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Published: March 1st 2009
The view from living room balcony.
OK, this time the location has moved and so have we. Friday we left Cheonan and got on a bus to Daegu. Including a lunch stop it took us about four hours to get here. The lunch stop was at a little hole in the wall joint right off of the highway. I'm still getting used to the food so it still amazes me that anyone can eat a Korean meal and not walk away hungry. Once we got into Daegu, we stopped first at the Daegu Education Office. We brought our luggage into the building and then the 30 or so of us that will be teaching in Daegu went into a room to do paperwork. They photocopied our passports and medical reports, offered us some books on teaching ESL, and gave us an alien registration card application. Then we sat and waited nervously until our co-teachers, vice principals, administrative workers, etc. were ready for us upstairs.
I was so nervous to meet my co-teacher. That is the principle person that we will be interacting with at the school (aside from the students). Finally we went upstairs and all went into the same room. We stood in the front
The sofa is in place and since there is no drier in our apartment our clothes are drying out on the balcony.
of the room and one by one the guy read off the name of the school (the people from the school in attendance waved) and then he read your name (you stepped forward and bowed). After everyone had been announced we were to go actually meet our co-teachers and whoever else was there from our school. I met my co-teacher Cho Jungeun, my school's vice principal, and a woman that works in the administrative office. I went back downstairs with my co-teacher to get my luggage. We put it into the vice principal's vehicle and we were off to the school.
The car ride to the school took several minutes and I found out that I will be teaching at Paldal Middle School. Jung-eon said that although the building is large, there are only about 500 students. Middle school in South Korea consists of grades 7-9 but here the grades are referred to as middle 1-3. School starts on Monday but there is no set class schedule yet. From what I've been told though, I will be working with all three grade levels.
When we got to the school we first went into the principals office. The
On top of the microwave, that crock pot looking thing, is a rice cooker.
principal spoke pretty good English and he asked me a few questions. Some were pretty straightforward. "You majored in music education?" "Yes" "Our school's students like music very much!". Some were more surprising. He offered tea which we all took and I was amazed at how quickly everyone finished. It was boiling hot. I had barely been able to take a sip and the others were finished with it. Afterward, Jungeun took me upstairs to the teachers office room. It is basically like a big office room where teachers have a desk with a computer. I have my own desk and computer. I was showed how to log in and also go to meet several other teachers while we were up there. Everyone was extremely friendly.
From there we left the school and headed over to the apartment where Mike and I will be living. I was so excited to find out that they did indeed house us together. We were told that we would be, but I had really been suspicious of whether or not it would actually happen. The apartment is literally right across the street from my school. Unfortunately for Mike, his school is a 20
minute bus ride away. When his co-teacher showed him how to get to the school by bus yesterday, she showed him the apartment building he would have lived in, right across the street from his school. :P Sorry! I was amazed and still am amazed by how large and how nice this place is. As far as apartments are concerned this place is a mansion. We have three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen and a living room. There are balconies off of every room. Apparently it is very hard to find housing for two people here and this was the only place that was left. Unfortunately though, apparently in Korea it is not required that you clean out your apartment when you move out. So we have a whole lot of cleaning to do. We spent seriously all day Saturday and a good chunk of this morning cleaning. You can't see it in the pictures that we took yesterday, in fact, we couldn't even see it when we first got here on Friday, but it is all the ickiness that you see when you look close.
After we looked around the apartment, we walked over to my school with
View from the Bedroom
The door on the left goes into the main bedroom's bathroom. Across from the bedroom is my study.
both of our co-teachers. On the way to the school we ran into one of my soon to be students. We also saw several students playing soccer outside of the school. Jungeun called some of the students over and we talked to them for a little bit. We also found out that there is a convenience store and bus stop less than a block away from our apartment. We got in the car and they took us to E-mart (in someways it's like a Korean Walmart).
There are two (maybe three?) floors to the store. You get a cart and then if you want to go upstairs or downstairs you push the cart onto an escalator conveyor belt type contraption that goes to your desired location. In other words, think of an escalator minus the stairs. Shopping was truly exhausting. There were so many things that we needed to get for our apartment. Bowls, cups, utensils, TP, food, cleaner, etc, etc. and next to none of the labels are written in English. Even with our co-teachers there to help translate for us, it was exhausting. Here when you check out you have to pay for bags, but if you
Our apartment is on the 17th floor. This is a picture from the window of my study.
go over to the side you can tape cardboard boxes (like the boxes that toilet paper is shipped in, etc) together and put your groceries in them.
By the time we got home it was almost 9pm and we hadn't eaten dinner yet. We cleaned up a little bit and then went to bed.
Saturday, like I said, we spent the better part of the day cleaning. In the afternoon we went to the convenience store to grab something for lunch quick before the sofa for our living room arrived. When we went out to wait for the elevator we discovered who our next door neighbor is. He was so confused when the doors opened and we were standing there waiting. He looked at us, looked up at the elevator to double check which floor he was on, looked at us again and then went into his apt.
Later when the sofa came, there was only one delivery guy who completely man-handled the sofa on his own. He came in, unwrapped it, drilled the legs into, stood it up and exited as quickly as he came. We also decided that since there are two extra bedrooms (two
rooms that have no function) that we will move the desks from the living room into those rooms and then we each have a room to ourselves (or a study).
Saturday we also realized that there were a lot of things that we still needed to get from the store. We hopped on the bus and took another trip to E-mart. I searched around online and discovered that since all of the buses have GPS systems on them, you can find out on the city's bus page how many minutes away the bus is (I will find out at a much later date that you can actually use your cell phone to check how long it is until the bus comes). It was crazy coming back with all of our groceries and other household supplies. Since we were taking the bus, we boxed everything up again. It was not light. The bus drivers are crazy too. They aren't messing around, the minute you step foot on that bus, they floor it.
Well, I suppose that is enough for now. Take care!
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