Adventures of a LuLu

Mischief and Mayhem in East Asia

[ View Guestbook ] [ Sign Guestbook ]
Get a FREE guestbook here!
My Photo
Location: Seoul, South Korea

Steer away from the beaten track and leave a trail for others to follow.


Dodgey Lymeric

There once was a foreigner in Korea
(At whom all Korean men leer).
She teaches English all day
With a substantial pay
-Enough to pay for her beer.



오늘은 날씨가 좋고 제 건강이 나쁘 그래서 대둔산에 갑니다.
Today the weather is good and my heath is bad, so I am going to Daedoon mountain.

First I needed to get the bus to Jeonju, whereupon the taxi driver (and my travel guide) stated that a bus to the mountain leaves every 40 minutes. At Gunsan bus terminal I took a photo of the ticket machine (don't ask me why):

The ticket machine

Right in the middle of the machine is a button for a ticket direct to the moutain. What you don't know is that this bus no longer goes there directly. (So why don't they at least cover the button up?).

When I arrived at Jeonju bus terminal, at 11.30 the woman behind the desk informed me that the next bus is at 2.20pm, leaving me with nearly 3 hours of bordem and the frustration that when I finally get there (journey is 70 minutes) I will not have time to climb it, as originally intended. However, luckily there is a cable car to the top, so I will ride it and walk back down. The mountain is famous for its spectacular views, and its long cable bridge connecting two ridges. Even though I am a vertigo sufferer, I will brave the bridge and take some photographs to prove it. So yes, I have brought my camera with me, and I cannot wait to use it!

I am off to find a cafe to sit in so I can occupy myself for the next hour and a half.


I found a coffee shop just above the bus station. While I drank coffee I studied Korean, after all I had nothing better to do. A little old lady enquired how she can use her mobile to phone a particular number (why did she own one in the first place if she doesn't know how to use it?). After making the phone call, she proceeded with the spanish inquisition that is routine for Koreans when meeting someone knew. In the end I got fed up with her questions, and played my 'Get out of jail-free card': Sorry, I don't understand, I don't speak Korean very well. Instant silence. Except for the complaints about how cold it is (personally, I was quite hot, but she is old after all).

The bus journey took 70 minutes from the bus terminal. I arrived at the foot of the mountain at 3.30pm, and realising that I had no time to climb the mountain on foot, I had no choice but to take the cable car both ways.

The cable car

This is the view of the cable car cable running up the mountain.

The following are taken from inside the cable car:

View from cable car 1

View from cable car 3

View from cable car 2

View from cable car 4

What I love about the mountains in Korea (other than the height and the dramatic inclines) is that even at a great height they are covered in lush-green trees. I was a little disappointed that the view was spoiled by the fact that it was cloudy, but in a sense it added sublime mystery to the landscape that stretched out below me.

Upon disembarking the cable car there was a small fore-court with a cafe. Here I took some more photos of the spectacular view:

From cafe

From cafe

From cafe

From cafe

From cafe

I turned out of the fore court and walked up some steep steps. At the top there was a Buddhist monk stood next to a portable shrine housing a wooden Buddha, hitting a drum (?), asking for money. He kindly let me take a photo of him, though unfortunately it's a little blurred:


He was wearing the lastest fashion in monk is a real monk without them! (At least they were grey!).

To my right I noticed some short trees which looked like the Japanese Bonsai trees...or maybe they were short due to lack of nutrients. Who knows, I really do not know what I am talking about.

small trees

Here I climbed more steps and came upon a sign post: left for the bridge and on to the top, and right for the shortest way to the top. To prove it to myself that I could do it, I choose to do the bridge.

This is the bridge from the side I started at:


These photos I took from the middle of the bridge (whist it was swinging from side to side-nice):

View from bridge

View from bridge

View from bridge

And this the photo I took from the other side, the proof that I walked the full length of the bridge:

Other side

At the end of the bridge was a small viewing point between some rocks. Here I took a photo of the staircase that leads to the summit of the mountain (click on it to enlarge it and get a better idea of EXACTLY how long and steep the staircase is):

Stairs from view point

Did I climb it? No. Why? Have you SEEN how steep those steps are? NO THANKYOU. Yes, that red thing that is practically parallel to the rock face IS the staircase. It was disappointing that I did not have the guts to climb to the top. Going up them would have been ok...its going down when I would have had panic attacks. Then again, the amount of arm-flapping I would have done, I could have flown down.

