Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Mail Address:

Raeves Peter
Boys Dormitory Room No. 308
14-9 Daemyeong-ri, Sangweol-myeon,
Nonsan-si, Chungnam, Korea 320-931

Tue September 14th - Wed September 15th

After the introductions on the 13th, the partnership has finally set off. I squeezed in 8 hours already. Basically I ended up with 2 groups of friends, which makes it so much more fun, since they know each other, they motivated each other, help each other. So in the end it's really fun to do and we all learn from it or at least practise a lot. With the 1 group I saw a movie and we discussed this. While getting to know the group, they agreed being just a bunch of otaku's, like me. So we even considered going to a Cosplay event in Busan one of these weeks. I hope I have a camera by then. I just have to! See Busan, go to a Cosplay event, ... All things that are on my to do list, so it'll be great to combine this with the partnership, because that means I get payed for it too ^^. The other group is more serious on the partnership. They want me to help them with their upcoming TOEFL test, which is a 'Test of English as a Foreign Language'-test. So they prepared essays to go through, to summarize, to talk about, ... but in the end we should ended up talking, so it wasn't a productive first session, but we had a lot of fun ^^. All my students are just amazing ^^. I guess my luck still hasn't run out yet ;)

These days have been fun, but they were really tiring too. We had a test, homework, the partnership, going to the gym, so I'm beat. The upcoming 10 days will not be much less tiring, I'm guessing, since we first have 3 days off for the field trip and then we have 2 days off like always and 3 more because it's a Korean holiday. Since I'm going to Seoul during Korean thanksgiving, I'll probably not be able to write much soon, so be patient and just miss me more ;) I know I miss you guys at home. Almost missed the roll call because of this blog, but I don't take the rules that serious anymore anyway. Since they put me on the list for breaking one of the rules and since I'm the perfect student, this doesn't make sense. Meh.

Anyway. Off to bed now and see you guys in some days.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Sunday September 12th - Monday September 13th

I'll start off with a funny remark on the big cultural difference. I finally understand why Korean people always have toilet rolls hanging above their heads when they're eating. It's because the word 'tissue' and 'toilet paper' are translated to the same word in Korean, being 휴지, so they don't consider it strange to have toilet paper at the table. (fyi: They don't do this in restaurant, only in smaller places or on festivals.)

The English language partnership started and it's going much better as planned (which basically means, I don't have to do as much as I had thought to do). I'm meeting 2 girls for 2 hours, helping them with their essays (I don't know if this is such a good thing though, knowing how good my language skills actually are. But if it makes them happy and I get payed for it, I'm happily excepting it). The English teachers came up with the idea of making one big group, to make the work easier on the teachers and to give the students the opportunity to learn english is a more fun environment. I'm meeting my other 3 students during that session. Again 2 hours. I have a nice bunch of students, so I think this is gonna be fun :). Although they somehow like to call me 아저씨 instead of 오빠 <_<

I guess that's all that happened or at least what I remembered. Off to the gym now.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Friday 10th - Saturday 11th

This weekend there's a 'Sweet potato' festival in Geumgang without actual sweet potatoes or even potatoes for that matter. It basically had korean food, soju, makolli (what in korea doesn't?) and older people performing samulnori which is always nice to listen to. Too bad we can't enter the samulnori club for our culture activity. It's either 13 weeks caligraphy or 13 weeks taekwondo, so I'm stuck with doing taekwondo <_<.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Sunday 5th - Thursday 9th

Like I told you not much has happened. I have a boring life in Belgium, so that will not change in any country ^^.

I wrote down 'folder', but I forgot what I wanted to right about that, so I hope I remember by the time I finish. I told you about the English partnership program. Well since the Korean students had to fill out a paper with the hours they want to study English every week and which teacher they would like to have, we held a party today to celebrate. Which was quite intimidating, since the korean-foreigner ratio was 4 to 1. But it wouldn't be korea if there wouldn't be soju and food to set the mood ^^. We still don't know who our students will be, but tomorrow we're getting a list so we can start contacting them and make up some good schedules (and some good lessons. I'm so glad I'm creative... Ow wait. I'm not <_<, but I guess it'll be okay.

We are also playing to do a movie night every week, showing a movie from every country to get everyone in contact with different cultures. Not sure about the movie I'm going to choose, but it's not that I have a big list to choose from though.

