Thursday, 3 October 2013

In between then and now

The last time I wrote was back at the end of August. My apologies. I have been settling in to my new home, new city, new country. After two months, I believe I have gotten the hang of certain things. I have gained confidence in communicating and I would like to believe that my vocabulary is expanding.

Here is a recap of some highlights of the month of September:

1) Chuseok. This is one of the most important holiday celebrated in South Korea. They refer it as the Korean thanksgiving. Everyone goes back to where the eldest of the family resides (in most cases, where their halmoni or arabuji are) in order to spend time together. People make and eat songpyeon and kids receive money from their grandparents. 

This year is great. Chuseok allows us to have the day before it and the day after it off. This resulted into a five day week vacation including the weekend. 
We took this time to visit our friend in Anyang and together we also visited the Hwaseong fortress in Suwon. 

Then....I fell sick on Chuseok. Everyone fell sick because of the changing temperature. Despite this, I drugged myself and continued with our plan to go to Everland on the Friday. It was nice. An amusement park geared more towards children but the T express was a nice scary ride.

On the weekend, we were supposed to go to Bukhansan, a mountain north of Seoul, but I was too sick and wanted to recover before going back to work. So we stayed in Ilsan and shopped and saw a movie.

2) Shopping. Always.

3) Finally have a phone plan. We have been living for two months without phones and data plan. Although, you are never short of finding an wifi hotspot in South Korea. Yet, it is a huge relief to know that you have internet at any time. Furthermore, phone and data plans are ridiculously inexpensive here. Canada and the United States should follow suit. My current plan with KT/Olleh is 38$ for 750mb of data, unlimited calls between same network, unlimited text, free wifi Olleh hotspots (subway and buses), and much more. I love you korea.

4) Used Korea Post. I sent to my sister a package for her birthday. After going to the post office to get a box, I proceeded to fill it up with various things that I had picked up since coming here. The post was efficient and I used the EMS services which is supposed to be the best quality/price option. It cost me 29$ but it came with a tracking number that is trackable in other countries' websites and it only took about a week to get there. This was perfect since I didn't realize time was passing by so quick and I needed the package to arrive by my sister's birthday.

This brings us to the month of October where we have another 4 day vacation including the weekend. So this landed perfectly on when the Busan International Film Festival begins. We are headed as I write this to Busan via KTX. I have always enjoyed riding the TGV in France and it feels great to watch the Korean scenery pass by. Next post will be about how this trip goes!

Friday, 30 August 2013

Early morning

It has been 3 weeks since I arrived in South Korea. It is 6:30 in the morning and I can't sleep. Having gone to bed early for work, I have never seen what the streets look like at night. What you don't know is that by night, ilsan is quite lively. Living next to meat street is like living next to Las Vegas. However, ilsan differs from Vegas because even at 6:30, it is still bustling with life. Ajummas and ajussis have woken up early even on a Saturday in order to open their shops and prepare for the day. 

People are stumbling back home after a night well drenched. 

South Korea is treating me well. I am getting more and more comfortable. Coworkers are great and the children, sometimes a headache, are quite the most adorable thing ever. I have come to the conclusion that I have stumbled upon a job which permits me to pinch other people's children's cheek. I am fascinated that people believe I am Korean as I look Asian but nothing like a Korean. 

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Lost in translation

After safely landing in the land of the morning calm, we met our super friendly driver who drove us to our apartment. 
Upon entering it, my eyes were attracted to the biggest piece of furniture in the room...the bed. A big white princess bed to be precise. I love it's gaudiness. In Korea, apartments can be quite small. We have what we would consider back home, a 1 1/2. It feels quite big despite what it is as you will see in pictures below but we are here to teach and to explore Korea. 

[picture of apartment and fluffy bed to be posted]

For those who don't know, I am an avid kdrama watcher. I admire the screenwriters for coming up with thick, entertwined, and enticing plots. After watching a handful, I inevitably ended up learning a bunch of words, expressions, and sentences. Before leaving, I also learnt how to read hangeul. However, I have found that it is a bit harder to communicate. Slowly, but surely. I am hoping to become proficient in Korean.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Up, up and away.

After taking a cab at 5am, we got on our flight to begin our journey. Arriving way too early and being delayed was not too awful. I must say that Air Canada improved and is much more comfortable. With in-flight entertainment for a mere two hours to Chicago, I slumbered off to sleep while listening to LIGHTS' Siberia Acoustic album with live Clearwater lobsters below my feet (wedding present being brought over from Halifax).

Arriving in Chicago with 40mins to spare before boarding on the plane that will take us to Incheon, we find out there is yet another delay. Foolishly thinking it would not be too long, we didn't buy any lunch...not that there were any great selection to choose from.
No matter, after a bit more of an hour of delay, all passengers aboard! Asiana is a pretty decent flight for crossing the pacific. We were offered to choose between a Korean or western meal. Obviously, I chose the Bibimbap and a Korean beer, Hite, for lunch.

With only 4 hours left of flight as I am writing this, I am getting quite angsty and want to get there already.

xox G

Monday, 5 August 2013

I will not be a seoulcialite, I shall be an Ilsanite.

After applying to a million recruiters and a half, it turns out that the best way to get a teaching job as a couple is to post an ad yourself. Michael and I have been waiting for an opportunity to teach in South Korea since roughly the beginning of this year. After agreeing and then rejecting a position in Anyang, we landed on a great contract in Ilsan. 

We are leaving beautiful Montreal for the land of the morning calm this Saturday. Everything happened so quickly once the HR department of our school contacted us. 

This would not be right if I did not start a blog in order to document our travels. I hope I will get to share a lot with my friends and family that will be reading it and to inspire others to take a leap.

Jeongbal Poly we come!

Craft Monday: making my own band tee.