Friday, April 27, 2012

Wait... I have a Blog?

Ok, sorry, but the fact that this blog was my #1 goal for Korea and that I haven't update should tell you something...

And if you're thinking North Korea, you're doing it wrong.
Seriously, moving here is easily in the top 5, if not THE best decision I have ever made. I love everything here. The people, the expat community, the city, the public transport, my students, my coworkers, my apartment (oh my GOD my apartment), everything. I have not regretted moving here for even a MILLISECOND. I can say, without a doubt, that this is the most consistently excessively happy that I have ever been.

Ok, so lets do a quick run-down of what has happened since I got here:

Leaving America was tough, I'm not going to lie. I said goodbye to my friends, my Aunt & Unc (essentially my Grandparents), my brothers, Andy, and my parents. I think I did the best possible thing though and just treated it like a band-aid. Our goodbyes were fairly quick and painless.
See, we made it intact!

Once I got to Korea I instantly found people who were in the airport for the exact same reason as me (EPIK:SMOE Orientation). These people had actually been on the plane with me since Boston but we hadn't realized it. The SMOE people were very organized and it was pretty easy to figure out where to go and what to do.

So, of course, my mission at orientation was to set up roots that would hold me steady in my experience here. When I moved from Maine to Tennessee for college I met the people I would be close friends with for the rest of my years there the first day (at UT's Freshman Picnic). Well, let me tell you, most of the expats I spend time with now are people I met in that first week and I still keep good contact with many others.
Let's just say I met a lot of colorful characters

I give SMOE's orientation a 7/10. It was a perfect way to set up roots here but the coursework they had us do was clearly angled strictly at those who had never taught before, so it was boring.

They didn't tell us where we'd be going until the day before we were scheduled to move from the university campus in Suwon (south of Seoul) where orientation was held. This is when I found out the news that pretty much has shaped my entire experience: I would be teaching in Seongbuk-gu ("gu" means district, like a borough in NYC, Seongbuk-gu is in northeast Seoul) at HyeHwa Girl's High School. Once I got to Seongbuk-gu they told me I'd be living in Suyu-dong ("dong" is a neighborhood within a district). I had NO idea how important this was going to be. I'll have a post about the joys of living in Suyu soon.
My little slice of Asia Heaven
My school. aka: One of the best schools in Seoul to work for.

I went to my school and was instantly overwhelmed by how welcoming and genuinely excited the teachers, students, and staff were to meet me. The girl I was replacing was still here and she had everything laid out for me on a silver platter, making the transition as close to seamless as it could have been.
This woman saved my LIFE and also introduced me to some awesome people, all in 24 hours!

My apartment was nice, about the size I had been expecting it to be.
Roughly the size of a double dorm room but with a kitchen instead of another person
But then they informed me that I'd be moving to a new apartment the next week. What they failed to mention was that I'd be moving on up to a de-luxe apartment in the sky.
If you are moving to Seoul, do yourself a favor and do NOT
expect your apartment to be as awesome as mine.
These pictures don't even do it justice.
My other saving grace was my amazing, fantastic, wonderful, splendid tour guide my first few weeks here: Mr. John Bacon.
Pictured here in his natural habitat: teaching me how to do Korean things
He was infinitely patient with me and did an awesome job making me feel right at home and showing me the ropes. He also introduced me to his friends, soon to be my friends as well, and some of the best people I've met. More on them later!

So, here we are, 8 months in (say it isn't so!!!) and fully prepared to be here for another 16, at the least. I've left Seoul a few times and have left Korea twice on vacation and, I have to say, it always gets to the point where I hear this city calling me back (ok, maybe when I'm outside of Korea it is SCREAMING me back ^_^). It's going to be difficult to want to move away from here any time soon.

These next few blogs will touch a bit here and there on things I've done since getting here but I'll also start getting into the swing of "how to" and "where to," which is what I want this blog to primarily be about. Hope this works out this time! Until then, you'll just have to take my word that this is one incredible place.
If this picture doesn't convince you, nothing will.

No comments:

Post a Comment