I’ve been in South Korea for about three and a half weeks now and so much has happened in that time that I hardly know where to begin. This is the first time I’ve really had time to reflect on my experiences so far and formulate any kind of real opinion. Up until this moment, I’ve had to rely on quick reactions and sometimes very basic survival skills. I’ve met some great people and a couple of real assholes too; faced overwhelmed, overworked students whose accents are so strong I could not understand them; gotten up in the early hours of morning to prep for classes; and wished a million times I had not left my comfortable home in Albuquerque. But I persevere and have even begun to feel like I can make a place for myself here, even if only for a year. This belief is drastically different from the one I held only three days ago when I was certain I would have a nervous breakdown If I didn’t have a plane ticket back home in my hands before the day was out. I really don’t know how I moved through those feelings except by paying close attention to my breath and reminding myself that nothing and no one here can truly hurt me. I look forward to sharing some of the details of my first three weeks here as some of them are truly hilarious and some quite frightening. The best part is that these are my own true experiences of my own real-life adventure.
Thanks to everyone for your continued support and messages of encouragement. You have no idea how truly helpful they have been!!!
Many, many people have asked for our new address, and here it is…
Kyunggi-do Anyang-si Dongan-gu Gwanyan-dong 1598-1 Trebell officetel Apt.
DO means Province
Si means City
Gu means District
Dong means Neighborhood
It’s 3:21 PM, September 11th S. Korea time and I’m sitting in my classroom (Rm. 504) at Chung Dahm. I have only one class to teach tonight and it does not begin until 7:30 PM.
This week has been quite an emotional roller coaster for me and there have been moments when I positively hated S. Korea. I have shed some bitter, bitter tears but I’ve had some pretty hilarious laughter too, thanks mostly to a woman I’ve met here who started the same day as Gary and I.
Everyone here says that the fist week is the hardest and assures me that each week gets a little better and a little easier. It hasn’t helped that we’v had to commute daily from Gangnam this first week, which involves taking the green line (2) to Sadang where we transfer to the blue line (4) to Beongmye where we have to catch the 03 or 10-2 bus to the school. On a good day, the commute takes about 50 minutes, and on any given day, there are at least three opportunities to get turned around and lost on this route. After four days of this commute, I think I can do it on my own – but alas, we are moving again on Saturday to Peyongchon and will have to learn a whole new route. Fortunately our offic-tel is only 10 minutes from our school.
While there is still so much to catch up on, I have to run and prep for my class. I hope I will find time to write more this weekend.
We’ve been moved from the Casa Ville hotel in Samsung to the CoAtel in Gangnam Seoul and while we do not have a place to live yet, we are meeting with our real estate agent Monday morning. We will be working at the Chuung Dahm branch in Pyeongchon, just twenty minutes south of Seoul city limits. Right now, it takes about an hour to get from our hotel to our school, but we should be able to find a house (villa or officetel) within ten minutes of our branch.
Yesterday we visited our branch school, met our branch manager and a couple of head instructors, which did a lot to calm my nerves. It appears we will be in a pretty supportive environment and will get lots of tips and constructive advice about our preparation and delivery of lessons.
I am spending the afternoon prepping and practicing for my classes, so I’ll have to go for now. I just wanted to post a little something so everyone would know we are alive and survived our training (not everyone passed).
Until next time…