The night call at 11.40 pm is becoming a real hastle and everybody is showing up a bit tired to class because of it. We will try to talk to the guy in charge, but as someone stated out, it's quite unfair to the other students if we, foreigners, aren't obligated to go to the night call anymore. (Well actually I don't care too much, since I'm usually still awake at that time).

Okay, I remember again why i wrote down 'folder'. I got this flyer about the program I'm following, so I'm not going to write it down. If you want some information about the program just ask. Basically it's 4 months of korean language training for free, meals, stay, ... everything is included, except for some small fees that you have to pay. Although you can earn the money back by taking part in the language partnership program, which I almost obligated, or they kinda expect you to anyway, but I guess and hope it'll be quite a nice experience. Especially if you have the amazing social skills I posses. If someone would be interested in learning Korean. Feel free to ask about it and if you don't want to come alone, I was thinking of doing another semester, since well, it's living for free for 6 months...

Some Korean info. The weather is changing really rapidly these days. It went from super hot to chilly in only a couple of days. It might be the tornado that passed by Korea, apparently they have tornado's in this country, but I think this is normal for Korea to change so fast. So I'm wondering where it will end... Ow wait... As I remember correctly I just walked outside (it's 23.55 now), with only a tshirt and I didn't feel cold and I'm sitting with the airco on, so maybe it's not as bad as I first thought, but still... it's getting colder these days though...

Ow and this cute couple went in the gym, while we were still there, to make out (well that's our guess anyway), so the guy pretended to come into the fitness (he was all dressed up with nice clothes, so as you could figure out easily, he didn't actually come to work out, but he just didn't want to lose face) to work out and they went away again after 5 minutes. Which is a thing I don't like about Korea though. You have to find a quiet place to just kiss your girlfriend, since it's not really accepted to do it in public, and the dormitories are not mixed either, so they can't go to each other's rooms either.

Missed the night call, because of this blog. I'm glad I noticed it at 11.44, so I could catch the caller before he left.
Anyway. That's it for now. Talk to you later ^^

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Thursday September 2nd-Saturday September 4th

First real class, which was quite okay. I didn't have too much trouble. I don't really like the teacher though. I don't know why, it's just a feeling and apparently the other teacher is way better, teaching all these useful words and stuff. I can't really remember much else but studying.

Anyway, since I'm not in Seoul, I will probably not have something to write about every day, so I'll just stick to stuff worthy mentioning from now on.

After class we all went to Daejeon to buy needed stuff and pass some time, since it's weekend anyway. Daejeon is basically like a small version of Seoul and I think it's cheaper but I'm not sure. Nothing new discovered, except that on weekends the students all go home. They are encouraged to do so. I heard that's why Koreans tend to be quite independent even until they get quite 'old' compared to our standards, because their parents and especially their mothers tend to take care of them too much.

The uni actually became a ghost town. I think I only saw about 20 people except for the foreigners. Everybody just went home to their own families. So we had no trouble finding a quiet spot to study ^^.

[Lol, it's getting more and more like a public dictionary]

Friday, September 3, 2010

Wednesday September 1st

I finally met my roommate, which is a great guy I think. Not sure since I didn't get much chance to talk to him. He came in last night, packed half of his stuff, some of his friends came and I didn't see him the entire day. When I came back from my class he had fixed the air conditioner though and got some stuff to clean the bathroom from his home (which is near our university), so he's a good roommate.

Classes started, so we had to do an entrance exam, which was quite okay. All the people in the class are great too, I think I'm gonna have a great time here ;). You can see a big difference between living at a goshiwon in Seoul or living at a dormitory in the country side. In the goshiwon everybody just completely ignored me, but here everybody says hi to everybody. Not my style, but I'll get used to it. But in general everybody is really friendly. Only freshmen can be a pain in the ass from what I've heard, but that will change soon, when they go to the military and learn a bit about respect.

After class we explored the campus a bit. As expected a lot of places to study, but since we still didn't have any studying to do, we watch a movie at the cinema in our library. I think that one is free too, since nobody seemed to pay for anything. Or really cheap and the guy that got the movie payed for it.

