Closure


Yes, closure may seem like an odd title for my first blog that so many are waiting to read regarding my international travel to S Korea. And I will get to that. But first I wanted to write about something that has been weighing heavily on my mind for the last several months.
May 31, 2008 I moved from Nevada City, CA to San Rafael (Marin), CA. This was a huge move for me. I sold & gave away so much of my ‘stuff’, moving from a quaint little Miner’s Cabin in Nevada City to an even smaller ‘cottage’ in Marin. I moved to Marin for several reasons: to be close to the ocean, to live in a more city-like environment & to be in the heart of the 5 Rhythms dance community where I would focus on getting into the 5 Rhythms dance Teacher Training. Feeling like my life was turning a huge corner & excited about these changes, I dove right into the first 5R workshop that came my way while in Marin: Mirrors. I knew some of the other dancers that were going to be in Mirrors too, so I was really looking forward to it.

So once settled in Marin I set out on finding work. While waiting for the job thing to come through, I danced my heart out. Then August hit & it was time to take on Mirrors. Eighty dancers from around the world, all together for 10 days, 8 or more hours per day in Tiburon. After a couple of days it felt like only this world of Mirrors was my life. There was much dancing, connecting with others & deep reflection, inside & out.

Mirrors wrapped up. Honestly, I was glad. A workshop I was so excited to begin, left me shattered. Purely shattered into a million pieces. I began driving to work the next day into San Rafael, but found myself heading towards Tiburon, the direction of Mirrors. I was in a daze. Once at work, I found it very difficult to integrate back into life after Mirrors. Trying to work out all that happened in those 10 days in Mirrors on my own, proved fruitless. I sought help.

Mirrors ended…I worked 5 days…the very next weekend I had many moons ago already signed up for another dance workshop called Libido. This was only a 2.5 day workshop. I can handle this! I walked in late Friday night to a roomful of people already into their dance. It was hot. I did a quick glance around the floor to see if any of those people that triggered me in Mirrors were here in Libido. No…good. I can dance without the baggage of Mirrors hanging over me. I also saw some dear friends from the Nevada City dance, which warmed me from the inside out. It was going to be a good weekend. And it was a good weekend. Until Sunday. We were practicing Chaos. I was paired with two other women. The exercise was intense. As the music played, it was my turn to ‘be in the middle’. The women were touching me were I could ‘loosen up’ in my dance. It was too much. I yelled ‘STOP’! & ran to the farthest corner I could, crying from a depth I have never cried from before. Eventually the class facilitator came over to see what happened. I tried taking deep breaths, but the tears kept coming. Shattered…just shattered once again…

I slowly began to stop dancing. It was too much for me. To be in a room filled with so much energy was just too much for my fragile self to handle. I tried going back a few times, but it only brought up more ugly ‘truths’. Yes, the dance is a very safe place to be yourself, feel your true feelings, laugh, cry yell…but is still was just too much for me…I gradually stopped dancing all together. No dancing, no socializing…Is this what I moved to Marin for?? No, but I was deep in the throws of my own fears. I felt frozen, fearful of going out into the world for anything.

One of the realizations I came to while in counseling was that I thought I needed to move in with roommates, so that I would force myself to be social. Another realization was that I wanted to migrate to Australia. I felt like the Marin ocean was a tease. Pretty to look at, but untouchable. This Southern CA Girl needs to be able to dip her body & soul into the water! And this was not happening in Marin.

So I worked diligently at pursuing Australia. But I reached a roadblock when the paperwork process for permanent migration seemed to get a bit cumbersome. So I focussed on finding a new place to live with roommates. Initially I was going to move into a friend’s condo. But finding a roommate to share the condo with me was challenging. Finally letting go of this option, I quickly advertised myself online looking for a roommate. Then I checked Craigslist. The first place I called, I looked at I was in! Too easy!

This was mid December 2009. My move out date was December 31,2009. But this is New Year’s Eve! I was determined to be all moved before the 31st because I had New Year’s Eve plans: The NYE dance in Grass Valley (Nevada City), that I never miss! But the month of December slipped away from me. It was New Year’s Eve & had a lot of work to do to move myself out of my old place & into my new one. Dancing with my Nevada City tribe looked less & less likely. As my Nevada City tribe knows, I did not make it to the dance.

