Wednesday, September 30, 2009

chuseok is awesome.

This week was my first holiday week in Korea. I felt like garbage all week, so it's been nice not having to talk or teach! It started on Monday with 3 birthdays and seemingly limitless cake and grapes, was followed up by Tuesday, game day. Game day we played group games in the play room all day and I didn't have a voice so Teacher Joel had to run the whole thing. Then we had lunch and they watched a movie. Ahhh bliss. Wednesday we celebrated Chuseok, Korean Thanksgiving. All of the kids and teachers dresses up and did special activities all day. Jasmine and I headed up the art project, Claire cooked, and Joel and Jay played traditional games. Awesome. Work is great normally dress wise bc I can basically wear whatever I want (eg yoga pants) and they don't like you to wear shoes from outside inside, so I wear slippers all day. No more heels for this kid. But having everyone in costume made the day more exciting anyway. And we get Halloween here too.

I'm off school until next Tuesday so I'm off to Taipei, Taiwan, tomorrow evening. I can't wait. They have the world's tallest building, temples, hot springs and most exciting of all, COBRA ALLEY. I can't wait to see what that's all about. I picture the Beach where Leo is taking shots of snake's blood. Yey. I'll let you know next week!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

another week in ktown

I meet up with Andre at the subway and immediately recognize him, which I was quite worried I would not. So that was a good start. Then he asks if I want to go to a pork bbq- ahh this is just a few days after I've sworn it off. So I mention seafood and we go to a great little fresh fish place 2 steps from the subway. Andre's so much fun! He speaks English really well, more than any other Korean I have met, and is so embarrassed and thinks he's terrible. I try to show off my new Korean and end up messing it up and he just corrects me and tries to help me. I tell him I just learned how to haggle. Sawju juseo. He gets a good laugh of this because I'm actually ordering soju. I was trying to say "give it to me cheaper" which he reminds me is saGAY juseo. close enough. I end up just making up some words and laughing at myself. He orders some raw fish (they all look the same, white, a bit chewy but fresh out the tank) and soju. He gives me the run down on how to drink soju politely. If you're pouring for someone older you must use two hands. You never pour into a cup on the table, the receiver must pick the cup up. And you NEVER pour for yourself. And you drink it like a shot. I had grown rather fond of sipping on my soju. Oh well. Bottle one of soju doesn't stand a chance. And as Brady put it, he thinks he can liquor up some American, but he doesn't know who he's messing with! Another bottle of soju and learning the ins and outs of Korean etiquette and Andre's life, and it's getting a little saucy. Then I try to tell him about this weird drink I had...makali. He says sang makali (fresh) is really quite good so tries to order it but they only have the pre bottled stuff but we get it anyway. It's the same crap I tried before. Picture a carbonated chalky flavorless beverage. Hmm we both agree its no good and he promises next time to take me to a real legit makali place.

The best part of the evening. I don't know if it was the soju or just the blatant stereotype, but he sent me this text message on his way home:

"Rauren- goodnight ^^ <3"

and I think I laughed for a solid 5 minutes before I could continue walking. Kristin I immediately thought of you and Miss Swan. "Uhhhh yeah tank you vely much." To be fair the R and L are both the same sound/character here, but oh man I died laughing. Then the other best part of the night. Just a couple of days ago the street vendors started selling these fish looking pastries. I had heard they were good but hadn't tried one. So on the walk home I stopped by the cart. 1,000 won gets you 4 or 5 of the 6" pastries. They're basically warm waffles filled with a sweet red bean paste. Holy shit. My new favorite food. I know I know, how often do I say that, but this time I mean it. Best. Food. Ever. It's worth coming to Korea if not only to taste one of these bad boys.


So I think I'm making some progress in class. I have the kids laughing at me (I sing K-Pop and do the dances in class when I get bored) and interested in what I have to say. I have also implemented a workout into class. (picture is of my homeroom Cedar class) If the kids won't stay in their seats I make them do 10 jumping jacks, hop on one foot then the other, then do 10 star jumps "I'm a star!" They learn English and get tired out! Wednesday was show and tell so I brought in a bunch of random stuff and let them play with it. One item was a brush so I let them all brush my hair (selfishly of course, I loved it) and I even got some hugs! Then today was a bit of a step back. I started out feeling ok this morning but as the afternoon went on my throat got a bit swollen, my head started pounding and my sinuses exploded. I was in no mood for noise. So why did I get a sinus infection after being here three weeks? Well let me tell you.

