Saturday, July 17, 2010

Welcome to Ansan

Last night I arrived in South Korea about 7pm local time. Customs were a breeze. The plane ride wasn't that bad, Korean Air is pretty much awesome. I had my own little TV in the seat in front of me with a decent selection of movies to choose from, I ended up watching Ghost Writer with Ewen McGregor, Brothers and How to Train your Dragon. Two meals, about three hours total sleep, two albums of Avantasia and an amicable conversation with the Chinese guy next to me later, I arrived in Incheon International Airport.

My ride wasn't there to get me right away, which put a damper on my mood, but a nice Korean man asked me, in good English, if I was waiting for somebody and if I had their cell number. I did. He called for me and found out that my ride would arrive shortly but was having trouble finding parking. First contact with Koreans? Very positive first impression.

Mr. Kim showed up a short time later and bought me a water, put me on the phone with Luke from SLP (the school I work for) to give me the low down on what would happen tonight and next week, then put me on the phone with Don Park who welcomed me to Korea. We found the car, and left for Ansan. Incheon is on an island that is connected to the mainland by a TEN MILE BRIDGE. I was blown away, just looking around at the world like everything was new and beautiful, which of course it was to me. Mr. Kim was a little hard to understand, but we managed anyway. Very nice guy.

I've arrived during monsoon season and have already invested in an umbrella. It feels a bit like Florida. Very warm, humid as hell, and sometimes just drops rain like hell.

Mr. Kim took me to pick up Luke, who gave me a TV, and we drove to my place to get me settled in. My place isn't bad at all. It's actually nicer than most dorm rooms I've been in. My kitchen consists of a hot plate and a sink, so I'll have to learn to make due with that (seeing as how I'm practically a gourmet cook, that might be a challenge). The bathroom is interesting. The whole thing is the shower. So I've got my sink and my toilet, then the shower head just sticking out of the wall. Awesome. Then there's the main area with a nice (heated) tile floor, a desk, a couple shelves and cabinets, a couch, a fridge and some chairs. My bed is the coolest part. I have to climb some steep stairs and then it's up in a lofted area above the couch and the bathroom, with sweet windows to the lower area. It's just a mattress on the floor, but with some blankets and a pillow it's quite nice.

I met some other teachers in my building: Paige, Luke, Rich, Forrest, and Vic(toria). They're all super nice and all in the 23-24 age range. They took me out with them for some pizza and beer where they regaled me with hilarious stories of their time teaching here and really made me feel welcome. Great people. I learned a little more about Korean culture, for instance, there's no bathrooms in restaurants, at least restaurants like that. You have to get toilet paper from a table near the door and take it with you to a public restroom outside.

The people I've met have just been fantastic. They lent me an umbrella and even a key to the apartment complex.

Jet lag is going to be annoying, but I think I'll be over it after tonight.

If you're thinking about Skyping me or saying hello, South Korea is 16 hours ahead of Washington/Oregon. If i'm online on Skype, I'm probably at my computer.

That's it for now.

1 comment:

  1. I had a bedroom like that in college, I spent a lot of nights sleeping on the couch just to make sure I didn't break my neck in a drunken climb to get to sleep. Sounds like you are starting off on the right foot post photos soon. I'm dying to see the bathroom with a shower head poking out of the wall.