Monday, November 17, 2014

Hey, Look I'm Alive After All

I have an excuse for my lack of blogging. I haven't really done anything, but work, for the past month. It seems that anything worth doing has been planned on the exact day I have a Saturday class and therefore rules me out. It wasn't until this past weekend that I realized how out of touch I have been. There haven't been any festivals or celebrations lately, which also keeps one inside. It has definitely gotten colder too, so I think the Koreans are starting to hibernate. It is not as cold as New Jersey, but it's enough that people are starting to pull out their winter wear and show concern for my health and sanity because I don't wear long-sleeved sweaters everyday. The cold isn't quite as bothersome for a New Jerseyan. I haven't felt the need to use the ondol (floor heating) just yet. Some of my Californian friends have been using theirs for over a month now. I did test it out this weekend though, to make sure it worked before I found it absolutely necessary. It's a semi-slow process. The floor becomes a patchy hot and cold checkerboard, and I didn't leave it on long enough for it to really start making a difference in the room.

At my weekly music lesson with my landlady I finally was introduced to the piano after months of learning the ukulele. That is not to say the ukulele isn't awesome, it is, but I always wanted to learn piano because I have one at home and I'd have to invest in a ukulele to show off those newly acquired skills. 

In other news, I have been trying to work out planning my winter vacation time. I'm looking at doing a hotel in or a cruise of Southeast Asia. So hopefully some of my friends let me know what they'd like to do, because I don't want to go alone, and I don't really care where I end up at this point. So that will be in January, so that will give me reason to blog at that point. I'm sure more happen in the meantime, but currently it's been a bit of the same sort of stuff for the past few weeks. I definitely intend to go to Seoul and Busan sometime this winter. I really haven't seen as much of Korea as I would prefer. It will happen though! 

Oh you know what I did actually do was go to a Fly to the Sky concert. That would be old school k-pop if you're  not familiar. I went with a couple hardcore fans/friends and they were having a blast. I just wanted to get in some kind of concert before the end of the year and I actually knew about this band so it worked out well. It was entertaining. There were the choreographed dances and exaggerated emotional ballads, but it was cool. The audience had glowing wand things that they were waving about like one would do with a lighter in the 80s. They had chants to go along with the songs and they did the unnecessary screaming I expected. What was unexpected was the ban on photography. There were people running around the entire time telling people to put away the cameras. Of course we still managed a few photos and videos, but it required great stealth.

These are two of the better picture I managed to get from the nosebleed seats. Even though Brian Joo (the blonde one) is Korean American, and from Jersey!, he didn't say anything in English, so I was lost during most of their conversations with the audience, but the humor still came across. It was all fun though. Definitely go to a k-pop concert if you have the opportunity. Well that is all I have for now. 

Well then...until next time.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

My mom yelled at me for not blogging...

So once again it's been awhile, but I have an excuse. Aside for being busy, my computer is being out for repairs. So there. Of course it hasn't been out for repairs for however long it has been since I last posted, but it has been in and out and...yeah. Take it or leave it, I'm writing something now...while at work...because there are no classes due to the midterm exam.

So what have I been up too...I have learned that hiking is basically Korea's number one past time. Or at least it's Gwangju's. My apartment faces a mountain, more of a baby mountain (still not a hill) but still a mountain, but there are constantly people walking by in full out hiking attire. Of course, hiking attire seems to be acceptable anytime. It's like the fashion forward athletic gear akin to yoga pants in the US. And this isn't hiking clothes like in the US either, it's bright colors, hats and a Korean version of hiking pants I've never encountered before. (Note: I did not take the below photo, but it is exactly what you'll see.)
 Either way they love to hike and I have gone hiking several times now. First I went with a coworker from my main school. She was decked out in the full hiking gear, minus the sticks, but still she looked ready to brave the wilds for a week. I wore running shorts which was apparently weird. We hiked Geumdang Mountain, which is the one my apartment faces. It took about an hour and a half. So not bad. We ended at the Pungam Reservoir and went for a walk around it before heading to lunch. The reservoir was rather low though because apparently it's a low rain season. I have since hiked the path a few more times.