I thought I would go out for a nice 30 minute jog yesterday. I haven't been seriously running in over a month so I don't want to push it. And it's super smoggy here so it's rough on the lungs. 20 minutes into my lovely run (i discovered all sorts of new shopping) I decide to head home. At this point i feel comfortable in my neighborhood so instead of running straight out and back I thought I'd make a loop. Yeah that never works out well. Mom, remember Atlanta? So after 40 minutes I start getting annoyed and ask these two little old ladies in some back neighborhood I have stumbled into how to get back to Bongcheon-dong. After they can make out my accent, and lots of hand holding, they're very affectionate over here, they point me in the "right direction." I go to where they tell me and get absolutely no where, just another little random market. So I spot a 15 year old kid with 2 huge diamond earrings and a sweatshirt written in crappy English, and ask him where to find Bongcheon. He somewhat understands me and walks me to the main street and tells me to go through the tunnel and buck a right (in so many words). As I'm going through the tunnel I realize I had inadvertently run over a mountain. How did I do that!? My easy 30 minute jog had turned into a 80 minute quad-burning excursion and resulted in a sinus infection and tired thighs. Good work out though!

I went to the pharmacy and they seemed to know just what I needed. Gave me 2 boxes of god knows what and sent me on my way. I then went to get my first Korean haircut. I realized recently I haven't gotten my haircut since I lived in DC, that's over 3 months now, so I went to this nice looking place down the street from my house. The guy understood me and took me right away (9pm). First off, they don't wash your hair. He just starts right in cutting. They also don't cut in straight lines. Instead just kind of chops around a bit. Usually they do this at the end of a haircut so your edges don't look too straight. Hmm. After 15 minutes he was done, it looks pretty much the same but a little shorter I guess. So he rings me up. 12,000 won. hahah oh Korea you make me laugh. I guess he didn't have to use any product or anything, but $11 for a haircut, that's awesome. I probably have to go back in a few weeks because he didn't cut much off, but for $11 who cares.

Speaking of cheap; I'm going to Taipei for Harvest Fest. I booked my ticket today. I'm taking a solo 5 day vacation to Taiwan. If anyone knows anything about it or has been please give me some advice. I know nothing. It was cheap and it's been in the 90s all week :) Maybe I'll rent a scooter and tour the countryside. If you don't hear from me in October it's because I did just that. Bad news. Lara can attest to this from past experience in Bonnaire. ["ahhh a lizard!"]

Yup so taking it easy tonight to prepare for the weekend and recover from running repercussions. Good night!

PS "The world's largest ice cream social" is a load of crap. I went to Cold Stone with my two co-teachers after my first Korean pizza [delicious, sweet potato crust and all] the Cold Stone people had no idea what we were talking about. Of course we got it anyway, but what bs!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

apparently i'm a teacher

I've been a teacher for a little over a week now and I got my first two kids to cry today. I'm obviously the new favorite. Little kids are tough enough when they understand you, but when they have no idea what you want them to do they a) go on doing whatever they feel like b) try to talk over you c) just stare at you d) pretend you don't exist and can't hear you. I didn't feel like being ignored so I put Jeinie, one of my Cedar kids, into time out after calling her name 20 times repeatedly with no answer. As soon as this happens the tears flow. Ahhhh I feel like such a horrible person!! So I immediately apologize and let her keep on keeping on. The other kid, Peter, who is soo cute and one of my favorites, just wouldn't write anything. I was getting frustrated and kept explaining and asked if he understood and he said he did. So I said "if you don't do your work, time out." He didn't so I put him in the hall where he immediately started crying. Again! Ahh this kid totally didn't deserve it. I'm sure he had no idea what to do or how to write and then I punish him for it! I gave him a big ( not reciprocated) hug and said sorry and went on to dictate sentences to him. Ha yeah that's helping him learn! But at least he stopped crying. I'm a terrible teacher.

