Sunday, March 28, 2010

Month one...done!!!

It still blows my mind that I'm really here. Never in my life do I remember being surrounded by this many asian people. I know it sounds weird, but it's true. Back home I have like one Asian friend, who is brand new, and that's it. Here I'm surrounded by them and on the look out for caucasian people. Except for the fact that I can't speak or understand Korean, I feel like I still stand out among the crowd. Not necessarily in a bad way, just a weird way. I see the looks on people's faces when I don't speak to them when they ask me a question or when I'm on the phone speaking English. That always gets people staring. I thought I was prepared to deal with it, but apparently you can't really.

I have a couple more observations. The older population like their hiking. On Saturday and Sunday mornings you will see them congregate together on the subway in their matching outfits: hiking pants, The Red Face jackets, backpacks, hiking poles, hiking boots, and hats. For those of you who have seen "The Sandlot," when I refer to the ladies hats think "Smalls'" hat at the beginning of the movie with that visor times 5. Hahaha They are so cute! lol

There are couples EVERYWHERE!!! And you see them more so here than you do in the States. Which I find very weird. Maybe it's because there are so many more people here. But, I've been watching them and thinking silently to myself...I wish I had someone. But, that is beside the point. Guys here seem to be way more affectionate and loving to their significant other. They're always holding hands, always shopping together, and the guy for the most part are carrying the girls' purchases as well as even sometimes her purse. Now, that my friends is a man who is comfortable with his sexuality. However, most guys here carry bags anyways. And most of them do look like women's bags. But,'s what they do.

This has been a much more difficult experience for me than England was. But, I'm coping and am enjoying myself for the most part. It's hard for me to make friends when I'm not surrounded by people who speak the same language. But, I'm trying to learn some Korean. I've bought a book called "Korean made easy for beginners" and it came with a CD and phrase book. So far I know the words for tree and meat in korean and can read them. haha Being able to read Korean I think will be helpful no matter what. Except for the part of not knowing what it is that I'm reading. haha But, I'm working on it!

Alright...that's all from me for the week. I've bought one movie, a CD, and rented a movie from iTunes thanks to all the iTunes gift cards I got from people before I left!!! Definitely one of the most amazing gifts ever!!!! Gives me something to do since I do not have cable!!!


P.S. Sanctuary Choir members!!! Thanks so much for the card!!!! I love it and it's sitting on top of my bookshelf for people to see if they ever come over. haha

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Week three's almost the end of week three. Let me just say that I've had a very emotional last couple days. Not with homesickness, but with things like being uncomfortable in my surrounds and dealing with the bluntness/rudness of a couple of my co-workers. I visited Yonsei Central Baptist Church with Yoo Yoon Sunday. They had an interpreter for English speakers that you listened to through a headset. So, that was good. The people I met were really nice. The church was HUGE! But, I think I will be visiting other churches. I was at that church from 10:45 A.M.-5:00 P.M. And yes, if it had been FBC, OKC I would have been fine, but this was just way too much of this place. They did have the a famous violinist Park, Ji Hae. She was really good.

This week has been full of ups and downs. Mostly ups after Tuesday. But, here are a few things I have noticed in the three weeks I have been here.

- There are those Koreans who think that if you aren't "Korean" you mean nothing.

- They smack their food and slurp their soup.

- They run a lot. Mostly to catch the subway. But, I've realized that's probably why a lot of them are so skinny. (Note to self: run more, it's what "true" Koreans do)

- 'Are you married?' and 'Do you have a boyfriend?' are the most common questions I get from the kids and adults.

- Wednesday is good lunch day at school!

- They wear different shoes while at school.

- You get at least a 5 min. warning on things that are happening.

- Korean's love to stare. Especially when they hear me speaking English.

In case you were wondering about what my classes are like I will give you a run down. I have 22 classes all together. 4th-6th and one after school class, which is like an English Club. Each grade has 7 classes.

That's all for now. Sorry not much detail, but I didn't really feel like going into detail about this week. It was kind of a rough one

Take care!

