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Jenn’s Travel Diary

Friday, 28 Sep 2007

Location: Mokpo, Korea (South)

MapWell this is my first journal entry. I'll try and stay updated on this thing, but we'll see how that goes.
So far Korea is amazing!! The flight was long, sleeping in coach is a treat all in itself...it doesn't happen. Thinking more potent gravol is needed for the flight home! Everyone here has totally done their best to make me feel at home and help me in everyway possible. My co-teacher M.J. (who's name is unable to be formed in my mouth) is essentially the only thing that has so far kept me from being deported; she has been amazing. She's set me up with bank account, alien registration, grocery shopping tips and more!
I've been here for almost a month now...HOLY COW!!! It is starting to feel a bit more comfortable. I am getting better at navigating myself around my city...though I still do like walking in straight lines, because landmarks are difficult when all the writing and signs look the same! I've also run into some fellow Brock U. grads which have made this place a whole lot more fun and are helping me to fight off the homesickness.

Here are some things that have amazed/shocked me so far:
-the sterotype is true...I have yet to see a even partially safe driver that hasn't run a red...young drivers would have a field day with this city
-they love their horns...and boy do they honk them...ALL THE TIME...and they aren't just regular horns...they have jingles, it's kinda awesome...i want a personalized jingle on the focus when i come home!!!
-if you are walking...cars have the right of way...i've almost died multiple times trying to cross the street...on my GREEN!!
-I have never seen so many rediculous steering wheel covers in my life...it is both awesome and terrible at the same time!
-I realize why there are so many mountain/hiking shops...its not because they do alot of hiking...it is because in order to walk along the streets in the city, you need a walking stick, reflective vest, AND hiking boots so that you don't roll and ankle or fall in the numerous potholes. Road maintenance is not a high priority!!
-chewing with your mouth fully open is totally normal...UGH!
-dogs with both barretts in their hair and their ears died crazy colours...my favs have been 2 shitzus...one with blue and the other purple ears...YIKES!
-they can find a way to put either whole fish, fish heads, or lots of the bones of fish in any dish!!!
-grocery shopping...helmets, shin guards, and steel-toed boots needed. The carts don't just move forward and back, but side to side...not sure who's brilliant idea that was, considering the road rules that are followed here!!! No one says excuse me...or even the Korean equivalent...they just plow you over! haha...so i'm toughening up my shopping skills, learning to cart-check people!!

What I miss most so far:
-my family and friends...so get on booking those tickets folks!
-fast paced conversation...though I am able to get my fill with my Brock crew, but still on a regular basis it is missed.
-being able to go do typical errands (shopping, the bank, photo developing, getting directions, gym memberships) and it not take 45 mins to make some progress!
-COFFEE...oh wow....i don't know what they think this is, but it isn't coffee!!! haha...its either pre-made in a can, or instant...
=TERRIBLE!! (grandpa...you would not be impressed! though I'm sure some others are laughing at me right now loving the fact that i'm being forced to give up coffee!!)

What is AMAZING so far:
-Korean BBQ...oh man, do I love it...it's like Korean fajitas...AMAZING!
-trying all the cool drinks...they have so many drinks in their stores and I love trying them all....some have not been sucessful!
-glasses are CHEAP...got me a nice new pair for $60!!!
-trying the food...might as well try it all at least once...sometimes I try it again...sometimes not! haha!
-transportation: it is so cheap to get around here...taxis, buses, trains...so inexpensive
-the cafeteria lunches...they are prison-style!! we all line up with our steel plates and have the cafe ladies dish it out!! kinda feels like prison or the military but its a neat way to try out a bunch of Korean cuisine!!
-these pears...they are huge....i love them...i could eat them everyday, but they are out of season now, and expensive...i am not impressed!!

well...I'm sure I'll think of more...but for now, that's it!! I probably should do some lesson planning...that is why I'm here!! till next time....
love love love... J