So promises broken, to myself & my dear friends & family began to weigh more & more on my mind. Since mid-December 2009, I dropped even further out of contact (by way of Facebook) as well as in person even more than when first moving to Marin. Thinking that moving in with roommates would ‘get me back out in the world’, was the wrong way to go about this task for sure. And I suppose I wasn’t done isolating, because, where there is a will, there is a way, right? Roommates or not, I can find a way to isolate, now I just have an audience! Man!!

Not happy in my living situation & even less enthusiastic about my job, I was frustrated to say the least. I had to lite the fire from within to make a serious change in my life from the ground floor up. This began with finding new employment…Going about it the usual way did not entice me at all. I was looking for a BIG CHANGE…to finally, for the first time in a long time…follow my bliss…my heart…my passion. What is that?? For many years now my passion has been to teach children the 5 Rhythms dance internationally. Big dream? YES! Big passion?? YES! HUGE FEAR? YES! So I sat with this unfulfilled dream for several years now. This dream actually manifested during one of my year-long dance committed workshops called Connections that I did 6 or 7 years ago in Nevada City. At the time I was living in Fair Oaks, California & this revelation came to me as I was driving back home after one of the Connections weekends in Nevada City. But good ol’ fear has held me back all this time from pursing this dream. Me moving to Marin to pursue the 5 Rhythms teacher training was one of my first steps in making this dream come true.

So in the current job search I was in the midst of, I was on a path of pursuing my dream with the key ingredients being music, dance, children.

Then in February I received an email from a company called Footprints Recruiting. I had signed up to receive their email updates about 9 months prior, when I was really looking for a change. I wanted to travel & work on the road. I know it can be done. I have seen so many of my dancing friends work while living in another country. I wanted to do that! So not knowing anything much really about Footprints who wanted to recruit me right away for teaching English overseas, I declined, still fearful of pursuing my dream. But this time, when they emailed in February informing me they were hiring all over South Korea & wanted to know if I was interested, I emailed right back & said: “Sign Me Up!”. It was the right place, time & kind of job for me right now. I had only been in my new place for a month when this opportunity arose. But now I was preparing to take a teaching job in South Korea asap. They had positions that begin from a few days to a few months out. I could go whenever I was ready. I emailed them my resume. A phone interview was scheduled with one of the company’s owners who lives in Australia…hmmm…

I sat outside my counseling appointment on this phone interview. The employer told me he would pass my info over to their recruiting dept & I should be receiving an email soon from a recruiter. I hung up the phone from the interview & rushed into my counseling appointment that I was already late for now because of the interview. I told my counselor of the great news. She was floored because she didn’t even know this opportunity had presented itself to me.

Less than 3 months later I arrived in South Korea to teach English as a Second Language. More on this in another blog.

So I want to get back to the topic of closure.

I want to apologize to my dance community in Nevada City, Sacramento & Marin: for not being there for you as a friend or otherwise in the past 2 years. Not dancing with your beautiful bodies & souls, on & off the dance floor.

I apologize to my family who I have not had as much contact with in the last couple of years either.

I apologize for the unreturned emails to family & friends.

Bailing on my Facebook friends & family since December 2009

Missing out on the 2009 New Year’s Eve Dance in Nevada City

Birthdays that have gone unacknowledged

Leaving for S Korea so quickly that I was not able to say ‘Goodbye’ in person to so many of my friends & family

Saying ‘Thank You’ to everyone at MHA who gave me such a wonderful send off party (& Birthday wishes)

Thank you to all those I have met through Meet-up & wishing we could have had one final ‘gathering’

And to Jamie, a roommate who has become a friend (along with his girlfriend too) who has, and still is, wrapping things up for me in Marin since I so badly underestimated how long it takes to get my life packaged up & out of town.

I hope this blog reaches everyone intended.

I love you all. Here’s to a new chapter in life in my 40th year here.

