Time flies, food and other stuff.

I can’t believe that I have been here almost 2 weeks now. Crazy how time flies when everything is new and exciting. So what have I been up to. Well, I have now taught all my classes once and my Tuesday classes twice – I’m almost a veteran! It took a few days but I finally think I know what I am doing. In a lot of ways I am more of an entertainer than a teacher as I am not actually teaching – I tried to explain a grammar rule today and just got blank faces – but I am reading to them and helping them learn to read. It keeps you on your toes as one class I can be teaching A,B,C’s (literally) and the next class I can be explaining what an earthquake or pollution is. And if all else fails there is always Hangman.

This will be a fairly short post as I want to get to home relatively early so I can go to Walmart before work tomorrow. Yes, I just said Walmart. Apparently there is a Walmart here in Ulsan and it is the place to shop cheaply. There are actually a lot of North American stores/restaurants – I mean, I expected McDonalds but there is also Pizza Hut, Baskin Robbins, Dunkin Donuts, The Outback, TGI Fridays, and that is just what I can name off the top of my head. So when I need to eat bland food – Korean food is all spicy (more on that in a minute) – there are plenty of places to go. I can also eat at Tomestones or Benchwarmers – the two “foreigner” bars in Ulsan (where I can indulge my cravings for poutine!) As for Korean food – I have tried several dishes and so far I like almost everything but it has all been spicy so far. So my next challenge is to see if there are any non-spicy Korean foods. Actually I lied, there are Korean snacks that aren’t spicy but I am looking for a main dish that isn’t. The portions are also huge but since it is really cheap – I can stuff myself with food that is good for me for under $5. Fruit are huge here – the apples are double the normal size and the pears are triple (they are also round and very light tasting). So far my favorite foods are bulgogi (spicy marinated beef) and bibimbap (spicy mixed veggies and rice). Most of the time I am not sure what all I am eating but that’s part of the adventure.

I went to a Lantern Festival on Saturday with a couple of teachers from my school (one Canadian and one Korean) and we had a great time. It was about a 2 1/2 – 3 hour bus ride away (I napped) in another smallish city (the name is escaping me now but I’ll post it later). We walked around for 6 hours looking at the castle (more of a pavilion than a castle but very beautiful) and the festival – wait until I upload the pictures, it was really cool. The lanterns were huge, like 12-15 feet tall and very elaborate. I also saw whale meat – trust me when I say that it really doesn’t look very appetizing raw. But I did find a great new snack. It’s rice – or that’s how it starts out – and it is put in this machine where it is pressurized and popped into a disc. It kinda looks like a rice cake but it isn’t – it’s so much better. A little sweet, crunchy without being hard – a greet snack.

Well that’s all for tonight, keep on reading!

Cindy Zimmer

Live life to the fullest everyday - this is a the philosophy I try to live by and it's taken me on many adventures. I write about Korean culture from a non-Korean perspective as the editor/founder of ATK Magazine and I'm the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Toronto Korean Film Festival (TKFF). Previously, I ran a Korean-English language exchange group (in Toronto) for 3 years to stay connected to my three years living in Korea as an English teacher. I love music, film, food and sports and write about 3 of the 4.

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