And finally....

me at cafe

Me, at the cafe having made my way back to the cable car.


Gomdo Show

The following are photos taken with my Gomdo Master's camera. Unfortunately they do not get any bigger than how they are seen on this website. It is taking me a while to send them from his computer to my email so I will add to these at a later date.

Black Belts Waiting...

Black Belts Waiting...
Originally uploaded by Eleruen.
to put on a show and to be tested. Behind them is everyone else (the lower belts). I really like the white version of the outfits.

Sa Bo Nims

Sa Bo Nims
Originally uploaded by Eleruen.
From front to back, Kim Sa Bo Nim, Wang Sa Bo Nim, and the Sa Bo Nim from the Miryong Dojang (whose name escapes me) simultaneously slice through the bamboo to an amazed crowd. Looking at this photo, I definately underestimated how many people were watching.

Black Belt...

Originally uploaded by Eleruen.
The black belt prepares to swing and slice though the bamboo, as part of the show.

Black Belt

Originally uploaded by Eleruen.
The black belt successfully cuts through the bamboo. Its a lot harder than it looks.

Gomdo Master

Gomdo Master
Originally uploaded by Eleruen.
My Gomdo Master Ee Sok-jae jumping thought the air as he brings his sword down to slice though the bamboo.

My Life 1

Teachers Day
Originally uploaded by Eleruen.

The next series of photo blogs is a mini documentary: a day in the life of Lulu. Yesterday my camera arrived ( I bought it on the internet for half the price in the shops). The following are my camera's virgin photos. I will probably post some more on the same theme at a later date. You can see a larger version of these photos by left-clicking on them.

I will kick-start this with a photo of my Teacher's Day gifts (15th May). Apparently, the children give gifts to their school teachers rather than their academy teachers, as really the holiday is for them and not us. I was lucky that my Boss granted us all the day off the following Monday, and that I received a couple of presents from appreciative students. The rose was given to me by 'Ben' in my 5B class, the Jasmine shower gel by 'Christina' in 5A, and the box of snacks by another student in the same class, because "you are always hungry, teacher!" Cute!

My building

My building
Originally uploaded by Eleruen.
This is the steps leading up to the first floor (or ground floor in England) which is the floor my apartment is on. It took The Boss 2 weeks to get round to putting some blinds up so I can have some privacy. However, living on the first floor is very convenient after a night out!

Sekyong Apartments

Sekyong Apt
Originally uploaded by Eleruen.
This is a view of some of the apartment buildings in my apartment block 'Sekyong'. There is a red "don't park here" sign in the distance, which Choo-young routinely ignores by parking right next to it. I am amazed that so far he has escaped being clamped. To the right is a multi-storey carpark.


Originally uploaded by Eleruen.
This is the front enterance to the supermarket which is right next to Sekyong apartments. Buildings tend to have several seperate shops/businesses in them; this has a bank, a supermarket, a pet shop, a clothes shop and so forth all in the same building.

View of Another Street

View of Street
Originally uploaded by Eleruen.
This is a general picture of part of the huge crossroads near my apartment, and next to the supermarket. Apart from the crossroads this view is very typical of a street in a small city in Korea. In fact, in the larger cities the streets are just bigger versions. The street system is based on the US; The road are dead straight, forming blocks, rather than the meandering roads you get in England.

Boss and Car

Boss and Car
Originally uploaded by Eleruen.
This is the super long crossing that I transverse everytime I walk to work and back. By happy co incidence, that posh car parked outside the bank on the other side is my boss' car, and that's him getting back inside it. To the left of the crossing is the street that takes me to my academy.

