So it has been just seven days since I arrived to Jochiwon, South Korea, and I have fallen head over heels in love with everything. Right now I am temporarily living in a dorm room going through a 3-week orientation period with a bunch of people who are here for the same reason >> to TaLK (Teach and Learn in Korea). Needless to say, I have made too many friends to count, and I am having the time of my life experiencing life in Korea with them.
Together we have learned all about South Korea through this program — both in and out of the classroom. During orientation we have been taken through the country’s history and have learned all about the Korean way of life. One thing we always enjoy is the extremely delicious food, and I have to add I’m pretty disappointed with America right now for not teaching me how to eat with chopsticks. We also have been taking different classes on the cultural side like Taekwondo (my legs are still sore) and paper making. On top of all that, my favorite part of this adventure has been making trips to Seoul, the N.Y of South Korea.I have been to Seoul twice now, and it is such a colorful city. There are skyscrapers on every street, and millions of people are crammed on every corner. The only bad things I have to say about this city and in Jochiwon is that 1. Yes, this is Korea where Korean is spoken and written on every inch of surface and 2. No, I won’t be able to magically understand what they are saying or what I’m reading.
It has been very interesting, to say the least, though I find it fun to learn a new language, and I am slowly getting better. So far my handy phrase book and my hand gestures are my only communication skills outside of English and Spanish, but they don’t always get the job done. One time my friends and I ended up riding in a taxi for 45 minutes trying to get to a landmark that should have only been about a five minute drive. Luckily we’re in Korea, and it only cost us ten bucks. The language barrier has been a little crazy, but it is also fun. On a metro we met a group of elementary school kids who were excited to meet us and practice their English. They were so adorable and loved us, so now I am even more ready to start teaching! The ATMs here also keep us on our toes. Since the money is in won and not dollars you have to think in thousands instead of by tens or hundreds, and this is what happens when you press the wrong button…..
You are looking at 1,000,000 won, which is the equivalent to about 1,000 USD and we have no idea how to deposit it back into the bank. That’s okay though because we found a better use for it > PHOTO OPP! Although we misplaced ten thousand won in the process of pretending to be rich, we get to check rolling in a bed of money off the list.
So just like that my life did a 180, and I’m mutely exploring the streets of Korea. I’m still waiting for the culture shock to set in, but I think I am just good with adapting to new lifestyles (knock on wood). As for now, I have enjoyed a very exciting, fantastic few days, and I am eager for the future.
WHY WOULD I EVER LEAVE!???