Friday, May 27

Take me out to the Ballgame :)

One of the many things I LOVE about Pohang is how convenient it is to get to all the great cities around it.  I love being in Pohang, and this is definitely my home in SK, but it's so easy to get a drastic change of scenery just by hopping on a $10 and/or less then 2 hour bus! This past weekend some friends from Busan invited us to a baseball game! I've been to a few Pohang Steelers soccer games, which I really enjoy! But since I played softball when I was younger, I was excited to watch a game I actually understand!

Mmm Fried Chicken
Get 'Cher Dried Squid, Beer, and Visors! :)
On Saturday afternoon we met up with Tyler and Mary at their apartment and in about a 15 minute walk we were at the Lotte Giants Stadium! Our first stop was EMart because in Korea you can take any and ALL the concessions you want INTO the stadium - so we stopped in for some cold, adult beverages and Tyler recommended grabbing a bucket of Fried Chicken or a pizza.  Yep, you can carry large coolers and pizzas and buckets of chicken INTO the stadium, thus avoiding the outrageously high prices that are charged inside the stadium which also doesn't happen in Korea, everything inside is still very reasonably priced - America, again take notes here! :) After loading up on concessions, we marched into the stadium.  The game was sold out, but we'd gotten our 8,000 won General Admission tickets in advance.  We didn't have assigned seats. Essentially there are huge general admission seating sections that are first come, first serve.  We found our seats in the outfield behind short stop and third base.  It was a blazing hot day, and we baked for the first little bit, but it was much welcomed after a very rainy week! :) The game was pretty uneventful for the first few innings.  We had mistakenly chosen our seats right next to the Seoul Tigers (the opponents) cheering section. That was entertaining, but Lotte still hadn't scored. I was just enjoying being in another sporting atmostphere, surrounded by Korean people.  Sometimes I forget that I'm in South Korea, but sitting in a huge stadium with only a handful of foreigners around me, definitely reaffirmed that fact. The vendors were entertaining as well. From my days of going to Atlanta Braves games, I was used to cold beer, popcorn, corn dogs, ice cream in a baseball hat cup, but the snacks here were much different.  There was an ajuma (older woman) who was selling dried squid, beer, and visors (see pictures below), people were eating Ramen noodles at the game, and even Samgyeopsal.

The game picked up in the 4th inning the bases were loaded, and the big hitter came up and hit a GRAND SLAM! :) It was awesome! The crowd went abosolutely wild with chants, the wave (both the regular version and a slow motion zombie like wave), and popular English Rock songs replaced with Korean lyrics.  The game ended 8-3, with a win for Busan's Lotte Giants (the team we were cheering for!)

One of the most interesting things was in the 7th or 8th inning, orange trash bags started making their way through the seating sections in the stands.  Section by section you could see the bags being placed on peoples' heads! Of course we were excited to participate! :) We got air in our bags tied them, them placed the bag handles over our ears! It was hilarious to see the entire stadium with orange grocery bags on our heads, but it looked cool. The seasoned female spectators even made Minnie Mouse Bows out of theirs.
 Then, afterwards, people picked up all their trash from the concessions they'd brought in, put it in the back and dropped the bags off as they were leaving.  Genius way to get the fans to clean up their messes! :) The Lotte Giants game was definitely a 12 on the entertainment scale!! :)

Lotte Lotte Lotte! :) It's summatime :)
Love, Em

Thursday, May 12

Children's Day and Buddha's Day

May has started out fantastically! :) It's only the 12th of May and we've already had 2 holidays.  The first was Children's Day (어린이날) which is celebrated on the 5th.  Children's Day in Korea is a National Holiday. To celebrate, parents give presents to their children, and spend the day with them. Some children are taken on excursions to zoos, museums, and amusement parks.  Apparently at least 70 countries worldwide celebrate a specific Children's Day holiday. The US even had one before we had Mother's and Father's day, but a specific day isn't observed! :)


 To celebrate the day off, Leigh and I got together with Leigh's childhood friend from Canada, Mark, and his girlfriend Unju.  We went for a small hike at a park in Pohang, Yeonil. It's off the beaten path, and down a very long, unmaintained dirt road, but we had a great time and the park was beautiful.
Unju, Mark, Me, Leigh

  We took the short way up, made it to the overlook of Pohang, and found a spot to cook and enjoy a Samgyeopsal lunch! Leigh and I love love love Samgyeopsal, you can cook pork like this, we've had duck this way, and our favorite is Sogogi (beef!) What's Samgyeopsal?

Samgyeopsal (삼겹살) is a popular Korean dish that consists of thick, fatty slices of pork meat like bacon. The meat is cooked and eaten directly from the grill by the diners'.  Samgyeopsal is usually served with 2 dipping sauces, gochujang (red pepper paste) and a salty sesame seed oil.  You can dip the delicious meat in the sauce of your choice, slap it on a leaf, and top it with fresh sliced garlic!

So we enjoyed our lunch atop the mountain! :) Then we took the scenic route down, about a 4km walk around the valley. We might not still be Children, but I'm a big fan of this Holiday! America, take notes!

 The holiday fell on a Thursday, so on Friday at school we had a special Market Day for the students.  Every day the students are rewarded for good behavior and having their homework with stickers on their sign cards. Twice a year, the students are able to spend their stickers on Korean snack foods, and prizes - candy, pencil cases, notebooks, paint sets, etc! :) My role that day was a clerk in the Market room, where the students got to practice their English and buy all kinds of goodies! ;) It was really cute!

 The next holiday was Tuesday the 10th, it was Buddha's Birthday. For weeks leading up to Buddha's Day I've seen festive Lotus lanterns lining the streets in Pohang and Busan.
The lotus lanters have wishes written on them
The lanterns are lit to express their wishes to light up the dark world with good deeds. While there were a ton of festivals going on, and temples hosted special Buddha's day meals and teas, we opted out as it was a rainy day in the Pohang, and my scooter had been stolen the week before.  I'd had an appointment to buy the new bike I'd found, but due to the rain the shop was closed :( kind of a bummer, but now that I have a better understanding of Buddha's Day, I'll definitely partake in more of the culture next year! :) When in Korea... :)
Much Love, Hope you had a Happy Children's Day and Happy Buddha's Birthday, or May 5th and May 10th respectively :)

Loving experiencing the things I am! :) Always, Em

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