Seoul recap and hello home

Well, as I promised it was a quiet week on the blog front. I was super busy with training week and hardly had a chance to do anything besides eat (mostly convenience store food and gimbap), train, and practice teaching. Even though training was only 3 hours a day, the homework and practice took up a lot of time before and after “class,” and jet lag was a noticeable thing. I’m still feeling it a bit, but I think it’s starting to go away. I did catch a bit of a cold (I hope it’s a cold, WebMD tells me it might be strep or whooping cough) and that’s keeping me from really enjoying Daegu as much as I’d like right now. Also, teaching while sick is the least fun thing ever, even in a fake class.

The last week did sort of fly by for me. I had some incidents on the Seoul metro (almost lost my shoe to the huge gap between the platform and train, got my skirt caught in an escalator, and the many many many times that old ladies scolded me for one thing or another), but honestly there wasn’t too much to note. I only have a few pictures and they’re mostly of food. If you follow me on Instagram you’ve already seen them, so I won’t repost right now.

After I passed training on Friday, they shipped us off to Daegu (there are 3 of us new teachers) and put us on the KTX first class. I swear it did not feel like we were going 220 mph for most of that trip. It went by so quickly! I did take some notes from the ride…

-there is ondol (floor heating)
-free water! We get bottles of it out of a fancy little machine.
-my seat is HUGE. There could easily be another in front of me with leg room for both
-they washed our windows, inside and out, before we left. Fancy fancy.
-they just announced we were 3 minutes behind schedule and apologized for it (I think someone was slow to get on in Daejon). The guy behind me is visibly agitated by this info.
-a monk just got on in Gimcheon!
-no one has even checked to see if I have a ticket yet.
-every time an employee comes in or goes out the door, they give the whole car a little bow.

Again, nothing too exciting. Sorry for living such a boring life here in Korea!

I’m moved in and just about unpacked. My goal is to be all done putting clothes away tomorrow and then do a little video tour. I got the kitchen set up first (big surprise, right?) and I’m slowly moving from area to area cleaning VERY thoroughly. The place was pretty gross (and COLD) when I first got here. I was a little sad, but at least I have a one bedroom and not just a studio.

On a more personal note, I’ve been feeling a wee bit homesick recently. I don’t really have any friends here and it’s hard to get out and meet people when I have such a disgusting cough. I’m also still really tired in the evenings, so I don’t want to go out too late or do anything too wild. Even back in the States, I wasn’t a huge go out and party sort of person, so getting into it around here is really tough. I really like my quiet nights in…I know things will get better once I meet some of my coworkers (I actually went to a BBQ at a bar tonight; it was pretty fun, but I didn’t know anyone there! I’m not so good at just jumping into a new conversation), but I’m just really not feeling it right now.

Ok, that’s all until next time! I’m going to try and do this at least weekly to recap what’s been going on. And next time I promise there will be pictures! Is there anything in particular you’d like to see? My neighborhood? The trash (why??)? Something else? Let me know in the comments and I’ll try and get it up here.

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I’m here!

Well, I’ve been in Korea almost 24 hours! Between Thursday and right now (Sunday afternoon in Korea), I think I’ve slept about 10 hours, and most of those were last night after I arrived. I was just too excited ๐Ÿ™‚

My plane food; mostly for my sister because she wanted to see what it looked like.

My plane food; mostly for my sister because she wanted to see what it looked like.

After a little trouble getting from the airport to the hotel (I tried too hard to follow instructions and didn’t use my common sense), I got in at 11ish local time last night and almost immediately crashed. Unfortunately I was up at 6:30 this morning and couldn’t get back to sleep. It was fine, but I’m exhausted now. I just got back from a nice walk around town and I need to try and stay awake…we’ll see how that goes.

Today I ate some breakfast and then went out for a few hours. I walked around the Gangnam neighborhood a little (where I’m staying) and then braved the Seoul metro to get over to Meyong-Dong. My original intention was to walk straight to theย Namdaemun Market, but I got side tracked by Namsan park and even stumbled into Shinsegae.

Gangnam is a nice neighborhood, but it seemed a little quiet when I left this morning. Maybe because it was Sunday? I’m not sure. On my way back it was hoppin’, but it was nice and empty this morning.

My lunch today; tuna kimbop with soup and kimche

My lunch today; tuna kimbop with soup and kimchi. This was 3,000 Won (about $3 USD) and filled me up for the rest of my adventures!

For my dad: KEBAB! Sadly they were closed

For my dad: KEBAB! Sadly they were closed. I’m sure I’ll find another place in Daegu ๐Ÿ™‚

After Gangnam, I got on the subway and headed towards the downtown area of Meyong-Dong. I was headed towards the market when I saw this amazing view of the mountains from the subway exit. One of the reasons I love “unscripted” travel days is that I get to do things like go wherever I want! I headed over to what ended up being Namsan Park. It was a little crowded with tour groups, but the snow made everything incredibly beautiful. Also, MOUNTAINS! Being from the midwest, those are something totally different for me…

A woman making hotteok on the street- cinnamon and sugar filled pancakes

A woman making hotteok on the street outside of the subway- cinnamon and sugar filled pancakes fried in oil.

Bukchon Hanok Village

Namsan Hanok Village

Bukchon Hanok Village

Namsan Hanok Village

Pots of kimche brewing on someone's roof!

Pots of kimchi brewing on someone’s roof!

I then wandered towards the market (FINALLY!) and was a little excited. There were stalls upon stalls of food, clothes, homegoods, etc. I really think they had everything a person could ever want. Of COURSE I was interested in the food. I saw a ton of people eating fried fishcakes on sticks, hotteok, filled pastries of all sorts…everything! There were even snails ๐Ÿ™‚ It was almost overwhelming with the mixture of all the different smells, sounds, and things to see. Markets are probably my favorite places to visit in foreign countries and Namdaemun did not disappoint. I would definitely love to go back on a weekday, just to see it when it’s REALLY open.

Snails to eat!

Snails to eat in Namdaemun Market!

Along one of the alleyways in Namdaemun  Market

Along one of the alleyways in Namdaemun Market

A food vendor with all the raw ingredients you could ever want.

A food vendor with all the raw ingredients you could ever want.

I ended up exiting (completely unintentionally) right in front of a large Korean department store, Shinsegae. The part I really enjoyed was the bottom floor with the food! There were little areas of the store, almost like different vendors, specializing in various things. There was a fish area, a meat area, a kimchi area, a pastry area, etc. It was great to look around, but unfortunately the prices were a bit high for my tastes (or maybe my tastes are too high for my prices?). If I were super rich and lived in Seoul, this is totally where I would shop.

Fish in Shinsegae

Dried fish in Shinsegae

Also, since I didn’t snap a ton of pics there, I did make this shortย Shinsegae video to show you a little of what it looks like. Yes, I’m in the pastry section ๐Ÿ™‚

Alright, I’m going to try not to fall asleep and then head out to dinner with some of the other people who are here for training. This week will probably be quite busy, so I don’t expect to blog much more. I hope this is enough to hold over until I get to Daegu!