Thursday, July 31, 2008

Dirt, grease, grime... OH MY!!!!

As some of you may remember, in my first entry I talked about 'Operation: Clean Stinky Fridge'. At the time, I figured that'd be my only marathon clean-fest. Oh how I was wrong. So very wrong.

While doing some late night dishes (It was around 11:30pm, but I wasn't tired enough to actually go to bed yet), I pondered on the state of my hot plate and decided that it could use a quick scrub. And hey while I'm at it, why not wipe down the wall behind it? That'll give the dishes time to soak for a few minutes. Well, a few minutes turned into approx. 2 and a half hours. Ah yes, another clean-fest was born. When I sprayed the wall, it took maybe 5 seconds for me to realize that "Hey, you're not beige. You're... bright white...." My next thought was a resounding "EWWWWW!!!!" I have never sprayed a surface before and have the cleaning spray drip down a muddy brown. The walls were discreetly camouflaged in grease and grime and only god knows what else and I quickly discovered that washing by hand wasn't enough to combat the filth, but it would require the assistance of my trusty scrubbing brush. I can almost guarantee you that my arms will be sore tomorrow, because I was putting everything I had into getting the 2 tiled walls in my kitchen back to their former whiteness. What's most discouraging is that there's still sections of the walls, mostly between the tiles, that are stubbornly refusing to let go of their beigeness. This can only mean one thing: Round 2 in the near future, which I'm hoping wont't lead to Round 3.

Oh but wait, there's more! While standing on a chair to aid in my mission of cleaning the top section of the wall, I caught a glimpse of the top shelf of the shelving where I've been keeping the little food that I have. The top shelf is quite high and I only started using it the other day when the box of cereal that I bought wouldn't fit on any of the others shelves. Well, now that I was face-to-face with it, to my great horror I saw that it was coated with a good half-inch of dust and again, god knows what else. And once again this lead to a resounding "EWWWWW!!!!" My precious, almost impossible to find cereal has been sitting on that shelf! Ok yeah, it's in a box and thoroughly protected from contamination, but still!!! So this lead to my scrubbing the entirety of that shelving unit and it turns out that even the sections that I believed to be clean still left my paper towelling a disgusting brown/black.

When I finally get around to taking pictures of my apartment, you'll notice that my kitchen is far from large. But with my 2 lenghty cleaning missions, I've used nearly an entire bottle of cleaning spray, close to an entire roll of paper towelling (I hate using paper towels for cleaning, but I quickly discovered that a rag just wouldn't cut it since I'd be rinsing it out every 2 seconds), and 3/4's of my package of antibacterial wipes. Am I crazy, or is that RIDICULOUS!!! The fact that I've used all of that for such small, but overly disgusting spaces boggles my mind!!! To make matters even more fun, I had a good look at the walls throughout the apartment this week and what I once believed to be a pattern in the wallpaper isn't a pattern at all. I'm thinking that one of the past tenants used to smoke in here which would explain the random dark swirls throughout the place. I did a spot test to see if it would come out and so far no luck, which in a sense is a bit of a relief because I wasn't exactly excited at the prospect of washing the walls. I may need to look into some posters though, because the walls look dirty, plain and simple.

Now I'm not a neat-freak, far from it; Mind you I'm not a total slob either, but I don't freak out over dust and dirt and have been known to live in it for probably longer than necessary. But this, this is beyond anything that even I can comprehend. I've believed my past apartments to be dirty when first moving in, but they were pristine compared to this place! How can such a tiny apartment be so filthy?! What I find even more disturbing is that someone lived in that! I honestly don't think I'd be exaggerating if I were to say that this apartment hasn't been properly cleaned in over a year. How did Adam go through his day-to-day without seeing how disgusting this place was?! I know that some people can be ignorant to filth, but come on!!! I'm already having a difficult time not sending him a snarky message commenting on the state that he left this place. It might be impossible for me not to do so when he gets back next month! The whole time I was cleaning tonight, images swam through my mind of my sticking Adam's face in it, like some people do to their dog when it makes a mess. I know, those aren't very kind thoughts (And if you're reading this Adam: 1) HI!; and 2) Bad Adam! BAAAAD!!!!), but you spend hours cleaning someone else's mess and then you tell me that the only thoughts you have in their regard are happy and positive. Someone has to teach that boy some housekeeping skills. And no, that person most definetly WON'T be me.

