Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Seoul Searching.......My story of finding 이가영 Soul pt. 1

As you all know I moved out to South Korea at the end of August 2011. My mission coming her was to work as an English Teacher for CDI (Chungdahm Institute). But I also believed that God directed my path and led me to find this job specifically in Korea. The last time I was in Korea was May 1985, I was 17 months old. I have no memory of Korea, the Language and of my birth family. So on my journey to Korea I made it a priority to do some "Seoul Searching". On May 10th 1985 I believe my soul was left in Korea, I dont believe that my soul died but I did always feel that apart of who I was, was missing. Being a mixed, biracial adoptee, growing up in Colorado with a very unique family was difficult at times. I have two brothers and one sister that were also adopted from Korea. I always wanted to know about my background, where I came from and who I was. A lot of info was simply papers in a file with the words "unknown".

So about a month after arriving in Korea and getting settled into work, I started my search. The search was prompted due to the fact that I needed specific paperwork for a F4 Visa and that I had to get from my Orphanage ESWS (Eastern Social Welfare Society). After a few emails back and forth with the social worker there I got some good news and bad news. The good news was at one point back in 2005 she had contact with my birth mother. The bad news was that the contact info was out dated and she could not be reached. So she continued to try and contact the Korean Government to find her.

On Wednesday Oct 12,2011 I went to the ESWS office in Seoul to have a mtg and file review with my social worker. As soon as the mtg started she shared with me some good news...that the Korean Government contacted her back with my birth mothers info. She is currently married to a Korean man and has two children. She was hesitant to call because when she did the husband picked up and it can be a sticky situation when you try to regain contact with them. She only wanted to speak to my birth mother so she hung up and attempted to contact her via telegram.


BREAKING NEWS!!! South Korea on HIGH ALERT!!!!!

As everyone knows that Kim Jong Il has died. The news yesterday morning/all day was swarming the TV and internet with the latest on North Korea and Kim Jong Il's death. They are worried about the safety of South Korea, China and Japan. There are no threats but its the unknown that they are preparing for. As for me I haven't noticed any change here in South Korea. And if anyone is concerned which I assume no one is because I got no calls, I am fine, safe and going about my daily life! Praying for the Koreans....

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Let's Learn Our Numbers (숫자) !!!

There are two sets of numbers in Korea, the native Korean and the Sino-Korean Numbers. Sino-Korean numbers are borrowed from Chinese. Generally speaking, for expression involving dates, money, foreign loanwords, minutes, seconds and counting beyond 99 Sino-Korean numbers are used otherwise its the native Korean numbers.

You might be wondering why some numbers are skipped in both numeral systems, this is because there are certain patterns to achieve the numbers in between.

In Native Korean, to express let say 11 it’s 열하나 (yolhana) so the formula is 10(열)+1(하나). This is the reason why after the number 10 only numbers in multiples of 10 are provided up to 90. So you have to memorize at least 18 numbers in Native Korean.

While in Sino-Korean, to express let say 32 it’s 삼십이 (sam-ship-i) so the formula is 3(삼) X 10 (십) + 2 (이). There are few numbers to memorize in Sino-Korean, with just 13 numbers to you can go up to a million already.

Monday, December 12, 2011

스팸 (SPAM)

I broke the monotony....and tried SPAM for the first time ever!! It was ok...had to get pass that it looked and smelled like dog food coming out of the can....and was really salty! But had it with eggs rice and siracha....NOT BAD....but definitely NOT BACON!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Let's Learn Korean Together!!

Let's start with the basic...I will add a few words each week so everyone can learn together!!

