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Published: July 10th 2006
A Korean sunset
As seen from my dorm window. Chuncheon, Korea
Yes, coffee in a can is the newest addition to my coffee-loving repertoire, thanks to Korean vending machines. I'm currently in Chuncheon, training at a local university for a year of English teaching, and in our dorm (as well as the Humanities building where my classes are) is this wonderful vending machine with a variety of coffees and even a cappuccino or two. It's like iced coffee-- but in a little can and only 50 cents. The cafeteria doesn't serve coffee (or tea) with breakfast, but with these beautiful little vending machines, I'm saved.
With the coffee problem solved, everything else is going well so far. We started classes today-- 4 hours of language training a day and 3.5 hours of cultural or teaching classes a day. I'm in beginners' Korean, obviously, but I can write and read the Korean alphabet fairly well now. I'm still working on pronunciations. I've also learned some of the appropriate formalities (bowing, what to say when greeting the teacher, etc.), and I'm actually growing fond of them already. Yay for cultural adjustment.
We're living in a dorm here, and I have a fabulous roommate named Christina. Fortunately, she (and others) know Korean already
and are helping us beginners (the majority of us) out a little.
There are 64 Fulbrighters in my group here, and they're from all over the US. It's a pretty big group, but a very well developed program. I arrived in Seoul (Incheon Airport) with a large group on July 7 at 4:30AM. It took a couple days to get over jet lag, but I think I'm getting there.
The food is cafeteria food, but interesting and usually delicious, nonetheless. They serve three meals a day, but they're all basically the same meal-- rice, kimchi (a fermented/pickled cabbage dish spiced with red pepper and other spices), some type of vegetable/meat dish, soup, and usually a main serving of a differnt meat/vegetable dish. Yes, no cereal for breakfast, though the Fulbright office convinced the cafeteria to supply we weak Americans with toast and milk. Fortunately, despite the spiciness, I enjoy the food a lot. Some meals are better than others, but I'm always willing to try stuff, and I've always loved Asian food. So to get that three times a day? Well, so far it's heaven. We'll see how it is in six weeks. But, so far I've tried
The infamous coffee in a can
This is not the cappuccino form (I'll have to post a picture of that later), but merely the coffee with cream and sugar version. The other side of the can has the English translation. Mmmmm... coffee!
many new foods and have had quite a party in my mouth on a regular basis-- so many new tastes and combinations. The metal (and rather flat) chopsticks have been a fun challenge, though.
I've made friends with some Koreans already, too (as well as many Fulbrighters, of course). We got paired up with the university's English speaking club (called the KEY Club) with four Fulbrighters to two of them. The purpose, of course, is so we can practice Korean (the little we know) and they can practice English. It was really fun meeting with my new friends (who have given themselves the English names of Clark and Misa). We met just yesterday, and they treated us to pat bingsu (a local dessert of fresh fruit, red beans, ice shavings, and ice cream that you mix together). What a nice treat!
Well, I have to get back to some Korean homework. I will add pictures soon!
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