Sunday, March 28, 2010

First days

So I moved to Korea two days ago and I'm still adjusting. Heres a photo of my cousins at my going away party, me and parents at the airport and my dogs waiting in the car before I left. They jumped in and didn't want to come out even when I walked back to the get something (normally they follow wherever I go but this time they just waited in the car).

The plane ride over here was nice. I had a really good seat that was a window and the guy next to me had the aisle so I didn't have to bother two many people when I wanted to get up plus it was near the back so I could stand up and chill without feeling like my butt was in anyones face.

The food was really good. For the first course I had Bibimbap which is rice mixed with sesame oil, red pepper paste and vegetable. REALLY really good. Later on they served little sandwiches and then for the final course I got chicken with rice, which wasn't as good but it came with anchovies which surprisingly were

Heres a picture as we flew over/near Siberia

I arrived in Korea around 5:30 pm Korean time and was picked up by some sent from my recruiter. He didn't speak English at all but he was really nice.
Notice him watching TV will driving. He is not alone in his craziness. I've seen plenty of drivers here who do the same. Though I have yet to be in a Taxi here, I'm told most do this as well. Also check out the ceiling, it's quilted leather. Anyways after driving for an hour through traffic we arrived at my apartment in Bucheon. I must say I was pleasantly surprised by the size of it (I had feared I would be living in a hole) but it is/was none to clean. I've tried cleaning it but there are just stains everywhere. Heres a couple of photos I took the day after I arrived. I also made a video but I'm not sure how to upload it seeing as how youtube doesn't allow anyone in Korea to upload videos to their site and how bloggers video load link isn't working. I'll try again later.

Notice how disgusting the walls are.

After we arrived, we waited about 20 mins for my co-teacher to come and then the guy left. My co-teacher's name is Elli and I really could not ask for a nicer teacher. That same night she took me to E-mart to buy some needed supplies. I got my settlement allowance right away (which I've heard from other teachers here can be a nightmare to get) and then we had coffee and talked about the job. She left around 11 pm with plans to meet the next day so she could take me to get my health check. Before she left she wrote me a note on a sticky note with her number and instructions in Korean to call the number if presented with the note, that way if I ever get lost or am in trouble I have a way to contact her. Isn't that ridiculously nice? Shes really worried something will go wrong and I'll have no way of handling it because I don't speak Korean but so far day to day life has been pretty easy, those Korean classes I took at the cultural center before I left really helped. Haha living in Korea is good practice.

After she left I tried to go to sleep but due to jet lag and being woken by how cold it was, I got up at 1 am, 3 am and 5 am respectively. After that I knew I couldn't sleep so I decided to take a walk around my area. I live in probably one of the best locations in Bucheon, its right next to the Hyundai departments store and there are tons of stores, bars and anything else you can think of nearby. That being said there were also a ton of drunk people stumbling around at 5 O'clock in the morning. Heres a picture of some interesting Engrish I saw.

Haha I might go in here just because I like the name. Anyways couldn't do anything till stores opened which was around 10 O'clock so I just bummed around my apartment until then. I didn't have hangers to put away my stuff or a adapter for my computer so I was really bored. But when I eventually went to the store I was able to bust out some Korean. I didn't know how to ask for any adapter and the guy helping me didn't speak English so I pointed to a wall socket, asked Miguk? which means American and he came back with my adapters (which were cheap only 50 cents or so). At around 11 am my co-teacher shows up and we walk to the hospital. I probably should have looked up what a health care check in Korea is but I didn't so I was in for a surprise. Once we got there (after walking through a nice park which I will have to explore someday) I had my blood drawn to test for aids, gave a urine sample, saw the dentist (who said I need my bottom right and top right wisdom teeth pulled), had my weight and height and eyesight checked and finally had a couple of xrays taken of my back. Haha I'm not sure what I was expecting but it wasn't that. Afterwards I was starving because due to the health check (your suppose to fast before hand I hadn't eaten since the plane ride the night before). So we met up with my co-teacher's cousin and went and got some Shabu Shabu. It was once again Amazing. First you eat the vegetables and meat with a spicy broth. Once thats finished they fill up the broth and bring out some noodles that you cook then eat. After that they cook some rice, egg and onion in the bottom of a pot and eat that as well. Lastly we had a small cup of coffee to finish it off and it all cost 9 dollars/person. Yay Korea!

Afterwards my co-teacher and I caught the bus and took it to my school. It takes about 30 mins with lite traffic so in the mornings it will probably take 50ish minutes to get there but we'll see tomorrow. My school is in a sort of run down part of town but I won't know how the actual classes are until I start teaching. From what I can tell from what my co-teacher has said and from the way I've been treated so far, I think it will be alright. We walked around the school, I found out where the principal, vice-principal and 3rd grade teachers room (my room too) is going to be. As we were walking back to the bus stop we actually ran into one of my future students and her mother. Both were super cute though the little girl was really shy. When her little brother noticed he got this look of astonishment on his face, pointed at me and said really loudly "waegookin" which means foreigners. Haha I didn't take this badly at all but found it really funny. Korea is ethnically homogeneous so little kids might not have any interactions with someone who
doesn't look Korean. That being said I have come across some slightly racist behavior such as the fact that my school didn't tell my landlord I'm a foreigner because he might not rent to them if they did. However I realize the things I've come across is due to ignorance and preconceptions more than anything else. Anyways I'm crazy tired and have to get up early tomorrow to start my FIRST DAY of school. Woot! I have more to write about (that was only friday night and Saturday. I did tons of stuff today (Sunday) as well). Here a couple pictures of my school. Night :D


  1. Nice pics Sis! Seems like everything's goings smooth so far, sorry bout your dirty apartment and the racism, thankfully it seems mild. The food there looks awesome and i'll be praying everything goes smooth and you're able to fix all their preconceived notions about foreigners. Love you!


  2. Holly,

    Really love your blog. Call me when you get up on 2 April.

    Parental Unit 1