The Day!

August 17, 2011

Well, I made it! I can't believe that I'm actually here. After thinking, anticipating, and planning for 5 months, it's nice to get this show on the road!

So far it doesn't seem too different from home. All week I'll be staying in a hotel (which is basically foreigner land) and attending orientation sessions with other foreigners. I feel very fortunate to have a week to get adjusted and comfortable because I know this is rare case; most people are thrown right into teaching!

My trip began at 7:30am Monday (August 15th) when my dad picked me up to drive me to Meg's. Meg was my #1 choice to take me to the airport because of the many trips we took with Patti to the airport. To clarify, as she would feel necessary to point out, it's not that Meg doesn't care that I'm leaving, she's just emotionally stable! And that is the reason why she was the only one allowed to take me to the airport :) We pulled up to the curb, unloaded my things, and sighed. Meghan insisted on taking a picture of me beside all my things but I warned her not to post it anywhere that would upset anyone! (Mom!) lol We shared a big hug, and I didn't look back -- "like a bandaid".

Inside the airport, I checked in, got through security, and waited by the gate.

The plane ride was long but I was spoiled with an exit aisle seat. The first 10 hours or so were bearable. I was able to read my book ("Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs"), watch movies (Water for Elephants, Cedar Rapids), play tetris, and try to be comfortable enough to sleep. I probably only slept 3 or 4 hours. After the 10th hour, the novelty of the plane wore off and I just wanted to sleep in a bed! So we took off Monday at 12:05pm and landed in Incheon on Tuesday at 2:30pm…

We got our luggage, converted some dollars to won, and headed out to wait for the bus which took another 5 hours. We loaded our bags onto the sketchiest looking truck where I was quite certain bags would be lost along the highway. Plus it was raining. But much to my delight, my bags were still on the truck and intact when we made it to Gwangju.

We made one stop along the way at what looked like a rest stop on the side of the highway. Some of the girls picked up some ice cream and we checked out the menu of the "food court". A lot of the items were somewhat familiar (Kimchi stew, hangover soup) but didn't look too appetizing just yet. Back on the bus, we arrived at the hotel just before 9pm. Once again, we needed to unload of luggage and haul it to our rooms.

I need to mention how thankful I am to have so much support coming from home. Everyone seems to sincerely wish me good luck and are excited to hear about my trip. I am very grateful for the people in my life who have supported me through everything and I hope I am able to keep in touch with everyone back home. I really can't wait to start sending home goodies :)

So last night I passed out around 11pm, woke up at 8am, and was good to go! So far I've adjusted to the time change aside from losing an entire day.

At 12pm I have lunch, and at 1pm is the beginning of orientation. I'll be here in Gwangju until next Thursday (25th) when I will meet my co-teacher and head to my apartment! I can't wait! It will be so nice not living out of a suitcase and to begin decorating the place I'll call home for the next year.

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