The second place I went hiking was Mudeung Mountain. This is a legitimate mountain. I was invited to go hiking by another coworker from my main school on National Foundation Day, which basically like Independence Day, and a day off from work. So we left at 7:00 am, which is really early. When we got there, people were already there and some were even finishing their hike, which is insanely early. You see, the trail we did takes five hours to ascend and descend. This was my first real hike I would say. I've done nothing like it before. It was difficult enough to necessitate the hiking sticks. Without these I assure you I probably would have died tumbling down the mountain. My coworker and his wife didn't know English, so they brought their daughter along to translate and enjoy the hike. She had only hiked Mudeung once before a very long time ago, and thus was not ready for what was in store for us. I don't think I was ready either to be honest. My coworker and his wife hike the trail EVERY weekend. He didn't even break out the walking sticks for a while. Meanwhile I was using them from step one.

While the mountain is about 1,200 meters to the top we got to the 900 meter summit and then made out way down again. It was really cold and windy at the top and I was glad to have packed a jacket, and worn hiking pants I had managed to get for free at a swap meet. I have to say it was all worth it through. The sights were absolutely beautiful and I would like to do it again...maybe next year. I was sore for a solid four days after the hike. I like to think it's a testament to the difficulty of the mountain rather than how out of shape I am. At least my coworker passed on the word of how intrepid a hiker I am. It's more like I'm very competitive and wasn't ready to admit defeat. When I got home after a much needed lunch, I passed out for three hours.

And those are my hiking stories.

Other things I have been up too include festivals.

A couple weeks ago I attended the International Kimchi Festival, conveniently located in Gwangju. Ok, I do not go crazy over kimchi. I can only take the smallest amount of spice, but it was a social gathering and i needed to get out of the house. It was actually quite fun though. There was music and dancing and awful contest for foreigners to be the best at singing and dancing to Korean songs. I felt bad for the butchering that occurred. My friends decided they wanted to do the brief kimchi making class, so I was the only one that decided I did not need the lifetime supply of kimchi you end up with and opted for taking pictures of everyone in their orange aprons and bandannas. Of course, the woman doing the teaching couldn't leave me out and gave me the kimchi she made while showing everyone the steps. So now I have a big bowl of kimchi in my fridge and no hope of finishing it in the next millennium. At some point I will donate it to the people at work. Perhaps I'll take a stab at making kimchi pancakes.

The other festival that I went to was the Chungjang Festival. This is a festival on the mainstreet (Chungjang-ro) of downtown Gwangju and is huge. It is a celebration of 70s and 80s culture. They erected a massive stage that showcased some notable k-pop bands/singers as well as some other shows. One day there was even a parade. There were other small stages set up around the area as well. They had dancers, singers, and even a group of Native Americans from Ecuador that played "Let It Be" on Native American instruments. They seemed pretty popular though. There street artists as well and tons and tons of food. This was absolutely huge and lasted for five days. I went on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Saturday and Sunday I needed to rest, and it also rained, so I opted out. I ran into so many students. In the middle of a crowd I'd here "Teacher! Hiiiiii!" Then in school the next day "I saw you!" So that was fun. It was also a lot of walking so I really just needed to relax this weekend and did some basic shopping and apartment organizing. Oh and of course what is becoming a weekly music lesson from my landlady who is randomly teaching me ukulele even though I wanted to learn piano, but oh well.

So there you have it, what will probably be my post for the next three weeks.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Critter Cafes and Chuseok

So I wrote this about two weeks ago and forgot to post it. So here you go...
So in between all of the madness of building a life in Korea, I have done some exploring. I have to say that my neighborhood, Pungam-dong is quite nice and suits me quite well. It has the necessities like grocery stores and shops along with a giant outlet mall by the World Cup Stadium that I only just had a chance to truly roam around.

Of course, there is something that the downtown area will bring me out of my quaint little neighborhood: the cat cafe and the dog cafe. Yes it is real and it is amazing. Mind you, the cat cafe could probably use a bath in bleach because it is quite obvious that the male cats spray their territory, but they have kittens and it's worth it. There was a Scottish Fold kitten that just decided my lap was its new home and I would have stolen him if I didn't have conscience.

The dog cafe was definitely less smelly, but the dogs weren't all as friendly. I don't know if they had something against foreigners who couldn't coo at them in Korean, but they would just tease you as they walked by but wouldn't commit to any long term relationships. If you're interested in the pricing of these establishments: the cat cafe has an admission fee of about $5.00 and then drinks are only $2.00 while the dog cafe does not have an admission fee but has higher priced drinks probably around $4.00 and up depending on what you get. Either way these places will be acquiring a good portion of my pay check.

Downtown is also host to about three billion cafes as well as shops and movie theaters. There really is a lot to do in Gwangju and I'm enjoying it so far.

