Thursday Sept 8 My first official Korea post should’ve probably been a detailed description of what I’m seeing, however to amuse myself on this 13 hour flight I HAD to post something! So here’s my flight ramblings… Omaha to Denver: window seat, open seat between, 25 min early Denver to LAX: sat in the middle, bumpy ride, but slept LAX to Incheon: sat by nice lady from Vancouver, originally from Daegu, seat open in middle, sitting in the window seat: should I choose between my last western meal or have my first Korean… The lady next to me said that Asiana air and Korean air are in competition for meal awards and service so to try the Korean dish bc it’s actually very good… I think I’ll have a glass of wine and mull this over… My diet today has currently consisted of a Carmel latte and a glass of wine and some snack mix…in the end I gave it a whirl and went with the Korean dish.. I felt very healthy after eating it. Let’s see 12 hours: guess my cosmo and the USA today will be my literature of choice..and movies!! My friend’s name is Yung Hwa…and we are having the most delightful conversations…about the housing markets in Vancouver and Phoenix, travel in Malaysia, shopping in Seoul, and that maybe I would bring home a Korean boyfriend (ha ha), she also gave me great encouragement that I would be a good teacher 🙂 …watching Something Borrowed ( going already on round 3 not including the 2 times before I’ve seen it- terrible movie, but I didn’t really know what was going on in the others) btw Korean subtitles (sweet)… then they served ham and cheese sandwiches as I move on to my cosmo (they actually had a good article about doing something by yourself- a road trip, etc, which relates to what I’m doing and apparently traveling along increases self-awareness and allows for a deeper sense of relaxation; it also reminded me of a quote I read regarding solitude- it’s an oasis to create new goals, ideas, thoughts for oneself) listening to Trey Songz…crossing the international date line now at 11:56 am Seoul time. Current time: 12:56 pm: 5 hours til landing and my friend is asleep/ I have decided that this is the negative of having a window seat and not wanting to disturb her, but I really need to brush my teeth, yuck! Ok much better, now I can see part of Japan on the travel screen. The temperature outside is -50 degrees, 35000 ft above, and 4 hours to go! Now at 4:08 pm Friday Sept 9 we are flying over Japan… The view is pretty clear from the plane and all the islands around it can be spotted, the city below is Kawaasaki, 38000 ft above going 550 mph.. Pasta for whatever meal it’s supposed to be…perhaps late lunch? And now we are flying over Korea at 5:22, should be landing in the next half hour or so!! Internet in the airport was so slow! Baggage came fast and since I didn’t claim anything for customs I just handed the guy my slip of paper; an airport attendee helped me get my bus ticket and I just waited for about an hour. Now I’m on the bus at 8 pm… Should be there in about 5 hours hopefully… 🙂 We are driving thru Seoul during my favorite time of day in the city : night! So many lights and fun signs! Going under many bridges.. We arrived in Changwon right at 1 am; the director and his daughter met me just fine and took me to my apartment, it’s cute! And really nice, will have to convert my measurement thinking however… So now 48 hours later I’m in my new home. Saturday Sept 10 I couldn’t sleep passed 9 am and I was planning to meet The teachers who I am replacing at noon so I decided to unpack and organize. after a 15 min wait at noon and no sign of the teachers I decided venture out into the downpour. I found a quaint Korean restaurant just around the corner. The couple and son were so sweet to me. My first meal in Korea was ginseng chicken soup.. Yum! It definitely was a hit on this chilly rainy day. I was able to use their phone to call Caley and Andrea, the couple from London Ontario. They should be arriving shortly to show me around. I spent a couple hours at the restaurant talking to the owners. I think my best investment so far has been my phrase book. Caley and Andrea introduced me to their Korean friends Josh and Kobe (they are my little sister’s age and super nice) and we sat at Cafe Benne for a long while and chatted then we went back to their apartment and they introduced me to popular Korean music; my brain is on overload from how many words I am trying to pronounce and remember. Apparently if I pronounce words wrong it’s a bad word… One thing I’m am going to get used to is late late nights… Leading into the morning. I am a little unsure if how this meeting