Reach the World – Logbook – Seoul, the Sooneung, and School Events

Originally published by Reach the World, November 20, 2015

How far did I travel this week?: I traveled to two cities this week: Daegu and Seoul. Daegu is a large city about two hours north of Gimhae. Seoul, which is about five hours northwest of Gimhae, is the capital city of Korea. It is even larger than New York City!

How far have I traveled on this journey so far?: I have traveled to Gimhae, Busan, Daegu, Jinju, Seoul, Gyeongju, Sokcho, and Goesan. In January, I will travel to Thailand and Vietnam for my winter break.

How did I get around this week?: I took an intercity bus to get to Seoul, and then I took the high speed train home. The bus was stuck in traffic, so it took about six hours. The high speed train, which is called KTX, took less than three hours to travel across the country!

What was the most interesting place I visited this week?: I visited Namdaemun Market in Seoul, which is one of the largest traditional markets in Korea. There were many stalls selling street food, clothing, and souvenirs.

Other Travel News from this week: Earlier in the week, I went to a teachers’ conference in Daegu, which is a city about two hours north of Gimhae. During the conference, I volunteered with Korean schoolchildren to paint a mural of the world.

Number of sunny days this week: 4
Number of cloudy days this week: 1
Number of rainy days this week: 2

What is the air temperature right now in Fahrenheit?: 57

How was the weather this week?:The weather in November is much colder than it was last month. The mornings and nights are very cold, and I am sleeping on a heated blanket to stay warm. We also have had more rain, so I have been carrying an umbrella to school every day.

What animals did I see this week? :I didn’t see any special animals during my travels this week. However, when I went to a Korean traditional market in Seoul, I bought beautiful fans with dragons and tigers on them. I am excited to send them home as Christmas gifts!

What was the coolest thing I saw in nature this week?:
The trees are continuing to change color, and now the leaves are falling. By the end of the month, most of the trees will be bare.

Other Nature News from this week:During the fall and spring in Korea, Koreans are concerned about “yellow dust.”  This occurs when the wind carries air particles and sand from China and Mongolia down to Korea, increasing air pollution and sometimes causing illness. Many Koreans wear surgical masks when they go outside in order to filter the air.

What was the best meal this week?:The best meal this week was Thanksgiving dinner. The Fulbright teachers living in Korea went to the U.S. Army base in Seoul to share a Thanksgiving meal together. We ate Korean food, such as kimchi, and Western food, like turkey, stuffing and pie. It was great to see my American friends and celebrate a holiday!

What music did I listen to this week?:This week, I listened to K-Pop, which is Korean Pop music. It is like a mix of hip-hop, rap and boy band/girl group music. Some of the artists I heard this week were called Beast, Sistar and Big Bang.

What activity was the most fun this week?:It was great to see my friends in Seoul this week. We went to some of the markets, ate delicious Korean food and American food, and did some sightseeing around the city.

What did I read this week?:This week was the English speech competition at my school.I read my students’ speeches and then listened to them perform. I was so impressed by how well they did.

What games or sports did I play this week?:I like to play English games with my students at the end of our classes. Some of the games we played this week were Hangman and Scattergories.

Other news from this week:Every November, Korean students in their third year of high school take the national college entrance exam (like the SAT), called the “Sooneung.”  The day before the Sooneung, my high school had a pep relly with speeches and songs from students and teachers to wish them good luck. I hope they are all successful!

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