Friday, August 27, 2010

First Day at Sin-sang

Thursday, August 26th

I've just finished my first day at Sin-sang Middle School here in Seoul. The staff is extremely friendly, and was very eager to meet me. Almost as eager as the students. As I did only office work today, I didn't have much of a chance to interact with the students. Passing them in the halls, however, illustrated to me how fascinated they are with me. The students here are very respectful as well. Usually, if I made eye-contact with them in the halls, they would stop and bow formally. Needless to say, this behaviour on the part of students is very unfamiliar to me.

In order to do things such as get a cell phone or internet service, I need to get my alien registration card. To do this, I first need to have some passport-style pictures taken. They took a few hours to get done, so I took the opportunity to walk the streets in my area. The first thing you notice when you step outside here is the humidity. It has been overcast and rainy ever since I arrived, and even when it's not raining, it doesn't take long for your clothes to be in a perpetually clingy state.

On the streets, everyone is Korean, and I am immediately identifiable as an interloper. There is a big difference between the curiosity of the students at the school and the curiosity of the average person in the street. Whereas the students bowed and said hello, when I made eye-contact with passers-by, most tried their hardest to pretend they hadn't noticed me. I received a few grins and nods, but for the most part the reception was lukewarm.

My task for this evening is to take the train to Costco, where I'll buy some much-needed supplies, most notably bedsheets, towels, and a power converter. Tomorrow I will go to the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education to get a copy of my contract and to the Samsung Hospital to get a medical exam. Until tomorrow, I bid you a fond adieu!

7 comments:

Phillip said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Phillip said...

You should write a post about your experience with a Korean Costco. I can't imagine that being uneventful.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you're settling in pretty good!
Respectful students! What a concept! I bet they actually learn something too...
I agree with Phillip - your experience at Costco would be interesting.
Remember Jasper Friendly Bear's advice..stay calm! be brave! watch for the signs! (slightly modified) ......Still Anonymous

Mike said...

We had our first day back here at GP Catholic. Serge and I went for lunch and it was really strange not having you around. You are extremely missed already! Best of luck!!

Greg Oppedisano said...

The Koreans on the street consider you - "Mi Guk Saram" what we might think of as a foreigner but literally translates as "not from my village" - typically Koreans are indifferent to Koreans who are strangers... which we find strange because in our culture we are often more polite to strangers than to those we know... Koreans on the other hand are extremely kind and caring to their circle of family, friends, co-workers, teachers and largely indifferent to people they do not know...

Kertrats said...

Today was a little different... I traveled to some of the more cosmopolitan areas of Seoul, and people were very friendly. I was asked four or five times by various people if I needed help while reading the subway maps.

Miramanee said...

Sounds like you're having a good time so far!