Tuesday, July 29, 2008

You Studio Me

I've been here 26 hours and my balls haven't stopped sweating. That's Korea--at least this time of year. Its 31 deg. C. (abt 86 deg. F) and humid. Not the worst humidity I've ever experienced (that would be anywhere in florida or louisiana) but in the world of competitive high humidity areas, this place is a contender.

Let's backtrack a bit, about 39 hours ago--that's when I boarded my delta/continental/aeromexico/korean air flight to Incheon, South Korea (Incheon is a port city located on the western coast of the country sitting at edge of the yellow sea. That's really all I know abt it at this time.) My experience on the flight consisted of three things: Boogers, B.O. and Bowels (we all know how I love my Bowels). The guy sitting in front of me had THE WORST B.O. I HAVE EVER SMELLED AND I HAD TO ENDURE IT FOR OVER 12 HOURS. The woman next to me kept sneezing and blowing her nose. I was under-rested, bloated and gassy. I had a middle seat. The guy in the aisle seat slept virtually the whole time and I kept not wanting to wake him (he looked like he needed to rest) so my gas just kept building and building. I needed a release, if you will. Finally, I woke the guy up and went to the bathroom only find a long line. I really needed to flat out fart but the flight attendants on korean air never leave your side when you're waiting for something or need something so it was either fart right at her at that moment or basically explode a minute later. I farted. I kept it quiet. But... it did not smell fresh. Still, sweet relief was mine. I moved my bowels shortly after. Anyway, needless to say, between the bloating, boogers and B.O., I didn't sleep. I did watch FIVE movies though! None were any good so I won't mention any of them.

At the Incheon airport, it took all of two minutes to go through immigration and customs. I was picked up by a car service and driven to Gyeonggi English Village (the place I'll working as an "Edutainer" for elementary and middle school kids). A few things jumped out at me on the trip up to English Village (EV). 1) Korea is SO GREEN. Everywhere. Lush. Green. Farms. Chlorophyll loves it here. 2) Korea is so hilly and mountainous. 3) Traffic, which I was warned abt ahead of time, is indeed awful. We sat at one intersection 15 minutes as a result of the combined effects of congestion, poor drivers and long lights. We arrived at EV, which is located in Paju (emphasis on the -ju... I'll refrain from jew jokes/puns :) around 7p local time. One of the first things I heard, faintly and at a distance, after I got out of the car, was gunfire. That's North Korea--any time of the year. You can actually see North Korea from various points close to where I'm living (there's even an observatory from which you can view it). Btw, I only heard the gunfire a few times. By no means do I feel unsafe or threatened. In fact, the Demilitarized Zone aka DMZ (ironically, a highly militarized area) buffers/separates South from North Korea, protecting the people of South Korea from their reclusive, hostile brethren to the north.

My friend and fellow edutainer, Christian, who I know from back in L.A. met me and my heavy ass luggage when I arrived. He took me to my new bachelor apt. Its small--not that I'm complaining--but, I'd say in total its no more than 200 sq. ft. It comes with a really wide sink, small fridge, a water cooler, a DVD/VCR player, a 21" TV, a desk, a clothes washer (everyone air drys their clothes her on racks), a microwave, free internet and cable, a small closet, a bathroom (no tub), and a full size bed that can be lifted up and slid into the shelving to which its attached, saving floor space when ur not sleeping.

I unpacked and settled in. Then I fell asleep. It was dead quiet at night. I like that. Being a little off, I woke up at 4:30a. I read for an hour and fell back alseep until 9a. Christian picked me up at 11a. We took a 15 min ride on a shuttle bus from EV to Daehwa where we caught the subway and took it to "La Festa". That's where I had my first meal in Korea--mozzarella-smothered chicken and mushroom risotto. Uh, yeah. We spent the rest of the day at Lotte Mart, a store a lot like another store here called E-mart. E-mart is basically Wal-Mart. I bought lots of little things from food to a fan to voltage transformers so I can plug in things from back home. Costco is also here. I may go there soon.

Tomorrow is wednesday, my first real day on the job. It will be an orientation day. I'm looking forward to meeting my fellow edutainers. Currently there are 17 of us total. From now through the end of august I get mondays and tuesdays off so I'll be starting my first five day work week tomorrow. I'm still really tired. My muscles are killing me from many days of packing/unpacking/carrying stuff. Oh yeah, when I woke up this morning I watched 10 mins of an episode of sex and the city. It was the one where charlotte dresses up like a man for a photographer who she then hooks up with but never speaks to again because of her embarassment over being too forward with him and miranda decides she doesn't wanna lose steve so she moves in with him... People seem to love wearing shirts here that have english written on them--the words making sense is but an option. I saw one shirt today that simply read, "You Studio Me". Ok, now my heads tired too. I can't believe I just moved to Korea.