October 1, 2012
My First Day In Korea
The last article I wrote was summarizing, why I choose the job I did, and what city I would start to call home. As you may recall, I chose Gyeongju, it was the capital of the Silla dynasty for a thousand years and is rich with history. This is the story of my arrival and first day in Korea.
I first arrived in South Korea, on April 31st at 11 PM. My new boss and her friend picked me up from the airport. They were really nice, and asked me if I wanted to go out and eat. I respectfully declined, because I was exhausted after spending the last 24 hours in airports and on airplanes. My trip included 16 hours on a plane from Detroit to Tokyo, then from Tokyo to Busan, South Korea. My boss picked me up for the hour drive to my new home in Gyeongju. I was so tired that I fell asleep in the back of my boss’ car within 15 minutes and woke up just after arriving in the city a little after midnight.
My boss took me to the 24-hour convenience store and bought me some groceries to get me started in my new place, and then she took me to my apartment. It is rather small but cozy, a one room apartment, but it is clean, and looks newer as well.
I did a little unpacking, but soon went to sleep as it was almost 2AM. I woke up at roughly 10 AM. All the moving seemed more like a dream than anything, most things were a blur, due to the fast pace, and exhaustion.
I was to meet my boss at 11 AM, so I got ready and dressed up in my spiffy work clothes. I left my apartment building, and started to walk towards my would-be place of work. It was then I noticed something that I did not notice the night before, because it was dark. I live next door to the Gyeongju Lions Club. Seriously, of all the small cities in the world, my new apartment in a different country is next door to the Lions Club. In its own surreal it way was comforting, because I know all the good works that the Lions Club members do at home.
When I arrived at work I met up with my boss, and met some of my adult students. They were more than willing to help me if I needed something, and they even offered to take me out for lunch. One also gave me an iron for my clothes, and a map to get around the city. This time I of course accepted the lunch offer, since I hadn’t had a solid meal, in a few days, other than airline food. If they call that a meal, well then we might need to revise the Geneva Conventions.
We went to a little restaurant, in the middle of nowhere. My new students ordered us a crab noodle soup. It was tasted surprisingly similar to chicken noodle soup. The noodles were thicker than the average spaghetti noodle, and they served it community style. So instead of everyone getting a bowl, they brought out the pot and everyone self-served.
After that I went home and rested due to my jet lag. As I had never traveled such a long way, I was not prepared to feel so groggy.
Image Credit: Photos.com