Day 1 in Korea

I woke up around 10 since I had basically had no sleep the previous night, actually I’m completely cofused as to which day I slept and didn’t with this huge time change business, anyway I was tired and had no reason to get up early. Had a granola bar for breakfast from the stash I brought from home since I wasn’t in the mood to go figure out where there are breakfast places near where I’m staying. I had to go pay my student insurance since I had underpaid before and they had agreed to let me pay the difference when I arrived (because I wasn’t going to pay 45$ in fees to tranfer 10$).

I went on the insurance website and got the address and figured out how to get there by bus. According to Google Maps (GM) it was about a 1hr trip and I left aroung 11. GM seems to think that as a pedestrian in Korea you can walk accross highways and through buildings since for the walking parts it just draws a straight line. Anyway I did manage to make it to the bus stop, figure out how much it would cost and which bus I needed to take. Arrive at the destination and look a GM again and notice that I entered the wrong address (which address it was, I have no idea), by now it’s about 12:30 or so and I’m super hungry so I look for a convenience store. I grab some Gimbap, it’s sort of like sushi but bigger. Anyway as I eat that I go towards the new destination according to GM and then realize it’s sending me to the wrong place again. I’m thinking GM is stupid and somehow converts the address that I enter into something else and that’s why I keep ending up at the wrong place.

Find some free wifi and attempt to get, hopefully the right directions this time. I can walk part of the way that it was telling me to take a bus, so I do that. I thought the other part of the route was also a bus but it was the metro (subway) so I go ahead and go to the subway. Oh right, when I bought food before I also got my  T-money card which is a tranportation card for public transit, apparently you can also pay cabs and use it in convenience stores too. The subway is a little odd (well to me anyway) there is actually a glass that seperated the platform from the tracks so it’s actually impossible to fall onto the tracks. There are doors in the glass like subway doors that are aligned with the doors of the subway cars. Ok made it to my destination, well sort of. I don’t really understand how addresses work here they’re kind of backwards and have too many numbers. I tried looking for the place for at least 30 mins before I caved and went to ask one of the info desk people in one of the buildings. She used a map app on her phone and pointed me in the right direction where I looked again for a good 15-30 mins unsuccesfully and asked for help again. I was actually looking in the right building and looked again after my second helper brought me to the right building. Yet again I couldn’t find the place and ask the information desk to point me in the right direction. He took me to the elevator and told me to go on the 17th floor. Once there it kind of looks like it’s appartmens, so I’m a little concerned that I’m in the wrong place again. Thankfully it was the right place and I have now paid the balance for my insurance.

What did I learn on day:

  • GM sucks in Korea apparently but I can’t understand enough Korean to use any of the other apps yet so I’ll have to make due.
  • T-money cards are super useful, just scan it upon entering the bus/subway and it takes the required amount from the card and tells you how much you have left on it.
  • Yonsei U is only a few bus stops from where I am currently staying.
  • It’s hot here, more like super humid and the fact that there are hills everywhere makes it hotter.
  • I can manage to get my point accross by speaking very little thanks to my phone and the fact that several Korean words are basically English words.
  • I am not better than GM and should just do what it says to avoid walking unecessarily. I thought I could go one stop further on the bus, but that was a bad idea. Although GM is the reason why I have already walked over 18000 steps today and it’s not even 5pm yet.

After all this “fun” I got back home around 4:30, and now plan to take a rest for a bit. Not sure if I’ll do anything else today yet, all that walking has sucked all my energy. Tomorrow I will go to Yonsei (I know where it is now, Yay!) and pay my outstanding balance for the semester, I may also be able to get my student ID and open a bank account. Maybe I’ll bring the camera tomorrow and tour the campus while I’m there.

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Flight to Korea

We took off at around 16:30, so about 30mins late. I have a layover in Beijing of 1:30mins so I’m hoping I will still be able to make that with the delay. Diner was served around 17:30 and we had a choice of chicken and rice or beef and potatoes. I had chicken and rice and my seat neighbors had the beef. My chicken was ok and the beef was also apparently ok. I mean I didnt really have any expectations other than to hope it would be eatible considering the length of the flight. They met my expectations at least.  Overall the staff were nice and the ride relatively comfortable, well for a 13hrs flight in economy anyway. 

My seat neighbors were French Canadian and were travelling with another couple, they were headed to China for 2 weeks. We had a few short conversations, they asked about my trip of course. Whenever I mention that I’m going to Korea for a year many questions usually ensue. And then of course theres the usual you’re 34?! I thought you were 20-21. I always get below my age but that’s kind of young, I mean you would think they would take my discourse into consideration and not just appearances, unless I sound like I’m 20 which is possible I suppose. 

