December for me was a very quiet month. With the holidays coming in, it is one of the saddest times for me since I miss my family and friends from back home the most during these times. I have though my best New Years Eve story to date. Even though no pictures accompany the evening, it is surely a hilarious read as well as showcasing the generosity foreigners do run into some times in Korea.
One of the funniest events I did in December was Santacon, where probably around 500 foreigners got together and dressed up as Santa then got on the subway and sang Christmas carols as we made our way to Hondae. It was an incredibly fun evening!
At work the week before Christmas, we had a snow day. On said snow day, all the foreign teachers came into work in Christmas colors...unplanned. It was sad that we didn't plan it but still humorous that it happened. This picture was also put in our school's newsletter telling the kids Merry Christmas.
|Scott, Mckenna, Me, and Tin.|
|The walk into work was magical.|
On Christmas day a big group of us got together to go ice skating. It was nice having Christmas day off so going into Seoul wasn't so bad...the only problem was that it was going to be one of the coldest days of the year! The plan was to go iceskating outside at one of the rinks that are setup all through Seoul. When we got there, the earliest time we could buy tickets was around 7pm. As a group it was decided there was no way in hell we were going to wait nearly 6 hours to ice skate and we ventured all the way to the other side of Seoul and went ice skating at Lotte World.
|We met Santa on the way.|
|In line at Lotte World to get skates|
|This had firework display and everything.|
|Waiting to go on the rink.|
|Scott, Suzanne, Mckenna, Nick, and I|
|We got a photo op with the helmets which everyone was suppose to wear, but don't.|
|A group of girls came up to Suzanne and kinda followed her around. They put the fake grass in our hair.|
|Suzanne whipping by on her skates.|
|The two girls who tailed Suzanne everywhere.|
|Dinner after skating.|
Before New Years, a coworker gave Mckenna and I tickets to go to the 63 building which is supposedly the tallest building in Seoul with an observatory deck. At the building they have a small aquarium as well as the observatory deck that also has an art gallery. Since it was our first Saturday of our winter vacation, I proceeded to drink myself silly into the night. After a somewhat hellish beginning of the term, I was ready to blow some steam.
While at the 63 building, we didn't get to much of a view. It was cloudy and foggy surrounding the building. We had a great time looking at the aquarium and drinking on the observatory deck.
|The View....nothing to see.|
|Fish that eat off your dead skin.|
|The long shark, that was around 2 feet.|
There are no pictures of the night but what happened is probably one of those "I can't believe I was this stupid and so lucky at the same time."
I had spent the first couple days of my winter vacation feeling rather crappy due to over drinking my first Saturday. I had developed a cold by New Years Eve so I wasn't in too much of a party mood. When midnight struck, I knew I had an hour to get on the train so I wouldn't miss the last train home. Sadly, I got stopped by missing my transfer train by 1 measly minute. I had enough money on me to take a cab home so I wasn't too worried. When I left the train station though, it was in an obscure station where trying to find a taxi stand would take a ten minute walk. I found a convenient store and asked where one was and wondered on my way. After having fallen down the week before and several times Saturday night, my knees and legs were pretty wobbly and bruised so I treaded carefully on the iced over street. As I made my way to the taxi stand which was still a bit aways, a car pulled up beside me with a Korean man and a woman.
At first, I was mildly concerned since most of the times I've ever had an adult Korean man or woman talk to me, it has been to scold or laugh at me. The woman asked me where I was going and when I said I was taking a taxi back to where I lived in Suwon, she promptly said "NO!"and told me to get in the car.
Yes, I know the age old rule of don't get into the car with strangers as a child. As an adult, female, and alone of a night where most of the world is drunk or on something, I should REALLY not get into a car with strangers. As I deliberated my options of pay $40 for a taxi or maybe half that for reimbursing some one nice to drive me back, I chose the idiotic decision and got into the car with the nice woman and man.
No one needs to chastise me, I already know the idiocy of my decision but I felt it was probably the safest of my two or three options. Option 1 being taking a taxi to where my friends where for the night with a drunk taxi driver. Option 2 taking a taxi home with a possibly drunk taxi driver. Option 3 with the sober guy and maybe sober woman.
I got into the car, falling down on the ice several times and probably making them believe I was just another drunk foreigner. As they drove me to Suwon, which is about a 40 minute drive south of Seoul, I learned about who they were. The man driving the car is a pastor for the woman's church. They had been at an event where they were feeding the homeless in New Years Eve. The pastor was driving the woman back to her apartment in Seoul when he needed to buy some water and that's when he over heard me ask the attendant at the convenient store where a taxi stand was. The woman saw me leave and asked her pastor what I needed and when she found out I was going to a taxi stand, she knew it was her duty as a good Christian to make sure I got home safe. No matter where I lived. I learned through the 2 and a half hour drive(NO ONE SHOULD EVER USE APPLE MAPS) back to Suwon that the woman was known as the "Pink Lady" due to her wardrobe of mainly pink clothes( she was wearing a pink mink coat) and that she lived half the year in Korea and the other half in Sydney, Australia. Her husband lived and worked in Sydney full time which gave her dual-citizenship for Australia. I was confused by this, but she had her passport for both Korea and Australis with her, so I wasn't about to argue. Their daughter also lived and worked as an English teacher on the coast of Korea, near Busan, and was around my age. Her pastor was a bit younger than her, not married, but was a strong leader and knew little to no English.
After hearing her life story, she asked about mine. Anne, which is her English name, asked about my family, how long I had been living in Korea, if I was married or single, gay or straight, what I was doing in Korea, how long I had been living in Korea, when I was leaving Korea, what I was going to do after I left Korea, etc. It was an enjoyable car ride and I learned a lot about Anne and her pastor, whose name I have forgotten.
It was an enjoyable ride back and I safely arrived home close to 4 AM. I tried to meet up with Anne a while ago, but with my work schedule to just never worked up. Anne was super sweet and the fact her pastor spent nearly 3 hours making sure I got home safe was awesome. My New Year's was certainly
eventful and I was happy I got home safe and sound.