EPIK Orientation!

Three weeks down the line and still no blog! I blame Ruth. No I’m not even joking it is totally her fault. She promised you all a post and she didn’t deliver. It’s left to me to rescue the situation.

Actually, we’ve been ridiculously busy… so we’ll let her off. Right now I’m on the hour and a half bus ride home from Dong-San Elementary School right out in the sticks. It sounds bad but as bus rides go, this isn’t a bad one. The views are incredible.

Right, I’ll pick up where I left off – about to get our teeth into the EPIK orientation… if I can remember it. It seems so long ago already. The schedule was pretty intense, up for brekkie at about half 7, then lectures all day until 8pm. Generally it was informative and useful, but at times got a little annoying at quite how much hand holding there was. That and them not telling us the level we were going to be teaching at or where abouts roughly we would be going began to try the patience by the end.

The climax to the week’s orientation was to plan and present a lesson to the rest of the class. I was more than a little nervous about this but after much fretting myself and our American friend Anton got through it unscathed. Ruth’s went very well (she was in the other group) and came out with the prize for best lesson – a phone card. I didn’t even want one, so there.

Now, me being a bit of a freak and not sleeping all that much, I couldn’t quite grasp how much jetlag seemed to hit Ruth. We were given 4 evening lessons on how to speak Korean. Ruth slept through pretty much all of them, I can’t count the amount of times I gave her a nudge to wake her up. Korean, by the way, is not all that difficult to read once you know how to read the characters. Speaking it… that is a different story!

The food during the orientation week was good. We were given mainly Korean dishes which are excellent. I love it. Most things are so healthy but taste good, no complaints here. There is one food though, that takes a bit of getting used to. It is like nothing I’ve ever tasted before and it is called Kimchi. It‘s Korea’s national dish and is served with EVERYTHING. It is cabbage fermented in spicy stuff for a few months and comes in loads of different forms. The trick, I’ve found, is to eat it with something else on your plate, that way it is less likely to blow your head off and actually tastes pretty good.

The last day was a bit up and down. It turned out that out of 300+ people we were the last two to find out where we were going or what was going on. While everyone was at the farewell ceremony we were stood outside the dormitories knowing absolutely nothing – even the staff didn’t know what was happening. Ruth panicked a bit but finally a lady turned up, we loaded our bags and were whisked away before we could say our goodbyes.

We arrived at our new home in Sunchang after an hours drive and were treated to a great meal with the South African couple that we would be replacing.  Ian and Shélagh calmed the nerves and answered all of our questions – such a shame they wouldn’t be staying too.

Sorry this was such a long one! More to follow soon, in shorter bursts hopefully.

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