Category Archives: Molly

Sijang


Today’s Korean Phrase: Sijang = Market

First off, a mina hamnida is in order for not updating the blog this entire month.  My goodness things got VERY busy and most of it was work related so there wasn’t much I felt compelled to blog about in the first place. There are a few things I’m excited to share with you work wise that occurred this past month, but this weekend I finally got back out into town to explore more of Korea, this time at a traditional Korean Marketplace: The Kwangjang Sijang.

So, first you should know the story of why we ended up at the market this Tuesday morning. Edutainer Nina is our resident Seoul Socialite in that she actually has made lots of friends outside of English Village. She somehow got word that the Korean Tourism Board was looking for waygooks to come help them out with a news spot at this market.

Bindaetteok is a fried pancake of mung beans and pork and it is delicious

Basically they want to promote the market among foreigners by showing that foreigners actually shop there. The problem being, foreigners don’t actually shop there, which is why they needed to bring us in. We traveled about an hour and a half to reach the market, and because of a late bus and traffic along the way we arrived about 15 minutes late. In true Korean fashion, the tourism board decided to change plans and start the event early so we ended up getting there just in time to meet up with the President of the Board while he was helping make Bindaetteok at a small fry stand.

Edutainer Marc with Life-Sized Anime!

There were about 50 reporters around us with cameras flashing and video rolling, and it was then that we realized why we were there: to be small white faced props.  They were doling out free food just to snap photos of us eating it and moving us around to take pictures with the President (aka the tallest man in Korea.  Seriously, huge) and these big mascot looking people dressed up in traditional Korean Hanboks that were truly hilarious.

About 25 minutes later we were told the event was over.  We were all given a free tote bag and a 10,000W gift certificate to use in the marketplace that day, as well as 50,000W that will be deposited into our bank accounts this week.  Not a bad trip! Plus, a friend of Nina’s found the footage on the news that night and sent her the link, so you can see me on Korean Television! That right, watch the video and you will see there is now a close up on my chest on international television…

The event being over we were free to explore the market on our own.  The first order of business was lunch, which was a little intimidating as this is what you saw everywhere you looked-

No, you’re right, that is indeed a pig face
Octopus, anyone?
I love the fishes ‘cuz they’re so delicious…..

We settled on a place called Suwon Ajumma, which basically means “Grandma’s Soup”  We got pumpkin soup which I was sadly not a huge fan of, so I just ate more Bindaetteok and called it lunch (I don’t believe it is supposed to be its own meal).  We continued through the market and discovered that most of it is a textile market.  There were lots of tailors and clothing stores, my favorite being a shop with Traditional Korean Wedding Hanboks.  They are so beautiful! I want to get married Korean Style! We also found an area that was wall to wall buttons (I ended up leaving with 10,000W worth of buttons. How did I do that?) and another area so full of clothing I thought I was going to walk out of it into Narnia.

I sadly had to visit the doctor in Itaewon that afternoon so I headed off while some people stayed in the garment district.  I got an old injury looked at now that I have great health insurance, which was a good idea as it needs some help… Now we’re on the right track with that, and I will always have my expensive buttons to remind me of my day at Sijang Kwangjang.

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Chim Yobeob


Today’s Korean Phrase: Chim Yobeob= Acupuncture

Being a performer can take quite a toll on your body, especially here at English Village. We perform around 12 shows a week, when we’re not performing we are painting sets and in rehearsals, and while it is very nice to live where we work, it also means no one has a car so to get anywhere in Paju we rely mainly on foot power.  Because of this, and to fulfill a life long curiosity, I went down the street to the local medical center to check out acupuncture.

The clinic is about a 20 minute walk from GEV, which normally wouldn’t be a problem at all. Sadly this day was a blazing 95 degrees Fahrenheit and around 70% humidity so by the time we reached the medical center we were soaked through with sweat. We walked into the glorious air conditioned lobby and hoped that the nurse took long enough on the necessary paperwork for us to cool down and dry up. This was not the case, and I went in to talk to the doctor a sopping and surely stinky mess.

I discussed my recurring upper back pain and he brought me into a little room to lay down on a heating pad for a while (exactly what I needed….ugh) Around five minutes later I was feeling pretty relaxed and the doctor came in with the needles.  Usually I am a little squeamish when it comes to needles but these little guys are so tiny that you really can hardly feel them.  There was only one that got put in my calf muscle that really felt weird and made my whole leg want to twitch. I only had them placed in my right arm and right leg to begin with, but Edutainer Ryan (who has troubles with his lower back) said when he went he had them placed in both his temples.  Creepy.

Franken-ryan…

I laid there in my heated bed for around 20 minutes with needles in my body until the doctor came back to remove them.  Now, Korean acupuncture is a little different than other cultures, and you don’t actually have that many needles stuck in as you do pressure points hit.  Koreans really only use the needles in the extremities, mainly the hands, so they have other methods of dealing with the pressure points on your back.  One of these ways is a machine that looks like a device used for milking cows.  They spray water on a sponge inside each fist sized tube, and using electric pulses these tubes massage your pressure points with a feeling similar to an octopus attacking your back. It’s a gentle attack though, it feels really excellent.

