Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Of hospitals and (kind of) work

Today was the big hospital visit. We spent most of the almost two-hour visit waiting (and being winked at by an older gentleman). The first station was the 'quickfire challenge' - eyesight, height, weight, hearing test, colorblindness test, and blood pressure in about five minutes total.

We then moved on to the blood test, where once again the nurse could not find my veins (it's very difficult to gesture 'I have deep veins'). She actually withdrew quite a bit of blood, but we didn't have time to just sit around and we were sent directly to the bathroom for the urine test.

After that we went down to radiology to have x-rays taken of our lungs. It was like a huge, awkward hug with a machine.

Even if it was slightly strange, it was definitely a memorable experience. Now we just have to keep our fingers crossed and see if I pass everything - we get our results on Friday.

Most of the afternoon and evening was spent at the school, doing some important work and some time-wasting. I think I'm really lucky with the school and co-teachers I ended up with. They're all really nice, and I've been getting along really well with my neighbor (Jackie, from Florida) who got here a couple of days before me. Not only that, but she's a bit more outgoing and we've already got plans for multiple dinners/parties to go to with people we've just met (most are friends of friends though, so it's not like we're going around making plans with complete strangers).

All in all, things are going really well so far. We have just a couple more days until we're given our class assignments, and then the first day of classes will be on Monday.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

First day in Korea

The first full day has been exciting and fun-filled. We started early, but I was able to wake up at 7:00 a.m. without my alarm (which was a miracle in itself). Luckily I live a few doors down from the other American teacher, so we were able to make it out on time and we met one of our Korean co-teachers on a corner and she took us to Seoul.

Most of the day was spent doing an orientation. It started with the presenter having some kind of attack and being taken to the hospital. After that it was less eventful, with the highlight being a long lunch break where we got to walk around the area.

After returning from Seoul we stopped by the school. It's very cute - on the fifth floor of a huge building. Everything is very clean and brand new, so that's nice. I also received my signing stipend (so I have cash now!) and got to meet some of the other people working in the building. I've also been given the welcome news that my work hours will be from 1-8 p.m., so I'll get to sleep in!

We also made a stop at a grocery store to pick up supplies. It's a bit more difficult to do this part when you don't speak the language. If Jess (one of our Korean co-teachers) hadn't been with us it would have taken us more than two hours and we probably would have caused some kind of incident, so we got lucky with that.

I like my apartment. It's really close to the school, and to a number of stores and restaurants. When I arrived the school had already stocked it with furnishings and supplies, and it even has a washing machine. The only questionable part is the tiny bathroom with its make-shift shower (a showerhead but no curtain/space for a shower), but I can get used to it.

I have made some progress on deciphering Korean. Today in the car I figured out how to write and the pronunciation of about half of the sounds. However, this will do me little good if I don't know what the words actually mean, so I still have quite a bit of work to do on that.

Hopefully I'll have pictures of at least my apartment and school soon (I just have a little organizing to do here before it's presentable enough to show off).

Tomorrow I have to go to the mandatory health check-up at the hospital, so I should be off to bed soon!