Saturday, March 13, 2010


Someone messed with the heater and now it's not working!!! I'm SO COLD!!!!!!!!! hahahaha

That's all.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Week 1 at School

Ok, so here's my tentative plan now that school has started. I take my Austria journal with me everywhere. It's my amazing moleskin that is orange! Anyways, since I have quite a bit of free time at school I tend to write quite a bit in it. But I write so much and it would take me forever to rewrite it all, so you'll just be getting the highlights. Probably just in bullet points because it's easier and a lot less time consuming. If I have a story, those will not be in bullet points. Alright? Alright!

3/8/10: First Day of School

- If you've been to London or Spain or Italy you may have experienced being packed into the subway car like 'sardines.' Well, I have experienced all three and let me tell you...this my friends is MUCH worse!

- Because it was so packed...I missed my stop to get to school. I wasn't able to push myself to the door fast enough before it closed. And no, they do not try to move for you. They just stand there looking at you like you're an idiot because you didn't move in enough time before your stop came.

- I then found out if I miss my stop I can ride to the next stop and try to stay on that car or get off and get back on if I get pushed out because it goes right back.

- Once I got to school I met my Principal. She seems like a pretty nice lady. We really didn't have much to say to each other. She just asked me if I was still jet lagged. To which I replied with yes.

- After I got there I was told I would be introduced to the school and would be filmed and then broadcasted through the whole entire school. That was totally awkward. haha

- I got like 5 towels from Wendy and some dish soap. And let me tell you towels here aren't like towels in the states. They are hand towels. It's awkward too. haha

- My first day we only had two classes 6th grade classes.

- Jamie and left school early to go to the bank which took us about an hour and 15 min. I was then supposed to go to a mandatory mentor meeting according to my vice principal. haha Turns out it was only for mentor's not mentees.

- Jamie then went with me to the grocery store to help me get stuff and then took me to dinner at a noodle place! It was really good!!!

- She then came back to my apartment and told me how to use the rice cooker, which I have used twice, and then reminded me how to use the washing machine.

3/9/10: Second Day of School

- Got on the subway in the correct place this time in order to get off at my stop. WHOO!!!!

-BORED OUT OF MY MIND ALL DAY LONG! All of our classes were cancelled due to testing.

- Korean teacher man who doesn't speak English other than the word...desk...took me on a little adventure from the teacher's lounge back to my classroom for some odd reason. haha I tried to tell him I needed to stay where I was, but he didn't know. haha It was quite entertaining.

- After school Jamie took me to get a cell phone. We went to Technomart and went to a couple whose children go to our school. They were so nice and totally hooked me up!!! So I now have a phone and can get a hold of people!! It's great!! I can also watch TV on's FREE!!!

- I love my co-teacher, Jamie. She's like my foreign mother. lol We were at the subway station and was totally worried I couldn't get back home. Granted I had taken the subway about 5 or 6 times from that very station back home. lol She's so sweet.

3/10/10: Mentor Program Starts

- I met Ursula and Annie at Sindorim Station and we were going to Ursula's school. Basically it's a district wide thing and I think it's a great idea. New teachers are paired up with teachers who have been here for at least 3 years. We get to watch them teach, they give us their ppt presentations and ideas. They also help us with things. It's been great being able to go have someone who's been here for a while to kinda tell you what to expect.

-Annie and I left at 2:00 P.M. and went to Times Square which is a shopping mall. Mostly pricey things, but it was pretty cool. She helped me get a T-Money card to use for the subway, busses, and some taxis. Annie is my LIFE SAVER!!! Korean is her 2nd language. So she's been a HUGE help!


- At Ursula's school again and I got to teach one of her 6th grade classes, "Where are you from?" It went pretty well. The kids are so adorable. I can't wait to meet the rest of mine!

- After school Annie and I went to the bank so I could get some cash and use my bank book at the ATM machine.

- We then went to her apartment and she is selling me her extra transformer so I can use my straightner, blowdryer, and camera chargers!!!! YAY!!!! My hair has been suffering tremendously!!!


- FRIDAY!!!!!!

- I taught 2 5th grade classes, "How are you?" They went pretty well. We played the tornado game with them that they love!

- Annie and I left school early so she could go to the U.S. Embassy and I could go to the Immigration Office in order to get my Alien Registration Card. I was told if I didn't make an appointment it could take 5-6 hours. I was only there for about 2 1/2 hours. So, not too bad.

