Friday, August 26, 2011

Orientation and the Mystery Can

It was quite a long day with breakfast at 7:30 am and the last class ending at 9 pm. The staples of breakfast, lunch and dinner are rice, some soup and, of course, kimchi. It's taking me awhile to get used to kimchi. Who knows... I might end up craving it someday!

Today I had my first official day of orientation. We  discussed classroom management strategies and learned about Korean etiquette and culture. The speaker used an iceberg analogy to describe Korean culture, because much of the culture is "invisible" to outsiders. He emphasized the group mentality of Korea and that a way in to a group often requires an invitation from a group member. This insight will no doubt be helpful in establishing relationships in the school. I have two more days to go before I see my school for the first time... and my apartment. Definitely excited to find out where I'll be placed.

Time for "Guess the Can"...
So, beside the telephone is a rather innocent-looking spray can. I say, innocent, well, because it's the only can in the room. Okay, the red top may be a warning of sorts.

The Mystery Can

When I arrived yesterday, I really didn't think too much of the can. I thought it was a stain remover for your clothes or something. But, I learned today that it is, in fact, cockroach spray. I haven't seen any of those buggers yet, so hopefully that means this stuff really works. I'll keep this picture as a reference for dealing with moving things in the night.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Made it to Korea

After a frantic night of packing... yes, trying to fit a year supply of clothes into two check-in pieces of luggage and two pieces of carry on was by no means easy... I made it onto the plane and am now in Seoul, Korea.

Interesting Tidbits...
 My flight to Incheon departed from gate 52D in Vancouver. I found gate 52, which at the time was 52C but was informed that it magically turns into 52D with the next flight. Who knew? I guess there was a reason the "international" sign ended there and the sign for "US Flights" started.

How was the flight?
The first flight was great. The second was interesting. Let's just say I was surrounded by approx. 50 grade four, five, six Korean students who were returning from a summer camp in Vancouver. You can imagine the chaos with all of the kids before departure. Luckily, things settled down, and I got to chat with one of the grade six students. She attended the English immersion camp with very little English, only one course prior to going. Her fluency was amazing! The two boys sitting beyond me, however, loved to leave their seats and grab the top of my seat. Annoying.

Here are two shots from the drive away from Incheon Airport:

Incheon Airport Bridge over the sea  

The bridge leading away from Incheon Airport only had a few cars. And, according to the taxi driver, this is one of the longest bridges in South Korea, measuring an impressive 15 km! We later drove through a through a mountain via a super long tunnel (by mistake) and drove back through it :) I've never seen a tunnel like that anywhere before. Unfortunately, I didn't take a picture of it.

A city between Incheon and Seoul

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Oh, What to Bring...

The question of what to bring is still on my mind. You read things on posts that say you should bring a year supply of deodorant with you, for it is not only expensive, but hard to find in Korea. I've also heard that if you have a favorite brand of something, you should bring that, too. Lovely, but I still need to pack for 4 seasons. Sure in Canada we get all sorts of weather-- sun, snow, rain, hail, etc.-- but it's different when you're bringing all of this stuff with you. I think I'll end up bringing what I manage to squeeze into two pieces of luggage and some carry-on.

Been busy with appointments and spending money at said appointments. Dentists and eye doctors were never cheap! Appointments-- check. Packing, however, is still on my lengthy To-Do list, as are phoning the credit card company and bank, dealing with insurance, and quite a few other things.

Here are some highlights from my adventures in the Rocky Mountains this weekend:

Hiking Trail in Kananaskis Country

Lambs! Bighorn Sheep babies
Mother Moose
Mountain Frog or Toad: The first one I've ever seen in the Rockies

A day of hiking ended with one of the interpretative programs in Kananaskis Country. The show was called, "GRRR-EASE," a musical show about bears. And, you guessed it-- bear songs to the tunes from the movie Grease with John Travolta. I love going to these shows, as you feel like you're a tourist when you're sitting with your fellow campers. Overall, the hike and show were great (minus the mosquitoes).

"GRRR-EASE"-- An educational musical about bears

Scenic panorama with big, fluffy clouds