Monday, February 9, 2009

Possible Addiction?

Today's counts:
3 Facebook visits (all from school)
2 e-mail checks (better)
1 blog check w/o anything real to update: oops!

Really, today was just another day, but I spent about twenty minutes getting together an e-mail for one of James's friends who is coming for her tour of teacher duty, but hers will be in Seoul. I was just answering questions that I myself had when I first left, and it was kind of cool having the answers.

For example:
Apartment buildings don't offer squatter toilets anymore; those are only in older, public buildings.
Bring tampons, deodorant, and toothpaste for a year. (They have lots of toothpaste but it doesn't have fluoride, and as for the other two... trust me.)
If your shoe size is above a 9, bring suitable pretty shoes. (Men's sneakers can always be purchased. Unless you're male, and Jeff, who wears a size 17 or something obscene.)
Bring electronics that are dual-voltage so all you need is an adapter instead of a converter, too. Really, do you need to bring your $17 hair dryer, or can you just purchase one here that is the correct voltage and plug-in? Same for curling iron, lamp, etc. I lucked out and had a hair dryer bequeathed to me.
Bring seasonings that you may miss from home--i.e. guacamole seasoning, gravy packets, garlic powder. Korea has a lot of Korean things but Indian, Mexican, and so forth can be hard to come by.
If coming from a colder climate (e.g. Denver, Montana, Minneapolis), you really only need sweaters and coats for 2 months. (Kind if disappointing, really.)
It'd be wise to e-mail with a current teacher from your new school; they can give you a better idea about the dress code (i.e. no jeans, but all else goes), and what sorts of things they wish they had brought with them.
You can be a vegetarian, and you can dislike spicy food, but not at the same time.
It's hard to be a vegetarian in Korea because most soups are made from fish or beef stock.
It's hard to dislike spicy food because everything (seemingly) has red pepper paste in it.
Your coworkers will smirk as you over-prepare for your first classes, as they chit chat for the first thirty minutes of the hour prep, then form a long line in front of the only photocopier to prepare tests, quizzes, and puzzles. ( will take you a long way!) Within 6 weeks you'll be pro.

I think the most important thing to bring with you is a positive attitude. Regardless of whether you're coming from the US, Canada, England, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, or somewhere else I'm forgetting, South Korea is going to be different. Odds are it's going to be insanely hot for you for the summer, and there is a pretty substantial language barrier. But if you're coming because you can't deny the desire for adventure any longer, then I hope that you'll grow to accept the constant lateness, slightly-haphazard way of life and grow to love it as much as I do.

Two PS's:
1) If female, be careful. There is a stereotype that we're all porn actresses and ready to hit the hay at a moment's notice. Be on your guard at first. Not fearful, just diligent.
2) While I advocate any study of the language possible, don't worry if all you can say is hello. You'll learn what you need.

One PPS:
1) Albert stopped me to talk to me. ^^


Julie (It is.) said...

Woo Hoo!!!

misha ryan said...

Thank you so much for all of your help/ advice. PRICELESS! I'm so excited about my tour of duty.

James H. said...

Had coffee with Misha today and she is sooooo excited for this adventure.

Thanks for all of your insight and helpful advice.

Tracy Paige said...

Keep in mind... facebook and blogger addiction is better than so many other vices. So I say... KEEP ON BEING ADDICTED! Love you bud.