-Came home and as I was about to go to the store my phone rang and it was Yoo Yoon. For those of you who don't know, Yoo Yoon works for CBF and I had been in contact with him after I applied for this job. Well, he e-mailed me yesterday telling me he would be here until March 16, so him and Reverend Park, maybe, are coming over here to meet me. Gave me like enough time to run to the store and hurry and tidy things up. haha

-Yoo Yoon is a very nice man. He's taking me to church Sunday morning.

-Dinner tonight....drumroll please...Kraft Mac and Cheese!!! My roommate at orientation Ashlie brought a lot of boxes and Mac and Cheese for her Korean co-workers from last year and she gave Ronell and I a box. haha So, I bought some butter tonight so I could make it!! It's like HEAVEN in my mouth!!! hahaa *hint, hint* Good care package thing!!! haha

(side note: the coke I'm drinking tastes weird...should I keep drinking it? I think so...cost me a fortune!!! hahaha)

My weekend will consist of sleeping, exploring my surrounds, talking to friends back home, and TESOL. I need to get at least 2 units done before my tutor leave for holiday in a little over a week.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

1st Night in New Home...

First night in my new apartment over....finished....done. Was it everything I ever dreamed of....NO!!

Recap of yesterday. Checked out of Hyundai Learning Center, had closing ceremony where they served us an AMAZING lunch!!! Then we got on our busses by district and drove about an hour to Nambu, which is my district. We were then dropped off at a school where we were to meet our co-teachers. Mine were a few minutes late, but not too late. Two ladies came. Kim Eun joo is my co-teacher and Jung Hyo soon (Wendy) who I believe is another co-teacher but I won't be teaching with her. I know it's weird.

After we shoved all of my luggage into Ms. Kim's car I found out that Wendy lived in Oklahoma for two years! Small world!!! She attended Oklahoma City University getting a TEFOL certification. I also found out she used to work at B-Won. lol So, they then took me to my new home. It's two subway stops from the school. So, after I paid 100,000 Won for my utilities for this month not including cable and internet, my co-teacher left and Wendy and I went off to find the grocery store. She was just going to make me do it by myself, but she asked once more to see if I wanted to go ahead and go, I jumped at the chance so we went in and got a couple of items which took almost all the rest of my cash. As far as food I got cereal, two apples, milk, and some rolls. Tomorrow hopefully once I open my bank account I can go and get some real food. But, right now it's pretty much all I can stomach anyway.

This is my lovely bed! They provided some bedding but it is under my black sheet and blanket from home. It's pretty hard, but it will do. I had a taste of the hard beds here when I was at orientation.

These are the only two storage units I have. The white one has clothes, the other can see. The two things hanging from the handle are my name tag from orientation and my GIANT chop sticks from my friend Thanh! haha He surprised me with them the day before I left along with some regular size ones.
My bathroom/shower. Yes my bathroom is the shower. It's very weird as is trying to get hot water...or luke warm water, really.
Here is my kitchenette/laundry room. Yes, that is a washing machine in between the counter and the tiny fridge. No dryer for me.
The door of the bathroom/shower.
My desk area. I do have a TV and a VCR but I haven't decided if I'm going to get cable or not. I'll see how much it is going to be with the internet.

So after we brought my stuff back to my apartment, we took the subway to the school. I met the vice-principal, Steve, haha. Who seemed pretty nice. I then was left to find my way back to my apartment by myself. Let me just tell you I had one heck of a time. haha It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be, but I did have to make sure I was getting on the right one and had to ask a guy for directions that didn't speak English, but we communicated well enough. He even helped me buy a ticket even though I knew how to do that. lol So I got on the subway, missed my stop, and had to get off and then get back on. haha I eventually made it back and was completely distraught! After a skype call to the parentals at 2:30 A.M. their time, I felt a bit better.

I'm not going to go into real detail on how the rest of my night went but let's just say I took a quick shower before the water turned back to scalding hot, I didn't have a towel to dry off with after my shower, I woke up in a sweat to a 86 degree F room.

