Saturday, December 12, 2009

First Few Days

Thursday Dec 12th- I am writing this as I am on Singapore Airlines, and I am in awe of this airline. It not only is the most luxurious airline I have been on, but the service is impeccable. The first class in unbelievable. Nothing any American airline could dream of. Too bad I spent about 15 seconds in it. Yet, the economy class is also very nice. Tv’s with everything on demand, they even have language programs to learn Korea or 22 other languages, free drinks (too bad I got a cold) food, the food is amazing, I had beef stew which could rival any restaurants beef stew, it was really good. Not the usual small bag of peanuts This plane also has suites on it for the very affluent: which I did not get a chance to see, yet the preview on the tv made them look pretty nice. I have about eight hours of flying left, which will probably be spent watching a movie (Public Enemy) and then a nap. I have already watched all of the Entourage available. They also have a pretty extensive music genre which I am currently listening to. This 12-13 hour flight seems like it will be more enjoyable then the six hour flight I had on United Airlines. The seats even have power jacks in them so my computer will not run out of power, it really is an innovative airline, which any USA domestic airline should try to resemble. It seems the Asians really know what they are doing. They have stewardesses who are really nice and beautiful.

Saturday Dec 12 3:00Pm Korea time

This is my second day in Suwon, S. Korea, and it has been very interesting so far. I just came back from grocery shopping. It was an event. There were a few things written in English, and Tony the Tiger from Kellogs Frosted Flakes has made his way over to S. Korea. It is really hectic and loud in the grocery store. Nothing like Stop and Shop in Pembroke, Mass. They have Korean ladies trying to sell anything to anyone, it is good that I can not understand them. They have these Korean girls standing by products and talking to anyone to get them to buy the product. It happened to me about five times, and since I do not speak Korean it creates an awkward moment, and it results in us two smiling and laughing at each other. Anyways, I wrote a few things down from the first days I have been here and I will share them with you.

Thursday night when I first arrived in Korea. I got picked up from the owners little brother, who seemed like he had no clue what he was doing. Spoke very little English and got lost on the way to the apartment. After about thirty minutes of driving I noticed the city of Seoul signs started reappearing. So to kill time I just took a nap We arrived in Suwon around 9:00PM. I got to my apartment, and man is it small. I mean small, however, it is what I expected, but you can never really react to something like this until you see it. I was shocked, it hit me: I am in South Korea, got the same apartment most other Koreans live in: the only thing I asked myself was how do they live in such small apartments. After about two days, you realize it is small: yet, it is very efficient. It is a studio type with the bed by the window. The bed is a typical Korean bed, a mattress right on the floor, tiny in size. They have radiant floor heating here, which is great, shoes come off at the door and it is really cozy. The bathroom, this I knew was coming but somehow “forgot.” The bathroom itself is a shower, there is a drain under the sink and the whole bathroom is tiled, which is the shower. The toilet is also there in the bathroom/shower, and to make it even more comical, the washing machine in at the end of the bathroom/shower; once again, efficiency at its best. I will get a video of my apartment up soon, until then you will have to wait to see what I am talking about. So after soaking all this in after a 24 flight and basically no sleep there were a million thoughts running around in my head. The most common one was, I am leaving tomorrow; which is the most common thought anyone will have, being in a foreign country and all. Going in I knew this would be the most common thought running through my head, along with a million other thoughts: which all came true, so I knew I had to fall asleep, get some rest, and then I would have the ability to take everything in, which is what happened. So now instead of looking at the apartment as being small, I look at is as being efficient. And the bathroom cracks me up, it really does. Especially coming from a plumbing supply family business, it makes it even more comical. I arrived Thursday night, and I was set to work on Friday morning, really quick turnaround but I figured it would be best so I would stay busy. Which actually turned out to be true, except for the fact that I had no alarm clock set up yet, so all night I kept waking up and wondering if I slept in, I literally woke up one time when I was in a dream wondering how I ended up in South Korea and what I was doing here. These are thing everyone is expected to experience, but it does not make it easy, and it does not make these crazy ideas go away on the first night. But you get through it knowing that this is normal when you move to a foreign country.

