Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Here I go again...

Hello All!

There is much in the way of updating to do. I suffered from a sever lack of internet for my first few days here in South Korea and therefore could not tell you all about my long and arduous journey to the other side of the world.

But, on retrospect, the journey was really neither arduous nor particularly long, at least compared to some of the flights I have taken. Hell, I remember several trips to Alaska that took a few hours longer with more sticky layovers longer.

So, I am in Korea. South freaking Korea. Mere miles, like one or two, from the North Korean border.

You can actually see North Korea from parts of the campus.

The school is pretty interesting and innovative. It is something like a camp for students of different schools throughout the province. They come for a week as part of a school trip to use and improve their English skills. We teach them using a variety of different classes and subject matter.

I will be teaching cooking within the school of science.

Please, focus on the irony of me teaching cooking.
Me, teaching cooking to children.

Me, alone in a room with 15 Korean children, with weak English skills, a countless number of gas stoves, and pointy pointy knives.

Guesses on how many fingers I will lose this year?

This week I am doing a lot of shadowing and training. Learning all about this place, getting a feel for the rhythm, understanding the rhyme.
Meeting far too many people and forgetting most of their names within moments of the introduction.

There are many weird things about this place.
About this country.
In the coming days I will do my best to tell you all of them.

My next big adventure has officially begun!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Where the hell is my camera?

While driving around downtown Atlanta I saw something that made me wish I had not left my camera in another state.

Sho Nuff Seafood

A resturant. With bars on the windows, peeling paint, and broken glass littering the parking lot.

One hell of a name.


And so it begins.
My life abroad is fast becoming a reality.
Just a little more waiting left to do.

But, instead of waiting for the mysterious day when my visa information comes, I am now waiting for the weekend to come.

This weekend I will be leaving.
This weekend I will be packing up, heading out, and landing in a foreign land.
This weekend I will be starting my new employment as an English teacher in Korea.
This weekend my world once again changes.

Enough of the future. Let’s talk about the present.

To finish the processing of my work visa I had to drive the long haul to Atlanta, Georgia* to present my passport. The Embassy people then take two days to stamp a page, making it legal for me to work in Korea.

Until they are done with my passport, I am stuck wandering around Georgia.
Thursday at 10:00 am.

I know people in this part of the country. Unfortunately, they are not answering their phone.

Today I think I will see the sights that this city has to offer. Maybe check out downtown area.
The coke museum.

Maybe a movie or shopping.

I guess my adventure starts now…

*This drive taught me something. Georgia is the tacky-ist state I think I have ever seen. Long stretches of the interstate are littered with florescent signs advertising for any number of pecan farms and peach orchards.
Bright and shiny billboards.
Burning my eyes.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

A day or two ago I loaded up my car to head out on the highway.
Starting at 11:00 at night, I made my way down to south Florida. My 15 hour way.

During this arduous journey I learned several things.

I will never again drive during daylight hours. I have always attempted to start long journeys at the crack of dawn, or at least at the crack of noon, thinking that night driving is a foolish thing. That daylight makes the journey easier and possibly faster.
That thought process is completely incorrect.
There is no traffic in the wee hours. I drove strait though Atlanta without hitting the congestion and maniacal drivers that that city is so known for.
Plus, instead of growing tired as the sun was setting, I was actually perking up after 10 hours when the sun began peaking over the horizon.

Truckers are effing nuts. Once the sun sets and the bars close truckers take over the road. They own stretches of pavement. You cannot compete. You should not even try.
But you can moon them while driving 80 miles per hour. It makes things interesting.

Each state smells different. I can’t explain this one. It’s just true.

It doesn’t matter where in the country you are, if you are searching the radio you will only find bad country music and fuzzy talk radio.
Every now and then I thought I hit pay dirt with something more in the rock or alternative genre. But as soon as the promising song ended the radio either lost signal or the following tune was whiney country focusing on Jesus (and a dead dog, of course).

I like kittens*.

My car has terrible gas mileage. The kind that requires many stops at many gas stations. Which is fun when you make up games like “Count the teeth on the Redneck” while cruising through some areas of the south.

I can go 3/4ths of a tank of gas between pee breaks. My bladder is hard-core.

After driving for 15 hours strait, the prospect of a mere 14-hour plane drive sounds positively wondrous.

Now I am in the hot and humid sunny South Florida. Beaches not too far away and a pool right outside the backdoor.
I have yet to actually see either of them having been too busy napping and shopping.
Such a tough life I lead…

* The kitten thing is a total lie. I just wanted to work those fluffy little devil balls in somewhere.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Tic toc goes the clock

I got the job.

The one I wanted just outside of Seoul, South Korea in a town called Paju.

I signed a contract.

I will be teaching English and a smattering of Science to Korean children.

I am now playing the waiting game, again. Waiting for my work visa to be processed so I can get a plane ticket and soar away from here.

The clock is ticking. Counting down.
If all goes well and timely I should be starting my first day of work on the 20th of this month.

Now comes the shopping. What does one take to Korea? Two suitcases will hold everything necessary for the next year of my life. Which is a daunting task considering I am the type to over do and those pesky pack-ratting tendencies.
A part of me wants to say “to hell with this packing nonsense!” and leave with nothing more than an extra pair of skivvies and my laptop bag.

Of course, I know this to be a ridiculous idea. One that will not actually happen.
Not likely anyway.

I mean, that would be crazy, right? Leaving with nothing. Flying by the seat of my pants?
Flying away with no pants?

As time gets all ticky and my procrastination grows the idea of leaving everything behind becomes much more interesting. And practical.

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