Today, I decided to venture out. I put a note on the guy's door across the hall to see if he would be able to go with me to find the Coex Mall because he is a fellow teacher and we were at orientation together, but I didn't really ever meet him except that we sat beside each other on the bus. But, we both slept all the way here. lol But, he had left when we first got here and I didn't see him again. So, I just decided to go out by myself. Lucky for me I've had my fair share of tips on subways, so it wasn't too bad. The Coex Mall is 18 stops away from where I live. haha But, I made it there and didn't end up at the Coex Mall at first. I was somewhere else, but found a place that sold Apple stuff and got my computer cord!!! Now when I go back to the states, I'll have to get an adapter. haha Anyways, the lady at PixDix which is the store I found the cord at spoke some English so she told me where to go to find the Coex Mall. She was really nice and helpful! So I found my way to the Coex Mall which is pretty much high end stuff and I wasn't able to find the Apple Store anyways. So the computer cord was the only thing I purchased before I trekked back home. But, I can now talk to my parents and work on my TESOL, and update my blog until I get found out that I'm mooching off someone else's internet and until I get my own internet installed.

First day of school tomorrow. I will be making a short speech apparently and hopefully just observing, but one never knows. I will try to post about my first day as soon as I can.

I've heard there are quite a few people reading this I would love to hear comments, questions, etc. So feel free to leave a comment if you're a follower or shoot me an e-mail! Hearing from home would really perk up my mood!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

I'm in accent heaven!! There are people from 8 different countries. Australia, New Zealand, U.S., Canada, Ireland, Scotland, England, and South Africa. I'm rooming with two people. Ronell is from South Africa and Ashlie is from St. Louis. They are both great girls! Ashlie and I have been suffering through the heat due to the fact that Ronell gets cold extremely easily. We go back and forth opening and closing windows. Our rooms are extremely hot, so the past couple nights I've woken up sweating. But, apparently they have turned down the heat just a bit. So it's not as hot. I apologize that this post isn't as witty as the last. It's 10:25 P.M. and I'm exhausted.

Sunday Recap:

We had an SMOE Q&A. Found out a lot of basic info. It was pretty helpful. Found out we will be finding out our schools and housing on Saturday. Then there was a trip to (getting the brochure out of my bag), Nam June Paik Art Center. You should totally look up some of his stuff....EXTREMELY WEIRD!! I have a couple pictures, but some of the things weren't suited for certain people's eyes...*cough* dad *cough* So, I just took a couple of pics of the "dad friendly" things. We then went to the Hwaseong Fortress. It's like a MINI MINI MINI MINI version of the Great Wall of China. It was pretty cool. Apparently it takes about 6 hours to walk it. But, we only had about an hour. They also had archery in which one could participate if you wanted to pay 2,000 Won. The evening was spent trying to work on my TESOL certification, but that was a bust. It was way toooooooo loud! We apparently live on the party floor right next to the lounge. But, I'm glad I've been able to sleep through most of it.

Monday Recap:

Orientation started Monday. The morning consisted of a medical check-up. Height and weight, eye check, blood pressure, blood drawn, urine test, and chest x-ray. How are you supposed to give anything to a urine test if you can't drink anything 8 hours before? was enough. haha Anyways, after lunch we all found out what level we are teaching. I got ELEMENTARY! Then we had Opening Ceremony for 3 hours. The evening again consisted of trying to work on my TESOL, which worked for a while until I was way too tired and decided to see what was on TV. Crazy Korean stuff I couldn't understand and Braveheart which we opted to watch.

Tuesday Recap:

We started our classes today. The elementary teachers went to the supplementing textbook class. It was interesting learning some of the activities we can do with our students. Then we had an Intro to Micro-teaching class. This was just basically info about when we have to micro-teach. It's just co-teaching for 10-15 min. on a certain topic. My partner is Brian and we are doing "What did you do yesterday?" past tense. So, it should be pretty easy. After class we had a break for lunch and had the opportunity to open a bank account. I did that and skipped lunch. Wasn't in the mood for rice and chicken...again. The food here apparently isn't all that great. People are saying that this food is nothing like what we'll really get to eat. After lunch had an hour to call the parents and then it was off to Classroom Management. The two lecturers were pretty good. Learned a bit of korean from one. They both were pretty funny and entertaining. After dinner the roommates and I went to go see a movie about this autistic man who ends up running a marathon in under 3 min. True story. The movie was amazing! I'm not sure what it was called, but it was really good!

Ok, that is all I have the energy for. I'm going on one more search for my partner and then off to pass out!!