We got up and made our way to the Incheon Airport. We ended up pulling our bags through much of the early morning-commute. Some people were risky enough to walk in front of our 23kg bags – eh man, I can’t stop that quickly. I’m pretty sure I took someones leg out but they walked in front of me. Sorry.
We picked our bags up from storage. A little expensive but well worth the time we had in Seoul without all of them. Then we made it down to meet with EPIK. It was insanely disorganized and one guy was pretty cranky with us – we didn’t do anything. We figured it out and were on the second bus out of Seoul.
The trip from Incheon Airport to Daejeon was about 2 hours by bus. We saw many cities from afar and drove through mountains – some tunnels are almost comparable to the Eisenhower. Incredible. It was really foggy/misty so the mountains didn’t show up too well, they just looked particularly Asian. You know, the hundreds of pictures you’ve seen of layers upon layers of rolling hills enshrouded in mist – we basically drove through that for a good thirty minutes.
The bus ride was a little miserable because of all the excitement. I think people had a hard time controlling the volume of their voices from the euphoric-terror of getting the EPIK adventures started. This was almost intolerable because a few people were acting pretty immature and shouting the same things over and over again – then pretending like they “were having a moment.” That’s how middle schoolers act but I try to give them the benefit of the doubt. What I cannot give the benefit of the doubt is some pretty stupid things people were saying (yelling). Honestly, I would love to see some of them get kicked out because their attitudes are atrocious – calling EPIK one big vacation and bragging about how they don’t care about teaching, they only came for the free plane ticket. They are just here because Kpop this and Kpop/Kdrama that “haha I just worship Korea, EPIK just seemed like the best option”. Pathetic. These are actual things we heard on the bus. “haha It’s one big vacation, like a staycation” I think were her exact words.
This made us feel a little defeated because we had spent a 2 hour bus ride surrounded by children and we were upset with people who think EPIK is a joke. To add insult to injury they were mocking Daejeon as we pulled in
(sarcastically) “Daejeon seems pretty nice”
(snorting laughter) “haha yeah right. Maybe for hillbillies.”
It looked like we were not going to mingle very well with these people. In fact, we’ve brushed a few of them off and acted a little coolly towards them because it has us nervous. They are the worst kind of people because they must have all put on a really different face to get this job, and this makes them scary. Two faced.
I really like my now-chosen spirit animal Haechi (Haitai). He can recognize good and evil. He is a protector. He can also headbutt people and eat the moon (qualities I desire). I haven’t
gotten a very good feeling from some of the people I’ve been around (those who think this is one big joke/vacation, for example) so I plan to stay away (because head butting isn’t an option).
I will say the name tag desk in the lobby still had loads of names on it so there were so many more people who haven’t even arrived yet – we haven’t been exposed to or met them yet. Maybe we just got sat with the worst of the bunch. So we’re keeping an open mind.
We’ll meet the majority of our “Class” aka many of the people who will also be living in Daejeon tomorrow. This will give us a good chance to meet some nice people?
The bus pulled up to Daejeon and we grabbed all of our bags. It was an ordeal for us to pull about 3 bags each – this whole time we’ve been using the carts provided by airports but now we were on our own. We each decided to act like heroes and pull the full 150lbs we each had in one go. Fortunately we only had a small stretch of street to pull them through.
EPIK can be disorganized with paperwork and strange processes but they had the orientation venue pretty organized.
A nice woman in a scarf bowed and greeted us as we walked in. That was very tasteful and nice.
Inside, we left our bags in the middle of the room and walked over to get our name tags. They have our names, our class (we’re divided into 6 classes because there are about 200+ of us). And on the back is emergency contact information in Hangul so if we get into a really bad bind we can just hand the name tag over to a Korean and they can fix the problem.
You find your name tag then walk over to the room assignments. They stick your room number on the name tag so you can’t get lost. You get your key.
You walk over to a nurse she takes your temperature. “Normar” – no fever, hooray.
You get a nice goody bag from EPIK.
You get a snack – catered from Paris Baguette.
You talk to a woman who explains meal times and points you in the general direction of your room.
You get your luggage from the middle of the room and you’re good to go. It doesn’t even take a full minute to get completely sorted.
What was in our goody bags: a nice canvas bag, a towel, water bottle, calendar, pen, a giant book of rules, etc. And our snacks.
At the airport, Korvia (our recruiter through the whole process) gave us a goody bag too. It had some coupons, two Korean travel guide booklets, a metal letter opener with a mace-like chain, a pen, a used phone and a phone charger. Also directions on how to put some complimentary minutes onto the phone.
Chris and I are rooming together which is really nice – we weren’t exactly sure if we would be able to so we’re happy.
Chris would like me to inform everyone that while we were setting the bedding up he discovered that one of the pillows feels (and sounds) like it’s filled with wood chips. We’re not sure if it’s just really strange feathers or what, but it literally feels like a cotton sack full of wood chips. Word is still out if it has a cedar-fresh scent.
After we checked into the orientation site we were free to go do whatever we wanted. We, of course, wanted to see Daejeon. We walked around for a bit, the area we are in is a little dirty – hard to say if that is Daejeon or just this area. But we found the most amazing school I’ve ever seen. It was a middle school, but it was huge. It was about 6 stories, it had bridges in between stories. A courtyard and a small play area. it was a brick building but had additions that were modern metal all twisted around it. Awesome. Wouldn’t mind working there.
We found a store, it was small but we managed to spend almost an hour looking around at stuff. We got some things we need, band aids, a hairbrush. Then we got some fun food and a fun hanger.
It’s an adult hanger.
What’s more funny is the words describing what the hanger is, it reads “Hang your guitar safely and conveniently on the wall. The yoke on this guitar hanger adjusts to perfectly fit your instrument. The authentic hardwood block looks sleek and mounts firmly to the wall” There is no way this would hold a guitar.
Its like someone wrote out a product then accidentally put it on the adult hanger.
The fun food we got (we can’t upload any pictures, the internet just got bogged down by all of us using it) includes a pine drink – it smells just like pine sol which goes against ever fiber of our beings to bring it to our mouths and swallow – but it’s actually pretty good. Also we got a box of crackers, it showed chicken wings on it. Expecting maybe chicken flavored crackers or at best chicken wing shaped cheeto-like-crackers. It turned out to be completely hallow crispy breading – like what’s on the outside of chicken wings. It’s a good thing these don’t exist in the United States or the obesity rate would get much higher.
After the store we were looking for something to do. A couple little kids walked by and neither could keep their eyes off of us. The boy was young enough we could have been some of the first foreigners he had ever seen. This happened with a baby the other day whose eyes got as big as dinner plates when he tried to figure out what he was looking at (us, of course). The little boy today was pretty surprised but the little girl got really excited, we waved and said hello, Chris said “Annyeong” which is like “hi.” She got all giddy and did a little dance and waved back.
We decided to go out for dinner one last time. The orientation schedule is pretty regimented so this could have been our last chance to have some time on our own. We just picked a pizza place nearby because the menu looked readable (anymore this is the only way we pick restaurants). The man was one of the nicest people we’ve met so far. He was so patient with us and actually left his cash register to point something out on the menu to us. He was really smily and took a lot of pride in his job. He doted over everyone who came in and made sure everyone enjoyed their pizza. I think at some point, regardless of how far away in Daejeon we’re living we’ll come back just to see this guy.