Hello – thank you everyone, for the well wishes. It’s Friday, May 26, 10:15am KST.
After a small delay in Detroit, I survived the flight to Seoul ICN. Initially, I was supposed to sit in the middle of the row of seats – but to my surprise, as I was boarding, I had a seat change, which put me in an aisle seat, so a mother could sit next to her two young children. Luckily for me, they were super well-behaved and the mother put her daughter next to me, because she was so small (props to the girl, she only got up once, the entire flight!).
The flight was ~14 hours – and it honestly went by much quicker than that. I was only able to nap for 2 hours on the plane, but watched movies and documentaries to help push the clock along. The little girl next to me was more interested in my screen than what she had playing on hers, so I hope she enjoyed, “Patriots Day”, “Why Him?” and the cool documentaries on using the Cloud to help get immediate stats in sports.
When we touched down at ICN, as opposed to the US domestic flights I’m used to, the passengers on the plane didn’t unbuckle, get up and stand in the aisles for 20 minutes to deplane (my newest pet-peeve) and were able to expeditiously file out of the plane, in unison. It took about 1.5 hours to go through customs (side note/future reference for myself: when you check your baggage at your initial airport, with a connecting flight, your luggage will usually get checked through and you’ll go through customs at your final destination – except in Calgary, AB for some reason). After running to the carousel to get my luggage, I saw one of my suitcases coming my way…missing one of the four wheels, which made for my commute from the airport to the bus station my Director was meeting me at (1.5 hours) super easy and convenient.
Once I got to the bus station where my Director was to meet me, I flipped on my cellular data to call her – I can’t wait to see how much that 1:07 phone call will cost me. Mrs. Kang, this 5’3″ lady came to the 7-Eleven, where I was waiting, to meet me and take me to drop my bags, get a quick bite and go to the school to meet the Head Instructor, Owen. Mind you – this is all happening at 22:00 KST.
Mrs. Kang took me to my building, and rode the elevator to the 10th floor and showed me to my room…all 400 sq. ft. of it. Living minimally will be something I hope I can figure out and enjoy. We were in the room for 30 seconds and then we went to this small restaurant next to my building, asking me on the way, what I liked to eat. Of course, I responded that, “I’ll eat anything”. She suggested the bulgogi at the place, so I took her advice, and it was really good. Luckily, the restaurant gets a lot of business from my school and they stayed open later than normal to serve us.
After eating, she walked me 2 minutes to the school to meet Owen and hand off the duties of showing me my apartment to him. My school isn’t set up in its own building like you’d imagine for a traditional school, but rather, it is nestled in-between floors of an office building. We rode the elevator and met Owen and one of the other Head Instructors, Chelsea. I found out that I’m actually the youngest teacher at the school – which I wasn’t expecting. We chatted briefly, Mrs. Kang presented me with a roll of toilet paper she brought for me, because my apartment was bare, and sent me on my way with Owen for him to show me how to use appliances, etc. And also let me know that my first week and a half will be long. Since I missed training this week, I get to make up for it by training this weekend, and training before work next week. It’s going to be training on the fly, which should be fun (and not stressful, at all).
He and I walked the 4 minute journey back to the apartment and passed the other new teacher, Priyesh, on the way back. I had been bombarding Priyesh and Owen for info for the past few months, so it was nice to put a face to the text. Owen showed me how to turn on the water heater, in Korea, a lot of apartments are heated from the floor, and showed me how to use the A/C. I’ll be asking Priyesh how to use my washing machine, because Owen evidently has one that is not from 1980. I literally can’t figure out how to open it, right now.
Owen left me, I took a shower and tried to lay down on my spacious twin bed. I suppose I should be lucky, Priyesh mentioned that he was only given a mattress on the floor and had to buy a bed when he arrived! Of course, I was so excited and exhausted I couldn’t sleep. I ended up sleeping 4 hours and got up to the sound of horns, people talking and city movement below me. Growing up in places that didn’t/don’t have much of a downtown presence, it was unique, and people that live in big cities either don’t notice or have been conditioned to hear.
I walked down to the Starbucks, next to my place, because my room doesn’t have wifi yet, unless I stand by the window to steal from outside. Currently, I’m begging someone for some VPN direction, so I can stream Game 7 of the Penguins/Senators series, which is going on, right now.
I have to get ready for work – and I don’t know if this layout follows the protocol for what a blog is, but I’ll try and tighten these things up, from here on out.
And I forgot to mention, previously, and I know it’s not cheap/easy/fast/etc. but if anyone is interested enough in coming to Asia (Korea, specifically) I’d love to help host/accommodate/whatever I can.
I miss everyone that is reading this!