It appears that Sanbon (Gunpo-si) will be getting its first department store (Lotte) sometime next year.
Work on the site has been progressing for a year and a half, about 8 months of which was spent digging (and blowing up rocks) for 3 basement levels (probably parking).
(The site is across from the train tracks, on the western side of Sanbon station; as the train leaves Sanbon station, headed toward Surisan, you can look out the right side windows and see it (for a second or two)).
This week the workers started attaching siding to the top floor (presumably a cinema).
I have been sick for about a week--sneezing, a runny nose, a bit of sinus stuffiness, etc.
Usually, especially when the seasons change, I get a mix of allergies that inevitably lead to a sinus infection.
That time seemed to have come, especially since I had an additional sore throat Sunday night.
So I went to see the doctor.
The ear, nose, and throat guy (E.N.T.).
His office is in my building, as is a pharmacy, and, since with South Korea's good health care I don't have to pay more than $5 for a visit to the doctor or $5 for medicine, it is a good opportunity to heal.
However, and I think that I have written about this before, there is the issue of the nasal camera.
This doctor has a slender metal stick, atop which is a camera.
While you sit in the (fortunately high-topped) chair, he brings out this little wand and says, "Don't move or you might have some discomfort."
Based on past experience I freeze.
I tense my body ad my head.
He says, "Relax," but I can't, because I know that one little movement will hurt.
The metal stick-camera is about 3 inches in length, and it always surprises me how far he can move it up my nasal cavity.
There is a video camera next to my head and I can see into my nose and view my mucus membranes--it isn't a pretty picture, especially when you are sick.
The doctor prescribes 3 days worth of antibiotics, which sets off another round of foreboding, as I know the camera will be used again.
"Come back again in 3 days," he says.
I am thinking about appealing to him on my next visit:
"Doctor, I am still sick. I know it. Please give me 4 more days of medicine and no camera this time. OK?"
On Friday evening, in one of my favorite classes, the six girls (5th grade; usually there are seven, but one went on a trip to Jeju) were their characteristic chatty and happy selves.
However, two of them asked me for food and said they were so hungry.
A plan formed in my mind:
1. I had hungry students (aren't they always?)
2. We did not have a lot of book work to do (very unusual)
3. I had a cup of coins that had been stacking up for a year
So I went and got the coin cup, took it to class, and started counting out piles of 1,000 won/$1.
One girl asked another, "What's this?"
Another other girl responded, "It's a game!"
I didn't say anything, just checked their notebooks as they finished the evening's writing assignment.
Then I stood up from my desk and said, "Yes, it is a game. The game is to go to the mart (convenience store) and buy a snack. Each student gets one pile of coins."
A student said, "Really?"
"Yes," I said, "Get your coins, grab your jacket, and let's go!"
For context, we very rarely do things like this at my academy, and I had never taken these girls outside before, as we are too busy studying English and doing book work. Two of the girls I have taught for 1 and 1/2 years and have never taken them out before. However, they are great kids--they always do their homework, never complain about the workload, are are always bright and cheerful--so I like to reward them sometimes. (When they do start singing K-pop songs, however, I tell them that they have to sing in English.)
As I walked toward the elevator they still didn't believe me.
"Teacher, are we going to the mart? Is it true?"
They were excited, and they made me feel happy that I had decided to act on a whim.
So we went to the convenience store (less than a block away), where the Korean clerk watched with interest as I told my six Korean girls in English to quickly choose a snack.
They paid up with their coins, and then we returned to class to finish a worksheet that I had prepared for them.
All the while they kept saying, "Teacher, really, really thank you!" which was useful in prompting me to remind them to say "Thank you very much!"
A few of them were so happy that they said they would write about the experience in their diaries (that they write for weekend homework).
I'm looking forward to reading the diaries on Monday.
Actually, the museum building occupies only a relatively small part of the grounds. There is a very large courtyard where you can, for instance, see a changing of the guards ceremony; also, there are lots of places to walk around, but not very much to see aside from the outsides of buildings.
The museum was a bit disappointing (boring), though the exhibits were nicely presented.
This boribap (barley rice) restaurant is cheap ($7 a person), tasty, and healthy. It also has a nice informal atmosphere:
It is essentially a make-your-own bibimbap type of place; you mix some of the fresh, prepared vegetables (on the platter in the middle of the table) in with the rice, add some sesame oil and hot pepper paste, stir it up, and eat.
There is a restaurant in Sanbon, on the ground floor of the Gunpo Culture & Arts Center, which is quite nice: "Boiled Broccoli". It has individual shabu-shabu burners (electric) plus a buffet (on the small side but plenty enough and with good variety).