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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Orientation


As I sit at the desk in my new flat, I am realizing that writing a blog post about events that happened 3 or 4 days ago is kind of hard.  That is to say that I have had so many experience in Korea already that it is hard to focus on one event or set of events and type in a way that is succint.  So, I am just going to provide a short note and some pictures for this post.


On Sunday, me and the rest of the EPIK Additional Orientation folks had a packed day.  We started the morning with a group field trip to the Kyungbokgung Palace and took a tour of the grounds.  To say that this Palace compound was impressive would be such an understatement.



I really enjoyed the feeling I got while looking at the temple built in the middle of the pond.  It was very peaceful.

Kimchi grilled with garlic and onions and Samgupsol (I probably spelled it incorrectly) was on the menu for lunch in Insadong.  This is a very cool shopping and eating district in Seoul.  We wandered into a little BBQ place on a side street.  As we walked through the door we found ourselves strolling down an alley of sorts that had a winding stone courtyard lined with bamboo trees.  The alley opened up to an interior courtyard where the rooms for eating where.  We took off our shoes and sat down for quite a feast.  No pictures.  Sorry.

Watching my life
changing before my eyes
like a summer morning's fog
faded by the rising sun
Land of Calm
has me bursting with joy

Arriving in Seoul for Orientation

This was originally a facebook note. 


I landed in Korea on Thursday night after leaving the US on Wednesday morning. It seemed kind of weird because I never had a Wednesday night. The plane flew west and followed the daylight. I spent my first night in a nice hotel in Incheon. The cost was 90,000 won which is around $70. Really enjoyed the whirlpool tub!
Yesterday I was driven from Incheon to Seoul by a Call Van. The ride took about an hour. It is not that Seoul is far away from Incheon. It is just that Seoul is so big. Imagine NY city times about 2.5 - that is Seoul.
Speaking of NY, Seoul is a lot like NYC except 99% of the people are Korean. And there is a lot of neon.
There first day was just registration and free time. So I spent a good part of the day smoking cigs and meeting other teachers. Went to a traditional Korean restaurant for dinner and had an awesome kimchi soup with beef and tofu. Followed by some octopus paejun. What a treat!
A group of about 14 of us took the subway to Itaewon neighborhood and went to a TexMex place and had margaritas, 1500 ounce pitchers of beer - yes, I said 1500 ounce, soju, and Patron. At the end of two hours of drinking and dancing and laughing the bill was 7000 won a piece. Hmm, I think that is just under $6 or so. I still need to work on my conversions. In the meantime, I am following the Point and Pay method of acquiring stuff.
Note to self, learn Korean.
Orientation is being held at the National Institue for International Development. We had a 1am curfew last night which seemed to come too quickly. Before long, someone figured out the door to the roof was unlocked so we took the party there till around 3 am. Don't get me wrong, I am in Korea to work and learn and experience cultural exchange. But in the meantime, what's wrong with some serious fun?

Yesterday I forgot my camera. So there are no new pictures. I will take it with me today and add more photos soon.
Keeping it real since 1975, Marcus W.