Chuseok or a much needed 5 day break

Hey all! It’s been a while. But I have a nice long post for you today because I’ve been doing stuff!

So last week was Chuseok, which is sorta like a mash-up of Thanksgiving and Dia de los Muertos. It’s a day for Korean families to come together, clean the graves of their ancestors, give thanks, and spend time together. It’s also a harvest festival. Also it means that we got 5 days off because Chuseok fell on a Thursday this year!!!

Tuesday night I went Salsa dancing with my friend Courtney. We met up with another dancer, Betsy, for dinner before hand. We got some really good food and I managed to order my own food! Betsy is here teaching English at a Korean public school. She is an amazing amazing dancer. I love watching her dance. She just clearly is feeling the music and loves what’s she’s doing. The three of us, plus another friend Nina, headed to Latinos for a free night of salsa! I had a pretty good night of dancing. This was the first night I went dancing without any of my American guy friends. It felt good to know I could go and feel safe and have fun. At the same time I definitely missed having them there. They are closer to my level and don’t get frustrated with me when I don’t know what’s going on. There were a few other foreigners that came that night hoping it would be all beginners and were a little terrified when they realized that the Korean men were quite good. I think they had fun anyways. Courtney and I headed out relatively early because we both wanted to go to work the next day and it takes an hour by subway to get home from where we do salsa.

Wednesday I woke up and went in to work to attempt to get AP Macro figured out (that class is still killing me). The building was open from 8–12. I got there at 9. I honestly spent 3 hours struggling through making a unit plan for AP. By the time 12 came around I felt ok-ish about where I was at with the unit plan even though I didn’t have the day by day stuff sorted. I headed home to clean my entire apartment. I vacuumed, washed every dish, washed my countertops/table, put every single thing into it’s place and basically made it look super super nice. Around 2:30 I headed over to my friend John’s house to practice salsa with him and Courtney. We worked on a few moves that we already knew and then John showed us a couple videos on youtube that teach moves. We practiced a few of those in his living room. I was fast….constantly, which honestly I’ve been my whole life so I wasn’t that surprised? But it was super funny cause John would make this face when I did something wrong like he was trying to figure out what just went wrong. When I did it right, he would smile down and to the left. He also usually told me if I was fast or if I had done it right but the facial expressions told me faster. Courtney and I teased him about it. It was a really good afternoon. Courtney and I got fried pork for dinner which was so so so good. Then I headed to my friends Megs to hang out with her and Megan. We chatted before watching Ru Paul’s Drag Race season 3! (Side note- still not 100% sure how I feel about the overall idea of drag race/drag and it’s relationship with the drag community and the trans community but as I am a part of neither of those communities I’m withholding judgement and am instead loving the competition part of the show)

Thursday morning I woke up with every intention of getting work done. HA! Instead I did a bit of cleaning and then I messed around on the internet. I honestly couldn’t tell you what I did or looked at? But it was an enjoyable chill time. At 1 I headed to the CU to meet up with my friends Ann, Megan, George, Alisa, and Mo to go to Beomeosa temple! We walked to Jangsan subway stop to start our hour and a half journey to the temple. We took the green line to the stop where I go for salsa and then transferred to the orange line which we rode almost until the end. (Side note-literally every time I say the phrase “the end of the line” I think about Captain America and Bucky Barnes and am like ‘I can’t’…) Anyways… we survived the journey and all had seats on the trains!!! Upon getting to our stop, which was thankfully named the same thing as the temple, we exited the subway and began to look around for how to get to the temple. George and Alisa had done some research and we were supposed to be able to catch a bus or a taxi to the temple but we saw a sign that it was only 3km away and so we decided to walk. Turns out that 3 km was mostly uphill. And George had biked for 4 hours that morning with our boss. And Ann had done like 5000 squats the day before a boot camp. So we were all taking it slow. I told George stories on the way up to help keep his mind off the walking and the pain. It helped keep me moving too. We were all soaked through and hot by the time we finally reached the actual temple. Luckily it wasn’t that hot out, it was just mildly humid. The temple itself was beautiful. We went to the main Buddhist compound. There were a series of gates to get up to the main area with the shrines/meditation areas. Each gate represented something. Each gate also led to a new series of stairs…which you know we were obviously thrilled about. Not. The gates all had elaborate, beautiful paintings and carvings on them. As we walked we noticed many people coming to pray and pay their respects at the temple. Thursday was Chuseok and we believe many people were there as a part of the holiday. The actual compound was also beautiful. There were many different buildings with different buddha’s and bodhisattva’s. Each one was beautiful and decorated for Chuseok. The monks had a gift store with bracelets, purses, bookmarks, books, and other things they were selling to support the temple. It was really cool. I’ve always liked Buddhism and I wish I knew more about it so I could have understood the temple even better. We hung out for a while and then took the bus back down the mountain to get dinner as it was now 5pm. We went to a fast food burger place called “Lotteria” to eat as most place were closed for the holiday. I got an mozzarella stuffed chicken burger with a hash-brown on it for dinner. And ya’ll. It was so good.

