May 5th is Children's Day in Korea. Children's Day here is one of the bigger holidays because it's when young children get many gifts from their parents. Think of it kind of like Christmas for kids in America. There are many events all over the country that are put on specifically for children and a lot of businesses are closed. For our school, that means having a Market Day for the kids! Let me explain...
At Avalon-Langcon Songdo, throughout the school semester, the students have the opportunity to gain stickers every day. The stickers could be for attendance, homework, good behavior, or something else. They LOVE this! Well, right before our three day weekend, we held a Market Day on Thursday for the Tuesday-Thursday students and another Market Day on Friday for the Monday-Wednesday-Friday students. Depending on how long they were here for, the students might have had class that day. But in addition, they all got to play games with other classes for about an hour, and then turn in their stickers for Langcon Dollars. With these dollars, they could buy pencils, notebooks, candy, toys, etc. at the "Market" in our lobby. Thursday was pretty calm since we have fewer students, so we alternated playing games with the kids. These games were Jenga, Shark Bite, Tumbling Monkey, Larva, Pirate Roulette.
Friday was a lot more chaotic since we have soooo many more students on these days. It was a bit different Friday only to maintain some sort of order. Each of the foreign teachers stayed in a room for the majority of the day and had about two games in each. Every twenty minutes, a new batch of 6-10 students would come in and play the games in that room. It was exhausting but I had so much fun! My room played Shark Bite and Halli Galli, which were both huge hits. Needless to say, my room was obviously the most fun! :)
With a public holiday and a three day weekend, tickets to go anywhere are unfortunately no cheaper than usual or are sometimes even more expensive because many people go elsewhere to celebrate. We had a tough time trying to find some things to do.
Saturday, we ended up attending the Great Korean Beer Festival in Seoul! We actually went to the same festival last year, but I was sick so I didn't enjoy the beer to it's maximum potential. Obviously, we had to give it another go. It was much more crowded this time around and the beer was great! Tents lined up, each filled with a brewery, and there was no rhyme or reason to the ones we chose. We ended up getting two beers each, one of which was from Brewery 304. I had the Sopoong Saison while Luke opted for the Houston Stout. His came with a real flower on top - how precious! We also got some On The Border burritos in honor of Cinco De Mayo.
There were Zumba performers all over the place in their cool, hip-hoppy outfits. I can't lie, I really wanted to be up on stage with them and it makes me want to actually get involved in Zumba programs whenever we go back to America. I'm even considering becoming an instructor! We'll see how that goes.
Anyway, we scoped out the area around the festival once we were finished with our beers and surroundings. There was a convention center and there was an outdoor mall which was pretty cool. Of course I hopped into H&M real quick and dragged Luke along. But shortly after, we were heading to our next stop...Itaewon!
Right before we went home, we ate some delicious Japanese Ramen! (At a place called 멘야산다이메 if a reference is needed.) This restaurant has about 12 seats inside, some of which are seated at a "bar" where you can watch the chefs make it in front of you! I ordered Tongkasu Ramen (pork cutlet) and Luke opted for the Black Ramen (spicy!!) - we were both in heaven. Each bowl for about 8,000 Won and we left with full bellies and all smiles!
Our Day Off!
On Monday, the recognized holiday we had off, it was really pretty outside and we wanted to make good use of it. Being the millennials we are, we set out to experiment with some new photo and video ideas that Luke had. He tried out a hyperlapse which is basically a series of shots where you gradually move the camera a little at a time focusing on one thing and when you put them together, it creates what looks like a time lapse. We took my new tripod and headed to the lovely Central Park! It was SO crowded! People were swarming around the canal waiting in line with their life vests to jump on a boat and paddle around the canal. There's a few different boats to choose from but so many things to see. Don't worry though, if you're afraid the sun might get ya, just remember you're in Korea. They got you covered. Literally. There are parasols on just about every boat to shade you on your adventure. Here's a really helpful website that I found that gives ALL details if you ever visit Incheon.
We also learned that there is a foot spa right there at the front of the park! It was PACKED with ajummas and ajashis (old women and men) with their feet dipped into this pool of a spa. We will most definitely be doing this sometime this summer!
Luke found a spot he was inspired by and had me awkwardly pose while he took a series of pictures around me. Was it uncomfortable being stared at in curiosity by Koreans walking by? Yeah, a little. Was it hilarious? That too. But the end result Luke put together was pretty cool! I took a few of him, and he took some more of the cool business buildings in the area. Check out his end result and be awestruck! (And then how goofy he looked making it.)
At the end of the night, on our way home, we found what Luke had been looking to try for weeks now...jjokbal! Jjokbal is a Korean dish of pig legs or pig trotters. I was a bit skeptical at first, but saw a couple videos online and thought it looked pretty good. We went to a place right by our apartment and paid about 30,000 Won for two different kinds. One of which tasted just like a better, juicier version of turkey, while the other had what tasted like a jellylike glaze on top. They were both pretty good and it came with some seaweed soup and banchans. What a successful end to our weekend!