neighborhood is very nice. It's called Bonseun-dong in Nam-gu (like Soho or West Village in Manhatten). Bonseun-dong is one the wealthier neighborhoods in Gwangju and many of our students' parents are doctors and such. Also, they dress very nicely. There is not a wrinkle or stray thread to be seen. The neat appearance bug has caught Matt. He stresses over wrinkles in dress shirts now!
This is my kitty. Well, he's not really my kitty, but he mews at me everyday and is always in the same spot. Yesterday, I gave him a can of tuna. He is tiny and sassy and yells at any passers by. I think someone else also feed him because sometimes he has a little dish.
Above are just a few shots of Bonseun-dong. Most people live in these high rise apartment buildings. I currently find them rather strange. They are imposing in a way that buildings in NYC aren't. In New York, you can't see far. It's just building, building, building, but here these apartment buildings are the only tall buildings, especially in a residential neighborhood. I like the images they paint on the ends of them to distinguish them from one another. Some have cartoon characters.
Koreans love cake! There is always a cake for someone's birthday. Yesterday, was Katie's a Canadian co-worker at ReadingTown. This one was delicious. Everyone eats communally here. If you are eating with other people , everyone just eats off the same platter. There are no individual plates or servings. We all just went at the cake together. Later that night, we went out to celebrate Katie's birthday and were the only group in the bar. They found out it was someone's birthday and ran down the the bakery at midnight to buy her a cake! Cake is very important.
This picture is not very good, but neon crosses are another peculiar thing about Korea. Every church illuminates their cross in red neon. It's really strange to look out across the city at night and the skyline speckled with neon crosses. I guess we view neon as garish and would never neon a cross. I have yet to figure out why Koreans do it, other than to be seen better.
Oooh there is too much! We've been here almost two weeks!