The Octopus Milker

The other method they have for hitting pressure points is what is called “cupping.”  At this point I was laying on my stomach so I was unable to see what was going on behind me, but here is what I heard: “woosh-schloop, woosh-schloop, woosh-schloop” I rolled my head to the side just enough to see the cause of the sound was little ceramic cups being held over a flame quickly and then suctioned tightly to the skin on my back.  The feeling was different to say the least, and I’m not quite sure how this process gets through to the muscles on the back, but I’m not going to questions thousands of years of Eastern medicine. Though the cupping was not painful at all, it left my back looking like the Hickey Monster had done quite a number on me.

The Hickey Monster being, of course, the most popular Muppet on the Street…

I’m glad I went to see what chim yobeob was all about, and while I didn’t feel immediate relief from it like some of my co-workers did, I will continue to go over the next year to see if I can make a dent.  Plus, the entire hour long process only cost me 9,000 Won (around $8.50 USD) so in true Korean fashion , when it comes to taking care of your body, the price is right.

Setagso


Today’s Korean Phrase: setagso = laundry

Doing laundry in English Village sucks.

I will elaborate.

I get my own washing machine in my studio apartment, which is a very good thing as it means my days sitting in a laundromat babysitting clothes for hours are on hold for a whole year.  However, my machine looks like this…

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Setagso Control Center

So, best of luck figuring out your settings.  After some button pushing and calling in help from edutainer Bobby upstairs, I found the ‘normal’ settings for washing.  The problem lies afterward, as there is no dryer to accompany this washer.  Being without its proper life partner means more buttons for “spin dry,” which basically means spinning as fast as it can to get all the water out.  Only that doesn’t really happen in the slightest. Meaning clothes travel to….

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the torture drying rack.  Of all places not to have a dryer, sticky South Korea should NOT be one of them.  Apparently it is pretty customary for Koreans to not use electric dryers and rely solely on the racks. These are handy for taking care of your delicates and other lightweight items, but not so much for the jeans and tee shirts, especially when it looks like this outside for most of the summer

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[visual approximation]

This place is very humid (and I’ve lived in Miami) so not only has having manageable hair become a novelty, due to the setagso situation apparently so has having dry clothes.  Soon my wardrobe from the states will have been worn and washed and I will be stuck in the endless spin cycle of damp denim and clammy cotton.

So those of you who might be reading this while watching your clothes tumble dry in a dirty laundromat remember, while it may not be ideal, you can rest assured that with enough quarters at least you can avoid soggy setagso.

Sugo Hada


Today’s Korean Phrase:  sugo hada = hard work

The English Village is an educational facility that was born from and owned by the Korean Government.  The Gyeonggi province prides itself on “creating global Koreans” which basically means they want to make sure Koreans start learning English at a very young age.  This way they will become fluent adults that will some day be global businessmen and bring more money back to the Gyeonggi Government (or, something like that, probably…)  There are three different kinds of teachers here at GEV: ODP’s who teach students in the One Day Program for patrons who come to the park just for the day, OWP’s who teach the One Week Program for middle school students who live onsite for a whole week, and the Edutainers (that’s me!). As an Edutainer, our job is to help educate through entertainment (get it? get it? Edu-Tainer? brilliance).

GEV City Hall. So official looking.

I work Wednesday through Sunday from 9:00 to 18:00 with an hour for lunch (Korea uses military time. Ugh). I walk from my on-campus apartment to the City Hall building to clock in, then over to the Edutainer office in the Concert Hall to sign in on the schedule.  We are all doing different things at different times, so our Head Teacher Stephanie has quite a task creating everyone’s schedules.  There are three different shows going on at anytime: the Mainstage Musical, the Little Theatre Show, and the Game Show.  Mainstage is obviously the biggest show, full sets, lights, costumes, body mics, the works.  Right now we are performing Jack and the Beanstalk, an original English musical.  I do that show twice a day Wednesday and Fridays, and three times on Sundays.  There are always two casts so that you don’t have to do every show every day, which would be 12 shows a week for almost three months, which might make you want to kill yourself and possibly take a poor Korean child down with you.  I am also in rehearsal for the next mainstage musical R is for Robot in the mornings and late afternoons around the J&B performances.

As a group, the 15-18 of us write, produce, direct, choreograph, compose, design and all around create these shows from scratch.  I have been so busy with rehearsals that I’m not on the production side of things quite yet, but I know my day will come (might actually start at our weekly Thursday Morning family meeting! We shall see…).  I’ll fill you in on that side of the table when I get there. :-)

Anyonghaseyo


Today’s Korean Phrase: Anyonghaseyo = Hello!

Hello friends! I’m happy to be joining the At the Buzzer blogging team. You may already know a little bit about me, but I’ll give you the refresher just in case.

This is Molly Robinson, David’s sister, friend of Chris for over 10 years, and future mother of Shaun’s children (okay, that last one might be speculation, but a girl can dream…) I had been locked in the Buzzer Basement for the first year or so of the show, until I finally broke free and moved to New York to starve pursue a career in Musical Theatre.  A few months ago I was offered a job overseas, so now I am reporting live from the Gyeonggi English Village in Paju, South Korea. I am here on a one year performance contract as an Edutainer creating children’s musicals to help teach English to Korean families.  Like the boys, I’m originally from Phoenix, Arizona, and I’ve never really left the United States (except one very sheltered trip to Mexico City when I was 12), so I am a long way from home and far away from the familiar.

I will have lots of posts coming up to recount tales of my new life here in SK, but for now I must get some sleep (I’m working with a 16-hour time difference from Arizona) and leave you with an anyonghi chumuseyo to wish you good night, and a kamsamnida to thank you for reading!