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Published: September 24th 2012
A temple in Seoul
Well it's been about 3 weeks since I have left the U.S. and settled in my home for the year. When I first thought about doing this blog I thought that I would be updating this thing on a regular basis. Every week or so.....I guess that didn't really happen. I am just now getting back to writing and responding to emails since I don't have internet at my apartment and my school computer decided to run a little faster this week. It would literally take me 15 minutes to type a 3 sentence email to my Mom. Every letter or mouse click would turn into a couple minutes of "thinking" by the computer. I think it was translating words from Korean into English and that's what took so long to display!
Where to start....Basically it hit me that I was actually going to South Korea when I landed in Detroit from Harrisburg and was sitting in the terminal with a bunch of Korean people around me and the sign saying Incheon. Then it truly hit me that I was actually leaving for a year abroad. Not a good place to possibly have second thoughts.....On the flight I watched about
Nightlife in Bupyeong. Our go to spot on Friday nights!
4 movies and read part of a book that my friend Debbie gave me. So that pretty much occupied most of the 13 hour flight.
The first week of orientation was pretty uneventful. We were all on 3 floors of the hotel with a roommate and the actual orientation classes took place next door. Basically the first couple days were sitting and listening to lectures from 9-9 with a somewhat crappy Korean hotel meal that they tried to infuse with some Western food such as hot dogs that weren't really hot dogs. Everyone was in the same boat upon arriving and tried to meet and greet as many people as they could and develop a great friend base. I met a lot of great people at orientation which I'm learning is the key to survival in a foreign country. My orientation roommate, Michael, taught in Thailand for 6 months and said he didn't keep in contact with anyone from his orientation there. That would be a hard, long 6 months. A lot of people were from the U.S., Canada, U.K., and South Africa. So it was great to talk to a bunch of people with different backgrounds and tales
of their childhood and what they do for fun.
Once orientation was over on Friday, we ended up meeting our co teachers that we were going to be teaching with all year. Throughout orientation they kept reiterating that your co teachers will be helping you out a LOT this year so pray that they speak good English and are really nice. So a lot of people were really nervous who they were going to be paired with. Some co teachers say "Good luck" and others will be there with you at the front of the class with dark eyes staring back at you. My co teacher's name is Yumi. At first when I met her I thought it was literally "YouMe" but thankfully I found out how to spell her name before I actually had to. She is a very nice girls who speaks really good English and was very curious and had a ton of questions for me. We sat for another lecture and finally lugged our 3 bags of luggage 7 flights of stairs dressed in a suit and tie in 90 degree humidity. Not the most pleasant thing to do when your nervous, hot, sweaty about
to meet the principal, vice-principal, and all the other teachers you will be working with throughout the year. After loading the bags in the taxi, we took off to drop the bags off in the apartment. My apartment is pretty close to the school with about a 10 minute walk in an older part of the city. It's a decent size place that is a little on the older side. I'm hoping to upload some pictures so you can get a visual of what it looks like. Overall I like it. Not as modern as some of my friends but a little bigger. We walked to the school quickly to meet the staff and get some things before Yumi had to teach at 2:30. I thought it went pretty well but I was sweating up a storm from all the aforementioned. Yumi had to explain in Korean why I was so sweaty. All I saw was her facing whoever it was I was meeting, speaking rapid Korean, and fanning herself off with the person looking me up and down afterwards. I felt a little weird but oh well.
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