Chris

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A Bit About Being An ESL Teacher


So I thought I would give a little insight on my life as an ESL teacher.  Living & working in this very small province called Hayang has been interesting.  The school I work for is a private language school of which there are many of these schools franchised throughout South Korea.  The location I work for is a very new school, only being in business since early the early months of 2010.  I work with 1 full-time Korean teacher & 2 part-time Korean teachers, all female.  I am the only ‘foreigner teacher’ as we are so aptly called.  I teach male & female students age 4 to 13 years old.  I begin the day teaching the younger students & as the day goes on, the students are older and their grasp of the English language is better.  Although, I have to say, there are some pretty bright youngsters too.  They blow me away sometimes with their English speaking skills.  I teach an average of six classes a day.  At one point it was seven classes, but at this point in time I am only teaching 6 classes. The youngest age 4,5,7 yr old students I teach two times a week.  There are two classes I teach everyday where the Korean teacher & I split the class time teaching 30 minutes each.  The rest of the classes I teach every other day, alternating with the Korean teachers.  The Korean teachers give homework, but not me.  I mostly review what was taught by the Korean teacher the day before.  We play games for reinforcement of the lessons, listen & repeat, reading aloud, reading comprehension, writing practice, conversation practice & spelling English words, dialogue where students role play with English  ‘scripts’.  We practice grammar & phonics.  In my classes the students are not to speak Korean.  Most do OK with this, but many struggle with this rule.  We give points for correct answers & remove points for inappropriate classroom behavior.  Most students are very eager to learn English.  Then there are those that all they want to do are play games.  Games are fun, but there is other work to be done too.

I really enjoy teaching these students.  I had the option of being placed in a public school.  But I am glad that I ended up at a private school.  In a public school you are teaching alongside a Korean teacher with a class size of 30 or more students.  In a private school I teach solo & the class size ranges from 2 to 8 students at this time.  As the school becomes more established, I am sure the class size will grow.  I enjoy being able to get to know the students one on one.  I see the students everyday come & go at the school and I often forget that their first language is Korean.  So to hear them speak to the other Korean teachers or staff or when they are playing with each other waiting for their class to begin, I feel like they will speak English at any time…But this just doesn’t happen.  But when they want to say something to me & don’t quite know how to say it, they will ask one of the Korean  teachers that are sitting beside me.  The Korean teacher will translate & then the student will speak to me what the Korean teacher said.  It is often the girls that will want to tell me that my dress is pretty or ask me about my family or some other personal questions.  It is quite cute.  And of course a hug or universal gesture doesn’t need any translation at all.  🙂

So I arrive at school each day by either walking, the bus or the school’s bus driver will pick me up. I don’t have any idea what the writing on the outside of the little yellow school bus says, but it obviously identifies my school as I have gotten some looks by Korean passerbys when I am picked up wondering why this adult is getting into such a bus.  Oh well.  I did tell this one guy that owns a car shop near where I wait for the little yellow bus near my apartment that I am a teacher.  Now he just smiles at me as I wait for the bus.

I have a small amount of time to prepare for class when I first arrive.  I get right into teaching a half hour after I arrive.  I teach a few classes, then I have a break.  But this break goes by quickly as it is used to prepare for the rest of the day’s classes & prepare for the schedule for the following day.  I am very lucky that this school franchise has produced its own English learning materials.  The material is even scheduled.  So all we have to do is tailor the schedule to our school & add in games & creative learning ideas so that we can present the material in a fun-non-boring or dry way.  Because you know how quickly children become bored!  🙂

So I teach the rest of my classes for the day.  The school owner provides the staff lunch/dinner each day.  I get lunch on the two days a week I teach the 4/5/7 yr olds.  The rest of the week I get dinner after my last class is over.  Dinner usually consists of a soup of the day, white rice and several side dishes.  I love Korean food.  Koreans love red pepper & use it to spice up just about everything.  Of course the staple of Kimchi is always served too-which is full of garlic, red pepper spice, mixed into cabbage.  Kimchi is a actually a very healthy side dish.

I usually work Monday through Friday 11:30-7:40 pm or 1-7:40 pm, depending on the day.  The little yellow bus brings me home too. The driver is a very kind Korean man.  We are help each other learn the other’s language.  But our lessons are very short, sweet & to the point since the bus ride is less than five minutes from my place to the school.

So I must say that I am enjoying teaching ESL.  I enjoyed my time as a Welfare Worker, working for various CA counties over the last several years.  But a few weeks into teaching I realized I hadn’t been rearing my glasses.  Why?  Because I am not sitting in front of a computer all day working away.  OK, yes, I do get my computer fill at home.  But my work life at this time is so different.  I am not staring at the computer.  I am working with students.  I am teaching, preparing for classroom lessons, engaging in one on one contact face to face with people who want to teach & learn English.  It is a very different environment from the County life.  And I am grateful.

