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!