Thursday, March 11, 2010

First Days in Korea...

It has now been 5 days since I have been in South Korea. It has been very exciting and exhausting. I am neglecting unpacking in order to write this blog. Yes, that is right...I still haven't unpacked my suitcases...for a number of reasons. So here is a recap of my first few days in Korea:

Saturday, March 13, 2010 - Leaving the USA

I woke up at 3:45 a.m. in order to shower and get to the airport in time. It didn't even cross my mind that it was Spring Break and the airport would be PACKED. It proved to be an exhausting trip. I had two layovers with absolutely NO TIME in between flights. I was sweating as I was rushing to get from gate to gate. I will NEVER recommend flying into LAX for an international flight. I feel like I've flown enough to know myself around the airports...but I had to ask three people where to go. I had to wait for a shuttle to bring me to the International Terminal, wait in line AGAIN for ANOTHER boarding pass, go through security AGAIN, and I got to the gate just as they were boarding...two hours later.

I will say that planes have gotten A LOT better in the past few years. On the long flight I flew Asiana Airlines and they were GREAT. Everyone had their own personal t.v.s on the headrest of the person in front. You could watch new movies that weren't on DVD yet, play video games, listen to music, etc... One thing I liked was that there was a station you could tune to that had a map and it showed you where you were currently flying and how much longer it would be until you got to your destination. The flight attendants constantly were walking around with water/juice, hot towels, and they even had complimentary toothbrushes/toothpaste in the bathroom. Sounds pathetic, but if you've traveled, you learn to appreciate these things.

Sunday, March 14, 2010 - Welcome to South Korea

I landed in Seoul 24 hours after I started my journey. My driver took me to a Baskin Robbins where I was supposed to meet my supervisor. We were supposed to go shopping but she was running late. So here I am...with over 150 lbs of luggage in a tiny little Baskin Robbins, looking absolutely horrible from the trip, not knowing ANYTHING, and waiting in a Baskin Robbins in South Korea. Normally I wouldn't have minded this, but I was smelly and gross.  I'm sure I made a really great first impression to both Korea and my new supervisor.  My supervisor was really maybe I felt more disgusting than I, probably not.

Monday, March 15, 2010 - My first day as an English Teacher at Sungmin Kindergarten.

Things went much better than I had expected. All of the teachers in my school are really nice and helpful. Basically how it is set up is: Koreans called it a Kindergarten but really it is like a Pre-School. It is kids ages 3-5 who either are in immersion school OR Montessori school with 40 minutes of English per day. Each immersion class has an English and Korean Teacher. My job is to go to EVERY class to teach English so that they can hear it from a native speaker. So I have a very busy schedule and several different levels of learners. I teach 40 minute immersion classes and 20/40 minute classes in the regular classes. So basically I run around the school all day long singing and dancing and saying hello.


Since then...

Things have proven to be exhausting. Regular everyday things like eating...can become a challenge. But as the days go on...the easier things get. I cannot explain to you how exciting it is the more and more I familiarize myself with the area. Today I took a taxi ride and successfully got to point A to point B and back again with no problems!

I get to eat lunch at school everyday for free and I have liked almost everything so far. Koreans eat kimchi at every meal and I LIKE IT! It is spicy pickled cabbage. One interesting story about school lunches: We eat seaweed a lot...which I like...and the other day we had something that looked like some sort of sweet plant. So I started eating it and found it rather crunchy. So I asked what it was dried anchovies fried with sugar. I looked down and sure enough there were eyeballs looking at me!!! I don't know how I had mistaken this...needless to chopsticks didn't go near those again!

Some interesting Korean Observations:

~Koreans and Cleanliness
~You CANNOT, absolutely CANNOT wear your shoes inside because it brings in the dirt. I wear slippers at work...which are comfy...
~Koreans where masks when they are sick...kind of like what a lot of people did when there was H1N1. But they always do this...even the kids. So much so that they have cloth ones with Disney characters on them.

But yet...
~the often share out of the same bowl/plate...I've even seen them sharing a plate when they are wearing their mask...they slobber on their chopsticks and then stick them in the bowl everyone is sharing out of...
~BAR SOAP. Ewe...I hate sharing bar soap in the bathroom...liquid soap, come on...I just find it disgusting to share bar soap in a public bathroom...

Also...the other day I decided to venture around and found a fast food restaurant. I got my food, sat down, and a gentleman came down and sat with me. I figured he knew English and wanted to talk. But he said NOTHING...and of course, I said NOTHING. So we sat there...eating our awkward silence. There were other tables available...he just chose to sit with me...awkward!

So...this proves to be a long and boring post...I promise in the future...they will get more interesting. I just wanted to get this started...

I miss you all!!

1 comment:

  1. This is so not Katie . . .sitting in silence eating fast food with a stranger or just sitting in silence anywhere!!!

    We love you Katie and look forward to keeping up on your adventure!

    Hope things are going well for you this week!