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Flag of Korea Rep.  , Daegu,
Wednesday, November 2, 2011

So here I am finally in Daegu! Im right up in the northern suburbs of the city – a bit of a trek away from downtown but Im getting used to the bus system. After having such an intense orientation period constantly having people around (and being herded from lecture to cafeteria to class to the bars) it was a bizarre, disorientating feeling to be posted in my lone apartment in a new city … and not even able to work out where I am on the map or where others are … and without internet or phone connection! I’m getting used to my location now and it has been great meeting up with the other native teachers. When I was first delivered here I had to go and meet all the teachers and the principle and vice principle of the school (they were all half way through a meal at a restaurant) and it was scary!! because they have all these customs of showing respect to people with authority (the confucian hierarchy) and so I needed to make sure I bowed to the right people, in the right order .. and avoided eye contact to show respect! And none of them can speak English which makes it even more awkward! Its fine though – my principle is a woman (that is rare) and very friendly.. she welcomed me into her vast office today for coffee and we sort of nodded to each other whilst my co teacher translated!

Today was my first day at school – luckily I didn’t have to teach anything on the spot... I spent the day getting acquainted with the school, my desk in the teacher’s room and going to the opening ceremony in which I was presented to the school and just had to bow to everyone. In the corridors I got lots of ‘hello teacher’ followed by giggles! Although I’ve seen some of the text books I still have no idea about what the syllabus will be and how the students will behave … Im hoping they are nice and responsive! It all seems very last minute – I haven’t even seen my timetable yet. My co-teacher Stacy is lovely and there is also another (American) native teacher who has been here for 6 months already – he is very helpful and has made me feel like much less of an alien. We all went out for dinner the other night .. we had pokimbap which is like a huge stir fried pot of vegetables, chicken, rice and spicy things. The Koreans like to eat communally – all sharing out of a big central pot – and that is something I really like! We drank beer combined with ‘soju’ which is some type of wine / spirit – sounds lethal I know!

Im writing this from my local 'PC bang' ... which is where all the local youths hang out .. dark smokey place.. and they play computer games for HOURS! Now they all know who I am and keep coming up to me giggling and saying 'hello teacher'!! I feel like a bit of a celeb!
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nick on

Interesting account which brings back so many memories. Good luck and don't spend too much time hanging out with westerners - just my opinion!

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