At this university it's also possible/obliged to earn some money, by tutoring Korean students. We have to tutor for 4 hours in total to 4 different Korean students. Since I'm no native speaker, my English isn't perfect, I probably can't control them, they don't actually care themselves, but have to, etc I'm a bit afraid of the classes, but there are a few students here staying for their second semester, so I'll have a talk with them, they might be able to offer some good ideas. We are payed 800.000 won/about 533 Euro with this and have to do it for 11 weeks. So maybe I should watch the movie 'Please teach me English' again ^^

Tuesday August 31st

Today I finally arrived at the university at a 3-4 hour journey. The taxi was way too expensive though (20.000 won, while bus would be 1.200 won), but as it started pouring I'm glad I took it (not really, but this makes me feel better about the money). Arriving there, everything went quite smooth. I got my key, filled in some paperwork, payed whatever needed to be payed. My room was the biggest pigsty ever though, especially the bathroom and balcony. Basically I have a big room with 2 beds, ... well I don't wanna describe since I'm getting hungry. I'll show you the pictures when I get a camera, which would probably be next weekend when I will probably go back to Seoul. I hope the weather remains the same, because it has been so amazing I'd like to share that with you.

Basically our uni is a small university founded by the buddhist monks living just next to us on the hill. There is also a really famous temple nearby in the mountains from what I've heard. I might check it out one of these days. Almost everything is free, except for dormitory fee and insurance. We can play table tennis, badminton, fitness, basketball, soccer and it's all free. Karaoke room costs some money per song, but that's it and I saw people practice salmunori, so I'm going to ask Joey, the professor in charge of the international project if we might be able to join any of the club activities. I found a picture online about the surroundings, so I'll just post it here, so you can get an idea about the place I'm staying at.

As you can see, I'm at the countryside. I now understand what they meant by 'we offer you a place where you can fully concentrate on your studies'. You can since there is basically nothing around that can distract you. The 2 nearest cities being Nonsan and Daejeon are respectively 30 minutes and an hour from the university and busses drive only every hour.

Monday August 30th

Forgot what happened. I knew I had to wait for my luggage, so I couldn't get in time to Geumgang uni, but I forgot what I did during the waiting and after that.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Sunday August 29th

After having my first good sleep in days, I got out of there at about 2pm. After a nice soak in the bath of course ^^. I wish you could get this for just 8000 won in Belgium (6 euros). I got back to Ula and Martinas and we had a nice, interesting and a bit scary day. We ate Indonesian at this local restaurant in one of the alleys near, I think, dongdemun subway station (Ula correct me if i'm wrong) and had a drink at a really shabby pub. The ceiling was too low to stand half the time, but it was a great place for a pub. After that they went back to their dormitory and I went back to my sauna, since I liked that one a lot. (It took me 3 hours to find it again though, but I got to see the whole dongdemun area in the end, so that was quite interesting. Like I said, it's really worth going there. During the day, or the night, whatever you prefer, it's always nice to hang around and shop there. Shoes, clothes are quite cheap there. Not sure about the quality, but why would you care. If it breaks, you can just buy another xp.

That night, the owner kept everyone awake with his screaming though. About half an hour after I arrived, he started shouting that some guy came to this place, that spoke English and he didn't spoke English, so he didn't like it and said a lot of fuck. So I'm not if it was because of me, but when I tell people about this story, they always say, he shouted like that because he was totally embarrassed he couldn't speak English and I didn't offend him, he just felt really bad about it. He actually asked if there was some soju, so that was kinda strange, funny, but still disturbing since he kept everybody awake with his shouting ><. So this is one of the strange things I will not really understand soon (or ever) I guess.

August 28th

Arriving back in Korea, made me able to contact Korean friends again, so I met with Yura the first day. I had a nice time spending some time with her again ^^, although I was only to see her for a couple of hours. Being in Seoul with nobody where I could crash, I went out to search for a cheap place to sleep. As I explained before, the sauna's are cheap places to spend the night, but you had to sleep on the ground. But you go through situations like these to safe money :).