Tuesday is journal day. One class is learning about time and the theme of journal was family so I asked them to write what do they do at different times of the day with their family. One of my brighter students, Steve, knew what I was talking about so started writing. I checked his work a few minutes later, "I shower with mother. I sleep with sister." This kid is going to have problems when he grows up. But I gave him a big highfive and sticker and let him get on to coloring. At least he was writing something, right?

Once a month the older kids get a phone call home where I ask them questions about what they have been learning. It's no longer than 5 minutes and it's questions straight out of the book so it shouldn't be a big deal. The problem is most kids' parents don't speak English. Of the 6 kids I called today 2 answered immediately and did great. 2 didn't answer at all. One kid's mother hung up on me and called back one of the Korean teachers 30 mins later so I got her daughter on the phone eventually. When I called Eric his mom answers and speaks no English so she puts Eric's little sister on the phone. She's decent at understanding English and can answer me. The conversation went like:

Me: Is Eric home?
Sister: No, he's at the hospital
M: Oh no, is everything ok? Is he sick?
S: No.
M: Is he hurt?
S: No
M: Well what's he doing at the hospital
S: I don't know
M: Will Eric be in school tomorrow?
S: Yes........tomorrow better. I outside. Bye.
M: Ok....bye.....

So who knows what that was about. She was really sweet though!

September 30th we're having a Harvest Festival party all day at school. Harvest fest is basically the Korean Thanksgiving and we get 3 days off school for it where I am either heading to Hong Kong or Taipei. We get to dress up in traditional gear and not teach all day! The next party if for Halloween where I get to teach a cooking class. I think I'll make something with pumpkin (we had excellent pumpkin soup for breakfast this morning at school!). Or maybe marshmellow ghosts or something...hmmmm.
Last night's birthday party in Noksapyong was great. There were a few people there I knew and many more I didn't. It's definitely nice to meet more people, especially people who have been here a little while and can show me around a bit. And the best part, aside from the wine and Coldstone icecream cake, was the apartment! A REAL apartment in Korea. With more than one room. And a large kitchen. And huge bathroom with a tub! And it was above a bar. I didn't think such things existed here.

Sidenote: Coldstone is hosting a worldwide icecream social this Thursday from 5-8pm. Free icecream!

Tonight I'm going out with my new Korean friend Andre, you remember, the one from GS 25. So this should be interesting. Hopefully I'll have some good stories from this. I can't get over how random life is over here. Anything goes and teaching is tough because it's frustrating, but I just feel like I'm a summer camp counselor or something. It's not real work. But it is....I'm shaping the future here right?

Monday, September 21, 2009

One nigt out with Caleb....

....and I already know Korean!

After a week of screaming at children who have absolutely no interest in listening, participating, or sitting, it's the weekend!!!! I've been teaching for a week and I'm already sick of it. I don't think I'm cut out for jobs that require patience and children. It will get better. It will get better....Friday night was a blast but did not lead to a fun Saturday AM. In order to get your immigration status all sorted out in Korea you need to get a "health" check. They take blood, urine, chest xrays, blood pressure, height, weight and if you get cleared theyll get you your foreign card, which you basically need for everything. You need it to get a real cell phone (I currently have a prepay ghetto phone), internet, a bank account, etc. Anyway, the health check was at 10 am at the Seoul Hospital an hour away. Teacher Joel and I decide to leave at 8:30 to make sure we're there on time. After 4 hours of sleep and no coffee, an hour long train ride with Joel made me want to kill myself. No offense Joel, but I really don't care or need to hear the entire history of Canada's pension plan. But that's all finished now and I find out my results on Tuesday. haha keep your fingers crossed.

