Just 4 months after returning from my last trip to Asia, here I found myself yet again. But this time I'm not just passing through, Im here to stay. After a 14 hour flight to Incheon Airport, just outside of Seoul, I arrived in Korea. Suprisingly it was one of my easiest flights. I had an Asian version of the Hulk sitting next to me, in the middle seat at that, but right after takeoff he got up to pee and never came back. Between Garry's diligent work at beefing up my ipod, exhaustion and a pretty decent level of comfort on Korean Air, I landed before I had a chance to even deliberate discomfort. Greg, the guy from the recruiting company that hired me, met me at the aiport and as easy as 1, 2, 3 we were off. My first day was a haze of being shuffled from one place to another. By mid afternoon I had met my teacher and a few students, and was dropped off at my new pad.
What a pleasant suprise my accomodation was. I have to say that was one of my biggest apprehensions coming to Korea- living in a shoebox...with cockroaches. My place is REALLY decent, dare I even say nice? I actually think this apartment has one of the nicest bathrooms Ive ever had the pleasure of living with. There are only 2 rooms, (aside from a really tiny balcony, and the bathroom) but I am not complaining. My bedroom has a queen size bed, more closet space than I know what to do with, a TV that will never be used, and a desk. The kitchen is just as big but pretty basic. Nice big new fridge, microwave, 2 burners and a table for 4. Everything is in relatively good condition, and so far no creepy crawlies. Did I mention all the closet space? Even my shoes have their own closet! The building itself is not too impressive and the halls are a little depressing, but once I unlock my door (from the cool coded keypad....no losing/forgetting keys in Korea, phew!), things drastically improve. It'll take a while to make it home, but eventually it'll be great!
My first weekend was spent wandering around Osan, trying to figure out where I am. I located a few basics like where to buy food and use a PC until I get my own internet hooked up. Jet lag definately got the best of me and my afternoons were spent sleeping while my nights I was awake and getting settled (by settled I mean cleaning the pad from top to bottom, on my hands and knees- a first for me, Janelle you would have been impressed).
Week One at school was a handful. I am basically the equivalent of a french teacher when I was in grade school. I have my own English classroom and work with 2 alternating Korean co-teachers. I teach 22 different classes in one week ranging from grade 3 to 6, almost 1000 kids in total. This week was mostly just spent introducing myself to everyone, but 22 times over it got tiresome. I repeated the basics about myself and Canada over and over and over again. Some of the kids seem like cuties and have warmed to me already, where others, hmmm, it might take some time. I have my first 2 lesson plans all done for next week for grade 3 and grade 4. Monday is when my gig officially starts. Im surprisingly not that nervous, standing at the front of the classroom was not as frightening as I expected, especially when Im pretty sure most of the kids blankly staring at me had little no comprehension of what I was saying :)
In Korea there are 'PC bangs' everywhere. These are internet cafes, but the few I've been to already I find really creepy. They are FULL (picture row, after row, after row) of mostly young boys, but some men too, zombied out to the latest video game craze here. There is no emailing or internet surfing....it's ALL about the gaming. Gaming and smoking. Not really my scene and luckily I stumbled across a great little western style coffee shop called Haru. Not only does Haru have amazing coffee (Ive been living off instant at home), but it also has free wifi, and it's a stones throw from my apartment!!!! Im so pleased! I can see myself spending a lot of time here. Oh, and to top it off, it seems like a favorite for english teachers. I have already met a handful of them just in the past two days!
It's Saturday and my social life isn't quite yet thriving so I'm off to explore Osan a little more, grab a few more basics for my place and then head home to practise some of my Korean :)