people is going to work… I am really praying I find someone to hang out with that has similar values as me and wants to do something other than drink because I’m quickly realizing that in order to hang with the foreigners I’m going to have to hold my liquor which I’ve worked too hard to give up the weight I’ve lot and the self esteem I’ve gained not putting back excessive amounts of alcohol, that I don’t want to go down that path again. I met another foreigner Liz from Tennessee last night as well. Sunday Sept 11 I feel very off the radar, I answered just a couple emails last night borrowing Andrea’s computer, but forget Facebook at this time. I pry won’t have internet for another week, hoping my laptop isn’t dying right now because you have to have a special wi fi code to do access hotspots so my iPod is useless. I did have a minor breakdown this morning, I think it’s just the realization of trying to figure out how to live relying solely on myself… In Seoul and Busan there are subway signs etc in English, however I am actually in Jangyu-myeon which is the satellite city to Gimhae and is considered the countryside (rural) of Korea. The weather has been cloudy and rainy,but I can kinda see mountains surrounding and there’s a nice river that flows through the town. I am nervous for how this year is going to go now upon arrival; I am definitely just taking it all in trying to steady myself and calm down about being out and about. There are no street signs here. Luckily I have someone to show me around and explain how to get places. I was totally joking about the whole leave a trail if bread crumbs and now I’m thinking that’s a pretty good idea. Maybe it’s hard to admit in my second day, but I need to focus on not getting out of here because I am so overwhelmed with all the document work I still have to go thru to get my alien card and the fact I have no communication with the outside world… The papers and tv are obviously both in Korean and I don’t currently have the Internet until I go to a pc room. It’s also isolating because I also have to plan times to meet ahead of time because I don’t have a phone. It’s a fantasy idea to be off the radar from anyone familiar, but once it’s happening you feel liberated for a while until something happens and you want to share with someone or describe how you are feeling, or just know someone is there for you- then you feel completely helpless. This morning I am going to church with Josh. At church I recognized 2 songs otherwise Josh translated most if it for me; then we had lunch. I met his father who is the pastor and his mother. Once back Caley and Andrea picked me up and took me to my school(north) along the way ate coffee shops restaurants grocery etc… 312 ( chi town area code) multi colored signs next to high school are my landmarks… I now know which direction I face, most of the time. Then we decided to head to Seoul. During Chuseok it will be a busy time, but they are leaving on Wednesday to head back to Canada and want to have plenty of travel time. Chuseok is the Korean Thanksgiving time. Monday September 12: We decided to go to Seoul this morning due to the stress of packing and a bit of sickness they were under last night. The bus ride isn’t bad… Getting to see the Korean countryside of rice fields surrounded by misty mountains, it’s very green and luscious here. It’s rained everyday since I have arrived so the weather is a chilly humid mixture. We arrived in Seoul and found the Kum Sung Motel (in the Itaewon area which is the main foreigner district in all Korea) it’s nice and cheap not overpriced. And I found a Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf about two steps away from our motel. I’m pretty sure I haven’t shut up about it for 20 minutes; I haven’t had it since I left Arizona, amazing. Part of me wishes I would’ve chosen Seoul as originally thought; but I guess I wouldn’t have gotten the authentic Korean experience being constantly surrounded by home stores. Jangyo has a Baskin Robbins and a Dunkin Donuts though. Think we are going to head out and get some food and they need to makes some calls and print stuff off. I really hope I can find a wifi hotspot to post this. 🙂 This afternoon we visited the Palace and Korean folk museum, walked around and passed the US Embassy (ton of police guarding it) now just in a pc lounge with my friend so they could check a few emails before we go out tonight. Tomorrow we are meeting up with my Grandma Fuehrer’s friend Gina who used to be in Nebraska studying and now is back in Seoul…she seemed super excited to hang out! Yay! Yep love the pc man in Seoul!!!