Saturday turned out to be fantastic after a nap. I was supposed to go to Global Gathering (a dj event at the World Cup Stadium) but didn't really feel up to dancing for 10 hours straight, so I went to Noksapyoeng to tell the girls I couldn't make it. I went to get a coffee at the Family Mart convenience store, affectionately referred to as Club FM, and there was a gaggle of drunk ex-pats sitting out front handing out flowers. They had just come from a Korean wedding. They ask me to join and we procede to sit an drink beers for a couple hours. I ran into a friend in the hour away from my first random friend encounter! And she and her bf had just bought a puppy. Bruce the Beagle was the cutest dog ever and apparently his purchase was the result of a saucy afternoon across the street at the pub. After getting the ins and outs of Korea from the drunk Irish, English, Australian, Canadian and American, I head to Sinchon to meet Caleb, a friend I met through Suzi, for dinner.

Over a Korean bbq (I have since sworn off meat again; back to being a pescatarian) Caleb taught me the entire Korean alphabet, how to read and write it, and some key phrases. Caleb, you're awesome! And he kept testing me all night so I actually remembered it when I woke up this morning. While taking the subway to go shopping (I FOUND A DOWN COMFORTER!!!!) I could read most of the stops and ads. It's amazing how simple it is. I can't translate what I'm reading, but I can read the letters/sounds! Sang mekju duseo juseo. Come saneda. {Please bring me 2 more draft beers. Thank you} Now to learn the meanings of more words.

Tomorrow it's back to the grindstone. Teaching and yelling. I have decided to implement a scare tactic and get a stick to hit on the table when the kids won't listen. I'm thinking this combined with a sticker reward system may keep them Then it's birthday parties, Korean dinners, dvd burning parties, movies, the beach and going away parties all in store for the week. It never stops.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Please send packages here:

If you plan on sending anything here [and by all means feel free. i like diamonds, chocolate and cold hard cash] please send it to my school located at:

Joong Ang Dong 889-1
Chungwoon Building 5th Floor
Gwanak-gu, Seoul, Korea
Bits Language School 151-825

Off to do some shopping with Jasmine. One of these days I will find a mattress pad and down comforter!

Ad in the subway

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Job #3 in 3 years.

I can't believe I have to go back to work....

After an awesome weekend with Suzi, Emily and crew I had to start work. The school is super cute and there are tons of cute pictures, decorations, sayings ("A good book is same as good friend" ohhh korean english) and books and games to play with. I show up day one at 9:15 and Hanna, the head teacher, tells Joel and I about our schedules and classes for a couple of minutes. She says "any questions" and lets us go. 9:50 and I am officially teaching my first class. The kids are 6-7 and I think that's in Korean years which means they are actually 5-6 (they count gestation period as a year of life. I'm going with they don't believe in abortion here). The first day was pretty taxing because I'm not used to working from 9-6, or at all for that matter. I learn that I am the Cedar class teacher, yet all of the classes switch every 35 minutes. The kids are so cute and I already have my favorites. Joshua (they all have English names) is really cute and just always has this down trodden look on his face that makes me want to pick him up and hug him! And then there are the bad kids. Harry is the one that sticks out, but he's also one of my favorites because he's so cute and understands English pretty well for a 6 year old! I have 8 or 9 classes a day and usually have lunch with my Cedar class except on T/T when I have lunch with Spruce, who are younger. Lunch is presented on site and I have to serve it to the kids, and clean it up, which honestly hasn't been that bad so far. I found out today that every other month I teach the special cooking class. So in October I need to figure out a dish to prepare with kids. Suggestions? The kitchen is so cute and I'll have to post pictures soon. If I can find the school's website I will post it. But it's in Korean so it's not that easy to find on google....see goal 2 below.

It's pretty laid back and I definitely have some leigh way as to how much I prepare or don't prepare. Not going to lie business school and working for the past 3 years has not set me up well to deal with little children. I miss you Laganas!!!!

