Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Photo A Day: January 22-31

Jan 22 - I made some homemade chicken noodle soup today. It was a cold day, and I need to eat soft foods because of my mouth.
Jan 23 - A bolgogi welcome dinner for Alison Kathleen LaFave! Also Happy Lunar New Year!
Jan 24 - Showing Alison around Gunpo! 
Jan 25 - They have the little exercising things all over Korea that has no resistance to them but you always see Koreans using them. I decided to get a bit of a workout before I go to work!
Jan 26 - Eating some Pho! Alison and I shared a large bowl of brisket pho and we were still unable to finish one of those. The tea they gave us was also really good.
Jan 27 - Making some meat for mine and Alison's bulgogi dinner. This is my favorite restaurant in Korea so far!
Jan 28 - Korean's spell English words really well. The blue card says "Especilly For You!", the pink one says "Specil For You!" and the green one says "Especielly For You!" 
Jan 29 - Today Alison and I went to Gyeongbokgung. It was the first time I went to a Palace and it was Alison's first experience in Seoul. We wanted to do a jumping picture at a different spot but with self timer it was hard to do. We found stairs that we were able to jump from though, so it worked out well. 
Jan 30 - My awesome mom sent me a care package with these teas in it. Both of which are good! 
Jan 31 - I'm covered in snow from the walk home today. It is really coming down. I also attempted to make a small snowman on my way home, but the snow is too dry that it won't pack together. :'( But I am still super happy it is snowing! :D

Sunday, January 29, 2012


I went to my first palace here in Korea. Gyeongbokgung is the most famous one in Seoul, it is also the most photographed. The palace was first constructed in 1394 and was reconstructed in 1867. It was the main and the largest palace in the Joseon Dynasty. Gyeongbokgung translates to "Palace of Shining Happiness."

It was cold when we went, but it wasn't very crowded. We were able to wander around freely and not have to worry about crowds. There were also two artificial islands that were created withing the palace grounds, and the lakes surrounding the islands were frozen over. There was also some snow left over in the shady sections from when it snowed a couple days ago.

The whole entire place was gorgeous. It was very big too. I could easily get lost within in. It felt a bit like a labyrinth. The architecture of the buildings were absolutely beautiful, as well as the detail on the buildings. All the trees were bare from the cold, but I could only imagine what it would look like in the spring and fall, with all the trees full of color.

We got there just in time for the changing of the guard ceremony
Alison and I in front of one of the gates.
This is Geunjeongjeon (Throne Hall)
Hwangwonjeong Pavillion
Gyeonghoeru (Royal Banquet Hall)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Welcome to Korea Alison!

A couple months back, my boss asked me if I knew of any friends who wanted to come and work in Korea. So I asked around on Facebook and my friend Alison was interested. She talked to my boss and he hired her. I was really excited because I was going to have a friend from home, not only come to Korea, but also work at the same school as me.

So she arrived in Korea yesterday and we took her out to a bulgogi dinner. She will be staying at my apartment until the teacher she is replacing leaves. Then today, I took her around Sanbon and showed her the area.

Our first picture together, and will most certainly not be our last!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Implant and Wisdom Tooth!

On Wednesday, I got my implant put into my mouth, now I just have to wait six months for it to fully heal and insert the crown.

Here is my x-ray after the implant. 
Then yesterday, I got my bottom right wisdom tooth taken out. I am happy that I am able to feel the pain and what not. The dentist said it was going to be a difficult procedure because of how close it is to the nerve. So I am happy I have no nerve damage. Now I am going to be in pain for awhile.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Photo A Day: January 15-21

