Coco In Korea

I Teach. I Live. I Travel

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My, What A Big Buddha You Have!

Posted by cocoinkorea on May 21, 2010

(Golden Maitreya Statue of National Unification)

Today in Korea is Buddha’s Birthday, so I went with the Kim family to the Beopjusa Temple Grounds at Songni Mountain and I saw a really big Buddha. The Buddha stands at 33 meters high (108 Feet). There were hundreds of people there who went to pray to their Buddha and visit with fellow Buddhist friends. I did not climb the mountain today (the walk alone is over 3 hours), but I plan to climb it before I leave Korea. 

The weather was beautiful and I got to take some amazing photographs (which can be found above and below this post.) For more information on the history and information of the Beopjusa Temple Grounds, click here.

(Me and Hyeh Jeong at the Beopjusa Temple Grounds at Songni Mountain)

(Lucky Stones)

(Election Day is approaching [June 2 – No School!] so many of these women can be seen dancing all over Korea in support of their party. Sometimes they even give away freebies ^^)

Posted in Beopjusa, Buddha's Birthday, Election Day, 법주사, 속리산, June 2, Songni Mountain | Leave a Comment »

Biking Along The Musimcheon

Posted by cocoinkorea on May 14, 2010

This afternoon after I got off of work I went bike riding along the Musimcheon River with my friend Jaehoon. It was a beautiful spring day, the weather was warm, it was quiet by the stream and there were not many people around. The best thing about the bike riding is that renting the bikes was FREE!! 

For people living in/traveling to Cheongju, there is a bluish-green shed near the Flower Bridge (꽃 다리) where you can rent the bikes. All you need to do is give them your ID in order to rent the bike and it is your to enjoy. The view is beautiful and not very crowded so go enjoy yourselves and happy biking!

Posted in Musim Stream, Musimcheon RIver | Leave a Comment »

Best Weekend Ever

Posted by cocoinkorea on May 3, 2010

(Me before I rode the T Express)

This was one of the best weekends I have had in Korea since I have been here. On Saturday I went to Everland and rode the steepest roller coaster in the world called the T Express ! It was amazing!! The tulip festival is also currently going on at Everland and the display was amazing and beautiful. We had perfect weather for the trip and I was surprised at how family oriented the park was; I am pretty sure there were more children than adults there!

On Sunday I went bike riding at Yeouido Hangang Park in Seoul and rode along the Han River for two hours. It was yet another beautiful day and hundreds of people were outside enjoying the sun and friends and family.

I would recommend that if you go to the Seoul area, definitely go to both Everland and to the Yeouido Hangang Park. You will have an amazing time!

Posted in Everland, Seoul, T Express, Yeouido Hangang Park | 1 Comment »

Teacher, I Thought Everyone In America Was White!

Posted by cocoinkorea on March 8, 2010

(Image from here.)
So today began my first official day of teaching and I thought a good way to start off the year would be to let the children get to know about me, my family, and my home. I then thought it would be a good idea to get to know a little bit about them, and then have them ask me any question that they wanted to ask and I would answer, no matter what.

I started off by showing the kids a PowerPoint presentation about myself. I told them all about my family, and my home in New York. I then asked them their names, their ages and what they did over the weekend. Some of the kids said that they slept, some said they played computer games, some said that they watched tv and others told me that they studied. All of the baseball players in the room told me they played baseball (Side Note: Sokkyo Elementary is famous in the province for baseball; my school has the best baseball players in the area and they wear their uniforms in school all day long.)

Everything was going pretty well until it was my turn to answer the questions. Most of the people wanted to know about New York while others wanted to know about my personal life…. Here is how it went: (S=student T=teacher[me])

S: Teacher, how many people live in New York City
T: About ten million
S: Wow!

S: Teacher, are you married?
T: No, not yet

S: Teacher, do you live alone in Korea?
T: Yes, I do.

S: Teacher, I thought everyone in America was white!

The last was clearly not a question. I had to explain that the United States is a big mixture of people, white, brown (“like me” I said), Chinese, Spanish, Japanese, Korean, Indian…. They were very suprised. I think I have to find a multicultural movie for my classes so they can see that America is full of many different nationalities.

