Friday, August 29, 2008

Getting settled.


Sorry for the absence...we've been having some internet issues that are finally settled. We now have wireless in our little apartment and are set up for the next year. (Granted I have no idea when or where the bill will come to, or even if I will be able to read it, but we'll cross that bridge when we get there.)

We are now living in Cheonan, a town about an hour south of Seoul by car or train, or only 37 minutes if you take the bullet train that goes 175 miles an hour. The Cheonan Train Station is only a $1.80 cab ride from our apartment. Cabs are CHEAP here. Needless to say, Seoul is very accessible on weekends, but we'll probably be spending most of our time here in Cheonan during the week. It's not a small town though, about half a million people live here. We haven't been able to explore a whole lot yet since we've been getting settled into teaching...but it seems like we definitely won't be bored living here.

Our apartment is nice, and even bigger than I thought it would be. I miss the luxury of a dishwasher, microwave, oven, and dryer, but I'm learning how to cook with only two burners which is going alright. We have a lovely wall covered in pink daisy wall paper, which Keith is just crazy about. I'm just disappointed because after one year of starring at that wall, there's no way daisies can be my favorite flower.

Teaching is also going well. I really like the school that I work for. It's very structured and very challenging for students. I feel guilty about how much homework I give them, but I just follow the curriculum. You would be amazed how young some of these Korean students are. They are reading and writing English, summarizing essays, and answering questions with a broad vocabulary almost as well as any other 4th grader, whose first language is English, not Korean. They truly are amazing students and I can already tell that they've worked for years to get to the point that they are at.

Adjusting to living in a foreign country always has it's moments of humor when you realize that you really have no idea what you're doing, but it is all a part of the adventure of living abroad. Here are a few highlights from the last week or so...
  • When I open firefox on my computer, it automatically goes to Google, which is my home page. The problem is, the entire page, with the exception of the word "Google" is in Korean and I can't figure out how to change it back to English permanently because I can't read any of options. (I'm sure there is a way to fix this...but I'm not the most computer savvy person out there.)
  • Walking through the grocery store yesterday, we were trying to find pepper. Things are organized differently than we're used to, so there isn't a central "spice" isle where it is easily noticeable. For example, I found salsa between two jars of spaghetti sause. I guess both have tomatoes, so that is logical, just not standard for what I would consider normal. Well, we still have no pepper because very few things in stores are written in English. It really is humorous every time we try to shop because it takes a LONG time to figure out what is what.
  • We have a bus stop right across the street from our apartment, which is wonderful. The public transportation system is incredible here, even though we're in a smaller city. When the bus drives by your stop, you have to be standing up next to the bus sign or they won't stop for you. If you're sitting under the covered bench, it doesn't matter, they are not going to stop. Well, once you step onto the bus, the door behind you closes IMMEDIATELY and the driver takes off. You have to grab onto the closest rail to hold onto or run to a seat because they do not wait until your sitting down. Once you're on the bus, it amazes me that they drive just as crazy as the taxi drivers, even though it is 10 times the size of a cab. We're going like 60 mph, passing little cars, and we're not even on the highway. Keith and I watched as one woman hit the "next stop" button, and the driver pulled over to let her off. She still had one foot on the bus when he started driving away. It looked like she was jumping off a moving train in an old western movie. EVERYTHING is fast paced here.
  • The other day, we needed to take a bus back to our apartment, but we didn't have any small bills for the bus fare. So, we went into Krispy Kreme to buy a donut and get some change. (Yes, there is even Krispy Kreme in South Korea.) Most of the donuts are similar...of course they have the classic glazed donut and it tastes exactly the same. But they also have a couple of different green donuts, made with green tea. It puts a little Asian twist on the Krispy Kreme phenomenon.


Well, I think that I should get ready for work. Again, I'm sorry for the absence, but we should be much better about using our blog now that we have internet at our apartment.

Please feel free to send us an e-mail...
meganpardue@gmail.com
keithpardue@gmail.com

Also, here is our address. Our mail has to go my school address so things should ONLY be addressed to me, and not to Keith, for the sake of not confusing the non-English speaking staff. However, if you would like to send something just to Keith, just make a note on the inside...this is for Keith, or something like that, but still put Megan on the outside of the envelope.

Megan Pardue
c/o CDI
4F #963 Buldang-dong Cheonan-City
Chungnam, Korea 330-230


That's right. Our neighborhood is called Buldang-dong. It's awesome.

Meg

P.S. More apartment pictures to come and cool pictures of us doing awesome things as soon as we are not working...which so far...is basically what we've done.
Posted by Megan and Keith at 10:26 AM |  

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