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Last updated : Nov 2009
First Contact
Rating : (5.0) (4 Votes)

Pros :Great Soup and well behaved kids
Cons: None

Suji, Korea Republic
May 22nd, 2005.

Hey everyone,

This is my first entry while actually in Korea. I'm officially done with my first month here in Korea South and it's been just what I expected....all things completely new. I've just spent the entire weekend sort of "vegging" out with my friend Mandy and after last weeks events, I(we) needed it. For some reason not having to be to work until 2pm denotes an almost automatic lifestyle of staying up until 3am or so, especially if you do anything at night after teaching until 10pm. I'll have to break that habit or I'll be worthless when I come back to the States.

I'm now finished with 3 weeks of teaching and the kids are awesome....loud as all get out but so well behaved it's eerie, I'm used to being a bit more of a disciplinarian at school..I'm sure I'll see some bad behavior sometime. I'll upload a few pics of my school when I get the chance but I'm going to make sure it's after my classroom is decorated a bit more. I have about 60 students spread over the course of 5 classes per week. Three 2 hour classes on MWF and two 3 hour classes on T-Th. I applaud any student who can sit through a 3 hour class...I could barely do it in college. My staff is 10 strong with me included. 3 Americans, 1 Aussie, and 6 Canadians. There are tons of Canadians who teach out here because their dollar is so weak they get a huge return on their take home pay...I know of one teacher that paid off $38K of loans in 2.5 years...insane, and she didn't even struggle to do it. Hopefully that means good things for me in the future.

The town I live in is actually a suburb of Seoul called Suji. It's by my best estimates ~25 miles south of the greater Seoul area. After traveling to Seoul many times over the last month, I'm kind of glad I live where I do. I have all that I need within a 5 minute walk of my apartment, gym, restaurants, stores, bars.....everything. Really fresh food, even though the spices/herbs are hard to come by out here. I try to cook as often as possible and have some success even though the gochu pepper is more popular than jalapenos in Texas. They're everywhere and used even more, which leads to the next thing, Korean food...

Some of you that know me better will be disappointed to know that until now, I haven't tried the snack delicassy known as silkworm larvae, but I will, and yes Mike S. you will see documented evidence. Other than that, the food here is incredibly healthy...not a lot of unhealthy fats, not a lot of breads/pastas, just mainly rice as a starch, pork, chicken, fish and a ton of vegetables. Kim-chi (fermented cabbage side dish) is alright, pretty spicy so the cabbage taste is completely drowned out. One of my favorite things so far is called kim-pap (kim=seaweed, pap(pop)=rice)...it's a seaweed roll with a bit of ham, but mainly pineapple and radish inside...really good, healthy, and cheap, about a buck each for a huge roll. Mandu, a Korean filled dumpling is also really good as well....almost reminds me of gnocchi. The soups here are really good...one consists of a spice veggy broth that has whole chunks of potato with leeks, veggies and chicken...it's called Dak-tori-dan. I'll tell you all more as I try more. I do, for comfort's sake have a McDonalds, KFC, Pizza Hut, and a Domino's within 5 minutes of me, although I'll do my best to avoid them...I don't even like McDonalds in the U.S.

The weather here has been kind of whacky lately but it's nice temperature-wise. about 22C for highs, with about 16-18C for lows. The rain spits but I haven't seen it rain for real here yet. Not to worry though, monsoon season is coming in about 6 weeks, days on end of thunderstorms and torrential rain, fun stuff. Everybody hear warns me of the heat during the summers and while Texas isn't quite as humid, it can be and Korea I know for sure doesn't get hotter than Texas. Most people have warned of highs around 36-38C, or ~96-99F. It gets there regularly in Texas and most of the time hits 40C regularly...needless to say, I'm not too concerned.

Okay, I'm tired of typing and I'm sure you're tired of reading so I'll mercifully end this entry...future entries guaranteed to be shorter, I promise. Look for more sometime soon.