Thursday, October 3, 2013


휴일 (hyu-il) means holiday or vacation day. Today is Korea's Foundation Day, when the ancient Gojoseon kingdom was supposedly established by a god who descended upon Baekdu Mountain from heaven. It's a typical origin myth, and while I find the story interesting (there's a part about a bear that ate garlic for a hundred days and turned into a human), I'm only really invested in the day because, as a national public holiday, I got the day off of school. My students didn't; they're stuck on campus for a day of self-studying.

I don't have any plans for the day... aside from the usual sleep in, cook some whatever, upload photos to Facebook, and work on graduate school applications. Here's what I've been up to lately, though:
Fulbright friends!
Wine, cheese, and cookies! And tons more food.
Last weekend, I traveled to Pohang (about two and a half hours away by bus) to visit a fellow Fulbright teacher, who teaches at the Gyeongbuk Science High School. We had organized an informal "wine and cheese social", where we dressed up, discussed art, and networked. Nah, I'm just kidding. We drank crappy wine and ate cookies and pizza, watched Lady Gaga's music videos and talked about our schools and travel plans, and really, it was just an excuse to hang out with friends and pretend to be classy (세련되다) and I have no regrets.
And then this happened.
Katelyn and an apple pie a la mode!
This past Sunday and Monday, my friend Katelyn came to visit. Her school has midterms this week, so she was free to travel, and, aren't I lucky, she decided to travel to Changwon! My first visitor this year. To celebrate, we had a jam session, baked an apple pie (pâte brisée is impossible to make...), watched Glee, and had a fantastic time.

Also, Katelyn visited my school on Monday and left a couple of my classes in awe. We threw together a lesson that consisted mostly of my students asking her questions about her life, and the response was quite positive. Some of my students were more engaged on Monday than they have been all year!

In other news, I've officially begun applying to graduate programs in Linguistics, most of them in California. Writing a personal statement is proving to be difficult, since I don't know for sure what the programs are looking for in an applicant, or how well I stack up. However, I hope to have them all done by the end of November, and then I'll leave it up to God until I hear back in February or March next year.

I also bought a guitar, and I started listening to more K-pop (current favorites: Ailee, Primary, Roy Kim, Akdong Musician, and Miss A). Uh-oh... I wonder how much of a distraction both of these are going to turn out to be!

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