Hello 안녕하세요 (Annyong haseyo)

Goodbye 안녕히 가세요 (Annyonghi kasayo)

Hello on the phone 여보세요 (Yoboseyo)

Yes 네 (Ne)

No 아니요 (Aniyo)

Thank You 감사합니다 (Kamsahamnida)


This Thanksgiving was not the same....being so far from family, friends and loved ones was the hardest part! Of course I did miss stuffing my face in traditional American Thanksgiving food...sigh! I have been able to accept the sacrifice that I made to come all the way to Korea but I know this time of year will be the hardest for me!! Skyping my family on Thanksgiving evening and then having to go to work after made me MISS everything all over again!!! On Thanksgiving day here I did have to work as they dont observe American Holidays...and working at a Hagwon we dont even get most Korean Holidays off. But my branch is always closed on Wednesday's sooooo me and my fellow coworkers decided to celebrate a day early and have a potluck. The hardest part of trying to come up with the menu was that in Korea we dont have ovens. We all know the best food for Thanksgiving comes out of the oven....so we improvised and made due with our lil toaster ovens. Needless to say we spent all day cooking!! But we had quite the spread....it consisted of: Mac n Cheese, Salad, Broccoli/Cauliflower, stuffed mushroom caps, Pumpkin soup, Candied Korean Sweet Potatoes, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Chicken Pot Pie, Korean Beef Galbi, Rice, small Roasted Chicken, Apple Crisp, and Pumpkin Pie!! ohhhhh and of course lots of alcoholic beverages to drink!! We ate all evening and stuffed our fat lil bellies with all the food we could! The night ended with playing Apples to Apples, Uno and watching youtube videos...LoL!! It definitely wasn't family or traditional but I have been very thankful for the FAMILY/FRIENDS that I have made out here!! I am also thankful for, the opportunity to be in Korea working, the constant support from everyone back home, all the people that I have met so far and accepted me for who I am, and that Im here today to share with you my adventures!!
감사합니다 그리고 당신을 사랑!! (Thanks and I love you all!!)

The Spread!!

Playing Apples to Apples!!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

My Apologies Life in Korea

Dear Blog & Blog Followers:
My apologies for neglecting you on my updates. I am truly working on dedicating more time to you and everyone following. I know everyone is not connected to me via FB....but I promise from this day forward that I will be better about updating my post...STARTING NOW!!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

SOKO Baseball Game and Much More!!

Sept. 18th a few coworkers of mine their friends and some friends from training met up in Seoul to attend the Doosan Bears vs the Lotte Giants Baseball Game. Lots of fun, Cheers and Beers!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Writing Wednesday's

So sorry for taking so long to update my blog. I have decided to dedicate my day off, Wednesday's to write everyone back, update the blog and stay in touch with you all back in the States. Well I have officially been here in Korea for a month now! Im adjusting well to my work, daily living, and keeping a social life!

Work: My schedule is pretty sweet, I get Wed. off and work the rest of the days from 4p-10p. It was hard to adjust to working so late, when my body was naturally waking up at 9am. By the last couple of hrs of work I was probably downing my third sometimes fourth cup of coffee. By then my body had a hard time eating late and staying up way too late due to a caffeine high. (and the cycle continues) A couple of my students actually commented on the dark circles under my eyes. LoL...guess I need to get more shut eye!! I have two classes a day, class #1 from 4-7 and class #2 from 7-10. My first classes are usually my younger students ages 8-11, and my evening classes I have my older students ages 11-13. In my first class its a lot of attention span control and in my eve classes Im pulling teeth just to get them to participate. And even though they are learning lots about the English Language, I am learning lots as well!! Never too late to learn something new! In Korea they are used to calling the teacher, "TEACHER"...I made it a point to make them call me either "Teacher Megan" or "Ms. Megan" But for some odd reason they can never get it right...Im usually called "Megan Teacher" LoL!! What ever works for them, works for me. I am now settled in with the rapport with most of my students, and definitely have my good ones and my not so good ones!