Yura recommended me a really famous one nearby 신용산 station, line 4 (, so when I was on my way there, I had to transfer to another line, but as I missed the last subway, I had to get out at the place I was (myeondong). Not feeling too tired at that time, I just walked around that place, which is really crowded and awake, even late at night, since it was already about midnight back then. You can see a lot of street vendors too. It's a place worth going, especially at night. After walking a couple of hours a sign caught my eye. This really small sauna was open 24 hours a day, so I thought, why not try that one then. In the end it didn't had the mixed room as I told you, it just had 3 heated pools, being 20, 30 and 40 degrees and this bigger bath, which I didn't check out, probably much hotter, a shower place, wash-up place with a tv and a small and cosy sleeping room, being about 50cm high, but it had actual beds. They were traditional, but too be honest it's quite nice to sleep on traditional beds. I didn't have trouble getting some sleep at all. There were about 12 beds at the guys room, and since this was a quite small place, only half of them were occupied, even on the saturdays. This place was nearby the exit of either the underground shopping street of euljiro 5 ga or jongno 5 ga. I forgot, but like I said, I found it by accident.

August 26th-27th

Welcome back to everybody who still reads this.
I said I was going to stop this blog, but Pie Kok is the biggest nagging son of a bitch ever, so I'm gonna continue ;)
I started writing this at september 2nd, so I'm gonna write in past tense.

Today was the day I could finally return to Korea. So after having a great farewell party with my friends, which includes receiving a ninja costume (don't ask...) I set off to the airport of Schiphol Amsterdam. After some minor troubles at the Central Train Station in Antwerp I got on the Thalys and at 15.27 arrived 54 minutes later at Amsterdam, going through security... Or did I? I got inside before my luggage was even opened and before I had to undress before all the security with their white gloves, ready to do a full body search (Security guards can be scary >_<). Nah just kidding, but somehow I got in without having to go through any baggage search. I didn't mind and was too tired to actually care. Going to the local store to spend my last euros (on some nice Belgian truffels. Nomnomnom ^^), I finally met Ula again!! I had to miss her for over a year, but it ended there with a great hug ^^. Now you'd think you're going to be able to read a happy end story, but you couldn't be more wrong. After that all the troubles started.

After waiting 2 hours, we were getting our bags ready to board the plane, but as there was something wrong with the power-control-unit they wanted to fix it before getting the plane in the air... As I was in the Netherlands I didn't expect to get inside the plane the next few hours and I was right. They said us to wait for 2 more hours. 3 hours later, we were getting quite tired of not knowing what happened so we went up to the desk to ask for more information. Apparently by then the plane had already been cancelled, they just didn't tell everyone yet, since they hadn't prepared the hotel reservations I guess, but told us 3 to go to this information desk, since that's where they would send everyone else in a couple of minutes. We were quite 'happy', because if we had been stuck behind all the korean people at the airport, we would have been waiting for like midnight... When we got at the information desk, we got a number, so we could wait at the waiting room, so we wouldn't have to stand all the time, so that was nice. Except for the fact that the queue didn't really budge at all and that they actually didn't do anything to help us at the information desk, but tell us to go somewhere else, but by this time all the korean people had already gone past us, so in the end we did have to wait until midnight...

They prepared hotel reservations for everybody, rebooked the flight, free dinner, breakfast and lunch and free calling vouchers, so we could call whoever we wanted to let them know of the late arrival (We had 2x5 minutes per person). After getting to the hotel, we had to use 1 voucher to contact the airport to ask the details of the rebooked flight. Ow wait, they were for contacting family, or was it? Sigh. Apparently KLM was so nice to put me and ula and her friend Martinas on a different flight, mine being at 6.30 am and theirs at 18.20, so again a big mess. Luckily breakfast was served at 4am, so we could just get in time to eat something and arrive at the airport in time to start complaining about the flights. Arriving at the airport they at first told us there was nothing they could do since both flights were totally overbooked as it is. I was able to convince her to change flights in the end though. She put us all on the 8.20 flight to Paris, where we had to wait a couple of hours and transfer to a direct flight to Seoul.

Arriving in Seoul on August 28th at 8am-ish, after a successful flight, we contacted our unis. I got the message that I had to arrive on monday then, since I missed the bus (which was 2 days later) and Ula and Martinas had to wait for their pickup taxi. Which again made us wait more for hours and hours, since 1 of the passengers didn't show up. In the end I got lucky here, since I could just take his place in the taxi and get a free ride to Seoul. The taxi driver was really confused about me being there and even if we tried to explain in our best Korean, we gave up and excepted the free ride. Arriving there, they settled all their uni stuff, which went okay and I left my baggage with Martinas. So after a big sleepy sigh of relieve we went for something to eat, forgetting about our troubles with some nice Korean meal <3 ^^.