My biggest memory of arriving in Korea is of sweat. I wore a sweater thing on the plane because it was freezing, but I didn’t take it off when I went through the airport, and when I got outside I felt the hot air rush towards me and my sweater with steamy caresses. Bless you, Korean air.
My friend who teaches at my school met me, and we took the airport bus back to our apartment. We live on the same floor. We also live above a convenience store, which is…convenient. That was our dinner. I don’t know what would have happened if we went out. I might have passed out at the table.
The people have been very nice. When we were trying to get a taxi, after the first man refused us, for some odd reason, a guy came out of the McDonalds behind us and offered help. And our taxi driver who did take us was very friendly.
Today I went to Daiso to get some basics. A pillow, for one. I don’t fancy stuffing clothes into my pillowcases every night. Slippers, as well, and a trash can. No more leaving trash on the ground. I’m not a dirty college student anymore.
I won’t have internet for a month or so. It takes a long time to get the Alien Registration Card (ARC), and I can’t get phone or internet or a bank account until I get that one. They say the first month is the make or break. If you don’t go mad, you’ll be fine. I didn’t realize how much I used internet until I didn’t have it. However, I love that I don’t. It’s hard since that’s the only way I can contact family, but it’s giving me an opportunity to do other things I normally put off. Like writing, practicing ukulele, reading, and exercising. Most importantly, I can study Korean.
Today was the first day of school. It was really, really good. I didn’t have anything to do at first, so I followed my friend as she showed me the place and looked over the textbooks a bit. We have a new curriculum for Language Arts so all the teachers are trying to get used to it. They just finished camps so everyone, including me, is preparing at the same time.
In the afternoon we had two hours of CPR training with a certified instructor. He also talked to us about general heart health, which led straight to a sales pitch on L-alginine, some supposedly miracle drink that will clear up all your arteries. For only $400, you too can feel a few pounds lighter and have fat come out in your urine! Awesome.
Today we have the day off, since tomorrow is Independence day and otherwise we wouldn’t have a holiday. So I went to pick up my health check, all by myself, and then stopped at Home Plus and Daiso for a pot and skillet.
I’m very pleased I worked the buses and remembered where everything was all by myself. It wasn’t hard or scary and I’m beginning to feel like I live here. As opposed to what, I’m not sure. Visiting, I guess. It’s annoying not having a phone or anything but I can live without it for a while, I suppose.
Today is my birthday! It doesn’t feel like it. But I did get to Skype with mom and dad and the brother, so that was good. Seemed birthdayish. Actually, it was funny – I went out this morning in search of wifi, and found one outside a building, so I stopped there and checked messages and things. I was heading to the mall to see if they had some there, but I went down into the subway to use the bathroom and found some from Daiso, so I sat on the bench outside and called home. It was great. We spent a lot of time talking and they got to see the subway.
I stopped to get kimbap on the way home – enough for lunch and dinner. I need to go grocery shopping for real food again but until I can stock up on basics like spices and oils I don’t want to try cooking much.
I just did some cleaning. My friend said the girl who lived here before wasn’t clean, and I can tell. Mold by the door and grease all over the backsplash. Ugh.
Why does this kitchen view seem so familiar already? Why does it seem like this is the life I’ve always had? Time and my memories have condensed strangely, until I’ve always been living here, like this, waiting for school to start. My whole universe has been this desk, with that green tile wall in front of me, and Monday I open the door to another universe…