Daily Living: I am still struggling on getting around Korea not knowing how to read or speak the language...but Im making it! I attempted to sign up to take Korean Language classes in Sept but missed the sign up date, so I plan on taking it starting in October. I think that will take away half of the frustration/confusion!! I have explored my city with some coworkers, intentionally got lost by myself, and have wondered on foot within the five block radius of my school/apt. Suwon is sooo much larger than I thought and there is a whole other side to the city that I have yet to discover! I have eaten and tried lots of new food and am Lovin' it all! I only got sick once and I think it was from food at Cosco! (yes they have them here!!) They drink like fishes out here and partying is unlimited especially on the weekends!! I feel like a light weight and an old lady...I just cant hang!! LoL The weather has been hot/humid up until last Sunday and it started to drop and get real windy! Im not sure how Im going to like the winters here! Im still settling into my apt. It definitely still needs decorations and some sprucing up to make it feel more like home. Times away from Family and Friends can get lonely, so I decided to adopt a cat from another teacher in the area that couldnt take him home with her. His name is Gizmo and is about 7yrs old, so he's fully grown and house trained. He is taking his time to warm up to me, but Im sure he will come around!

Social Life: I have kept in contact with a lot of people I met during my training week. Even though we are all in different areas now, we all try and meet up in Seoul from time to time to eat, drink and party! I have made new friends with some of my coworkers at my school as well as some that are teachers around my area. They are a great help with being here before me, they are able to show me the ropes. Networking is the name of the game out here...and "its not what you know, but who you know". Having Korean friends are the best because they can speak and translate when you are stuck in a jam. Im trying my best to keep in contact with friends in DC, as well as Denver. Time has just not been on my side, but am turning a new leaf and deciding to MAKE TIME!! (especially because you all are important to me!)

Im going to end this long drawn out blog and try to keep you all updated on a weekly basis! Thanks for being patient with me...I will leave you all with a picture of me on my last day of training 8/26/2011. I was so excited that I passed and was heading to my assigned school in Suwon!!


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Another Day....Another Dollar!

Since I have been here I have been extremely busy....even on my days off!! So much to do and so little time! So I am posting my last round of pics from my first week here when I was in training!  So far so good with school, the kiddos and trying to adjust to life out here!  Im not sure how my students feel about me yet but I can definitely tell my good ones from the not so good ones....but thats life!  Kids will push the limits and try to get away with it, even more by trying to act like they dont understand you. LoL  Hope everyone in the Sates are well...Miss yall'!!

* you can run your mouse over the pic to see the caption or stop the slideshow or click on full view all images to see it larger! * ENJOY!!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Training Week in Seoul pt. 2

Everything is delayed but here are some more pictures of my first week during training.  Most of the pics are of the beautiful architecture here in Korea...Lots of big buildings....everywhere you turn!  Also pics of me in the subway learning how to navigate and not get ran over by the mob of korean's heading to work.  Personal space is NOT a factor here and of course the stares are endless and non discreet. A older gentleman was about 5in from my face looking mean and hard...I felt like I did something wrong, so I then turned around and said "annyeong haseyo" 안녕하세요! (hello), smiled and waved at him and he stopped starring.  My motto is you stare, I speak! Yes the little korean I do know I will speak! LOL....enjoy more to come!

Friday, August 26, 2011

What an AdVeNTuRe!!!

The week is almost over for me...it has been intense, overwhelming, exciting, nerve wrecking, and amusing to say the least!!! I started training on Monday 22nd and jumped right in...no time to get your feet wet!  We start training at 8:30am everyday and have been getting out around 3:30 and back to the hotel around 4:30-5 everyday.  I have two sessions, which include training in a lower level of students in the am and a training for the much higher ESL students in the pm.  So my am and pm sessions are two extremes!

The first day of training the company was nice enough to have a bus take us over to the training center and to the medical center for our health exams. Orientation was in the am till about noon and around one we had to take our health exams.  At the health center I experienced my first encounter with Koreans that dont speak much English...and it was extremely hard to understand them when it came time to pee in a cup!  Lets just say I screwed it up and had to chug water in 15min in order to pee again.  After our exams we all were relieved to be released and go eat since we couldn't eat all day. But nobody was prepared for them to throw us in the deep end and take the subway back to our hotel.  Lets just say their subway map looks like ten of New York's subways all in one...really confusing but once navigated with the other trainees we figured it out! That was a test in its own!!

