Monday, October 3, 2011

Information Overload

Well, to pick up where I left off last time...

Casey never ended up showing up at the airport.  It turns out that it took him longer to get through Immigration and Customs than it took me.  The line was huge, so he ended up catching the 10pm bus out of there, while I was on the 7:50pm bus.

The bus ride went well, except for the sudden turn.  About five minutes into the bus ride he took a sudden turn and my bag went flying off the overhead rack.  It just happened to be the bag containing my laptop... After a loud "OH MY GOD," a scramble out of my seat, and a hurried pushing of the power button I found that it still worked.  The power button is a little funny looking now though, but it works fine.  I was seriously lucky.

There was one other foreigner on the bus.  She was from Missouri.  We talked for awhile between naps.  Her name is Linzy and she couldn't remember what city she was going to.  She made me feel like I was a walking textbook on Korea, which is amusing, since I think I've only scratched the surface.

So, we arrived at Changwon at a little after midnight and her director was waiting there for her, so we parted ways.  I ended up having to wait for a little while.  The bus driver used his cell and called the Korean half of my recruitment agency trying to figure out where my ride was.  I guess I looked really lost (I blame the jetlag and lack of sleep).  While he was on the phone Esther (The Director) and Donald (her Filipino husband) showed up.

The two of them got me into a taxi and to the hotel.  It was a pretty nice hotel, here's a video walkthrough I did of it right after arriving.  I apologize for any silliness in it, I was rather tired and jetlagged.

So, there was my little hotel room.  I think I gave my dad and sister a tour of it on Skype, but I'm sure this is higher quality.

The next morning I got out and about and just wandered around for a little while, trying to soak things in.  At 2pm Esther and Donald came and took Casey and me to lunch.  It turned out that he was in the hotel room right next to mine.

The lunch was rather odd and awkward.  It was very polite though.  They took us to this expensive buffet restaurant.  It was supposed to be Western food....but it wasn't exactly.  There was green cake, lol, not sure what flavor it was.  The cheesecake was amazing though, best I've ever had.

Then they took us across the shopping center, down some hallways, and up an elevator to the school.  My school is in this huge complex called City 7.  It's got a huge mall, department store (Lotte Mart, which is equivalent to Target), the Pullman Hotel, and who knows how many businesses and maybe even apartments.  Here's a couple pictures of City 7.  I'll get more up later.

I've yet to form a firm opinion on the school, for a number of reasons, I'll get into in another post, but needless to say - the people we're taking over from were NOT teachers.  Casey is certified to teach adults and I'm certified to teach children, so things are about to change.  We have two main objectives - teach the children English and keep them happy with this Hagwan.  So I'll have a post just on that in awhile, once I've spent more than a day and a half in the classrooms and more than two classes by myself.

Thursday night they bought us some Bibimbap (비빔밥), which ended up being cold by the time we got it back to our hotel rooms.  I'm definitely going to have to try it again sometime, when it's hot.

I went out exploring again Friday morning and found an amazing bakery that had cheap prices and yummy things.  I shall have to keep it in mind.  It was right next to a 7-11.  It's funny to walk into a 7-11 and have the cashier talk to you in a Korean accent instead of an Indian or Southern one.

Then later was class and being shown our apartments (which were still occupied), after that Casey and I decided to be brave and venture into one of the many Korean restaurants in City 7.  We ended up finding one with pictures on the menu and he randomly (I think) picked one.

Whatever it was, this dish is served to a group of 2-4 and you just get things out of it and put it onto your plate.  There was an egg, noodles, mussels, shrimp (with eyes, antennae, and legs on), a baby octopus, and something else that we dubbed a sea marshmallow.

Here's a picture:

And here's a picture of Casey about to eat one of the shrimp:

The next morning Casey and I grabbed breakfast and then went by our apartments to pick up keys.  The apartments were FILTHY.  There was also a lot of stuff left in mine.  Including a full trash can....

Realizing we had a lot of work to do once Esther and Donald checked us out of the hotel and got us a taxi to carry our stuff we went back to the hotel and watched Zero Punctuation and Nostalgia Critic while we waited.

At about noon we checked out of the hotel and moved into our apartments.  Then came the first of many trips to Lotte Mart and the beginning of a cleaning party.

We tackled his apartment first, it was mainly just cleaning.  The previous occupant (the previous male teacher) had never thought to clean anything, so that took some scrubbing.

Then we trooped the block and a half to my apartment and tackled the mess.  Mine looked cleaner, but the cabinets were all disgusting.  Supposedly clean dishes were sitting on sticky and stained shelves.  Then there was the treasure trove of stuff in the area above my bathroom.  I suppose it could be sleeping area for a small child, but it's been turned into storage.  There were all sorts of treasures up there, mostly empty boxes, I particularly liked the empty Baskin Robbins cake box.  There was still some icing in it.

Casey helped me move the furniture and do some deep scrubbing and then we wandered over to City 7 and grabbed some dinner.  I picked this time and frankly, I prefer my pick.  The tastes were just as foreign, but they were a lot easier to eat.

Here's a picture:

After dinner we parted ways and I spent the rest of the evening putting my apartment together.  I proceeded to sleep in later this morning, ate a leisurely breakfast (cup of tea, pineapple juice, and a can of peaches), realized I needed to go shopping, and wandered over to Casey's to give him some extra silverware and mugs since my apartment had an abundance and his had none.

He decided to go to E-Mart (Korean Wal-Mart) with me and we grabbed a taxi (3,000 Won) and took it down the road.  After another shopping trip (I'll do another entry at some point on stores here) came on back and parted ways.  I relaxed for awhile and then wandered over to City 7 and got my nails done.  I swear, I've never had such an amazing manicure.  I sat there watching the Korean version of American Idol and got an amazing hand massage and the best cuticles I've ever had.

I wandered down to Lotte Mart after that and grabbed some yogurt and soy milk before heading back to my apartment and writing this massive entry.

I know it's huge, but I had gone a little while without writing and wanted to capture these first few days of craziness.  Tomorrow is a National Holiday so we're closed and I get to relax.  Don't know what I'm going to do yet, but it should be interesting, even if all I do is laze around my apartment, lol.

Have a lovely Sunday ya'll! :)


  1. I think it's hilarious that you were the "expert" on Korea to this girl. It's only polite to study a culture before you enter their country!!