Friday Dec 11

I woke up in the morning being much more comfortable with my new surroundings and excited to go to work. One of the teacher’s John has been really helpful to me, he gave me breakfast, walked me to the school and has shown me around the city during our break at school. He is a really nice kid who I believe we will be hanging out a lot. He is from Cleveland and went to Ohio State University. I finished teaching for the day, and it truly was an experience. In the morning I teach Kindergarten and the afternoon I teach up to 10 year olds. These kids are just like any other kids in the world. Some are smart, some are lazy, some are funny, some are quiet. And all of them are excited it is Friday. There is one very funny thing these kids do to the teachers. It is called “gunchi”, I believe. They put there hands together like a gun and slap the teachers bum. It is a game they do and when successful they yell it out loud and everyone starts laughing and the teacher gets really embarrassed. As far as teaching goes, I watched one class and then I got thrown into the mix. It was quick, but it really is self explanatory. After work Friday I went to bed and slept for 14 hours straight to catch up on lost sleep, so I never went out, I was supposed to go to a bar called now bar which is a western hang out, yet it never happened. I got a feeling there will be plenty more opportunities to go out.

Sat- I woke up early and went out to the city and walked around. It is a busy city, mixed with everything. I went into a Korean restaurant and embarrassed myself trying to use chopsticks, yet the food was good. I sat right next to the workers, so everytime they looked away I used a spoon to eat my food, which was given to me for the soup. So I have to learn how to use chopsticks correctly. The smells on the street are plentiful, some are good, some are awful, and you can always tell when a bakery is near, they smell so good. Anyways, I am on my way to meet up with a friend from aspen, Colorado: who I met last winter. There are more restaurants in this city then I have ever seen in my life. They are literally stacked next to each other all throughout the town. These restaurants most do not sit more then 20 people. The city itself is pretty big, there are about four major parts. My school and apartment are located in the Red Light district which is pretty funny. Next door to me is a love motel, where Koreans literally rent out these motels for about three hours at a time. Businessmen are known to do this during the day to escape from their wives (TIGER WOODS) and also younger kids do this because they tend to live at home and need a place to bring a friend at night. The other major section of the city is the subway station; this is where all the college aged kids hang out. This is where I will go tonight. I met up with one of my friends Troop, who I met in Aspen, Colorado last winter. He is living in Bundang. He came to Suwon to visit and we went to a barbeque restaurant which was awesome, Suwon is known for there BBQ meats. This meal was also enjoyed with Soju. Soju is the alcohol of Korea, it is ok tasting, nothing to special, but it is really cheap. I mean really cheap. It is about a dollar for a bottle. And the bottle consists of about 6 shots which can get you very drunk, really quickly. Also, I have found Mr. Budweiser at the grocery store and bars. Mr. Budweiser is quite expensive. It is about $9 for a six pack, they also have Bud ICE here, which for some reason is more expensive then Budweiser; there is no bud light, they also have Miller Light and Corona, which is really expensive, I am talking $10-12 for a six pack. The local brew here is Cass, OB and another beer which escapes my mind. They are just like a bud Light, maybe even closer to a Busch Light.

Sunday, December 13-

Last night My friend and I went to the Suwon Station where all the college aged kids hang out, and it was a sight to be scene. Jumping Joe has been telling me that the Koreans are the Irish of the Asian world, and they are. I have never seen so many people being carried out of bars or just down the streets in my life. It was quite entertaining. The station district is pretty cool. Everyone gets caught staring at two Americans walking down the street. The funniest part is the bartenders. They will sit and listen to two English speaking people all night, in order to advance their English speaking ability. We had two bartenders stare at us for about an hour, then they tried speaking English with us. This one bartender was an English Lit major at her college, and she could barely put a sentence together, which is pretty ironic. Yet, she could write anything down in English and understand it. The street food is absolutely amazing, whether it was chicken kabobs or pancake filled with cinnamon sugar, which I think I could live off. The whole streets are lit up with neon lights, which creates quite a scene. Next Friday I will bring my camera and take a video of it. I am going to go down to the station today and walk around, I will bring my camera with me and I will post pictures a little later today. Hope everyone is doing good!


No comments:

Post a Comment