Chang Deok Gung Palace, aka my summer home.
It’s been nine days less than a month since I arrived here in South Korea. Orientation was exhausting, but really helpful; especially in meeting people just like me but are from all over the world.These new friends have been indispensable in this foreign land. We have shared our fears and excitement. But most importantly we give one another strength and encouragement. But my favourite part about meeting people from around the world is that I’m also learning about their culture as well; and hearing all the fun accents doesn’t suck either—I’m especially enjoying the South African’s accents and I think it’s completely amazing when they speak Afrikaans, I’m just saying.
It’s been extremely interesting to see how Koreans treat foreigners. So far I have been treated with nothing but respect, a bit of apprehension, and a lot of shy curiosity—though sometimes the shyness is overcome by bursts of bold curiosity (usually with a quick and loud “Hello” and I reply back “Hi” which is always met with a burst of giggles or chuckles and a speedy retreat).
I wont lie, it’s taken some getting used to all the bowing to everyone. I tend to forget every couple of days and revert back to waving or sometimes just nodding, which is worse than waving in Korean culture. But I’ve also come to the point where I bow/wave… hmmm… I still need to work on that. But it is sort of hard to change something that comes naturally to you… Thankfully, though, everyone around me is wonderfully nice and kind and is tickled by any Korean cultural greetings I try to participate in. Koreans are so nice and encouraging to us foreigners that I feel like I need someone knock me back a couple of pegs every now and then to make sure that my head doesn’t get too big from all the complements. Seriously, they will complement you on EVERYTHING!!!
I’ve been extremely blessed throughout this whole adventure and I know that the blessings will keep coming. From just getting here (through the awesome and amazing guidance of Reach To Teach recruiting agency), to my school placement, the apartment I am living in, the other foreigners that live in my town, my co-teacher, my supervisor, and co-workers; continued all the way to the previous GET who came before me (who not only left some helpful things behind, but has also been a great source of information). Honestly, I can’t say enough about every single one of these blessings. It’s been awesome!!!
I know that this has been a very general post, but don’t worry I do plan to post more specific and fun stories later on. They will be having an election soon here in Korea, so I might talk about that. I’m hoping that it will be a really exciting election! But before that I plan to go to Seoul next weekend with some of my new friends, so there will probably be some really good stories there to entertain you, especially you Stephanie. lol Or at least pictures, if they’re not too incriminating. ;p