Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Miguk saram eayo

Ah the title of this post is inevitably botched, but it is supposed to say I am an American. It was one of a few phrases Becky taught me while we were waiting in to take our language placement exam. It was the shortest oral exam I have ever taken, as I told them my name, then shrugged my shoulders for a few minutes while they asked me some things in Korean that were completely incomprehensible to me. Hence, Monday I start basic Korean language classes.

Yes, we arrived late last night in Daejeon after a long flight to Tokyo, a layover, a short flight to Seoul, and a car ride to Daejeon--I can't tell you how long that took because I fell asleep pretty much immediately after putting on my seatbelt. Haejung and Simon stopped at a rest stop on the way back--more akin to a mall food court. We had some pretty tasty food. I had something like fried pork with sweet potatoes under the breading. Mmm. Accompanied, naturally, by kimchi, rice, and soup.

This morning we all felt relatively crappy, but took a tour of the Hannam campus which is ...beautiful! Lots of places to hang out and get food. Our language classes will be a 3-5 minute walk from our house. Speaking of which, our house is super! It is huge. We each have our own room. There is a fully equipped kitchen, huge table, very nice living area, 2 bathrooms, and a multimedia room with our wireless internet, wireless printer, and 32 inch flatscreen tv. Not bad, eh? More than we expected.

Today we also opened bank accounts here. I have zero money in that account so far. But I am used to that, so no cultural adjustment needed there. Then we went to a pretty basic, traditional Korean meal with the branch manager and two staff members. I dug most of the food, including the whole fish. Yes, some of the food is too spicy for me. Yes, I made a fool of myself with chopsticks and slippery mushrooms. But all in all, it was pretty smooth. Having been here before, I know what to expect at meals, even if I can't execute them flawlessly.

We have taken the rest of the night easy, except for dinner with Simon and Haejung. I was delighted to be shown that right out our back door was a whole street of inexpensive restaurants that caters to the college students. I got a tasty rice, seaweed, and seafood dish for about $4.50 that will make 2 meals. After all the ups and downs of orientation and the months of thinking about what this year will look like, I am relieved to be here and see that all is well. Simon and Haejung have been talking to us a bit about our potential placements. Sometime next week we will have a reception and meet with some of our partners. But I am very excited by the possibilities. They have a lot of contacts and have a lot of things in mind for us to become involved in.

As of yet, we have not been too affected by the typhoon, apart from some rain. My first typhoon! Off to a good start!


  1. These are so cleverly written. I fantasize...Jenny McArdle future Korean food travel channel host or famous Korean food/culture blogger.

  2. Ummmmmm whole fish, kimchi, seaweed, and mushrooms! Good thing there's a gym so close to let you work off all those calories! My fantasies are just a bit different from Brandon's apparently. Your digs sound fantastic, no more accommodations in the Big Closet for you huh? Swell. Love you loads, can't wait for the next installment. Hopefully your blog has more sustainability than that lousy Hippie One from DSmack.

  3. I will be living vicariously through you for the next year. :) Sounds like you are off to a great start!