Monday, July 4, 2011

Up in the Clouds

Yesterday was so foggy, I could barely see the ground from the window of our dorm on the 5th story. I couldn’t see the buildings or the ocean in the distance. It was like we were living in the clouds. It was a good day to be cloudy because we really didn’t do anything. I woke up without setting my alarm (still woke up at 9:30) and then took a shower and watched the latest episode of “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” with Corbin before going down to eat lunch. And guess what we had? You got it, rice and kimchi, like always. This was mixed together so it kinda tasted like Mexican rice, but without the cheese sauce. And I never drink anything with meals because it’s always hot green tea, which I have never acquired the taste for. I ate until I was full, and then ate the yogurt for dessert.

Then we went back up to the rooms and I took a nap for awhile. Then we decided to order pizza. Sounds easy enough, right? Nope. for Korea is in Korean and it wouldn’t translate because my computer thought the words were pictures and not letters (I guess from how they set the website up). So after about an hour of trying this, we went downstairs to the computer lab to see if there was anyone who could help us. The two students in there were watching an online lecture so we didn’t want to bother them. Then a girl came in and we kinda pounced on her. She ordered us a large cheese pizza and told us (we played charades) on where to wait for it to get delivered. We had to walk down the 93 steps and we waited for the delivery man to bring us the pizza. I’m telling you, I’ve never had a better pizza.

So all in all, we basically did nothing worthwhile yesterday because we thought the buses weren’t running to go down the mountain, but we later found out (when we could see the bus through the fog) that it was running but it was too late to do anything by then. I had a nice, relaxing day, something I needed because from today on, it’s going to be jammed packed with activities. I’m so excited about the things I’m going to get to do.

Today we had orientation. Our buddies met us at the dorm at 10:30 and we rode the bus down the mountain to the building where we are going to be taking all of our classes. There are 8 girls and 7 guys (the Irish guy got sick and isn’t coming). The other American is a ethnically Korean guy from California. He already speaks Korean so that’s a good thing. The English people are cool. I could just listen to them speak for hours. One of the people said the same thing about listening to us speak southern so I feel kinda good about that J. Our teacher told us about the history of Dong-A University (which means Southeast Asia, btw) and we went over the rules. The basic no guys in the girls rooms, curfew, what’s allowed and permitted, etc. Then we ate lunch in the professors cafeteria. There was lemonade!!! It was brown but tasted wonderful. We ate green beans that had little baby shrimp in them, shells and all. I’m getting better at the whole chop-stick thing, luckily.

Then we got on a bus and toured the three campuses from Dong-A. The first one we went to was the medical and the art and music school. The second place was social sciences, and law. And the main campus has everything else. We went on “hike” through a park. I was wearing jeans and flip flops so that was interesting. It was beautiful, though.

Then we went to the equivalent of Walmart, which is 5 stories and is like a mall in one store. It’s overwhelming. I brought bread and coke. And that’s it.

Then we went to a buffet restaurant that had Chinese and Korean food. It was delicious!! I liked that I had a lot of choices. We’re going to be going to a kindergarten (think preschool for 5-6 year olds) next week and reading them a story and doing a few activities with them. We got in three groups and decided what we wanted to do. I think my group is going to do a Pororo (Dora-ish penguin character here) and make masks and tambourines from paper plates. The kids aren’t going to speak English, so we are going to have to rely on our buddies for all that. I’m excited though.

I am now back in the dorm rooms and about to go to sleep. Let me tell you about the shower, just in case I haven’t, which I might have already. Our bathroom is a toilet, and a sink with a spray thing on it which you shower with. You stand at the sink and shower. It’s the most awkward thing ever and you get everything wet. We have to keep the toilet paper on the high shelf and it’s always damp.

As much as I might be complaining, I am having a blast. I’m just amazed at how different everything here is than what I am used to. The food, language, culture, and everything in between. This is a wonderful learning experience and I feel like I’m learning more than just Korean language and culture. I hope to become more self-reliant, more confidant in myself, more understanding of other people, and just a better person in general.

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