Monday, October 12, 2009

Training Week and Quarantine!

Sept. 21st through the 25th

This is the week that we start our training to become English teachers! This is like Finals week all over again...learning a lot of information, cramming for tests, and doing presentations. I thought that I was finally done with all of that, but I guess not!!

MISSION: To pass tests and presentations throughout the week to become an English teacher so that I can stay in Korea.

The two areas that I trained in were Reading and Listening. Both of these classes were aimed for the Par or Bridge level students.

Levels of Chung Dahm Institute:
April English (for the beginners, Kinder-3rd)
English Chip (1,2,3,4) (Meet 2x's a week for 3 hrs. a day)
Memory (Mega, Giga, & Tera) (Meet 2x's a week for 3 hrs. a day)
Bridge (Meet 1x a week for 3 hrs. a day)
Reading and/or Listening (Par, Birdie, Eagle, Albatross, Alba +) (Meet 1x a week for 3 hrs. a day)

They gave us a specific set of Methodology for how they wanted us to present the material and teach our classes. They also gave us class structures of what all needs to be covered with in a specific time limit, and they broke it down into class periods for us as well. Each class is three hours long, but there is always a 5 min. break at the end of each hour.

Presentations: for the first half of the week our instructor would give us an example mock of a small section of something that we would actually have to present in our soon to be classes. Then he would ask us to come up to the front and mock the lesson in front of the other trainers. After our mock we would get feedback to help fix problems or just to help us in front of a real class of students. Our final presentations were to mock one of the larger sections of the lesson, utilizing all of the information and feedback. We also had to work on bringing energy into the classroom and how to deal with certain kinds of students.
Throughout the week we were also in quarantine. We still had to wear our masks not only while we were testing and studying, but we were also required to wear our masks while we presented! These masks were not fun! It was really hard to breath in them, and when I was nervous this became an even bigger problem for me! haha, When I get nervous, I tend to need more oxygen and I almost felt like I was hyperventilating each time I was required to present. With the mask over your face and nose, it almost gives you a feeling of breathing into a paper bag...not pleasant!
We would leave the hotel at 8:30AM each morning. Our training started at 9:00, where I was in Reading Par-level with my instructor Tah-Wei. Then we would generally get a break at about 1PM for lunch. After lunch I would change trainers and go to Listening Par-level with Kenny. We would be finished with training by 5PM. Then we would take the Subway back to the hotel....This whole week really made it feel like I was going to school all over again! A lot of new information, homework every night, late nights studying with early mornings to go back to school, then of course all of the tests and presentations....BLAHHHHH!!!

By Thursday I had already passed my Listening class so I no longer had to prep for it. So, I focused every thing on studying for my reading class...

On Friday Evening I was informed that I passed my tests and passed training!

Then I signed my OFFICIAL CONTRACT with CDI and was rushed out the door to the taxi with Nicole, and Austin (b/c we were all going to the same place) We made it to the train station just in time for Austin to catch his train to Daegu and then Nicole and I man handled our suitcases up to the train station second floor then attempted to send them down the escalator to get to our train.....ALL along, there was an elevator about 30 meters from where we were standing! lol! But it was pretty funny watching us try to get all of that luggage down there by ourselves....and using the escalator none the less!!! lol! But we finally made it to the train and thankfully it was a pretty short trip by the KTX train....then we once again manhandled our stuff out of the train, but this time we saw the elevator! lol! We were greated by a very sweet Korean woman named Erica. She failed to mention to us that she was our boss's wife!!!!! lol! at least we didn't make fools of ourselves!!! When we got to the school we got introduced to all of the teachers and then they took us to the apartments to drop off our stuff. I like the apartment. It works wonderfully for me, and it has plenty of space for me! It has a washing machine and fridge, and a small bed inside, and the school says that they will get me a microwave. However, I will miss not having an oven.....and.....a SHOWER!!!!! lol! My shower is actually just a hose connected to my sink with a shower head on the end! lol! and my bathroom is a 3ft by 3ft box!!! lol! it looks like when I get washed, so will the rest of the room!!! Haha! OY! Then after I dropped off my stuff our Head Instructor (H.I.), Melissa Taylor, walked Nicole and I back up to a place near the school where they bought us dinner, it was Galbi (Korean BBQ). They were all very kind and I had fun getting to know them. Then on Sat. and Sunday they let us rest and relax before we start work on Monday!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

My First Weekend in Korea

New Foods:

New Woman's toilets????

