Saturday, August 25, 2012

Korea Take Two

And we're back.

Sorry to keep you waiting so long. Between leaving Korea in August 2011 we've travelled to Nepal, India, Malaysia (okay, just Kuala Lumpur which barely counts), Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand and Laos, and then back to New Zealand. We spent 6 months at home working temp office jobs in varying Government organisations (Tom) and just one (me) all the while applying for jobs back in Korea.

In early July, through a friend we got 2 elementary school jobs in Jecheon, a city in the province of Chungcheongbuk-do. Jecheon is vaguely in the middle of Korea and at a population of around 150,000 people it's considerably larger than Buan. I spent my last 2 months in New Zealand eating as much delicious food as possible and hanging out with my wonderful family and friends, I'm pretty sure Tom did the same.

On August 23 after about a week of me being an embarrassing crybaby we flew out on Korean Air to Seoul. This time, instead of receiving a lump sum payment for our entrance allowance we just get reimbursed for our flights over so we treated ourselves AND got emergency exit seats - totally recommended. I watched 6 movies in 12 hours and will happily tell you what they were if you care to ask.

We touched down in Seoul and hauled our 60+ kgs of luggage (combined, not each!) to Gangnam where our friends had offered up a futon for the night, directly under their air conditioner. All 5 kilos of cheese we brought with us made it through customs, along with the assortment of NZ products we'd shopped for in the days prior - I'll post about them soon.

On the 24th we met our friend who'd got us the jobs - she was leaving for home that day and it was wonderful to see her before she left. After a quick catch up we grabbed our luggage again and caught a bus to Jecheon. It's 2 hours from Seoul rather than the 3 - 4 we were used to from our Buan days. It felt strange going to a different bus station, and the whole experience of being back is still fairly weird. It's all so familiar and yet we've been gone as long as we were here last time. I'm certain our Korean recruiter thought I at least was a small-town hick, as we drove around the city I kept exclaiming about how big the place is.

We got to Jecheon and dumped our stuff at the apartment, then went to meet our co-teachers. Tom's at two schools this time and I'm at one, which is another change from the assortment of tiny rural schools we taught at last time. After an hour of going through our contracts we bought some bedding, had a look around the area we're staying in and headed back to the apartment.

There's no way around it. Our apartment is a piece of crap.

Here's the postives: It's a lot larger than the last place (hurrah!), it's got gas heating, it's close to shops and restaurants and the nicest PC Bang I've ever seen. It's only up 2 floors. That's about it.

It's also one of the oldest apartment buildings in Jecheon. The bathroom is laughably small and was caked with the hair and blood (!!!!!!!!) of the previous tenant. When we moved our bed last night, there was a good half inch of dust underneath, all but two pieces of furniture are broken and there's no precious, precious air con. To say we were disappointed is an understatement. We're both homebodies so a sucky apartment is a difficult thing to deal with.

Here's a video. Excuse my gross heavy breathing and sweaty face.

Here are some pictures which better highlight the utter grossness. It doesn't really show up in the video.

General fridge muck. There was red sauce splashed under the freezer door. HOW?

Mystery dried liquid caked with dust, our bedroom.

Extra revolting kitchen splashboard.
Today we managed to buy some cleaning products and have spent an hour or so cleaning up, with a lot more to go. One win is we've had our groceries delivered to our house successfully for the first time! It's a free service we were too scared/confused to use last time. Hopefully with some magical feng shui rearranging and the promised new wardrobe/chairs/table/desk from our schools will brighten up the place. And hopefully our next post won't be as depressing. Please come and stay!

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