Thursday, 11 November 2010

Korea - The first trip to Gyeongbokgung

Hello everyone!

It's gotten cold all of a sudden. Not happy.

Anyways, rumour has it that I am into my final month. I am firmly in denial about leaving this wonderful place, so often refuse to talk about my future, even though deep down I know I'm leaving. I sound like a Premier League footballer. I am now the next to go - Ellen left on Tuesday, which was very sad for me. The middle school across the road from me now has no native teacher. I will miss her a lot - from strolling in serenity down the streets of Shibuya in Tokyo, to hanging out on the benches in her school and having all her students ask if I was her boyfriend, only to get confused when I said I was her father. Fun times.

But much to do, so denial wears on. One major tourist attraction was ticked off last weekend, though. The main one, actually. Seoul has five palaces, and on Saturday I visited the biggest - Gyeongbokgung. Where the King, Queen and co. used to live when they were alive, back in the day. I went along with my Korean friend Cho-Rong 초롱 - she was taking around one of her Korean language students.

What I didn't realise is that she was taking the whole family. And another family. And another friend. So what I thought would be decent hangout time turned out to be a family expedition. I'm not going to complain, however - it added to the experience.

I mean, if the family hadn't been there then I wouldn't have witnessed the little boy vigorously chasing after a pigeon for over 10 minutes. The little scamp had an incredible amount of energy. Shame it will be sapped out of him when he enters the Korean education system.

The toddlers were great fun to play with whilst walking around the palace. It was similar to the other palaces, but had a bit more of an aura to it. The fact we went in fall - I'm turning more American by the second - meant that it looked spectacular.

It was a fun day, and turned into quite the fun night as well. Tom and Nikki's birthdays were around the corner, so we went to the Intercontinental Hotel in the COEX mall. Bit too classy for someone like me, you might think. Then you will hear that it is a 27,000W all-you-can-eat and all-you-can-drink buffet, and realise that it is right up my alley. Free wine was always going to make this an interesting night. Some people ended up more drunk than others. We all trekked over to Itaewon afterwards, and four of us ended up in Hongdae - to put that into context, think of starting a night in far east London and ending up in very west London, with your house being in Reading. Bed at 7am.

This week has been the week that I have been breaking the news to the students that I am leaving Korea. Disappointment and surprise reigned supreme, as well as asking why I was going. I tried to explain that Kim Yu-Na - of Olympic Gold and Korean goddess fame - wanted me to be her boyfriend, but they didn't buy it, so I explained the India dream and they accepted that I was going to a decent place. They studied India in a textbook module a couple of months ago, and all have an obsession with tandoori chicken.

To counter this disappointment, I gave them a lesson involving Spongebob. Who knew that that cartoon was so popular amongst 16-year-olds. Spongebob was my tool to teach them some basic slang and idioms. At the end of one of my lessons, a girl shouted, 'Matt! Break a leg!' It took me a second to realise what she meant, but obviously they were listening! To be fair, how can you not listen to Spongebob.

Love you all


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