|Some Korean class silliness with our teachers.|
I am now writing to you from my homestay in Naju. Since I last wrote, Korean classes became quite intense and, thus, I did not have a lot of time to blog. I had my final exam last week, which I was busy studying for, and also worked with my classmates to make a short video for our final project. The basic plot is that some detectives go looking for one of the characters from our textbook after she goes missing. Once my classmates found out that I was a Film major, I ended up filming and editing the video. (The video can be seen here... clearly I still have a lot of work to do with Korean! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tECGlqAIHPk).
On one weekend, I went on another great trip hiking! This time, I went with several other ETAs to Songrisan National Park which is one of the largest national parks in Korea. Koreans love to hike and will frequently take days to hike to the top of a mountain with friends, eat lunch at some point, and come back down to their home. Of the trails that I have been on, I have noticed a few trends. First, there are often lots of rocks, which can make hiking a bit trickier. Additionally, none of the trails that I have been on have had many cutbacks. As a result, you are frequently walking up or down steep trails when hiking in Korea. While walking at Songrisan, we frequently noticed that middle-aged Korean men and women were hiking up and down the hills much faster than we were. I guess I need to get into better shape to keep up. The following weekend, I went with some friends to Chungju, a small city/suburb near Goesan, and ended up sleeping the the bus station after we were ripped off by several hotel owners who were raising their rates because they saw a group of foreigners (definite first in life).
|I am with a giant buddha that is in the middle of the park|
|Some other ETAs hiking down the steep declines|
|View from the top|
After passing my final exam in Korean, the other ETAs and I headed to Seoul for our graduation. We had several days to explore and check out the city. On the first day, everyone went to the Joint Security Area. It was quite surreal to be in a place, which I had seen so many times. We only had around 5 minutes at the border.
|The Joint Security Area|
Immediately following this trip, we went to the US Ambassor's house for dinner and spent time talking to the different people who work at the US Embassy. Later that night, I went with some friends to Hongdae, a part of Seoul that is famous for restaurants, bars, and clubs. We found a small jazz club and listened to some great music before getting a snack and sleeping.
|Di-Hoa in Hongdae|
The next day, I made an epic trip to Costco in order to get pizza and stock up on some snacks from home. Costco was massive, but not big enough for the amount of people in there. For example, after ordering and getting our pizza, we waited for 45 minutes in order to get a table in order to eat. We had to stand next to several different tables and watch different families eat their food in hopes that they would not go back for more.
|The crowds at the eating area in Costco|
|Paddy and Liza enjoying the ball game|
|Koreans come prepared! There was a sea of umbrellas after a little rain appeared in the ballpark|
|Jenny and I at graduation|
|The Naju Crew: (L to R) Kyle, myself, Erin, Jim (previous ETA in Naju who now works at Fulbright Office in Seoul), and Eric before we head off to our new home|