On our second day here, we woke up at 8 AM to head into town for our medical check before we could receive our immigration card. In an hour, we had received a vision and hearing test, checked our blood pressure, had blood drawn, peed in a cup and went to the dentist (where she looked in our mouths for 30 seconds). For the most part it seemed pretty similar to how things are done in the U.S. but there were still a few times we had to laugh to ourselves because it seemed odd. I don’t remember the last time I carried a paper cup of my pee down a hall to the doctor. But hey, #Korea.
When we got back to the village, we went to the school to observe two class periods. The school attending for the week was an all girls middle school and the classes I watched included a general classroom and the Post Office/Bank. In the classroom, we reviewed the date and the weather, did a worksheet from the book and created a postcard (activity to review the Post Office section of their book). In the Post Office/Bank simulation room, we played a Monopoly-esque game that consisted of five teams of two, one big die, review questions, and money. Every time the girls passed start, they received a dollar. Every time they landed on a question space, they were asked a question relating to either the Bank or the Post Office. There was also a “jail” and a couple challenge spaces that were fun prompts like hop around the class like a kangaroo to receive two dollars. It was super cute to see the girls laugh and get excited about how silly they looked since everyone was so shy. The team with the most money at the end of the game won!
After two classes, we were driven to the mart to get anything we needed. Fortunately, a coworker accompanied us and explained everything he could on how to read the pricing, what things were, and how to get the best deals. Very thankful he knew what was what for the most part and made it pretty easy for us. If he hadn’t have been there, we would have spent an hour longer and been way more frustrated, haha!
We went to Imart for our first trip. Maybe similar to a neighborhood Walmart as it had a decent amount of produce and household items. The second floor was actually a different store called Daiso which is like a better version of the dollar store – what I think we will be frequenting while we’re here. FYI – the black car is parked. This is common and clearly traffic laws seem to be very different than the States! Daiso: the best dollar store I’ve ever seen.
A successful first grocery trip, and then we eventually got to move in to our permanent apartment. Our apartment is a bit different from the others because we actually have two smaller separate apartments. Right next door to each other, they both have a small kitchen, bathroom and laundry room, but one has two couches and the other has a bed. It will take us a while to figure out how best to use them, but it doesn’t hurt to have two of everything! Pictures below and in the Gallery are of our “hangout” apartment”. The other one is identical except it has a bed in the far room.
Friday came and I woke up terribly sick and weak after sleeping on a rock hard bed with a very congested head. Lucky for me, we don’t start work until 12:30 PM so I borrowed some medicine and did what I could to feel better. Also lucky for me, Fridays are pretty laid back. We teach one class period then the students watch a movie in English with Korean subtitles and leave for the day. This week’s movie…Enchanted! 🙂
Luke and I were informed we will already be starting to teach our own classes on Monday! With us starting in December, the schedule for the next couple months is a bit different. Next week we are only teaching two class periods a day. The following week, we will be teaching three periods Monday through Thursday. We will have one normal week, two “Winter Intensive” weeks, and then our three week winter vacation begins! In February, the teachers create the school book for the next year and then we start teaching again in March.
Thankfully, I was feeling better as Friday went on because the teachers all went out after work for dinner. We were shown how to get a taxi and what to say to the drivers, and shortly arrived at the restaurant that I’m still not sure what the name of it was. But it was Korean Barbecue and it was SO good! Chopsticks here are metal so they are much heavier, and I am still struggling hard to use them, but will learn quickly. Luke and I, the six other CEV teachers, and another English teacher in a public school near the village sat in a room on the floor (shoes off of course) and ate pork, salad, bonchons, beer and Soju. Every Korean meal comes with bonchons which are a number of different side dishes that vary at every restaurant. This one consisted of sweet creamed corn, kimchi (duh), onions in some sort of sauce and mushrooms and radishes in another kind of sauce. All were amazing! The pork came raw and we had two grills at the table that we used to prepare the meat, kimchi and garlic. You are supposed to take a leaf (I preferred the sesame leaves) and put whatever you want in it to make a wrap! So delicious. The beer was probably the best kind of beer you could get here, but is similar to a Bud Light. The Soju tasted like watered down vodka, but is the most popular drink here. It’s very cheap, about one dollar a bottle, and is about 20% abv.
They then took us to Lotteria, a place that was similar to a Korean McDonald’s, and we each got a soft served ice cream cone. Afterwards, we all went back to the apartments and hung out in our “hangout” apartment and played a game called Liar’s Dice. It was awesome getting to hang with everyone outside of work and really seeing their personalities start to come out. Needless to say, there was a lot of laughing and we had a fantastic first Friday night!
Today (Saturday), the teachers will all be going into Daegu, the fourth largest city in South Korea, which is about 30 minutes away. I have no idea what we will be doing there, but I’m super pumped to see another part of the country and learn even more!