Thursday, 22 March 2012

One Week in Korea

Broken computer = sad faces// Beautiful Korea. Wonderful Immigration//
Fixed computer= happy faces// Tash with Teachers Hannah and Jinny//
Lampost// Busan City Tour// Unimpressed with the tour.
Today is a pretty important day for us, it marks the end of our first week in Busan! Undoubtedly there have been ups and downs as we sort things out, but today has been a good day.
We have been ferried about by our supervisors alot since Monday; to the bank to set up accounts, to the immigration office to finish the final paperwork, and to the hospital to check that we are both in working order.
It feels like we have spent ALOT of time stood around waiting for things, which  means we have had alot of time to observe. My favourite four observations so far are:

1. There seems to be this unspoken pressure that people feel at certain times that makes them do an odd shuffle/dad run. This happens mostly across roads (the drivers will not wait for you if you haven't made it to the other side of the road when the green light appears) and in queues- it's as if they are worried to miss their turn, so when they are called forward, they will run to the counter. Strange. What's even stranger is you find yourself starting to feel the pressure as they shuffle past you, and you start to feel like you should do it too.

2. We spotted a man the other day who was wearing a very smart pinstripe grey suit, shiny black shoes, a crisp white shirt...and these really thick, fuzzy, thermal, purple and pink socks.

3. It also seems as though the highway code doesn't apply to motorcyclists, who are able to switch between driving on the pavement and the road at will. They are particularly partial to using pedestrian crossings to change direction, rather than having to do something as mediocre as use a turning. They also sometimes like to multi task and fling business cards at people whilst they drive down the pavement.

4. How robust the children are here. I have seen at least three children fall down the stairs as they run to get a quick look at us. I've seen numerous kicks, punches and trips and one particular fall ended in a young boy doing a barrel roll down the corridor, before he leapt up to reassure  us that he was fine.
The novelty of us hasn't worn off with the students yet - today I have had a female student profess her love for me, and another class gather around me whilst taking pictures to show their friends.

The language barrier has been a little daunting and confusing at times. In the hospital on Tuesday we had to undress and put these kimono-esque robes on before an Xray. I went first so hesitantly stepped into the room. The nurse couldn't really speak much English but managed to show me that I needed to stand facing a screen. She then wrapped her arms around me from the back and kind of tugged, so thinking I understood her charades perfectly, I disrobed, only to notice her frantically swinging her arms around and taking deep breaths.  It turned out that she wasn't hyperventilating - she was just asking me to take a deep breath...ooops.

Amongst all of this we managed to fit in a Busan Night Tour. Although it wasn't great as the tour guide spoke in Korean, it was worth it just for the views. We drove across the Gwangan bridge and then up a mountain to an observatory. From the deck the view of Busan below was amazing. I'm really looking forward to seeing more of Busan at night this weekend.

We're celebrating our 1 week anniversary with a Gossip Girl marathon, so this is M & N signing out. xoxo
Gwangan Bridge