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Arrival

The plane landed at around 4:30pm Korea time and a video from UNISEF came on requesting donations to feed the hungry in Africa. From then, the plane made a very easy landing, and I stepped off the plane and into Incheon International airport. The airport is immaculate and upon reaching the baggage carousel, my bags arrived within 5 minutes. At that point, I was faced with a “now what” feeling.

The first thing I did was stop off at the money exchange and switch up my money. The conversion rate is approximately 1,100 won to the dollar. Paper money comes in 1k, 10k and 50k increments. Coins come in 5, 10. 100 and 500 won. I then made my way to the Epik Counter at the far end of the airport. On the way, I passed a 7-Eleven and Dunkin Donuts. The Dunkin Donuts looked surprisingly familiar inside, but most of the products that the 7-Eleven sold were foreign, save the starbucks coffee drinks. At the Epik counter, they provided us with a piece of paper with a number on it, corresponding to a bus # which would arrive in 20 minutes to take us the 3 hour trip to Daejon. While I waited, I was able to stop by an internet kiosk and fire off a quick email to my family saying I had made it safely.

When they called my number, I got on the bus and had my first meeting with other Americans that I’d be spending the next week with at orientation. I sat with Maggie from Wisconsin and Andy from NYC, who would be teaching in Daejon. We talked about our homes, shared our excitement for what awaited us both in the coming week and the coming year. As we entered Daejon, we remarked at all the stores we recognized (pizza hut, starbucks, 7-11) and many we didn’t (Café Bene, Paris Baguette). We finally arrived at the KT Human Resource Center in Daejon at around 8:30, got off the bus and lined up in the main lobby. From there, a nurse walked the line and took each of our temperature with an electric thermometer and we were instructed to tell her if any of us felt sick. From there, we were given our room keys and a nametag on a necklace which we were to wear at all times on campus. We were also given a goody bag containing two hand towels, one shower sized towel with the Epik logo on it, an Epik T-shirt, a plug converter, a network cable for internet in the rooms, and our Epik workbooks, wheh we’d be using throughout the orientation. This was a very professional shiny spiral workbook with about 240 pages. From there, we went off to our rooms.

I got to my room and the first thing that occurred to me was that I had no idea how to turn on the lights. I consulted my neighbor (all the guys were on my floor. Girls on the 2 floors below us), and learned that the keychain fits into a slot on the wall by the door, which activates the power for the lights. So when you leave with the key, all the lights turn off automatically. This helps save on power, which Korea seems to have a big initiative on saving. With the power of light, I took stock of my surroundings; The room had 2 beds, 2 closets, 2 desk with lamps with 2 tubes of toothepaste and a bar of soap on each desk, a network port, a sink with mirror, a bathroom with a toilet and a shower (no bathtub; just a showerhead to the floor with a drain in the corner), a pair of plastic slippers in the bathroom and a pair of floor slippers next to each bed, and finally, a rack for drying wet clothes.

After about 15 minutes, my roommate arrived. Tim is from Philadelphia and is in his mid 20’s. this is his 2nd year teaching in Korea and will be teaching in Busan this year. He was a huge help on giving me tips and pointers on living in Korea. We talked for a bit but it was clear we were both pretty exhausted and we both went to sleep fairly quickly.

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Rob
    August 25, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    I need more!

  2. August 25, 2012 at 7:55 pm

    Loving reading about your adventures, I’m so excited for you! 🙂

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