Friday, August 3, 2007

Day three is upon me. It is 2:45 PM here, which means that it is 12:45 AM in Chicago. Thankfully, I’m not jetlagged (which, after reading last night’s journal, I know that I was then…good luck reading that one). I’m still sans baggage and sans working phone.

Anyway, back to day one. I took a tour of my school, saw my room, saw the mess of my room, and I saw something that needed a quick remedy. So, in two days, my room is about 75% done, and for my former students, yes, I do have a podium, which means that I will have something to hit and make tons of noise with.

I’m pumped—I have a white board and a projector (thanks, Mr. Boyer!). I’ve already become 5% better as a teacher.

My room looks out on the parking lot, and beyond that are rice paddies. Beyond that is a highway, and beyond that is a city with 10+ story apartment buildings. So, in one glance out a window, I see hundreds of years of economic development.

The one thing that is driving me crazy & sweaty, which is not cool considering ALL my deodorant is in transit, is the lack of air conditioning. I am sitting at my computer with a fan about 2 inches behind my head at about full blast. For those of you who remember the old Maxell commercials with the studly guy in the leather coat and how his hair (and, if I recall correctly, every other appliance in the room) is blowing away from the power of the speakers…well imagine that in the opposite direction, because that’s me right now.

Another interesting thing is my bathroom. In my bathroom is the following: a toilet, a sink, and a shower.

Dear Eric,

No duh. Welcome to civilization.

Love,
Every Homeowner in America

Thanks. The bathroom, for lack of a better description, is in the shape of a trapezoid. Along the base, which is about 7 feet long, is the sink. Up one side, which is about 5 feet, is the toilet. Down the angle, which is about 7 feet, is the shower.

SIDEBAR:

I haven’t done the calculation, but that’s a lot of stuff in a small area.

END SIDEBAR

Small problem with the shower is that the head is located in a position that makes the installation of a rod and curtain impossible. Therefore, whenever I take a shower, I have to batten down the hatches and make sure that 1) My towel isn’t in the bathroom with me and 2) the toilet paper is stowed in an upright and locked position.

SIDEBAR:

Things like this make me glad I live alone. A shower involves traveling between two rooms with severe nakedness. Not exactly the best way to get to know your roommate.

END SIDEBAR

Anyway, after the shower, the bathroom is flooded for about 15 minutes. I’m glad I learned that now instead of the first day of school.

Yet another interesting thing: My neighbor came over to say hello in Korean and promptly invited himself in and, according to my administrator, who was there with me while this was going on, “saw what I did with the place.” The guy looked at my bedroom, the kitchen, and the living room. Upon exiting, my administrator told me that this was completely normal. He then reassured me and told me that I was in the safest part of an already safe city and that the man wasn’t surveying my apartment for things to borrow for a really long time.

By the way, my apartment is on the third floor of a building. The first floor is home to a beauty salon. The second floor is home to an open-very-late Internet Café, which I will frequent every once in awhile.

The final interesting thing is how they deliver food. I ordered, through our school secretary, pork fried rice.

SIDEBAR:

Dear Eric,

You’ve had more sidebars than your allotment.

Sincerely,

The American BAR Association & The United Press International & The Associated Press

Too bad! I’m in Korea now!

The secretary told me that this restaurant doesn’t make the greatest Korean food and that I shouldn’t judge all Korean food by this food. Upon eating this food, I can’t wait until I get better Korean food, because this food was amazing. I can’t fathom how it gets better.

END SIDEBAR

The food gets delivered by a guy in a scooter. By the way, in Korea, there is no tipping. No tips to cabs, deliverymen, etc. They don’t believe in tips here.

My lunch, which was $4.50, included soup, fried rice, a bowl of sauce for the fried rice, kimchi, and some other vegetables. What’s fascinating is that all of these things came in individually-wrapped plastic bowls and plates. I also had a metal spoon as part of the grouping. After I finished my meal, I was told to leave all the plates outside because the same guy would come back and get the plates for reuse later.

Apparently, they do not believe in Styrofoam in Korea.

Yesterday, I spent some time and money at the E-Mart, which is on par with Wal-Mart or Target in America. While there, I saw an aisle of 20 kg bags of rice (44 lb). I was blown away, so I had to take a picture of it.

Bad choice.

In about 30 seconds, I was approached by someone, who admonished me in Korean, but made sure to say, in English, “no picture.” I believe the Korean went something like this: “You ninny! You should know better than to bring a camera into a store and take pictures. I bet you’re not even an American. You’re probably with one of the competitors, trying to take pictures of our pricing scheme, but dressed in an American costume. But, just to make sure…no picture…you ninny.”

I can’t think of much more to write. Email me and hopefully, I’ll be at school on Monday…which is your Sunday night, and I’ll respond.

4 comments:

Lauren H. said...

wow, zanger...you make me laugh. lol I can tell I am going to enjoy reading your blog in the months to come because tht was quite funny....i laughed...lol So u got yelled at in korean for taking a picture?? hm...interesting. Do u even know any korean yet? when u learn some korean, teach me!!

p.s. Dont be a ninny, you ninny :)

Laurie said...

Eric, I found you... mwaa haa haa.

SIDEBAR: Pictures make a whole lot of words a LOT more easy to read!

Benjamin said...

Brilliant. I was dying with laughter reading this.

Blues and Greens said...

Oh, yeah, the bathrooms and the no air-conditioning--Did I forget to tell you about that?

:) Welcome Home!

Emily