You'll be proud to hear that I have found a silver lining to all of this. Not that there was ever any serious though (or any thought all, for that matter) on one day becoming a housekeeper or joining some form of cleaning support staff, but I can now officially scratch those jobs off my 'Future Careers' list. And as an added bonus, I got in a pretty intense upper-body workout.

Wow, I just realized how much I've written on such a boring topic. Leave it to me to ramble on about cleaning! I promise that my next entry will be about something actually interesting, for example: My vacation, as somewhat disappointing as its turned out to be. But hey, I still have a few days left before it's officially over so hopefully I'll have something phenomenal to report back to you all! And if not, well, it can't be worst than this entry!

Jan ^__^

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Week #1.5

Befriending my co-workers has been easier than anticipated and I'm SO happy about that! I've realized that if I spend too much time alone in my apartment with only my thoughts to keep me company, I start to get homesick. I mentioned this in my last post, but it's hard to really talk at work so while everyone's been really nice, I hadn't actually hung out with anyone outside of work.

Yesterday (Wednesday) was one of the girl's birthday so a few of us went out for dinner, then for drinks later on (I finally had my first taste of soju, will discuss in a bit) and I finally got to see how their personalities are. Everyone's really laid back and the humour, oh the humour! When I first meet people, I always feel like I have to censor myself, meaning: hide the crazy! But I've been told my several of them that insanity is encouraged and everyone loves to poke fun of one another, in a good 'silly not actually being offensive' kinda way. I think I'd go insane if I had to be polite and reserved 24/7. Obviously I've proven that I can be when the occasion calls for it, but it's nice to just let loose and say what's on your mind when in a casual setting.

This is mostly with the FTs (Foreign Teachers) though; I haven't actually spoken to many of the Korean teachers yet, other than the ones I share classes with. The fact that us foreigners live so close to one another obviously helps form frienships. Honestly, it's like being in residence again because no one's living more than 2 minutes away from each other. At drinks last night a few of the girls and I were talking about the gym and how it's just plain evil. Most of the FTs are gym obsessed, but to say that I'm not a fan is such a major understatement! I can't even count how many trial memberships I've had and have never started an actual membership. I don't know what it is, but gyms just don't do it for me. I can't get motivated, let alone make myself care enough to actually go! So a few of us have decided to try and kick each other's butts to do group yoga. We squeezed 4 of us in a room tonight and while hilarious (We used my yoga dvd and for those of you who have done it with me in the past, you know how hard it is not to giggle!), it was productive so I hope that we can keep it up. Plus another one of the girl's used to teach yoga back home so we might try to escape to the roof once in a while for a change of pace. And, if group yoga fails, a few of us have committed to our second favourite exercise: shopping! What?! You get cardio and weight training all in one!

Ok. I promised to explain soju. Here's a definition, courtesy of 'Lonely Planet's Korea' guidebook: "Soju is the local firewater (at least 20% alcohol) and is often liked to vodka in that it's clear, nearly flavourless and cheap to produce. For sale even in grocery and convenience stores, it comes in many flavours, including lemon, maple, cherry and bamboo." It doesn't mention it in this guidebook, but I've read elsewhere that soju is made from fermented sweet potatoes. I can totally see why it would be likened to vodka because you get that same "I'm drinking rubbing alcohol" burning in the back of your throat when drinking it straight, although I didn't convulse quite as hard as I do when doing shots of vodka. In mixed drinks though, TOTALLY another story; you can't even taste it! Last night we drank these yummy peach and pomegranite/apple mixed drinks and I swear it was just juice. But I know that it wasn't because we also ordered a few bottles of plain soju to add to it and honestly, no matter how much we added all I could taste was juice! This is saying alot because I'm typically really sensitive to the taste of alcohol and even though others swear they can't taste it, my alcohol detector goes off and that's all I can taste. Luckily we were drinking from small glasses, so things didn't get out of control, but I now better understand the hilarious stories that I've been told by people of what they've experienced/done/woken up to after a night of drinking soju.

Another thing I've noticed about Korea is that the LOVE spicy food. Even if it's a food that isn't typically spicy, they'll find a way to make it hotter than anything you've ever consumed. I've never had issues with spicy foods, but this place pushes the boundaries! I've formed a great love for ramen noodles in the time I've been here and was happy when I found some in the grocery store that were mild. In Canada, mild means, well...mild! Not hot, just a wee bit of spice for flavouring. Here... totally different ball game!!! Even with my AC on, my nose starts to run and I totally break out into a sweat. Meaning if the food says spicy, prepare to feel like you're licking the flames of hell, where no amount of fluids will make the excruciating burning disappear! Honestly, my lips still tingle hours later. If you think I'm exaggerating or just being dramatic, I dare you to come to South Korea and try it yourself! I DOUBLE DARE YOU!!! I'm told that I will get used to the extreme spiciness of all Korean foods, but I'm not convinced. But you never know; Maybe by the time I go back home I'll be the crazy woman who can eat the hottest of hot sauces! Or maybe I'll be so traumatized that I'll run away in fear if anything spicier than medium is served to me.

