Saturday, September 17, 2011

First Day in South Korea

our kitchen

Ours is the second building on the left

Our "new" double bed

View from the storage room

My Hyundai Sonata Bike

Our officetel apartment building
Saturday, August 20, 2011
We landed at Incheon International Airport at approximately 1:45pm (We were slated to arrive at 2:35) and passed directly through Immigration.  We needed to fill out an Immigration arrival form, which was pretty easy since there was an English translation beside the Korean words.  We then proceeded to get our luggage (all 6 bags of it!) before exiting the secure area.  Here, we had to fill out another form before leaving.
Ann had arranged for someone to pick us up and take us to our new home.  We met the man just outside of our gate as he was holding a sign with my name on it.   He did not speak a word of English, but through sign language, we managed to understand each other and he led us to his van.   The man was very nice and polite.  Unfortunately, we were not able to converse en route to our new dig.
It took about an hour drive to get to Yongin (that’s where we live).  The city is located about 50km south of Seoul.  The driver did not have too much difficulty finding our apartment building.  Thank God cause I would have never been able to find anything.  It’s sooooo big and there are people everywhere.  It was a sensory overload… all in Korean.
We waited about 10 minutes at our building before Ann came to meet us and give us our apartment key.  It was nice to finally meet her… and to speak to someone who actually spoke English!!!  She took us for a walk around our area and showed me where I would meet my co-teacher on Monday.  Then she left and we were on our own again!
Our first impression of our apartment was “Wow”.  Not wow as in “this is amazing” but wow as in “Is this it?”  It is very small.  I will try my best to describe it and I will post pictures later.  There is a small entrance (about 4 x 4) when you come in with a small cabinet, which then opens up to the kitchen area (about 10 by 15).  There is a small fridge, a microwave and a toaster.  There is also a gas stove (no oven) and a single sink with no counter space.  The kitchen also had a large cabinet and a small table but we decided to remodel and move them to the bedroom, which is directly adjoined to the kitchen and is basically the same dimension.  There is a single bed and another large cabinet/closet.  There was also a table/desk and a computer chair.   The apartment also has two sets of sliding doors; one between the kitchen and bedroom and another, which leads to the “porch/storage” area.   This small room (3 x 15) has a washer and a bunch of things that Adam left behind, including my new Hyundai Sonata (it’s actually a bike!) and a clothes rack.   Oh and let me not forget the all-in-one bathroom which is about 3 x 6 and has a toilet, sink and shower all together…  And that was about it.
Jen and I were extremely exhausted at this point because of the time change and what not.  We also felt pretty lost, with no method of communication.   We decided to go buy a few things from the Home Plus market and then grab a bite to eat before tackling the apartment.  We walked to the small restaurant neighborhood Ann had pointed out to us to hopefully find a place to eat where they might speak English.  It was not to be.  All the menus were in Korean and we definitely felt intimidated, having only been in the country for a few hours.  On our way back, we discovered Kraze Burger and decided that this was the place to eat, since all the writing was in English and it seemed like a burger joint.  The waiters did not speak English but the menus had pictures and translations.  WOOOT!  Jason and Jen – 1 , South Korea - 0!!! After one of the best burgers I ever had (which also cost an arm and a leg!) we went back to our apartment and went to bed at 7:00pm local time.  Not bad for a first day, but we were exhausted!

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