Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Orientation highs and lows

As orientation starts winding up, with classes over and lesson demonstrations tomorrow, I think it's time I compiled a list of the good things and bad things that have summed up the last week or so of my preparation for teaching in Daegu.


  • Meeting people who will be living in my city, or even near my school
  • Building friendships that look like they'll last a long time
  • Hysterically funny conversation over lunch and dinner
  • Trying to eat scrambled eggs with chopsticks - and succeeding!
  • Playing drinking games with random ajeossis in the local watering hole
  • Being the only people in the bar and getting special treatment because of it
  • Learning Korean at lightning speed
  • The friendliness 
  • Jumping around like a maniac and kicking the crap out of the taekwondo paddle
  • Playing in the snow
  • Learning about Korea from Koreans, and about teaching in it from teachers who've done it
  • Singing the Koala song in Korean - Kokoko, alalal, lalala
  • Accidentally discovering the market
  • Heated toilet seats
  • Noraebuses
  • Fantastic Epik staff
  • The lady in the convenience store
  • Sitting with lecturers at meals and hearing the 'deleted' bits
  • Meeting people for what you both thought was the first time, only to realise that not only were you in the same class at university, but you trained together and worked at a bar together for a couple of weeks.
  • The key system - having one key between two people who hardly see each other is a pain in the arse.
  • No one has ever heard of Mauritius. 
  • Being too cold outside and too hot inside. 
  • Long lectures with no breaks, and the impossibility of keeping your eyes open
  • Whoever stole my shampoo before I'd even put my bags in my room
  • Hearing about people failing their drug test, or of people giving up and going home before they'd even gone to their city.
  • Making friends with amazing people... who are moving to the other end of Korea
  • Being woken by the Voice Of the Intercom God every couple of minutes in the morning
  • Not having clean clothes or time to wash them
  • The food getting progressively more western and less edible
  • Being treated like a child
  • The midnight curfew
  • The feeling of it being a school camp
  • Living out of a suitcase
  • Internet that only works sometimes, and not nearly at the speed of the infamous Korean bandwidth
  • Not speaking Korean well enough to get directions to the outdoor market, rather than to the 7/11, while leading a group of people on a wild goose chase
  • Hungry elevators that eat you and then ignore which button you pressed and go to whichever floor they feel like visiting at the time, in the wrong direction.
But even then, the bad bits aren't so bad. It's been fun, but I'm definitely looking forward to unpacking, throwing a load of laundry into the machine, and going for a long walk around my neighbourhood. Luckily for me, we've got a long weekend as I arrive, so I can do just that.

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