During Chuseok, which is essentially the Korean Thanksgiving we had off three days from school, which is a fantastic thing when you are just moving in and want to get to know the area. I know a lot of people went somewhere, but I opted to stay because of the heavy traffic due to the holiday and a lack of money to do something with. (Note when you come to teach in Korea, you do not get paid immediately and unless you want to pay the international fees of credit/debit cards, the money you bring with you is what you have until you get paid.) So I roamed around and got to know the area a bit more. Basically I nested and tried to get basic necessities and wish lists for a time when money is more available.

My landlord and lady also took me to take photos one day because we share the hobby. My landlord has a fancy giant Canon that puts my little Nikon 5100 to shame. Some day once again I'll add the photos.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

I'm awful at this blogging thing...

So I have been in Gwangju for two weeks now and I have yet to actually blog about it. So here it goes. I officially came here on August 27th which feels like a life time ago. When I got to the office where we were meant to meet our co-teachers I was super nervous. I wasn't sure what to expect. I walked into the hall expecting to be treated by two co-teachers, one from each school. And of course I assumed they would both be female. So of course all of my expectations flew out the window when I saw one guy waiting for me. He briefly introduced himself and we sat in silence for the rest of the co-teachers' meeting which was entirely in Korean. So we native teachers just looked around and made eye contact that just screamed I don't know what the heck is happening now. I was trying to get a read on my co-teacher, but I got the feeling he could be a pro at poker because I just got a solitary vibe from him and was suddenly afraid I had walked into one of those co-teacher horror stories.

As soon as the meeting ended my co-teacher sprang to action and started asking me questions about this and that as we walked to his car. He literally had his car parked in the perfect spot for the luggage so I appreciated that. I hoped in and departed on the next leg of my adventure. I was no longer surrounded by other foreigners. I was now in the hands of a complete stranger and it was scary, but I excepted it and moved on. As we talked I discovered the other co-teacher was out for the day and that at least the co-teacher I had met was absolutely awesome. He has a want to learn more and a desire to help in all possible ways and I could not be happier with who I have been working with. First we went to my main school Gwangju Dongseong Girls' Middle School. I met the principal, who I was surprised was a woman based on my previous understanding of Korean school and social structure. She was very proper, but very nice. I then went to meet the vice principal. He was equally nice and welcoming, of course, and I find him rather endearing. 

Then I was ushered to have lunch in the school cafeteria. As middle schools were already in session I was subjected to the cafeteria lunch which actually included a Korean-ized corn dog among essentials rice and kimchi. It wasn't bad, but I was a bit jealous of my friends placed in elementary schools, which were not yet in session and meant they were taken to a restaurant for lunch. 

In the whirlwind of the day I made my to new apartment with my co-teacher. Like everyone else, I'm sure, I had delusions of grandeur in my future. Of course I got the expected one room apartment. I can't say I wasn't disappointed, but I have come to call it home. It's simple with a decent sized entrance way with a shoe cabinet and a bathroom with the shower hose attached to the sink faucet. Honestly, nothing can be worse than what I experienced in China, so it was all welcomed. My one room is actually a decent size and provided me everything I was contractually obligated. It is especially better since I rearranged the furniture, with some help of course from my follow newbie down the street. 

It was fantastic to learn that someone else was in the same area seeing as most people ended up about an hour away from here. I slowly learned that Pungam-dong, my neighbor in Gwangju, is about 15 minutes from anywhere worth going to. It's also a fantastic neighborhood that will provide you with most anything you would need. It helps that there is a giant Lotte Outlet at the Gwangju World Cup Stadium, which is only a 20 minute walk down the road. Of course downtown is where everyone goes to meet and experience some things unique to Korea/Asia. 

Back to the first days...I unpacked and my co-teacher came back after school ended and took me to the Lotte Outlet, which was very kind of him. I have to say that Korea really isn't as inexpensive as I was led to believe in some cases. I suppose it's because I seek out things similar to where I am from, but still a small head of broccoli for nearly $5 is ridiculous. Sure I don't have to pay anything for my apartment (I am one of the lucky few that don't even have to pay for utilities and cable/internet), but I still find it hard to fork over that much money for only enough broccoli to feed one person. But I digress...

