BBQ Dinner - Korean style! (L - R) Vanessa, Kelly, Sarah, Jeff, Richard, Brent
Yesterday evening we decided to leave the confines of the training centre and venture out to try some real Korean food. Seven of us (three being vegetarians) headed off with some stunted Korean and a desire to eat with the locals. Let me be clear - we definitely HAVE been eating Korean food while at the training centre, but it hasn't been the greatest, and it definitely was not eaten whilst sitting on the floor. This was our first Korean dinner/food experience. It's pretty funny, everywhere we go the Koreans first turn to Jeff and begin speaking to him in Korean since he's the only Asian guy with us. He just ends up staring blankly back at them while one of the white folk take over the discussion.
Richard has been in Korea for a year and has a fairly good grasp on the language. Before deciding to eat at this restaurant he established with the hostess (in Korean) that three of us were vegetarian and would not eat meat. Fine. No problem! The omnivores ordered the traditional BBQ meat (can you see the raw meat on the mini BBQ on our table? It was cooked right in front of us!! The copper pipes hanging down provide fans for the BBQ in case it starts smoking ~ Very cool says this vegetarian!) and we were ordered a noodle dish. When the food arrived I was surprised to see that the noodle dish was cold (there was ice floating in the soup), and there was a piece of meat floating in the soup too! I tried the soup, but it wasn't my favourite. I'm sture that I'll try it again - sometimes the first time I try things I don't like them and then I acquire a taste for them, but we'll have to see. It looks like eating vegetarian will be tough (at least in the small towns, I've heard that in Seoul - pronounced Sea-oo-u-l - is much easy to find vegetarian food).
In addition to a lovely meal out (the BBQ really was cool!) we also have experienced the opportunity to learn how to dance the traditional Korean dances. Our teacher was a forty-ish year old Korean (who did not speak English) with a lot of passion and energy for the dance of his native country. We donned white fabric sleeves (they were essentially a tube of white fabric with an elastic band at one end. The elastic band was placed around the wrist, while the rest of the fabric hung almost to the floor - see Jeff's video for more details) and began to dance. The experience was pretty hilarious - you most likely had to be there, however, I captured some of Jeff's dancing (he's the one in brown, sorry it's so little!) on video and will share that with you all so that y'all can feel as though you were there laughing along with me! (I seriously laugh out loud when watching this video ~ at the beginning he has some trouble with matching the rest of the group, but by the end he's got it going on!)
That's it for this post. A bit of random Korean culture. Tomorrow (Thurs) we're heading into Seoul to watch an English class in action (a demonstration classroom) and to visit the National Museum of Korea. On Friday we finally move into our apartment (yeh!!) and will begin to get settled for teaching classes on Monday. I'm sure there will be more about Korean schools and our roles in the future so stay tuned (sorry, I'm a dork!)