Saturday, July 28, 2007

Getting Settled

So today I was on my own and had to take the "dreaded" walk to school. I'm not sure if anyone realizes coming into Korea exactly what they're getting themselves into- I sure didn't. And not in a bad way, just in a "wow, there's no way I could have ever known this without having previously been to Korea" kind of way. Firstly, one is usually under the impression that all Koreans love English and will go out of there way, if not to speak, at least to have certain menus and signs translated into English. Not so much. Sometimes, on things like a bottle of coke, there will be Korean on one side of the bottle and English on the other side, but I think that's mostly for copyright purposes. So on the whole, I'm feeling a little timid about going into a store or restaurant alone and ordering a meal or buying an item.

Also, the driving- as I have mentioned- is crazy. So crazy that one, in my opinion, is not even safe on the sidewalk, let alone a crosswalk. So I have been very timid about leaving my apartment and walking down the street (my fellow Canadians assure me this will pass).

I've gone way off track. Even though I was dreading walking to work today, it turns out I didn't even have to. Having slept for about 15 hours (from 7PM to about 9:30AM), I was just getting dressed and getting my makeup on when my doorbell rang. I wondered who it could have possibly be, since no one knows where I live, and it turned out to be Jay!

I really like Jay. He's the school's financial dude, and speaks very little English. Having said this, I have understood everything he's attempted to tell me over the last few days, which is a lot, and he's absolutely hilarious. Like, I don't have to fake laughing at his jokes (he often gestures so I understand what he's saying). He was there to pick me up from the airport, and on the way back we went through an entire repretoire of Korean music- the staples: the cheesey Korean ballad (very karaoke, or in Korea- NORABANG!), the Korean Gangsta Rap, the American song translated into cheesey Korean ballad, and finally American 80's music (think the Wedding Singer soundtrack). Then Jay brought me to my apartment and pretended to throw a fit when I mistakenly walked into my apartment with my shoes on- "No, Janine No! I clean, I clean!". When I told him he had dropped some money on the floor he explained that in Korea it's good luck to have money on the floor of a new apartment- something about well wishing and prosperity. Then he took me to E-Mart (the equivilant of WalMart) and helped me buy makeup, which was hilarious because he was the one who had to speak to the saleslady.

Anyways, I thought Jay deserved a proper introduction because Gad knows I'll be talking about him in the future! What a card.

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