Monday, May 2, 2011

Dorm life with a divine moment

Facing toward Jeju inside Namsan Tower (though admittedly it was hard to see since it was a couple hundred miles away)

Last time I left you with a teaser for my first trip to Seoul for an orientation. Well I'm hear to report that despite coming 6 months into my contract, the orientation was surprisingly useful and a fantastic experience. Of course the fantastic experience part only had little to do with the classes I attended and a lot to do with the people I attended them with.

I started by flying up a half day early on Thursday night so I could do some sightseeing. Naturally it rained the whole day Friday. Fortunately I still managed to wonder around, find the American district called Itaewon where the military base is located and even buy a can of Wolf Brand Chili. That was good for an amazed but joyful smile.

A pagoda overlooking Seoul from a park I meandered through during lunch one day

When I arrived at orientation I learned there were about 80 teachers, that we would be sharing dorm rooms and that my roommate canceled last minute. I was the only guy with a room to myself. Life is good. I could post a picture of the room here if it weren't a normal boring dorm (but it was). The first few days flew by with some good teaching tips and interesting classroom activities but I'll just hit the highlights

Namsan Tower at night

The first night I went with a mixed group to a local mexican food place. Not bad but unknown to me, better things were in store. After that we walked by a cool outdoor concert and then the group split and I went with my friend Steven to Namsan Tower (pictured above, also called Seoul Tower). Great night views of the city. An excellent first site.

Mexican food attempt number 1. Score compared to average Mexican food abroad 8/10

Of course. Who wouldn't expect to find a Korean with an Afro tap dancing to live music in a park?

An interesting tradition at the base of the tower. Lovers come here and attach locks to the trees and rails with custom messages of devotion written on them and then throw away the key to symbolize their unbreakable love

The Han River, which bisects Seoul, as seen from Namsan Tower

The next day (Saturday) was spent attending classes and making friends from 9am-9:30pm. A couple drinks afterwards and some very entertaining conversation in the dorm's common area rounded out the day (and would become a staple of days to come). Sunday was more of the same. It may have been Easter but we still had class all the live-long day. Still, the other teachers were a superb group, so the experience was still good.

But Monday is when the sublime struck. After another fun day of classes, we were released at 6 to work on a lesson we had to present the next day. Me being me, my partner and I had already finished earlier that afternoon. We decided to go out for dinner. And then someone told me there was an On The Border in Seoul. Of course I had to go. And to my complete and utter shock, it was exactly the same as the one near my house in Dallas. The salsa was spicy. The queso was fantastic. The enchiladas were perfect. The margaritas were strong. It was divine. Ambrosia mixed with Manna from heaven couldn't have tasted better. I could barely speak I was so happy. I just ate and ate until I couldn't take it anymore. That meal was probably the single happiest moment I've had since I moved to Korea.

Real, unfiltered, unaltered Mexican. Score compared to average Mexican food abroad 6,000,000,000/10

For future reference of anyone traveling with me, I will be eating here EVERY SINGLE TIME I am in Seoul from now on.

But wait there's more! Part 2 coming soon

1 comment:

  1. Wow! That was an amazing dorm life you had there. A person's dorm life should be fun like this. The place looks really wonderful. I wish to go there and enjoy it too. Right now, it's impossible.