Different means of Public Transportation:

Sept. 18th

Orientation is today but we don't need to meet with our trainer until 4:30. So, we are going to go down to the market...I don't know what the name of the market is but this should be a big one!

On the way to the market I tried out the Subway system with the group. Poor Nicole's card decided that it didn't want to work, so she jumped the little gate! lol. Then, when we were getting onto one of our first lines the doors closed on her (I don't think that the subway liked her today). None of us can read Korean and there are about 30 or more subway lines that run through Seoul...we spent a good portion of our time just trying to figure out if this line would take us to the next and then from the next to the was soooooooo confusing! Nothing like the subway systems that I have used before! But thankfully a Korean couple who spoke some english approached our group and helped us find the right transfer line to go to and we finally made it to the market. The market was enormous! I have to say that it was the biggest that I have EVER seen! Immediately as we walked out of the subway tunnel we were surrounded by booths on all sides of the street....This market was so large that they actually had a map to show us where different sections were...such as clothing, luggage/purses, make-up, food, meat mkt, fish mkt....etc....SOOOO BIG!!!! And everything was just crammed inside these little shops that were all crammed together...It was a sensory overload! We walked around for several hours then decided to get some lunch before we left. We wound up going to one of the little food places in the market. This place was a good choice too! It was just noodles, but it was a huge bowl of noodles, all of the traditional Korean side dishes and it was all really good/a lot of food! PLUS, it was only 4,000 won (>$4). I'm up for that any day!

We made it back to the hotel in time to go change and catch the shuttle to Chungdahm Headquarters for Orientation. At Orientation we ran into Nate from the medical center. We all went up to the 4th floor and waited for the trainers to come in. Kenny was our trainer, he had actually just finished training another group about 2 mins before he walked through the door. When he walked in we found out that Nate was not with our group, they were separating him...he actually wasn't supposed to of even spoken to us because of the Swine Influenza incident. lol...whoops.
What was the Swine Influenza incident? Apparently back in May or April a girl had
come to CDI Training sick with S. I. When she arrived she was sick, but it wasn't bad yet, then when she kept getting worse they sent her to be checked. However she did not know that it was S. I. until the Saturday AFTER TRAINING because the results took so long to get back. During this time they didn't split up the training groups, she was training with ~ 60 other teachers. WELL, by Saturday after training, everyone had already split up to go to the different sections of Korea to teach. Results: they had to call everyone who trained back to Seoul and test everyone and quarantine everyone. 20 others that the girl trained with had contracted S.I. and some infected some of the other people at the new schools....Overall result: Chungdahm closed its doors throughout all of Korea for two weeks. This cost the school close to $2 million.
But since that incident they are taking extra precautions by splitting us up into smaller groups and also having us wear face masks when we're at the Institute. So, this will be an interesting week...we all look really awesome in our cool masks!!! hahaha! At least I am starting out the week on a pretty good start, we had to take our first tests at the orientation...Culture, Policies, Grammar, and Reading. I aced the Policies test, passed the grammar and reading tests, but I failed the culture on Monday.
After we left the training center we thought that we should treat ourselves to some sushi. The was a sushi place right around the corner from the hotel...It was pretty tasty, and the waitors and the manager were really nice. At the end of our meal the manager gave the whole table of us a plate full of california rolls for free! I'm soo thankful for people that are willing to stop and help lost people and people that are very giving!

Sept. 19th

Did you know that Dunkin Donuts makes a garlic glazed donut, a kimchi filled donut, or an olive donut??? I didn't either. lol.

