First Trip to Itawan
February 24, 2011 14 Comments
Alright, well the internet reception is bad in my dorm, but I wanted so isolate myself for just a little while so I could write out a decent post. Most of my recent ones have been pretty short. Well that’s mainly because I’m trying my hardest to make so many new friends. Even i have to admit its rough! I’m actually jumping back and forth between like three groups of people I know pretty well and I’m getting along pretty well with all of them. It’s a little weird thou because I’m spending a lot of time trying to establish groups and friendships and its all pretty much in the air. What’s really important is which schools we go to and we won’t find out until the very end of orientation. Right now it’s just behooves us to spend time with people who have already been here and I’m trying my hardest to soak up information like a sponge.
The two people I’ve really tried to gravitate towards are Kaliheed and Andy. Andy is from Australia and this is his second year teaching English in Korea. He’s a pretty cool guy and I hang out with him, my roommate (Sean) and this guy from England who’s lived here leisurely for about 16 months. They’re a fun group to hang out with because andy and my roommate are pretty big writers. Andy actually wants to try a critique circle and I loved the idea. We swapped story ideas and talked about craft some at breakfast and earlier.
Kaliheed worked here for a year then stopped to find work in the States. He’s an actor and I get along with him pretty well talking about movies. He’s done a few independent films that he plans to show me on youtube so I’m pretty interested in talking with him. I just went out with him, a Joshua from Washington State, K.K. a guy from South Africa, This smooth talking guy from Brazil and this girl Tiffany who acts just like one of the guys. We had a really good time; we went to Itawan, this district in Korea that is really close to a military base so practically everything is this weird emulation of American culture. We ate at a bar and drank a few beers then went to a hookah bar and talked some more. I took a few good pictures and everyone seemed like they had a good vibe. They really wanted to hang out again, but when I got back I felt a little bad because I kinda ditched andy. I said I’d meet them at lunch but I got caught up talking to this girl who was from M.d. (and just like me claimed to be from D.c.) and before I know it I’m out on the town…coincidentally I forgot who she was and she didn’t come with us.
In order to go out on the town I actually had to take the subway. It was pretty interesting. Nothing quite like what I was used to in Washington or Atlanta. The subway is much more dense…like incredibly so. Also i remeber someone telling me that the suicide rate in Korea was really high (they really put a strong emphasis on school here, so much so that tests can really determine the direction of the rest of your life) and I noticed that all the subway rails were gated off with glass walls and doors that only open when your train arrives. Turns out they’re there to discourage people from trying to commit suicide by jumping in front of the trians.
The city seems amazing. It’s unlike nothing I’ve ever seen before. There seems to be so many people wanting space that so much stuff just kind of crowds in next to everything else. Everything is so compact and small, but its not crampt…it’s cozy. If you want a good place to eat you have to go into what appears to be an apartment building with a neon sign blinking off the side. Then go up several sets of stairs until you find one room restraints with a single bar. However everything is so cheap you almost want to eat more than you should. I’ve been told by Kaliheed that he was able to save $10,000 (half of his paycheck) because the cost of living is so low. Roughly $20,000 a year in the states is around poverty level but here it’s an upper middle class salary.
It’s funny, since I’ve started writing this post I’ve had to stop because I wanted to talk to two different people. It’s around 12:30 here we should all be asleep! I’m starving right now. We have a pretty thorough physical exam tomorrow. It’s a blood test, drug test, and even a chest x-ray, so we can’t eat anything including breakfast tomorrow morning.
I think I’ll call it a night. I don’t have to do anything until 10am so the window for me to talk to people on Skype might be a little larger than it was this morning for me. (Although it was about 6pm when I talked to Mom and Dad). The good part about these time zones is that the time zones don’t vary too far past 12 hours. So usually I can assume if its night time here its morning time there. Take it easy you all. And keep posting messages for me! I want to respond to them and it helps me to see that you guys are all thinking about me. I miss each and every one of you.