Friday, March 8, 2013

A Short Note On My First Week

As this is posted, I will have officially been in Korea for a week(!). And boy does it feel like I've been here longer (not necessarily in a bad way... I've just taken in a LOT in 7 days). As you can tell from prior posts, some days were better than others. So I wanted to make a short post summarizing my thoughts on my first week here. So, in no real order...

*Korean people are both super nice and unintentionally insulting--though I knew both these things going in. I actually find these "insults" to be kinda funny (for the most part). For instance, within a span of 2 days, I was told to go on a diet because I was too fat at least 3 times by 2 different people. I was also frequently given a fork so not to embarrass myself with chopsticks. (The insulting thing doesn't happen often. They're just a pretty blunt people. On the whole, they're pretty nice.)

*I've gotten pretty decent with chopsticks.

*Korean food is the most ridiculously healthy food on the planet, yet it's still very good. I've probably liked at least 70-75% of what I've had. But I think I've eaten healthier in this last week alone than my entire life combined. I will say, though... after one week, I'm already sick of rice.

*I really, really need to learn some Korean, as well as the Korean alphabet. Not understanding people is so awkward. (And I feel bad when little kids try to talk to me or ask me things in Korean and I have no idea.)

*(The majority of) Korean children are so absurdly adorable it should be illegal.

*There are some pretty crazy ones, though, just like in America.

*I have three different co-teachers with three completely different teaching styles, and I have three completely different emotions towards them. I won't really go into detail on this one too much, though. At least not here.

*I would have died without all help from my neighbor, and I'm so upset he's leaving in a month.

*This first month of living here I have dubbed "the dark ages," which I will explain further in another post in the future. Probably at the end of this month.

*Homesickness does hit at random times, usually when I'm at home and bored and other things I'll eventually discuss in the "dark ages" post.

*I'm slowly getting used to the whole transit system. I've pretty much got the train from home to work down solid. I'm still figuring out the bus. And I've done a lot of walking lately, too.

*I'm also still trying to get used to their trash system, which is very different--I'll probably elaborate more on that later, too.

*It's funny that I've gotten so used to cold weather in this last week that it was 57 coming home today, and I was unzipping my jacket and pulling up my sleeves because it was so warm.

*I have yet to get hit by much culture shock. Maybe a little, particularly on Monday, where there was a LOT of new information to take in, so it was a bit overwhelming. But on the whole, I'm still in the kind of "honeymoon" phase where everything is pretty fascinating to me, though still bordering on kinda scary due to its newness.

And that's about all I can think of right now. If you have any questions on any random thing, I can answer that in the comments.


  1. The transit system is very overwhelming for us texans that have never had to use it! But like I said Monday, by the end of the week, you'd be a pro!!!!!
    Eric's korean grandma just stabbed you in the carotid with a chopstick over the rice comment!! Haha
    And I bet learning Korean, even a little, with significantly help the transition.
    I am truely enjoying all the posts, here and on fb!!! We are finally on the same schedule and I love it!!!!!!!

  2. Well this first week i'm sure has been overwhelming with all the information you've had to absorb. Thank God for the help of Jon!
    I'm very proud of you and the chopstix thing....but i bet its hard to use with soup...:) hahahha
    This weekend you will get to explore and learn so much more about your surroundings which will be fun AND it will get you out of your apartment...and in another week or so, you should have internet and such and that will help you tremendously..also your ps3 cable should arrive soon too...I can only imagine how absolutely adorable your little Korean students are and you can learn a lot from them as well.
    Hang in there. We love being connecte with you thru this blog and fb and emails...keep them coming...we love it!

  3. This sounds awesome Nick! Stressful, but awesome. Keep the updates coming!

  4. Yep, but in a month, you'll be the guy showing someone around!


  5. So how are you learning Korean? is the app on your phone working without wifi?

    Hopefully the "Dark Ages" will be a thing of the past...especially once you can get out and do things on your free time...that will make a big difference.
    Can't wait to see pictures of your city and school and the kids and such. has the jet lag gotten better?
    anxious to hear about the trash thing too....and is your hard bed still working out ok for you?

  6. You're doing great! Thoughts on your thoughts:
    -- The Dark Ages will pass as you learn the ropes. Remember, you're now functionally illiterate, so be patient.
    -- On a related note: As people get to know you (especially co-workers in social settings), they'll take you under their wing and you'll learn more and more conversational Korean. Right now, that's probably more valuable than being able to read.
    -- To echo Summer's comment, you'll be surprised how quickly other foreigners will be looking to you as the "expert."
    -- You still have three months before proper Culture Shock hits. Have you thought about where you'd like to go in June?

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  8. Looking forward to seeing more posts and video's. Sending hugs and lots of love.