Oh good lord, I don’t even know what to say. Blogging is haaard guise!!
I’ll start by telling you that I’m in my new apartment. Yay!! I’m in Okgwa, Gokseong county, which is about 30 minutes east of Gwangju. It’s a sleepy town – as sleepy as Korea gets anyway – and I’ve just visited my first school, Ip-Myeon elementary. I went there at 9am, and it’s a ten minute bus ride further into the countryside. Seriously though; it’s surrounded by rice fields. It’s beautiful. And yet, the school is actually reasonably large. By New Zealand standards anyway. I met up with one of my co-teachers – I have two, and they both came to pick me up from orientation yesterday – and also met some of the other staff.
So yesterday, when my co-teachers brought me to my apartment, they had a look around and were NOT happy. It’s a nice apartment, but the last teacher to live there was a pretty messy dude. DAMMIT CLINT. So today before lunch, myself, the school cleaning lady and my co-teacher all get into Master teacher no.2’s car and go to my apartment. They helped me get rid of some of the junk, and then we left the lady to clean. The three of us went to The Coffee Factory around the corner and waited. Now; they asked me to choose a coffee. I chose an espresso. It’s what I drink. They gasped. ‘Are you sure?’ They kept asking. ‘You know it is small? It is very strong? Very bitter?’ I kept insisting it was what I wanted, much to their ongoing surprise. And you know what? It was the BEST coffee I’ve had in two weeks. A proper strong espresso. You have to understand how important coffee is to me. The coffee situation was definitely one of my biggest apprehensions in going into this whole thing. But I must say, the best part was the massive glass of water they gave me. In case I died. From all the coffee. Oh Korea, stop being so cute!!
Afterwards we picked up the cleaning lady and went to meet the rest of the staff for lunch. It was a cute little restaurant, which in true Korean fashion had the most amazing service and an absolute ridiculous amount of food. They all practiced their English with me and we laughed a lot over a few bottles of Hite. I have a ‘very good face image’ the school lunch-lady tells me.
It’s 1pm now and I’m back at my apartment. I don’t start teaching til Monday. Next door to me is Patsy – my roommate from orientation. We’re at different schools, but we’ll get to navigate the area together which is nice. Oh, and my apartment came fully equipped with Hite and chocolate!! Not intentionally though, like I said, the last tenant left a bit of stuff, and some of it I’m happy to keep. Yeah, whataboutit?
I must say, it wasn’t til I was alone in my apartment that it started to sink in. Just…what I’m doing. Where I am. How far away my family and friends are. How much I have to get used to. I think it was because I had so much support at orientation, and the many amazing friends I made. I had prepared myself to miss my family – that was always a given – but to meet all these amazing people and have to say goodbye so suddenly was not something I was ready for. We’re all in the same boat, all alone, all excited, all terrified together. So we’ll keep in touch. Which right now is hard with none of us having internet in our apartments just yet. And we’ll meet up in Gwangju and Mokpo as well; just as soon as we figure out how to navigate Jeollanamdo!
I didn’t really blog about the end of orientation, mostly because I was kind of in a whirlwind. But lets just say it was a blast and I’m even a little homesick for it. Ten days I was there, and apparently that qualifies it as having some emotional pull for me. Get a hold of yourself woman!
I’ll leave you with some photos now. I have to catch up on my Hannah Hart and Daily Grace while this mysterious and magical wifi I’m picking up is strong. Shouldn’t I be learning Korean and writing lesson plans you ask? YOU OBVIOUSLY DON’T KNOW ME VERY WELL INTERNETS.