I love all of my new co-teachers which has made everything so easy! Joel is the Candian who lives downstairs. He's very pleasant and easy to talk to aboot anything. The 4+ Korean teachers have made me feel so welcome and have answered all of my questions immediately and without judgement (I need to clean this up? where's the AC remote?) Teacher Jasmine is always dressed to the 9s. She's so cute and keeps me informed about where to go for dinner, to find a cell phone, to find better blankets (they don't believe in down or memory foam here, so the first person to come visit I will give you $500,000 to bring me these things. screwyou and Jay teacher, who teaches the second session of my afternoon class, is awesome as well. They both seem very smart, fun, and interested in helping me, which is huge. I think they were all good friends with Brad and Nick (the old Joel and Lauren) so I'm hoping we can keep this tradition going...Claire teacher is awesome and is my partner in school. She helps me with so much and is nothing but friendly! And it turns out my first day in Korea I met Brad, who I replaced, which I didn't realize until tonight. While at the Hamilton pool with Emily and her friends a couple of weeks ago I met a Brad. It was his last day in Korea and he was going back to Indianapolis. Tonight I went out with Jasmine and she was telling me about Brad, how he went back to Indy, and how he was at the Hamilton his last day....holy shit I met him and had no idea I am the new him!

After Dr. FIsh, I met my first Korean friends outside of work.
First off, Dr. Fish is a cafe where you can get your feet sucked/eaten by fish. It's totally amazing and at the same time totally disturbing because it tickles like nothing I have ever felt. I don' t think I have laughed that hard ever!! There were four of us going into the fish pool and guess who's feet they went after the most.? yeah mine. i had probably 3/4 of the tank sucking on my nasty runner's toes. And at the end of it they didn't look any better. Although I felt like i had just had the best foot massage ever,,,,ahh fish feet. So on my way home from Gangnum (pronounced Kangnum) I stopped at a convenience store to play online and post pictures and whatnot. As I'm sitting these three guys approach, one of whom speaks English, and the others just go inside to buy beer. Andre, the one who speaks English, informs me that he only has 3 international friends and wants to make more. His international friends consist of 2 Chinese and one Japanese guy. I totally agree to be his American friend and they become my new Korean friends!, Andre, Ocean, and Blue. Andre was the only one who spoke English so he gave his other friends names; Blue is in businessman and Ocean is a chef. I love the randomness of Korea. He sent me an email today:

subject: Beautiful Lauren

I really like to treat you to delicious Korean dinner. I hope not to disturb you. I put you at ease...haha and it went on like this for a while. So I think I'll take him up on it next week.

Tomorrow running begins again. Since my 6 day bender in NY/DE/NJ, and moving to SoKo, I haven't run or done much of anything except eat and drink. Tomorrow I'm meeting Susan and we'll probably do 5k. There's also a gym right by my work that has yoga classes, so I think I will sign up for that too. Koreans don't seem too big on the gym scene, so hopefully it won't be crowded.

And my second goal: Because I can't read anything or talk to basically anyone, I have decided to learn Korean. I would feel pretty shitty about myself if I lived in a city for months and didn't know the language. So startying today I wrote down the alphabet and will be able to write it and read it soon. Then I will have my co-teachers teach me to speak Korean. Game. Set. Match.

I just got my phone all hooked up so please call when you have a chance. It's 010 5814 6266. Miss you all :)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

escalators freak me out

have you ever walked down a stopped escalator and gotten nervous that it might start? yeah that happened to me today.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

spandex shorts are back!

My bag came! Of couse it's 1:30pm and I'm in Sincheon for the afternoon sightseeing when I get an email from David saying your bag will arrive between 1 and 2 and you need to be home. Hmm typical, right? He ended up working it so the bag would come at 5, and you'll never believe it! It actually came right at 5! Delivered straight to my room. Opening the box was kind of like Christmas since I forgot what I packed (well my mom did most of the packing actually). I have sneakers again, a yoga mat, journals, dresses!, and all sorts of other goodies I have yet to uncover because they're air-vacced into bags. I refuse to unpack until I'm in my final apartment.

Sincheon is my new favorite place in Seoul. There are just streets and streets of shopping, mostly upscale, restaurants and bars upon bars. AND I saw a cat on a leash at a restaurant. I smell dinner.

It's my understanding that bars, or what I presume to be bars as I have never actually frequented one, don't open until late in the evening. I tried to go to a Canadian bar, Beer O Clock, at 3 and the doors were locked. I thought it was always beer o clock, eh. I stand corrected. Sincheon is a playground for adults and I'm looking forward to going back at night. Back here in Gwanak, all of the places with beer mugs in the windows appear to be restaurants. Even if they are just for drinking, you have to sit at a table and there isn't an actual bar, and they're almost alway empty. I already eat alone enough I don't need to sit alone in a small booth drinking by myself too. That can be done in the privacy of my own room.

