Friday, February 25, 2011
Friday I woke up regretting going out the previous night. I’m not sure why we thought it was a good idea to stay out so late the night before we were supposed to meet out co-teachers and move into our new apartments. I still hadn’t even packed yet! I hurriedly packed my things, but was starting to feel that same overwhelmed feeling I felt the night before I left for Korea. I decided to go get some breakfast with the girls and then come back and pack. I couldn’t eat. I went to the EPIK office to get a large sack to put my dirty clothes in. The only one they had was absolutely massive, which was fine because I had a lot of dirty clothes. I didn’t want to pack them so I thought the huge sack was a good idea. So now I had 2 large suitcases, a laptop bag, a backpack and a gift bag from EPIK.
At 9:00am we all headed over to the classroom to wait to meet our new co-teachers. Mine greeted me with an outstretched hand and a smile. We made small talk as we walked back to the dorm together. The dorm is about a 10 minute walk from where we had class. We went up the elevator to get my bags. On the way, I asked “Is school very far from here?” She said, “Yes, very far.” I was kind of disappointed and she said, “It’s about 15 minutes.” Then followed up with “By subway.” Wait… What??? We were told that our co-teachers were going to pick us up in their cars and then take us to school to meet the principal and vice principal. I didn’t even imagine being met by a teacher that didn’t have a car, especially with as much stuff as I had. When she saw all of my stuff she changed her mind about the subway. She said we would take a taxi, but we still had to get all of my things from the dorm room to the street, which was, again, about a 10 minute walk. It was such a struggle. That giant bag of dirty clothes (plus my pillow and jacket) weighed a ton. We were fortunate enough to find a taxi before we hit the street because it was graduation day at the university we were staying at and someone had just been dropped off. My things barely fit in the taxi. We had to put one of my suitcases between my co-teacher and I.
I know I was warned to take Dramamine before the car ride (thanks for looking out for me, Mary!), but I was just too busy to take it before I left for the classroom and didn’t anticipate being so rushed afterwards. On top of being prone to carsickness, I was already feeling pretty awful. The taxi ride to the school was torture. I was very close to getting sick, but fortunately I didn’t. What a first impression that would have made! I felt so much better after getting out of the car.
Meeting my principal was an interesting experience. I waited in the teacher’s lounge/secretary’s room and then I was escorted into the principal’s office with my head co-teacher and the former head co-teacher. My principal didn’t speak much English to me other than “Nice to meet you.” The co-teachers and principal spoke to one another about me in Korean and occasionally they would ask me questions about my age, family and what I learned at orientation. I was only in the principal’s office for about 5 minutes, then the co-teachers and I went outside. The former head co-teacher (of last year’s guest English teacher) had her husband come pick us up to take my things to my new apartment. Last year’s guest English teacher was still here when we got here. He was packing up his things and getting ready to head to the airport. He left the place in good enough condition. He left a lot of things here. Some I threw away, some I kept and some I gave away (like his giant collection of Magic The Gathering cards).
I left my things at the apartment and my co-teacher took me out to explore my neighborhood and to get supplies for the apartment. We walked from my apartment the closest subway station (which takes under 2 minutes), then to school (which takes 7-10 minutes), then we walked to the Dongnae Station, and then to a giant grocery store, which I would compare to Super Wal-Mart. She bought me bedding and these rice cake things and I bought some food. Then, we took the bus home because we had a lot to carry.
Once we got back to my apartment, the former guest English teacher was gone and my co-teacher helped me clean up. She also had me make a list of things I still needed for my apartment. I couldn’t think of much because my apartment was stocked pretty well. By this point it was almost 3:00pm and I still hadn’t really had anything to eat or drink all day so I was starting to feel awful. My co-teacher said she was hungry so she made us some ramen and we sat on my bed and ate. I didn’t really eat much ramen because it was too flavorful for me. I really just wanted a piece of bread or something. I ate enough to make it seem like I ate. Afterwards, my co-teacher left. I went down with her so she could show me how to sort my garbage and recycling. I had such a long day so I was looking forward to coming back up to an empty apartment. When I got back upstairs, the landlord was in the hall and he followed me into my apartment to set up my TV for me. I communicated to him that I would also like for him to setup my internet (my apartment has free internet!), and he happily started working on my computer. After about 30 minutes of trying, he asked me to follow him to his and his wife’s apartment so he could try plugging my computer into his ethernet port. After an hour at their apartment, it still wasn’t working. I told him that it’s okay and went back to my apartment with my computer. About a half hour later, he rang my doorbell and started speaking to me in Korean. I guess I should have mentioned that my landlords don’t speak English. Anyway, the only two words I could make out were computer and tomorrow. I figured it couldn’t hurt so I handed him my computer and off he went. I figured he’d bring it back tomorrow, but in about another 30 minutes he was back with my computer. This time, Google was pulled up so I knew that he had fixed it. I thanked him and then I finally had my apartment to myself.
Since I still didn’t feel well, I spent the rest of the night in bed watching Grey’s Anatomy and eating bread (finally). It was a good night. haha
I should also mention that my co-teacher came back around 8:00pm with a box of gifts from the school, and she had also personally gotten me a gift… a giant package of toilet paper. It was all very sweet. Below is a video of me opening my gifts I was given by the school…