Today we went to the opposite end of town to the electronics market....We were on a mission to find alarm clocks and converters....The electronics market was all inside of buildings that were close to eachother, each building had about 5 different floors all filled with electronics of some sort...could we find what we were looking for? NO, :-( Also, everything was soooo expensive in there....I thought that I would possibly buy a new laptop while I was here, but they were more than the ones in the states! I was surprised!!! Maybe when I take a visit to Japan I can find cheaper ones there!?! One thing that I did find at the market was a straightening iron. it was originally 49,000 won...but I haggled it down to 20,000 won....I'm good! lol. After we left there, we ate at a place called Lotteria (we were looking for something just quick and cheap, well we got it, and it was gross! don't go there! lol)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Travel and Experience

One of my friends asked me today if anything exciting has happened to me recently, all that I have to say to that is...EVERYTHING! This has been such an exciting change for me! I am even excited by the little things like riding on the Korean subway system, and eating my first korean meal, and learning how to say hello (anyung)! I love it all! But I do have to say, I have always been the kind of person to "try it out once" to see if I liked it or not. And if I don't like something, then I know that I should either avoid doing that again or go somewhere else next time! But this change...this is amazing! I am truly loving these experiences I've had! I am truly blessed to have these opportunities to do something that I love to do...Travel and Experience new things!

Friday, September 18, 2009

안녕 (An-yung!) (Hello!)

My days are really starting to mesh together...I guess it doesn't help when I am still waking up rediculously early and going to bed really early. My days have been busy so far. On Thusrday, I decided to venture out just a little ways by myself...just because I needed to find a bank or possibly a Universal ATM (that's credit card will not work with their regular ATM's....but why is it that if they come to America that their card will work wherever??? Just curious?!?! But anyways,) I wandered around the city only a little bit...but I'm not good with maps and by the way this city is so closely wound around itself, I would get my self lost in a heart beat! and there wouldn't be anyone who could help me get back b/c hardly anyone speaks english here!!! NOT EVEN THE VENDORS!!! lol. Then I finally found a Universal ATM...can you guess where??? Are you ready for this??? ....... At the local 7-11...OF COURSE!!! I did not know that 7-11 was world wide! Did you?
After I left there, I grabbed some ramen noodles for a quick lunch. At about 1PM All of the Chungdahm people had to meet down in the lobby and all 8 of us and the taxi driver all crammed into his little van taxi and he took us to the Korean Medical Center. Here we had to go through a physical to make sure that we were healthy and weren't carrying any kind of disease or anything. So they poked us with needles, made us pee in cups, and made us hug X-ray machines....Fun times!!! lol. When we got back from there we all decided to go out for dinner, but it was only 5 PM....and apparently this is a very early dinner time in Korea. Hardly any of the restaurants were open and there was hardly anyone on the streets. We finally found a little chinese spot I sat by a sweet girl named Amanda. She doesn't eat any type of sea food, so I agreed to share a dish with her. Our meal arrived and it was spicy...but this spicy wasn't like the mexican spicy that is around oklahoma where the only point it has is to burn off all your taste buds!, this spicy was actually very tasty. The only thing that I required was that I had some water near me! lol. After dinner the others went out, but I was exhausted so I headed back to the hotel for bed.


did you know that they DO NOT HAVE shower curtains around here? and the bathtub is very very narrow and the shower water comes through a little hand held shower thingy....this was very difficult to wash!!! By the time that I finished there was water all over the floor, but I guess that this is typical b/c there was a drain all along the tub. However, I just heard news from one of the people I'm training with....aparently in Korea you are fortunate if you have a bath tub! Generally, the hand held shower head is attached to a side deal from the sink and theres a drain on the just shower in the middle of your bathroom...yay...

by the way, this is now my shower in my apartment.....doesn't that figure!!!!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Arrival in Seoul, South Korea

