Posted by: C. Cali Martin | October 6, 2009

As of Day 6 in South Korea

Corinne and I on my first night in Korea

Corinne and I on my first night in Korea

So. I finally made it to Korea. After three months of arduous hoop-jumping, I’m finally here! I arrived in Seoul after over 24 hours for traveling from Tallahassee to Charlotte to LAX and to Seoul. Oh, and then the four hour bus ride from Seoul to Daegu. No chickens. When I got to Seoul, I passed through immigration (yes, they checked my temperature the MOMENT I stepped off that damn plane; and yes, they actually let me through immigration). I walk down to the steps to where my luggage should be–and no. The luggage had not been loaded onto the plane from LAX to Seoul. Genius. So with nothing but a bag of books, a toothbrush, and some small bottles of whiskey, I departed to Daegu.

When I arrived at my apartment, I find that I am to be secluded for a week pending the development of Swine Flu. Really? Yes. I have no internet–and honestly, all I want to do is sleep. But I’m also hungry. Oh, no food? Great. Some of the teachers from the school drop by during the afternoon and they invite me out for the night. Of course, who am I to listen to someone suggesting I stay in my apartment for a whole week? And plus, I can’t resist a night on the town in my new country! So I take a makeshift shower with a bar of soap and dry off with two hand towels that the school gave me (they were new!), borrowed a dress, shoes, and off we go! We went downtown, and let me tell you, if you could only see! People everywhere, cars speeding down alleys, music everywhere! We went to a couple “Western” bars, as in bars where Westerners go. We watched some soccer, rugby, drank a few, found out the toilets are not sex-specific, and marched on. We had pizza-in-a-cup, which is exactly how it sounds; drink-in-a-bag, a fun-filled concoction nicknamed the Adult Capri Sun; and rented out a room at a Noraebang, which is a private karaoke room. We sang “Wanna Be” by the Spice Girls, some “Bohemian Rhapsody”, even some Green Day! I’d say Saturday was a good night!

I finally got my luggage Monday, which gave me something to do with my entire day alone, including unpacking and finally taking a proper shower. An administrator from the school came by, took my temperature, no Swine Flu, perfect. So then I was locked up for another couple of days. No visitors. No temperature. No food but the 6-pack of ramen I brought and some Frosted Flakes I mustered up the courage to go out and buy. I got my internet Thursday (yesterday to me) and spent the entire afternoon, evening, and this morning feeling more connected with the world. I also downloaded “Flight of the Conchords” season 1 to match my season 2 and the first Ludacris album.

All in all, this week has been interesting. I saw a sign that read “Fried Cuttle Fish”. I just happened to have gone to the aquarium in Atlanta last week and saw said Cuttle Fish in a tank. They’re cute and change colors. There is also a watermelon truck that passes my apartment at least half a dozen times a day shouting in Korean their wares (I assume, since I’m not sure what “watermelon” is in Korean…). I also heard a cat apparently in agony last night around midnight. Late night snack? The only weird looks I’ve managed to get on the street come from old Korean ladies probably clicking their tongues at my brazen attempt to fit in with their culture.  I’m not attempting to do that, by the way–except buy some food and maybe walk across the street, both of which have proven a far more difficult task than could be imagined. I did successfully buy a hairdryer yesterday though…. Although those tasks do seem exponentially less difficult when compared to the bathroom that is my toilet, sink, and bathing area all in one. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to get over that one…

Blog originally posted on Friday, August 19, 2009 on a MySpace Blog.

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