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Wednesday, October 1, 2008


It's 3:26 AM in Korea and I'm wide awake. Actually, I've been awake since 12:30AM which is probably due to the fact that I went to bed at about 4:00 PM.

Oh, the wonders of travel and jet-lag.

In my defense, yesterday was a busy day. Melissa and I set out to explore our neighborhood and walked for more than two hours. Found the local market that was exactly what you picture a "typical" Asian market to look like--a wide range of thing for sale, from fish just hanging in the open, to cookware and pillows, to a huge assortment of unfamiliar vegetables.

The neighborhood I live in, Suyu, is at the northern edge of Seoul and doesn't feel as urban as downtown would. It's not terribly crowded or busy but has more of a neighborhood feel, which is nice.

One of the main things I noticed--which I had heard about before coming but never realized the impact--is how undiverse Korea is. Truly. We walked around for more than two hours and only once saw a non-Korean person. It's amazing how even in a huge city like Seoul, the population is still so homogeneous.

Haven't quite managed to buy groceries yet. We went into one grocery but since all the products are Korean (obviously) it was nearly impossible to buy anything because a) the food itself is unfamiliar and b) we can't read the cooking instructions. Dilemma. There are surprisingly 7-11's everywhere, including on our campus, but the only other American chains we saw were a KFC and a Pizza Hut (just delivery, no eat-in).

Finding lunch was a chore because most restaurants only had Korean menus which presented an obvious problem. Finally we found a sandwich shop with an English menu and the cashier actually spoke a little English, so that was a relief. I still haven't figured out how to muddle through the next year with this enormous language barrier...

Orientation starts tomorrow--I'm hoping this leads to meeting more people and becoming more familiar with the campus. Excited to learn what class I'll be teaching because right now, that is giving me the most nerves...

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