So far, I have lived in my apartment for all of 3 days but I have learned a lot in those 3 days. Some are as listed:
- I have the world’s most adorable landlady.
- I can fry an egg and microwave some pre-made rice and turn it into a great breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
- Florida may have a Strawberry Festival, but the E-MART here in Daegu sells more strawberries in one fruit stand than I have ever seen before in my life at a Publix.
- Koreans must have amazing knee strength for the amount of stairs they climb everywhere.
Now let’s start from the beginning. Like the way beginning when I first met my co-teacher.
There I was, nervous as all heck because just the night before I had found out I’d be teaching at a middle school and my name was called and my co-teacher raised her hand to claim me. I was thrilled! She looked so sweet and friendly! She was a little older than I had imagined her to be, but what do I know about Korean age? I recently found out I’m 2 years older in Korea than I am back home.
She proceeded to drive me to school so I could get the full tour and meet the Principal. All right! First test! Lo and behold when we go to see if he is there…he isn’t. So I get the tour, meet a few people, and we head to my apartment.
Now, one day I’ll post a picture of my view of some apartments I would classify as “goal apartments” because “it’s my goal to make enough to live there one day”. Of course, when my co-teacher and I headed to my apartment I was thrilled at first because she was heading right towards them and then she wasn’t. She pulled a U-turn on me (which act way differently here in Korea than they do in the States) and we headed back down the main road and pulled off onto a side road where a tiny lady was waiting outside a building in a pink jumpsuit. I had known it when I first saw her. She was perfect even if the apartment wasn’t. Thank God my co-teacher was there as my translator because my landlady went full-steam ahead with Korean at me and I was just nodding along like I understood her when in reality she could have been giving me the instructions on how to brush my teeth and I would’ve looked like the world’s most interested listener.
My co-teacher and I haul my luggage up the 34 steps that separate the front door of my building and the front door of my apartment. We walk in and I’m floored. I have my very own apartment! In Korea! And there is only a mattress in it! Awesome!
It definitely took me by surprise when we walked through the apartment, the landlady giving the “do not touch this” and “this is how this works” tour while my co-teacher translated. The only piece of furniture in the entire apartment was a queen-sized mattress on the floor. My co-teacher and landlady were completely unfazed, so I grew up rather quickly and looked at the brighter side of things: I could go furniture shopping one day.
After sorting some things out with my landlady, my co-teacher and I got back into her car and we headed back to school so I could meet the Principal. Me not speaking Korean, didn’t realize exactly who he was because my co-teacher was greeting everyone we saw, so I just bowed when she did. When he pulled out the keys to his office and stepped in I felt as if I had just shot myself in the foot. Fettering over that I declined his offer of tea. Crap. Second foot shot. I had absolutely blown it in my mind but had enough courage in myself to say “Hello” and “Nice to meet you” in Korean as my co-teacher and I left to go to E-MART to get my necessities for the bare apartment.
After patiently shopping with me at E-MART and running into several other Native English teachers from my class at EPIK orientation, my co-teacher brought me back home and left me to unpack. That’s exactly what I did the entire night until I fell asleep. I didn’t even eat because I didn’t want to wash all of my new dishes just to be able to eat. Old habits die hard.