Orientation – Day 1

When EPIK gave us snacks yesterday, they had information taped to them – when we would be touring the campus. Seemed handy so I taped it to our wall so we would know. But because Korea is notorious for changing plans last minute, we woke up to an announcement at about 6 .. 6:30 I don’t even remember. The announcement said that we had different times to tour campus based on the teams. We were both dead asleep, so it’s a good thing we’re team 4 because by the time they mentioned when we would be touring the campus I was finally recognizing what my sleepy ears were hearing.

We got up and made our way to the cafeteria. It wasn’t even open yet. We waited with about 15 other people and they opened the doors. I don’t want to be rude but it wasn’t very good. There was a mushroom soup that tasted like just wet flour. Then the eggs looked really good – they had a bunch of veggies in them but I got an egg shell which was a bit jarring. But there was roasted potatoes, rice and fresh fruit that were all very good.

Feeling a little discouraged we headed out to go to the grocery store to buy our own breakfast supplements. If, for some reason, breakfast (or lunch or dinner even) in the future isn’t good we’ll have a little bit of snacks to come back to. We were too early for even the grocery stores to be open so we got a rice snack from a 7-11.

We got back and wanted to shower. We have an exciting shower that is all one room – the toilet and the faucet can be closed out from the rest of the dorm room. When you shower, the whole room gets soaked. This is a pretty clever Korean system to save space in apartments (or any space). We were prepared for the possibility our apartment could have a shower like this so it was nice to try it out in the dorms now. We shut the door and enjoyed a very warm shower – the steam can’t escape and cold air can’t leak in from the top or bottom. Pretty functional, actually.

Here’s a picture of the shower/toilet (taking “bathroom” to a whole new level)

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for some reason it also has a mirror – you obviously can’t see anything while you’re showering. The faucet has the option to just run – like you would run a bath. Unsure why you would really want this – the desire to flood you room, I guess. But you turn a nob and it goes out the shower head, you can mount it to the wall above the mirror.

We met up for the campus tour. Afterwards, we were pretty hungry from our little breakfast. Lunch wouldn’t be served for another hour+ so we went back out to get a snack. Since the grocery store hadn’t been open earlier we also decided to go shopping while we were out. We got our breakfast-supplements but no snack. On the way back to the campus we spotted a Gs25 convenience store. Convenience stores in Korea are pretty cool because you can cook and eat anything you buy there. There are tables and chairs or at least a counter to stand at and eat your purchase. They provide chopsticks, napkins, microwaves or boiling water – whatever you need.

We decided to get some ramen noodles (like “cup of noodles” but in a million more varieties here). We picked ours out – we took forever because many of them looked very spicy or took too much work. We got a little 90 cent cheese packet – to stir in the ramen if it was too hot. We also got drinks. Two high school girls were eating at the counter, this was really lucky because we got to watch how they made theirs.

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eating ramen at the counter

We bought it and headed over. The girls were still eating there but they moved some of their stuff. The kindly shop owner rushed over and moved some of his plants aside so we would all have more space. He then shooed the girls some so we could share it all better. We made our ramen, he returned to show us how to keep the flap down while the noodles soaked. He was very very nice. We’re starting to think Daejeoners are either especially kindly people, and if not they are certainly  nicer than Seoulites. Just like the nice man at the pizza shop yesterday, they have been more patient and downright helpful.

 

After lunch we went back to the campus. There was a huge welcoming ceremony, it was a lot more fun than we expected. The executive director of EPIK gave a nice speech and we applauded many esteemed guests for a while. Then we got to watch a Taekwondo (official sport of Korea – a Korean version of karate) performance. It was insane, they were doing flips through the air, sparring, and breaking hundreds of boards at any angle. The whole auditorium actually smelled like cedar (or at least some kind of wood) the dust was in the air – a couple of the athletes were actually blinking it out of their eyes.

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Standing on the shoulders of someone else (two people’s height) plus holding a large stick up with the boards attached to it. This guy is easily getting launched 10+ feet into the air, doing a flip and breaking boards in two.
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breaking 3+ ceramic boards. Has a nice satisfying sound of a plate breaking.

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Then we had a short lecture of what to expect at the orientation and then we had almost a two-hour lecture from a guy who has lived in Korea for 10+ years. He had a lot of humor about many strange situations we could face.

Finally, we had a class meeting afterwards to, again, review our schedule and talk about what to expect for the rest of orientation. We were divided by class – we’re all class 4, but 4A is provincial and 4B are Daejeoners. So we got to sit with all the people who are placed in Daejeon like we are.

At the end of orientation we’ll all have to do a 15 minute lesson plan demonstration. We were all randomly put into groups, Chris got a different group, but I got paired with a nice couple! Hooray. Yesterday on the bus we were a little down in spirits with some people around us just acting like idiots, but we’re finally finding some other people.

 

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