Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Fantastic Foods and First Day of Orientation

So, we (Julia, Melissa, Sam, and I) decided to get some authentic Korean cuisine for dinner last night. After wandering around for several blocks, we settled on a restaurant that looked about as authentic as it got-- and we were so very right! The hostess of the restaurant was wonderful, helping us through the language barrier and bringing us her recommended specialty: beef bulgogi. I was excited to try bulgogi in Korea, even though I'd had it in the states, and I wasn't disappointed. It's flippin' DELICIOUS. Slightly sweet, very garlicky, and it came with a staggering array of interesting side dishes (yes, including kimchee, which I did not eat), and some fabulous mushrooms stir-fried right in with the beef and garlic. So good! Even the Korean beer was quite drinkable, much as I've found Japanese beer to be, and I'm not a beer fan.

I was too busy eating to take pictures of the food, but here's the restaurant.

And here's Anyang at night.

For the four of us, the meal (including beer, rice, and the ridiculous smorgasboard of side dishes) cost 40,000 won, or a bit shy of $40. Unbelievable. A meal like that in the states would have cost at least twice what we paid.

After a meal like that, we were all pretty sated, so sleep came easily. Which was good, as we had to get up early so Cindy could pick us up for our first day of orientation at English Village!

I think I must have been nervous, because I had a lot of crazy nightmares and woke up at 5am. Dozed a bit until 7ish, when I got up and got ready for my day. Of course, I managed to slop orange juice down the front of my shirt, so I had to change before heading out the door. OTL

Getting to see the school for the first time was impressive as well as intimidating. Everything is super shiny, colorful, and brand new! I loved the layouts for the classrooms. Here's a little tour, courtesy of my iPod touch:

The Reading Room, which is where our orientation was being held.

The main hallway, with bonus Sam!

Some views of the entry way.

Here's the Culture Room, with Melissa trying to fix some paper dolls that had fallen off the wall.

Everything is very high tech. So colorful, too!

The Cooking Room might be my favorite thing. Lacking an oven in my apartment, this might be where I sneak off to bake cookies!

There's this huge world map on the floor! Right in front of the Infor.Room [sic] which is the library on the floor above our school. Hey, look, a display! With Sponge Bob! (That one was for you, Elise!) The library is pretty neat. There are four different sections of the library organized by reading level, with some adult books on the highest level of ability. Very slick! There's also a nice view from the window.

We walked around outside, too. The grounds are very scenic, beautifully landscaped, with lots of places to sit and relax. There's also a small playground, and I think Sam was tempted to try that see-saw. The path continued up to a nice view of the mountains.

We came back inside from our mini-tour for lunch, which was pizza. But not just any pizza, KOREAN pizza, which has toppings like shrimp, potato, and corn. There's also sweet potato baked into the crust, which is sinfully delicious.

After lunch, we still had a bit of time to explore, so we headed up to the rooftop garden. Despite the onset of autumn, the grounds were very pretty. I even learned the word for "cute" or "pretty", which is "kiyowa" (spelling may vary) in Korean. I'm striving to learn at LEAST one new Korean word every day, so there's my quota!

Training was a lot of fun, but you kind of had to be there, so I won't bore you all with the details. In summary, we played a lot of icebreaker games, learned a bit about English Village's mission statement and policies, and familiarized ourselves with the layout of the place. After we wrapped up our first day of orientation, Cindy told us that we would be getting our alien registration cards, health exams and drug screenings, bank accounts, and cell phones within the next couple of weeks. We'll also be getting our first paycheck on October 10th, and while it's only 10 days worth of pay, it'll go a long way to help us get through to our next check in November! Though, with how cheap food, transportation, and health care is in this country, I'm not too worried.

Our fifth and final (I think) foreign ESL teacher is Nathan from England. He's in a different apartment building (about a mile from our place, give or take), but Cindy brought us over to meet him. Unfortunately, he'd stepped out (probably for food or other necessities), so we didn't get to see him. We did get to see the crazy awesome view from the fifteenth floor of his building, though. While I was sorry we missed him, wanting to welcome him to Korea and all that, we'll be seeing him tomorrow morning for training. I can't wait!

Still trying to figure out how to take videos and import them via iPhoto without making them into JPEGs. Weird program. Also, I STILL don't have photos or video of Sam's ridiculously pink room, but I'm sure I'll have time this weekend.

Tomorrow: More training, meeting Nathan, etc etc...




  1. Oh, Maria. That is so very cool! The school looks like it would still smell of fresh paint. *___*
    Spongebob. There is no escape is there? Just kidding. I love the goofy goober.
    Interesting pizza. (tries to lick screen for flavor) Your just going to torture us with food pictures aren't you?
    Glad things are turning out so far. Looking forward to your next post.

  2. You are impossible to find on facebook but so easily to find elsewhere... we met at the Chicago consulate. Email me:

  3. Holy crap, Korea is so cute!

    I love the school. I'm willing to bet they'll have as much fun as you will. That garden is amazing.

    Growing addicted to your blog now.