Angry Teeth, Moviemaking and ‘MERKA.

Yesterday update…I was so tired last night.

It was the official start of the program, but it wasn’t too intensive…We had orientation, which involved introductions of the professors and such. There are 11 Americans here, 4 of which are us (D, J, me, M). The others are from the University of Kansas, getting either their undergrad or graduate degrees in social work. At lunch, we had every type of food imaginable: bulgogi, rice, kimchi, soup, noodles, onion rings, potato wedges, smoked salmon, pizza, tomato/mozzerella slices…it goes on. Then…came the lecture.

Dr. He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named is a professor at KU. He has Masters’ degrees in Comparative Religion and Social Work…Rando. He may have been the worst lecturer I’ve ever experienced. I thought maybe he was going to talk about social welfare (his…specialty?). Instead he talked about…well, I’m not really sure. He spoke to all of us like we were 5 years old, and it was supposed to be about merging cultures and cross-cultural learning. Instead, he talked about the Billiken (hey-o SLUH kids), cultural competence, Shamanism and filial piety. All of it did not combine, mix or go together in any sensible manner. We were so confused and bored by the end. At first I thought that maybe I was just somewhat annoyed that this guy who lives 4 hours away from my university at home came all the way to Korea to talk to me, but then as time went on, I knew it had to be more than that. he really was not a good presenter…I didn’t feel bad, because D, the teacher, also thought it was terrible. We had funny notes in our book written to each other. I don’t want anyone to get a bad idea, because this was just kind of a fluke deal that this guy is here, so it’s not a reflection really on this school or program. Just a bad guest speaker…HA

We then had “Intercultural Communications.” We were put into groups (we are in a pair with our roommate and then are paired up with another pair) to make a group. Jessica (Min Kyung) and I are in a group with a Korean girl and her roommate who is from Malaysia. However, the Malaysian girl was not yet here yesterday—I met her this afternoon. It was me and two beginning-English Koreans trying to create a 5 minute video idea for “cultural communication” or something like that. For example, D’s group is doing intercultural marriage, where an interracial couple is seeking permission from the Korean parents to get married. ANY IDEAS WOULD BE APPRECIATED. I am going to be the one writing/directing/brainstorming…

Last night then, we went out for dakgalbi, which is what this city is famous for. It’s spicy chicken, but not chili spicy—it’s different. Sweet, but hot. It was so good…

After that, we went to a bar (we were the only people there…keep in mind it was a Monday night). It was all of us girls and our roommates…But then 3 of the Kansans and their roommates showed up. So THEN it was a party. Haha. The non-beer drinkers (like 6 or so) all went in to order a pitcher of a mixed drink. It was mostly full of Sprite equivalent in it. Not a whole lot of alcohol. Which is why it tasted good, I suppose. Haha. We all stood up and put our hands on our hearts and sang the national anthem as loud as we could…that was embarrassing, but we had to show the Aussies our patriotism. Koreans are real big into “Cheers”-ing your glasses. All the time. Haha. But even if you don’t drink your drink after you clink your glass, it’s the polite thing to do to just pretend and put the glad to your lips, even if it’s empty. Yay for pretending and yay for America!

Before the Kansans showed up

The Kansans and their roommates:

Our curfew is midnight. We were home by 1045. We know how to party. Also that night I found a Korean girl who loves Harry Potter. So she is going to help us get tickets online and everything. We can’t go to the midnight because of our curfew, but we’re planning on going after class next Thursday! SO EXCITED.

Today we had Korean class for 2 hours, we went over the vowels and most of the consonants. Then we had elective orientation (mostly useless, we just got new schedules). For lunch we went out to a mandu place. It was delicious. I still can’t get my sauce to taste like theirs. It’s just not happening and I don’t know why.

After lunch we had a lecture about Korean Society, but a lot of it had to do with the economic history of Korea and how changing so rapidly it has affected the society. It was very interesting, and the professor was Korean, so I feel like he didn’t see the need to “dumb it down.” It was very good.

For dinner, we went out and had another famous soup, kamjatang, a soup with potatoes and…pork spine? I think. It was so awkward, because vertebrae are very awkward shaped bones. It made me a little uncomfortable. It wasn’t my favorite, but it wasn’t bad. And wasn’t fishy. I’m kind of getting sick of fishy. Another interesting thing that happens in Korean restaurants is they serve extra things after you eat the main course. Tonight they left ramyun noodles at the table and after we were finished and there was mostly broth left, we took out the extra and put it in a “trash bowl” and cooked the noodles in the sauce.

My favorite still has been the dakgalbi, or the restaurant we ate at in Hong Dae in Seoul with @travelinginmyshoes.

Cute story of the day!
I asked Eun Jee why a lot of girls smile without showing their teeth. Because I look ridiculous when I try to do that. She said, “I think, to show (points to dimples), and also sometimes if have angry teeth.” Angry teeth. = Bad teeth. Makes sense to me. Haha. It was so precious!

Also, found this blog: http://project365ki.blogspot.com
Interesting food around Korea…I could start one of these.

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