I could not be happier to be free from the dorm living and cafeteria food. Although I made some great friends at orientation and am now miles away from them I am confident that I will keep in touch and see those that mean something to me. The last few days of orientation were more of the same, lectures about how to be a good teacher and survive in this country and more bland, not too authentic Korean food. The last lecture my class had was a short Taekwondo class and it was probably one of my favorites. The instructors were awesome and you could tell they really appreciated us being here to teach. I really underestimated how grateful a majority of the country is that we are coming here to teach. I hadn't thought about it as being a big deal but the more I realize this the happier I am that I'm here.
Yesterday was our last day of orientation which consisted of our lesson presentation - my group did okay, I think I surprised myself at how smoothly it went (especially with the minimal preparation we had completed). In the afternoon we found out our locations, at this point I thought I might puke as I really expected I was going to be placed somewhere in the sticks w/ no friends. I found out I'd be teaching at a High school in Chilguk. (about half-way between Daegu and Gumi - both larger cities in Gyeongbuk) After that, we had a closing ceremony, farewell dinner, and a few drinks at the bar before it was time to pack up and prepare for the journey ahead.
I'm actually in Buksam, further north and just on the outskirts of Gumi. Not sure how I was feeling about this until I met my co-teacher today. She is awesome, super nice and I can tell she really cares about me. She took me to E-Mart to buy necessities for my apartment (which the school paid for - awesome!) Then we came to town, pretty small but in all honesty, I am 100% okay with that. My teacher helped me lug all my baggage up two flights of stairs - making me feel even worse about the amount I brought with me. My apartment is a basic studio, small kitchen area, and bathroom. I was ecstatic to have Internet already connected - allowing to me to call my mom and update my blog. The only downside is that I currently have no heat in my room which also means no hot water. The guy is coming tomorrow though to hook it up so not a big deal.
My school is about a 5 minute walk from my apartment which is exactly what I was hoping for. The school was only built three years ago so everything is still really new and in great condition. I met a few of the teachers and vice principal - everyone was super nice, excited to meet me and also impressed with my (minimal) Korean skills. My teacher told me that after the first week it'll pretty much be up to me how our class goes (again awesome, but a bit daunting as I have no real teaching experience). I'll be working with 4 different teachers total and have 8 classes High school grade 1 (10th grade) and 8 classes of HS G2 (11th grade). The 12th graders are busy with preparing for the Uni entrance exam so I won't be having any English classes with them. As of now it sounds like it's going to be an awesome year. I'll definitely have to figure out what buses get me out of this town as i'm sure i'll be spending a majority of the weekends in Chilgok, Gumi or Daegu (when i'm not traveling further that is).
Tomorrow's goal is to find a bus that can get me out of this city and closer to some of my friends - Gumi or Chilgok. From there I should be set as both have train stations which can get you to a majority of cities throughout Korea. Thanks to everyone that has been reading - if nothing else at least check out the pictures!