August 1, 2010

Officially moved!

Wow, I am really in Korea! The plane ride really wasn't that bad. Korean Airlines has reasonable seat sizes, and every seat has an individual touch screen tv with games, radio, American and foriegn TV and movies. I am glad I stayed up all night before I flew out, it helped get me on the right sleep schedule pretty quickly. When I landed my coworker, Alex, met me and took the bus with me, which was even nicer than the plane, actually. The seats were comparable to buisness class plane seats, and they stowed all of my luggage. Then we took a taxi to the house, and Michael, another coworker, helped us carry everything upstairs. The three of us live in the same building, 15 minutes walking away from the school. Its got a key code entry, and security cameras, which is overkill in its fairly nice neighborhood. We walked into my apartment to find my boss and her husband cleaning my apartment, thinking I came in later, so Michael was nice enough to take me to get food and to E-Mart while they finished up.

I've been here three days? I think? I am finally getting settled in, my apartment was disgusting when I moved in, so much of my time (twelve plus hours) has been devoted to making that spotless. But, regardless, it is clean now. And the apartment isn't bad- its pretty big, and the bed is really comfortable. I am even getting used to the shower - which is just a bathroom with all tile walls and an angled floor, a shower head in the middle of the room. I will try to post pictures when I can, but it will be a while since I am using PC rooms.

There isn't any crime here. Everyone is really honest and trustworthy.. stealing isn't really a thing - when I first got here I didn't get the currency system, and when buying things I just fanned out my money, they took what they needed and gave me change. I would never do that in America, obviously. One vice Koreans appear to have is littering. Everyone seems to just throw trash on the street without a second thought. Granted, trashbags are 650 won, so it might be an issue of cost, but really thats only 50 cents USD.

Communication is hard. I have learned thank you, and overuse it, I'm sure. The numbers are pronounced the same way, though, luckily - so I can order numbered meals and food, and understand how much things cost now. I am working at learning the writing system, since a lot of words are just english words in their letters. Slowly picking up some directional words which will be useful in taxis, which are crazy cheap. Its hard to get around here, since they don't really post street names or anything. Everything is done by landmark, and none of the roads are straight. Its hard to come up with landmarks because all of the places are covered in korean letters, which I can't read yet. I am learning slowly though, and can walk to work with a coworker, so I will be able to survive at the very least.

The food will probably be a daily struggle for a while. I got some basics that are fine, but the protein will be the hardest. Its a 10 or 15 minute walk from the EMart, where I grocery shop (there are closer, more expensive places with less variety and less English), and that is assuming I dont get lost.. so I am not really looking to carry heavy, temperature sensitive meat. I did buy some tuna, which I generally don't like, but am dealing with eating, because I don't want to get sick.

The hardest part is how lonely it is here. Everyone stares at me, but when I notice them and smile at them they just keep staring. Its awkward. I went grocery shopping alone and a family followed me around pointing and saying "teacher!" and "english!" at me for 20 minutes yesterday. I tried to humor them, to be friendly, saying yes, American, and such, but they just kept repeating themselves and pointing. I miss hearing the English languge, debating, discussing, sharing opinions in an eloquent way. I feel like this will get easier when I start working (tomorrow), though, I will be busier and will meet more people.

Anyway, I am going to get going, its hard for me to promise to be online at a certain time, but I will always be checking comments and emails!


  1. It will get easier. You will make friends and starting work will help get you into a routine at least. (: Best of luck; I look forward to reading future adventures!

  2. Britney, You are a novelty to them I am sure, tall and light haired...they will get used to seeing you around. Sorry your place was a pit, the last teacher must have been a slob. As far as protein goes, consider beans too. You wont get sick from them. I will start to look into airfare to Thailand soon! Love you. mom

  3. I love you,
    I hope it gets easier.
    Write all about the job next!


  4. That sounds tough, Britney, it really really does. As much as I love traveling, I would really have a hard time at first getting accustomed to everything. Luckily you came at the best possible time, since 93% of all koreans are inside playing the newly released Starcraft 2.

    Please do get pictures up as soon as possible. Do most people know at least a bit of english? Have you gotten into any really uncomfortable situations because of the language barrier? How many students are you teaching?

    Looking forward to the pics!

  5. E.A. and Hermes - who are you? Welcome to my blog, I suppose.

    JKM - I will look for beans next time I go to EMart. I want to make Mexican food with all of the seasonings I brought, so beans are a must. Love you Mom.

    Renee - I am sure it will, and I promise to soon, but I haven't actually taught all of my classes yet! Soon soon.

    Alec - Pictures when I can use my own computer, I swear. Although I haven't taken any yet, ha. I will start working on that though, I got batteries and put my camera in my purse today. And everyone is in the PC rooms with me playing those computer games, so I've met all of Daegu in the one I frequent, I'm sure. I teach 10 classes a day or so, from one to nine students in each. Most people do not seem to know any English at all, but nothing too uncomfortable. I will detail some awkward moments in an upcoming blog, when I have more than one to inform you on hah.