Sorry it has taken me so long to get this second blog post up! I have had a very long/stressful/interesting week and finally have time and internet to get this blog up and running again.
I guess I should start with my flight over here.
I left Chicago on Thursday August 26th with over 140 pounds of my belongings, and honestly I wish I brought more. It would have been helpful to have some more comforts from home like more American toothpaste and Ranch dressing; however, I know I am going to get used to not have it.
The flight itself was pretty painless. This should be an overstatement considering it was a 14 hour journey; however, Air Korean had a 20 plus American movie selection and an open bar policy.
Once we (myself and the 45 other Wisconsin graduates going to teach for the year) arrived in Korea our lives immediately changed. As soon as you grabbed your luggage and walked through the doors of baggage claim your "co-teacher" swooped you up and took you off a far away land.
My "co-teacher", David, is an English teacher at Bugok Middle School (the school I teach at). David is the teacher who is in charge of taking care of me during these first few weeks. Even though he is an English teacher his English is far from excellent, which made my first few days in Korea pretty stressful.
After an hour of being lost in the Incheon Seoul International Airport parking lot, David and I began our two hour drive across the one of the longest bridges in Asia, Incheon Bridge.
We hit rush hour traffic and since it is monsoon season in Korea there was heavy rainfall on the bridge. After hours of waiting and driving, I finally arrived in Bucheon at my beautiful Korean apartment. I am living on Jung Dong-Daero in a building called ESTIMA or in Korean 에스티마.
It is a very small traditional Korean studio high rise apartment. This is my view from my one window in the apartment.
The former native English teacher at my school (Bugok Middle School) lived in my apartment for four years. Stuart (the old English teacher) was the dirtiest human being live. He must have never cleaned the apartment once in four years and left it absolutely disgusting for me. When David and I walked in the apartment reeked of old food and mold. There were flies and bugs swarming everywhere and cat hair covered every square inch of the tiny apartment.
David went on to say that Stuart smelt so bad that all the students would make fun of him and the teachers would not want to sit near him. All I could think was: Great, I have to live in the smelly kid's apartment.
After hours of cleaning, only a small section was of the apartment was livable and David left me to drive home to his family. We made plans for him to come back later that weekend to help me clean some more. After many hours of cleaning and emails to my American program contacts my apartment is finally clean enough to live in! Make sure to check back in for a video tour of my clean apartment being posting soon!
As I said, the first few days in Korea were pretty high stress considering the jet lag, dirty apartment, no internet and lack of native language. However, I am excited to say a week later I am extremely happy and love living here.
I am going to leave you with a couple of pictures I took of life in Bucheon over the past week. I should have some time tomorrow to write another post about my first couple of days teaching at Bugok Middle School. Thanks for reading!
SOJU: the Korean alcohol that is everywhere you look A typical Bucheon building.