Left- The main temple building Middle- people praying in one of the buildings Right- Selfie with the compound/mountains in the backgournd
Left- Me, George, Ann, and Mo Middle- One of the shrines Left- Me, George, Mo, and Megan chillin on a wall
Left- some of the beautiful carvings/paintings on the gates Middle- information about the templestay programs they offer Right- map of the compound

That night I hosted ladies night. Which of course is why I did all that cleaning on Wednesday. Ann, Mo, Megs, Megan, Sarah, Alisa, and Amber came over. We ate, drank, and had a really fun time just hanging out. Around 10:30–11 Ann, Mo, and Sarah all headed out. Megan, Amber, Alisa and I decided we desperately needed Kraft Mac n Cheese and asked George to bring it over for us. He did! Unfortunately, Alisa likes her mac n cheese runny and put way too much milk in so there was like no cheese on the noodles and so I was not as excited about the mac n cheese as I could have otherwise been. But it was still kraft. and I was still happy. They left around 2:30 after deep wonderful conversations.

Friday I again slept in and did no work. Instead I bummed on the internet and ate some breakfast. Then I met up with Megs and Megan for lunch/movie. We went to Shinsege (the world’s largest department store) to Johnny Rocket’s for lunch. And ya’ll. That burger. And that milkshake tho. I nearly died from happiness. I got a garlic burger and it was so so so good. We bummed around in the food court/glasses area for a while after we finished gorging ourself on greasy goodness. I tried on the cutest pair of round glasses! I may attempt to get them for my next frames if I need new lenses anytime soon.

We then headed on the subway back to Haeundae to the movie theatre there because they have gourmet popcorn! We saw Magnificent Seven. And you guys. It was so good. There was no romance which I honestly appreciated? And there was real danger and real consequences even though there was also real triumph and serious butt-kicking. I loved it. Also there is something about a slightly dirty cowboy man leaning casually against a building right before he is intending to do violence that is scarily attractive to me. Which honestly probably says a lot of super unflattering things about me but there you go. Chris Pratt’s casual lean was like way too much for me. After the movie we hopped on a bus for home and headed straight to our friend Blake’s apartment for a party. He had invited the whole staff plus children/significant others. He had food but all three of us were so full from Johnny Rockets and the popcorn that none of us ate anything. Megs and Megan headed out relatively early. I stayed for a couple hours talking, laughing, and watching the children who just made up their own games and played in and amongst the grown ups again. It was a good night of laughter and friendship. I headed home around 7:30 and just hung out blissfully by myself for the rest of the night.

Saturday morning dawned early and with raining absolutely pouring down. I was going to head into work to try and get more stuff done but I was like HAHAHAHAHA!! No. There is no way I’m going outside in this weather. Imma stay inside all day. Forget it. So that’s pretty much what I did. I did some AP Macro work. I talked to my mom and my sister. I worked some more on AP Macro. I left my house to buy a pizza because it was $13 cheaper than having one delivered. I then ate that delicious sweet potato, corn, pepperoni pizza for lunch and dinner. I watched Ru Paul’s Drag Race. I facebooked. I watched Ru Paul’s Drag Race. I read Pride and Prejudice fanfiction. I watched Ru Paul’s Drag Race. Then I went to bed.

Sunday I woke up intending to work in the morning. Instead I again bummed around. At 1 I met up with Megs and Megan to go work at a coffeeshop. We worked for a solid 4 1/2 hours. I honestly got distracted exactly 1 time. Which is amazing. I got AP Macro and US History big picture planned through the rest of the quarter! We headed home around 6 to eat dinner. Then Megs and I got together at her place to watch “Get Him to the Greek” while we worked. You guys… that show is so so so funny! I didn’t realize how many gifs and memes came from that movie. I couldn’t stop laughing! While there I managed to completely plan Sociology through the end of the quarter!!! Again big picture only. I still need to make powerpoints, worksheets, projects etc but at least I now sorta know what I’m doing!

Monday came and with it came reality. I woke up early to go into work to finish some last minute stuff for my classes. It was again pouring rain. The day went well, my classes went well, futsol got cancelled, I got a bunch of work done! Then it was time for Zumba! We have a new teacher because our regular teacher is on a trip to Canada/Latin America for 3 months! After Zumba I headed to the coffee shop with Megs, Megan, and Sarah to plan our trip to Seoul for professional development next weekend!!! We booked a beautiful air bnb and then headed home. I had intended to get some dinner and then head over to Megs but both of us were way too tired. At 8:45, exactly 1 week later, we had another earthquake. Oh! PS! I lived through my first earthquakes last week! SO last week I was sitting on my couch, minding my own business, when suddenly my couch started to shake. I thought it was a thunder clap at first until it didn’t stop shaking. I only realized it was a earthquake after the fact. I then FREAKED out because I couldn’t for the life of me remember what to do in an earthquake situation. Now I know. Get in a doorway. Once it stops shaking, get OUT of the building if it was a bad/long one. All 3 of the earthquakes I have now been in were relatively small. The first was a 5.1, the second a 5.4, and last nights was a 4.3 at their epicenters. We aren’t in the epicenter so I was good. My friends and I obviously immediately took to social media to make sure we weren’t the only ones who had experienced it and to offer comfort to each other as many of us live alone. Everyone was safe which was a huge relief.

I can honestly say that I am not a huge fan of the earth moving under my feet and would prefer that that never happens again. Somehow tornados and severe thunderstorms don’t scare me nearly as much.

This has been both a relaxing and busy week. Coming up for the rest of the week I have to get a ton of stuff done because I’m at a conference all weekend up in Seoul. I’m super looking forward to it but it also means less time to work on school related things.

Until next time! ❤

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