Has it been 4 days already?

Oh my! Apparently it’s been 4 days since my last post…. Well clearly school takes up most of my time during the week so I will not be posting much during the week. I have classes every day from 9am-1pm and then I usually go home and start working on homework and preparing for the following day. Everyday we have a vocab test with anywhere from 18-46 new words and we also have dictations of the texts we saw the previous day. Preparing for all that does take quite a bit of time.

So basically weekdays will see nearly no posts whereas weekends should see at least one or two depending on what my plans are. This weekend my class is all going out to diner Sat so I’ll probably have something to say after that. Besides that I have my regular meetup with my Korean friends where we play tennis on Sundays. That’s all for now, back to studying I go…

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The search for the BIG Daiso

One of the first places I did when I settled into my new place in Korea was to find a Daiso close by to buy some household essetials. Now at the time I couldn’t really use the Daiso site since it’s location page is in Korean so I use trusty google to scoure blogs and forums to try to find one. Using this method I manage to find two within 1km, one at each of the subway stations between which I live (Sinchon and Ehwa Women’s University).

I went to visit both but I was a little dissapointed since I had heard that there were some big Daiso stores but both of these only had one floor and were pretty small. The other day though I was walking around Sinchon again and decided to take a different road to get back home and I found another one, this one a little bigger (2 floors). But it still didn’t live up to the hype…. Today I decided to do some more research to find a big store, I had heard about one that was 4 floors! So after more online research I found that the one in Hongdae was suppose to be one of the big ones so I headed out. But then on the was I see another Daiso, it’s actually right accross the street from the small one near Sinchon station. So I went in, from outside it looked like it was one of the big stores, it had 3 floors once inside though I discovered it had a basement so it was actually the one I was looking for! Even better it’s much closer to home than I expected!

I was looking for some storage stuff and cleaning supplies to clean my room. This Daiso seemed to be organized differently than the other ones I’d been in so I stayed there for like an hour looking for what I wanted. I did in fact find everything I wanted and more! They had a huge snack section compared to the other locations and they even had a sports section. Suffise it so say I will be going back shortly, probably tomorrow actually since I have a better idea of what else I need storage wise (and I ran out of kleenex…). I really should look into becoming a member too since I think I will be going there often and they have a points card or something, something else to look into when I go back 🙂 Oh and in case you’re wondering there are actually 4 Daiso’s within a 1km walking distance from my place.

Cleaning and migraines

I just realized earlier today that I had not cleaned my room since moving in 3 weeks ago. Now I’ve obviously done the daily cleaning stuff like cleaning the floor and stuff like that but I had not yet done a deep clean getting rid of previous tenants gunk kind of clean up yet. Actually the fact that I hadn’t cleaned occured to me a little while ago when I notice some black stuff on my AC when I turned it on (EWW!)

Anyway this past week has not been a super one since yesterday I woke up with a severe migraine and was also sick in the morning (from the migraine). Now I am always nauseous when I have severe migraines but this I believe was only the second time I was actually sick. Normally I probably wouldn’t have gone to class after waking up in such a state but the teacher had been saying how Friday was going to be a big class so I wasn’t comfortable missing it. By the time I headed off to class I had taken prescription meds 3 times that morning (between 12-7am) and obviously had not had any breakfast because who wants to eat after being sick? And besides I wasn’t hungry at all.

I managed to get throught the classes, although I was totally out of it and had difficulty during the dictation in the morning and made a few mistakes on the vocab test at the end of the day. By the end of the classes I had managed to eat a cereal bar and my migraine was completely gone, finally! Some classmates were heading out to lunch so I joined them since I clearly needed some food now that I could keep it down and not feel sick.

By now you must be wondering what on earth these two things ahave to do with each other. Here it is! I noticed since I moved into my hasook that I had been having sudden migraines (not as bad as that last one) in mid afternoon nearly everyday, which just isn’t normal. So here’s where the cleaning comes in. Yesterday after going out I got another migraine when I got home so I started thinking about what could be the cause… And then it occured to me, cleaning (mold) I think there may have been some mold in my AC which may have been a trigger of my migraines.

I’m not entirely sure just yet since I just finshed cleaning, well actually I did most of it. It could still use a little more cleaning but it is a pain since it’s one of those wall units so I have to stand on a chair and it’s just above the fridge and TV. Anyway now I’m just going to wait and see if this has an impact on the migraines, man do I hope so! Besides the AC I also cleaned the fridge, all the shelves, the door, the poles for my clothes basically all surfaces except the walls actually. And it was DISGUSTING! I am so glad I did, I feel better even if it doesn’t fix my migraine problem.

 

Food shopping and prices

Since most of my meals are included in my housing (breakfast and diner) nearly everyday I don’t have much of a need for food shopping. I am an enormously cheap person, and the fact that I currently have no money coming is certainly not helping this particular trait of mine. In order to save money I have opted for snacking at lunch rather than having an actual meal. Now besides being cheap I have found since I arrived here that meals are much more filling than back home. My theory on this is that I eat mostly rice, vegetables and soup which appears to keep me full much longer. As an example back home I would have breakfast around 5:30 and by 9:00 I would have a snack because I was so hungry and would have a hard time waiting until noon to have lunch since I would normally get hungry again around 11-11:30.

