Thursday, August 30, 2007

One whole week in Korea

I have now been in South Korea for one week.

I'd like to say that I waited a week to post anything to truly reflect on what it means to be in a foreign country and not be judgemental, BUT that is not at all the case.

After 27 hours total of travel time, we found ourselves on the other side of the world by way of Toyko, by way of Chicago, by way of Syracuse (or newark). United was an fantastic airline. Very friendly, and they somehow bumped me up to economy PLUS. More leg room, but just shy of business class. Anyway, after 50 something games of gin rummy we landed at Incheon Airport in Seoul, South Korea around 9:30pm. I wish i had had my camera out from the very beginning because after going through customs and getting our baggage, we walked through a gigantic set of doors out into what only reminds me a movie premiere. Hundreds of people crowded behind a line screaming out people's names, and holding signs of welcome, and flashes of lights from cameras. We recognized our people holding our names, and tried to get through the massive crowd to meet them. From there on out it was just surreal.

We drove about 40 minutes to Suji (the city where my school is) in a car that smelled like it was made in a factory to specifically smell like an ashtray and dropped off our stuff to our apartment. If it was one thing I learned in my first 24 hours, Korea is land of the cigarette. Even though I was praying to any type of deity that would listen for just a tiny bit of sleep, we ended up going out to dinner anyway at a nice place for some Korean BBQ. Which is really amazing stuff, and i'll write more about the food later. I eventually found myself in a spare bedroom of an apartment dead asleep by 1am.

At 7:30am sharp i was awake in a room that had no AC to head off to school at 930am to be even more surprised by the school that I will be spending most of my time in. I had no real expectations, but it was very bright, and colorful, and loud. The teacher's room is cramped but cozy and everyone's got their own desks, and the staff hangs out in there during their 10 minute breaks. After a meeting with the director, and a SHORT tour, we were taken to the bank downstairs to open up our accounts and exchange our traveler's checks. Then back up to the school to get our schedules and start obvserving classes. MWF school goes from 10-7, and T/Th it goes from 10-6, BUT this whole month i get to come in at 11:30am and leave by 5 or 7. Its really not so bad.

And to keep this 7 words short of a novel, after my friend was so kind enough to share 3 nights of his a hotel room to get some AC and some sleep, we FINALLY moved into our apartments, got access to internet, and a great night's sleep after our first official day of teaching.

Basically the jist of all of this is that my first week in Korea was insane, good and bad, and full of some serious cuture shock (a concept i never really believed in until now). Overall, i'm excited to be somewhat settled in here and have loads to tell you all about in the future. Also as soon as I have all of my information, those that are close to me will also get it as well (phone/address/etc etc).

this is where I would put goodbye and goodnight in korean, if i knew it.

**OH and if anyone knows how to make blogger be an english website instead of showing up in ALL korean, that'd be absolutely amazing.

1 comment:

John said...

Did you try changing the preferences of your browser? Depending on which brower you're using there's a "use local" setting in addition to picking your language.

Keeping a blog of your trip is a great idea.

If you're feeling Yankees deprived, you can always come visit my blog.