Trip Start Aug 24, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Korea Rep.  ,
Saturday, September 2, 2006

Hello!!!! Greetings from a korean PC room!!!! Oh man korea gets more surreal everyday! I am currently surrounded by 12 and 13 year old boys playing on the internet. There are only two kinds of children in korea - those who study every waking hour, and those who play in a pc room every waking hour. They do nothing else.

So, how much have i told you? Ok, so, on thursday we returned from training camp which was way more fun than i had expected!! And at 4pm met our teachers! They came and met us, and then we all had to sit thru an hour and a half meeting in korean. Boring!!! It was quite nerve racking though - sitting with these people because we all wanted them to think the best of us. But trying to look entertained after a meeting that we couldnt understand.

One of my co-teachers picked me up (i have three co-teachers), also my vice-principal came along too and the school accountant. Both the vice and the accountant pretend to hate me. But i know they dont. People just keep telling me that they are shy because they can't speak english. Whatever!

So, i was whisked away from everyone in a crazy korean car (where there are hundreds of roads and no rules for driving apart from 'the faster the better - bonus points for hitting people'. My english is getting worse. I never have a normal conversation.

Anyways, i screamed goodbye to everyone as we all got forced into separate cars. I was then taken to my school where i quickly met the principal (as he was driving past me) because we were so late. Again, i know he only pretends to hate me. In korea, you must bow to your senior, so everytime he talks i bow. He is half my height, so i have to double over. Anyways, i was then taken out for dinner by my co teacher = Lee Soo-Jin. She kept testing me and asking what her name was, ofcourse i never remembered! Oh well! Anyways, me, soo-jin and the accountant man (mr kim) went out for dinner to Outback Steakhouse cos i said i hated kimchi!! haha! (for those of you who are unfortunate enough not to have tasted kimchi - it is cold fermented cabbage and chilli's). Not my ideal meal.

So, after dinner me and soo-jin were taken to another teachers house (as my appartment wasn't ready) and so i spent the majority of my first night being stared at. But they said i was beautiful, so it was ok. I slept on the floor with my co-teacher (sureal or what) then the next morning the teacher wanted lots of pictures of me and her child and of me and herself. Strange. So i was sitting in the middle of this woman's living room, with her daughter on my lap smiling at the camera. I could hardly see because i'd only just woken up. But that's being a celeb for ya - never a minute's peace!

Here everyone stares at you then screams 'helloooo!!!!' then laughs hysterically! Thats all they can say in english.

So, friday morning i got up at 6am (yum) and got ready, ate korean food for breakfast and left for school. I went to 5 out of the 6 classes at school. I had to make a speech into a microphone in the morning. It was sooo funny! I had to walk up to the front of assembly and talk for a while - and when i spoke korean they all went crazy!! Everyone clapped ofcourse. I was lucky tho, a few people had to do a live video link to the whole school. Hysterical!!! I was also given a vitamin drink.

So, i have 3 co-teachers and they are all lovely! They are young and giggle all the time. They just make fun of one another! Eventually after my teachers meeting until 5.30pm on friday i was taken to my flat where emma was waiting with mr kim and her co-teacher and vice principal who all seem more reserved than my psycho bunch! So, on friday night we dropped our bags and were whisked off to the shopping mall by soo-jin and miss jo (both my teachers who are little petals). Thank goodness my co-teachers were as full of wisdom as i'd hoped they'd be (during training the answer to every question was 'ask your co-teacher')! We all went for dinner together, then soo-jins boyfriend turned up who proceded to make fun of us, but emma gave as good as she got and he hasn't stopped talking about emma ever since - so soo-jin is worried!! haha! We were in Tesco (its called Home Plus here) from 7pm til 10pm. With our co-teachers!!! Oh man! I feel so bad! But we bought a lot!

Anyways, our appartment!! Oh my! Its lovely!!! We have been told to expect small things, so i was prepared. But its so nice! We each have a mini double bed, huge wardrobe, desk and drawers, tv, fridge freezer (which is bigger than any in the uk) microwave, toaster, rice making machine, washing machine, balcony, shower, kettle, dining room table and 4 chairs. etc etc. Its amazing! We bought two bean-bag chairs last night too - which are the best things ever! So, yesterday morning (saturday morning) we were about to go out and two of my co-teachers (soo-jin and miss jo)and mr kim and a curtain man arrived. The curtain man curtained the whole house in under 3 mins. They gave us some more instructions, then took us to the school where we were going to change cars then go for brunch. But we wanted to check our emails, so we went into my school and met my principal who said he'd take us out for pizza. So, we checked our emails and then went to Pizza Hut with my principal and two co-teachers. The pizza's here are better than back home!

(My writing is all over the place, however thats how I feel right now - everything is so random and just keeps happening - one thing after another!!! So i appologise for lack of flow).

Anyways, after that, the girls dropped us at the mall so we could buy everything we'd forgotten the night before. However this time we hadn't a clue what anything was because its all in korean. And OH MAN! The shopping experience! Being in tesco is like being in an actual market - there are stalls everywhere and people shouting come try come try my live crab! Come try this new kimchi etc etc! Exciting! But the koreans kept laughing cos all we would buy was typical western food. Its amazing how good i feel after eating korean food. I stink to death, but i'm so light and everything!! In korea they don't have ovens. Anywhere. Everything is fried or....boiled i guess.

Anyways, so we got a taxi back to our flat which was fun. We kept saying 'oui' instead of 'ne' which is yes. Bloody language!!!

Then we rushed back into town for 7pm where we met elisha, ed, craig, lyndon, courtney, julie, datinya, sonu and adam. Went for dinner and stuff downtown. Downtown is amazing!!! Full of people everywhere selling everything!!! Poor courtney doesnt even have a flat yet. They havent even found one yet!!! So she's still living with her teachers.

We got the subway then taxi home at about midnight. Our appartment is roughly exactly between mine and emma's school. Which theoretically is lovely, but practically its not! I would prefer it to be nearer emma's, then i could get the subway, or nearer mine, then she could get the subway. This way we both have to walk about 1/2 an hour as we aren't near the subway and its so humid just stepping outside gets you soaking!!! They think we are strange cos we wear jeans and our hair tied back. Here girls mainly wear skirts and ALWAYS wear their hair down. I'll consider it when its cooler!

So, my school is nice and my teachers are fab! Start my first actual teaching day tomorrow, so going home now (its 5pm) to start writing lesson plans. Fortunately its quite strict so i just work mainly from the textbook and then maybe do a wee activity at the end. Its nice cos the kids grammer is perfect - they know more than i do for example what a noun is or a pronoun or a conjunction! But they can't speak a word as they never get any practise!!!!! So thats my job. But my smallest class has 39 children in it.!! I am teaching only first grade of middle school so they are about 13 or 14. Which i think is nicer as any younger and there would be too many to control!

So, they are all quite loud and hyper. Also here, the teachers move class, not the kids. At my school they also eat lunch in class. So i move things from class to class.

I also teach the teachers twice each week!

Good news - have lots of holidays - have about a week off in october (for korean thanksgiving )and nearly 2 months for winter holidays!!! haha! No wonder the kids study so much - they are never in school! Anyways, i get xmas day off, but don't start my holidays til january 1st!!!
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