Shortly after my previous post, Cindy from English Village came to the apartments to meet me and Sam. I'd just gone out into the hallway to give a thank-you gift to my landlady (because sucking up is apparently an art in this country), and Cindy just happened to be there. With her help, the landlady was finally able to explain how things in my apartment building worked, like the washing machine, the hot water tap, the air conditioner and thermostat, the gas stovetop, the key card, etc. I'd mostly figured out the important features on my own, but as all the instructions for the stove, AC, and washing machine are in Korean, it was nice to have a better understanding of how they worked.
Cindy explained that the other two teachers would be arriving soon, but that she could run us to the nearby Lotte Mart to pick up essentials like bedding and food. We wound up buying a LOT, so it was good that she'd driven us in her car. When we returned, the other teachers had apparently arrived already but weren't in their apartments, so we assumed they'd gone off to find dinner. Sam and I enjoyed some of our own dinner of sushi, which we'd picked up in the deli. Apparently, Korean-style sushi includes such delicacies as yellow mustard and Spam. Who knew? It was surprisingly tasty.
I figured it would be a good opportunity to use my washing machine and try out the laundry detergent, so I washed my new sheets and pillowcase-- only to remember belatedly that I didn't have a dryer! So, with my damp bedding draped over the bathroom door and a chair, I slept on my new mattress pad (necessary because that bed is hard as a ROCK) and pillow (which I'd wrapped in my sweatshirt as an impromptu pillow case). I'd intended to stay up until midnight, really get my sleep schedule set right off the bat, but I was so tired I wound up passing out around ten.
Slept surprisingly well, all considering. I'd heard a firm mattress was good for the back, and apparently that was true because I felt pretty good when I woke up. Which was at five in the morning. Deciding that was WAY too early, I forced myself to doze off for another hour and a half or so before giving up and having a shower. I had a banana, but didn't really have other breakfasty foods, so I thought I'd try that cafe a few blocks away that had the good internet connection. My laptop wasn't picking up on any signals from my apartment, sadly.
After rounding up Julia and Melissa and Sam, my fellow ESL teachers (all from Canada, incidentally), we trouped off to Coffine Gurunaru and enjoyed a reasonably priced breakfast. I got a HUGE plate of what they called "raspberry cream bread", which was sort of like really thick but fluffy-light toast with raspberry jam and a mountain of whipped cream on top. It was delicious, but huge, so I shared it with my new friends. I also had an iced green tea latte, which was an ironically familiar comfort.
We wandered around the shops a bit, intending to find ethernet cables for all of us and an electric kettle for me. The kettle was achieved with little problem, though when I asked the salesman if he had any power adapters like the one Sam had loaned me (I had it with me to show him what I meant), he led me down the street and to a small hardware store. They unfortunately didn't have the adapter I needed, but the salesman was so nice about it all that I thanked him anyway. The little shop with stationary and electronics was our next stop, but they only had one ethernet cable left, and I got it because I'd asked first. Thus, my ability to be online (with a reliable connection) in my own apartment, which is really quite nice.
After a short stop at home to drop off our purchases, we hit up the Lotte Mart again, this time with Melissa and Julia in tow. It was a nice, cool, shady walk there. I picked up more essentials, like sugar, salt, pepper, oil, eggs, bread, peanut butter, jelly, some small towels, tea, clothes hangers, and a garbage can. I may have gone a little overboard, though, because I was short on cash and had to put back the bacon and cheese (which made me very sadface). I need to get to a bank and change more currency, and probably set up an account. Hopefully, Cindy will drop by again this evening and show us how to do that, and also how to get to the school. We're supposed to start training tomorrow morning, and none of us know how the buses work, or where the school is from here!
At the moment, we're mostly just waiting around until Cindy gets here, settling into our apartments and relaxing. In a few minutes, if she doesn't show, we're going to hit up a local restaurant for some proper Korean cuisine. There are SO MANY places to eat around here, and I intend to try pretty much all of them within the year.
I was going to upload some videos to photobucket (because YouTube doesn't allow uploads in Korea, the jerks), but iPhoto somehow managed to convert all the videos I took on my iPod to JPEG images. I don't even know. What. *sigh* Also, it deleted all the videos once it imported them (and changed them to JPEGs), so I can't even try to import them again properly. Yeah, nice one, Apple.
So, that's me for now. I'm going to post some more pictures showing off our apartments later, especially Sam's super girly pink apartment. Seriously, it's the most feminine apartment I've ever seen, and not just because it's so pink. It's a hoot.