I just noticed the time and realized that it's well past the bedtime that I'd given myself. Surprise, surprise. Upside: Tomorrow's Friday! YAAAAY!!! I love Fridays because I only teach for 4 hours. Which is a very nice change of pace from my looooong Thursdays. I have a few plans set-up for the weekend, so I'm sure there'll be another entry posted in the next few days. And sorry, no good pictures yet. Again with the rain/clouds/overall ick weather! Next week isn't supposed to be any better, but I'm hoping for at LEAST 2 days of sun. PLEAAAASE!!! I feel like I haven't seen the sun since I left Canada and it's starting to get a wee bit depressing. So come on sunshine! I know you wannaaaaaa!!!!

Jan ^__^

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Week #1

Hello everyone! Welcome to my blog!

I decided this weekend that a blog might be a better method of keeping you all up-to-date on what I'm up to in Seoul. Emails are great, but it's hard to individually keep in touch when I'm basically rewriting the same email over and over again. This way, you can know all of the details (As pointless as some of them might be) while emails can be more of an everyday, 'How are you?! Today I'm feeling blah, blah, blah' thing. Plus I get to write, which I ADORE doing!

So, let the blogging begin!

I arrived in Seoul last Sunday night (July 13th) after nearly 24 hours of traveling (19hrs of that in a plane.). Honestly, I thought the trip would be hell but it wasn't all that bad. Now that I say that, I'll probably have a hellish trip home! Haha! The trip from Chicago to Tokyo was the worst (I flew Ottawa to Chicago, Chicago to Tokyo, Tokyo to Seoul), since the flight was nearly 13 hours long, but each seat had its own built-in tv so I got to watch a few movies (Fool’s Gold, Horton Hears a Who, and Smart People) and of course I read (Only 1 novel though!), so that helped pass the time. I'm happy to announce that the airplane food wasn't horrible! Here's what they fed us: 1st meal: rice with chicken and vegetables; salad with chicken; bun; carrot cake. 2nd meal: ramen noodles in a cup, which weren’t very good because the water wasn’t hot enough to actually cook the noodles. 3rd meal: Not sure, cause I slept though it! Yes, you read that correctly: I SLEPT!!! YAY ME! I’m notorious for not sleeping while traveling (My greatest example was the road trip to Daytona Beach. We drove straight through, so 24 hours there and 22 back and I slept maybe an hour the entire drive. Not cool!), so I was very happy that I slept quite a bit. Although my sleeping maybe 4 hours was nothing compared to the guy sitting next to be; I'd say he slept for 98% of the trip. He was passed out 5 minutes after we boarded the plane! Maybe he was awake while I slept, but I do know that in nearly 13 hours, he never got out of his seat. I know this because I had the aisle seat so I’d have had to move if he had. I have NO idea how he managed that, because I had to stand up a few tmes to stretch my legs, not to mention use the washroom!

Anyways, back to my little story. Once I arrived at the airport in Seoul I was a bit panicked, because my flight leaving from Ottawa had been delayed meaning my entire itinerary had been changed prior to my departure. I had a driver picking me up a the airport, but since I arrived nearly 3 hours later than scheduled, he wasn't there. After waiting maybe 20 minutes, I started scrambling for my phone card in an attempt to use a Korean pay phone. Thankfully a cute little old Korean man stopped by and asked if everything was ok. (His English was quite good and I found out that he visits Toronto a few times a year). I sheepishly explained the situation and so he pulled out his cell phone, grabbed my driver's phone number and called him for me. He then stuck around until Mr. Kang (driver) showed up. So nice!

Mr. Kang brought me to a hotel near the school, since I wouldn't be able to move into my apartment until Thursday. I met Mr. Kim (The school's general manager) where he checked me in. Whew! I was worried about that! From the outside, the hotel looked pretty grungy and that made me a wee bit nervous, but my room was really nice! The hotel has several different types of room (elegant, japanese, etc.), but mine was the modern type so everything was, well, modern! A king-sized bed, a big screen tv, a computer with internet access, a Jacuzzi tub (Which I didn't use. There's just something about hotel Jacuzzi's that creeps me out!) with a built-in shower, and my toilet was super fancy with random buttons. One of those was for the bidet (A spray of water that washes your downstairs) and another button blew a stream of air out to dry. Not gonna lie, I tried it once, but it was weird! A one time thing.

