Sunday, June 22, 2008

The adventure has begun

No pics b/c I'm still figuring out computer stuff (I just found the home desktop unit now) but just wanted to say that I'm in Korea!

The flight was hellish: loud children, loud baby, loud non-Korean Americans (who thought that being in yellow shirts gave them permission to yell across seats to each other and make lots of noise when everyone else was trying to sleep, and to take pics of each other sleeping w/flash right in their faces, which meant that anyone else in the vicinity would be trauamatized as well), and sciatica. I watched 2.5 movies ("Step it up 2 the Streets" was hilariously bad, but entertaining, and even more hilarious as I watched it w/o sound for the 1st half just for fun).

The crazy thing was that no one weighed or searched a single bag of mine. So leaving and getting into each country was a breeze. I did have many bouts of crying as we got closer to Korea and also when I was going to get my bags. It was probably a mix of not having been here for 8 years and extreme exhaustion. We arrived at 3:17am, which was an hour EARLY but my uncle was nice enough and on the ball enough to get there early.

We drove past the most ridiculous outdoor lighted sculpture on the way home, near the airport, that was huge and disturbingly phallic. I had a huge bout of unpacking and then my aunt and uncle made me lay down and try to sleep b/c - guess what? surprise, surprise - I had to go to church w/them at 10. AAAAGH. I laid down but couldn't sleep. And then heard the voice of a small child, realizing that my niece (I call her that out of convenience - she's actually the daughter of my first cousin) had spent the night w/her grandparents. So then I went through the Madeline book I got her and once she warmed up to me, she recited lots of English that she's already learned, played a piece on the piano, and then got into my art supplies. Whoooo-eee! Why I thought it was a good idea to let an 8-yo play w/waterproof ink and pen nibs after not sleeping for about 24 hours, I can't tell you. She also told me that my drawings of people (stick figures) were all wrong and fleshed them out. That was SO funny. I kept saying, "your mother is going to be so mad at me b/c your hands are going to be inky," and she kept saying, "my mother doesn't care about my hands getting dirty; besides, your hands get dirty if you use them and then they eventually get clean again, it's no big deal." Her vocab is WAY better than mine and she rated my Korean at a so-so.

Once we finally got off to church, I had to also play games w/her in the backseat and let her try to put my hair up, all while having uncharacteristic motion sickness. Church was a blast. HA. It was actually a good way to force some speed Korean reading b/c of the singing, but the sermon was waaaay too long. The good thing was that I just pretended to be praying as an excuse to close my eyes for long periods of time. I also didn't realize that a ton of the rest of my family was coming, so I come out to be greeted by two more tiny children, two cousins and their wives, and another aunt and uncle. We all went out to lunch and I was again treated to a what-kids-are-like lesson. The oldest, who was w/me in the morning, now loves me and wants to come back next weekend and do more pen and ink drawings.

Once we got home, my aunt took me out on foot to show me the bus stops, subway, and department store for all needs (like food). Then I finished unpacking and went DOWN for heavy napping. After dinner, I finally bathed the gross traveling skin off of me and went to bed. Go melatonin! Now it's 7am and I have to run - today I take my language placement exam (if I can get there! I have no idea where to go after I get OFF the bus), hit the Fulbright office, and hopefully see another cousin and meet her kids.

I keep telling myself the whole one tiny step at a time thing. So far, it's okay. The climate is not my favorite, but such is summer in Korea. I'm just hoping it make it thru the next few days w/o crippling jet lag.


Anonymous said...

Woohoooo! The adventure begins, and we're all gonna love reading it. (Personally, I had a big grin at the movie without sound.)

Unknown said...


Paulettasaurus said...

The psycho (re-)introduction to this country is very apropos. I'm glad you had a safe landing!

Paulettasaurus said...

P.S. Paco says he's willing to tutor you in Korean over Skype. It would have to be while I'm at work, though. Work it out with him.

polarchip said...

Love the Korean posts! ADVENTURE!

Happy you are safe and sound and in one piece.