Fruit Stall

Fruit stall
Originally uploaded by Eleruen.
Upon crossing the street, immediately to my left there is a fruit stall, which is there on most days. The stall keeper was kind enough to pose for me (in fact, he seemed to quite enjoy it). The yellow fruit is that strange variety of melon that was mentioned a few weeks back. Market stalls and supermarkets alike will not allow you to buy just one or two pieces of fruit. This is great if you have a family to feed (and Koreans do, they never live alone)but expensive if you live alone. Even in the fridge, you are lucky for the fruit to last past 4 days.

Street on the way to work

Street on the way to work
Originally uploaded by Eleruen.
This the street on the way to work, upon crossing at the big crossroads you saw earlier. To the left of me is the internet cafe. I walk 4 minutes down this street and then 1 minute along a left side street to get to my Academy. That white car in the middle of the road is not moving, its just sat there, blocking the other drivers. This is typical of Korean driving style.

Pc Bang/keyboard

Pc Bang/keyboard
Originally uploaded by Eleruen.
On the way to work I usually spend around 30 minutes at the internet cafe, checking my emails and so forth. I just thought I would enlighten people back at home on Korean keyboards. Unlike Chinese and Japanese, Korean has an alphabet (Hangeul) thus Korean keyboards have both roman letters and hangeul letters on each key. There is a special key at the bottom next to the space bar that allows the user to switch between the two.

Side View of Hagwon

Originally uploaded by Eleruen.
As I walk down the street towards my hagwon, I approach the building from the side; this my first view of my hagwon, with bus parked in front, used to pick up the students from their homes. A little further along the street and immediately turning right is my Gomdo Dojan.

Front Enterance of my Hagwon

Originally uploaded by Eleruen.

The double doors are the front enterance to the academy. The director keeps these doors flung wide open, even in the depths of winter when day temperature is -5 (night around -15)and the ground has several inches of snow. On the blue background in white letters it says "Ch'eong T'ap Hagwon", the name of my academy. In the yellow writing it says 'foreign language', and either 'casual work, or 'last hour of the day', as the word has two meanings. I am not sure which one it is as they are both relevent: the academy stays open until 11.45, and academy teaching is casual labour for the Koreans (or so Korean friends tell me). Below is an image of a happy middle-aged foreign teacher surrounded by enthusiastic-looking foreign students; inappropriate seeing as :

a)the students are Korean
b)both teachers and students are far from happy.

Gomdo Master

Gomdo Master
Originally uploaded by Eleruen.
Immediately after work I go to Gomdo (9.15). This is Ee Sok Jae, studying from his English study book. I chose Side by Side for him, as this is the series of books I use on my 1-1 students, and have seen a rapid improvement in their speaking ability. We exchange services: English tuition for Gomdo tuition (though he is getting the better end of the deal). The last time I posted a photo of him he was tipsy; I thought it would be nice to have one of him sober.

The 1000 Cuts Exercise

The 1000 Cuts Exercise
Originally uploaded by Eleruen.
This is a photo of the last class on a Friday doing the 1000 overhead cuts exercise. Yes it really is 1000 cuts. That's Kim Sa Bon keeping count, but not actually performing them himself.


I Don't Believe It!

Last Sunday I had my Gomdo test, for my blue belt. This time it was a really big event, set next to Eunpa lake, with the the number 1 sword dancer in South Korea attending (apparently very famous). Two Gomdo groups were there, Naun-dong and Miryong-dong, and many people had been practicing to put on a show. Unfortunately I didn't have a camera, so I may use my Gomdo Masters photos at a later date.

All ready feeling nervous, a friend of mine added to it by driving away with my sword and outfit in his car (even though I told him that they were in there and not to drive away). It took him 40 minutes to turn up with my necessary belongings, just in time for me to dive into the public toilets, throw on my outfit, grab my sword, and run to my place.

When it was my turn to take the test, I joined 5 others and waited for the instructions, blocking out the over 100 pairs of eyes watching me and the TV camera pointing at me in anticipation. Earlier that week my Gomdo master, with the aid of a list pointed out that I was to do number 2 followed by number 4 for my test. As I stood there my heart thundered in my chest as the I ran through the sequence in my mind.

