Sunday, June 21, 2009

Day 56: Hey everyone, hope you all had a good week! We wanted to share some photos with you from our school's field trip this Friday. From what we were told, we were going to a bug museum, and that was all the information we really got. Our instructions were, "make sure no one pees their pants and do not lose any of your kids!" So when the bus pulled onto a dirt road in the country, we didn't exactly know what to expect. After piling out of the buses and watching a very short video on insects, we then proceeded to a small little box filled with dirt and over sized beetle grubs (which our friend Patrick and our director Grace are holding in the photo below).
Each of the kids had to dig through the dirt to find a grub to take home with them in a jar (which we're sure their parents were super happy about, lol). At least the kids liked their grubs!
Above: Henry and Eric Middle: John, Louis and Daniel Bottom: Stella and Lina

Everything up to that point seemed to make sense seeing as we were there to supposedly teach the kids about bugs. However, we were then taken over to a small fenced off area where the kids were put into small groups. The "bug museum" owner then brought over two rabbits and put them in the fenced off area and told the first group of kids to go and chase the rabbits, and whoever caught a rabbit could bring it home. What seemed to be a fairly harmless activity turned into a fairly traumatic thing to watch. These poor rabbits were being attacked by groups of 20 young, wild children at a time, desperately trying to avoid being trampled. So then, once the rabbit (or both rabbits) were caught, the man threw them into the large orange sacks pictured below. This may not sounds as inhumane as it really was. Maybe you had to be there to watch it, but it was total animal cruelty. To get an idea of how horrible it was, after all the classes had their turn tormenting the rabbits, the ones that were caught were dumped out of the bag (with no care at all) into a box for us to take back to the school. A few of the teacher's went over to the box and pointed out that one of the bunnies wasn't really moving. The man came over, pulled it out, told us it had a broken leg (probably from being thrown around so much) and quickly threw a new one into the box as a replacement. So clearly, animal rights are not as important in Korea as they are in Canada! So after a long day in the sun, and having learnt next to nothing about insects, it was time to go. Even though it wasn't quite the learning experience that we expected, the kids seemed to enjoy themselves, which at the end of the day is all that matters.

The rest of the weekend was pretty relaxed. Two of the teachers we work with are leaving at the end of this week, so we all went out for a big dinner, bowling and some Noribong (karoake) on Saturday night. Besides that, we did a little shopping, and a little cleaning and saw Brothers Bloom this afternoon. We hope you guys got some good weather for the weekend :) Happy Father's Day dads!

With love from South Korea,
Shayna & Brandon

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Day 49: Another exciting weekend here in South Korea. On Friday, we went out with the teachers from the school (both English and Korean) to celebrate our friend Melinda's birthday. We went out for Korean BBQ and then to a karaoke place. It was a pretty late night, but we got up early the next morning to take a 4 hour bus south to Gwanju with our friends Patrick and Byung Chul. We left from Sopooong station (pictured below) which took us to a pretty awesome terminal, that had a huge Imax theatre and lots of restaurants and shops.

We then took a local bus to a bamboo park in a nearby town. The place was beautiful, we were surrounded by HUGE bamboo tress all around us. There were tons of photographers and people just hanging out enjoying the nice weather.
By the time we left the bamboo park, it was getting late into the afternnon and we only had time to go to one of the three other locations we were hoping to see. We made a decision to go to a place where we were told had a gorgeous waterfall. It cost $20 by cab to get to the place and we were all pretty excited until we arrived here...
Yup, that's it...that's the amazing waterfall...we were not too impressed! It was very underwhelming to say the least. We made a quick photo opp from it and headed up a massive flight of stairs to a bridge that overlooked the mountains.
The view from the top did not dissapoint, it was awesome up there. We could not have asked for better weather, and the photos don't do justice to how gorgeous it really was! After a long day, it was nice to just sit and enjoy the view :) It was getting late, so we left to grab some dinner and some Coldstone's ice cream at the bus terminal. By that point, we had missed the last bus back home, so we had our first stay at a Korean motel and then headed home early the next morning.
Getting away from the city and heading south was beautiful, we will for sure go back again soon. Anyways, we hope your weekends were as enjoyable as ours. We miss you and love you all!

With love form South Korea,
Brandon & Shayna xo

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Day 44: Hi guys! Just a quick update to fill you in on the past week or so. Everything here is really good and we have been super busy. Last Saturday we met up with our recruiter because we had yet to meet him and his business partner. They were two guys in their early 40's. They took us out to Korean BBQ and then we all went for a Starbucks :) It was nice to finally meet them, they are good contacts to keep while we're here especially, if we plan on doing a second year later on. Then on Sunday we went with a few of our friends to go see the Royal Tombs of the Joseon Dynasty.

It took us almost 2 hours by train and bus to get there! So we weren't very happy when we got there and they told us we could not go up the hill to the tombs until the next day because the tours were not ready yet! So our Korean friend decided to call the information desk to tell them we had come all the way from Canada and we really wanted to go up and check them out. After going to see the woman who was in charge, she decided she would give us a personal tour of the tombs herself. Her name was Regina and she was the nicest woman ever. Not only did she give us a personal tour, she then invited us back to her office for tea, and when we asked her where else we should go check out in the area, she pulled out her car keys and drove us to a Buddhist temple to show us around. After we walked around the temple, she bought us snacks and took us to the bus so we could get home. It is so nice when you meet people like that, it made the day so much better!

This weekend was more low key. On Saturday we went to Bucheon Station to do some shopping and some people watching. There were a ton of cute shops and restaurants and it's very close to where we live. We had dinner at T.G.I.F's where we had real cheeseburgers (which are very hard to find here in Korea) and then we went to see Night at the Museum 2- which was actually pretty funny.

That night we decided to try our hands at night time photography. Having no real idea what we were doing, we took my tripod and camera and headed to the roof. After a lot of bad shots and frustration, this is the best we came up with. I'm looking into to getting some filters soon that will help with the night time lighting so hopefully we'll end up with some better shots of the city.
Sunday was rainy, and so we went out to buy Scrabble and a DVD player, and spent the day indoors playing games and watching movies. So there you go, you are all caught up on what we've been up to. We hope you guys are all enjoying the summer! We will try and update you more often, we miss you and love you all.

With love from South Korea,
Brandon & Shayna xo