I made sure to ask every question about how to work everything in the apartment. I suggest you take advantage of your co-teacher being in your apartment at every opportunity (water heater/floor heater, tv remote, air conditioner remote, washing machine, everything!). My co-teacher and landlord were sitting on my kitchen floor translating my washing machine and actually writing on it so I wouldn't forget. I also must add that my landlord and landlady are absolutely awesome and adorable, but more on that later. 

So the next day my co-teacher picked me up to go to school because I had no idea how to navigate the bus system. upon getting there I was given a lovely new laptop to work on, which does not commonly occur, so I was surprised. Of course it's in Korean, but that gives me good practice. I don't trust my slightly older laptop since it crashed a while back. Technology tends to agree to rebel against me so hopefully there is a language barrier between all of my current tech and the Korean laptop that has come into my possession. So I got the feeling there was an assumption that I might start teaching that day, but after a few words of my not being quite ready that Thursday and Friday were turned into "desk warming" days, or rather sit at your desk and plan all day days. So I made an intro PowerPoint about me and looked into making lessons to support what my co-teachers cover. I basically provide the spoken practice through games and activities at my schools. I don't see the students often enough, being at two schools, to take primary teacher role, but it works. On Friday, the co-teacher from my second school came to do the similar introduction at Daeseong Girls' Middle School. Luckily my schools are only one bus stop apart and you could walk to one from the other. Of course there is a massive hill or two in between, but in theory you could walk from one to the other. 

I did the same old meet everyone routine and then my co-teacher showed me how to take the bus to my apartment, which was not as awful I was thought it might be. I of course am completely spoiled by having my own car at home, so reliance on public transportation takes a little getting used to. (I can't wait to get a bike!) And that was my first experience.

That weekend was about getting to know the neighborhood and venturing briefly to the downtown area and getting briefly lost and intimidated by the area. I am slowly gaining my confidence in navigation of the city. Of course I learned from my friends that I basically had one of the smaller apartments, but I am happy with my area and landlord (who brought in a toaster oven at 10 pm one night along with his wife and they stayed to have a chat which involved the need of the awful translator on a phone. 

During the week I got more comfortable at my schools and started doing my intro lesson, which is basically all about me, but gives me a good idea of what everyone's English level is. It went well enough. They love to say how pretty I am, so of course I'm getting a gigantic ego. They also love to ask if I have a that's always fun to answer in the negative. So kids have amazing English ability others look like they will explode if you ask them a question in English. So that is going to be a challenge, but I am up for it. 

I think this post is long enough for now. I swear I will update more often! Well, more often than every two weeks...probably. Hopefully. Well bye.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

I Told You I Would Be Bad At This...EPIK Days 5, 6, and 7

So this post will cover the last couple days of the EPIK orientation because I can't possibly expect anyone to read a single post that comprises the last several days.

So Monday was filled with more lectures, which were honestly starting to get old. Now that I am writing, this it seems like it was so long ago, not just last week. Monday's lectures consisted of Preparation for Lesson Demonstration, which was actually a workshop to work on the fifteen minute lesson demo we had to teach in groups of three. So we basically sat in a room for an hour and a half trying to figure out how to use the computers in Korean. The next lecture was After School Classes and Camps. This is helpful because the reality is that everyone is going to have to teach during summer and winter breaks at camps that vary in length. I didn't realize that some people would have to do after school classes if they didn't meet the 22 hour teaching minimum. So far as I am aware between my two schools I am covered and therefore have the after school hours to myself. Then came the secondary education lecture which I had been waiting for because I have two middle schools. Of course I was kind of disappointed this was one of the more lacking lectures, but it provided some information. The final, and most welcome lecture, was classroom management. The lecturer for this one was awesome and gave some of the people without a teaching background a look at what to expect. So the reactions to some of her stories were rather hilarious. 

Tuesday was the day of the demo lesson so everyone was nervous and dressed to impress. I admit I was nervous too. We had the oddball lesson assignment titled "Piano in the Jungle" even though it was about ordering food at a restaurant. Then there was also the part where we were last because we presented in grade level order. Our lecturer did things a little different from the norm and told everyone to act like a normal student would, including behavioral problems. So that tended to be an issue for everyone. 

I can honestly say there weren't any groups that completely bombed the lesson, in my class at least. When it came time for our group to present I did my signature nervous pacing and then went into my alter ego teacher mode. It went really quickly and it was admittedly difficult to make a fifty minute lesson (high school periods are fifty minutes long) into a fifteen minute lesson, but we did pretty well if I say so myself. When it was put to a vote we came second for the best lesson, but we lost to a really enthusiastic group that did an elementary school lesson with singing and dancing. So it really isn't that bad for a lesson without any of the corny things that high school students would roll their eyes at. 