Another meal at 3:45 am Mtl time but diner since we’re on Beijing time. This one wasn’t as good as the earlier one. We had fruits for dessert but they weren’t very good, tasted old. But at least we got food I suppose, and it was eatible also. 

We landed at 17:30 but didn’t disembark until about 17:50, I wasn’t too worried since my next flight was at 18:45. But then I went through security and then kept me for about 15mins confiscating 2 things that had gone trough fine in Canada. But they also had to repass my bags 3 times, I guess their equipment isn’t as advanced perhaps. Anyway all that to say that I then walked really quickly to my gate as it was already boarding. I found the lack of people slightly suspicious and thought I was very last minute despite knowing the departure time wasn’t for another 30mins. Once in the plane and preparing for takeoff with super fascinating safety speech (in 3 languages…) I noticed the plane was practically empty, I don’t think there were anymore than 50 people on the plane. The second flight felt really really short even though it was 2hrs. I think after the first flight of 13 hrs, the second felt like we landed 5mins after leaving.

Got both my suitcases after landing, I was a little worried about the airline losing my lugage, you know since basically all my clothes are in there. A 30 mins 20$ cab ride to my airbnb for the week and I’m ready for bed, well maybe a shower first if I can figure out how it works. It’s a typical Korean shower so it’s connected to the sink, my host wasn’t here when I arrived so I was a little worried. He arrived a little later and I did manage to use the shower withouth much fuss but it’s weird. OK now time for bed since I didn’t really sleep on the plane (1.5hrs).

Moving SUCKS!

I hate moving, and yes this comes from the person who has moved way too much to say that really. Since moving out of my parents 10 years ago I have moved 5 times (if you count this time). Which I think it’s more than most people.

Although this time I actually had much less to move it felt so much heavier than previous moves. I mean I had practically no furniture and several boxes, and yet I could not manage to get it done in 1 trip. Now I have to drive 1hr to my house and then 2hrs to my brothers and another 1hr to get back to my parents. And I have to do all this on the day before I leave for Korea. Um I had actually planned to do nothing tomorrow, you know relax apparently that won’t be happening….

Reality check

I’m leaving for Korea for a year in 4 days, that just doesn’t feel real to me. A lot of people are wiching me a nice trip and such lately and I’d say at least 90% of those people ask me if I’m excited… Actually no, not really it hasn’t really hit me yet and I don’t think it will until I get on the plane or even land at Gimpo. Then I think it should hit me, although with the time change and lack of sleep it might even take me a few days to realize it.

Everyone seems to find it odd that I’m not excited (myself included), and I just can’t figure out why that is. Perhaps it’s because I only recently started wanting to go to Korea and have only been working on this plan since August. Maybe if I had always wanted to go and this was my lifelong dream, maybe then I would be more excited only days from departure.

One thing is for sure, I am running out of time to pack everything. My family is coming on Sat to help pack all my stuff and move it to my brothers (he will be storing my stuff), and I will be going to my parents for a few days since they will be driving me to the airport on Monday.

Sold the car!

Woohoo! I sold my car, and to someone who is open to letting me keep it until I leave. OK that’s just until Friday but still he could have wanted the car right now. Everything is falling into place! Well except my student insurance for which I didn’t tranfer enough… I’m hoping they will let me pay the balance once I get to Korea if not a 10$ bill will cost me about 75$ 😦

I went to pick up some Korean money at the bank this week too, so besides finishing up some packing I’m all ready to go. The lady at the bank was nice too and gave me another way to get money over there without have=ing to pay international remittance fees. I can use the ATM there’s only a 5$ fee and I can take out 1000$/day, a good way to get money much more cheaply.

Long weekend, much success

I guess one should always list stuff for sale on the long weekend. I just sold the ramainder of the furniture to a guy who came to get my stove. Heès even interested in trying my car when he comes to pick up the rest of the furniture.

I just got a lot of motivation to finish up a lot of my packing to clear the pieces of all my stuff before the guy comes back on Thursday. Yay! Lot’s of progress this weekend 😀

One week to go

Well not quite but close enough. I’ve been making progress and have sold most of the pieces I put on kijiji, only two pieces left. Oh and the car… I’d really like to sell the car that would give me a little extra finacial cusion. Things have been going well this weekend so I’ll continue to hope I can sell it before I leave, I lowered the price so hopefully that will help.

Still working on packing though that’s going a little slow, I really hate packing. I do have paper plates/cups now, so I can actually pack the kitchen. Once the kitchen is packed there isn’t much else, a little bit of clothing and bedding that’s staying behind.