Friday, January 25, 2013

Camp is Over and I'm in Busan! Update Part III

So I’m back again after another hiatus.  I don’t know why I didn’t write this time, but I think I was just being lazy haha.  I have been working on revamping my cover letter and resume and things like that lately so I guess I didn’t want to write more.  Writing cover letters are hard!  But I got a few sent out so we’ll see what happens!

Anyways, last day of camp.  So the students were woken up early in the morning again, courtesy of Cameron and a drum that he found (I was actually really impressed by the beat he just came up with but then again we all know I am musically challenged).  We never actually woke up the students in a super obnoxious way that is stereotypical of other camps.  We never banged on pots or screamed or did airhorns or anything.  The drum was a bit loud, but it definitely wasn’t obnoxious, especially since they could hear it coming.  And the drum had really nice tone to it!  Also, Ms. Jeon came out into the hallway, probably to see what was going on and she always proceeded to help us wake the sleepy students up.

We had our last set of classes.  I actually didn’t have a class so I just hung out in my room and took a nice long shower.  After their last class, we had to start our closing ceremony.  The principal was there and he gave a nice little speech in English.  He used to be a German/English teacher so I don’t think it was too big of a deal for him.  Then we gave out some awards that we talked about the night before(and a few extra I noticed).  Then all of the teachers gave some final words to all of the students.  It was a little sad since I won’t teach the 2nd graders anymore, but I’ll still see them around school so that’s good.  To wrap things up, Kathy’s dance class gave a performance that was super good.  Basically all Koreans are great dancers so I guess it’s no surprise haha.

After the ceremony, we all piled on the bus and headed back to GHS.  We saw the students and Cameron off(most of them just walked back home or to the bus stop).  The teachers minus Cameron and plus the vice principal went to a traditional Korean restaurant.  Basically they just gave us a bajillion side dishes.  Here’s a pic if I remembered to insert it:
All of the food.  Notice the waitress is trying to cram even more on the table.

It was really tasty, but it made Kathy sick!  I guess she felt really ill that night and a couple days after.  It was those darn Suncheon raw oysters!  Luckily, she got better and hopefully it didn’t scare her off from coming back in the future haha.

So I got back to Suncheon and then the next day I left for Busan.  It was a busy week.  I packed all my stuff then left in the afternoon.  It takes a little over 2 hours to go to Busan from Suncheon so I was able to catch up on a little sleep.  I was completely and utterly sleep deprived all of camp so it was very nice to be able to rest a bit.  I got to Busan and hopped on the subway with my huge heavy suitcase and my overstuffed backpack that turned me into Quasimodo.  Thankfully, the Nopo bus terminal is pretty close to Pusan National University(PNU) where I was going to live and teach.  I got off the subway at the right stop, gave the machine my stupid little yellow ticket, then strutted my way to the dorm.  Well, as much as I could at least since it’s pretty hard to strut with a 40lb suitcase and a huge backpack. 

I figured I would just hoof it over to the dorm rather than pay for a taxi since I’ve walked from the University to the subway station when I initially went to PNU.  Terrible decision.  I somehow failed to take into account that I was not carrying all this luggage when I walked the first time.  So I was lugging all my things through the neon lit streets of the area and managed to find my way to the main entrance.  Now, I had to find my dorm.  When I came to PNU the first time, I didn’t go the dorms because I was just meeting the professor really quick to get acquainted with him and learn more about the internship so I essentially had no idea where this place was.  I looked at a campus map that was sent to me beforehand and I had a fairly good idea of where it was in respect to the rest of the campus (yay visual learner!).  What I didn’t realize was how large the campus was and how the further you go into campus, the more hills you encounter.  Those hills were just awful!  After living here for three weeks now, I really don’t mind them that much, but that night with all that luggage, it was just wretched.  It didn’t help either that it was dark out and I couldn’t see the building names or numbers very well.  I was heavily depending upon google maps and the gps in my phone.  I would just go to the google maps app and wait until it located me and put an arrow where I was then I would know how close or far off I was.  Once again, a smartphone helped me again!  If you are going to Korea or another foreign country, I highly, highly recommend getting one, especially if you struggle with the language like I do.

I continued my trek through campus, braving the steep hills and trying not to look like a fool who was kind of lost/should have taken a taxi.  To make matters worse, the bottom of my suitcase started to get loud.   Like really loud.  I tried a bunch of different angles of dragging it behind me in a feeble attempt to quiet it, but nothing worked.  I think the bottom was just starting to wear or something, but whenever I moved it even a little it was just like this huge noise of something being scrapped on the asphalt.  Ugh.

