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 -

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