Friday, September 2, 2011

Back in Busan: Our first few days

Ryan and I had been eagerly anticipating the first glimpse of our new apartment since we arrived at the airport late Sunday night.  Luckily for us, we were taken straight to it.  No Love Motel this year! 

Last year, after seeing where other English teachers lived, we realized that our former apartment, with its separate bedroom, bathtub, and small balcony, was way better than most.  It wasn't until we opened the door to our new place that we realized just how spoiled we really were.  The new place is one room (ok two if you count the bathroom) and is painfully small.  It can only be described as a studio, and a tiny one at that.

It's a good thing Ryan and I planned accordingly for limited space.  We packed significantly fewer clothes and shoes than we brought last year.  We do have a fair amount of closet and storage space which is nice, since clutter only makes an already small space feel smaller.  Perhaps the best part of arriving at 11:00 pm (really 7:00 am Portland time) was realizing that aside from basic furniture and two (don't ask me why) TVs, the apartment was completely empty. 

When we moved into our place last year after the previous teacher had vacated, we were left with plenty of kitchen utensils, various cleaning supplies, and small appliances like a tea kettle and rice cooker.  Our new place had nothing.  And I mean nothing.  From talking with our co-workers at school the next day, we realized that the apartment manager must have cleaned the place out, likely thinking he was doing us a favor by getting rid of the last tenant's leftovers.  However, last year we welcomed (most of) the leftover items we acquired last year and made sure to leave necessities for the person who moved in after we left.  But, I have to admit, it was nice buying a few new items for the place.  Our dishes last year were a mish mosh of the many teachers before us.  I was happy to find some cute matching dishes at the local "dollar store."  

After a terrible night's sleep (mosquitos buzzing in our ears and an uncomfortable makeshift sheet and pillow) the first thing we picked up from a neighborhood convenience store was a spray bottle of cleaner and some rags.  We went to work on the place, filthy from the bachelor who lived there before we did.  Then we ate our first Korean breakfast...

Don't judge, we had no dishes or utensils!  After breakfast we waited patiently for the director of our school to come pick us up.  She knocked on our door around ten, and we were taken to the school where we'll work the next year.  More on that soon... :)

We spent the morning observing classes, and the afternoon teaching some.  Lunch was Korean food from a nearby restaurant.  I had kimchi fried rice, Ryan opted for fried pork cutlet.
Kimchi bokkeumbap
Tuesday morning we were up at five, jet lagged and dazed.  Ryan had to be at school at 9:30, while I have the next month off until the teacher I replace leaves.  Darn! :)  I wandered around our new neighborhood, walking at least a mile in the wrong direction (twice) and cursing the humidity I'd forgotten about. 

Later that night I met Ryan and our school staff at the nearby baseball stadium to watch the Giants play the number one team in South Korea.  We brought in our own beer, potato chips, fried chicken, kimbap and dried fish.  All the baseball essentials.

After a painful loss but lots of fun, we went to a nearby bar and sipped beer with our new co-workers.  Then it was off to Japan to get our work visas!

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