Well, off onto another happy day of teaching.  I hope you all have a wonderful day as well!

Christine

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How Embarassing!


My last post with all these pics I worked to hard to title & put captions with, somehow did not load correctly.   Such a beginner I am!  Please be patient while I smooth out the bumps in my picture post….

I will repost with all pics in order & a better looking blog!!!

Thanks for your patience~

CT

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Korean Election Day!


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The day was Wednesday, June 2,2010.  My first full week of classes & we have a holiday! Yeah!  Armed with a hand sketched map my co-worker drew for me the day before to get me to downtown Hayang, I am ready to explore.  My mission, to find the Nike outlet store & buy myself a pair of tennis shoes since I didn’t have room to pack any shoes other than the ones that I wore on my internationally traveling feet.  Two nice pairs of tennis shoes being shipped to my dad’s but not much good they will do me here.  So here I go…on a mission of shoes & exploration.

It was a beautifully sunny day this day.  My ankles still quite swollen from the flight over (or so I thought), I was hoping the nice walk would reduce some of the ankle swelling too.  My co-workers thought I was pretty brave to try to find Hayang Downtown on my own, but I reassured them I could find it.  (not admitting that I get turned around leaving my driveway in CA no less!). 🙂  I also had my phone camera in hand, knowing I didn’t have to be anywhere else this day, I could take my time & smell the roses.

I have attached my first pictures!  These are the pictures of the path I walked from my place to Hayang Downtown.

So dressed for my walk: comfy & wearing my trusty black sandals, I am off for Hayang Downtown.  I follow the map.  So far so good.  The view is beautiful.  I am surrounded by fields full of food from the earth.  Not sure what they are growing, but I take pictures of the green fields anyway, hoping to be able to identify the earthly goods someday.  The photos I take are not only to show everyone where I am living now, but they will also serve as my ‘bread crumbs‘ in case I get turned around & can’t find my way home.  This small country road that cuts through the fields of bounty serves as a short cut to downtown instead of walking the sidewalk that follows the main thoroughfare.

The path that cuts through the field of greens finally ends.  I come to the main thoroughfare that I must travel along.  What appears?  None other than a Harley Davidson bike shop!   I’m not so far from the States now am I!  The next picture is of a washing machine.  This used appliance business owner ‘displays’ his goods right outside of his storefront & right up to the sidewalk.  Hmmm..I’ll pass.  Next is another familiar biz: Hyundai!  Oh the memories of my second car.  Yes, Hyundai is a Korean brand.  And they are all over the place.  There are these little mini-flatbed utility trucks that are made by Hyundai.  And they are all over the place as well.  They are used for everything from the farm work & hauling crops to hauling the recycled trash & even to help people move out of their apartments.  Amazing!  They come in blue, white….just kidding…I am not trying to sell ya one!  The next pic is one of some of the high rise apartments that are near where I work. The next photo is one of the bridge I cross over to get to work & downtown.  It is amazing to see how this river looked in early June to how it looks now after so much rain we have had this summer.  The level is so much higher.  The pictures of the traffic is a photo of the other side of the bridge.  These views are to the left of me, whereas the river pics are on the right side of the bridge (and the side that I chose to walk on).  As my bridge walking comes to an end, I get closer & closer to downtown…I turn right at then end of the bridge heading towards my place of work.  Here it is!  A pic of the outside play equipment & several pics of the school.  The doors to the left are the Kindergarten classes & childcare, the doors to the right are the classes for age 6 & up.  And both the K & older kids have their own little, yellow mini-school busses.  OK-back on track to Hayang Downtown.  I head for the underground tunnel.  This is where I make my first directional mistake.  The next several pictures take you through a part of Hayang Downtown I have not been back to since this one day.  This is not the Hayang Downtown I visit on a fairly regular basis.  I had forgotten I had taken so many pics of this place!  I finally get moving in the right direction to Hayang Downtown and a few pics of this area are shown.  The last picture is of me, after a very long walk on a bright day full of sunshine, blue skies, perfect weather, a few purchases that include my new tennis shoes, a backpack & hangers…gotta have ’em ya know!  I was hot, my feet blistered…and tired…But what a day!  Wouldn’t have had it any other way (except for maybe Mapquest…)  No breadcrumbs needed. I found my way back home just fine.

