Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Back to the Blog

I cannot believe one week has gone by since I posted my last message.

Time sure flies when you're having......kimchi all the time. Yes, that's right, kimchi with every meal. Since I arrived in Korea, I have maybe had three meals that did NOT have kimchi on the side. I'm not saying that's a bad thing. I'm just saying it's a thing.

So I could spend an hour writing, catching you up on everything that's happened since last Wed, but I'm simply to tired and there is too much on my mind to do so. However, if you are one of the few that actually reads this (then surely you MUST be one of the ones who asked me to update them as often as I could; this blog is for you after all) then you have my word: If there is anything you want to know just email me and ask; I will answer.

In short, Korea life thus far is lonely. I go to work, I sit at a desk, I go home and clean my filthy apartment.
One of the highlights of my day is driving around with my wonderful co-teacher/mentor-teacher 재옥 to all of our appointments (setting up internet in my apartment for example). She is very kind and has made my experience a good one. The other co-teachers are all very nice.

Though I started work this past Monday, I do not start teaching until this coming Monday. In the meantime I am just preparing lessons and doing research. Nothing too exciting. I try to stay out of the way and let the real teachers do their job. I also try to fit in, though thats never been easy for a guy like me.

Hope to hear from some of you. Pardon the delay in my responses. Take care!

PS. There is much (and I do mean MUCH) I will absolutely not post on here for the same reasons as when I was in China. So please forgive the lack of detail and the sense of bore :)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Looking Ahead

Today was the first day I really "explored." I went for a walk/run around the campus after orientation. It didnt last long. The campus being on a hill makes traversing the area quite difficult. Before long I was drenched in sweat. Its hot here. Too hot.

Tomorrow we go to a middle school to practice teach. I have to teach a class for 10 minutes. I wonder what my actual school will be like and how my co-teachers will be. Co-teachers can make or break your experience.

I am really looking forward to settling into my apartment. I have been in limbo since I left my home in Superior to stay with Dad and Mom. That was over one week ago now. By the time I settle into my own place, it will have been two weeks total of "in-between" time. I also look forward to getting my Alien Resident Card which allows me access to many things I cannot have right now, such as a cell phone, my own internet (at my apartment), and other things that seem like essentials. It could take several weeks to get this (after I start my job on Monday). Pray this card comes quickly with no delays.

Some times I feel like I'm back in Beijing in quarantine again. We can't go off campus and we must follow some strict rules. But that all ends soon enough. Thanks for being patient. Ill update info when I get more info!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Just a few updates

Today at orientation I found out the name of my school: Nongseo Elementary. It is in the northern part of Ulsan, far from the city center, but in its own area of shops and businesses. Because there are several teachers in orientation who have taught in Ulsan in the past, they were able to give me a little info on the area, and though none of them taught at this particular school, they told me it is a large school. This means one thing for sure:

I will be working lots of overtime. This is a good thing though! One reason I came here is to work. There are many opportunities to teach extra classes and weekend activities. I will be working as much as I can. In other words, I will be working as much as they allow and as much as I can handle without losing my mind.

Which brings me to my last update: This will make studying Korean rather difficult. However, Ulsan University has evening conversational English classes that run almost every night of the week. The cost is $300 and lasts for 10 weeks. Because the next session begins September 2nd, I will have to wait for the session after that one (in November) as I will not have time to apply.

Pray I transition well into my school starting next week. I am looking for ways to bond with the teachers in the school by means other than drinking (as that is very popular here). One of those ways would be through volleyball, and apparently it is fairly common for teachers to have teams that compete against other school's teachers. 

Thanks for reading!

Monday, August 19, 2013

3 days in

I arrived in Korea on Saturday at 4. 봉연 (Bongyeon) met me at the airport and we rode the bus to her sisters apartment in Seoul where we would meet her younger and older sisters. The bus ride was about an hour but it gave me my first glimpse of Seoul. Bongyeon is a great friend. Her and her elder sister cooked dinner for me of sesame chicken, fried chicken, fried pork, bulgogi, rice, and kimchi. It was delicious. Her sisters cannot speak much English, but the little English they spoke and the little Korean I speak somehow worked for us to communicate. It would have been funny to see what that dialogue looked like with Bongyeon translating and all the crazy gesturing. Her sisters are so sweet. They treated me very nice.

The next day was very relaxing. Bongyeon and I talked and reminisced about Superior. She took me to the KTX (Korean high speed train) station and saw me off there for my trip to Ulsan. The KTX is the first high speed train I have ever ridden. The scenery was amazing, but after about 20 minutes I fell asleep! I was lucky enough to wake up in time to get off at my stop. I took the bus from the station to the Ulsan airport where I met the other teachers waiting there. From there we took a bus to the dormitory of the university we are housed at. The first day of orientation just ended and I am back at the dorm writing this. I dont want to go into any details about orientation or about my upcoming job because I have few details and orientation is long and tiring.

I do want to mention one thing before I go to bed. I appreciate what great friends I have in Korea. Miss Bong took such great care of me, reserving my KTX ticket and going to the station with me, along with everything else she did. Many years ago when she was in the States I had the privilege of meeting her and helping her with life in the States. I never thought then that I would need help with life in her country. It's great how the Lord ordains things like this.

I hope youre all doing well. I miss my family and friends in the US. I thank God He gave me a family in Korea.