Monday morning Mr. Kim met me at the hotel and showed me how to use the subway to the school. Seoul's subway system is super easy to follow as everything's writtin in Korean and English, so as long as you pay attention, it's pretty fool-proof. The hotel and the school are maybe 20 minutes apart, so painless!

Now it's time for the 'meet my school' portion of this post. It's a private institution, called SLP, founded by one of Seoul's universities, Sogang University. My school is one of many in Seoul (I get the feeling that they're a pretty big deal) and is called Gangseo SLP. It's in an office building on the 3rd, 4th and 5th floors (Classes are on the 3rd and 4th, the teacher's lounge is on the 5th). Its sole purpose it to teach Korean kids (preschool to junior high) English, so the #1 rule of the school is no Korean speaking allowed. Korea, like most Asian countries, is pretty hardcore about education (Mainly because it's so highly populated that universities can only take so many kids, hence why schooling is intense, not to mention insanely competitive, especially the moms.) and many kids go to regular Korean school PLUS English school, which is why there's such a high demand for English teachers. It's insane to think that many of these kids spend 12+hours at school during the week and are at times also atttending weekend classes. The school has, give or take, about 12 North American teachers and around the same amount of Korean teachers. Most of the classes are 80 minutes long, so the Foreign teacher teaches for 40 minutes and the Korean teacher for the other 40 minutes (But even the Korean teachers teach English). Anyways, as for my schedule, I took over all of the classes of one of the other teacher's, Adam. He just finished his year, but is signing a new contract and will be back in September, so he'll be taking his classes back at that time. Meaning in September, I'll be having a whole new schedule. Monday I started doing observation, which means that I sat in on other teachers classes and took notes so that I can see how they do things. Tuesday I did the same, but mostly shadowed Adam since I'd be taking his classes. Wednesday, I taught 20 minutes for 4 of the classes and since that was Adam's last day, I started teaching alone on Thursday and Friday. Yeah, needless to say I thought I'd have a panic attack. I was insanely nervous and honestly, I still am! Here's a basic breakdown of my schedule:

-Mondays: I teach from 1:10 to 7:00pm and that consists of 7, 40 minute classes.

-Tuesdays: 1:10 to 8:00pm, 7 classes, one of those lasting 80 minutes and my last 2 lasting for 1 hour.

-Wednesday: 2:40 to 7:00pm, 5 classes, all 40 minutes.

-Thursday: 1:10 to 8:00pm, 7 classes, one lasting 80 minutes and my last 2 lasting 1 hour.

-Fridays: 2:40 to 7:00pm, 5 classes, all 40 minutes.

My first classes on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays are with pre-schoolers, so they're 5 and 6 years old (Give or take... Ages are determined differently here than they are back home. Will explain another day when I understand it better myself!). The rest of my classes have kids anywhere from 8 to 13 years old (Later classes mean older kids), so I deal with kids of all ages. The school is super structured and there's different types of classes, so it's pretty stressful because you have to ensure to cover the right section on the right day, otherwise you're scrambling to play catch-up. It's nice to have some direction, but it doesn't leave much room for mistakes. Which I happened to do on Friday, because I prepared for a lesson that the kids had already learned. When I looked over the next lesson in their book, I needed all kinds of photocopies and handouts, so I couldn't even skip ahead. So basically we reviewed their homework and I let them start on the work that they had to do over the weekend. Adam left in a bit of a panic and I was in total information overload-mode, so I only realized on Thursday that I was wasn't quite sure where he was at for a several of his classes. Not good! The co-workers that I mentioned this to told me not to worry, that they've also done this in the past, but I still really hate feeling like I don't know what I'm doing. I'm excited for the day where I don't feel like I'm frantically scrambling to be organized! You know me, Ms Perfectionist, especially when it comes to my job, but I'm trying to relax and just go with the flow. Anyways, good news is that the co-workers that I've had the chance to chat with (Everyone's so busy that it's hard to sit and really talk during school) have been really nice. And the kids (for the most part), are sweet (Especially my first preschool class on Thursdays. By the end of the class they were all hugging me and telling me they loved me. Cute! My 2nd preschool class...little demons!!!). I've been told that I need to work on my class management skills (meaning, I need to be mean for a while, then can ease into being nice), so I'm trying to play stern. Not really my strong point, but I seemed to instill fear in one of my louder classes on Friday and they actually behaved! Weeeird!!! Oh, and the kids here don't call you Miss or Ms. They call you by your first name followed by Teacher. So I'm Janique Teacher! It makes me smile! It's funny though, because even though I have many of the more advanced classes, I still need to dumb down my speech alot and use my hands. Thankfully, as we all know, I have no problem talking with my hands! By the end of the day it's almost hard to talk like a normal adult and I've noticed that even when we teachers talk to each other, we're using our basic 'talking to Korean kids' speech. I'll need to make sure to read alot so that I don't forget how to speak properly! Hahaha!

