Monday, 2 March 2015

Departures and Arrivals! Day One...

So departure day came and went within a flash. The goodbyes at the airport were emotional as expected, and it was of course extremely difficult saying goodbye to my family who had travelled up to see me off. Once I had gone through security though I quickly realised that I just had to get on with it and work out this whole flying business by myself. Honestly, I don’t know what I was worrying about. The plane ride over and changing in Istanbul went without fault. There were no real delays and no problems with security or immigration, however I did have some awful stomach problems for the duration of both flights - I reckon I must have single handedly powered the planes engines to be honest. Nice.

 Not Plain food but Plane food...it was gooood!

Standard out the window shot!

Soooo much leg room...yep I was pretty bored.

I arrived at Incheon Airport to see the director of the school frantically waving at me in delight. Her first words were...’oh Sarah I’m so glad you’re healthy’. ‘Me too’ I thought wondering exactly what she meant. Herself and her lovely husband then took me back to Anyang, which is about an hour away from the airport (just south of Seoul). We drove over the worlds 7th longest bridge(actual fact - Incheon bridge) and they told me lots about Korean culture, cuisine and ask me lots of questions about my life back home. They then took me for a drive around the local area and I saw probably one of the most beautiful lakes that I have ever seen. I have no photo of this as I was pretty much dead to the world but let me tell you...surrounded by mountains and small traditional Korean style restaurants, it was an expats dream.

After this they took me for my first Korean meal. I took off my shoes, sat down on the floor and began to eat just one of the 18 dishes placed in front of me. Wow, I was not hungry at all but this food was delicious. I tried a bit of everything to be polite...even fish which was awkward but strangely had no effect on me (I’m allergic for anyone that doesn’t know)! The main problem was the flat metal chopsticks. Korea is the only country I believe that uses these chopsticks and I have heard of other nationalities including the Japanese and Chinese having difficulties with them too, so I guess it was no real surprise that I found it tough going - I will of course endeavour to practice more, which isn’t hard as its the only cutlery you get at most places. It was lovely sitting in this traditional Korean restaurant watching the people pass by, and looking out over the scenery. At this point it suddenly hit me, oh wait...I’m in Korea. 

First meal!

After the 18 dishes, metal chopstick dilemma and numerous amounts of mis-communication between the 3 of us, we drove to my apartment which is approximately 2 minutes from the school. It’s genuinely that close. I am on the 7th floor of a high rise and my school is in the next building, which is great. My apartment is nice, it’s bigger than I thought it would be and it has been well kept. The previous person had cleaned it throughout which was a massive help and I even have a toaster! Score!

My living room!
After a quick change and brush of the ole teeth we then went across to the school. There is a big drama studio with a little stage, an attic (for story telling time), a music and activity room and about 5 smaller classrooms. I observed for the rest of the day and spoke to the current teacher as much as I could possibly managed...what with the jet lag and all. The children and staff were all lovely and to be honest I couldn’t wait to get started come Monday. That evening we went out for a meal to say farewell to the current teacher that I was taking over from. By this point I had been awake for 30 hours. HORRENDOUS...but doable it would seem.

I went home at around 10pm, exhausted after a long day of travelling, meeting new people and eating different cuisines on an already funny stomach. I then fell asleep in a heap on the floor for the next 12 hours. 

Despite feeling completely drained, my first day in Korea was I think...just the start of so many good things to come.

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