Sunday, March 2, 2014

Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore!

Well, I arrived in my new home on Friday.  I’m in a region of Ulsan called Guyeong.  It’s about 40 minutes outside the city center but resembles a mini-city.  I have a five-minute walk to cafes, grocery stores, shopping, restaurants, etc.  It’s pretty much what I was hoping for!  And…I really like my apartment…two rooms (kitchen and bedroom) and a bathroom.  It’s simple and perfect.

Dishes in sink = lived in!
 So here are the highlights of what I’ve accomplished this weekend:

  • Unpacked and settled into my apartment.
  • Ordered at a Korean restaurant all by myself (first sense of accomplishment).
  • Bought some things for my new apartment (the previous teacher left a lot of good basic things for me, so I didn’t need to buy as much as I thought I would…nice surprise).
  • Went grocery shopping.
  • Figured out the bus routes I need to take (and took them for a dry run).  I’m really proud of myself for this one.  It’s going to be my lifeline while in Korea, so I wanted to figure this out quickly.
  • Found a church (well…sort of…it’s really tiny – I was the only one in attendance today but apparently I arrived during a transition time).  The pastor is American, so the services are in English… it’s called Ulsan English Fellowship.  We spent about an hour just talking and then went to lunch together.  He seems like a good guy with similar Christian values.

I have to admit, I am a little proud of myself!  I haven’t felt the culture shock like some other EPIK teachers from last week.  And, I haven’t felt all that intimidated about finding my way around.  I think all my travel for work and to other countries for mission trips and pleasure have prepared me for this.  It feels pretty good to be settling in so quickly!
My first meal in my apartment = fish stick taco
(courtesy of former resident and the food she left for me)
 I have three really good resources to rely on:  an American named Cenae who I met in the grocery store (she’s been here for 13 years), Pastor Kevin who has been here since 1995, and the teacher who I am replacing (she left me four typed pages of information and her email address – we’ve already corresponded about some additional questions I had).  So, if I don’t know what I’m doing, I have plenty of people to help me out.  Always good to have back-up and support!  Speaking of support…

I met my main co-teacher on Friday (apparently I’ll have more than one).  She is super nice and speaks really good English, so we had no problem communicating.  She showed me to my apartment on Friday, and helped me open a bank account and apply for my Alien Registration Card (ARC).  She also took me to the school where I met the vice-principal.  The visit to school was really quick.  Tomorrow’s the first day of school, and I really don’t have a clue what to expect.  I’m not even sure if I’ll be teaching any classes (you can probably recall how the first day goes…lots of logistical stuff for teachers to go over).  I have been “warned” that at a GET in Korea, you pretty much have to be ready for anything…lots of last-minute changes.  That’ll be good for me…it will s-t-r-e-t-c-h the planner in me.

A little insight into what I’ll be teaching…I now understand why we are called GETs (Guest English Teachers).  We really are “guests” who go into other teachers’ English class to help students practice speaking and using the language.  My job is to make them more comfortable and confident about their English abilities.  The Korean teachers teach a lot of grammar and vocabulary in their English classes.  My role is application, which I’m really excited about.

It’s going to be a great year…I can’t wait!  Now it’s off to bed…gotta make a good first impression. J

1 comment:

  1. 안녕 Betsy! Glad you made it to Korea safely! Sounds like it's been quite a week so far. You'll be speaking 한국어 in no time. :)