I must say that the blister that I had on my right heel from wearing my new tennis shoes home from Hayang Downtown (without socks…I know, I know…not a wise move)…lasted for several weeks.  So did the ankle swelling.  While the blister finally healed, the ankle swelling has just in the last few weeks really begun to subside on a regular basis.  I contribute the consistent swelling to the combination of my RA, the hot, humid weather & the trial & error to getting my meds right over here in Korea.  Happy to say, now that the weather is cooling & the humidity has gone in the last week or so, my meds seem to be working, my ankles show signs of their old familiar shape.  Good thing!  I was beginning to think that I was going to have to settle for getting ‘cankles’ at 40!  NOOOOO!!!!

So there ya have it!  Finally some pictures.  Many more to come.  Now I am on a roll.  So look out…keep reading…I hope you all are enjoying my adventure…from my unique point of view…

Love to you all!!!

Chris

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My First Full Week Of Teaching…Almost


Why almost?  Because I found out that Wednesday, June 2, 2010 was Korea National Election Day.  Yeah, a day off mid-week.  Perfect.  I will go out and explore my new little Korean town called Hayang.  Get out, get some exercise, see the sights.

My first couple days of teaching went OK.  I wake up around 5:30 am each morning since the sun doesn’t seem to like to stay down for very long each night.  I know, I could get some curtains, and I might one day.  But for right now I kind of like getting up with the birds, enjoying the peaceful morning silence & time to have to get out & explore my neighborhood.  My first morning waking up in this new country of mine I hear this announcement over a loudspeaker outside my window.  Of course it is spoken in Korean so I have no idea what the ’emergency’ is.  I rush to my window to see what is happening.  What is the emergency?  Is there an emergency?  I don’t see chaos, no one running from their place outdoors because of a fire, etc.  What is happening???  Curious, I ask my co-worker once I arrive at work about the announcement.  She says that it was probably just an advertisement for a local business or something.  NO fire, no earthquake, no emergency.  OH man!  OK…OK…She said it could also have something to do with the elections coming up on Wednesday.  Well, more than 3 months later, the trucks with these lovely announcements cruise the streets (very slowly at times) advertising their goods.  So it is just a fact of life here.  OK, one mystery solved!

Being that I am already directionally challenged, it doesn’t help that there isn’t a lot of logic to the address system around here.  Like the building I live in has an address of 19-2.  But is this anywhere in my own physical address?  NO.  I inquired about this and my resource said to ignore this number.  So I guess my address is actually all written in Korean so I couldn’t understand it (yet) anyway.  But as I read more about this issue online, it seems that many years ago buildings were numbered as they were built.  Only as recent as 2000 has Korea begun working on standardizing building numbers, street signs, etc.  So even for someone who ‘never gets lost’ would probably get turned around in Korea.

When I was packing all that I could in the small amount of luggage I could get to my flight, I felt like I was bringing so much stuff.  But once it hit me that it took me less than an hour to unpack, it hit me that I really didn’t bring much at all.  Most of my worldly possessions sent off to my dad’s in CO!  And speaking of packing…my last day in San Rafael came way too soon.  I worked up to the Friday before I left for Korea.  I had much more work ahead of me than I realized!  Thank goodness for an awesome roommate that I only had the honor of living with for a few short months.  He packed up and shipped all the bits & pieces of my life that I ran out of time to move out of the house.  But one of the biggest challenges wasn’t the packing & shipping at all.  It was my nightmare of my desktop computer.   I bought my new laptop the day I was leaving for Korea.  So not a lot of time to transfer files, personalize it, get all the bells & whistles going.  Hoping that I had transferred all of my files correctly from the old to the new computer, I packed it away & moved on to the next task at hand.  Once I arrived & plugged in here, checked the discs for old files…NONE!  OMG!  Now what??  Jamie!!!!!! (old roomie).  With so much frustration it actually became funny…OK, only when Jamie suggested that my hard drive was possessed & that Best Buy told him that they cannot transfer the files because my hard drive has been invaded by roaches!  Yuck!  So Jamie told me he would send the roaches along with the flash drive to me.  But worried the roaches wouldn’t make it through customs, he stopped short of sending them.  Oh thank goodness!  🙂  But he did send the flash drive with most of the files transferred.  So the computer file transfer drama continues still today…

My first week I noticed that one of the main forms of transportation in this area are little mini-bikes or scooters.  And it’s not the University students driving them.  They are delivery people.  So once at school I asked my trustworthy fellow Korean ESL teachers.  They said these guys are pretty popular in college areas.  They are delivery drivers-delivering everything from pizza to Korean ‘fast food’.  They are these little, quite noisy scooters that have either a crate-like basket or a covered storage area mounted on the back of the bike behind the driver.  And they are all over the place.  And they come & go at all hours of the day & night.  Just another confirmation that I live among college students.

