Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Korean Folk Village

Orientation is almost over...thank goodness! It has been a long and exhausting week of lectures upon lectures. The information has been very helpful and useful, so it hasn't been a comoplete waste of time. However, trying to get back into college mode has taken its toll on many of us. But it's not all classes and no play here. On Sunday, we took an EPIK field trip to the Korean Folk Village.

Korean Folk Village entrance
The village was a very interesting and awesome experience. It was really interesting to see how housing has progressed throughout the years. There were also lots of examples of traditional Kroean forms of entertainment. One of the first things that we did was go to the pottery house and decorate some pots. We didn't get to throw them, but had the opportunity to decorate them. We will be receiving our pots on Wednesday to take home with us.

Carving decorations into my pot
 After we finished up our pots, we made our way to a replica temple to witness a traditional wedding ceremony. While none of us knew what was going on, it was still interesting to see how weddings were conducted back in the day. After the wedding ceremony, we headed over to lunch! We had some seafood bibimbap, which was so good!

Seafood Bibimbap

After lunch, we were treated to a tour of the facility by a licensed tour guide. She had some really interesting insights into the village and how it was constructed. Included in the tour was a visit to their torture area and prison. It was pretty eye opening how the Koreans used to treat their prisoners and what types of torture devices they used.

Following the tour, we were treated to an equestrian show, traditional drum performance, and acrobatic tight rope walking. All three performances were very well done and really helped showcase traditional Korean customs. The equestrian show was probably my favorite solely because of the awesome tricks that the riders did while on the horses. From doing jumping off and back on tricks, to ending up riding the horse backwards, to shooting arrows at a target while on the horse, all of the riders were extremely impressive.

The last thing that we took part in was making a rice cake. We went to the convention center and took turns swinging huge hammers while pounding out the ricey dough that was made into the rice cakes. This was a really awesome stress relieving activity and our instructor was a real hoot to listen to, even though none of us really knew what she was saying. She was just so animated and into it that it made it enjoyable.

Getting ready to pound out the rice cake
Overall it was a really great and fun day. The sun was out for one of the first times since I've been here. It was really interesting seeing everyone's reactions to the "heat." I've heard so many complaints about the humidity, which has been maybe around 50%, if that. So after the miserable summer we had back in Iowa, this has been a great relief. When I tell others of where I'm from and what summers are like, their looks are fantastic and has been one of the highlights of my time here so far.

Yesterday (Monday) we FINALLY received our placements and found out what school we were going to be teaching at. I have been placed in the Kang Nam district of Seoul. I will be teaching at the Seoul High School. This is a huge deal. The Seoul High School is one of the most prestigious high schools in all of Seoul. Plus, Kang Nam has been described as the Beverly Hills section of Seoul. I'm so excited to move off campus and into my apartment and really get settled in. This whole suitcase living situation has run it's course to say the least.

Only one more day until the real fun begins...