Where the Streets Have No English Names
Orientation Week / Living in South Korea
If you watched the video of me first arriving in South Korea, it doesn’t look so good. My apt. is not as bad as it seems except for the mold. Moniqa, one of the other teachers, had moved out for various reasons; 1) the mold and 2) smokers were smoking up the place. She moved into an ex-teacher’s apt. (the one I replaced). I haven’t had any problems with smokers. Regarding the toilet, it turns out that Moniqa turns off the toilet so it doesn’t overflow. So, every time I need the toilet now I have to turn the knob to let water in and turn it off when it reaches near the top. As for the mold, I apply bleach when I have time, usually on weekends before I head out somewhere.
During my first weekend, Jon, another teacher, showed me where Home Plus grocery store was where I could get more extensive groceries, etc. I bought myself a coffee machine there. To walk to Home Plus you pass our local train station, Line 4.
Kim Chi? I wouldn’t know what to eat if it weren’t for Jon. During my first week and much of my second week, Jon showed me many Korean places and how to order and what to eat. I have to be very careful as I’m allergic to shellfish. The thing about where I work and live in Ansan is that there’s not much of a variety of food. There’s a variety of Korean food, but there’s not much else. There are a couple of Italian places and a place that makes really good pizza. In fact, I’d say it’s better than most pizza places in Los Angeles…which isn’t saying much for Los Angeles. Is it the water? Who knows?
Jon and I ate at a Korean restaurant where we had to remove our shoes and sit on the floor. I had to stretch my legs every now and then, but the food was worth it.
On Thursday, June 3, I was at school like the days before, but a somewhat funny phenomenon took place. The chairs we sit on in the teacher’s area are the same as the chairs for most of the classes, very narrow. On two separate occasions on the same day, I sat in my seat and my pants pocket got stuck on the arm portion of the chair. My pocket ripped open about an inch. It wasn’t bad or too noticeable, but it happened again a few hours later to the other pocket. At least the pockets look even now. Two pockets ripped in one day. Needless to say, I’m more careful now when I sit my ass down.
For the first week I had been using the spoon from a set of chopsticks and spoons a friend gave me. I used it for not only my cereal, but for spreading peanut butter and jelly. Finally, in my second week I went to Home Plus and bought a full set including a knife, spoon and fork. I had bought bread and then thought, ‘How do I spread the PB & J?’ Here’s a look into my enormous refrigerator. Not!
On Friday, June 4, I did my first wash in the washing machine. It holds more than I thought. The wash takes about an hour. No drying. Everything is hang-dried here. I had brought with me a hair dryer thinking I would use it for blow-drying my hair mainly during the winter and also for drying my clothes. I plugged my hair dryer in and after a minute of it working it suddenly fizzled out as in died.