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24 hours of traveling later: EPIK orientation day 1

February 23, 2011

It was a total of 24 hours of traveling until I reached the National Institute for International Education around 8:30pm where all 170 of us ‘soon to be Seoul area teachers’ will be staying at for orientation.  Jet lagged, exhausted and delirious we arrived and checked in.  EPIK provided us all with a gift bag including a snack, pens, alarm clock, towel, a 300 page handbook and an “EPIK” sweatshirt that we are all required to wear on the first day and on our Sunday field trip.   I suppose it is out first lesson in learning the importance of the collectivist spirit of assimilation!

It has been a strange experience traveling all the way across the Pacific to be shuttled straight to a university to live with a bunch of other foreigners.  This orientation hosts native English speakers from the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the UK.  My roommate happens to be from Northern England and I feel bad every time I use the words fahrenheit, lbs. or feet and I have to try and explain myself. (Damnit USA).  Ive met a lot of great people so far and I think everyone here hopes to make a lot of friends before we all scatter around to our different ‘dongs’  (neighborhoods) in Seoul.

I’d like to explain the different lectures or things I’ve learned today (Wednesday, our first official orientation day) but due to the jet-lag it all seems like a blur (besides the food which is great not only because it is free but also because it is delicious).  I woke up this morning at 5am and couldn’t fall back asleep even though I was still exhausted.  I got up and headed to the bathroom I was surprised to see a handful of other girls getting ready for the day since they couldn’t sleep either.

There is one thing that has made a lasting impression on my life here so far….


I love eating Asian food with chopsticks and don’t have any difficulty with it, but I was taken by surprise by the difficulty of Korean chopsticks.  They are not only flat, which makes things much more difficult, but they are metal and heavier than normal.  My hand actually started to cramp while eating lunch.   No matter how much it hurts, I won’t succumb to a fork.  I just wont do it.

As of right now I just got back from a bit of exploring with a bunch of girls I’ve met. Sadly, I’ve been too much of a zombie to absorb the wonders and excitement of this new city. We also had to retire back to the dorms early because tomorrow we have an extensive medical test (hearing, eyes, physical, blood, urine, x-ray…yes EXTENSIVE) and they told us we have to  stop eating and drinking, including water, (really now?!) from 9pm until the test at 9am.

Pictures, more orientation details and overall a better blog entry to come!

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