Friday, Amanda and I hiked Bukhansan. This was a much shorter hike than Daecheongbong (only 3 hours) and at the top we could see all of Seoul. It was a much different view but really awesome as well. I think the coolest part about hiking around right now is the fact that all of the leaves are changing and it makes for a very pretty fall. You don’t get to see that in the city, but you get to see it when you get out and up just a little bit, it’s awesome.
This weekend I went to the floating lantern festival in Jinju with Brigitte, Scott, Michael, and Danielle. We walked around the fortress and saw lots of different lanterns not lit up during the day both in the fortress and around the town and in the water, but it was even cooler once it got dark out! Everything was glowing and bright. Unfortunately, my camera is not so great, so I will have to post pictures stolen from Brigitte when she gets done editing them and such. I have a few non-glowing though for your perusing enjoyment.
In other news, I am starting my job this week. Originally, I was supposed to move in next weekend and start next Monday. However they wanted to see if I was interested in starting early, and I am running out of things to do for now, so I said sure.
Today I spent some time with my director and the principal (his wife) of my school, looking at 3 different housing options for my 2-3 week temporary living. The first was what they call a “love motel.” In the Korean culture, you live with your parents until you are married. Therefore, if you want to have sex with someone, you go to a love motel and rent it by the hour or night or whatever. Naturally, I was a little sketched out by this place, not to mention it had no fridge or laundry or anywhere to cook. Option number 2 was a bit further away, but a much nicer place with a loft bed and small area with a desk and some drawers behind it. It was the biggest of the 3. The third place is a 15-20 minute walk from where Brigitte and Michael live, it is by a small, cute area where there are a bunch of restaurants and coffee shops (including the Mexican restaurant that the DYB people frequent), and it is right in the area where the other teachers from my school live. Although it is approximately the size of a shoebox, I find that it is the most convenient location wise and I can handle shoebox living for 2 weeks. The owners/landlords are very nice, although I had a very hard time figuring out the payment situation. At first I thought he was telling me I needed to pay him 430,000, which I don’t even have, and then I found out that that was the rent but that my director already paid that, all I had to pay was the 20,000 key deposit that I get back in 3 weeks. Phew was that the most challenging conversation of my life. It literally took me texting my director to figure out what the heck my landlord was talking about.
The reason I’m in temporary housing is because I ease my way into the classroom with the teacher who is currently teaching the class. Since she is currently teaching the class, she is still also currently living in her apartment. In 2 weeks time, I will fully take over her class and her apartment. This is good for multiple reasons, including not being thrown into the classroom with no understanding of what was currently in place, seeing my apartment before I move in and telling the previous inhabitant what I want to keep and not keep, and hopefully gain an understanding of where I’m living.
I also got to visit my school for the first time today. I got a really quick run through so my head is still kind of twirling but essentially we teach from 1030-3 with an hour lunch break and then have planning time from 3-4 which is when the elementary kids show up. In the morning, we co-teach a Kinder class, or multiple, either 40 minutes or 2 hours depending on which class, and then from 4-6 we have our own class that is in the 1st through 4th grade range. Tomorrow I shadow the full day and get a better orientation of what is expected of me.