Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Day One - Yay Korea!!!

I slept from about 6 am til a little after noon. (10 pm est). At 2 we had an orientation meeting. There are real benefits to working for people who speak english as a second language - meetings are short! They showed us the buildings we will be teaching in, where the cafeteria was, etc. My TA's name is YeaJi (like yedge-y) and seems very sweet. Her English is pretty good because she went to an international school outside Bejing for 5 years.

The campus we are teaching at is built along the rise of a mountain, so it is a straight walk uphill from the apartments we are staying in. The campus is very pretty and looks down over the city. I will be taking many more photos. The buildings and landscaping are very pleasing. I am teaching the second level classes (so older elem. school kids) and I am using a National Geographic Text which I really like! This is one of the books I am using:

I also have one called Money and You, one about Columbus and the Americas and one about exploring the Northeast of the US (the Erie Canal, etc.) I think this will be fun material to teach (it is certainly fun for me to read.)
This is a view of one of the science buildings that the lower level classes are being taught in.

Here is a composite picture from the view of the Social Sciences Building where I am teaching.

This is not Seoul. Apparently we are about 2 hours away from Seoul by bus. I do not know (yet) the name of the city we are in or the name of the University that we will be teaching at.

The picture is not a good one of me, but it does prove I was here.

After our meeting a few of us walked into the city (with one of the bilingual Korean teachers named Jillian) to find a converter for our plugs. We thought it would be a quick trip but ended up being a 20 minute walk or so one way. It gave us a chance to begin to assess our surroundings. Here is my confession: I love Asia. This is not new news to many of you. I wanted to love Latin America as much but I just don't. I wish I knew why. It makes so much more sense to learn spanish. It is closer to home. The DR was warm and beautiful. It should have been perfect.

I walk around Asian cities and my blood just races. The writing, the smells, the colors, the excitement. I cannot explain why it always seems so wonderful. I get that in part it is just the excitement of being here, but I never felt this way about the DR. I wish, wish, wish I knew why this feels so much better to me.We'll see if I enjoy Korea as much as I did Thailand.

On our walk we stopped at one of the food stands along the road. Unfortunately, my camera somehow deleted a few pics while I was transfering them to the computer. (I am sure it was operator error. I have had this happen before. Not sure what I do to keep them from transfering correctly.) But I did get a few pictures.
These are some kind of Larva. One of the guys wanted to try them and so we all had one. (Yes, I ate it. I never would try the bugs in Thailand, but I recognize the older I get how short life is, so I went ahead and tried one.)

Here is Jonathan tasting his:

He actually ate about 20 of them before he decided he had enough. He was in mid chew when I snapped the shot; his expression was not as unenthusiastic as it looks right here.
They taste like a cross between shrimp, asparagus but a little more earthy. Kind of like there is a hint of bean sprouts. I only ate the one. I could eat more if it was necessary. They weren't horrible, but the thought is just too unappetizing. I had a pic of me eating them, but it is one of the ones that I lost!

We also had these fish shaped pasteries that have beans inside. (Another pic I lost). But here is an article about them (and a picture.) They were very tasty! Right up my alley! They pour the batter from a metal teapot into something like a waffle iron then with a spoon they drop some of the red bean paste inside. The batter is kind of like a waffle batter, but a little more on the funnel cake-flavor side. A little sweetish. They were a great hot treat on a cold and cloudy day.

Before our meeting this morning I ran across to one of the convenience stores. I have a fascination with asian convenience stores. It reminds me of walking into Toys R Us when I was a kid! Everything is colorful and there are so many fun things to look at. Here are this morning's purchases.

Some soup, some yogurt, a diet coke, some mint-hydrangea tea, hangers and a small notebook. They cost me 11,000 won ($8.50) I figured that would give me a little supplimental sustenance for the times when I don't want to track down food elsewhere. Side note: in every convenience store in every country I have visited you can always find Pringles and Oreos. I need to find out if they have them in Africa too!

This was one of this afternoons purchases. I am not sure how to describe it. There were yogurt sodas in Thailand that I love and that is what it reminds me of. According to wikipedia it was very popular in the early 90's but its popularity has since waned. I like it. I will probably drink it some more -- though I am hoping I can find different flavors.

I also purchased some flavored milk to try. It was satisfying. Like very milky coffee but not as sweet as the bottled coffees you get in the States.

Tonight some of the teachers are going to go into Seoul. While I would love to say that I partied in Seoul on Christmas Eve, I am not sure I am up for 4 more hours in the bus (2 there and 2 back) after the 4 hours we spent in a bus last night. I am still struggling to stay awake and think I might nap for a little while, try to find dinner around 8:30 and then call it a night.
All in all, I am well pleased. It will be alot of work, and I am sure I will be tired at the end of the day, but I like the area we are in, I am excited about learning more about the culture. I am happy to be gaining another teaching experience and I am just so thrilled to be back in Asia.


Fifi said...

You SOUND happy! :)

Jennifer said...

I did not see pringles or oreo's in the gas stations in Africa. Doesn't mean they don't exist though! If they had been there, trust me, I would have bought them!

Anonymous said...

It all sounds exciting and wonderful. I love hearing about it!