Banner design by Helena, portrait by Eva


Thursday, October 26, 2006

"Home Plus"

I'm surprised at how quickly I'm settling into Asia. The transition hasn't been bad at all! I've only been sleeping about 6 hours per night, which probably isn't enough to combat jet lag, but I feel well rested.

It's Friday morning in Suwon. I'm guilty of stopping into a Dunkin' Donuts earlier. I just couldn't resist a taste of America! "Cream cheese" is odd here, like a liquid. The server looked at me like I was from the moon when I asked for butter on the bagel. ("Butter??") And yes, she understood English.

I took advantage of her RARE skill, and asked her where I could find a grocery store. Not pigs hanging from their feet, not slippery pink chickens for sale, not big jars of peppered cabbage or raw fish all sold from markets, but, "like a... shopping mall."

She took my map and pointed out where we were. I had no idea! Suwon is a large city of a million people and although it's CALLED a fortress town, only about 1/20th of the city is inside the famous walls. No wonder I couldn't find the fortress I was "surrounded by" when I went exploring.

She directed me to a place called, "Home Plus" where I'll be able to find everything I need: laundry detergent, a hammer and nails, a lamp, dish soap etc... Not only that but a wide array of fruits and vegetables! I haven't seen any for sale since I got here, other than tangerines sold out of a man's truck. I bought a box at night for 3,000 WON (about $3.45 Can.)

Teaching is going to be both fun and challenging. The only other foreign teachers are these big burly guys around my age... maybe a little older. They constantly work out at a gym. They talk about Bon Jovi, motorcycles and extreme sports.

Anyone who knows me know they aren't my "type" but they're nice enough and funny. They're white but grew up together in South Africa. Apparently when they went out last weekend, an incident with a cab driver had them locked in a Korean jail cell for a night. The cab driver wanted more than the said fare & they refused to pay.

I'm taking over a lot of their classes on Monday so I got to co-teach with them yesterday.
Even the older students' English comprehension is very low. The phonics classes should prove most challenging because the small children have never even heard English before. A letter from the English alphabet looks like an obscure shape. Lots of singing, miming and dancing will be needed on my part!

1 comment:

eMCee said...

This is very helpful, I'm moving to Suwon next month to teach English!