Most of the classes went on in this way. The boys were definitely the more vocal students in the classes while the girls were more shy and reserved. In one of my sixth grade classes, one boy with dyed hair asked me what dong (area) I lived in and I told him. He then proceeded to tell me that he lived in the same area. He then asked for my address and I laughed. My co-teacher Monica told him that he could not have my address and he certainly could not go knocking on my door.
My co-teacher was so helpful today and now I understand the need for co-teaching in a Korean classroom. She had to assist me with language difficulties between me and the children since a lot of the things I said they did not understand or needed clarification for. The main difficulty in my classroom is that students are at many different levels. Some students are at the correct English level for their age while others are struggling severely with learning the language.

Tomorrow is teast day at my school so no classes!

Posted in 5th Grade, 6th Grade, Sokkyo Baseball, Sokkyo Elementary | 1 Comment »

I Jumped Across The River and I Didn’t Fall In!

Posted by cocoinkorea on March 7, 2010

This is how my weekend started:


  • Woke up
  • Washed the laundry and hung them to dry (I miss dryers in America…..)
  • Cleaned my bedroom floor
  • Cooked breakfast, ate and washed dishes
  • Attempted to find the Lotte Mart near my house… ended up at Lotte Super…. wrong store but purchased groceries there anyways….  I will attempt to find Lotte Mart next week
  • Came home, put food away, made lunch, ate and waited for the cable guy to pick me up
  • Went to the cable guy’s house for dinner with his wife and three children
My first home-made Korean dinner at Kim Jong Soo’s house was delicious. Mr. Kim picked me up exactly at 5 pm with his 15 year old daughter and she remained the primary translator for the duration of the night. Mr. Kim lives in one of those tall-apartment-building-villages-with-big-numbers-on-the-side (If you are in Korea you know exactly what I am talking about.. for those of you who don’t know, I will get a picture soon). I have always wanted to go in one since I have seen them all across Korea, and I have accomplished on thing on my list (CHECK). 

The meal of the night: Bulgogi (Beef and Veggies cooked together)… DELICIOUS. Mr. Kim kept trying to get me to eat properly with the chopsticks by demonstrating how to use them and I kindly told him that the proper was is too difficult, and I am working on it. He offered me a fork. I politely declined and continued to eat with the chopsticks, the wrong way… somehow I manage to pick up food so it works. Mr. Kim’s 15 year old daughter (wish I could remember her name) attempted to show me how to pick up kim (seaweed maybe?) and roll my rice in it. I don’t know what it is but it tasted delicious. I ate and ate and they kept giving me more and more. I had to tell them to stop I was getting so full. By time I got home and into bed, I was asleep by 9 pm.

  • 8 am: Roll around debating whether or not to get up right away, it is Sunday after all so I decide to lay in bed and watch a few episodes of Gossip Girl (could on find season 1 on demand,.. hey, I’ll take it, it’s in English)
  • 11 am: Finally decide to roll out of bed and make myself some breakfast: omelet, toast, banana and orange juice…. delicious. I really need to find some regular pancake mix soon so I can have more food options. 
  • 12 pm: Go check on my hanging laundry… still moist…. ugh I am missing a dryer even more. Clean my floor again and clean my bathroom. Wash dishes and cook chicken for consumption later on. Watch another episode of Gossip Girl
  • 1-ish pm: Shower and get dressed
  • 2 pm: Kiran comes over. We eat lunch, talk about Korean dramas and our schools, and decide to go exploring
  • 3 pm: I live right near downtown Cheongju so we crossed the bridge and I showed her where the six corners market was (cannot remember the name in Korean). We saw a lot of fresh fish and pig heads (EEK!). I promise to go back and take and pictures. Then we walked out of the market and stumbled upon the downtown shopping area…. I can foresee this area causing my pockets a lot of damage… while all of the other foreigners will be getting drunk on weekends, I will be shopping…d(>w<)b ahhh so excited… less than 10 minutes from my house = shoppers paradise!!!! I felt like I was back in Seoul again.. well almost. 
  • 6:45 pm: Hopped across the stones on the Musim stream with Kiran. I told her not to fall in because the water looked a little dirty. I hoped I didn’t fall in either. We hopped across the stones safely and reached land…. I’ve never felt so happy to be on land in my life. 
  • 7-ish pm: Arrive back home happy that I found out Family Mart has international atm’s so I got money from my bank in America!!! yay yay yay!!! I thought I was gonna be eating rice and beans until payday but now I have enough cash to hold me over *wipes brow*…. well i hope my American bank doesn’t charge me outrageous fees fore using the atm… guess I will have to find out Monday
Tomorrow I actually start classes! I cannot wait to see what the kiddies have to say!!!

Posted in Bulgogi, Cheongju, Family Mart, Food, International ATM, Lotte Mart, Musim Stream | Leave a Comment »