August started off quite depressingly. A friend of mine from Osan (Cathy Huynh) sadly passed away while on vacation in Vietnam. So I decided that a memorial should be done for her. Cathy used to play and cheer on the local soccer team Osan city FC so the team had a minutes silence for her memory.
The expat magazine Groove Korea did a nice article on Cathy and her friend Kari who also died in Vietnam.
On a happier note during August all the students of ICC were busy preparing for ICC live pop, it was a pop contest/open day for prospective students and their parents to come and see the school.
The kids all did great despite the nerves of having to sing in front of loads of people!
Snacks and a movie afterwards went down a treat!
Back in Ireland Oxegen and Electric picnic were the go to rock festivals. Jisan seemed to be the go to festival to go to in Korea. I wasn’t completely impressed with the headliners and weeks before the festival itself many of my friends backed out as it was just before or in the middle of vacation season and they had to save money or get flights.
I managed to find friends going at the last minute and I had a blast with them. I also managed to meet almost every person I had met in Korea during the entirety of the weekend so there was lots of catching up to do! I managed to get off early on the Friday afternoon at 4.30 but Jisan being a bit awkward to travel to took almost 5 hours to get to by bus. I had to bus it from Daejeon to Ichon (Gyeonggi Province) and then city bus it (number 12) from Ichon to Jisan resort. By the time I got there and got my wrist bands it was 9.20 and by the time I made it to the main stage Radiohead were just coming out. I was incredibly lucky in my timing! 🙂
After an amazing set by Radiohead (who I’d wanted to see for a long long time) I had to find my friends who had settled themselves in front of the open stage to listen to some Korean metal. (Koreans love their metal and it’s funny watching people so tiny dance around to it!) We all had a few drinks and went to bed earlish (maybe 3am) The girl who was with the group shared the tent with me as the tent was only big enough for 2 people so we left the boys to sleep outside.
The weather the whole weekend was only gorgeous. But for people with super white skin and low tolerance to the sun (like me) had to cover themselves in sun tan lotion, drink lots of liquids and stay somewhere in the shade to avoid becoming too hot and bad humoured. Saturday morning (you couldn’t sleep in a tent past 8 with the heat or the light) amidst a slight hangover I took off for the local shop (GS25) for some ramen and the hair of the dog. All was good after including a quick power nap at the table and we were able to set off again.
All day we lay in the sun and wandered from stage to stage. We weren’t able for much as it was so hot about 36 degrees and the humidity was unreal. Once the sun went down we all regained the strength to party on. Saturday nights headliner was James Blake which wasn’t the best music for a Saturday night session. We sat around in groups chatted and drank vodka buckets until he had finished. The night hadn’t been too bad owl city was alright but Astrovoize was what I was looking forward to later, and they rocked the ski resort to the core.
I also found my home in Jisan that night. Which was later to be kicked out of for partying too hard.
After being rudely ejected from my home I stumbled back to my tent completely convinced that the boys had moved it even had an argument with them the next day over it.
Sunday was chilled, more laying around in the shade for the hot hours of the day and moving around as the sun decided to go down. The head liners for the night were The Stone Roses who played a great show and were great crowd pleasers. The whole place went mental. Also got to see Liam Gallagher’s new band Beady Eye which were alright.
We all booked a bus to go home at 1am I had to get a bus to Seoul to get a KTX down to Daejeon which left me sleeping on the floor of Seoul station for 4 hours but I got home in time for work the next day! 🙂
Many of my friends were talking about a massive dance music gig called “Sensation.” I bought a ticket well in advance and was a bit iffy about this party as I had never heard of it before. It was sponsored by Heineken and looking back on it it was a great night. The theme was “the ocean of white” so everyone had to dress in white to gain entry to this party.
A week before I booked a hostel in Hongdae (cool kitchy university area of Seoul) for myself and a few of the girls so we could get ready before we went out. We all were talking about our outfits for weeks in advance and the excitement was very apparent as the day got closer.
We all got dolled up and marched out in our gladrags. The event itself was held in the Ilsan Kintex just ouside Seoul itself. It’s a massive convention hall which I’d been to for the Seoul electro music festival in January.