The last three days have been a blur and to say the least, Im ready to stop living out of my suitcases and get into my apartment.  I passed all my written test, YEA!!! Took only three tries on the grammar but that is under my belt now.  I have 'finals' tomorrow so one more written test in both sessions and our final Mock Teachings.  I have been getting lots of good feedback and criticism...so just putting my best foot forward! After our finals tomorrow everyone will be distributed to their perspective schools/branches around 2:45p.  A van is supposed to be delivering me to my school or apartment, Im not sure which one but heard my school is only 5 min walk from the apartment, so either way good news!  I will be sane once I get acclimated to my own environment and settled in!... SO please forgive me if I have not responded to your emails or calls...dont take it personal its just been really busy since I stepped off the plane!  Next blog will be an update of my New, new adventure...lol...I was just getting used to using the subway system and the area here in Seoul.  But I am really EXCITED to move into my apartment and see my school!

I hope everyone is well in the states! I miss EVERYONE!! Please KIT with me and I promise I will eventually get back to you at my earliest. I also have a local SKYPE number for everyone in the states so you dont have to run up your bill on long distant charges.  If you want the number leave me a comment and I will drop it in a email! More pictures to come...stay tuned!! Bye for now!!

*oh check out my video: Some random street entertainment on the way to dinner...

Thursday, August 25, 2011

ROK pt. 1: Arriving in Seoul

Sorry all I am just figuring out this blog mess! For those not on FB or didnt get the link to personally view my first round of pictures....here they are!!! You can scan over them with your mouse or you can click on 'view all images' to see a full screen view of my pics! Hope everyone is well in the states...more pics to come so stay tuned!!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

ARRIVED in ROK (Republic of Korea)

This is me landing on Korean soil!!....Yes all I made it safe and its been a whirlwind since I landed.  I arrived an hr early about 3pm on Sat 20th.  I was about a 16 hr flight with a layover in Chicago.  The flight was decent, I flew with Asiana Airlines and the stewardess were all very nice.  Once I landed all 4...yes 4 of my large bags arrived.  I got many looks as well as many comments from the Koreans at the airport.  Everyone thought I was in the military...lol!  NO...I just over pack and have always been like that.  But to say the least I have everything I need and am totally prepared.   A skycap at the airport was very nice and helped me load all my luggage on a cart and I headed out of customs.  From there I ran into about 5 other colleagues of mine on the bus to the Korean City Air Terminal.  The bus ride was about an hr from the Icheon Airport, and it had a flat screen tv playing KPOP (korean pop music).  I didnt really pay too much attention to the tv as I was in awe that I was in Korea so I was snapping pictures the entire way.  It is really green and there is lots of water, thank god it wasnt raining!  Once I arrived at the Air Terminal we had to call our director here in Korea and I had a hard time with the pay phone but figured it out after a few attempts and asking a Korean man next to me.  (he didnt understand a word I said but was more than willing to help me out!) Me and the other 5 colleagues piled into two taxi vans to head to the hotel.  We almost got into a few accidents, I felt like I was about to die at one point and our driver actually ran over a ladies foot.  (haha not funny but it was!) To say the least they drive really crazy and aggressive out here...there are no true rules on who has the right away and everyone seems to drive wherever their car fits.  The area that our hotel is in is a really busy part of town, it reminds me of NY, LA, and Vegas all in one.  They pile their trash on the street so you get a variety of smells as you walk, kimchi mixed with fish, mixed with garbage! lol  There arent many crosswalks so you have to watch out for the cars as they will run you over!  There are neon lights galore so everything is really lit up and bright at nighttime.  And the city is large and the buildings are tall and everything is really close together.  They seem to party and stay out all night...and that is a common thing here!  About four of us wandered after we got settled to find something to eat.  They were nice enough to give us a english menu after we starred at the korean menu for about 5 min.  We got lots of stares but I guess I am a MINORITY all over again.  They are very fashionable and the fashion is very eclectic and somewhat dated.  After eating and wandering around we all were very tired from a long flight and food in our bellies.  I laid down late and it was hard to force myself up this morning but have not felt the jet lag yet! I hope everyone is well in the States...I miss you ALL already!  I am about to meet up with some of the other recruits and hit a cafe to study for this intense week of training.  I have four test to pass on english grammar, reading, and culture.  I will keep you all abreast of my first week! Stay tuned....Ta Ta For Now!!

