Friday, October 1, 2010

Back in the Game

Aside from meeting new people, the second best part of
orientation was learning Samul Nori, traditional percussion
music. We did not do the dance part, but learned
some pieces on the drums. Something about hitting the drum
with every bit of strength felt amazing.
GEPIK orientation came and went. My feelings about the experience are mixed, but overall, I'd say the majority of it was positive. It amazed me to see such a diverse group of English speakers together in one place. If Koreans at all have difficulty putting a finger on key characteristics of Americans (although there were a few English, New Zealand and Canadian citizens present), it's because the ones here are all so very different. And not just minor differences, but it is those with extreme personalities that have the courage and desire to make their way to another country. I immediately clicked with my roommate and the girls next door to us. We were able to assume a mixture of professionalism and fun, which was difficult for the many teachers that found themselves shit faced in the evening, only to have to wake up at 6:30ish in the morning. Call me square, but I cherish this experience and my reputation as an educator far too much to put myself in those shoes.

New friends from GEPIK orientation. 
When I got home (woah, feels weird to say that), my computer charger exploded and I was also out of minutes on my temporary pre-paid cell phone given to me by my recruiter. I felt totally cut off from all communication with everyone and quite lonely/home sick/on the verge of a breakdown. The next day was no better, I got to school and just had a very rough day. It was nothing that students, teacher or myself did, but just this huge communication barrier that I felt existed. Co-teaching with three teachers, all with very different teaching styles and varying levels of English, seemed impossible. Even closer to the breakdown, like literally about to start crying in the middle of the city, a lady out of no where said hello (Ahn nyeong) to me. It was very comforting and helped me in keeping in my tears. Later, I began a mission to find the post office. I asked about four people for directions, searched for about an hour and finally I found it. While the search was starting to break me down again, the feeling of successfully finding it built me up again. I needed as much strength as possible because after the post-office came E-mart (the giant local store) where I knocked over an entire stack of Kleenex boxes...great. An nearby employee appeared upset, but helped me pick them up. After saying sorry (Mian Ham Nee Dah) in Korean, she seemed a little less annoyed with me.

Yesterday I finally received my alien registration card and so I was able to get a cell phone and a bank account (WHEW). Oh yea, and my phone has an antenna and TV capability... I have also found a few nearby PC Bangs (computer rooms). I am feeling much better and now have the weekend to re-gather myself. For those of you at home, I hope you are not worried about me after reading this post. Yes, I had some of those difficult days that I'm sure everyone must experience when moving to a new country, but I am still very much in love with my experience. I wish I could upload some of my photos for everyone to see, but that will have to wait until I get my hands on a new computer power cord. Now I'm off to explore Seoul!


  1. I can understand. I have been gone through the same situation but the only difference is communication gap. I had a horrible time with culture shock but everything becomes normal after 1-2 months. And yes you are right, its a great experience and it makes you much stronger (well you are already a strong girl :)). talk to you soon.