Saturday, March 26, 2011

One Month in Pohang

So tomorrow, March 28, it will have been one month since we arrived in Pohang and I am absolutely floored. Could it be? Could it really have been a month ago we arrived here in Korea?! Was it really a month ago that we first stepped foot in this most foreign of places, and the time has flown by since then?

It has. A small part of me feels entirely integrated here, but the rest still feels that I am still in a place I know nothing about. And I don't. I don't know the language, I don't understand the culture, I don't even know the social faux pas I am likely committing on a daily basis. That bothers me, but I am slowly coming to terms with it.

Neither Rich or I would either try to say that this last month has been easy. It hasn't. We arrived with very little money and unprepared for just how different our lives would become. We've struggled with jetlag, sickness, fatigue, hunger, and culture shock. There have been days when I come back from work and only have energy to make some ramen and go to bed. These days have been few and far between. Most days have been great. We've had some amazing food, have met amazing people, and have experienced far more joy and laughter than sadness and tears.

Our jobs also are getting better. The days are long, and kids are exhausting, to say the least, but it's growing on me. Our classes are much smaller than you'd see in a public school here, which we're very grateful for. Rich and I have classes that are no larger than 12 student. Twelve 5 year olds is still a lot to handle, but we're managing so far. Our fellow foreign teachers have also been great to us and have been showing us the ropes.

Neither Rich or I could say we've been disappointed with the food, however. It's absolutely fantastic. We've loved nearly everything we've tried and it is all very reasonable. For a large lunch or dinner, you can generally get a meal for 7,000 or 8,000 won. That is about $6 or $7. For that price, you can get a large bowl or pot (to share) of boiling soup and 4 or 5 banchan, with a side of rice. The service is great here, AND there's no tipping. That's a win, win, win!

The next month has a lot on store for us as well. This first month we have not left Pohang, because of a combination of money, illness, and dogsitting (we're dogsitting for another teacher who is on vacation in America until tomorrow). Next weekend we plan on checking out some Buddhist temples, and the week after, heading to Seoul for a Cherry Blossom Festival.

Buddy, the little dog that's shared our apartment for the last couple weeks.

So here's to the next month, hopefully a joyous one, and to the spring and summer that is soon approaching.

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