Ah, the sweet serenity of the mountains!

Thursday 4th August 2005
Hello hello!
Aren’t you people lucky getting all these emails from me?
I’m back from my little mini-holiday and already straight back into the swing of things at work, summer hols are over and all that jazz (yay – more reports and exams coming up!!).
My friend Suzie and I went up to Songnisan Mountain on Friday morning, to visit a small town next to Popchusa temple. It was really lovely, sunny, hot and peaceful and quiet – I’ve been in this city for so long I was shocked to discover how much I miss grass and trees and the smell of clean air!!
There was a lovely little mountain stream running through the town, only a couple of feet deep, but lovely and cold, so naturally we had to go paddling (I attempted to swim but only by lying down flat could I get my whole body under the water!) I’ve included a picture of me all chuffed with myself in the water, and also another picture of the Buddha statue at the temple, which was ENORMOUS!!!! Continue reading

P.S.

Thursday 28th July 2005
Hey,
I am feeling much better now, and have almost fully recovered. I have narrowed the causes of my sudden illness down to either:
a) Food poisoning
b) Heatstroke
c) Dehydration
d) Exhaustion
e) The dodgy tap water at the folk village
f) A bug I caught from one of the kids
or
g) All of the above!!!
I’m thinking option g is most likely!! Continue reading

Camping and Puking…

Monday, 25 July 2005
Hey guys,
I know I’m fairly overdue for an email, but things have been super-busy at school over the last couple of weeks, so I haven’t had much time to stop and write.
On Friday we took 78 kids and eight members of staff  to the Korean Folk Village for a two day camping trip. It was 35 degrees outside, and we very swiftly discovered that there are no drinking fountains there, just kiosks where you can buy a small water bottle for an extortionate amount!
We managed to collect a bunch of juice bottles from the kids’ lunchboxes and find a tap to keep filling them up, but it was a bit touch and go for a while!
Anyhow, we had a really great time, despite the fact that I’ve never sweated that much in my entire life, and we got to do loads of fun stuff like dye our own hankies with natural dyes, make pottery, do archery, go swimming (thank god!!), and make straw ropes and stuff.
We had a campfire in the evening and a dance competition etc. Continue reading

The rain, oh the rain

Friday 1st July 2005
Well monsoon has begun, and it’s hot and wet. Really hot and really wet.
The heat has intensified the rotting garbage/backed up sewage aroma out in the street, and the heavy, dense, wet, hot, permanent fog has gone a nasty dirty polluted grey, like having your head wrapped in hot dirty wet cotton wool as you walk down the street.
In fact, when you throw in the nasty smell, leaving my apartment is very much like walking out of a door straight into a hot sweaty arse.
Mmmm, pleasant.
Anyhow, I shot bolt upright in bed last night when a bomb went off and the building shook, and as I regained full alertness and waited for the house to fall down, I realised that there was a big fuck-off thunderstorm going on, and in fact, no bomb. It was quite seriously the loudest thunder crack I have ever heard in my life, and apparently the storm was localised over my bedroom! Continue reading

Sun, sea, sand and Russian whores…

Thursday 16th June 2005
Hello hello!
I’m about due for another big email, so here goes (cups of tea may be required!!)
Two weekends ago, we had a Monday off (public holiday) so me and five other girls headed down to Busan for a long weekend.
Busan is a very large city on the south-east coast (its the second biggest city in South Korea after Seoul – ’bout 4 million people or so).
We took the night train down on Friday, stayed in an awesome cheap love-motel on the edge of the red-light district (which is also the Russian district), and had a whole lot of fun. Continue reading

