First two months in SoKo (in a nutshell)

Time flies when you’re having fun…

A couple of days ago marked the start of my third month in beautiful and awesome South Korea. In this first two months I have experienced so much. I’ve made great friends from all over the world,  seen awesome sceneries, partied hard, learned so much about a lot of different cultures, learned a helluva lot about myself and was worried about the people at home worrying about us over here and the “war” about to hit us (still nothing).

So before I left sunny SA in February I promised to blog regularly during my stay in SoKo… I thought about it a lot, but never actually made the time to pen my thoughts. I’m on the train now on my way to my awesome sexy girlfriend Monique Malan in Samcheok and decided that the time is now… so here goes! (I’ll try to keep it brief, but you are warned it’s going to be a big post! To save you the boredom, I’ll post about the awesome adventures in the first two months separately).

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Saying goodbye at the airport. Took this pic with a crappy cheap rental phone (which I ended up paying for a lot more than which I bargained for).

After arriving in South Korea and almost freezing our butts off in Incheon, I had to say good bey to Monique the next day to leave for Jeongju, a city south of Seoul (capital city of SoKo), where I spent nine days in orientation. It was here where I met the most awesome people from all over the world (a lot of SA’s though). My roomie was this crazy guy from San Francisco, California, USA – Hunter Lind.

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Hunter making sure he gets enough of everything at the closing ceremony. Three plates brother.

Named after the American author and journalist Hunter S. Thompson, I guess this quote from him is kind of fitting. “If you’re going to be crazy, you have to get paid for it or else you’re going to get locked up for it.” My first new friend and a guy I’m sure to call my pal forever. I’ve made a lot more friends, and you’ll see and hear more of them in other posts.

On the second last day of orientation we finally found out where we’re all placed. I got placed in Chungju, the second biggest city in Chungcheonbuk-do, with nobody I actually made friends with at orientation. The people I’ve met in Chungju are awesome though. Well most of them… but I’m really enjoying it. Monique was at a different venue and heard the next day that she got placed in Samcheok, a small coastal city on the east coast of Gangwon-do. A four hour ride by train away… not convenient, but we’re winging it for now.

Emma (Korean co-teacher), Jameelah, Jade, me and Sam.

Emma (Korean co-teacher), Jameelah, Jade, me and Sam.

I got placed at the Northern English Center with three other Get’s (guest English teachers). Sam and Jameelah from the USA and Jade from SA. We do camps and teach theme based lessons to 48 new students every week. Lots of fun. On the downside though, we work different times and get different holidays than all the other teachers, which is a bit unnecessary at the moment, but manageable (for now).

In the week we work hard and reward ourselves with some traveling over the weekend. I’ve spend most of my weekends with Monique and the awesome people she’s met at her orientation. More new friends and people to spend our time with in SoKo. Together we’ve been to some great places, which include the Hwanseongul caves (outside Samcheok),  Gangneung, Seoul (twice), Donghae, Daejeon, Ulsan and Busan. (I will do separate posts with pics for these weekends).

So I’ve mentioned that I’m on the train writing this, which made me realize again how easy and convenient travelling is in this country. We use taxi’s, buses and trains mostly, but in Busan and Seoul we also get to use the awesome subways and the KTX (bullet train). Always on time, cheapish and very, very sufficient. I will also enjoy a massage in a massage chair after I press the ‘send’-button on this post.

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The food is great too and I really enjoy eating with chopsticks and my hands for most of the meals. Of cause the food is different, but it is really healthy (if you don’t count the meals with deep fried sweet potato or pancakes). I’ve never consumed so much vegetables and fruit before than what I have had in these two months.

The people are very friendly and helpful. If it wasn’t for the language barrier I guess this place would be incomparable. They’ve also been very comforting during the time when family and friends rattled us a bit with all the ‘war’-talk. The people here are used to these kinds of threats for as long as they can remember and assures us that the threats over the last couple of weeks are exactly just that – threats and nothing more. We do appreciate all the concern though and love all you guys.

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Cherry blossoms in Chungju.

Spring has also finally, FINALLY! sprung and all the pretty flowers, cherry blossoms, and green trees is really refreshing. I’m really looking forward to the rest of the good weather now. On that note I’m going to finish this post with a promise to blog more and on a regular note.

Peace and love!

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