Today was a good day. I’m still a bit freaked out by the fact that I will spend a year working in a place where I am essentially the only English speaker, but I’m just going to have to get over that. Mr. Kim, one of my coteachers, picked me up at 9:00 this morning and we went on a little adventure. I knew it would be a fun day because he began with, “you drunk last night? I am. Very much.” I didn’t know how to respond, so I was honest. I told him I wasn’t drunk last night, and he said “ok” and moved on. Weird.
We began by going to the school. At first, I was bummed because it looked like a dump from the outside. The inside didn’t seem to be much better, until we went into the “English Zone.” The English Zone is an annex built on to the second floor of the main school building. It was the weirdest juxtaposition of old and new – the second floor hallway was built at least 50 years ago, but the English Zone has never been used before. Some of the classrooms don’t have doors (just bare hinges), but the English Zone has a sliding glass door like on a sci-fi show. I’ll be the only teacher with my own office for the next eight months. One of the English teachers is in the US studying, so I’ll have to share when she comes back. The podium is a touch-screen computer and there is a huge projection screen at the front of the room. Walking from the main building into the English Zone was like time travel. Just seeing my office and classroom make me feel much better because now I know they take my job as seriously as I do.
Mr. Kim was supposed to introduce me to the principal and vice principal today, but they apparently decided not to show up. We left the school and went to the immigration office to apply for my Alien Registration Card. This is the card that all resident aliens must have in order to get just about any services. Once the card is issued, I’ll be able to get internet and have the utilities put into my name. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to share any pictures with you until I get the internet turned on.
Next, we opened a bank account at Daegu Bank in a neighborhood near mine. The bank was directly across the street from my coteacher’s apartment, so we went and met his family. I was awestruck by how nice his apartment was. The living room was bigger than my entire apartment. He had a nice big screen TV in the living room, a great kitchen, and three bedrooms (which is rare here). The building itself is also very nice too, built just two years ago. It turns out that Mrs. Kim is a real estate agent in Daegu. She corrected me repeatedly, telling me that she is an “immovable property specialist.” That was all the English she knew, so I gave up on trying to make her understand that it was the same as an American real estate agent.
After lunch, I hung out with Mr. Kim’s son. He spoke English much better than his parents, so he was able to answer a lot of the questions I had. He seemed not to want to translate for us. I think that may have been insulting to his father, since his father is an English teacher. I’m not sure that’s the case, but I didn’t want to risk upsetting anyone yet. I’ll have plenty of opportunities to do that later.
I’m getting ready to meet my friend Seth, a fellow Jeonju orientation grad, for dinner. After that, we’re going to meet up with a bunch of the Jeonju people in Bangwaldon, a neighborhood downtown. It will be great to hear American English again. I have to run, but I’ll give you an update soon.
Until next time.