Monday, November 26, 2012

Arriving in Korea

Hello everyone!

So I am safe and sound in South Korea, just hanging out in my room before I have to leave for work. Right now I'm in a tiny rented room that is about as large as a queen bed (not joking or exaggerating) before my more permanent apartment is available December first. This is nice and cozy though, I think I like it.

Right, so getting here was pretty easy. I got dropped off at the airport (thanks Dad!) about three hours before my flight, which was plenty of time. It took about an hour of waiting in line for me to get my bags checked and get my ticket. I got through security super fast because the person in front of me was in business class, and that particular line opened about five minutes after we had been waiting. When the security guard let him through the ropes to go into that empty line, he let me go too (even though I definitely was not business class)! I just waited by my gate for an hour and half before I got to get on the plane.

While waiting in the line to get on the plane, I talked for a little bit with a guy whose father was from Kiel and a girl who was coming from Wisconsin and going to Cambodia--strange how I found myself next to probably the only two people on that flight that had connections to where I was from! I had actually talked to the girl's mother before her while I was waiting to go through security. She was ahead of me, and her mom was making sure she made it through, so I think she was encouraging me to make friends with her daughter.

So, it was a fourteen hour flight. Longest flight I've ever taken. I didn't really get to sleep that much, but I watched about five different movies and started a book, so at least I had something to occupy my time, I guess. The final two hours I just wanted to get up and run laps around the plane because I was so antsy!

When I got off the plane, I headed to baggage claim. Finding my bags didn't take too long, and getting through customs took almost no time at all! When I walked out, there was a driver waiting for me with a sign that had my name on it (star treatment, of course). He drove me to the school, where I met a lot of my coworkers, got a tour, and got a rundown of what I will be doing this week. I'll be shadowing today, and starting to teach classes of my own tomorrow (yikes!). This week is the end of semester, so it shouldn't be too stressful. The next term starts on Monday, and that is when things might get more challenging!

After school, some fellow teachers took me to my apartment. It's so tiny that we had to leave the biggest suitcase of mine at school. But there's everything I could possibly need here--mini fridge, desk, bed, shower, bathroom (I'll add a picture of it soon). And there's a kitchen, washers, ironing station, free rice and coffee!

After dropping my stuff off, I went out for a traditional Korean dinner with some fellow teachers, which was pretty delicious. They gave us bowls of a bunch of different things like tofu, kimchi, sauces, lettuce with chili sauce, sprout salad, and beef that we grilled ourselves over a bowl of hot coals they brought to the table. There was also a ring around the coals that they put a little kimchi on, then filled with eggs so it was like an omelet. It was all so tasty! I don't think I'll have to worry about finding good things to eat here.

Shockingly, I haven't really felt nervous yet. Perhaps that feeling will set in tomorrow when I get to work and realize I have to teach a bunch of kids by myself for the first time. But hey, most of you know I'm a fly by the seat of my pants kind of girl, so this will probably be the best part!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Moving to South Korea

Hello, everyone!

I haven't posted anything on here for a while, because I haven't been doing any traveling lately. I am reactivating it, though, because I am moving to South Korea at the end of this month.

I will be working at SPOL Academy in Dongtan, South Korea. Apparently Dongtan is kind of a suburb, so it's not really on any maps. According to a few resources, it's located in Hwaseong City. It does not appear on this map, but it's between Seoul and Suwon, but closer to Suwon.

The weather here is pretty similar to Wisconsin--there are four distinct seasons, and there is snowfall in winter. There is a rainy season, which happens at the end of June through the end of July.

I am set to arrive there on Monday, November 26th, so I will start updating this regularly around then.