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Monthly Archives: February 2010

Hearts and wings commence to beating…

Yesterday we were up at 6am and rushed to Nanaimo airport to wait 2 hours for a flight (that was late) to the mainland. I was getting edgy because we only had a 2 hour window to our connecting flight, but we arrived just in time. The reason for the late plane? A service truck was parked near the air intake of the plane and had filled the cabin with exhaust, and they had to take the time to air it out. Go Air Canada. Our luggage did come off first in Seoul though, and it was a good sign of things to come.

In less than an hour (Korean efficiency?) after landing, we were on our orientation bus headed off the island airport toward the University where we’ll be spending the next ten days in orientation. We headed over the Incheon Bridge (at 21.38 kilometres I’m sure it’s the largest I’ve ever seen,) Incheon Bridgethen eventually made our way to the campus. A quick medical check, gift bag, and dinner later, we were in our dorm room. I was surprised to find that they had us listed in a shared room. Surprising because during the application process they informed us that we would not be permitted to share quarters due to the fact that we were not married.

Today marks our first full day in Korea, and though we’ve been laying low for most of the morning I’m sure all of that will change since they have a full program of classes and orientation events for us to attend over the next week.

First impressions: Everyone has mountains other than Toronto. Vancouver, Kamchatka, Korea. Korea so far has been tidy, organized, efficient and helpful. I know we’re being coddled by our hosts at this point until we adapt to the new environment, but in the details I’ve already noticed little things like the lack of heating in buildings (our room is heated), and the lights everywhere are motion-sensored. Energy is not a natural resource in Korea, and as a result it seems Koreans are more mindful of efficiency and waste.

The garlic they use in their food is much more subtle yet pervasive than in North America, where people seem to think that drowning your food in it equals instant cuisine. That makes it easier to detect and avoid though, because last night I managed to eat something that left me sick for the rest of the night. I knew it was coming though. I knew that the Japanese call Koreans “the garlic eaters” before I even left Canada, and knew that there was going to be a period of adapting where I lose about ten pounds of guts before I figure out what’s safe to eat and what should be avoided. So I am in much-anticipated survival mode.

Speaking of survival mode, it’s now 10:00am and the warm brown liquid they served at breakfast didn’t count as my first coffee of the day, so I’m headed out into my new Korean world to see how I fare with no language skills. But that’s okay. This is coffee we’re talking about, so survival mode suits me just fine.

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Posted by on February 19, 2010 in Life Abroad

 

hi I’m new

At the urging of several friends over several months I have finally decided to do a bit of research and see what blogging is all about. I suppose at this point it is largely to record the daily goings-on of the next segment of my life, which will be lived out in South Korea. I also suppose that my political, social and art-based rants will likely find their way to these pages, since this blog is likely to represent a cross-section of my stream of consciousness, and those matters are often in my consciousness. So if you want to read these pages, you’ve been warned. 😀

But by all means, feel free to join the dialogue. I always prefer people have an opinion, even if it counters mine, than none at all.

For the most part, the purpose of this blog will be to record and report my life abroad for family and friends who might wonder what I’m up to. It will log my life as an ex-patriot and seeker of new inspiration. So let me declare the purpose of my departure:

-To experience living in a culture that is not my own; to remove most of my usual comforts and to shake the feeling of habitual living.

-To seek inspiration for, and begin to write the two new projects I have been outlining in my head for the last year.

-To begin a new career as a teacher.

Currently I am sitting in my mother’s loft in Nanaimo, British Columbia and will depart for Seoul, South Korea in a couple of days. We will receive ten days of training and orientation and from there we will go to our new home on the island of Jeju-do, where this next chapter will begin.

 
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Posted by on February 16, 2010 in Life Abroad