Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Jinhae cherry blossom festival

One Sunday we took a bus up to jinhae to go to the cherry blossom festival. As most of you have seen from my facebook photos, the cherry blossoms in Spring in Korea are sooooo pretty! They are everywhere and it completely transforms this drab looking grey wintery city into a little spring in itself. 
However the cherry blossoms did arrive very early this year so when we got to jinhae they were already falling down and more were on the floor than on the trees but it was still a pretty sight! WE also arrived just in time to see the parade that goes through the down, I think it is done by the members of the Korean army and navy.
The town of Jinhae itself was also a great experience, I never knew such friendly Korean people existed! We were carted into almost every coffee shop and food store in sight to come and sample some kind of treat and get asked all the usual ‘where are you from?’ ‘Why are you in korea?’ questions.
There were huge tents with all sorts of food displayed, some of the stranger were stuffed squid, pigs feet and whale. Yes, whale! Now I have tried every kind of creepy crawly this country has to offer from bugs to chicken feet to intestines but WHALE is one thing I just cannot bring myself to try. If anything I think it’s more of a matter of principal than anything else, I think killing whales is just unbelievably sad! And from the way Koreans treat animals I am gonna say it’s pretty much a given that they are not killed in a very nice humane way. 
Anyways here are some photos to follow. 


Liz and Katy found Hoola hoops

tiny little tea shop we found along the way :)
Beautiful tea cups and tea pots 
Pork spit

Stuffed squid

Cherry blossoms falling to the floor


So I have always wanted to go skydiving and was supposed to do it when I went home in January but my funds decreased a lot quicker than I expected haha. So anyways I then decided since its soooo expensive to go skydiving here in Korea why not try the next best thing and go paragliding?
So one of my friends from SA and her husband had wanted to do it for a while so we decided to go for her husbands birthday and book it all and surprise him! Liz heard our plans and decided to come along too.
All in all I would say it was a tad pricey for the fact that you are only in the air for about 10 minutes but the whole experience was pretty awesome.
There were a few seconds when you run and literally just jump off the top of the cliff that I feared for my life but after that it got easier. You also fly tandem so you don’t have to worry about making some idiotic rookie mistake as the instructor does all the hard work and you just sit there and enjoy the view. And WOW was it a pretty good view!! I didn’t realize daegu could look so pretty from all the way up there. It was definitely worth the money but I am not sure I will be paying that to do it again anytime soon. Next time I would also prefer to go somewhere with a sea view!
Anyways the instructor had a camera mounted on a rod that he let me hold so we got some pretty awesome aerial shots, I will add them below. 

My 24th Birthday

For my birthday this year I decided to get out of Daegu and so I rented a hostel for about 12 of us on Haeundae beach in Busan and then everyone else met us there. We started the night out at a restaurant along the beach front called sharky’s. It’s your typical American joint with hamburgers, burritos, nachos n all. The menu is even in American dollars. It was amazing!! 
After all the Korean food we had been eating, some good old western food was a great treat. After that we made our way down to the student area of Busan and did some bar hopping and dancing, was a lot of fun! 
However when I arrived at Sharky’s for dinner my friends presented me with this HUGE cupcake made of cardboard that I HAD to wear around my neck the whole night and it had a list of things I had to do on it. 
The list had things like: Dance on a table, get a random guy to buy you a shot, kiss 24 strangers on the cheek, sing the South African national anthem, tell people you meet that your name is Batalie Nester, wake up hungover(that was a given), tell a stranger that you love them, take 24 photos with 24 strangers etc etc. So needless to say it was an entertaining night!
I didn't know how many people would come through to Busan as its about an hour and a half from Daegu and people would have to pay for somewhere to sleep and all but I was overwhelmed with the amount of people that came through to spend my Birthday with me :) I've really made amazing friends here that I know will stick by me for years to come and I count myself very lucky for this!!

Day time on the beach 

I told you the cupcake was huge...

One of the 'to-do's' was to get a guy to take his shirt off and take a photo. Gustaf was closest so he got attacked. 

Liz (left) and Aubrey (right), definitely two of the best people I have ever met.

This is Gabby, she made the sign. I blame my hangover on her ;)

Holi one color festival

As most of you are aware there was a Holi color festival in Cape Town and JHB which I was very bummed about missing but then found out that there are so many Indians in Korea that they organized one here too!
Basically the festival is a Hindi festival to celebrate love and peace and you dance around while throwing multi colored paint at everyone. It was such a blast and the Indians were so involved and overwhelmed that the festival turned out so well! I would love to visit India during the holi fest time, must be such fun! 
The festival was held on Haeundae beach in Busan and it was mostly a clear day although the wind was pretty chilly so we had to dance and run around a lot to keep ourselves warm! Haha
I didn't think it would be such a success as I wasn't sure how many foreigners would come out and join the event but it turned out spectacularly! 
The colors looked amazing against the white and the Koreans definitely thought we were crazy dancing around throwing paint at each other, they were videoing us and taking so many photos I felt like an animal in a zoo. It was highly entertaining! 


Gabby and I

Hiking Gayasan Mountain

I wrote a post last year about the temple stay that we did at Haeinsa temple and how beautiful it was around there and so this year we decided to go back but just for the hike around the area. It took about 4.5 hours in total and it was definitely a workout, although for me that’s not saying much. It was still quite cold that weekend with a little bit of snow still on the ground so we were worried it would be too cold to hike but it turned out to be a little sunny that day and the hike up was pretty decent. However when we arrived at the top the wind was SO strong and icy that we could pretty much just snap some picks and then head down again. So I wouldn’t mind doing it again on a day when the weather is better and we could spend some more time at the top, the view was amazing! 

This is my friend Aubrey, she's from the US.

Freezing our asses off at the top

I am baaaaack ;)


I would like to apologize for being so quiet over the past few weeks. The reason for this is that I am now working at two schools which means double the workload and number of students.
I am at my old school Mondays and Fridays and my new school Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. I have about 5 extra afternoon classes at my new school which adds to the amount of lesson planning that I need to get done but it also means I get paid extra as its above the 22 hours a week that my contract says I have to work for.
So let me begin with the fact that my new school is AMAZING!! It is like some gift from heaven, my students are so sweet and their English level is SO much higher than the English level at my old school, but the biggest difference would have to be that they actually WANT to learn English! I finally feel like I am an actual teacher and not just a funny looking parrot they get to stare at and repeat. I can communicate with my students and in most of my classes my co teachers don’t even translate a word! I can make my own materials and teach them things they will actually use instead of some stupid textbook that has expressions you would NEVER hear in everyday English. To make matters even better I have absolutely amazing co-teachers that help me out if I need it and give me all the information I need and are generally just really friendly.
We also have video conference lessons on a Wednesday with 5th grade where we do like a skype class with students in Australia. The students in each class will do a presentation on that day’s topic and then the students can ask each other questions. I think this is the best idea ever and is a serious step up in terms of technology! The students can learn all about Australian culture and students and use their English in a practical setting. Both Australian and Korean students really enjoy the class and it really motivates them with regards to learning English.
I then also have some adult and kindergarten classes in the evenings after school which makes my weeks crazy busy and time just flies by! I cannot believe we are already in June! 

Anyways I hope this explains why I have been so distant! 

Have a fantastic day :)