First Impressions

22 07 2008

It’s almost 7pm Seoul time, and I am wrapping up my first full day in Korea. I woke up at the LIVELY hour of 4am because I was nervous the hotel clerk didn’t understand my request for a wake up call, and won’t get to sleep for quite awhile yet. My first impression? This year will be phenomenal.

The other native-English teachers are funny and charismatic. The Korean teachers are eager to chat and share experiences. But the best part is the children. My class is full of the most adorable children you will ever set eyes on. Their grasp of English is far beyond what I was expecting. I still haven’t wrapped my head around the age system here, but apparently they are all around 4 or 5 years old, and already reading books in English similar to 6 year olds in the States. Only minorly impressive til you rememeber, right, this is their second language. And one of my students is Japanese, so this is actually her 3rd language (If you take her word for it, she speaks 4; apparently “American” is also a language). They are eager to know my age, where I’m from, my favorite flowers and colors and places and animals.  To be honest, I never expected to like them this much on the first day (especially jetlagged!)

After school one of the other native-English teachers took me to the bank and helped me exchange money, and then out to the favorite cheap food place. All of the teachers love this place, and call it Orange. Before you delight on the cute Asian restaurant names, know this: they call it that because of the color of the sign. Hilarious.

Tonight I have a conversation partner (private lesson! but shhh!) with a 20-something girl that one of the departing teachers usually worked with. I’m psyched to be earning a little extra spending cash (and on my first day!) because it is immediate money in the pocket and I don’t have to wait for my paycheck. Winner!

Tomorrow I move into my apartment and truly begin the “living in Seoul” experience. If it’s anything as pleasant as my first 24 hours, this year will be a breeze.

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