To gain entry you had to be dressed in white. If you were wearing too much colour you were denied entry, a bit of a waste as the tickets were about 120,000 won a pop which is about €85. They did however sell white clothes just inside, so not all was lost! 🙂
Money was not spent inside in the arena. Everyone had to buy drinks tokens. They were like little cards, 2 tokens for a beer, 1 token for a water, 3 tokens for vodka and a mixer. (I think that’s what it was!)
We danced the night away, got lost, found each other, got lost and somehow managed to make it back to the hostel. All in all another successful night in Seoul!
Every year in July Boryeong celebrates Mudfest. People from all over South Korea come to play in mud. The only sad thing about this weekend is that I didn’t get any pictures as I was afraid I would destroy my phone as well as my camera, on the last day I got a few pictures, but I couldn’t find any pictures of myself enjoying the mud.
So I can only show you other peoples pictures of what was going on.
Canada day fell on July 1st this year. Down in Daejeon one of my friends is from Canada so she suggested we go to Seoul to celebrate her national holiday (it was only fair as she celebrated St. Patricks day with me!)
We got an early train on the Saturday morning and decided to do some touristy things during the day. First breakfast called in the Wolfhound in Itaewon where we all got full Irish breakfasts….sightseeing should be done on a full stomach.
It was a miserable day so we all shuffled around in wet clothes. We went to Gyeongbokgung palace which we were told by one of the Korean girls with us is best viewed in heavy clouded, miserable weather. We watched the changing of the guard and checked out a little bit of the gardens.
After we went to Insadong a little tourist trap that sells all sorts of Korean antiques and pictures. It’s a lovely little arty place with some young studenty types selling jewellery and the likes in little mall areas.
Afterwards we made our way back to Itaewon were some napped and others went for some retail therapy and wandering. We all went for dinner later in a great little South African restaurant called Braii Republic. It will definitely be getting another visit. After we unleased ourselves on Rocky Mountain Tavern which is the local Canadian watering hole. The minute I walked in there was a roar from a crowd in the corner….some Osanites were drinking and saw me marching in. Hugs and singing all round made for a messy night only to wake up feeling extremely sorry for myself in the morning!
One Saturday while I was waiting on friends to get to Seoul I decided to check out the Yuksam building. This building is the 63 building and it is a famous landmark in Seoul. The building itself is not 63 stories tall as 3 of the floors are actually under ground. The view from the building itself is spectacular, it offers a great panoramic view of the city.
After 5 hours sleep at a kind friends house after the weekend in DeokJeok do I had to go to the school to catch a taxi to Daejeon along with the contents of my apartment. I was not a happy camper and slept like a baby the whole way there. It took about 2 hours to get there in the taxi and when I managed to get into my dorm room all I could do was fall asleep for a few hours until I had to start a few days training before we started to teach the kids.
Now I’m conveniently located in the middle of South Korea, I live near a KTX station (rapid train) that brings me to Seoul in an hour for about €15 one way or an hour and a half to Busan (beach city at the bottom of South Korea). My school ICC Daejeon is a sister school of Osan GLC, and I was incedibly lucky to get this job. I don’t think private academies (hagwons) often offer you another job! The school itself is busy, it has hundreds of students (which I wasn’t used to in Osan!) so I am kept busy from Monday to Thursday. Friday is a preparation day for the next week so it’s a nice relaxed day, if I had to teach 5 days like that I would probably go insane!
My co workers are dotted all over the world: USA, South Africa, New Zealand, Scotland and myself from Ireland. We are a good mix. We all live in a dorm next to the school itself, which has its good and bad points. It’s so easy to get home at night. My room is 30 seconds walk from my home room. But if I’ve had a crappy day at work I have to stay in the same building.
The school is laid out much the same way as Osan GLC, it has experience rooms or active zones as we call them down here. The kids get to experience different rooms and learn different topics such as cooking, zoology, speech, math, and geography.
After a hard week learning about how the school worked we all decided to go to the local theme park O world. As we didn’t know the busses, we had to take a taxi here but it reminded me a little of Tramore except about a bazillion times better with a flower area as well as a zoo.
With the great weather that was in it around the beginning of June we decided to go to a baseball game. Baseball is a very popular sport in Korea. The Hanwa eagles are Daejeon’s team. We decided to check out a home game. It was all very fun, we bought chimek (chicken and mekju (beer)) into the stadium and ate it while watching the game. Each team had mascots all dressed up dancing for the fans during the breaks.
Having fun is exhausting!