WE MADE IT!!!
In the last 48 hours, Luke and I started our big adventure by going to four airports and two countries, taking three different flights, problem solving our way through a foreign country and their transportation system, meeting our new coworkers, having our first day of training, and experiencing our first TRUE Korean meal. Were we overwhelmed? Of course. But in the best way possible! With the combination of my nerves, the adrenaline and all of my new surroundings, I was able to squeeze in about 6 hours of sleep on our long flight to Korea, but have been way too excited to feel sleepy.
Our first flight was a bit delayed so when we got to Chicago where we planned on eating dinner, everything had closed. Refusing to pay $14 for a cold cut sandwich, we opted for Skinny Pop and some Gardettos – dinner of champions – to tide ourselves over until the meal on the long flight. On our way to Incheon (right next to Seoul, South Korea), they served us our first meal almost immediately. Choice of either beef steak or vegetable bibimbap, I opted for the beef steak because…meat. And Luke went with the bibimbap, which was also delicious! The cutest elderly woman sat next to us and didn’t speak any English but asked Luke to help her open her rice packet and then proceeded to give him half of it. No other story about this woman but I had to include it because she was just adorable.
Arriving in Incheon and figuring out our way through customs and how to get on the correct bus to get to the correct place in a time crunch was…the first real challenge. But let’s be honest, I felt like it was The Amazing Race, and we killed it. It also doesn’t hurt that I don’t have a problem asking strangers who don’t speak my language for help. People in South Korea are so nice!
Investigating the bus ticket vending machine…
After our last flight to Busan, we were picked up by a driver to take us to our apartment in Changnyeoung. Once we arrived, we were greeted right away by Richard and Suzi (Superintendent and Director of the school) and our 6 coworkers. They all helped us to our room and gave us a quick run down of the basics – heat, water, etc. We had one hour to relax, change and get to the school (which is right next to the apartment) for our first day of training.
The school is an English camp (Changnyeong English Village) mostly for kids in middle school. There are a handful of classrooms as well as simulation rooms (airport, bank, convenience mart) so that activities done in these rooms can be based on their environment to help with a more hands on learning experience. We will be getting a new set of students each week and will roughly have four 45 minute classes each day. The rest of our time at the school is devoted to planning and paperwork. We were also informed that we get a three week vacation in January which is our long vacation so we already need to start planning where we will visit!
One of the teacher couples has been here for two years and is leaving as we take their place, so for one night we are in a guest room and will move into our apartment tomorrow. Since it was the end of their time here and the beginning of ours, Richard and Suzi treated us to dinner in the village at a new restaurant called Bulgogi. (Bulgogi is another popular dish.) Delicious!
After dinner, we were able to head back to the apartment at 6:15 to relax and pass out. Tomorrow we go into town to get our medical checks and immigration card, potentially groceries, and then setup shop in our new home! If you made it this far into the blog, you rock. Hope you enjoyed it as there will be many more posts to come!
Kamsamnida! (“Thank you” – my most used word of the day!)