Oh yeah, on Friday morning I had to go for a medical exam. EEPS!!! It was pretty intense, having to go from one station to another, overall stressful. I had a chest xray, answered questions on my medical history, gave blood, peed in a cup, did a quick seeing and hearing test, and had my teeth checked. WHEW! I'm assuming everything went well, because I have zero health-issues that I'm aware of, so I should be applying for my alien/residence card in the next few days. Once I have that I can open a bank account and get a cell phone, which I totally want because I wouldn’t care so much about getting lost while wandering if I had a cell handy. I feel panicky without one!

Adam left on Thursday, so that morning Mr. Kim met me and checked me out of the hotel. So when I left work on Thursday night, I was able to come to my apartment. It's about a 20 minute walk from the school and all the foreign teachers live in 2 neighbouring apartment buildings. The neighbourhood is very Seoul-like, so lots of building and restaurants, but not even close to being as busy as the hotel's neighbourhood. I've noticed alot of little parks in the area as well, so I'm looking forward to visiting those! The apartment itself is actually quite nice. Small (Nothing like my apartment in Ottawa!), but compared to what I've heard from other people who have lived in Seoul, I'm pretty lucky. It's a bachelor apartment, so everything's in plain view, but cute and not a tiny box. I'll take pictures/videos of it as soon as I'm unpacked, but in the meantime, here's a description of it:

The door can be unlocked either with the key, but there's also a key pad where you can put in a code. I only have the key at the moment, but am hoping that my key pad will be activated soon just cause it sounds like fun! I also have a little monitor on my wall that shows me who's at the door. Not sure how to use it just yet... I need to either ask another teacher or translate the Korean. When you walk in, there's a little entrance area where the lights automatically turn on. This is where you take off your shoes, because Asians don't wear their shoes inside (Although this is nothing new, because I rarely wear my shoes inside either!) To the left is my closet/clothes area which isn't very big, but I'm working on figuring something out! To the right is my washroom and it has an actual closed-in shower; Many apartments have a detachable shower head and you have to shower in the middle of your washroom. And an Western-style toilet, so no squatting for me (Asian toilets are kinda hard to describe, but it's bascially a urinal on the ground. I'll take a picture the next time I see one!) Past the bathroom is the rest of the apartment. Kitchen to right with a fridge, a microwave, some cabinets, a hot plate-type stove (No actual oven, just 2 elements), and where the oven should be there's a washing machine. The rest of the apartment is my living room/bedroom, with a table and twin-size bed (The mattress is HARD, but I received a new comforter when I moved in, so I'm going to use the one that Adam left behind to use as a mattress cover). My favourite part: It has air conditioning!!! It's been RETARDED hot, well in the mid-40C's with the humidity, so having AC is awesome! I also have a pretty nice view. Well, relatively speaking... I can see the sky and am not facing a wall! Since I not only took Adam's classes, but also his apartment (which I'll be keeping all year; He's moving into another apartment when he returns to Seoul), the tv (There's a handfull of American channels, with Korean subtitles of course. Yay!) and phone are already connected. I have NO idea what my phone number is though, but plan on finding out. Downside to taking over Adam's apartment: He's a guy and obviously wasn't keen on cleaning. Someone came in before I moved in to sweep and mop and clean the washroom, but other than that... ick. The fridge, while empty, was so grimy! And stinky! It didn't look that bad on Thursday night, but by the weekend I didn't even want to open the fridge. And I really didn't want to put food in there because I felt that the stink would transfer over! So since I ate all of the food that I bought during the week, I mainly only ate ramen noodles (Mr. Noodles) over the weekend, courtesy of Adam's leftover food. He also left several boxes of KD! YAY! I made a box my first night, but the cooking pot is old and made it taste nasty. So I bought a new pot so that I can have yummy KD! Also, the water from the tap has a funky smell. (I've been noticing many new smells since being in Korea!) I've been told many times NOT to drink it, so thankfully a 2L bottle of water costs less than a dollar.