Wednesday Sept. 16, 2009

The Plane ride was long, and it made it even longer since the person I sat next to was an older gentleman who didn't speak any english whatsoever. I guess it gave me more time to go through my study materials! Hopefully when it comes to taking those tests I pass!!! I tried to sleep through it...I even set my music to classical...but it didn't help. I guess that since I was sooo furious about what had happened with the guy at the ticket booth that I just couldn't relax enough to fall asleep.
We arrived in Seoul at 2:30. I headed to get my luggage. I grabbed one of the little luggage carriers (because they were FREE) and when I finally arrived at the correct baggage claim area, I only could find one of my suitcases there....At this point I'm freaking out again! lol....OF COURSE, leave it to me to wind up with only one of my two suitcases in a foreign country! Thankfully, when I got up to the missing baggage area, they made a call to the baggage area and they have it! PHEWWW! That was a relief! Then, this was the easiest customs that I have ever had to go through....I basically walked up to them handed them the little paper saying I didn't have anything to declare and then just walked on through! Then I changed over $100 into their currency which came up to 117,500 won. So the won is the equivalent to $1.17 and 1/2. That is depending on where you go!!!
When I walked out of the airport, I knew that I needed to find a specific bus at a specific area...I walked outside and found the bus area immediately but I did not find the ticket booth that was supposed to be close by. So, I walked back inside with my little luggage carrier and walked up to the help desk to ask where I got my ticket...As I have my back to my luggage trying to speak with the lady, a man comes up and starts pushing my cart with my luggage. The lady points to him and he says follow me...So I'm thinking that this man is going to take me to the ticket area...I try to take away my luggage but keeps pulling my hand off the cart saying the he can do it! He walks very briskly and I try to follow as closely as possible. When he comes to a stop, another man starts pulling my luggage off the rack and putting it into a van. I stop them and I say "No, no, no...I don't want to take a taxi, I need the bus." He proceeds to tell me, "No bus, taxi faster!" I keep trying to refuse and trying to take my luggage out of the van, but they won't let me. Then I grab my backpack and pull out my instructions of how to leave the airport and where to go. I point to the bus and try to explain to him that I don't want to take the taxi I need to take the bus. At this point the other man has all of my stuff in the van and he shuts the door. Then the guy that drug me out there takes the folder from my hand and flips through it...then he took it and got into the front seat of the van WITH MY FOLDER!!! GRRRRRRR....why does everything go against me....I'm standing outside in the back of the vehicle still and the man motions for me to get into the van. I'm not getting in at this point....Then he gets out of the vehicle and sort of tugs at my arm....I am furious, at this point I know that I'm not getting out of taking this STUPID TAXI...I get in and watch the meter....go up...and up....and up....and UP!!! I start causing a fuss...The meter was at 98,000 won, and we wern't even there yet!!! NEARLY $100 for a taxi ride!!! AHHHHHH!!!!! I'm tired, i'm Furious, and I am at the point of tears....I grab my money and stuff my US Cash, credit card, and 17,500won into my pocket leaving 100,000 won and a few dollar bills in my bill fold. I call out to the man..."I don't have any more money!!! that's all that I have!" I hand him the wallet with the cash in there...he pulls out the 100,000 won. He points to the cash inside and I say that they are only 1 dollar bills...then he asks if I have a credit card, I told him no...Then he looks at the other guy and laughs, but the other guy isn't as amused...but I don't care at this point...for all that I cared, they could take me as far as that got me and then I would walk the rest of the way... I WAS READY TO! The guy then turned to the driver of the taxi and said something in Korean, then pressed a little button on the machine that stopped the meter. There was still about another 20 mins before we finally arrived at the hotel and now that I wasn't watching the meter I got to pay attention to the surroundings....The taxi driver weaved in and out of tight traffic like it was nothing...sometimes not even having centimeters to spare, and sometimes going into another lane whether there was a car there or not!!! I didn't know whether I liked watching the road or the meter better! It was frightning, I don't know how there weren't any accidents.