Jan 15 - I found this recipe on Pinterest awhile back and have been wanting to try it out. It is a recipe for Apple Pie baked in an apple. It turned out really well and its good.
Jan 16 - One of my favorite students from my 1st-3rd grade classes. Her name is Lucia and she is absolutely adorable.
Jan 17 - I got a tooth implant today. They let me take a picture of the after x-ray. Now my mouth hurts and it will take 6 months to heal. Good thing they gave me 10 days worth of pain medicine.
Jan 18 - This is a restaurant that I go to near by my apartment to get take-out whenever I am really hungry and don't want to wait to cook food, or when I am too lazy to cook. I usually always get the same thing to, the Sogogi Dookbaegim which is soup with beef, vegetables, and noodles. Today was one of those day that I got take-out!
Jan 19 - Birthday lunch at school today. Happy Birthday Annie and Plateo!
Jan 20 - We celebrated the Lunar New Years at school today. All the little kiddies came to school in their cute little hanboks. We also played some traditional Korean games. It was a very long and fun day!
Jan 21 - I got my lower right wisdom tooth removed today. My cheek is slightly swollen. I was really nervous, because the tooth was very close to my nerve and the possibility of having nerve damage that can last 6 months. Well, It's been several hours and I can feel my face and the pain. YAY, no nerve damage. I will be getting my lower left one taken out next weekend.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Korean New Year!!!

Today at school we celebrated the Lunar New Year with the kindergarten class. That meant I was able to dress up in my hanbok again. The kids all looked so adorable as always with their cute little hanboks on as well.

The kids first bowed to Sione and Sarah (the are the owners of the hagwon), then the kids bowed to the foreign teachers, and lastly they bowed to the Korean teachers. After they bowed, we would give them each a little treat. After the bowing was finished, we had a session of photo taking of all the kids. Then we made some sweet potato dumplings. This was basically the kids rolling mashed sweet potatoes into a ball and then rolling it into a cookie crumble. 

After snack time, the kids then played some traditional Korean games. The games were similar to the ones we played during Chuseok. We also played hopscotch too. They play a slightly different version then the one I am used to in the states, but it was still fun. They also played this game called Yunnori, which is a traditional board game played with four sticks. Instead of playing with the sticks, the children were representing the sticks. It was quite funny to watch. 

For lunch we had this soup called Tteokguk. The Korean New Year is also a birthday celebration for Koreans and so when you are finished eating the soup you are a year older. The Korean's have a different aging system then the rest of the world, where you don't turn a year older on your birthday, but on the New Year. 

This was my group for the day!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Photo A Day: January 8-14

Jan 8 - My new roommate. His name is George-Michael. Emily I thought Maeby needed a friend, even if they are thousands of miles a part and one is a fish while the other is a cat.
Jan 9 - A delicious chocolate covered waffle. YUM! Koreans love them some waffels, and I have to admit, I do to!
Jan 10 - Me with the boys of my kindergarten class. They are all so cute. I love Leo's expression. He's always so straight faced when he is taking photos.
Jan 11 - Some instant coffee, Carmel macchiato, when I need a small caffeine boost.
Jan 12 - I <3 Snow! It snowed today and I got to walk home in the snow after work. YAY!
Jan 13 - Today the kindergarten class went "sledding" (more like tubing on snow). It was really fun. The place we went makes their own snow to create the snow hill, so we were able to play in the snow for a little while.
Jan 14 - Some late Christmas celebration! I made the gingerbread house and we tried very hard to make it stay with the icing. It turned out it was taking a long time for the icing to dry so we ended up using a hot glue gun to keep it together.

Christmas in January!

So me and my friend Minju have been wanting to do some traditional Christmas activities, but we were both busy during the holidays. We first met up in Itaewon to buy some baking goods. We also had lunch at this delicious kebab place. It is right when you exit one of the Itaewon subway exits. After we were done in Itaewon we headed back to Sanbon. My friends from home sent my a box of funfetti cake mix, so we made some of that. Yum! While the cake was baking, we started constructing out gingerbread houses. While we were making the gingerbread houses we watch the movie Elf. Then after we were done with the cake, and the gingerbread houses, we went to see the movie Puss in Boots 3D, where we had caramel popcorn. It was a very fun day filled with sugar!

My Gingerbread House
Minju's Gingerbread House
Our gingerbread houses together

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Photo A Day: January 1-7

So, I decided that for 2012 I will take a photo each day.  So here is the first post for 2012.