Suddenly "Sa-bon!" (number 4) pierced the air. I was convinced this meant "number 4" but I remembered what my master had told me. Assuming that because I am not a native-speaker therefore must have mis-heard, I started with the first 3 movements of number 2. Immediately I realised that everyone else was doing number 4; I felt embarrassed and humiliated, the only foreigner amongst Koreans, with the number 1 sword dancer amongst them. I had to stop and wait for everyone to finish.

When they were done, my Gomdo master ran over to the main examiners (ONLY the best Gomdo masters in the province) and requested that I get a second chance. Permission granted, I prepared to take the test again, ALONE. Compressing my anger as much as was humanly possible, I took up the 'chariot' stance ready to begin again. Once more I had to focus on myself and become oblivious to everyone and everything around me.

"Sa-bon"! penetrated my ears. Remove sword, one step forward, run with left foot forward and left block, and so-do-sae with right leg forward and straight over-head cut. Pull back into pyonce with left side block, and lunge forward into repeat of same so-do-sae, swing round 180 into pyonce and overhead right-block, then step forward into kenja. Brief pause then pull pack into pyonce and left side block, and then lung forward again into so-do-sae and upwards right diagonal cut. Twist sword 180 and swing back down into left diagonal cut as I make the pyonce position. Turn round 90 to the right, left (?) over-head block, lunge into so-do-se with left foot forward and diagonal downwards cut. Twist body 180 and (pial-to?) with left leg outstetched straight behind me and right leg bent and forward, to give power to the upward right diagonal cut. Jump up briefly with left overhead block, and then still blocking turn 360, into left so-do-sae. Next turn 270, this time starting with sword and left arm crossed across my chest and slowly out stretch both, pointing with left index and middle finger. Turn 90, thrust sword forward into heart of imaginary opponant, and spin sword forward through fingers and swing back to (imaginary) case, wipe, and put back inside case.

Knowing that due to my rising anger I messed up spinning the sword, I quickly bowed "Hae-dong" to both the examiner and the crowd, and walked off to a smattering of applause. I was so frustrated by the situation, after thanking Bobby and Mark for coming to watch, I chose to make a sharp exit. However since I have regretted this and I wished I had stayed; I missed the best shows including the one from the sword dancer.

Today I went to Gomdo and donned my green belt, expecting to have failed the test. When it was my turn to train Wang Sa Bo walked me to the office and pulled out a blue belt. "you passed!" he said with a big smile. " man-0-chon Won ieyo" (That's W15, 000 please).


Little Red Riding Hood

Originally uploaded by LML.
This week I deviated from the curriculum books (shock horror) and treated my 9 year olds to a story. The Boss insists I just parrot from the books and get them to role-play from them, but this time I wanted to do something different. I took phrases from their current book and a previous story book (The Three Little Lambs...they no longer study stories) and created "Little Red Riding Hood." Arguements erupted over which parts to play, but we managed to have a good time. They loved it and really threw themselves into their respective parts. At the end of the lesson, I felt very proud of them all.

Little Red Riding Hood: Hello Mom, how are you?

Mom: Fine thankyou. How about you?

Little Red Riding Hood: OK, thanks.
What are you doing?

Mom: I am making a cake.
Give it to Grandma.

Little Red Riding Hood: Ok, Mom.

Wolf:I am so hungry.
I will go to Grandma's house and eat her.


Wolf:I am so hungry.
I see Little Red Riding Hood.
I will put on Grandma's clothes.

Little Red Riding Hood:Hello Grandma!

Wolf: Hi Little Red Riding Hood.
How are you?

Little Red Riding Hood: Fine thankyou, Grandma.
How about you?

Wolf: Not so good, I have a fever.

Little Red Riding Hood: Here is some cake.

Wolf: Thankyou.

Little Red Riding Hood: Grandma, you have big eyes!

Wolf: So I can see you.

Little Red Riding Hood:Grandma, you have big ears!

Wolf: So I can hear you.

Little Red Riding Hood: Grandma, you have big teeth!

Wolf: So I can eat you!!!

Little Red Riding Hood: AAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!! (Runs away)

Man:I will kill him!

(The wolf is dead).
(Grandma climbs out of Wolf's stomach)

Little Red Riding Hood: Hello Grandma, how are you?
Grandma: Not so good. How about you?
Little Red Riding Hood: Very well, thanks.