The taxi finally comes to a stop...the driver basically throws my stuff out onto the street and hops back into the vehicle and leaves. I don't see anything that says a matter of fact, I don't see any signs that I can actually read!!! So, I walk into the first building I looks nice with a glass elevator door...I don't see anything down on the street level so I figure I must have to take the elevator up. As I try to wheel my two suitcases into the tiny little elevator the door CLOSES ON ME Hitting me in the head b/c I was looking down!!! This elevator is not like the ones in the states where when it senses something in the doorway, that it will barely touch you and then open again....NOOOOOO, this one is still trying to shut itself!!! Right now I've got one half of my body on the elevator with one suitcase and the other half of my body is still out the door with the other suitcase! I literally had to let go of my suitcases and push it back open!!! Then it almost closed again on my second suitcase but I pulled it in just in time! I took the elevators to all the different floors and I only saw staircases....then I got smart and stuck my head out the elevator and looked to my right.....what do ya know!!! there is an office off to the side!!! lol. I walked over to the lady at the desk and she doesn't speak any English, but she can't find anyone else who does either! So, we try to talk.....and try....and try....and no luck, the language barrier is too big....but then I remember that I have the phone # to the hotel written down. I give her the # and give her the universal sign for call...She UNDERSTANDS!!! YAY!!! lol. she calls them up and looks at me to try and tell me where it is and attempts to, but then just stops and decides to just grab one of my suitcases and motion for me to follow. The hotel was on the other end of the block hidden behind this awning that had flaps of black fabric that hung about four feet from the ground, hiding the entrance...I would of never figured this was the building from the spot that the taxi had dropped me off....but thankfully for that lady, I still made it there. I checked into my room, #808 in Hotel Major.
I walked in through both of the doors to my room and looked for the lights...I don't see I set my stuff down and start looking for them....I see a whole bunch of buttons everywhere, so...what do I do....Start pressing all the buttons. NONE OF THEM WORK!!! What in the world is going on?!? So, I turn around and start heading back out the doors, when I look at the wall between the doors....there's a little key spot. By first glance it looks like one of those card swipe areas that would unlock the door...but why would they have two of them??? So, I put my key inside of it and EURIKA!!! I have light!!! Now that I have figured out my lighting system, I'm thinking that a nap would be great then afterwards I could brave the city and go grab a bite to eat. Just as I finish changing into my sleep clothes a bell starts going off...I start looking around for it....then I hear a knocking at my door! and in walks the hotel guy and two other girls.I figure that one of the girls is my roommate, but instead they have just come to introduce themselves and the guy has come along so he can show us how everything works...(doesn't that figure...after I just spent all that time trying to find lights!). After the guy leaves the girls ask if I'd like to join them for dinner, I figured that that would probably be the best idea (even though I am super tired!
For dinner we walk around town....none of us read Korean...and the only one that even speaks a little bit of Korean is Julie, an 22 yr old american born chinese girl from Pennsylvania. We are not having any luck with the looks of any of the finally we start asking for menus and looking for places that have pictures and prices together....or English and prices!!! lol! We finally find this little korean place. We order the Korean BBQ b/c Julie says that it is really good! They bring out a whole bunch of dishes with sauces and vegetables and different things on them. Then they bring out fressh meat and lay it on this hot plate in the middle of our table. The man comes and cuts up the strips of meat into smaller pieces to make it cook faster and make it easier to eat.