Me in KOREA!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Im Still Here!!!

I know everyone is wondering, where I've been and whats new with life.  Im still in DC, and have been diligently cleaning and moving things out of my apt and into storage.  My original departure date was delayed due to waiting on some important paperwork to come back.  Sigh....I can say today that I am relieved that my visa will be in my hands soon, so time to look into flights! I am anxious and excited as the days count down but to say the least, I am also a bit nervous and sad.  For now I am soaking up the 'American' life, eating lots of Mexican food and American food, checking out the movies, seeing friends/family and enjoying being around my boyfriend, oh...and site seeing like I haven't lived in DC for the past 6yrs! When the time comes for me to depart I know I will miss a lot of things in and about the US....but Im definitely looking forward to the new adventure ahead of me!  Until then....to my DC folks or those in the area...I will be having a farewell dinner/drinks soon!!!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

30 Days and Counting......

As time is winding down...I cant believe that it will be less than 30 days till I leave the country.  Packing up my one bedroom apartment has been tedious...but refreshing at the same time.  I was able to get rid of five years worth of built up junk, mail, and unnecessary things I have kept since college.  And didn't realize I kept SO MUCH stuff!!  Now that time is of the essence I have less than 30 days before Im off to Korea!!!  Im trying so hard to get in my last hello's and good bye's to everyone....and boy it can get demanding! As my nights become more restless and my days become busier....there is so much to do in such little time! I have recently found out that a few people I know will also be in Korea during my year there, so the more the merrier!!! And if anyone has any contacts feel free to share, networking is the name of the game!  The nervousness, excitement, and anticipation all are settling in....29 and counting....!!!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Official Contract & Start Date

In April when this initial process began I never expected it to go this fast!  On the 2nd of June I got my official job contract and location.  To say the least when I got the email and phone call my heart raced in nervousness and anticipation.  I have less then 7 weeks to pack up my apartment, put stuff in storage, get last minute things done, see family, friends, and loved ones and relocate my 'Life in Korea'.  My recruiter has been really responsive on info and things I need to know before I leave.  But its still hard to imagine that I will be living and working in Korea for the next year.  The campus I will be at is in a suburb of Seoul, Suwon Jangan about 20 miles south of Seoul.  As I continue to gain more info after finalizing my contract with my John Hancock, I will keep you all abreast! Until then.....taking one day at a time!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Job Offer

i was contemplating the other day and was thinking about how i was going to keep in touch with everybody without being able to message people all the time via text and pick up the phone, so i decided to creating a blog....and alas, here it is.  i received a job in south korea and i will be moving there by the beginning of August!  After losing my job exactly one year ago, and being out of full time work, i had to decide what I wanted to do with my life.   I have always thought about leaving the country and a few colleagues of mine suggested that i teach overseas, and that i would love the experience.  I started the application process around late April, have been diligently doing paperwork.... and I just got the big news on 5/25/11,now here i am with less than ten weeks left in the country to see what im going to miss and what i wont be missing at all (or so i think).  thus i call the next few weeks "after the end, before the beginning".  thanks for making me happy u.s.a. (now until im gone), in advance.