Thursday, June 19, 2014

Last visit to SeoCheonan SDALI (13.-15. June)

Hi guys, sorry for not updating my blog in a bit. It's been quite busy lately with school. I needed to prepare a 2 hr. lesson plan for the Hoengseong District Camp from July 21-23. I just finished the rough draft for my lesson plans and worksheets, and sent them to my main co-teacher to have them approved. I also need to prepare for an open class in my Wed./Thurs. school. It will be next Thurs. (26.June) during my after-school classes. I made a rough draft. Just need to show it and get approval. We'll see how they go.

I heard some bad news that I was expecting for a while: my institute where I taught in my 1st year in Korea, is closing its doors for good at the end of this month. When June ends, so will SDALI SeoCheonan.

Like I said, I expected it for a while. But you know how it is: you expect something to happen, and when it finally does, you're still shocked.

Lemme show you a bit of what I saw:

Downtown Cheonan, just outside of Shinsegae department store (where the bus terminal is).
Apparently there was some kind of demonstration for the Sewol-ho ferry disaster. I don't know what was going on and I didn't ask. I just wanted to get away from the noise.

Sign-up table for I don't know what.

I met a former student (Kate) and we had dinner. Then we went to her apartment and chilled. It was getting a bit late (after 21:00) and I needed to get to my hotel, which I reserved through Here are some pictures I took of my room (which was on the 7th floor)--you can find more on the link to the hotel above.

Kinda dark for my taste.

Best part about hotels/motels in Korea--you've got your own computer (with working internet) in each room! (Or I've had that in every room I've stayed in)

I've heard stories about love motels, so I won't even touch them.
In that cabinet on the right, the top has a mini-fridge and the bottom has a water-purifier (I don't think it was on).

The bathroom really is a bath-room. You walk in and see the tub on your left and the vanity + sink on your right. Take a few more steps and you'll get to the toilet paper dispenser on the wall, with the toilet to your right and a huge shower to your left.

the tub

the vanity + sink
In the corner are a few towels and toiletries you can use for free. Nice!

A shower with two shower heads! There's so much room--oh wait, this is a love motel . . .

The hallway to my room--using flash. You'd barely see any lights without the flash. I didn't know there were colors on this hall. Strange thing, it's like this during the day too.
Again, this is a love motel . . . 

My room number.
Without the flash, you'd see black and "705" in blue lights.

A welcome pack of toiletries and a few other items I will NOT use--ad I'm not talking about the shaving cream!

My attempt at getting the hotel in 3 stitched pictures.

"Nygs-uh Pogs-uh Hotel"

When you leave, you don't have to bother with the counter; just leave your room key/card here in the elevator (there's only 1 elevator, so you can't miss it).

This hotel was good, but a bit dark for my tastes. The location was much better than the other one I stayed in my other time in Cheonan. This one was near Emart in Ssangyong-dong, which is much less sketchy (but sketchy nonetheless) than Cheonan Station. I didn't feel comfortable enough to walk to the hotel on my own, but it was much more bearable.

So I visited SeoCheonan institute for Sabbath church service. It was virtually empty (10 + pastor + me (including visiting guests)). They're even shutting down the church with the institute. I can see why. With such a small congregation of elderly and young families, they can't afford to stay there on their own. I was told there are 3 other Korean SDA churches in the city, so they might be able to go to one of those--or make their own in a different location.
Translation was completely done away with. The only 2 foreigners (both married Korean women and have small children) get together and spend that time in another room discussing the Sabbath School lesson for the week. Apparently the church wanted to be a Korean-only church, so they got what they wanted.

I felt sorry for my former adult students when I told a few of them that the institute is closing its doors for good. A few had plans to return. There's still another one downtown, but that seems to be too far and inconvenient for them. This is a common story. Institutes are closing left and right--and not just SDALI but others as well. But there's not much to worry about. Where one closes down, another goes up. The turn-over rates are a bit high, actually. If you really want to know how it truly is, I recommend you researching it for yourself. Don't go by what I say, since I barely know what's going on around me.

Random find: this is the bus stop in front of the apartments I used to live in when in Cheonan. They installed this convenient info booth. Nice to see things improve.

Now, the 2nd reason I went to Cheonan: COSTCO!

Cheonan just opened it's own Costco May 30, 2014. I didn't have membership before, but I wanted to go in so badly I paid the 35,000 (€25.30/$34.38 USD) membership fee. I've gone a few times with friends. I figure I shouldn't ride on others and be more independent. Besides, I can use it in the States, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Taiwan, Australia & the UK. Check out their website here.

The tent just outside, where people were getting their membership. I think it took the same amount of time to fill out the application as it took to get the actual card. Nice huh?

Sorry, I didn't take many pictures, due to just wanting to soak everything in. Can you believe that I found a bag of 5 avocados for ₩7,390! That's like 5 avocados for $7.26 USD! Maybe expensive for the States, but they are hard to come by in Korea. I bought the same amount when I was in Daegu for ₩12,000+ and that was considered pretty good.

I've never seen this much cheese in real life (at least, as far as I can remember).

Leaving Costco in Kate and her husband's car (hence the slightly tinted picture). Sorry for the really bad angle.

Sitting in a Lotteria (Korean McDonalds), I noticed this need for English editors.

A snack for the road: Turtle melon bread! With chocolate chip eyes!
It was nice, even with a custard-type filling. It hit the spot, both on the taste buds and the eyes.

In the bus, within 5 minutes from the bus terminal, this was all I could capture with my camera.
I've heard of it, but now I know where it is, although not how to get there by city bus.

Special moment: Yesterday as I arrived to my Wed. school, it was quite empty and quiet. A few minutes later, I found myself watching the match between Korea and Russia on the math teacher's smart phone, with an English teacher and 4 female students gathered around the small screen, to watch the last 15 minutes or so. It was fun to be part of that moment, holding our breath when a goal was about to be scored and failed. Ah, the excitement only the FIFA World Cup can bring! Even the teachers decided to come to school later than usual just to catch the match (they're held between 1 - 6 am Korea time). Fun times! Let's see how far Korea goes! Go Korea! 회팅! ^.^

Whoa, as I type this, I just found out that my Wed./Thurs. school just admitted a 4th-grader. Now the school has a 4th-grader. Now we have to figure out how to teach him. He's alone in 4th-grade, so this will be interesting. Even more interesting will be all the shifts and changes in all our schedules--especially mine. Pray for us.

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