The area of Bucheon I live in
In some ways it is hard to believe I've already been in Korea for six weeks. At the same time, it's hard to think that it has only been that long. Time is definitely going quickly for me. But, I've been fortunate to do a lot in a little amount of time, including working a month now, so it can at times seem like it's been longer than only six weeks. I'm starting to learn some of the language and can fully read and pronounce all the letters in their 40-letter alphabet. Now it's time to focus on figuring out what it is that I'm reading.
I do feel a little out of place sometimes when I'm walking around the city. Bucheon has over 900,000 people, and from my experience so far the foreigner population is very small percentage of that total. It is a very weird feeling when you can spend an entire day walking around and not speak a single word to anyone. I have no idea how to have a conversation in Korean yet so I can't just walk up to someone and talk to them. I do know that there are quite a few people who speak English, even if it's very little. But I've been told that they are too nervous to approach a native speaker and try out their English abilities. So far, the only interaction I've had outside of my school is with kids. Kids are generally studying English in school so a lot of them will yell "Hello!" to me from across the park. After a very brief exchange, they usually just run and brag to their friends that they had the courage to talk to a foreigner. My students have been my saving grace so far. They've all been very open to hanging out some outside of class, taking me to different restaurants to eat traditional Korean food, or just hanging out at the coffee shop and talking for a while.
Soccer field close to home
Saturdays on the Seoul Subway
Coworkers on a random sidewalk couch
13 of my awesome students out for coffee
I mentioned before that I live very close to work which has definitely been a huge blessing. It only takes about 5 minutes or so door-to-door. I also lucked out and got one of the nicer apartments I've seen so far. It's very spacious (for Korean standards), and has a kinda modern feel to it. I haven't been able to furnish it as much as I'd like so far, but another paycheck or two and we'll remedy that issue.
Kitchen and washer. Near the entrance is my closet
My desk and my dressers behind
My loft where I sleep (and still don't make my bed)
My all-in-one bathroom/shower
Overall, I'm thrilled with my decision to come to Korea so far. I've met some awesome and adventurous people from all over the world. The Korean students and people have all been wonderful and very accepting of me. I've been able to play tourist on the weekends and see a lot of amazing things. Although, this weekend we're headed to do some teacher training so no weekend fun for another week. I'm getting excited to start planning my first trip outside of Korea in a month from now. The hard part is deciding where to go. The adventure continues...