Hmmmm... what else. Oh! I saw my friend Jean-Marc (We've known each other since high school) on Friday night! He had several pieces displayed in an art exhibition, so like a big girl I made the hour-long subway trip and only got a little bit lost. But not on the subway, that's actually pretty easy (You just have to pay attention to make sure you don't miss your stop, but everything's labeled really well and in the subway there's typically something that lets you know what station you're at), it was the walking part that messed me up. JM's directions were good, but I got confused right at the end (And I had been so proud at how well I had been doing! Oh well.). Anyways, it was SO nice to see him! Erica, one of my theatre buddies from high school, also showed up so we had a mini freakout-happy-fit. She's been here for 4-months now and gave me the downlow on her teaching experience thus far. Turns out that there were a few people there that night who are either from, went to school or now live in North Bay (When not living in Seoul, of course). SO WEIRD having that many North Bay people in Seoul! It was really, really nice though. And I was so happy to see JM's work. That boy's got talent! He's going home for 2-weeks as of next week, but when he gets back he's moving apartments and will be closer to where I'm living. I love having a friend from home here! It's just so unbelievably comforting! I was also hoping to see my friend Scott (Him and JM keep fighting over who'll hangout with me next. I feel so special!), but that didn't work out. Hopefully next weekend. Especially for his sake, since he had me buy him some deodorant before I came and is now completely out! He's turning into the stinky Canadian boy! Deodorant here is hard to find, which is messed up considering how hot it gets. Although that does explain some of the smells I was referring to...

Saturday I was supposed to go to the Boryeong Mud Festival with some of my coworkers. Every year, the city of Boryeong (About 3 hours from Seoul) throws a weeklong festival which celebrates the fact that the city gets really muddy. So they have all kinds of activities centered around this, like mud wrestling, mud slides, mud obstacle courses, etc. It’s basically a huge drunken party where you’re encouraged to get covered from head to toe in mud! I was really pumped to go, but by Friday I was exhausted. We’d be staying in Boryeong all weekend and I decided that since I’d be out late Friday night/Saturday morning for JM’s exhibit and would be leaving really early Saturday morning for Boryeong, the smart thing to do would be to stay home and chill since I haven't stopped since I got here. I haven’t really had any intense jetlag yet, but I am feeling more tired than normal (Not to mention stressed out) and didn’t think I should go away my first weekend. It rained all day and was overall crappy outside, so I stayed in my pjs and watched movies, read, and napped. It felt great! I'm still kinda bummed that I didn't go to Boryeong and will probably be even more so when I hear about it, but I highly doubt that partying all weekend will help with the tiredness!

On Sunday I adventured over to HomeEver, which is a MASSIVE department store next to my apartment building. There’s about 5-6 levels and you can basically find everything in there, from food to electronics to clothes to kitchenware, etc. I bought some cleaning supplies, a kitchen garbage, soap dish, toothbrush holder, a cooking pot, a hairdryer (The hunt continues for a diffuser....My poor frizzy hair!!!), and other random apartment items, plus some water and a bit of food (My arms were pretty loaded with things by that point and I wanted to clean the fridge before doing real groceries, so that'll be happening sometime soon). That took me a good 2 hours; Everything’s in Korean, so it’s sometimes hard to know what you’re actually buying if there’s no pictures! Plus since this was my first time at HomeEver, I had a hard time figuring out what floor sold what. Again: everything’s Korean! I'm going to start learning their alphabet, hoping that that'll make things easier for me. When I got back, sweating like a pig may I add (I repeat: it’s freaking hot over here! It’s deceiving because my AC works really well, so I don’t realize how hot it really is until I get outside!) I spent a good 2 hours scrubbing every inch of the fridge and freezer which are now their original white colour and stink-free. I do want to see if I can find a box of baking soda though, just as an extra touch!

And that sums up Week #1 in Seoul! I apparently have the internet in my apartment, but the internet cable doesn’t stay plugged into my laptop. Thankfully there are people in the building who have unsecured wireless connections, so I’ve been bumming off of them. Muwahahaha!!! I probably shouldn't press my luck too long though, cause one day I'll wake up and won't be able to get online!

More updates, including pictures (I hope! It's been rainy most days, so that doesn't make for prime photo-ops!) to come soon!

Jan ^__^