Friday, March 27, 2009

Now it's time to say good night, Good night, Sleep tight

Just finished day 1 of orientation, and it was long!
Our wake-up call came at 7:30am and was music with bird calls played out of a speaker in our room - it took us awhile to figure out what was going on.
Breakfast was interesting. All of our meals are provided here, buffet style within our residence. Choices for breakfast included eggs, fruit salad, potato salad sandwiches and caesar salad. Needless to say I only ate eggs and fruit salad.
A 2 hour break followed breakfast and I spent some time online and then made a quick visit to the gym located on campus. It was tiny, but it felt good to run! I'm not confident enough to run outside in Seoul, for fear of getting lost. Once I get to Busan I'll make an effort to learn the city, and some more Korean so that I will feel better about venturing out.
Our opening ceremonies included many guest speakers and a performance by traditional Korean instruments which was really neat. This lasted until lunch where I experienced my first real Korean meal. Everything was good, just really spicy. The choices were rice, kimchi, a bunch of vegetables in sauce and a curry type dish.
The afternoon consisted of classes on co-teaching and classroom management, followed by another buffet style dinner. Around mid-afternoon exhaustion hit and it was hard to make it through the lectures without falling asleep even though the lecturers were all very entertaining.
We had a Korean class after dinner that didn't go so well. The levels of students in the class ranged from native Korean speakers and university students studying Korean to people like us who can sound out basic words but have no real working knowledge of the language. After about half an hour of sitting there feeling completely lost someone spoke up, revealed that the majority of the class was confused and the instructor graciously went back to the basics. It was a good learning experience though - I'm sure it mimics how my students will feel when I start teaching - having no clue what I'm saying!
Two volunteers from EPIK (the government agency who we work for) pulled George and I out of the class and asked us to make a decision about our living situation immediately. The head of our board of education will be apartment hunting for us this weekend and needed us to make a choice. They revealed that our schools will be on the outskirts of Busan in a very rural area where there isn't even a convenience store. Each school will only have about 50 students total, and the volunteers told us that this is a real bonus - we'll have small class sizes, and the school will have a real community feel. We were given the choice of living in this tiny town with no access to any stores, restaurants or attractions that Busan has to offer, OR living in Haeundae, a newer area of Busan and commuting 1/2 an hour to work everyday. It was a clear choice to pick the commute. Haeundae is said to be one of the best places to live in Busan. We'll be near the beach, and will have access to everything we need to be comfortable in Korea. The commute will be frustrating at time I'm sure, but it's worth it! Do a google image search and I'm sure you'll agree ;)
Tomorrow is packed with lectures - from breakfast until dinner, and then we're going out with a group of Laurier friends who are all teachers here.
Sunday we're doing the tourist thing - a Buddhist temple, a theatre performance, and Seoul national museum. That's followed by a farewell dinner at a seafood buffet.
Monday we are travelling to our teaching positions in Busan, hopefully by the high speed train which only takes 2.5 hours.
I'm not sure how much time I'll have for blogging for the next few days but I'll try my best.
That's all for today, Madzy passout needs some sleep!

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