29 August 2012

Almost Not Living Out of Suitcases Anymore...

Let me just begin this entry by saying NO, the "worst typhoon in a decade in Korea" did not claim any of our lives.  It actually hardly even rained.  The wind was out of control, but it was totally manageable and everything was pretty normal.  If that's a typhoon, I'm fine with typhoons.  At least it cooled the temperature down a little bit, and the humidity wasn't as bad as it's been either!  Two gold stars for you, Typhoon.

Onto more important things, like me and what I'm doing with my life (duh, always), I'm finally feeling like I'm all settled in here in Suji and am getting comfortable with this whole new beginning here.  I've been telling Sara that I feel as though the routine here is going to be an easy one to settle in to.  Basically everybody I know here (thus far) is doing the same exact thing I am, we're all adventurous enough people to put ourselves in this situation, and we're all around the same age group.  I think this year is going to go by a lot faster than I might want it to, but I'm really looking forward to any and everything it has to throw at me, whether that be travel, new experiences, new relationships, or (ideally) all of the above!

My last post basically left off somewhere in the middle of training week, and I'm very happy to announce that training week is OVER.  We passed our final tests on Friday and were taken straight from the training center to our branch in Suji.  The drive was only about 30 minutes, so we're really close to Seoul.  So the driver drops us off at our branch which is on the 5th floor of a building that is home to another English school AND a Starbucks on the 1st floor.  Serendipitous.  The only real major downfall of this situation is the fact that coffee is EXPENSIVE here.  Somebody was telling me that it's more of a status symbol than something that people actually need to survive (aka the story of my life), hence the outrageous prices.  A 12 ounce iced coffee is right around $3.50 USD.  It's like low $2's at home, if I remember correctly.  So THAT sucks and is lame, but other than that, it's fine.

We met a bunch of people at our branch (above) and had a tour of the place.  It's pretty nice!  Some of the classrooms (mainly mine and Sara's, since we're new) are pretty run down, and our rooms don't even have windows!  Sad.  The walls and desks have writing all over them and stuff like that, but the facilities as a whole are pretty legit.  The people that work at the front desk (mostly Korean speaking) are all really nice, and everybody has been super helpful.

So after we met everybody and got a quick tour of the school, we went to grab some food before we sat in on our first class.  This was our view from the window at the restaurant (above).  People drive like absolute maniacs here... and I have yet to see an accident!  Seriously I would rather sell my kidneys (both of them) than have to operate a vehicle in this country.  I'm convinced they all learned to drive at the Royal Calcutta DMV.

After everything at the school, pretty much everybody who works there took us out to dinner and showed us around the places they go on the weekends (or at least I hope this only happens on the weekends - if not, I'm probably going to die).  We went to this Western (no, not like cowboy boots, like in business to cater to Americans) bar and they had hilarious music like the Beach Boys (seriously?) and some other weird stuff... anyway it was a fun night til we had to be at the school at noon on Saturday feeling 100%, obviously.

My notes from Saturday's training session

Kids here believe in this thing called 'fan death' where air conditioning can kill you, they're deathly afraid of their mothers, and NOBODY can use their cell phones in class.  Yikes.  Saturday was more of a move in day than our first night here, because Sara finally got to move into her room and I got to (mostly) unpack my stuff and set up my room.  It's incredibly small, but if you organize things right it actually doesn't seem quite so tiny!

Our street that seems to go FOREVER when you're walking home in the stifling heat...
 Master bath
 Scored a couch from one of the teachers who left to go back home, covered it with my tapestry because it's this ugly green color, ta da... makeshift couch.
 Kitchen/entry way/bedroom/bathroom... it's spacious.
My bed made for midgets.  Seriously HOW do people sleep in twin beds?
 Our first grocery shopping experience... they have people movers that take you and your shopping cart to the 2nd and 3rd floors of the stores.  Amazed.
My first look at my new classroom!

 We aren't allowed to decorate the walls with anything except their in class projects (CTP's), so mine still have the leftover CTPs from the teacher before me.  I'm debating taking them down, but then my walls would be so sad and lonely looking!

So after we got all 'settled in' (sort of), some of the teachers from our branch and a few other CDI branches were meeting up in Seoul to rent bikes and ride around the Han river for a few hours Sunday night.  I went with them and Sara stayed home to prep for Monday's classes.  The Han river isn't exactly the most beautiful of rivers, but it's surprisingly nice at night!  The sunset was gorgeous, and biking when all you've been doing in baking in 100% humidity all day is really refreshing.  The weather here has seriously been near unbearable at times.  And I've heard Koreans don't have some sort of sweat gland, so they deal with it a lot better?  Whatever, Koreans... you win this one.

 Me, Brittany (she worked a different CDI branch and was heading back to the states this weekend), and Suzanne (really cool chick who lives in Suji, works at a different school here).

So my very first class was Monday night, which is one of my short days.  I have class from 4-7 Monday and Tuesday, then 4-7 and 7-10 Wednesday through Friday.  Monday I had an age group of 4th-6th grade, and the class I taught is called Memory English: Giga level.  It's pretty basic English, I have to talk really slow and explain a lot of vocabulary.  It's a challenge to be able to get through all the material in the allotted 3 hours of time (seriously, who would have guessed?), but somehow I got through it with like ten minutes to spare!  My kids were super cute, I am totally in love with the littlest one named James (they all have English names).  He was seriously precious, and since he was so young the other boys didn't really talk to him in class... I basically wanted to scoop him up and adopt him.  I only had one 'problem' kid that wasn't really that much of a problem.  He was so funny it was difficult to discipline him and try to stifle my laughs at the same time... I'll have to work on that.

This is the corner where our school building is (actually it's located directly behind this building).  The signage here is so overwhelming to look at sometimes, you just wish you could read what the hell it all says!

Teaching Day #2 is today, classes were canceled Tuesday because of a typhoon warning.  It was supposed to be the worst one in 10 years and it ended up being a wind storm with a little bit of rain (here, at least).  I guess it hit other parts of the country pretty hard, but it was a waste of a day off in my opinion.  Now we get to work Saturday, yay.  Today I have my youngest group of kids (a class called English Chip Level 3) and I'm so excited to meet them all!  I bet they're going to be absolute nuggets.  Then my night class is the same class from Monday, Memory English.  I'll try to update after the weekend - I'm hoping to go visit my friend Gill from training (we were on the same flight from Seattle).  She teaches about 2 hours south of us in a place called Gwangju (I think...) so if I get down there I'm sure there will be pictures and stories galore.

Oh and if you want to write (packages are INSANELY EXPENSIVE to send but letters are always welcomed, with pictures please! I want pictures of everybody to hang up in my room... I can't even remember what some of you look like for reals).  My address is this:

Sydney Mulkey
Gyeonggi-do Yongin-si Suji-gu
Pungdeok Cheondong 1137-6 dandok 2Ho 102
South Korea

Or if you're so inclined, this:
경기 용인시 수지구 풍덕천동 1137-6 단독 2호 102

Just kidding don't use that.


  1. hope we get some pictures of the nuggets. Is that legal? mom

  2. Lornie, no cell phones in class! Syd will have to put herself to the corner.

  3. Um, last I checked, they had cameras that weren't part of cell phones. But that was a few years ago...