1.) Pick lettuce leaf or mint leaf and lay it down in the middle of your plate.
2.) Put a few pieces of cooked meat in the middle of leaf.
3.) Choose veggies to put with it (garlic, onions, cabbage, mushroom, can also cook any of these items on the hot plate if you like)
4.) roll the leaf around the meat and veggies
5.) dip in whatever kind of sauce you like.
6.) Eat it up!!!

Why is it called Korean BBQ you ask?....because one of the sauces they give you is a very sweet style sauce that tastes like a sweet bbq sauce. For dessert they give you rice cake...When they brought this out I thought that it was paper thin slices of vegetables, like radish or something else, but sure enough, it was the very tasteless rice cake!!! After we got done eating I was completely exhausted!!! I came back to the hotel and crashed for the night! What a day!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


I am soo blessed with friends! And I am glad that I have gotten to see so many of you before I left the states! The cookout was a lot of fun...even though the weather was a little dreary! My second older brother, William, was kind enough to be the cook for the party! THANKYOU!!! The burgers were great! Then we all payed some basketball on the wet slick made for even more fun! Afterwards we went back to the pavilion for some cake and what would of been some volleyball, but my little 4 yr. old cousin decided to break the net....BOOOOO! Just as I thought that things were really wrapping friends suprized me with an ATTACK OF SILLY STRING!!!!!....Yeah, I was not expecting that at all!!! lol...I also loved the poparazzi that all had there cameras out taking pics of me after that happened!!! lol.....what a time!!! I love my friends, and I will miss you all soooooo very much!

There is one particular friend whom I have been blessed with in my life and I am so glad that she was put into my life! You were the only one that made me cry when I had to say goodbye to I will no longer have someone informing me if my outfit is decent enough to wear out in public or what all the best places to go shopping at are....or someone to stay up talking with all night even when I know that I need to wake up early! I will be missing you dearly and you had better find some way of contacting me the minute that you get engaged!

Monday Sept. 14, 2009

Today has been a very long day...I woke up around 7AM to start working on my training videos that I recieved from my recruiter last night. After only making it through about two and 1/2 of the 4 videos, it was already close to 11AM . Time to start getting ready to meet up with more people for more farewells. Lunch here, Boba Tea there, Hello/Goodbyes everywhere then to Ross for goodbyes and hugs, then campus, then a trip to the tag agency to ask about my liscence, then one last trip to the awesome trip to the arcade....where my flirting skills got us free games(how this worked...I have no idea....but hey, it did and we played for FREE!!) lol. Then off to dinner at Red this point I was exhausted and it was only 9:30 PM. However, still more places to go and people to see!!! After that I still went to three more people's apartments to see them one last time...

Tuesday Sept. 15th, 2009

I returned to my last friends apt. at around 2 AM. to grab my carry on stuff and grab a quick shower and then headed for my parent's house in Davenport, OK which was a 45 min. trip...on no sleep and by myself....but I made it! lol. I arrive a little after 3AM and walk in to find my younger sister still awake. She had been waiting up for me because she wanted to say goodbye since she wouldn't be able to go to the airport later. We talked for a little bit and she decided to go to this point I was thinking that a short nap might be good...BUT, just as I'm about to go find some place to lie down, my neice wakes up and decides to come and talk to me. We talk for about and hour then I finally persuade her to go back to bed so she can wake up for school in the morning! Just as she goes and lies down, my dad walks in the front door...he has just gotten off from work. So, I talk with him for a little bit and I catch a glimpse at the is already after 5 AM and mom and I are supposed to leave here soon. Just as I'm thinking this, mom comes around the corner and heads to the shower....I start getting ready. We finally hit the road at 5:50 AM and I'm the one driving! lol. I did great for about 2 and 1/2 hours....then I just couldn't keep my eyes open any longer. Mom drove the rest of the way. We arrived at the airport a few minutes after 10...and the person at the counter informs me that I'm late and they have already closed the gate...they called the gate and since there were a few others, they re-opened it to wait for us...I was just in shock, and this made me upset b/c my flight wasn't supposed to leave until 11! lol....Then after they told me that I could still take this flight, they weighed my bags and OF COURSE they are over weight!!!!! I wanted to try and take some stuff out b/c they weren't too overweight....BUT they wouldn't let me b/c I was "late to my flight already!" So, I had to pay $100 to have them put my luggage on the flight! UGH! Then, I was still required to wait in the security checkpoint line.....and then SPRINT to my terminal......When I got to my terminal, there was still a line of people who had not been seated and THEN the plane didn't even leave the ground until could of been that I was really tired, but I was just livid by this point!!! And it took me forever to just calm myself and relax for the 14 and 1/2 plane ride ahead of me.