Flight – I can’t really say enough good things about the flight. Singapore Airlines is amazing. As soon as you sit down they bring you a hot towel, and another during the flight and before landing. We pretty much had unlimited drinks (including alcohol), and snacks, and we had lunch and dinner, both of which were delicious. Other than that, I just watched movies. Six of them, but I dozed off during so I don’t think I watched an entire movie. There were also a lot of teachers on the flight so it was fun meeting and talking to them. It was such a great flight. I almost didn’t want to get off! Oh, and the “Singapore Girls” were so cute. I love their outfits, and shoes and they just smile all the time and make you feel great. I wish I’d taken a picture. I loved them! In case anyone was wondering, they do have male stewards too but they aren’t as pretty.
Arrival – When we landed, I stuck with a group of teachers through customs and baggage claim. Incheon airport was so nice from what I saw. Very sleek, clean, and relatively calm inside the terminal. Exchanged some money, and got cut off by an old Korean lady which I’m sure I’ll have to get used to. We easily found the EPIK booth, and my recruiter was there to meet the Reach to Teach people and answer our questions, etc. After a short time, we loaded up the bus and took off for Daejeon around 7:30pm. I couldn’t really see anything on the drive, and I think I fell asleep for most of it anyway.
Checking in to orientation/first night – Our bus arrived at the orientation site in Daejeon around 11pm. I had a really hard time getting all my bags up to my room, but once I made it I was so relieved to be here. My dorm mate was already asleep when I arrived so I felt bad waking her up. I quickly got showered and settled in to bed, and didn’t really meet her for real until the next day. Her name is Simone and she is from South Africa. Very nice girl! Nothing exciting to say about the room. It looks like a typical dorm room.
Morning – Health check. Mostly just waiting in line for an hour. We had lots of different tests, and blood drawn, chest xray, etc.
Lunch – My first full meal in Korea and I inhaled it. We had pork bulgogi, rice, potato soup, fried zucchini, kimchii, and some sort of pasta with vegetables. It was pretty good, but bland. All of our meals are provided at the cafeteria for the duration of orientation. So, it’s nice, but not a very good taste of real Korean food.
Explore – My dorm mate Simone and I decided to explore the streets around the campus. We ended up meeting some others walking around and we explored one of the markets. It went on forever, and had anything and everything you can think of to buy. A few interesting booths, particularly the seafood ones had some interesting things for sale (squids, fish, sting rays, octopus,etc). It was cold outside, but I was fine walking around in just a hoodie, so it’s tolerable for now!
Opening ceremony/class meeting – They had us sit with our groups (by province/metro location). After all the introductions, a group of high school students played some traditional Korean music. It almost reminded me of the Korean version of “Drumline” if that were to exist! Very cool! Then we were told some procedures and things before we went with our groups to our class meetings. In the class meeting we went over what we will be working on in our classes this week. We also got put into groups of three for the lesson presentation that we have to do. My group has to prepare a lesson about “invitations to a party” like a Halloween, or pool party, etc. Shouldn’t be too hard! Then our teacher answered a lot of questions about living and working in Korea, and gave us some tips. Around this time I hit a wall of exhaustion.
Dinner – Right after class we went across the street to the cafeteria for dinner. They served rice, quail eggs soaked in soy sauce, bok choy, fried fish, soup, and kimchi. Our curfew is 10:30 for orientation so not much time to go out on the town which is too bad. I’d like to explore this city more. It was my 3rd choice location, but I didn’t get placed here unfortunately. I find out next Monday where I’m placed!
I do have internet in my dorm room, but we have to connect with an ethernet cable and the ones they gave us are about a foot long. I have to sit on the floor by the outlet to connect.