Hello Korea!

I have survived my first week in Korea and we are done with orientation! Woo!

From the time I left my grandma’s house to the time I got to the dorm I’d be staying in for the next week, it was 23 1/2 hours! Loooong day! I had that hardest time falling asleep on the plane and maybe got a grand total of 2 hours worth of naps in. It worked out though because by the time I actually fell asleep it was 10:30 at night, which is when I normally go to bed. This made jet-lag pretty much non-existent for me!! Yay!

The story of my first week: medical exam (never again please), new food, lectures, new people, lectures, new food, lectures, a few drinks, lectures, new food, Korean survival classes, lectures, a little fun, lectures, new food, lesson presentation, and comfort food!   Oh, did I mention new food?

Medical exam=no fun! It wouldn’t have been so bad if my veins weren’t so small!

The welcoming ceremony consisted of a lot of talking and then a really awesome percussion group from a local high school. Some boys from Moon-Il High School played the Samulnori drums, which are traditional Korean instruments that were originally used to ensure and celebrate good harvests. They were AMAZING!!

Of the next six days, five of them consisted of lectures… All day long! The first day of lectures was really interesting, then it just got kind of repetitive.

One night, the small group of teachers going to Jeju went out together to a little bar down the street. We had the upstairs to ourselves with heated floors, beer, soju, and some bar snacks (that I came to love and now buy all the time at the market). It was a lovely night of Jeju bonding!

We had one really fun day where we went to The Chansaem Farm Village, which is a traditional teaching village outside of Daejeon. We made cell phone charms, dyed our own scarves (which I later washed-in cold water- and all the dye came out), made tofu, made/ate pajeon (yum!), ate bibimbap, and played some traditional Korean games, such as tuho, neolttwigi, and ring toss (there might have been a Korean name for this, but I’m not sure what it is). No big deal, but I was the champion at ring toss! 🙂

Karima and I playing neolttwigi.

One of our lectures was really fun! Taekwondo training!! It was awesome! I was extremely sore the next couple days. I think I pulled something in my calf muscles. Awesome time though!

We also had one lecture from some women who are from a museum in Seoul. It was really interesting to listen to. The history of South Korea is fascinating! It’s just amazing how far they’ve come in the past 50-60 years. They were one of the poorest countries in the world and now one of the most wealthiest!

The last day of orientation was lesson presentations… Let’s just say it’s very nerve-wrecking giving a lesson, not only in front of your peers, but to your peers. We didn’t fail, but it could have been a lot better!

Now off to Jeju… The land of wind, women, and stone!