Saturday, July 31, 2010


Hello again,

I have been in Korea for about 4 days now, and I absolutely love it!

I apologize, I had written an entire post about my trip which was funny and witty and wonderful as always, and then my computer ran out of battery. Which wouldn't have been a problem had my converter worked, but it tragically did not so I am now sitting in a "PC Bang" (a room filled with computers where pre-teen guys go to play World of Warcraft, etc...) to update you on my life. You're welcome, it's actually kind of awkward. That being said, I'll give you just a brief summary of my trip:

Flight #1
We had a frighteningly chipper flight attendant named Vince, who assured me that adding Jack Daniels to my water would reeeally bring out that water flavor... At about 7am.

Flight #2
I was bored and stuck in the last row of the plane, so I turned to the SkyMall catalogue for amusement. My favorite product was the "Slanket", essentially the exact same thing as a Snuggie, but with more creatively named colors(Carrie Almasi take note...) like "Walk the Slank" (Pirate print), "Imminent Bloom" (Bad 80's floral), and my personal favorite, "Sofa"(???).

Flight #3
Comparitively uneventful. I tried to sleep as much as possible, but it did't work very well. Part of our lunch consisted of a bowl of tiny silver fish that looked a lot like Burrito(RIP), so I did not end up trying them :(

Eventually I made it into Bucheon safe and sound and passed out for about 15 hours straight. Oh travel days...

Korea is such a strange country and there are just so many little mundane things I don't understand like "why do motorcycles ride down the sidewalk?", and "why can't I distinguish between laundry detergent and dish soap?" and "What exactly is a 'love hotel' and why am I staying in one?". Definitely culture shock, but it keeps my life interesting :)

Bucheon is a city of about a million people, from what I've been told, and everyone lives in these eerily similar high-rise apartment complexes. Flying in, it really looks like someone stacked up legos in these neat little patterns or something. I can't explain, but I guarantee you it's different than anything you've even seen in the States. Today was the first chance I'd had to really roam around the city and see what's out there beyond Avalon and my hotel. Of course you have your Baskin Robbins, Dunkin Donuts, Burger King, McDonalds, Starbucks, and Pizza Hut, but they also have a lot of these little cake shops where they just specialize in making these gorgeous (and yummy...) little cakes. I don't understand why there are so many of them, but I'm not-surprisingly very ok with it. And of course there are all the Korean restaurants we've been going to which are 1)really cheap and 2)reeeeeally yummy. Oh dear, I'm afraid we're going to have a freshman fifteen situation all over again...

As for the job, you know the reason I'm over here, I really like it so far. My coworkers are fantastic and the kids are adorable. I've been shadowing the other native speaking teachers all week figuring out what I should be doing, and Monday I get to actually start teaching for real. Wish me luck!

I need to go back to working on my apartment... let's just say I'm very excited for the cleaning people to go through it in a couple of days...

I promise I've taken pictures, and I'll put them on here as soon as I get my computer situation all squared away. And maybe I'll keep you all updated on my life now that I figured out how easy PC Bangs are to manage :)

- Christine -

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I'm Here!

So I arrived in Incheon at around 7ish last night and had my first day of work today... I was hoping for a couple of days to get acclamated to my new surroundings, but nope. At least I got to observe classes today (and for the rest of the week...) so I'll have time to figure out what I'm doing before fully jumping in and teaching. The kids were really adorable, and I think I'm being left with a pretty good group of students... of course they got the chance to ask the "new teacher" questions, so I had the chance to answer things like "How old are you?" (apparently 23 in Korean),"Do you have a boyfriend?", and "What are your long-term life dreams?"(Nooooooooo idea at this point). Should be interesting...

Jetlag is catching up to me, so I'll be writing more soon when I'm slightly more awake...

- Christine -

Monday, July 19, 2010

Counting Down

I finally got a solid departure date from my contact person – July 26!!! – which means I’m suddenly into the single digits of days left in the United States! I’ve been so focused for the past month on filling out paperwork for background checks and VISA applications and getting the same paper notarized literally four times, it’s a little shocking to me that I’ll be working a legit job and teaching actual Korean children in less than two weeks! It’s a really weird feeling, and I don’t exactly know what to expect. I guess real world, here I come!

But yes, I will be leaving Cleveland on the 26th at the beautiful hour of 6am and arriving in Korea at around 6pm on the 27th…. Which is sadly just 2 days after my lovely friend Alan leaves Korea… yet another reason, kids, to not procrastinate like me.

Of course I have so much left to do in the next 8 days, but I’m ready to go! Now, back to that whole packing thing…

- Christine -

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


As we rapidly approach my still TBD departure date, I keep realizing just how much I have left to do…

Can you say overwhelmed?

Though I’ve been told South Korea contains many of the amenities and familiar American products I’m used to here (with a few important exceptions like western-style deodorant and American-women sized “support items”), it’s still a truly daunting move. I’ve been reading everything I can and talking to everyone I know trying to prepare myself for this new adventure of mine, and so far here’s what I know:

1. The Hangeul writing system itself is very systematic and is apparently one of the most scientific in the world (the shapes of the written consonants resemble the shape your mouth makes when you make that sound… fun fact, right?). Regardless, it’s definitely not an easy language to learn, and I'm not too terribly good with learning new languages anyways, so I’m working on just the basics for now…

An-nyeong-ha-se-yo? – “Good morning/afternoon/evening/How are you?”
Kam-sa-ham-ni-da – “Thank you”
Ch’eon-man-e-yo – “You’re welcome”
An-nyeong-hi- ka-se-yo – “Good bye”
Nam-eui-tteok-i teo k’eu-ge-po-in-da – “The other person’s rice cake looks bigger” (Apparently the Korean version of our “The grass is greener on the other side”… Hooray phrase books)

Annnnnndddd hopefully I’ll pick up more once I get over there!

2. Koreans are incredibly warm and friendly people – just not necessarily on the trains and buses during rush hour. I’ve been told to expect frantic bustling, shoving, and pushing very unlike the casual flirting and goofy pickup lines I’ve been getting on the trains into Cleveland this summer... Which will be just a little bit missed... Sad day…

3. Though I should in theory have a slightly larger apartment since I’ll be living in Bucheon, just a few miles outside of the much more expensive Seoul, I will almost certainly NOT have an oven at my disposal. Noooooooooooooooooo!

How will I make people birthday cakes shaped like other foods? Tragic…

Despite the whole no oven or public transportation flirting I’m likely to encounter in Korea, I’m really excited about this whole thing! Knowing an exact departure date would be fantastic for my mental sanity, but regardless, this will be an amazing/eventful/hilarious year and I can’t wait!

- Christine -

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Hello all,

This is where I’ll keep you posted about my adventures living in South Korea for the next twelve months! Stay tuned!

- Christine -