Friday, August 30, 2013

So Much

So much has happened since arriving in Gangneung on Monday (was it really Monday?)  This week has felt so infinitely long. Future EPIKers, be prepared: it takes time to settle in and if you're an introvert like me, be prepared to feel absolutely exhausted and ready to recharge come weekend time even though you know you should probably be out exploring.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Reaching Gangwon-do

I woke up at 5:30AM on Monday and prepared for the day, heading downstairs with my stuff to charge up my electronics one last time, respond to pending messages, and post about my possible/likely absence from the internet for a while.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Gangeung Middle School, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do, South Korea

And my placement is Gangeung Middle School!

Gangneung is the third largest city in Gangwon-do and is located right in the middle of the East coast.  It is apparently a great city to live in (population approximately 230,000 people) and is connected to other major Korean cities by both bus and train.

I will try to write more about the contract-signing process, but I need to work on my introduction lesson right now.  I'm all packed for tomorrow already and the farewell performance and buffet dinner is done.  It is a sad, but exciting farewell.  Well, the bus loads up at 7:30AM so time to work.

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Friday, August 23, 2013

"We Are Like One Family"

Today was our last Korean Survival Advanced Class.  Heesu gave a presentation on the Busan dialect which is one that many Seoul-ites have difficulty understanding (so much so that a famous movie, 부산 사터리 or ‘Busan Satori’, required subtitles for the lines spoken in a Busan dialect).  Shirley, a native Seoul-ite, provided a contrast.  The differences in the dialects we’re astounding and even hilarious at times.  It was a great presentation!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Hana, dul, set… Foreigner!

If you travel to Korea as a foreigner (read: if you’re not Korean) or as a group of foreigners, prepare to be stared at and have your picture taken… blatantly.

Korea is a very direct society to start with (not impolite! Just direct!), but there is something weird about strange people you don’t know taking pictures or videos of you with their phones, iPads/tablets, and cameras.  If I had 10,000₩ for every Korean person that took our picture today, I could buy myself a royal feast.  Seriously.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


우리말 is a way of saying ‘Korean language’.  The interesting part is if you break this word down 우리 means ‘our’ and means ‘words’ or ‘speaking’, so it literally translates into ‘our words’.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Adjusting - Day Two

Still super exhausted (the jet lag has not yet left), but I'm determined to write a little bit here so I can (potentially) add to it later.

My day in a nutshell:

Monday, August 19, 2013

My First Day in Korea

So I said I’d write some more after a rest and I have some pictures and videos to share.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Hey Seoul Sister!

It's Sunday night here in Seoul and I made it. After about 14 hours on the plane (13 hours and 14 minutes in flight), I made it safely through immigration, baggage pick-up, customs (honey intact), currency exchange, and finally registration with EPIK.  From there I hopped on the bus with a group of girls and we rode for about two hours away from the Seoul-Incheon Airport to Daejin University where we will be having orientation.  The ride reminded me a lot of the Pennsylvania turnpike minus all the Korean.  I'll add pictures, more details, and some video (potentially) later on but right now I'm very tired (I only slept about 1 hour in 30 minutes increments) and kind of sad and scared.  A whole year, but I think I might feel a little better in the morning (or alternatively far more terrified).

Friday, August 16, 2013

Checked In! T-Minus 19h 45'

I will be four hours into my flight at this time tomorrow!  I just checked in online with Delta a little bit ago.  I also got the Delta App on my tablet so I can go paperless... but I'm such an over-planner that I have three copies of my boarding pass printed out anyway.  My bags are all ready, my clothes are laid out, and my documents all gathered.  I just have to charge my electronics and gather my final toiletries.  I randomly stuck a tank-top into my winter coat pocket too so now I have another shirt that I'm taking...

"Close the Happy": The Packing Edition

In 24.5 hours I will be on a plane to South Korea for a year, so now is probably a good time to write about what I packed and how I packed it.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Random Second-Hand Information/Advice Forthcoming

So I've realized through the questions that others have asked, as well as through my own curiosity, that there is a lot of information and advice that a soon-to-be traveler to South Korea may want to know.  I thought about posting all of this information in a single blog post, but I think a page may be a better vessel because I can continually add to it and it's obviously available (i.e., not lost in the catacombs of archived posts).

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Sinking In

What I am about to do is actually (finally) sinking in.  I had my first Korea-related dream yesterday (which basically consisted of me searching for tissues in my purse while I was in Korea - very inane, I know) and I actually woke up excited this morning.

I got this.

I totally got this.

Now if only I had more time to cram as much Korean into my head before I leave so I don't die, but alas, so many other loose ends to tie up here and so many other items to pack and prepare.

Less than 10 days until I'm on a plane...

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Only the End of the Beginning

Last summer I thought I had experienced the best summer of my life serving as a counselor for HSHSP and working on chemical education research.

I was wrong.