Monday, January 9, 2012

2012 Kick Off!

Here's a quick run-down of life over the past few weeks:

Christmas Weekend:
On Christmas Eve, I went to the Seoul Arts Center with Emma, Andy, Katie, and her boyfriend Nate to see The Nutcracker. It has kind of become a semi-tradition of mine to see this performance around Christmas time as I worked it numerous times at the Gallagher-Bluedorn up at UNI while I was working as a stagehand. It was definitely neat to see the performance from the audience and not backstage.

The theater was absolutely gorgeous and the performance was very fulfilling! It was different because the Nutcracker was actually dressed more like a jester than the traditional Nutcracker character that I have grown up with, so it did take me a little while to realize that. The performance really made me miss working at the theater and brought back tons of memories. I'm hoping to attend some more shows at the SAC during my remaining time here.




Inside the theater...a little dark but still amazinga discussion
On Christmas Day, I joined up with my friend Mitch for some really good Korean food, then headed over to our friend Megan and Travis' place, where we watched National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. Great movie! Then we all headed to Sinchon and met up with some other people to enjoy a Christmas meal at a restaurant called Yaletown. The dinner consisted of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, mini slider (small cheeseburgers), mac and cheese (complete with broccoli and ham), pumpkin pie, rolls, and unlimited drinks. While it wasn't the same of dinner back home, it was still nice to be surrounded by great friends and enjoying a delicious meal.

New Year's Weekend
For New Year's Eve, a group of us gathered together and went out to eat at a really good Korean restaurant in Sinchon (obviously one of our favorite places to go out at). We had some really good fried rice with chicken and pork and some other traditional Korean dishes (their names escape me at the moment). Afterwards, we headed over to a country western-style bar that some of us discovered during Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving). We spent some time there catching up and playing darts (I beat Emma both time thank you very much! Thank you triple 17!). From there, we headed out to try and find some of our other friends that were at another location in Sinchon. After wandering around the about 20 minutes, we ended up at a small club for the remainder of the night. We were very disappointed that there was no official countdown to the new year, but we still enjoyed ourselves and made the most of it.

Hotel Nox!
This past Saturday night (Jan. 7) was by far one of my favorite during my time here in Seoul. At the Thanksgiving meal back in November, a discussion about party hotel rooms here in Seoul came up. The group of us that were at that meal talked long and hard about this opportunity and decided that we should look into it further and rent one of these rooms for ourselves. Since all of the websites are in Korean and none of us speak Korean, we needed the help of a native speaker. I volunteered to look into as my co-teachers have been super supportive and are always willing to help me out.

The next day at school, I brought this idea up to my co-teachers and they went into a frenzy! They have all heard of these hotels and have always wanted to try them out, but just have never had the chance. Needless to say, they were more than willing to help me out. So after doing a little research and discussions between a few of us, it was decided that would rent the large suite at the Nox Hotel in Yeoksam, in Gangnam-gu, which the richer area of Seoul. One of my co-teachers volunteered to call over the weekend and find out more details for us. Perfect!

On Monday, my co-teacher told me that she had made a reservation for us! Wasn't expecting that! I told her that we didn't even have a solid number of people yet. She told me that I had one day to find 15 friends that wanted to join in on the fun before we would lose our reservation. Challenge accepted. I quickly threw together a Facebook event to 20 people and stated that the first 15 to respond would be included. By the end of the work day, I had my 15! Easy peezy!

So for the low low cost of 900,000 won (approximately $900 or $60/person - total steal!), our room included the following:
- Pool
- Sauna
- Hot Tub
- Karaoke system and full-wall projection
- 2 double beds
- Kitchen with full sized fridge with complimentary drinks (Coke, OJ, water)

Awesome deal!

So the big night finally came and went! We had SOOOO much fun! The room was everything that we could've wanted and more! The only downfall was that the pool wasn't heated. We called down to the front desk multiple times and they said that they would fix it, but it never really happened. Nonetheless, we persevered through that minor setback and had a great time! We enjoyed the hot tub, sauna, and exhausted our voices with the karaoke system! I'm really hoping that we rent another one of these party rooms sometime in the summer before everyone heads in their separate directions. I know that I'd be down for another one!

The pool

Beds

Getting ready for the evening

Andy and I belting out some awesome song rendition I'm sure

The girls enjoying the karaoke!