Archive for February, 2010

Church in Korea

I went to a Catholic church near my apartment. Before we entered, everyone bowed to the statue of Mary in front of the church. Then they bowed toward the cross when they entered. The mass was really similar to Catholic masses in the US. I think they all follow the same format and read the same scriptures but in a different language. Some other differences:

  • Starts on time (haha)
  • Bowing
  • Use of hand motions during prayers
  • Not holding hands during Our Father
  • Bowing instead of shaking hands

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Last Day of Orientation

Last day of classes! Went to eat at a pizza place with my roommate. We ordered the Golden Seafood Extravaganza or something like that. It was really good! It was “golden” because it had stuffed sweet potato crust!

Sweet potato crust

Closing dinner consisted of another huge buffet of Korean dishes and various performances by EPIK teachers and Korean high school students.

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EPIK Excursion

EPIK took us on a trip to visit a traditional Korean village and to see traditional Korean pottery. It was freezing, but it was an interesting trip and they provided some great meals! Here are some pictures.

Our tour guide

Entrance gate for an important person

Traditional Korean buildings



Then we went to Icheon, which is famous for pottery.

Giant kiln

Icheon's mascot

Part of our dinner

(The reason I don’t post many pictures of my food is because I can’t wait to eat and only remember to take a picture halfway through the meal.)

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Seongnam Sights

Walked up and down the street outside Eulji University. Here’s some of the stuff I saw.

Sausage that works on the iPhone. I tested it and it works!

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There’s something about these cookies that I just love. I ate them a lot when I was in China even though they’re from Korea. My classmates know what I’m talking about. Always had these for a snack during break time.

Chocolate Digestive Cookies

Dinner from the cafeteria. Finally remembered to take a picture of my food. It might not look very appetizing because I was halfway through eating when I remembered to take a picture. It was very tasty!

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Protected: EPIK Orientation: Day 2

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I woke up kind of early since I went to sleep early. Breakfast started at 7:30am and most people were there early, probably because they had trouble sleeping or slept early the night before. The food is pretty good. There was white rice, fried rice, scrambled eggs, kimchi, hard boiled eggs, croissant, bread, soup. Then we split up into our classes and went on a short tour of the campus.

After lunch, I spontaneously decided to climb up a mountain to see a temple with my roommate and two other guys she met in our program. It was very close to the campus, about a 5 minute walk, and it took 30 minutes to climb up the mountain to the temple. It was freezing at first but then I started to get too hot as we trekked up the mountain. The path was steep and windy but it was nice to breath some fresh air and see the snow and trees. Not much of any of that in Southern California. The view from the temple was pretty nice. Please excuse the poor quality of these photos, I took them with my phone!

I hiked up the mountain in my boots. Not the most comfortable but it was too cold to wear my Converse and all the other shoes I brought are heels.

We had the opening ceremony in the afternoon, which included opening remarks, a performance by Midong Elementary Tae Kwon Do students, useful information, and a guest speaker. I’ll post a video of the students’ performance once I figure out how to upload it from my phone. Then we had the Welcome Dinner which included a huge buffet of Korean food. I have been eating too much since I got here and I’m getting fat again ahh! Time to work out once I have the energy.

Tomorrow we have medical check ups, which includes a blood draw so we all have to fast tonight. I’ll write a post about that tomorrow. Time for bed!

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Orientation Schedule

EPIK Orientation is pretty tiring! Here’s our schedule for the rest of the week:

9:00am-12:20pm – Lectures

12:30pm-2:00pm – Lunch and free time

2:00pm-5:20pm – Lectures

5:30pm-7:00pm – Dinner

7:00pm-8:00pm – Korean class

12:30pm – Curfew

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EPIK Orientation: Arrival

The February 2010 EPIK Orientation was split into two based on our placement: one at Jeonju University (Busan, Gwangju, Ulsan, Jeonbuk, Gyeongbuk, Gyeongnam) and Eulgi University (Daegu, Daejeon, Incheon, Gangwon, Gyeonggi, Chungbuk, Jeju). I’m at Eulji University in Seongnam since I’ll be going to Daegu. Here’s what’s been happening so far.

EPIK provided buses from the airport to Eulji University. When we got to the university, they had us bring in our luggage and check in. We got name tags, sweatshirts (aka EPIK t-shirts), and a welcome package with a sandwich, water, clementine, EPIK bath towel, EPIK alarm clock, and handbooks. It was very nice and welcoming, in my opinion. We got keycards for our dorms and brought our stuff upstairs. The rest of the EPIKers arrived throughout the day.

I spent the rest of the day trying to figure out how to set up the internet, testing out my electronic items with the converters and adapters, and reorganizing the stuff I packed in my suitcases. We all have roommates for orientation and my roommate is also from California. Our rooms are pretty nice. Much nicer than most dorms I’ve seen in the US. But, I’ve heard these dorms are nicer than most dorms in other Korean universities too. Dinner was provided around 5:30pm then we got ready for bed and went to sleep. The mattresses and pillows are really firm and there isn’t a fitted sheet over the mattress, just a blanket. Our room was freezing at first but the heater started to kick in and I was warm enough during the night. I was tired and ended up falling asleep around 9:30pm, which is late enough to sleep and adjust to the time.

Eulji University dorm room

You can see I’m on facebook. Darn, caught in the act!

Overall, it was a good day and EPIK seemed to have organized a good orientation program. I was glad to have a room and time to settle down before I start work. It’s also nice to meet other people and make some friends while I’m here.

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Welcome to Korea!

I didn’t get to post much in the days leading up to my departure because I was busy trying to get everything organized and my brother ended up getting sick and going into the hospital the day before my flight. So, it was a hectic time for my family! Now I’m here in Korea, but I want to recount my experience the past few days.

I had almost everything packed but I was having a hard time repacking my luggage to make it fit better and meet the weight restriction. It ended up being overweight in the end and I should’ve just kept everything in there! The things I wish I had brought with me: thick jacket that wouldn’t fit in my luggage, candy, warm boots, shower slippers. I can get those things here if I want to but it would’ve been nice to bring the ones I had since my luggage was overweight anyway. And I tried so hard to keep it under weight!

I got through security pretty quickly and I waited at the gate for a couple hours. I flew with Asiana, which is a pretty good airline. The flight was 13 hours long and I ended up with an aisle seat in the middle row, thank goodness. There was a baby somewhere nearby that kept crying for the last few hours of the flight. Luckily, it didn’t bother me that much. I got enough sleep, had enough beverage, was awake for both of the meals, and overall I had a good flight. I was just kind of uncomfortable wearing my leather boots on the plane but they wouldn’t fit in my luggage so I just wore them to Korea.

When I landed in Seoul, I noticed there was snow everywhere! I knew it was cold here but I wasn’t expecting snow. I waited in line at Immigration for a while but I passed through very quickly. Then I picked up my baggage with no problems. But when I got out, I had no idea where I was supposed to go! I exchanged some money into won then I checked my email at a computer and I sent an email to the BF and to my parents and I got to talk to the BF for a little :). I figured I’d walk toward the other end of the airport and fortunately that’s where the EPIK booth was. I checked in, got some water and snacks for $4, then boarded the bus along with other EPIK teachers to Eulji University in Seongnam.

And the rest is history!!

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