The trip to and first day in Korea
I’m now in Seoul. This is a post on my trip to and first day in Korea. It’s been a very interesting day or two.
Tuesday (Toronto time): I leave my home, which is located just outside of Toronto, at 840 PM. I hang around Toronto’s Pearson International Airport for a bit before boarding my 11:50 direct 13.5 hour flight to Seoul. I purchased Stephen Colbert’s I Am America (and so can you!) from a Toronto airport concession. I just couldn’t say “no” to Colbert’s face…
I spent my big flight reading Colbert (hilarious, by the way), eating, having a few free merlots, trying to sleep, and occasionally actually sleeping (which required adopting a horizontal posture across my seat and the empty one next to me that was so awkward it would make any house pet do a double-take). I’ll probably post some of the more amazing Colbert quotes in the near future.
I arrive at Seoul’s Incheon International Airport at 2:20 AM on Thursday, Seoul time – that’s a 13 hour forward time jump. Bye bye Wednesday, I hardly knew ya! After going through customs and grabbing my luggage it was 3 AM. Unfortunately, my ride would not be arriving until 6. So I slept on a bench from 3:30 til 5:30. About a minute after I woke my ride arrived – early! So I was driven to my new apartment, where I arrived at about 7 AM. IT. IS. A- MA- ZING! I love my apartment. This thing would easily go for over $1,000 CDN a month in Toronto. It’s on the 6th floor of a 17 or so floor building, has a HUGE window overlooking the neighbourhood, nice bathroom, and has got to be around 260 sq. feet or so.
A matter of minutes after arriving at my apartment I find out that I have to go into the school THAT DAY. I figured they’d give me a few days to get settled in and get passed the jet lag. So I sleep for about 70 minutes, take a shower, and head over to the school via subway with another teacher who lives in my building. The subway only costs 80 cents!!
The school is fantastic. Outstanding facility, truly. It has many many classrooms, a playground, a lecture hall for contests, a simulated downtown area, staff room, and more. And it serves staff lunch and dinner – another way to save money! I really like the kids. They’re really cute. They’re between 3 and 12 years of age. Also, if anyone has ever told you that Korean children do not censore themselves and will very quickly point things out about you, they were correct. I’ve been told that I have a big nose about 8 times already! The funniest was a girl who was about 5 who, upon first meeting me, said “Big nose. Big eyes. Big mouth. Small face.” I died laughing. I have a fairly healthy sense of humour about myself. And besides, they’re just being observant noticing that Westerns generally – and me in particular – have bigger noses than most Asians, and bigger eyes and mouths.
I finished my first day at around 7 PM and then headed out with another teacher for dinner. Dinner was $3! It would have easily been $8 back home.
I called it a night at 9:30 PM and slept for 10 hours.
All in all, everything is great so far. Great school, great kids (really cute), great apartment, really nice neighbourhood, and great fellow teachers. I’m quite optimistic 🙂