Gomdo Test

On sunday I have another Gomdo test, by Eunpa lake. Some of the Gomdo trainees have been practicing hard ready to put on a show. The two Sa Bo Nim's will also be sparring, which so far looks absolutely breath-taking.

Wish me luck!


Oh God, It's her!

Today I went to the bank to transfer a healthy sum of money to my English account. Normally my trip to the bank is never easy...I speak only basic level Korean, and their English level is even lower. A simple desposit of my monthly wages (paid to me in a combination of cash and cheques) can cause quite a cafuffle, and attending to me takes twice as long as serving everyone else. To the bank workers, I am a headache.

This time when I walked through the rotating door into the main waiting area, I was greeted with the obligitory smile and bow, but the smile was strained and the eyes wide with slight panic "Oh God, it's HER again". I dived into my bag and pulled out my Han-Yeong/Yoeng-Han dictionary. After riffling swiftly through the pages I found the word I needed. I then took my Korean bank book in one hand, my HSBC cheque book in the other, and with the appropriate motion said "Jeonhwan"/transfer slowly and deliberately (to avoid bad pronunciation).

The attendant twigged what I wanted and rushed me over to another desk. Here I filled out form, half in Roman letters and half in Hangul, but when I got to 'bank number' I ran into problems. Of course, the Koreans use American terminology and not English. I wondered if this is the same as 'sort-code' but the attendant tried to tell me that I did not need to write the sort code. With the help of my dictionary I argued that the sort-code is very important. Another attendant scurried over to try and help, and pointed to a table on the back of the form. Here it had all the different terminologies from the different English-speaking countries. 'Bank number' was indeed 'sort-code'.

So after all that hassle, I finally completed the form and for a small fee began the process of transferring the money. It's no wonder the look of disappointment everytime I walk through the door.


It's official

You know you are becoming Korean when:

  1. You can no longer look at Hangul and not automatically read it (just like English), no matter how hard you try not to.
  2. You know more than 5 ways as to how to prepare Kimchi
  3. You mutter to yourself in Korean
  4. You no longer care about not waiting for the person in front of the queue to collect their change and gather their purchases.
  5. Noraebang is the highlight of a night-out
  6. You run around panicking
  7. You bow when you say hello and goodbye, even to foreigners.
  8. You spend far too long at the PC bang
  9. You swap food with strangers at a neighbouring table.
  10. You become obsessed with "kind-heart" as a important character trait in a friend or boyfriend (though I think this has always been important to me).

Why I love my colleague

I use playing cards as a way to encourage conversation with my 1-to-1 students. Tuesday I accidently left a playing card in one of the classrooms at hagwon. One of my students found it and gave it to my colleague.The next day my student told me that she had found my playing card. After class, I asked my colleague if she had my card. She burst out laughing.

"I put the card in the garbage" she spluttered. "I'm so sorry" she gasped.
I stared at here open-mouthed.
"Do you need it?" she asked.
"Yes." I replied. "I need all of my cards. With one missing I can't play with them".
She looked at me sheepishly.
" I could get it back for you..." she suggested. "It's a little dirty but....wait a minute...." she shot out of the office and began to rummage through the rubbish. I ran after her.
"No no! Please, its OK." I said. "It will be dirty, don't worry about it".
"Where can I buy a new pack?" I enquired.
"I don't know, maybe a stationary store?" she considered. "I don't know" was her final conclusion.

Great. So despite cards being popular in Korea, even the Koreans in their own country don't where to buy them.

I am off to stationary store to buy a new pack...


Just found this namesake.


Dance Monkey, Dance!

Originally uploaded by LML.

Well, what can I say.

I have spent the past couple of hours browsing hagwon blacklists, ESL Teacher forums and ESL Law forums (not the first time I have done this) to find that there are so many mis-treated foreign teachers out There. Not being paid on time, or at all, apartments falling to pieces, no breaks, being made to work illegally etc. Many are genuine, and are in a similar situation to myself.

However, what really gets me is when foreign teachers complain "that they only get one break...A lunch break for 50 min in 6/7 hours" and "my school is treating me really badly...They will only give me one month to see my family between contracts, and not two".

