Hello beautiful people around the globe!
I have arrived and gotten situated safe and sound in Gugal-dong, my new home for the next year. At the airport, Mychaela and I went our separate ways within seconds of getting out the security area. Our respective Mr. Kims (because nearly 1/3 of all people here are some sort of “Kim”,) took us to cars heading in different directions and we loaded up and took off. Another girl, Sofia from Texas, rode with me. She lives about 45 minutes from me. She seems pretty cool. Adventurous. We could be friends. I got out of the car and packed all 5 of my bags up 3 flights of stairs to my apartment.
It looked like somebody still lived in it and never cleaned up their mess from dinner the week before. Upon moving things into the room, I broke the rule of “no shoes” and kept my boots on. It was freezing, but my floor was radiating this wonderful warmth, like heated seats in cars. BUT IT WAS THE ENTIRE APARTMENT FLOOR. It was too icky to appreciate it to its fullest (and by that I mean snuggle up and lay on it,) but that would come soon enough.
Mrs. Lee, my primary co-teacher, met with me about 20 minutes after I arrived. I was gross from being on an airplane and lugging around what could have easily been corpses in my bags. (They were that heavy, but I didn’t get charged!) I tried to get myself looking cleaned up and orderly, so I tried to push buttons to figure out the water. (Yes, buttons.) No luck. Wet hair is better than the fuzzy ball I was wearing on my head, so I just went with it. As soon as my head is drenched, she
knocks on the door pushes the doorbell that rings with her voice through the wall. Everything is so techno-savvy. I really gotta catch up with this country.
She comes in and says, “Oh, the cleaning lady from our school came here.” And by that I think she meant, “Look, washed dishes on the floor.” I then learned that it is considered bad luck to clean a place before the new person moves in. Not emptying ashtrays is not something I would consider being good luck. I consider that something that gave me a nosebleed. It was that smoky. That and the fire-damaged walls and the smoke filled wall paper from a fire across the hall that took place over New Year’s. Apparently my neighbors are idiots who smoke and take off nail polish in front of one of the heater fans on a couch. Brilliant. Let’s hope they learned a lesson… or three.
I walked around the neighborhood with Mrs. Lee to see what’s around, and I was kind of surprised at what my tiny block had to offer. Full sized gym with a POOL ON THE ROOF on one side, a grocery store that sells $4 tubs of ramen noodles in the middle of it all, a Dunkin Donuts, a 7-11 (snicker… Thailand… haha) and a Pappa Roti on the corner. Roti Boy is far superior, and I found one on a map. It’s on my weekend adventure list of things to do.
On Tuesday, I met up with friends Audra and Clayton who live in the next town over, so they hooked me up with tons of information and goodies from the end of their Korean adventure. I got at least 4 pages of notes in my journal just from getting to their apartment and going out for dinner. I might have a new favorite Korean dish (since you know, this is about the 4th time eating Korean food. First time with Donald, second time making my own hoddeok at home, third time on the plane… actually, it was the 4th time. haha!) Cooked in giant pan, there is a giant stack of mushrooms, sprouts, onions, tomatoes and tofu. It simmers in a spicy red sauce like soup. Delicious! Apparently translated to “Boseot Jeongol.” Whatever it’s called, it’s delicious. I may have to go back.
I still have to buy sheets and blankets, but I have yet to get my relocation payment… so there are all of these sneaky fees and doctors appointments that I have to pay out the ears for. I’m not even going to mention the 2o hours of fasting due to time constraints and lunch breaks for doctors. (I am far more thirsty now than I ever was in Indonesia while fasting.)
Anyway, the few kids that want to talk are cool, the rest are shy. The English teachers are all women and are all super cool and friendly. I have my own desk right off the bat, along with a dinosaur of a work computer, but it lets me listen to 94.7 fm (WIN!) I feel like I’m adjusting well, and I am ready to dive in head first to teaching on Monday.
Off to get me a phone that works. Talk to you soon, lovely people! Pictures up when I have internet at my apartment 🙂