Tuesday, February 28, 2012

I have a home!

"before I know it i'll be getting dropped off at my new apartment wishing I was back in the comforts of this dorm"

No way! I could not be happier to be free from the dorm living and cafeteria food.  Although I made some great friends at orientation and am now miles away from them I am confident that I will keep in touch and see those that mean anything to me.  

The last few days of orientation were more of the same, lectures about how to be a good teacher and survive in this country and more bland, not too authentic Korean food.  The last lecture my class had was a short Taekwando class and it was probably one of my favorites. The instructors were awesome and you could tell they really appreciated us being here to teach.  I really underestimated how grateful a morjorty of the country is that we are coming here to teach their youth.  I guess I hadn't thought about it as being a big deal but the more I realize this the happier I am that i'm here. 

Yesterday was our last day of orientation which consisted of our lesson presentation - my group did pretty good, I think I surprised myself at how smoothly it went (especially with the minimal preparation we had completed).  In the afternoon we found out our locations, at this point I thought I might puke as I really expected I was going to be placed somewhere in the sticks w/ no friends. I found out i'd be teaching at a High school in chilbok. (about half-way between Daegu and Gumi - both larger cities in Gyeongbuk) After that we had a the closing ceremony, farewell dinner and a few drinks at the bar before it was time to pack up and prepare for the journey ahead. 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

EPIK Orientation

Although it feels as if i've been here for at least a week or two, today marks only my 6th day in Korea. The days have been stuffed to the max with classes, food, meeting people, field trips - all of which is leading to information overload.

The flight was great - I was lucky enough to get a window seat with no one seated in the middle next to me. For the first few hours of the flight I didn't think the woman on the aisle spoke any English but at one point struck up a conversation inquiring as to why I was going to South Korea. She seemed pretty eager and excited for me and proceeded to tell me I would love it, the people are nice, the cities are great, there's tons to do here, and on and on.  Pretty much the same response i've gotten from many people.  The food on the plane was pretty good and I slept for a few hours (although I opted not to take the sleeping pills I bought since they advised us that those could result in a false positive for drugs on our medical exam).  After landing I met up with a group of about 5 EPIK teachers and we navigated our way to the EPIK desk.  Another 3 hours (by coach bus) and we arrived at the KT Human Resources Development Center.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

No Turning Back Now

1 year ago today I was starting my job at Northwestern Mutual, tomorrow I'll be submitting my two weeks notice so I can move to South Korea and become an ESL teacher. I can't say I never would have expected this would happen. Since I graduated i've looked into and toyed with the idea of moving abroad to work for a year.  I knew that I didn't want to be at NML for life, at least not yet. It would however be a good  way for me to earn some money and take some time to figure out what exactly I want "to be when I grow up".  Well I can't say i've accomplished the later, but i've at least got a few $'s to my name and another year of adventure.

In 19 short days i'll be loading up the car, driving to Chicago and hoping a plane to South Korea.   One of my favorite parts about the preparation for this trip is the various reactions i've received from friends, family and even complete strangers.   Many have been impressed with my courage to quit my job and travel half way around the world, while others express a slightly less enthusiastic response.   I can sense that some people think i'm crazy, especially since i'm leaving a job with Northwestern  Mutual  to pursue this adventure, but i'm grateful for those that are proud and happy for me.  I'm completely expecting the next few weeks to be a roller coaster of emotions - however i can't wait to take in every second of it.

Follow my blog to see what kinds adventures, ups and downs I experience during my year in the "Land of the Morning calm".  Hopefully during that year i'll figure out where i'll be at this time next year...