DUDE. I live in Korea.

Well, I’m finally doing it. Coffee in hand, I’m ignoring the fact that my apartment looks like a homeless person camped out here and finally sitting down to start writing. And yes, there’s plenty I should have written about before. So, to simplify and get a quick start, I’m going to keep this short. (Short for me, anyway. Maybe not for you…)

Let’s start with a list of what I consider to be my top ten accomplishments thus far:

1. When checking in for my trip Friday morning at the Indianapolis International Airport, as all passengers must do, I weighed my bags in with the desk clerk. After having spend HOURS the day before packing, unpacking, repacking, weighing the bags, and doing it all over again NUMEROUS times, I’m happy to report that I’m awesome. Bag #1 came in at an astonishingly perfect 50 pounds, and bag #2 followed at an almost perfect 49.5 pounds. I mean, honestly, who’s that good? Um, I AM.

2. Upon arrival at the Seoul-Incheon International Airport, I successfully picked up my luggage. Mind you, somehow during the flight, my largest bag’s handle was crushed internally (as I discovered later) and I could pull the handle out… Which makes transport nothing more than a great, big pain in the ass… I then, with the help of a FREE luggage cart (because Korea is awesome when it comes to freebees), purchased a bus ticket to a travel terminal and rode 90 minutes to my next stop before arriving at my hotel.

3. I met my other two native English-speaking roommates later the next day – Kristen, from Pittsburg , PA and Kaylee, from South Africa. We went out for our first official meal in Korea in none other than the Gangnam district (you know the song, right?).

Kristen, Kaylee, and I posing in front of the now-famous "Gangnam Style" lit up sign on the street.

Kristen, Kaylee, and I posing in front of the now-famous “Gangnam Style” lit up sign on the street.

With some help from the restaurant manager who spoke some English, we decided on a HUGE chicken dish that he told us was very spicy and was “a challenge” because of the heat. We figured we could handle it. MAN, it was crazy hot, but delicious! We dubbed the dish “The Challenge Chicken” in honor of the manager. 

4. Passed my training with 100% on my written test (woo hoo!) and did well mocking a typical class for my [then] future students.

5. Took the KTX “bullet train” from Seoul to my new city, Daegu (also pronounced/written “Taegu”). (See picture #4) Please make note that my trip to actually BOARD the train was more than slightly complicated… Within about ten minutes of arriving in the train station COMPLETELY unaware of what to do and where to go, a little Korean man helped me with my bags and got me on my train. His asking price was 6,000 won, or about $6, which of course I found out afterward. Whatever, I totally needed help, and it was well worth a measly six bucks.

A view from my seat in the train... I was first to board!

A view from my seat in the train… I was first to board!

My new branch manager, TJ, was waiting to pick me up when I arrived in Daegu and helped me with my bags. For free this time.

6. After an entire DAY, I have finally finished scrubbing my kitchen – inside and out – which required an entire container of all-purpose cleaner, two sponges, and about three bath-sized towels. NOTE TO SELF: How you leave the apartment will give the following occupant an opportunity to judge you harshly or with appreciation. The previous occupant here was pretty much GROSS or okay with living in GROSS. Totally NOT okay with Krissi Driver, so I fixed it. And, my judgement stands: the girl who lived here before me was pretty much nasty. 

7. Made the 10 minute walk to Emart, the big-box , Wal-Mart like store that’s near my apartment. Things purchased: Cleaner, sponges, plates, silverware, water kettle, and other small random stuff that doesn’t matter and no one cares about. I spent no less than two hours wandering around , trying to decide what I couldn’t live without because there was NO WAY I would be able to actually get everything I wanted to buy home in one trip.

8. Finally managed to figure out how to get enough hot water for a shower.

Thermostat for the heated floors and the water. You try to figure it out...

Thermostat for the heated floors and the water. You try to figure it out…

9. First day of teaching: DONE. Definitely need to work on my timing, but overall, it could have been so much worse. Also, these kids put American kids to shame when it comes to intelligence: I can have a simple conversation with seven-year-olds about their likes and dislikes, as well as who farted in class (thanks to a group of ELEVEN boys), in a totally different language. We really should take that into consideration. These kids are smarter than ME!

10. And, my biggest personal accomplishment thus far: DECODING the WASHING MACHINE. I’m not quite there yet, but I’m working on it. 

So, there you have it. The last week and a half summed up in ten measly points. Trust me, I’m irritated with myself for not just sitting down and starting to blog. I promise I’ll be better, Reader. I need to check my laundry, as the machine is yelling at me in Korean. Here’s hoping I can get on with the rest of the day and have enough energy to keep this up!


  1. Pingback: i’m winning… at pulling hairs out of my face… and i’m not even 30… | a little bit brave

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