That night we had to bring all of our large luggage to the lobby so that the next day would not be a disaster of about 300 people with at least two suitcases each bringing down everything at once in three very slow elevators in an 18 story building. So we packed away our lives one more time and waited for our designated luggage to lobby time. During said wait we decided to go for bingsu which is a shaved ice dessert that is very popular here. I got a coffee oreo bingsu that was way to big to eat alone. So of course I finished it. It was good, but I would definitely check the size for those before ordering. 

The next morning was when we moved out to our placements and said goodbye to friends heading to other cities. That was a bit difficult to do seeing as we had been holed up in one place for a week in our bubble of English. The people heading to Gwangju were the last to leave because we were the closest to Jeonju where we had the orientation. It was a quick hour ride to where we met our co-teachers. I will leave the co-teacher meeting for the next post and of course my new apartment. As aforementioned, that's too much for one post. So here ends the orientation recollections. Now begins the real adventure of teaching in Korea. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

EPIK Orientation: Days 3 and 4

So I warned you from the beginning I would be bad at this whole regular blogging thing. Hence an update three days after the last. Of course, it is difficult to make updates when you aren't doing very much. day number three wasn't anything super duper special to be honest. We had more lectures, though interesting, there were more than one could stand when you already have a degree in education and you're in a foreign country ready to explore. Friday's lectures were on Cooperative Learning, Co-teaching, Lesson Planning, and EPIK Duties & Regulations (sort of an expectations and open question forum). And then of course there were more Korean lessons. Friday's lesson involved learning how to count, which I admit I hadn't mastered, but I think I'm doing well now. Of course this was the Sino-Korean number system. There is also the traditional Korean numbers that are used at the same time and therefore also necessary. Eventually I'll get around to learning those too.

Now Saturday was an awesome day. We actually had a field trip and it was my first time truly feeling like I was in another country. Having been cooped up with hundreds of other English speaking folk has sort of made me feel like I've been in a bubble. So back to Saturday. We went to a Hanok Village and got to experience so Korean traditional crafts at the Jeonju Cultural Arts Center. It was amazing to see all the old homes. There were also so many shops and places to get snacks, but I tried to behave because of a number of reasons: 1. We were being provided a lovely, and free, lunch of bibimbap and 2. I don't want to have to pack up anything else I buy because I have yet to get to my final destination of Gwangju. So we basically strolled around all the historical places and I completely let out my inner nerd and took a couple hundred pictures along the. (Note I am too tired and lazy to post said pictures now, but eventually they'll make their way up, probably by need of pack mule.) After our free time stroll, then our lovely traditional, and free, lunch we headed over to the cultural arts center and learned to play some traditional drums. I completely failed at this of course. I am going to blame my uncomfortable position sitting on a hard wood floor. It was awesome though, as was our enigmatic mohawked instructor. After making a fool of myself, we made much needed fans from basically construction paper and some sticks. It's beautiful, but I don't know how long it'll last.

After a nice long day, of course I had to go and celebrate with a friend on her birthday. If you know me, you know I am not much of an assertive person in larger groups, so you would be surprised to learn that I went to a noraebang, in other words to karaoke. This was only made possible by the consumption of a particular substance (only one), and I was still very reluctant. This is why I only managed to work up to two duets: "Don't Stop Believin'" and "We Are the Champions." After our hour was up we joined another much larger group of EPIK teachers celebrating another birthday and laughed at the insanity that ensued to the soundtrack of 90s songs. Eventually we made our way to another establishment with more beverages meant to be consumed by those of a particular age limit. We tried something I can't remember the name of and if I could I wouldn't be able to spell it. It wasn't bad, though I wouldn't necessary order it again. After some indepth conversation about the school systems of Asia versus the US (what else are teachers going to talk about) we headed back to the dorms before we were locked out after the midnight curfew.

Though I am mostly through today and therefore today's events there is still more today to be had and I will therefore leave today's occurrences for the next blog...whenever that might be.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

EPIK Orientation: Flying In and Day 1-2 of Orientation

So I feel like I am behind on this whole blog thing already. I've either been doing something orientation oriented or trying to battle jet lag. (It has been quite the battle.)