I'm sorry but you need to take Korean culture into account. The former is fortunate they are getting a break at all...I get no breaks, and 5 min in between each class which allow me to walk from one classroom to the next. At least their hagwon is keeping within the law by giving them a break. The latter is extremely lucky that they are getting time in between contract at all, and the bosses are not obliged to do so (as far as I am aware-correct me if I am wrong). Afterall, the boss has a business to run, and the other teachers will really feel the strain in the absence of that teacher for such a long period of time. These teachers in my opinion are unrealistic to expect more than what the culture and law allows, and completely naive. If they don't like it, GO HOME. You are not in Canada/America/wherever, you are IN KOREA. If you are being treated humanely, then don't complain (although admittedly we all have differing ideas about humanity). Many teachers come here to experience another culture...Well here it is. They have to take the rough with the smooth.

The majority of hagwons are disorganised and poorly run...Koreans as a people while are smart in many ways, have difficulty planning ahead. Bosses are money hungry and don't care about the education. What they don't realise is that if they showed an interest in their students their business will be more successful due to less turn-over and a rise in student numbers. Many foreign teachers are not real teachers...They are a circus performance. The boss can advertise that they have "waygookil"/foreigner in their hagwon, "don't we look good" and then don't care about the standard of education the children are getting. There is no direction from the top whatsoever, no structure or curriculum in the education they receive, and meanwhile parents are paying through the nose. Also, if they treated their employees with respect, they will keep their staff, and the hagwon will not end up on the black-list. (However, luckily on these blacklists there is opportunity to defend a hagwon if another employee feels that the person who put the hagwon on the list is exaggerating).

Some teachers are genuine in their concern for their student's education. They want to do their best, and walk away knowing that they have made a difference. However, the situation they are in will not allow for this: no preparation time, no books or materials, no direction from the top and little or no team-work/co operation from Korean colleagues. The foreign teacher is there to make the place look good, and not much more. Dance monkey, dance. Say anything, do anything, entertain the crowd.

As a result of all this, Choo young and I have learned from others mistakes and are determined to set up the best hagwon in the city. The staff will be treated fairly, there will be co-operation between Korean/foreign teachers, a curriculum, the hagwon will be comfortable etc. We will chose our staff carefully, explain the culture in the foreign-teacher interviews (and how our hagwon is therefore more western in its organisation), so that the teacher does not take a midnight flight and leave us high and dry. Luckily Choo-young is as concerned about all of this as I am... Of course we want to make as much money as we can, but there is a balance to be struck between this and the standard of education.

I know that I have made a few controversial comments on this blog, and I am open to critisim. But I feel that something needs to be said, about attitudes of both hagwon owners and foreign teachers.


Lead Singer...Me?

This week (5 May) was Children's Day, and a National Holiday. The boss shocked me by providing McDonald's for all the Elementary kids the day before. I of course didn't give them anything for the normal reasons...150 kids etc.

Last night I went out again and introduced Matt and Marc to my crowd. Maria's birthday celebrations were still going on and we walked into the bar to a large crowd sat around 3 tables. The BFP made an appearance twice that evening due to another birthday celebration at a neighbouring table.

At one point I got chatting to Ed about his band, and he tried to explain the kind of music that they want to play...Blues. I told him that I don't know any blues songs, except one "God Bless the Child". He didn't know it, so I sang part of it to jog his memory. He still didn't know it, but to my astonishment he promptly asked me to be the lead singer in his band, as apparently they are looking for someone. I wasn't sure, but agreed to do it until "they find someone better" because I really am not particularly good. They have an agreement with one of the bars here in Gunsan, so if this goes ahead I will definitely be performing publicly.

Today I gave him a list of songs that I believe I might be able to pull off...Needless to say, out of the 16 I have suggested only 4 of them are even remotely blues.


Stop Thief!!!

I bumped into Joel a couple of days ago and complained yet again about absence of photographic technology. He kindly offered for me to "steal" some of his photos from his website. I was rather jealous of the ones he took of the cherry blossoms when they were in full bloom, so here they are:

Eunpa Cherry Blossoms

The road by Eunpa lake, stretching under a canopy of blossom trees.

