I just finished my first day of teaching and I am feeling like I can totally handle this. The kids are rowdy, but it is nothing I can’t deal with. My co-teachers are incredibly friendly and helpful. We have met a good number of people and are getting settled in our new neighborhood. Our apartment is starting to look and feel like home. We have a bank account and everything! Now the last thing is waiting on ARC “alien registration card” so that we can get internet at home. Unfortunately, this might take a month or so, but I am trying to stay positive, and I have internet at work in the mean time.
It looks like I am going to have a lot more down time here teaching than I ever had at the O school (not that there is really ever down time there)! I teach 22 hours a week and then “plan” for the other 18. So far, there is not much planning, and I think I am going to need to develop an internet hobby or work on my Korean during the down time. It is hard not being able to communicate very well with kids and teachers during the day. It makes for a lonely 8 hours. I have sat through a few lunches now with teachers who are all speaking Korean for the hour. Every now and then I hear “mi-gook” or “way-gook” which is “American” and “foreigner,” and all I can do is wonder what they are saying about me. It is a strange feeling. I am also hoping I can find other ways to connect with the kid,s because I am used to connecting with conversation.
Life in Korea has definitely been a challenge. As you all know, we travel a lot, but neither Davo nor I have ever been to a country that speaks as little English as Korea. We went to a restaurant the other day and put up two fingers and ordered “two” because we could not read the menu and we don’t speak Korean. We got “two” and luckily it was delicious. At the bus stop we look like a comedy show, and at the grocery it is a game of guess and check. In countries with roman letters a lot of the time you can make educated guesses about what something is or what it means. Here, you are fresh out of luck and everything looks like gibberish. I think Davo and I will learn a lot more Korean than we originally thought, because you can’t even get a taxi home if you don’t know how to say it in Korean! Luckily, our co-teachers help us out with a lot of things like getting a bank account, moving into our apartment, talking to our landlord, assisting with the ARC card, and internet but it is a strange feeling being completely dependent on a person you met a week ago.
Having a sense of humor here is crucial. In our bathroom the sink is connected to the shower, similar to how the bathtubs at home are connected to the shower. In order to turn on the shower you turn a knob on the sink that makes the water flow to the shower instead of the sink. The shower is just in the bathroom and everything in the bathroom gets wet when it is on, no curtain. So, the other day I am getting ready for school. I am all ready for school, and I go to wash my hands and BAM the water was not changed back to the sink and I got a shower in my clothes! Next I will tell you about the trash… o-boy is it hard core even for us earth loving hippies! Later for now!