Saturday, July 29, 2006

Leaving for Jeju-do!!!

I finished training today and passed! I signed my contract and I'm ready to work! Woohoo!!! I could start as early as Monday, but I still need to go to Japan on my visa run. I tentatively have a ticket scheduled for Monday, but it could be changed.

I'm just chillin' in the hotel room until the taxi picks me up to take me to the airport to fly to Jeju tonight. It's been really funny to see people's reaction when I tell them I'm going to Jeju. They seem to be caught off guard, their eyes get really big, and they usually say something like, "Jeju! Wow! You'll love it there.....I'm not sure if I could live there, it might get kind of boring. But you'll love it!" I really don't know what to expect there, but I think I'll enjoy it. I mean really, I'm not used to living in a big city anyway, and everyone that has this reaction is from a big city. Maybe I should tell them that I'll be fine, it can't possibly be as boring as Indiana. And Indiana's not so bad! Hah!

Friday, July 28, 2006

Seolleung and Online Korean Classes

After training today I went to the park across the street from the hotel and it turned out to be a royal burial ground! It was pretty cool, there were tombs from around the 15th century. Seolleung is the tomb of King Seongjong who began his rule in 1469, but he only lived to be 37 or so. I'm guessing about this sentence since I couldn't read the Korean descpitions, but the building is some sort of ceremonial building and the actual tomb is on top of the mound behind it. It was raining so there were tarps over the tombs...bummer. It was still neat to see these super old things in the middle of the city even though I was soaked by the end of the walk.

I've heard that it is difficult to get a Korean Language class in Jeju so I've taken matters into my own hands and started to train online. It is HARD!!! It really shows how much I hate online classes and online education in general. I need a teacher to answer my questions now, not later! I suppose the class is as well set up as an online class can get though and I'm giving it a shot. It's also got a great section on the background and history of Korea. I've put the link in the Blogroll on your left side, but you can also check it out here at: Korean Studies at Sogang

Thursday, July 27, 2006

I Promise Not To Talk About Food In Every Post

I promise not to put up too many pictures of food. I know it could be like when the campers tell their trip stories....."we woke up and we had oatmeal for breakfast, we did a big portage and had sausage, cheese, and hard-tack for lunch it was good, we got to Lac La Croix and had trail pizzas for dinner it was really good...etc...etc...etc." You have to understand though, that since I'm new to this country, food is one of the things that excites me a lot. One of the things that makes it really exciting is that most of the time I have no clue at all what I'm getting. The other thing that gets me excited is that Korean food is really cheap, and in a restaurant it comes to you faster than at McDonalds. The biggest thing about the roll in the picture is that I picked it up for lunch at the corner convenience store, and it only cost about $1.00!!! That thing is huge and dense! True, that's not exactly high quality meat in it, but who cares! It filled me up and was better than yet another ham sandwich. I'll bet that roll would cost at least $5.00 at Kroger. Don't confuse it with Japanese sushi though, it's got cooked meat in it, which I guess would lower the price a bit. Anyway, I was happy at lunch today.

Training was good. I feel like my practicing last night and this morning paid off for the test this afternoon. Tomorrow and the next day I learn how to teach a different type of class. I personally am really liking the program my company, CDI, teaches. The curriculum is spelled out for you to the smallest detail. For a relatively inexperienced teacher like myself, it will really help guide me. We'll see how it goes when I actually start teaching. Speaking of, I've got a flight to Jeju booked for Saturday Evening!!!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Hotel Cape Town (aka "Is that bed just a fitted sheet over a slab of concrete?")

The photo above is the hotel that I'm staying at. It's the Hotel Cape Town in the Gangnam district of Seoul.

The training today was pretty intense. The trainer, Julie, was pretty full on. I guess I could say that she kinda kicked me in the butt and made me realize that this is gonna be a 'real' job. There's no room for slacking when you're in the classroom. It's a good thing though, this is just what I need to get out of the lazy liftie mindset. At the end of the training we had the grammar test; I was really scared of it, but apparently I passed! Woohoo! I was so nervous taking it. My hands were shaking and it was funny that the first thing that came to my head was that I wished I could have a beer to slow them down! It was like I was trying to ask the girl I've had a crush on out for a date! I guess it's just been a long time since I've taken a timed test that mattered that much.

This afternoon, I tried out the subway. I went from here, Gangnam, to the City Hall. It took a lot longer than I thought it would, but it really wasn't too bad. My only trouble was that when I put my ticket in to leave, it wouldn't let me! I didn't know what to do! I had the agent guy help me the first time it happened, but I didn't figure it out because it happened again on the way back! That time I just snuck out. Anyway, maybe I'll just have to have someone else show me.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

I Made it to Korea!!!

Well, I finally made it to South Korea! There'll be no photos this week, the hotel I'm staying at has a computer, but I can't hook up my camera to it. Maybe I'll add some in later.

The flight over here was extremely boring. I spent a total of about 20 hours travelling time. The flight itself wasn't too bad but I had a tough time sleeping. I just couldn't get comfortable I guess. I got to watch a couple of movies. One was a pretty good South Korean film called "Over the Border." It's about North Korean who crossed into South Korea but had to leave his fiancee behind. I guess I mostly liked it because the main character was a horn player.

I'll be in Seoul this week for training before I move to Jeju Island next week. Its kinda weird because I'm pretty much the only one in training, so I'm kinda stuck to figuring this city out by myself. This is pretty tough for me since I'm not used to being in a big city in the first place, and I can't talk to anyone or read many signs. Well anyway, the first thing I figured out is that Korea does not use daylight savings time like my clock on my Ipod thought, so I woke up an hour earlier than I expected. Another thing is that there are a lot of Dunkin' Donuts places around here and they're really posh. So I spent a couple hours reading a book in the one at the building before training. Just so you know, Dunkin' Donuts is every bit as good here as it is back home too. (in your best Homer voice, say 'Mmmmmm....donuts.....') The actual training was fine, it was mostly a reminder about grammar and such. Things like, past participles, infinitives, clauses, gerunds, and all those other things you never remembered from Mr. McCarthy's 8th grade middle school class.

So I'm staying in this hotel room about a block away from the training building. At first, it kinda seemed like one of those seedy hotels like Tom Hanks first goes into in the movie 'Big.' Its really not too bad though. Its kinda small, but I don't need much space by myself. I have a hard time trying to figure out the light switches and remote controls for the A/C and TV because they're written in Korean, but other than that, it's fine. There's an alcove at the entrance to the room where you're supposed to take your shoes off. People kinda freak out when you don't take your shoes off. Oh, and I swear that the bed is just a fitted sheet over a slab of concrete! It's pretty ridiculously hard, I think my thermarest is 10 times softer than this bed. I hope the bed in my apartment isn't like this!