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The Big Reveal Part One: My school!

March 6, 2011

After a long orientation, all of us NETs (Native English Teachers) were extremely ready to hear about our placements and move into our own apartments.  No more sharing dorm rooms with curfews, yay!  The second to last day we were told that they would reveal our placements to us.  Something told me otherwise.  We show up to class and wait for an hour for everyone to sign their contracts, then finally it was time!  We were all so excited…so anxious and then…..we all get handed slips of paper in Korean.  Great.  I was finally holding my placement information in my hand and I couldn’t even read it.  When we asked someone to translate…it didn’t even say an address so it was impossible to look it up online.  How anti-climatic.

Day One

The actual day had finally come and everyone was anxious and nervous.  I was feeling fine until we all split up onto our different buses.  There were about 15 different buses each going to different areas of Seoul.  The bus was then to take us to a meeting spot where our co-teachers would pick us up and from then on they were to decide what to do with us.  While sitting on the bus waiting for everyone to be accounted for I felt pretty scared.  Things could either go great…..or extremely awful.  It felt like we were leaving the nest….the comfortable dorms where everyone spoke English and you always had a new friend to hang out with.  The little birdies were about the fly away and we were actually a little scared….

We got to the meeting spot and were rushed out of the bus.  As I unloaded my 4 pieces of luggage that had miraculously turned into about 6, I heard some people calling my name.  It was my new co-teachers and I was so happy when I saw them.  They were young, they looked nice….that is about as good as I knew it could get!  They were amazed with how much stuff I had but they helped me carry it to the car.  Soon enough we were heading towards my school!  Seoul Dukeui Elementary would be were I would call work for the next year and I would be teaching 3rd, 4th, and 6th grade. We chatted a bit in the car and they informed me that we will visit the school for a short while and then do some shopping for my apartment.  (Haha, typical….that day we did nothing of that sort).  After a tour of the school I was told we needed to go to a teachers meeting since it was the first day of school and all the new teachers would be introduced.  I was also told to prepare something to say in Korean. (Oh great).  So I whipped out the only Korean I could remember from my classes and practiced it with my teachers.  Surprisingly when we were at the meeting it only took “Annyeong-haseyo’ (Hello) for all the other teacher to laugh and giggle with joy.  To continue you my good impression I did my best at ” Man-na-seo ban-gam-seum-nida,  Je i-reum-eun Jessica im-nida” (Nice to meet you, my name is Jessica).

Once the teacher meeting was over, and I thought we would be heading shopping but I was then told we would be going to a teachers dinner for all the teachers at the school.  We ended up at this nice Korean restaurant and 2 hours later I was exhausted.  My teachers could tell, and they also knew it was getting late, so we then headed straight to the apartment.  Once we reached it I started jumping up and down.  I had hit the English teacher lottery with this one.  With these apartments, it is really luck of the draw, and I told myself if I just have a good view and working appliances I’ll be fine.  Turns out I have that.. and more.  (Video tour will come after I get settled in)

Day Two

The next morning I was already waking up to catch the bus for my first day of work.  The night before my co-teachers showed me the bus stop and told me which bus to catch.  They also wrote down my stop to hand to the bus driver.  I was a little confused and nervous my first day catching the bus and I ended up missing it and had to wait to catch the next.  Sadly, I was a bit late for my first day.  Luckily, my co-teachers responded when I apoligized “It’s okay, we are proud of you. You did good”.

That afternoon we left school early to go shopping.  I thought we would be heading to a cheap department store but when we rolled up at “Times Square Mall” and I saw Louis Vuitton, Coach, and Tiffany’s I was very surprised.  We went to Modern House where one of my co-teachers had just bought things for her own place so she wanted to take me there too.  She took out her list and budget given from the school and we went around buying dishes, pots and pans, silverware, bedspreads, tea kettle, etc.   They were buying me everything I could ever need and when we were done we still went to another location so they could buy me towels, slippers and other things.  Lastly, they asked if I wanted a microwave or rice cooker and so they spent another $100+ on a new microwave.  The icing on this already amazing cake was the last purchase that they insisted I have….an electric blanket for under my sheets.  I didn’t think it was necessary(especially because it was really expensive) but now that I have used it, I have realized it is the most amazing invention in the world.

During school hours, Ive been trying to get things set up and start lesson planning with my co-teachers.  It is a bit overwhelming but I am lucky they are so supportive.  At lunch we all go eat in the cafeteria together and the meals are amazing.  Imagine this…an entire school including children eating the same exact meal for about $2-3 and no one complaining about what it is or how it tasyes.  It’s great, delicious and really healthy! Score.

Yes…these exist and I have to use it at my school.

Lessons on How Small the World is

Not only is my neighbor an English teacher from the states, but he is from San Diego as well. WEIRD!

At a bar in Hongdae I met a girl who is from Rancho Penasquitos and when I said I was from Rancho Bernardo the first thing she said was, “ELEPHANT BAR?!” (For those of you I have frequented the Elephant Bar with, you will appreciate this)

Korea Cultural Lesson #1

Always wear socks (or skin colored tights even with pants)  so you aren’t that awkward girl walking around barefoot indoors or at restaurants.  Ive learned this one the hard way, in a few formal settings.

Below is something I found while wondering around behind my school…what a pleasant surprise…

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Bsam permalink
    March 6, 2011 9:06 pm

    Good to hear you got assigned a nice apartment! p.s. electric blankets own

    • March 9, 2011 4:00 am

      Thanks Brian! And yes, they are a blessing…and a curse. I’m always late for my bus in the mornings.
      (btw sorry you had to read through my unedited blog. hehe I guess it never updated.)

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