Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Week In Review: Week 3, Chuncheon, Seoul, and more

Before I begin, I'll post a more complete post on the Chuncheon excursion at a later much happens here that I'll have 239545 things to write one day and another 234585 things to say the next day. Maybe once I get Internet at the apartment I've have more time for this stuff. It probably sounds silly to worry about not writing enough on here but the writing itself eases the homesickness and provides a nice outlet for relaxing.

By now I've passed the 3 week mark and the non-stop whirlwind has slowed down somewhat as life here has gotten more familiar with each passing day.

Here's the highlights of the week:

  • The aforementioned Chuncheon rendezvous with Paula and eating our first Korean pizza.
  • Buying a guitar in Seoul. On Wednesday I picked up the bus to Seoul and took a day trip there to get a guitar and meet Alyson, another EPIK teacher, for dinner in her neighborhood. About a week before, one of my co-teachers had told me Seoul has a giant market called the Nagwon Arcade where vendors gather to sell musical instruments and equipment. He explained how to take the subway there and which station to stop at. It seemed simple enough so I went out and did it. At the Arcade I had the great fortune of running into my EPIK buddy Kurt and his wonderful Korean wife, Elise, who provided invaluable help with talking to the clerks. While Kurt and I tried out various guitars, she wheeled and dealed with the clerks. Damn can the Koreans bargain! In the end I bought an acoustic/electric with a stand, case, strap, strings, capo, cable, and picks for less than the guitar itself cost.

  • Meeting Alyson for a pizza. Elise again provided help with the subway directions. They were note-perfect. It felt good catching up and comparing notes on the first few weeks in our respective cities. The pineapple pizza tasted great and I got back to Dongseoul in time to catch the last bus back here...I can now say I've ridden the Seoul subways during rush hour and you know what, as packed as those trains get, they still get you there on time.

  • The simplicity and organization of Seoul's subway network knocks me out, for as byzantine as the network looks on a map, getting from place practically defines straightforward. All of the signs and directions (including the intercom systems on the trains) come written or spoken in English.

  • School's continuing to go well. It makes me happy as hell to be there.
  • The food's wonderful, if spicy as hell. At meal times I drink my weight in water.

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