In 3 weeks I have been: overwhelmed by the Daegu smell on the streets and in my apartment, pushed by an Ajusshi (elderly man) in the subway, angrily yelled at by a store clerk, lost in the heat for over 2 hours, the accidental consumer of chicken hearts, heard unknowingly cursing in the grocery store whilst attempting to pronounce the number 10, subjected to the terrible Soju hangover, discovered that Korea is not a “beer-loving” culture, and ordered ramyeon over three times only to receive the wrong meal.
In 3 weeks I have also: found my way home countless times despite not knowing Korean, Climbed 850-metres (2,790 ft) to see Gatbawi Buddha & dined with a Buddhist Monk, been offered directions by a kind Ajumma, visited the ancient city of Jeonju Hanok Village, devoured the best churro I have ever tasted, drank soju on a rooftop looking over Downtown, been dubbed to be ‘bootiful’ by the head of Education for the English Program in Daegu, celebrated Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving) with the best group of friends abroad I could have asked for, and eaten way too many rice cakes.
Three weeks ago I could only imagine what it would be like to move across the world. I had many vivid daydreams about meeting my co-teacher, eating street food on sticks, and losing myself down winding roads. I never thought it would be as hard as it’s proven to be. The culture shock is present in almost everything I do, from ordering food to finding a restroom. At the same time, everyday situations feel like immense accomplishments. I’m slowly but surely teaching myself to read Hongul just to survive dining at restaurants. I’ve discovered a nearby grocery store less than 5 minutes down the block from my apartment where the clerk refers to me as Puer-to-riii-co… I guess he must have spoken to the lady who works at the restaurant across the street!
Today marks 21 days of being in South Korea, and I am so relieved to say that I finally see a glimmer of solace. It’s starting to feel a little like home.
And finally… a little glance at our Chuseok celebration. Hope you enjoy!
(This will teach me to take vertical videos on my iphone!)