Jan 1 - All my Christmas cards from friends, family, and students. Thank you for thinking of me when I am so far from home. It meant a lot to me!
Jan 2 - Watchin one of my favorite BBC dramas. The new season of Sherlock started again. I am very excited for it to be back. Too bad it is only three episodes long. 
Jan 3 - The first snow of 2012! I <3 the snow but am sad I was only able to look at the snow from my classroom window.
Jan 4 - Coffee from this cute little coffee shop near my school that opened about a month ago. The coffee is cheap and its good!
Jan 5 - All bundled up for a freezing cold winters day. It is -11 degrees C right now, which is about 12 degrees F.
Jan 6 - Sweet Potato Chips! Yum! These are super good. They will be one thing that I miss about Korea when I leave.
Jan 7 - A beautiful view of Han River. Today was very cold and when I was on the metro, I could see ice on the top of the river. Brrr!

Experiencing Medical Tourism and 4D

My senior seminar at university was about the study of tourism from an anthropologists point of view. In the class, we talked about medical tourism. Medical tourism is basically a person going to another country to have some sort of medical procedure. The medical procedure can range from anything: give birth, cosmetic surgery, dental surgery, etc. When we talked about it in class, I never thought that I myself would ever participate in it. 

Today, that all changed. I started the process of getting three different procedures. Korea is apparently listed as a hot destination for medical tourism, according to CNN.com. And its no wonder because it is so cheap to do a lot of procedures, especially compared to the prices in the states.

I first went to an English speaking dentist in Seoul. My wisdom tooth on the bottom right of my mouth was bothering me this last week and decided it was about time to get them all removed. I also wanted to look into getting a tooth implant. I lost a tooth in the front part of my mouth when I was younger, and ever since I had braces and now a retainer, I've had a fake tooth on the wire. I don't like having to wear a retainer all the time and an implant in the states costs a couple thousand dollars, so I never got one. At the dentist, they did an x-ray of my mouth. To get my wisdom teeth removed, I actually have to go to a University hospital to get the surgically removed. They are impacted and part of the bone needs to be trimmed to remove them. There is a hospital about a 5 min walk from where I live, so I will be going to them to get it done. I have health insurance here in Korea, so it won't cost me very much at all. It will probably be about  30,000 to  50,000 (~$30-$50) per tooth. In the states, it would cost $300-$500 for the procedure. 

The second thing that I sought out the dentist for, was about an implant. He looked at my x-ray and the procedure would cost  1.8 million (~$1,500). This includes the bone graft, the implant, and the tooth. It covers everything. In the states, this procedure would cost me $2,000 - $4,000. What is also nice about getting this done is the dentist lets the you pay it off in payments. That way I won't have to blow my entire paycheck. I will start the procedure next Saturday, where I will only have to pay 50. The entire procedure will take about 6 months because of the all of the steps it takes to get it done and for the healing. 

My next procedure is a cosmetic one. Some of my co-teacher talked about how they have gone to a dermatologist to get laser hair removal done, especially because it is so cheap to get it done here. I decided I wanted to get laser hair removal done on my armpits. It takes a couple sessions to get all the hair removed, so today I had my first one. The first put on a numbing solution  kept it on for half an hour. After that, I got the procedure done. I'm not exactly sure how to explain it. He did it several times on each arm pit because he would start from the top and work hi way done, doing it by section. It kind of felt like a small electric shock. It didn't hurt, I think I over thought about the pain but it wasn't that bad at all, I feel like tweezing is worst. I will have my next session in the next 1-3 months. 

So that has been my experiences so far with being a "medical tourist." I will hopefully be getting my wisdom teeth removed here soon, but I won't be able to talk for about 4 days so I need to schedule it at the right time. Also after I did all of this, I went to see my first 4D movie. Although the movie itself was in 2D, I was able to experience the 4D part of it. Basically with 4D, the chairs move around with the motion of the movie, there is wind blowing in your face, and the chair you are sitting it has features to it. I saw the new Mission Impossible movie, and so when someone fell or got shot, the chair would make it seem like you fell down or was shot. It was interesting, the next time I'll will see movie that is in 3D as well  as get the 4D effect.