Okay, so Monday I ended up in a hotel which would be my home for a week.
Tuesday began with the Director's husband picking me up at 10.20 in the morning. He took me to the school. He doesn't speak any English and I don't speak Korean so it made the car trip a little awkward and when we got to the school I spent alot of time sitting in a chair waiting. Eventually the Director's husband came back and took me in the car to the hospital for my check up.
When I got there I was in for a surprise. You don't wait long (5mins) until you're seen to. The first room I went in was where they checked my height, weight, blood pressure, sight and hearing. Then I was carted off to the next room where I was told to take off my clothes and put on a hospital gown. I thought they meant all of my clothes and was kind of embarrased when it was only the top half they wanted to x-ray! After the x-ray I was taken to yet another room where I was handed a little paper cup and told 'pee pee'. Yes people, that's exactly what they meant. I had to pee in a cup and hand that cup over to the nurse. Then they took a blood sample, the Director's husband paid for the examinations and we went back to the school.
At the school Michelle (canadian teacher been there for over 5 years) went through the Teacher's room, explaining to me where everything was, who to talk to if I need anything, etc. I also got a taste of the Korean School Lunch which isn't bad, although some of the other teachers disagree. I like the small crunchy fish that taste quite salty. Then there's the eggs or squid/ octopus and another dish that's rather spicy. On top of that you get to use metal chopsticks that are narrow and flat...not like the wooden ones I'm used to and you get a spoon for the soup. After lunch I observed Victor as he taught the classes I would be teaching next week. I spent most of the time watching rather than participating. At the time I didn't know if I should or not.
After school I was given a map of where I live and where the school is and asked if I'd be okay going home on my own. I wanted to say 'No, could someone take me...I might get lost' but what actually came out of my mouth was 'Sure, I'll be fine. If I get lost I'm sure I'll find my way back.' And guess what? I did get lost...for about two hours I walked up and down streets, around parks looking like a lost sheep that was hungry and thirsty, but eventually I found the hotel and went straight to bed.
Wednesday, I also got lost...this time walking to the school. As it turned out I was walking on a street parallel to the school. When I got to school I was told that Victor didn't start teaching until 11.30 and so I would spend the first lesson with Michelle, watching her class. It was great...and I found myself actually participating...maybe because I felt like I was more confident and maybe it was because I wanted to impress Michelle...I don't know. But it worked and for the rest of the classes I tried to participate and help as much as I could. Although, I was still trying to work out where the line between helping and interferring lay.
After school had finished George (Michelle's husband) and Michelle met me outside the school where I had my first ride on the back of George's motorbike. They took me to their home where I met their cat, had a western dinner, and watched a bit of western TV and the latest episode of True Blood! they told me about the things they liked about South Korea...which I'm starting to understand.
Thursday was a little different. Zoo trip with the children and a great for me to get to know my class-to-be's names. It was also hot, humid and hard work because, like all young children, they like to wonder off and run around...the boys especially so I found myself constantly calling at them to 'stop', 'wait' and 'come here'. When we stopped for lunch the children brought us teachers food or would share thier own with us...not that we didn't have food provided by the school, but it seems a thing that Korean children do. The bus journey was fun too. On the way there the children were singing S-Club 7 'reach' and Abba, and on the way back it was the alphabet. Something I want to mention is that for the first time I didn't get lost getting to school and I even had buses of children wave at me because I'm a foreigner. A bizzar but nice feeling.
Then in the evening I'd agreed to go out with some of the other teachers for a meal and then off to the stadium in Cheonan to see Korea play on the large screens thay had there. I advise anyone going to a new country to go out with fellow teachers and make as many friends as possible. Not only does it keep you busy but it also means you can learn from other people's experiences...people who have been where you and know how it feels. So anyway, we went to a resturant and had BBQ meat and beer before making our way to the stadium which required the help of a taxi and some school girls who could speak english and korean. To explain; Brian and I were going to the stadium via taxi but had no idea how to ask in Korean and so a couple of school girls waved down a taxi for us, told the driver where we wanted to go and waved bye to us (most koreans are like this - very helpful).
When we got to the stadium we met up with more people, drank a few more beers and cheered when Korea scored! We were also greeted by koreans, high-fived and told to stand in for photos with them. It's kind of like being famous...but I've been told the buzz wears off after a while. After the stadium we hit the bar and had more beer; glasses come in small medium or large in this bar and the small is about 1pt, med is 2pt and large is about 3pts...I'm not kidding. They're massive and I was glad I chose a small! I also met two really helpful people; Shay and Mike.
At about 1ish I called it a night...I still had to be at school the next day at 10. Shay got a taxi for me and I spoke my first korean words to the taxi driver; 'ye' when he explained about turning the car around and 'kamsahamnida' when he dropped me off.
Friday, I woke up feeling tired and slightly hungover. I got to school, sat in on Becky's class then took the Kindergarten class for the first time with Victor supervising. It didn't go great because I was unprepared and nervous and didn't really know what to do. I stumbled with the book they were supposed to be reading, didn't know what to do afterwards and had forgotten some of their names...even though I knew them on the Zoo trip. I'm now starting to think that I should have taken notes whilst sitting in on the classes rather than just listening. plus, I'm now nervous about Michelle sitting in on my classes.
In fact the more I look at it the more I realise I don't know.
Anyway, Firday night I went to Lotte Mart (very big supermarket selling everything and anything) with Becky and got myself a travel alarm and plug adapter (two things I didn't pack). Lotte Mart has about three floors and gets very busy at the weekend. Another thing to point out is that places open until late and some don't close at all which makes it great if you want to pick up food after you've finished your shift at school.
So now it's Saturday and I'm going out with Becky later...she's going to show me around Cheonan, and then I'm out with Michelle, Victor, and others for Victor's goodbye meal...He leaves Monday morning and I move into his apartment Monday evening. A chance to wash some clothes...and make the place feel more like home.