David informed me today that my co-worker, Candian Joel, will be arriving at the apartments on Saturday. I'm thinking because I'm a girl the school's giving me the bigger apt and Joel will take the one I'm currently in. Fingers crossed!!! It will be nice to have someone close by to chat with. I'm almost positive we'll be the only two non-Korean people in the building, if not in all of Bongcheon.

Feel free to call me via Skype. Generally early morning and late evenings work best, keeping in mind there's a 13 hour time difference. That may all change after I start working. Just send me an email and we'll work something out. Cheers~

Although I did get a new apartment because I was a girl, it is certainly not because it's bigger. It's because it's on the 3rd floor thus "safer." I think it just has less bugs than the bottom floor. Thanks Jasmine for the upgrade!

Life Lessons

When your shower head is attached to the bathroom sink you must remember to turn off the showerhead after EVERY shower. I learned this the hard way when I went to wash my hands after using the restroom.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

random updates

Happy Birthday Maria!!!

So no word on my lost baggage. My recruiter has assured me they will find it and get it to me. It's been almost a week my friend. But on the bright side I think even in my morning haze of repacking I put mostly summer stuff in the box. Seasons are definitely turning here and I should be OK in terms of jeans and pants (which they don't make in tall people sizes here).

I'm in a coffee shop now where they're playing Radiohead. weird. Korean music is awesome by the way!!

The new apt pretty much blows but I was told that I get a new and "nicer" one on Friday. Hopefully that means it will be a bit bigger. If not, this one is definitely manageable, I'm just thinking come December it may get a bit stifling. It's close to the subway so that's been convenient. Also on Friday someone from my school will come get me a 4pm and bring me over to see it! I'm definitely ready to start teaching. I want to meet more people and just get into a routine. My routine now consists of waking up at 8, finding coffee, going online for an hour or two, then I hop on the metro and go to a stop I haven't previously been to. Get home, eat dinner, drink soju in bed while reading. I just finished Chelsea Handler's "My Life Horizontal" and am on Tucker Max's "I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell," and they both have me laughing out loud. I'm pretty sure Ben Brady is Tucker Max.

Tomorrow Emily and I are going to see Building 63 (don't ask me what it is because I have not a clue) then I'm heading down to Beomgye (Bum Gay I was told) to meet a friend of a friend for drinks. I think it's like 40 minutes away via subway. Friday/Saturday Suzi comes into town and Saturday is the wine cruise. Things are starting to pick up.

Now what to do today. I think I may head over to the Seoul Tower. It's a space needley looking building in the middle of the city where you can go to the top and see forever. I guess I'll play it by ear and see where the subway takes me today.

lost in translation

When you don't talk to people in your native language for a few days communication stops being instinctual and is replaced solely with a head nod and a smile. I forget that I even know how to speak, and when absolutely necessary I start splicing all of the foreign languages and words I know into a sentence. "Oh you don't know English? Excuse me, merci, por favor donde esta la biblioteca?" This doesn't get you too far in Korea.

I was supposed to get a phone call at 9:15 this morning explaining when I would get picked up to come to my new apartment. I don't have a phone but there was one in the reception of the motel where I had previously gotten a phone call. So every 5 or so minutes after 9:30 I would come up with excuses to walk by the front desk. I need a soda. A coffee. Just walking to the end of the block and back...again. No one ever stopped me. Come 10:30 I went up to one of the women behind the desk and made a phone sign with my hand (you know, like hang loose) and pointed at myself. She thought I wanted to make a phone call and kept handing me the phone and kept asking for a # to dial. I gave up and threw her the "never mind" wave off and went back to watching Canada's Next Top Model. At 11 there was a knock at my door and I was taken to my temporary apartment.

