Friday, March 6, 2009

Landed, part 2

My journey from EWR to Inch'on was uneventful, if long. I left my house at 3 in the morning on Sunday, and arrived at my school around 5.30 in the evening on Monday, local time. Korea is fourteen hours in the future from home.

I had to catch a cab from the airport to Uijeoungbu (though the school reimbursed me for that, thankfully), and somewhere in the middle of my ride I realized the music in the CD changer was a Korean take on hymns, like "What A Friend We Have In Jesus (Take it to the Lord in Prayer)" and "Because He Lives." By Korean take, I mean, "sounds like someone recorded it in their bathroom with a Casio keyboard."

My job, so far, has been to shadow the other teachers, sometimes helping prepare lessons or grade tests, and just learning how it all works. The classes are set up in a very structured, sort of self-contained way, in that at any given moment one teacher could step in for another. They complain a bit about it being repetitive, and I can see how it would be, but mostly I am glad for the structure, being a creature of habit and all.

I've also been working on getting my "alien card," which will grant me access to things like health insurance and cell phones. So far, it's involved a sort of healthcare blitz: I spent two or three hours at St. Mary's hospital doing things like peeing in a cup, giving lots of blood samples, getting an X-ray, having my teeth looked at, getting height and weight measured, and having my hearing, sight, and blood pressure checked (the last one twice). Michael, the director of teachers at the school, came with me. He was surprised to see that the tests were so involved; apparently the last time he had to help any of the foreign teachers, all they needed to do was pee in a cup and give up some blood (to check for drugs and HIV, respectively). But you'll all be happy to know that I am in tip top physical condition! Except my eyesight, it seems that I need a new prescription. But I'll survive.

So I still have no Internet of my own; Michael said he would look into getting Internet at my apartment and this weekend I plan on getting a plug adapter for Priscilla (my laptop), so hopefully by next week I shall be able to fart around online in my own space instead of feeling very awkward on the school computers.


  1. I read this and almost forgot you were in a foreign country. 'cept for the weird hymns. I support weird hymns.

    Hope you don't have the HIV.

  2. A creature of habit? Could have fooled me. Well what do I know, I'm only your father

  3. There's a method to the madness, dad.