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Hello (Real) Korea!

August 29, 2009

Nothing against Suwon, but I really didn’t a taste of Korea til I left their carefully guarded gates.

After a long good bye and and even longer bus ride, me and other teachers in my district hopped off the bus to be greeted by a chaotic assembly of confused teachers and staff members. I heard my name called and turned to meet the brightest face among the crowd, my co-teacher, Joy. Immediately, we asked a thousand questions of each other – I had to make a conscious effort to shut up just so we could talk about school-related, important stuff. I later met with my vice principle, Mr. Lee, and another school administrator whose name, amongst all the excitement was never shared with me.

My welcome group was soooo happy to see me and take me to my apartment and buy me furniture and buy me helpful items and tell me just about everything I could ever want to know. It was around this time that I was told that I will be the FIRST and ONLY Native Speaking English teacher at the school. Wow.

So, my school, it is quite a big one with a special focus on atheletic achievements (read: Baseball). The students’ skill levels in English ranges from none to near expert; unfortunately, the lowest level students won’t have any exposure to me but I think this is to save me the trouble of managing them. Not sure what to think about that quite yet. Due to some delays, I won’t have my own classroom at first but in October an English Zone will be completed for me to decorate and give lessons in – my co-teacher seemed thrilled at my enthusiasm and initiative (I love hers too!) Anyway, the few students I have met have been really shy but sweet and open up once prompted with a smile. Very, very good.

So far, I’ve not unpacked a single thing but I HAVE managed to get a T-money card, the DC equivalent of a SmarTrip used to get from place to place via public transportation. Did I mention that my apartment is a minute’s walk from the metro station? And the bus station is maybe two minutes….the school is a 20 minute walk from my place. I have surely been blessed, and least of all stressed….not even perturbed by the fact that EVERYONE in the city STARES at me. Not in a bad way, mind you, just in the way you might stare down, say, a horse drawn carriage in the middle of the city. And better yet, when I speak any bit of Korean everyone flips out. Not in a bad way, mind, just in the way you might flip out if you saw a fish walking like a person on its fins.

So, basically, I’m like a b-list celebrity here and I love it so far. Pics should come tomorrow after I settle in!

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