Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Day One. Check.

It's only 7:30 pm but I'm going to go ahead and say that today was a success. Have I finished (or started, really) unpacking? No. Do I have any pots or pans to cook any kind of food? No. But those things don't matter when you're in Korea. There are other ways to succeed.

Naturally, last night when I wanted to sleep I could not. Therefore allowing me to wake up too early and waste time doing nothing. But I did get to familiarize myself with some Korean television which, from the looks of it, seems very entertaining.

Then the day of firsts began.

My coteacher (from henceforth she will be referred to as COT) came and picked me up so I wouldn't get lost on my way (thank goodness because I'd only been in the city for less than 12 hours) and we drove to school together. I could tell the moment we got out of the car that it would be quite an experience. Immediately every human being in the surrounding area (mostly boys aged 13-15) turned to stare. Nice. I'm glad I showered (which I will have to do more frequently here, I am sad to say).

So COT and I make our way upstairs and we run into the Vice Principal of the school. I feel like VP's are the same everywhere you go. They seem to know how to have a good time. Even though I couldn't understand what he was saying, I knew he thought he was pretty funny and I could tell I'd like him for that reason only. The different interactions I had with him throughout the day only supported my theory.

We had a staff meeting. COT told me where to go while she went somewhere, and so I was the first in the room. Which means everyone who walked in saw me. The teachers were very nice and smiled and bowed and I responded in the same fashion. Then I was introduced by the VP (everyone laughed during his introduction. I don't know what he said) and I had to introduce myself. What they expected me to say, I have no idea. So it went something like this "Hello. My name is Cindy. I'm from Denver, Colorado (lots of ohhhh's here) and I studied European studies at the university (which apparently VP had already said. I looked like a fool). I'm excited to be here." Giant smile. And then I sat down. They clapped. Then I left the staff meeting for my office while they finished up.

I stayed in that office for the majority of the morning, trying to figure out class schedules and starting on my lesson plans. The last few teachers have left their stuff on the desktop which is super helpful.

The teachers (and students) here are pretty excited about native English teachers (especially blonde ones) and so a few came into my office to talk to me in what little English they know. After their English was worn out, though, the began just talking in Korean. Luckily COT was around and could translate. The best one was when this man walked in the door. COT introduced him as the gym teacher, naturally. He was wearing the typical gym teacher clothing and had his hair slicked back. He was unusually chipper and explained that he used to be a weight lifter before I was born. I was impressed. He seemed glad about that.

COT came and got me for school lunch around noon and again, it was something that wasn't totally expected. But it should have been. Unlike the states, you serve your own food here. Which I was happy about because then I didn't have to take a lot of what looked too weird. It had the usual Korean dishes: kimchi, spinich, rice, soup, some meat. So I took a little of each and luckily it wasn't too bad. Oh, right when I walked in the VP yelled out what would be translated to "Help yourself!" really excitedly. Again, everyone laughed. I wonder if COT is telling me everything...

Good news though: I didn't hate the kimchi. And some of the stuff is wicked spicy, which could be bad, but I think it helps if the flavor isn't my favorite. Also, after I sat down and started eating, the VP looked at me and exclaimed that he was impressed I could use chopsticks. So JENN!!! THANKS! You saved me from looking like a fool to the school.

I walked out of the school and was greeted by tons of Korean boys. They would see me and then smile and say "Hi!". And then Hi again. And Hi about 384 times (so it was more like hi hi hi hi hi hi hi hi hi!). Kinda cute. I could tell some of them were going to be trouble. Future students...

Then I came home. I did get a little lost here, but nothing that couldn't be fixed. And then I slept. Three hours. It was GLORIOUS.

I woke up around 6 pm. I decided to embark on an adventure in the outside world before the sun set, and I remembered seeing a little grocery store (ok maybe more like convenience store) on my way home this afternoon. So I tracked that down and had my first shopping experience in Korea. Good thing cup of noodles are easy to spot.

As you can see, I also purchased some top ramen, a can of pineapple, some cookie things, some chip/fry things, digestives (i love them. why don't we sell them in America?) and some orange drink (fanta is my guess). I wanted to grab some food at a surrounding restaurant but it was getting dark fast and I was afraid I wouldn't make my way home in the dark. So I passed by this little food stand on the street and decided I'd give whatever they sold a try (the fish shaped things on the right). I don't know exactly what they are or what they're supposed to be (I'll have to ask COT or any future Korean friend) but they're not bad. They just have this weird, unrecognizable food cooked inside of them. I'll take it.

And onto day 2...


Rachel said...

Anjong! (or however you spell that...)

Sounds like a fun adventure. Do they have The Office over there?
If so, it can't be all that bad :)

San Ba Po said...

the fish thing it's a sweet cake with red bean paste in it. Usually they serve it hot, and it's good! i like them.

looks like you are having a good time there. I bet those boys are having a crush on you.

love you cindy!!! we are always thinking about you!!

Chrissy Renae said...

ohhhhh myyy goshhh this just got me so excited to be there. I CAN'T WAIT. i hope we live in close cities.