Awkward Encounters Abroad

Three Weeks in South Korea. So far, so good

south korea, teaching eslKelly KernComment

I have been in South Korea for three weeks. I have been living in Korea for three weeks. How cool is that? Don’t get me wrong, it’s freaking insane and at least once a day I have a wave of WTF ARE YOU DOING go over me, but it’s brief and I continue living and breathing (today it was when I was eating cereal. Mid spoonful I paused, thought WTF AM I DOING, shrugged, and then kept groovin’).

I live in Gwangmyeong. It’s a small, quiet area that is mostly residential. There are quite a few shops and restaurants nearby, but it’s not overwhelmingly populated or busy. When I was first applying to teach in Korea, my mind was set on being in Seoul, Busan, or Daegu. These are the three largest cities in Korea and have a lot more going on. I really wanted to be in the thick of the action, but now that I’m here I'm glad I have a quiet place to go and unwind. I love my little area, and I adore my school. It’s a nice, calm spot with quick and easy access to the madness that consumes Seoul.

My first week in Korea was a whirlwind. The former teacher, Belinda, was my guide (and savior) and showed me around our little city. She took me to the grocery stores, showed me how to use public transportation, introduced me to different types of food, and taught me a lot about Korean culture. I can’t express how happy I was that she was here, because without her I would probably have just sat in a corner and never got up. So big shouts to Belinda.

During that first week, I observed Belinda as she taught classes at the school. It was pretty intimidating at first, but the students are all adorable and my bosses are the nicest people in the world. I was there just in time for Halloween, which the kids love because not only do they get candy, but the teachers dress up. 

halloween

 

My bosses are quite possibly the nicest human beings to ever live. They are a husband and wife duo that make me feel incredibly welcome and that I’m doing a great job (even though I have no idea what I’m doing). They have gone above and beyond to make me feel welcome and comfortable. They have taken me to get my medical exam, to the immigration office, to set up my bank account and phone account, among many other things. They even took us for an incredible welcome lunch at a very nice buffet, and gave me and Belinda enough money to pay for our entire week of meals. They didn’t have to do any of that! They are just super nice people, and incredibly patient. For example, the other day, I was supposed to meet my boss outside my apartment to go get my bank account set up. We planned to meet at 10am. My phone mysteriously shut off in the middle of the night, so I awoke to him knocking on my door at 10:15. I started running around my apartment like a crazy person trying to get ready, but he simply said to meet him in 30 minutes and don’t rush. That’s just one of many examples of how incredibly kind these human beings are (and one of many times I have shown them how annoying I am).

One of our dinners courtesy of the bosses. This is Samgyeopsal, a delicious meal where you cook the meat right in  front of you on your table. This has probably been one of my favorite meals I've had so far.

One of our dinners courtesy of the bosses. This is Samgyeopsal, a delicious meal where you cook the meat right in  front of you on your table. This has probably been one of my favorite meals I've had so far.

Belinda and I went underground shopping, which is where you can buy pretty much anything you’d ever need, but for super cheap. Underground, there are a bunch of shops and stands full of clothes, bags, cell phone cases, shoes…. anything and everything. These shops are the best. Not only are the clothes super cheap, but they are also pretty hilarious. Clothes with English words or phrases are really popular here, but the manufacturers/designers don’t check to see if it makes any sense. Or they just blatantly misspell something to avoid copyright. Either way, I have found my new favorite form of entertainment. For example:

I’m still slowly exploring my area and have made a few trips into Seoul. I’m very excited to become more familiar and hopefully pick up more of the language. This wasn’t the most exciting of updates, and I have been severely slacking in taking photos, but more will come soon! I have a ton of ideas for posts and different kinds of content I want to experiment with, I just need to work up the courage to stop watching Netflix and actually leave my apartment. Thanks for reading! Oh, I also post daily on my snapchat because it’s the most convenient way to share things. Feel free to follow @ kellykaay

I'll leave you with a few random photos

Belinda and I went for chicken with some of our middle school students and their friends. 

Belinda and I went for chicken with some of our middle school students and their friends. 

We visited Anyang, a city just a few subway stops away from Gwangmyeong. This is one of the places where we went underground shopping.

We visited Anyang, a city just a few subway stops away from Gwangmyeong. This is one of the places where we went underground shopping.

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