So I prepare my school schedule for the day & prepare for my ride to pick me up for another day of teaching Korean children English.  🙂

Next blog…Election Day!

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Best Procrastination Excuse: The Fear of Imperfection


Yes, it has been quite some time since my last update. I have many reasons, excuses for the delay, really! First it was because I was so busy. Then the summer monsoon rains came along with the 90+ degree heat & humidity. As I arrive home from teaching each evening, I stare at my computer as my laptop stares straight back at me. Giving me the ‘evil eye’ for veggin’ in front of the TV, roasting in the hot, humid evening rather than sitting down & typing out my latest Korean experiences. But I still sit, relaxing, going over the day at work. Amazed I am actually in another country, living a life I never imagined. OK-it is not perfect, but I think the realization of actually making this dream come true-traveling internationally & working with children-still baffles me. And, even more powerful, is the fact that truly….the world is MY oyster!. I can have anything I want. If I can make this happen, what else am I capable of? Anything %^&*()!!!!

So, what holds me back from just going for it each & every minute I live & breathe? Fear. Fear of success, fear of failure. And, as much I wanted to leave that of who I was behind in the USA, I just can’t shake my need to have to complete my ‘task list’ in the correct order. OK, right,right…no one is holding me to the details of my list at all! Well, OK, there is one person…Yeah, ME!!!!! Man!!!! When I think of how far I have come in life, then this wonderful personality trait reveals its ugly head & shoot me right back down from my evolutionary high. Damn! My plan: to get my blog up to date, keeping my friends & family informed of my worldly travels & then off to explore, sight see, live a little more in this place they call South Korea! OK? OK!

Lastly, I know the longer I wait to write my blog, the more I forget the day-to-day details of my experiences. So just get on it & stop worrying about it, right? OK OK that is what I will do.

Here’s to living life on my own terms. Drawing outside the lines & not worrying about what my readers are expecting, but rather writing from my heart & not my head.

Love to you all~

Christine

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My First Weekend


Time sure flies! As the days keep passing me by, I am doing my best to recall my first two months here in detail. As many details escape me right now, at the most odd times during the day the finer points of my time here comes flooding back to me quite vividly.

On Saturday Eric & Jenny took me to a place called E-Mart. This place they say is similar to Walmart in the USA. They picked me up and we were off for an adventure of grocery shopping & to pick up household items that I would be needing to make me feel more at home. My one bedroom apartment came furnished with a twin bed (comforter included), two-drawer dresser, computer desk, TV, clothing closet, washer & clothes line, dining room, Korean-style bathroom & a kitchen that contained a two-burner stove (gas), stainless steel sink & a refrigerator that is shorter than me! I was also supplied with one frying pan, one ‘soup pan’, one small mixing bowl, two teacups & one set of silverware. So now I needed to fill in the gaps…lightly since I am only going to be here for a year at this point.

We arrived at E-Mart. This place seemed huge. Yes, like a Walmart, it has a little bit of everything: groceries, clothing, household items, shoes, nick-nacks, you get the picture. We made the rounds pickup familiar items and some not so familiar. Case in point: Koreans separate their food waste from their paper/plastic/cardboard waste. They have special red bags they use to recycle their paper products. Then they use this small, plastic bin that has a removable insert inside that they use to recycle their food waste. (Pictures to follow). So I picked up one of these too. As we made our way to the checkout, I unloaded my cart onto the checkout area. Time to pay…with my Won. Lucky for me I could see what the total cost was for all my new goodies on the register screen. It was cheap! I spent wisely…so far so good! Of course I was glad my escorts were there to help me figure out just exactly how much Won to give the cashier. As time goes on, the Won currency is pretty easy to figure out. But today I am glad I had assistance.