Finally, after a 20 minute not so fun adventure, I encountered my building.  Naturally, all the doors were locked and there wasn’t anyone at the reception area where I could.  I was a little annoyed, but whatever.  I just calmly called a lovely lady who goes by May and she tried to direct me to the area where I need to be.  I found the area, but again, the doors were locked and all that.  So first, I just wanted to get in but I was just so tired of dragging/listening to that bag I had with me so I left it near the door when I slipped in with another dorm resident.  I didn’t see anyone in the building so I turned to go out and ponder what to do.  I grab the door and pull and it doesn’t open!  What?!  Why isn’t it opening!? I guess this dorm locks from the inside and outside.  So I just semi-casually waited by the door until another unsuspecting student was heading out and I quickly followed him and reclaimed me dreaded bag.  Still don’t have my key!

So I figure I have a better chance of getting my key by being in the building rather than out.  After pacing the building one more time, scouring every side in a futile search for an open door, I once again get into the building by following a student inside.  Alas, I finally found a worker.  By this time, May is starting to call me again (on my phone that has about 5% battery left) wondering if I am in the building since I said I would call her once I did (like 30 minutes ago).  I basically just said yeah and handed the phone to the worker saying “한국어” which means “Korean language” since I knew my Korean skills were just not going to cut it in this situation.  After 4 or 5 minutes and several silent pleas that my battery wouldn’t die during their conversation, I received my key and my dorm card.  Victory!

With all of this excitement, I basically just threw down my stuff on my bed and headed out again, because I was hungry!  I think I just hit up a convenience store or a bakery, I can’t remember.  Either way, I successfully fed myself and then wandered back into campus in an attempt to find a more efficient way to get to my dorm.  When I found it and entered it with my brand new card, I went to my room and tried to open the door.  I guess I was putting the key in wrong or something, but it was taking a few tries.  Finally, a man comes up and says something in Korean and takes out a key and opens the door.  I guess this is my roommate!

On the first night, he didn’t speak any English to me so I was a little concerned.  He seemed like a grad student or a professor because he was a bit older.  The next day, he started speaking to me in English and told me that he was a research professor who just started here and his family is going to move down here in February.  I was pretty surprised that he was speaking English!  I suspect that he had no idea that his roommate would be a non-Korean and I imagined he was just too surprised to speak English.  But since he is a professor, I basically never see him because he is always working.  He gets in at about 12:30am and leaves at 8:30am and doesn’t come back at all in between.  He also goes back home to Seoul every weekend.  So I haven’t really had the chance to chat with him after that, but he seems like a nice guy!

Wow big update!  Alrighty, I’m almost caught up.  I just have to write about my class now.  We actually just finished the first 3 week so now I have a 2 week break and then we are heading back.  I’ll also be moving again in about a week to a goshiwon.  A goshiwon is a little smaller than a dorm room, but a little bigger than a jail cell.  It’s basically just a room with a bed (or without if you are feeling really thrifty) and a desk and an internet connection.  There was one that even had a min-fridge that tempted me, but it was like 30,000 won more(~$30) and I didn’t really need it so I opted out of it.  I’ll take a pic of it when move in next week.  It’s actually kind of nice and the lady who owns it seems really kind.  She even gave me a little discount with the help of May.  It’s going to be about 170,000 won (~$160.00) for one month so it seems like a good deal to me!  I’m definitely looking forward to it!

So since I don’t have class for these next two weeks, I’ll probably just try and send out some more resumes and things for next year and I would realllly like to try and plan out my upcoming semester for Gwangyang, but realistically I probably won’t.  I’m also toying with the idea of joining CrossFit Busan, but it’s so far away and it’s pretty expensive.  However, I had a pretty nice paycheck thanks to winter camp and stuff and it’s not like I’m spending a ton of money, since I’m not going abroad like most of my Fulbright buddies so I have to do a little research and I might join it for the month.  I really wanted to take a latte art class, which is like making cool designs and art with coffee, but I’m not sure if that will work.  One of my awesome students called a place I found, but they said it probably wouldn’t work out since I don’t speak very good Korean.  I was bummed, but she said she might try one more place so there’s still hope! J

Okay.  Now I really do only have my class to write about then I will be all updated!  Wow I can’t believe it.  Then I can write small posts again instead of novels so that’ll be nice to not have to spend 30 minutes reading my ramblings.  Alright, take it easy America.  Enjoy some chicken pot pie for me!  That’s the food that I definitely miss the most haha. 

1 comment:

  1. Wow - quite an update and adventure. Since you are in the big bucks from your winter camp and have low expenses since ur not travelling, maybe treat yourself to some crossfit... if you can call that a treat :) Maybe treat yourself to a new suitcase too from the sound of it... and maybe a taxi next time... :)

    We can have a chicken pot pie, pepperoni bread and cheeseburger party when you get back... we can even throw some lasagna and pizza in if you want :)

    THanks for the big update! Sounds like it continues to be an adventure! Love, Dad