Eunpa Cherry Blossoms 2

Eunpa Cherry Blossoms  3

Cherry blossoms close-up


My Gomdo master has suggested that if I come back to Korea, that maybe if I train hard enough I could become a Sa Boo Nim. Not bloomin' likely. Besides there would be too much hassle with immigration..There is no visa that I am aware of that will allow me to do this.

Job opportunity in Korea number 4 and counting.



This weekend has been rather...wet. Saturday I went to Gwangju, the principal city in the province below mine in the hope of buying some Korean paintings. I spent 3 hours wandering around trying to find this specific street (Art Street) as many Koreans didn't know where it was, including the taxi drivers. I went to the tourist information office, who could do no more than tell which bus to get on, and to look out for a particular Girls High School. Despite keeping my eyes peeled, I did not see a roadsign for the school (schools are always signposted) and ended up out in the sticks at the intracity bus terminal. 20 minutes later I was able to flag down a bus, and got off at some shopping streets that I spotted on the previous bus. I wandered around the streets and eventually asked a mobile phone shop assistant for directions. He drew me a map which proved to be useless (probably due to my impatience and stupidity). While all this was happening it was, bucketing. My umbrella did little to prevent me from getting absolutely drenched from head to toe.

At 6.30 I got throughly fed up and went home, anxious to be back in good time to celebrate my friend's birthday. The evening was fun and entertaining, I met an interesting Canadian, who was a thespian as well as an English teacher. However I didn't stay long, so after 3 shots of soju I went home to bed.

The next day (Sunday) I went to Wolmyeong Park to play badminton with KNC Hagwon boss and Matt, and faced more concern and critism (from boss) over my flailing health. What makes matters worse I am not used to intense excercise at 25 ㅇC. After badminton I went to a tradition Soolchip (bar) with a low roof made of mud and rudimentary wooden furniture. I felt like a hobbit. The owner was dressed in traditional clothing and sang a Pansori, which I really enjoyed. (I want to go there again, when I have a camera!).

After listening to the pansori, the denist used a strange method to determine which food is good for my health. My left forefinger was placed between my eyes and my right little finger and thumb where brought together. He tried to prise them apart, which was impossible. Next he made me turn my left forefinger the other way round. This time my finger and thumb were easy to pull apart. The "test" being satisfactory, my left hand was placed over different foods that were on the table. If my thumb and finger were easy to pull apart, the food is bad for me, if if was difficult, the food is good for me. That day, bread, Kimchi, soju and carrots were good for me, while most of the Korean foods were bad for me. He next did this to his friend. At first the initial test did not work, but after removing his watch and taking his phone out of his pocket, he passed the test. It was all very seems to work using electromagnetic waves of some kind, but I could not work out what or how.

At my suggestion, we all went to the Noraebang, and a Korean friend of mine joined us. After noraebang my friend and I went back to mine for pizza and a video, where he told me that he wants to be my seems that the language barrier does not put him off, so I am very wary of his intentions.


My life is at a cross roads...probably the biggest one I have encountered so far. It is likely that Choo-young/Frank and I will set up a hagwon of our own. The more we talk about it and explore the options and obstacles, the more it seems viable. If I go ahead with this, it means that I will be based here for the rest of my life. If the business is successful (and it probably will be) I will get more job satisfaction and more money than I can ever dream of working for someone else. Choo-young feels the same way. It would be extremely stressful, but worth it I think. With the money I earn I will be able to fly back to England more regularly, and be able to pay for peoples flights when they come to visit me. Choo-young's family are very positive about this (esp his brother in law who used to own a business).

His brother-in-law wants to put some money towards it and drive the bus to pick up the students, his sister wants to man the reception desk and Choo-young feels that he may be able to recruit some Korean English teachers from fellow English students. Meanwhile I am spreading the word amongst my colleagues , ex-colleagues and friends, so they have the option of working for me if they choose. It saves advertising fees...but we will probably need to advertise anyway. I also need to find out what kind of visa I need to set up my own business. There so much to do, it makes my brain ache!