My First Two Days in South Korea! February 28, 2009 – Saturday

The following is a letter that I wrote to my family two days after I got to my new home in Gimhae, South Korea.

“Well I found and internet cafe! I also got some power adpaters but they seem to be destroying most of my electronics anyways since the plugs here are 210 instead of 110 volts. Oh well I just gotta buy a new alarm clock and electric razor. Sorry if i mispell stuff, the keyboard I am using is written in korean.

The meds I took help my stomach a lot and the plain flight went pretty well. They had those cool video screens for every seat that let you pick what you want to watch at anytime. I watched like 10 movies but never was able to fall asleep 😦 The first flight was running alittle late so I had to make a mad dash though the Tokyo (Narita) Airport to make it to Busan. The school directors (husband and wife team) and the teacher supervisor were all there waiting for me with big smiles. Within 20 minutes I was seated at a Korean BBQ eating thebest tasting pork ribs I have ever had and drinking Soju with my new bosses. They are all very friendly and one of them, the supervisor, used to live in Rancho Cordova and speaks decent english.

After dinner I was dropped off at my new home were I quickly past out watching Korean style “elimidate.” The school director had cable tv put in my apartment at no extra charge because I did not get my VCR! The apartment istelf is on the 3rd floor of a 5 story granite building just a block or so away from the downtown area of Gimhae. I have an essentially full kitchen as well as a Korean stlye bathroom. Ill send pics as soon as I get internet at the house so you can see what I mean. The apartment is about the same size as the one that I lived in in San Diego except that the space is more usable so it feels bigger…. or maybe i just have less stuff? I have a washing machine in the apartment and i suspect that it is also a dryer because I found a lint trap. The buttons are in Korean so I really have no idea yet. The heating system in Korean homes works by, get this, heating up the floor! All the homes I have been to are hardwood and the floors heat up under your feet. Its great because no one wears shoes indoors. I like to leave my cloths that I am going to wear the next day out on the floor so they are nice and toasty when I wake up!

Kids’s College is about 3-4 blocks toward downtown on the 3rd floor of a 10 or so story building. It is all brand new and shiny! I have my own class room that is mine to do with as i please, as well as my own desk. There are 2 Korean teachers and 3 Americans including me. The other two Americans are from Texas and have not arrived yet, still working on getting their visa stuff together. I guess I didnt do such a bad job of the visa process after all! I think they will get here next week. I am told that they are coming together but that they are not boy friend girld friend and will be living in sperate apartments. I think they said the girl is living in my building with the guy in a different one but I could be wrong. My first class will start on monday and will be just kindergarden kids. Should be fun, first days are always easy. My name is Teacher Eddie, whats yours? Ect….

Things I have learned about Korea:
1: Food is spicy! Kimchi is different over here lots more flavor!
2: Main roads have street signs but 90% of the roads are unmarked. I have no idea what my address is yet (you can send mail to me at my schools address for now)
3:There are 4 way intersections where in the USA stop signs would be, but there are none. There is a line on the road as if peopel should stop but no one does.
4: Some people treat red lights as stop signs if it is clear.
5: Street lights give you a yellow light when the light is about to turn green!
6:Everything in Korea is either very cheap or very expensive. However, most things are very cheap!
7:A lot of Koreans know 10 or so English words because they are written everywhere for stlye and often makes little sense.
8: there is a seperate sidewalk lane that is colored red for motor scooters and bicycles to use. However, they also used the streets.
9: Lots of stuff is open very late!
10: I can walk across most of what I undrstand to be the Gimhae area in about an hour and a half. Gimhae pop. 500,000 Sacramento pop. 450,000
11: Korean wan dont come in bills higher than 10,000, or at least that what the banks give out. 10,000 wan = about $8 I think. So my wallent is really fat with paper money.
12: Koreans are big drinkers. Koreans are often called the “irish” of Asia.
13: There are atleast 3 eateries on every single block! This place is full of food!
14: There dont seem to be any “big department” stores. i.e. I had to go to the pillow store to get a pillow and a bedding store to get sheets, though they were right next to each other!

Anyways I dont know how much this net time is costing me so I am going to go. Today is the Korean independance day and I have a lot to do! Shelly, please e-mail this message to the rest of the family, I do not have their address saved in my gmail, its on my computer at home. I will post lots of picks once it get net at home! Ill be checking this e-mail often thoutgh until then so feel free to write! “

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