Week 15

Banking in Korea still boggles my mind after six months… my American bank doesn’t care that my password has consecutive numbers but my Korean bank requires me to have no repeating letters or numbers, no consecutive numbers, not have the same numbers as my national ID card, phone number, or bank account number ~AND~ requires me to set up a digital security certificate. That’s only to bank on my phone; to use my laptop I have to use Internet Explorer (eeeewwwww) and download a shit ton of “security” software – which I did download but it tells me, in Korean, there’s a problem so I don’t even bother trying anymore. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Thursday:  I’m such an idiot. I left my bag with my house key at a restaurant but I have my wallet and phone… My coworker tried to call the restaurant owner but he didn’t answer. So, I had to ask my landlady to unlock my door and will have to have her son lock it for me in the morning when I go back to get my bag…

Friday: I had to leave my apartment two hours earlier than normal so my landlady’s son could lock my apartment. I went to the restaurant but they were still closed. So I decided to use this time wisely and go to the ENT doctor because my throat had been hurting, I was having chest pains, and coughing up mucous. I have bronchitis probably caused by air pollution. Woohoo. So I’m given a bevy of different pills to take. But to make my shitty day better I pet the nice street cat.


Saturday: I’m at Korean class and have no idea what’s going on because I missed last weeks class in lieu of the music festival I went to. During our break between halves of class my classmate comes up to me and gives me a backhanded compliment of, “Britt you are beautiful but a bit fat – please don’t eat these snacks and go on a diet.” My response: I know. Later during class I caught him blatantly staring at me and I said “why” and he was just like  ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)  being a creep.

After walking around HomePlus, I went home and cleaned – deep cleaned my apartment. I washed so much laundry; mostly linens. During this time, I got thirsty for grape juice and walked to the convenience store. The clerk there was really inquisitive about why I was there, what I was doing in Korea, and general questions of that nature.

Today: I refused to get out of bed. I finally did because I was hungry and also wanted to see about getting an eye exam and new pair of glasses. My prescription hasn’t changed in the last four years so that’s good to know. I got an exam and my new glasses in under thirty minutes. The optician, like the man at the convenience store on Saturday, was really curious about where I was from, why I’m in Korea, how long I’ve been here, and how long I intend to stay. I enjoy this new found curiosity but it makes it a bit awkward because the default to those questions is – where are you from, what about you… well these people are obviously Korean.

Until next week,

B

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Week 8, 2017

Monday our new teacher arrived at campus! That means I have been in Korea for ~six months~ it doesn’t feel like that long in some ways and in others it feels longer. The new teacher went with the current head teacher, who is leaving us on Tuesday :(, and I to get lunch and look around the area of our school. The new teacher informed me that she, along with the two new teacher at the Avalon down the road had read my blog. This was a shock to me as I never thought about anyone other than people I actually know reading this…

Later, my class of girls figured out that you can still take photos and videos even if my phone is locked… here is some of their artistry:

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I got another sinus thing this past week and it cleared pretty quickly…I take vitamins and eat more fruits and vegetables than I ever did back home, but I still get sick. 😦

Everyone has been anxious about the end of this term and wanting to plan for next term. We all just wanted to know what classes we’d be teaching. We got a semi-final schedule on Thursday and I was satisfied with it. Then scheduling errors had to fixed and we got a new schedule on Friday. I am so nervous! I have to teach the babies of the beginner level on three separate occasions.

Friday night we went out to a steak dinner and went to noraebang (karaoke) and sang our hearts out for Andrea’s last Friday hurrah. It was very fun. But also odd that the noraebang had many cats in the hallway living in cages…


Yesterday I worked in the morning for open class. This is where we have mock classes with kids to show them how classes will be if they sign up. As usual, there seems to have been misunderstanding and miscommunication about timing and supplies. While I was at work repairmen came and fixed my boiler so I now can have hot showers! ❤

I started a painting… not sure about it. I’m not confident in my painting skills like I am in drawing. I’ll post a photo of it when it’s completed.

Today I met the new teacher, Asia, and we went to Suwon Station and walked around Lotte Mall. She bought some things she needed and we looked around. We found this awesome juice shop in the basement of the department store and it was so delicious.

Here’s a scary Snapchat video I took.


Until next week,

B

I’m so sick of being sick

Well, I’m still sick. Tonsillitis has been kicking my ass for the past three weekends now. Along with sinusitis and double ear infections that have milder than usual. You might be asking yourself, “but Britt I thought you had a tonsillectomy after high school…” and to that I’d respond, “I did but I’m apparently a salamander that can regenerate removed lymphatic tissue…” Totally uncool, right? Especially since I talk for a living. I’ve made friends with the good people at the ENT clinic – and I’ve found that Korean health insurance is pretty cool to have.

However, when I went to bed last night I noticed that I was developing hives. The last time I went to the doctor, my penicillin allergy must have gotten lost in translation so I made sure to confirm with both the doctor and the pharmacist that I was not receiving a type of penicillin. The good news is my nose and throat feel pretty normal now and it’s just my ears that are being bothersome – which is pretty much me back to normal…but with hives all over my body. On the way to work today my lips were swollen and throbbing and I probably looked like I’d come fresh from the plastic surgeon.

I worked on Thanksgiving which is nothing new to me because I’ve worked in retail. But here, it just seemed like another day because why would Koreans celebrate American Thanksgiving. Our company organized Thanksgiving dinners for us and that was really nice. Although, “Black Friday” seems to be a thing here but is not confined to one weekday but the entire week of American Thanksgiving. Curious, right?! I was a bit confused when I was walking around seeing shops with signs that said, “Black Friday Sale 11/23 -11/26.” Neat, huh?

I realized I need to mix up my food acquiring as I went to a restaurant on Wednesday and the owner, who isn’t even there all the time, knew what I wanted to order before I even got to the counter. Also, it probably helps that I’m not Asian and am glaringly different than 99.9% of the population here. I didn’t know whether to be flattered or embarrassed.

Next week on Thursday, we’re starting the winter term at school. I have been in South Korea for 1/4 of my contract now. My coworker Sean and I moved desks today to be in the Director’s Room which segregates us from the other teachers. This past term two Korean teachers were in there so it’s the foreigner’s turn this semester. We were joking about how we get to be to “those people” who have to pop in to the teacher’s room to say hi when we arrive now. I feel that since I’ll be desk neighbors with him, he’ll keep it hilarious, lighthearted, and entertaining.

Random Things:

  • One thing I’ve found beneficial to living in a studio apartment is that you can’t really walk to another room and forget why you went there… I can effectively see my entire house from my bed and don’t really forget stuff like that anymore.
  • Ondol (온돌)  water based Korean in floor heating, is amazing and I love to lay out the clothes I’m going to wear the next day on the floor so they are nice and cozy when I wake up.