The flight to South Korea wasn't that bad. I met tons of other people at JFK airport, so we were able to get acquainted and bond over the impending insanity that we voluntarily signed up for. It was a long fourteen hour flight, and I had kindly given up my window seat (and included wall to rest my weary head) to a little old lady so she could be with her family, so I ended up in an aisle seat, which was okay as there was direct access to the lavatory. But still I had no chance of sleeping, as is always my plight on planes. Upon landing we were greeted by the infamous humidity of Korea, and honestly I think that was a small taste of the potential Korea has to make your hair curl and become a bird's nest of massive proportions. It was pretty simple getting through immigration and on toward baggage claim. I have to say Incheon International Airport has the FASTEST plane to claim I have ever encountered. It was absolutely fantastic.

Upon making our way to the exit gates and toward the EPIK desk we did our sim card buying for immediate access to the technology we have come to so dependent on.  At the EPIK desk you get a little packet of the immediate schedule along with a map on how to find the EPIK desk at the airport, which you had to already be at to get said packet...yeah. Everyone was excited as we boarded the bus to Jeonju University for orientation, that is until we learned it would be an additional three and half hours to there. At least we had a rest stop, which was a brief twenty minutes which allowed for a restroom break and a bag of chips (which couldn't be brought back on the bus, and were sadly trashed half full.)

We finally arrived at the university around 9:30 pm and made our zombie way up to our rooms. The beds are cinder blocks and the pillows are bricks, but it is not an airplane or bus seat, so it does the trick. I managed to only get about four and half hours of sleep, because my body is evil. I couldn't actually fall asleep until 1 am (even though I hadn't slept the entire way from New York)  and of course I woke up at 5:30 am, because that makes so much sense when you hadn't slept for over thirty hours. But I digress.

On Wednesday we made our way to a surprising good breakfast, and then a tour of the campus so we would have an idea of where we were going for lectures and whatnot. And of course there was a nice damp humidity the entire time. My first convenience store purchase ended up being hair spray. Eventually it was time for the opening ceremony and it wasn't not as dry as I was expecting. The speakers were cordial, brief, and refreshingly funny. Then there was the Jeonju University Taekwondo team. They were absolutely spectacular. There were synchronized forms put into dances as well as flips, kicks, and tricks, and then the  amazing board breaking skills.

After this we had a class meeting and learned the do's and don'ts of orientation and found out about our lesson demonstration. This is a work in progress of course and I will update on it along the way. If I remember that is...

So on to today, Thursday, the real start of orientation. Yesterday was an easy day, a day to get over jet lag. A day where I ended up in bed by 9 pm and out cold. Today we had the medical check up. It involves having pretty much everything looked at: height, weight, eyes, hearing, blood pressure, blood test, x-ray, and urine test. All of this done without breakfast so the results are nice and clear and we are nice and starving. It wasn't awful, but it just involved a fair bit of waiting that could have been better used for eating.

After the medical tests we had a very welcomed lunch (which they kindly made earlier so we wouldn't start dropping like flies). Then the lectures started. Today we had two. My class (class 3) saw the lecture on Elementary School Curriculum and English Comprehension, and admittedly, much like the open ceremony, they were much better than I expected. The lecturers are very personable and friendly. I really have to hand it to EPIK for bringing together a great group of people that give good and much needed insight into what to expect and how to be prepared for what we'll encounter in the real world.

After dinner we were divided into our "Survival Korean" classes. There are the much larger beginner classes and smaller advanced classes. I, of course, fall into the beginner class despite my efforts to learn a thing or two. I am at the point I can (slowly) read hangul (the Korean alphabet) and I know a number of words, but I can only form maybe five sentences, but it's better than nothing. Today ended up being really simple stuff, which ended up being the five sentences I know. So I felt advanced, but of course tomorrow is another day.

So that's what I've been up to for the past three-ish days (it gets wonky because of time changes so the -ish is necessary). I am not going to proofread this now, as I am falling victim to jet lag at the moment, but expect edits here and there when I have a functioning brain to do so.

On a side note, feel free to ask any questions and I will do my best to answer them.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Intro...

So this is my first time blogging, but I figured that since I am going away for a while I should keep folks at home updated, and thus I have created a log  for those things I wish to remember and some things I'll probably regret, but in the end it will surely be worth it.

This is not my first sojourn. I have in fact been quite active in my travels, but that doesn't make parting from my family and friends any easier. This round I am heading to South Korea for a full year. So far my longest trip abroad has been about four months in England to study abroad. But this time I am doing this completely alone. I fly out tomorrow. Follow along and see where my travels take me...