I’m in love with Homeplus!

Today was a big day! One might say.. an Epic Day! I started it off by going to church with another teacher from my school. It’s a Methodist church, so I thought–why not? I went to a Methodist school, I can go to a Methodist church. This church had an English service, and that was great. Despite hearing “Your body is your enemy” and “Satan is coming for you”, and having the letters of Paul quoted at me way too many times, it’s a great way to meet other English speakers who aren’t interested mostly in drinking. (Really, the only time I’ve met people has been at loud bars so far. You can’t really converse that way.)

This church has a lot of stuff going on at it, and I met a lot of people while getting lunch. People who spoke remarkable English! Exchanged some phone numbers at the like. Ate some great lunch, though I was definitely not a fan of the soup. Haha, some soups appear to be the only Korean food that I don’t love. I’ve disliked two things while being here; both soup. One was a cold salty soup that was just weird to me. Too much salt, I think. Anyway, this one had some texture in it that I just didn’t like. I ate the tofu out and then pretended that I was full, lol–which I was, so it was okay.

My favorite part of the church, though, was a magnificent garden next door to the cafeteria. It was an indoor, basement garden completely with tiny little waterfalls. It was fan. tastic. I really want to visit it when there aren’t after-church-rambunctious-children running around in it. They have a coffee shop, too, so I think it’s a neat little hub for making friends and having conversations.

Anyway after church I came home, but headed out really quick. Today was my day to explore. So I tried my hand at Daejeon’s brand new subway. Your ticket is a little blue token. I felt like I was riding a ride, haha, not public transport. It’s less than a dollar to get everywhere on the line, and the line seems to go everywhere I would need to go. I wandered around Daejeon Government Complex, and visited the ‘Prehistoric Site’, which my guidebook implied was lame, but I enjoyed the view. (The historical value was pretty lame. But kind of neat.) Then… I started walking. And walking. And walking. I wandered around the National Arboretum, some shops, and then I ended up at the river. There was a great expanse of green space, and then a lazy river chugging its way along through Daejeon. In the distance were some brand new apartment buildings, a brand new blue bridge, and a few brightly colored parasols where men sat fishing. In the other direction was the older side of the city. It was farther away, so there was water and a big grassy expanse between me and the great view.

Daejeon is a very new city, despite the fact that historically it stretches back very far. Very few buildings seemed to have survived the Korean War, but in addition, everything here is so new that it is almost impossible that the ancient would have survived. The place where I live, Noeun-dong, was rice patties not five years ago–or so said Phil, a man who I ran into on the river bank. He was a Canadian fellow, who was out for a walk with his wife and little baby. He seemed pretty well connected, and he gave me the names of some people to contact and–better yet–where the English book stores were. Woot. Anyway, then him and his wife got into a tiff about whether or not the Algerian man who cooked couscous at a restaurant (YAY) was Algerian or French. (Because the French had Algeria 50 years ago? What?)

Then, after I left the riverbank, I stopped at a GS25 so that I could get a bite to eat. I love convenience stores and bread shops here–they are quite cheap and 100% delicious. So I stopped to get ice cream and something interesting. I met a girl there who spoke pretty good English, and we sat and talked. She had also just moved to Daejeon from Seoul, and she said that she was looking to make friends. She’s a young mother of two, and her husband moved here for a job. She loves to cook, and so she said that she would have me over to her house and we could cook! I told her that was GREAT. So I made a friend! Woo!

So I was trying to find the subway station again, after I had wandered around for so long. My feet hurt pretty bad, but then… voila, I saw HOMEPLUS! I’ve seen little Homeplus satellite stores all over the place, but the big Homeplus… oo I was excited. So I went. Three floors of cooool stuff. Clothing, Groceries, and Housewares. I bought a notebook, and some wrapping paper to decorate with. (To cover the cracked plexiglass in my kitchen cupboards.)

The best part of Homeplus was, though, that I met a Ghanaian! I saw this gentleman just wandering around, and well… black people aren’t very common here, so I approached him. And he was from Ghana! I got to shake hands AND SNAP! Oh man, it’s been a long time since I’ve done that! He said he was here on business.. he buys scrap parts and used vehicles here and then sends them home. Haha, I told him that I thought of trotros every time I saw Korean minivans. (And it’s true, because I do secretly think of them as future trotros. And they are–the city buses are the same buses that run the STC fleet, and the same ones that I sat on for 12 hours watching bad Nigerian movies on my way to Tamale.) Anyway he was really nice, but he isn’t sure he is going to stay for another weekend, so I will probably not see him again. 🙁

That was my day! It was great! I loved it. 😀 Now my feet hurt a lot, but I am a happy camper. Whee!

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