Anyway here I have breakfast around 7:30 and am not usually hungry until after class so around 1pm, and even then I’m not that hungry. So far, Kimbab has been a good filler (and cheap too between 1500-2500KRW) or granola bar type things. I have been to a few stores nearby looking for snack type foods but have found it difficult to choose things since I have no idea what I’m buying…

There are obviously also Western style snacks, but I feel like they are expensive that is part of my problem really. I feel like when I was at home I didn’t really pay that much attention to how much things cost so I think when I consider it expensive here it’s not that it’s actually expensive, it’s that I have no idea what I paid for that back home. I will have to ask people back home what prices are to know if it really is expensive or if it’s just me.

One thing I know for sure is that fruit here is REALLY EXPENSIVE! Although this is apparently not the case everywhere since one of my classmates bought a watermelon this week for 6,000KRW whereas I just saw one today for 36,000KRW! Looks like I may have to ask some locals for the best places to buy fruit, or look around in markets and such… Maybe I’ll just have to eat less fruit here 😦 I hope not I really like fruit!

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My boss

I wrote this post a little while ago, just after submitting my visa request actually. I started thinking about how much more difficult the road to Korea would have been without his support. He is the first and only person outside of my family who knew the whole story about my going to Korea; that is, that I originally planned on teaching and had issues with that and that I eventually decided to go learn Korean instead.

I first decided to tell him about my plans in what I would call the earlier stage of my journey. I told him because I was worried about not being able to give my months notice, and that I would leave him in a bind. So I told him and asked him to keep it to himself because if I got refused I didn’t want to have to explain to everyone how my plans had fallen through. It was around November that I told him, when I still had a lot of hope for plan A to succeed and hoped to be in Korea by December.

Since that time my plans have obviously changed, but he has been supportive in the whole process and was a welcome ear to listen to my ramblings and tentative plans. It was very helpful to have someone to talk to in person about this. I did talk to my family about it but mostly via Skype or text, so talking about it out loud with someone was a helpful outlet. Besides listening to me, he has also helped me by letting me leave early whenever I’ve had to go to the consulate, the notary, or wherever else I had to go to prepare my paperwork.

I hadn’t originally planned on writing anything about him, but felt like he deserved his own post for helping me so much on my journey, and so I thank him wholeheartedly for making this that much easier.

Social life and changes

I am a fairly introverted person and not what I would consider a social person (though I’m not antisocial either), but ever since I arrive in Korea I feel like my perceptions and habits regarding socializing are completely different than at home. OK so I didn’t come here to lock myself in my room and not talk to people, but I also didn’t expect that there would be a complete turnaround from my usual self.

Since arriving here I have made a few Korean friends (I’ve talked about them before here) but I’ve also met numerous people at school. It seems that everytime I see someone new we all seem to chat and then basically become friends. I have made an effort to be more approachable since arriving here since my regular look is somewhat intimidating and not usually inviting… This look has for the most part served me well back home and I has sort of served as a barrier/defense mechanism for many years (probably caused by the bullying I endured in high school).

When I decided that I was going to Korea part of that decision also included that I would have to be more approachable once there otherwise I would not be able to truly experience life/culture here. I mean if no one wants to approach you it’s difficult to learn about the people and culture here. It seems that without thinking too much about it or making too much of an effort I have successfully changed this part of myself. Perhaps this is why I have so many people I talk too and hang out with here, even only after three weeks.

For example yesterday I went out to diner and to a bar afterwards with one of my classmates and some of her friends who are also students at KLI. Normally I don’t really like going out with big groups (we were 13) especially when I don’t know most of the people coming (I only knew 2 people in the group). I have found however that the fact that everyone is from a different country it makes for interesting conversations and I have learned a lot about many different cultures and countries in this short period.

I look forward to seeing other changes that may happen during my time here and hope that they will allow me to know myself better and help me find whaterver it is I am looking for. I am glad to see that coming here has indeed had an impact on my perceptions and already caused some positive changes in my life.

Immigration and Alien Registration Card (ARC)

The immigration office here works on an appointment basis; that is you have to make an appointment online prior to going to the office, you cannot just drop-in and wait. In theory this seems like a great idea and would seemingly reduce wait times considerably. This however was not the case, I had an appointment after class on Friday at 15:15 to apply for my ARC. I waited 1hr even with that appointement, now obviously they can’t always account for everything so it would be normal to wait a little bit but 1hr was a little too much for me considering the pre booking of appointments.

Anyway, I waited 1hr (took that time to study my vocabulary words for next week) and when I finally get to the counter I am told I have booked at the wrong office and I have to go to the third floor instead… I was quite annoyed at this but went to the third floor to find out if I could still get this done today. However because I didn’t have an appointment at this office I would probably have to wait a long time, maybe until 6 (it was 4). I had plans at 6 and was a 45mins subway ride from home so I opted to make another appointment on Monday. So Monday I will go back to immigration and hopefully complete my application for the ARC, I also have a few questions I wanted to ask so I’ll do that at the same time.

Apparently I really need to get this card since when you go out they check your ID and only accpet Korean ID’s or your passport. I mean who walks around with their passport in their pockets anyway?? At least I didn’t have mine, though they did eventually let me in…