Now I have been here for almost 2 weeks. I am feeling pretty comfortable. The language barrier is not that bad. Sometimes it poses a problem when ordering food but a lot of menus have pictures and I just found a great interpretation of a popular menu online.
A lot of the sales people will show you how much something costs on a calculator and if you are looking for something, just ask a school aged child. Most of them know at least a little English. A lot of children will approach me on the street and start talking in English. I think they like the practice, although I have had more conversation with some children on the street than I have had with some children in my classes. I think the kids in class are shy about their English, especially in front of their friends. This is sad because I am consistently impressed with these kids, when they talk. And Korean kids are CONSTANTLY studying. They fill their days with school and tons of extra lessons and studying and then they go to school 2 Saturdays a month!
Apartment: I am living in Ilsan. I like the city- there is so much here. There are many tall buildings covered with advertisements for the places within. Most of them are in Korean but sometimes an English word sticks out and it makes it easy to find things. There is also a lot of neon. The pictures at the beginning are of the view from my window. I will try to take lots more. I tried to put them below but it didn't work. My big shocker was that my shower head sticks out of my wall. No shower stall. My bathroom is the shower. I just could not believe it! Now I have become used to it. The only thing is that, since my bathroom floor is my shower floor too, the part near the drain never seems to get dry. Sometimes in the morning, I have to wear my shoes to brush my teeth. You'll find a picture of my shower head and my washing machine above as well. I like that there are places to eat in my building so that when its winter and very cold, I can get food without being exposed to the elements. In my building there is a place called Mr. Pizza. Here begins my fascination. Everything about Mr. Pizza is fantastic. Slogan: Love For Women. That's right. Mr. Pizza: Love For Women. I can't say one without the other. Mr. Pizza: Love For Women. The toppings selections are wild. The commercials are awesome.
Food: I have been able to try quite a few things. Sometimes I order the wrong thing, though, and one time I took out my food "cheat sheet" of things I like so far and, in trying to order 1 of them, I ended up with several. I am getting used to the spicy. There are some things I really love. One is from the street vendors. I forget what its called, but its sort of bread like with bean paste inside and its in the shape of a fish. YUM! There is also Tuk Boki or I am not sure on the spelling. One of my students told me 2 Ts (TTuk) but I have seen it a few different ways. Even Duk. But it is good. Duk/tuk/ttuk whatever is this delicious rice dough stuff. Its hard to describe. I have seen it described as rice cake which to me is like crunchy rice cakes which this is not. Anyway, great stuff. Then there is gimbap or kimbap or kimbab or gimbab. Convenient and tasty. Seaweed, rice, (vegetables, egg, fish, meat) all wrapped up and sliced for easy transport and eating.
One last 1st impressions because I am tired:
There are lots of dogs in clothes here.