Another rant…

Monday 30th May 2005
Hello!
I know I only wrote an email like a week ago, but I have more stuff to say, so there!!
Firstly, I am sitting at home gloating, and I have no one to gloat to!! Having spent all of last week going mad doing exams and reports etc, and telling Cal how hard it was and how he should really REALLY start doing his, I came into work this morning and finished off my last couple of reports, handed them proudly to Jenny and then spent the whole day watching Cal panic cos his weren’t even close to finished and they’re supposed to be handed out to the students tomorrow!!! He kept complaining about how much work it was and how hard the maths is, and how he just can’t concentrate with all these other people in the staff room, and I had to bite my lip to avoid saying “I KNOW IT’S HARD, THAT’S WHY I TOLD YOU TO START IT LAST WEEK YOU STUPID BASTARD!!!” Continue reading

Ah, the joys of summertime…

Thursday 26th May 2005
Hello everyone,
First of all, thanks for all your lovely birthday pressies and messages – I had a lovely day, in fact we dragged my birthday out for quite a few days!!
On Saturday we celebrated in Seoul by drinking for 12 hours straight, getting very drunk, and ended up in a nightclub where there were drunken girls taking their clothes off on stage (I don’t think they realise that if they went to England they’d get paid an awful lot of money for that!)
We crawled home at 6am on Sunday, and I felt sooooo hungover all day on Sunday I could barely stand up long enough to make a cup of tea, and my hangover was so vindictive it stayed around on Monday just to make sure I was still feeling crappy!!
However, I was nicely recovered by Tuesday, so that I could be smothered in love and presents by everyone around me (naturally!) I got tons of lovely presents, and after work we all went out for a posh dinner and some karaoke. We’ve had a sudden staff turnover – two of our Korean teachers left very suddenly and we’ve got two new teachers, who are really lovely. Continue reading

Interesting Times

Tuesday 17th May 2005
Hey guys,
Time for another update!
The weather is really starting to get nice and warm now, and on Sunday I got sunburnt for the first time!! (yay!!)
I had a great weekend – I went to Seoul on Saturday and my friend Jim helped me to choose a good mp3 player, so I’m now fully digital and everything!! Then we went down to a much smaller city called Je-Cheon about 3 hours drive away, where Jim lives.
On Sunday morning, Jim had a flying lesson (!!) so we went over to the airfield. Jim had a couple of lessons in a cessna back in Scotland, but you need to have at least 20 hours of flying practice before you can take a written test, and it costs about a 100 quid an hour back home. However, he found these two guys who have a tiny little airstrip and wee small plane, and for 150 quid they’ll give you twenty lessons or as many more as it takes to get your licence!!
Isn’t that insane??
It’s almost tempting to do it myself – just so I can come home and be a pilot, but I’m not sure I have the stomach for it!! Continue reading

Scandals and murders and elephants, Oh my!

Thursday 21st April 2005
Hello everyone,
There’s been tons of scandals going on in Korea recently inolving foreign teachers.
First two canadians got into a bar fight in Seoul and went to jail, then there was a Korean documentary about foreigners working as teachers in Korea, mostly portraying us all as unprofessional and unqualified money-grubbers!!
The papers have been having a field day with it, and the government’s been having a crackdown on foreigners working here illegally – either not having a proper visa or lying about their qualifications. So, tons of hagwons are losing kids cos the parents are freaking out about the teachers, etc.
So anyway, we’re not the most popular people just now!! Continue reading

Ramblings from the sicklet…

Thursday 7th April 2005

Well, I’ve been a very sick little bunny I’m afraid, so have not been in the best of spirits.

I had a bit of a cold last week, but had gotten better, and then on Monday had a sore throat. I went out with the girls, cos Tuesday was a public holiday so we had the day off. It ended up being a long old night of drinking and nori-banging (thats karaoke to you), so I crashed out at Suzie and Beth’s house. On Tuesday I woke up in agony, my glands were all swollen and painful, I couldn’t swallow anything, and getting up made me feel sick and dizzy. I was seriously considering going to the hospital, but I could barely get off the couch. i spent the whole day there, and the girls very kindly pumped me full of drugs. I went home that evening and went to bed. Continue reading