It was a good day. It was a good day in…Daegu (“Day-goo”). Ha.
We took a taxi to the bus. The bus to another bus. Then the second bus to the subway, and finally arrived to Daegu. For comparison, South Korea is about the size of Indiana, and Daegu – being the 4th largest city in the country – has a population of ~2.4 million. So it basically felt like a squished version of Chicago. We went into a few stores from Daiso (Korean dollar store) to Art Box, and even H&M, which was treated like a very high-end store with a security guard. Mostly though, I enjoyed standing outside on the street just people watching and taking it all in. In one area, there were people protesting their president. In another area, there was a stage in the middle of an intersection where a few groups went up to perform Christmas songs. We saw an orchestra, a group of ajummas (old ladies), and an adorable group of children with matching blue coats and red hats. Our first city day trip was awesome, and not surprisingly…overwhelming. But I enjoyed all of the hustle and bustle and seeing the Christmassy decorations and festivities.
After hanging out in the city, we took a taxi to Costco. And let. Me. Tell. You. This Costco was the mother-load of all Costcos. It was underground, roughly three floors, and had moving sidewalk RAMPS! (I find joy in the little things haha!) It was insane and super busy but well worth it as we got the items we needed.
Fun Fact: In Costco, the majority of people eating at the food court would not order anything and instead go straight to the condiments table to put a large serving of diced onions on their plate, add ketchup and mustard, mix it all together and eat it as a salad. This was a very popular thing to do and I’ve not the slightest clue as to why.
The next day was our first fully relaxing day. Whew! Pajamas and bunny slippers all day, put up some Christmas decorations, and while the boys played Race for the Galaxy and Settlers of Catan, the girls all watched Love, Actually. This may become a routine thing, and I’m more than okay with that!
This week is an odd schedule at work, but it’s also Luke and I’s first week teaching! Only two 45 minute classes a day, and we’re co-teaching. 1st period on Monday is when all the teachers split up the kids to interview so we can divide them up by class levels. Each week, the teachers will rotate what level they teach (1 being beginner, 6 being advanced). Since we are all co-teaching, there are only three classes, and Luke and I have level 3 which is the most advanced so it is a little easier our first week. We have 7 elementary students (4th grade) and they are adorable. Unfortunately, we only had 20 minutes with them on Monday since the interviews went long, so we went through the rules, had them pick their American names and color their name tags. We are so excited to be teaching this week even though it’s a short week!
CEV has a sister school in Boston, and every year the Superintendent takes a handful of students who have passed English exams and interviews to visit the city and places like MIT, Harvard, and often a baseball game to experience America. Today, the mayor of Changnyeong (“Chung-young”) came to visit the school as well as the students in the program and their parents. All of the teachers sat on stage while the mayor gave a speech (all of which none of us understood as it was in Korean) and ended by taking lots of pictures. Although we didn’t end up saying it, we learned that “Mahn-ah-so boon-gop-sum-nee-da” is how to say “Nice to meet you” in formal occasions. Cake, right?
We’ve already been here for a week and it feels like three since we have done so much! But there is still so much to do and see and I am so excited for those of you who are enjoying following along on my blog! Thank you!