After being dropped in yet another neighborhood with no map or directions, I was told I was "free" until Friday at 4 when I would get a tour of my school and a new "nicer" apartment. We'll see. Anyway, it was a gorgeous day so I went out sightseeing, sat at some monuments and sunbathed, and basically sweat a ton from walking around all day. All I wanted to do come 4pm was take a shower. I get back and into the shower [aka the entire bathroom] and turn the water on to warm up. 5 minutes later cold. 10 minutes later cold. I finally quit and gchat Suzi and email my recruiter to help me on this (which I have to do from the street since I live in the basement and get no Internet). This has got to be some weird Asian water saving effort right? Suzi tells me there's probably a box with a switch or something to get the hot water going. I search all 10 sq feet of my apt and find nothing. Shit. So I decide to sit outside the front of my building and wait for someone to come home. About 10 mins into my stalking someone comes out and he's Korean (I had this preconceived notion that everyone in my building would be sexy and Australian. Bummer.). So I proceed to stop him and play charades. "Wash" "Dirty" "Shower" "Water" "Cold" (hace frio!) He gets me and I convince him to follow me to my closet of an apartment. There's a button right over the head of my bed (just as Suzi said) that turns on the hot water. I thought it was a part of my intercom system. Now I know. My charades skillz are back! ha. Wait till I start teaching....meow.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

all things korea

I'm here! After a 6 hour flight with crying children to San fran and a 12 hour xanax/wine sleep induced flight, I arrived in Seoul only to find that my extra 50lbs of excess baggage they made me put in a cardboard box had been jacked by someone who thought it was their cardboard box!

Anyway, Korea is absolutely amazing! I'm shocked how easy and not itimidating everything is. After all of the nonsense they put me through to get here it's pretty crazy that things in Korea are so organized and clear. I found my "recruiter" with no problem and he took me out to an amazing Korean bbq dinner. [I am officially a carnivore as Korea doesnt have non-meat meals] I get an email from my recruiter yesterday saying welcome to Korea and sorry I couldn't be there to pick you up which confuses me because I thought he did pick me up. David Hwang, my recruiter, sent David Kang, his friend to pick me up. I would have had no idea it wasn't him if he hadn't told me. haha I suppose I should be lucky I wasn't sold into a kabuki or something.

As soon as I was dropped off at my motel (which I'm pretty sure is a pay by the hour place. See photo of my overhead light )I found it easy to go out and find things to do. My communication with anyone has been pretty limited but I guess that's expected for now. A little boy in a coffee shop taught me hi, an yo haseo, and thank you, come se neda, this morning. Spelling is phoentic, not actual spelling of these words. And I've been able to find my way back to my motel every time I leave!

So my first morning in Korea I decided to venture out to breakfast. The first thing I see at 9 am is a Korean dude running out of a building, on his cell phone, projectile vomiting in the street. He continues to chat it up while doing this. Ew. I went to the pool in Itaewon, ex-pat central, to meet with Emily and her friends. Side note: I went to high school with Emily and she's been here since November. After telling them about my puke siting all everyone could say was "yeah, welcome to Seoul." It was weird being in Itaewon. You're pretty hard pressed to find a Korean there yet in Gwanak I am one of the only Americans. I didn't see any until the second morning while searching for an adapter. My first Korean (well American in Korea) friend!

So I have definitely figured out why everyone loves Korea and wants to stay forever. It's spring break for adults. Everyone is doing the exact thing you are, and I guess since there isn't a whole lot of culture here since Seoul was basically leveled in the 50s, people just booze it all day and night. It's a nonstop party. The pool party in Iteawon yesterday went from 10-8pm and there were DJs spinning, drinks pouring and dancing on lawn chairs all day long. I felt like I was in Cancun except that Koreans LOVE the banana hammocks.

So far so good :) Tomorrow someone from my school will come get me and bring me to my apartment. I am under the impression it's not far from where I'm staying in Gwanak, but who knows. Then I get my health check, alien card and start teaching. Boo summer's over. haha as I write and reread this I realize that I have no idea about grammer. My knowledge of comma rules, or any grammer rules, is long gone. Good thing I'm an English teacher :)

I miss you all already, and all I can say is come visit; you'll love it!! xoxo