Settling in to life in Incheon, South Korea

…Korea so far…yeah..

The most difficult things I have encountered so far were getting trash bags right, getting a fitted mattress for my bed, and getting a computer cord. The things yet to come? Figuring out how the bus system works, getting online banking when I get my Alien Registration Card,  and learning some Korean. I want to learn the alphabet first, and I hope from there that I will get around just a little easier.

I will have 6th grade, 4th grade, and 3rd grade students. Each class is about 40-45 minutes, and I have at least 4 classes every day. On  Fridays, I have 5. Every two weeks, I was told I will have to do some kind of English club after school on Fridays. I work 8:30-4:30 every day, and I’m not supposed to work any weekend unless it is something important.  It is about 20-25 minutes of walking from my apartment to my school. As I said above, I haven’t figured out the bus system yet, but it would cut my commute down somewhat.

I really like my apartment. The table is pretty decent but the chairs are really worn down and not in the best shape. I have a couch, but it’s an awkward two-seater. When I have more money I might look into buying a new couch, depending on the cost. Not sure how I will get rid of the old one, though. Unfortunately, there was no TV in here when I moved in, so I have to wait for that. The first day I was out of the hotel, my co-teacher took me to apply for  my Alien Registration card. That was September 6th, and it won’t be until September 26th at the earliest before I can get internet banking and stuff squared away….such a long wait!

There have been times where I think it is funny to be one non-asian person in a crowd of Koreans, but sometimes it is lonely. I miss my friend back home, but not that I want to go home…I want to drag them here for my own selfish comfort 😛

Right now it is the Chuseok holiday, which is a National Holiday (think Korean Thanksgiving)  on Monday and Tuesday. I get Wednesday and Thursday off because of the school. It’s great and all, but after I finished unpacking I began to feel lonely. This is a time when most Koreans visit their families in whatever part of the country they came from. Incheon is not empty by any means, but the two  nice teachers (not my co-teachers) that I met are both out of town right now. I like the people I met at orientation, but most of them like to go out and drink or go clubbing and then drink. Nothing against them, but that has never been something I have felt compelled to do, ever. I am not impressed when someone can drink their weight in alcohol. What I really want are some travel buddies, or people to go to bookstores with and coffee shops. I’m an idealist in some ways, because the international lifestyle attracts a lot of social people who like clubbing and drinking. It’s how they get to know people. Well, not me anyway 🙂 I have started to meet people though, and I would rather have a few close friends than 70 semi-close party friends.

I have never been a teacher before, so making this fun and interesting for the students will be really tough and nervewracking. The cool part, though, is that if a lesson doesn’t work for the first day, I can change it before the next day’s class of whatever grade it is, and experience some trial and error. It <i>doesn’t</i> have to be perfect. No one has explicitly said that to me, but I get the vibe that if I try my best at this, I will be doing all right.  My biggest beef is that my main co-teacher hasn’t been very much help to me. I will be persistent, but she’s not very willing to help. Fortunately, I have help in other places, but it <i>is</i> my main co-teacher’s job to help me get settled in, to the best of her ability.

I’m not the best at interior decorating…at all. Once my TV comes in, I’m going to try and get suggestions for ways to spice up the place. I hope someone might have some good ideas 🙂



7 thoughts on “Settling in to life in Incheon, South Korea”

  1. everything will work out for the best, my dear brookeface 🙂
    you’re going to do amazing and once you get settled in, this will turn out to be an amazing experience.

    and as for your non-asian surrounded by asian dilemma, it could be worse…
    you could be an asian fish out of asian water. it would be worse if i was there because everyone would be expecting me to know korean and i’d be like ” o.O uhhhhhhh” 😉

  2. I know it will 🙂 I am looking forward to the being-more-established part 🙂

    I know exactly what you mean! In the books I was reading….People would expect you to know some of the language, and even if you did, they wouldn’t be as impressed as they would be if I knew it..though you would have a greater chance of being accepted in the society as a whole. Korea is like the most homogenized nation in the world, or very close to it.

  3. Great to see how you are doing and what is happening.
    I think you are GREAT for doing this. Really amazing!
    I am convinced that you will not only manage, but will excel at it!

  4. Brooke, you are going to be fantastic. It is going to to be rough at first, for sure. But I KNOW you of all people can do it! And even though you are very far away, you have a huge support group back home that will do anything for you! Always thinking about you!

  5. Oh man, I’m going to feel so sketchy after posting this but we never got around to meeting at orientation and after you FB added me, I decided I could get to know you by reading your blog (sorry!). I like going out at night as much as the next person, but I prefer hanging out in coffeehouses and seeing interesting places too (there are a few of us I’ve found!) so if you ever want to chill and want to make a new friend let me know!
    Meg (Megha Hirani on FB)

  6. PS: Btw, I hear you when you mention the non-clubbing gene, I am in there with you. Always have, always will be. I like cinemas, theatres, restaurants and cafes.
    I wish I could share the experience with you, I might have to find myself a new country to live in for a while 🙂

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