But hey, we aren’t out of E-Mart yet. Where is the bagger? It seems that we bag our own purchases. And should say box our own purchases. Along the wall opposite the checkout area are cardboard boxes & tape because it is up to the buyer to box up and carry out their own purchases. Hmm. OK-happy again I had assistance for this first shopping trip out. And the Koreans do it so quickly. I have a feeling I would have been there for quite a bit longer if I were all alone that day.

We arrive back at the car, packages, boxes in hand & arms. On our way back home, I was treated to lunch by my new employers. We arrive, remove our shoes & enter the cafe. We sit on the the floor at a table that has its very own self-contained grill right in the center of this ‘low-to-the-ground’ table. My hosts order lunch since the menu is all written in Korean. Rice, soup & several side dishes are brought to our table. The pit is lit and a slab of meat is placed right on the center of the pit. I sample some of the side dishes: kimchi, greens, etc. It is all delicious. The waitress comes back with a pair of scissors & begins to cut the thin piece of meat that has been cooking over the open flame. She leaves the scissors at the table so my hosts can continue to cut until the meat is done to their liking. Eric sees that I like one side dish quite well & asks the waitress to bring more for me. Heaven! I love Korean food! A vegetarian’s paradise! Jenny’s rice dish arrives which looks good too. The soup, rice, side dishes…all just perfect!

We arrive back home & Jenny & Eric help to carry all of my new goodies & groceries up three flights of stairs to me new digs. Jenny is putting stuff away so fast again! I am still trying to remove my shoes at the door! As fast as they were in, they were out.

What a great experience today. Now it was time for me to relax & settle in even more. And that is exactly what I did.

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Today is a New Day


Already going through withdrawls because my computer is not hooked up. Yesterday the kind man had given me one adapter which was great, but now I needed to get my internet set up. I had no clue as to who the internet service providers are in Korea. Even if I did find one to call, at nearly $3 per minute on my cell phone, there was no way I was going to do this. Not to mention the language barrier. So I did my best to prepare for my day without internet access (OK I know this can be done, but I would just prefer not to live without being connected to the world online at this time). With a WARM shower and Day Two awaiting me at DDD, my ride arrives & I am driven to school once again. We arrive. Walk to the top of the steps inside DDD, remove our shoes, replacing with indoor slippers, and walk to our respective areas of the building. The teaching schedules are given to me so that I could prepare for the English classes I will be teaching on Monday.

You see when I left SFO it was Tuesday, but between the long flight & time difference, I arrived in S Korea Wednesday evening. So Day One at DDD was Thursday, Day Two being Friday! Yeah!

So I tried to make sense of the daily teaching schedules that were laying before me. But a few minutes later I was being taxied off to the ‘sister’ DDD again for more training.

I arrived at our sister DDD ready to observe more Foreigner teacher classes. And I had a full day of it. My day was packed full of observing the Foreigner Teacher classes. Taking advantage of the few minutes we had before classes began, D & I sat in the Foreigner Teacher office and introduced me to more of the Foreigner Teachers. C (as I will call her), D & I talked about the life of being in a foreign country, care packages from home, items that are difficult to get here in S Korea & how anything important that I have shipped to me should be sent to the DDD address instead of my home address as the mail system is not real reliable. So I am following that guideline, just to be safe. I have received a couple of pieces of mail at my home address which were only delayed (I believe) because when I sent my family my contact information here I forgot to include the apartment number! Totally MY fault! One letter, that took a few weeks to get to me, I think because it was passed around my fellow apartments mailboxes. That one took three weeks. And I am the only Foreigner for miles around! So if it says USA on the return address, it most likely belongs to me. I am sure my neighbors knew the mail belonged to me, but figuring our which apartment number I am in, that is another story!

Anyway, the three of us teachers had a few good laughs before our teaching day began. I sat in on several Foreign Teacher classes before my eyes began to get heavy once again. The office staff noticed this and again let me go a bit early, chalking it up to jet lag.

I was driven back home, but this time, before coming home, my employers took me to my neighborhood computer repair shop to see about getting me hooked up online. For a very small amount of Won, I walked out with the ticket to my online freedom once again.

Arriving at home, my employers came in and got me all hooked up online. What still baffles me to this day is that all Eric did was plug in a few cords & an ethernet & the internet was up & running. No ISP software to download, install, run, etc. I was on my way…but more slowly I discovered than what I had hoped for.

I am still trying to catch-up on my emails, messages, etc. Slowly but surely.

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