Friday, July 30, 2010

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The power of Soju.

Ahn-nyung-ha-se-yo! (it means hello!)

Yeah. I'm trying to get this language down. All I know right now is "hello" and "thank you" and "give me back my change!".

The second day was a little different from yesterday: I finally ate!

After a few grueling hours of training, a few of us trainees went out to get some food to eat. Because pretty much everyone in my training group is from Korea or has been in Korea for more than a year, they all showed me the "authentic" food that they had. To find this place, you walk down an alleyway and walk under a few tarps. Here are the foods I encountered.


A) Some kind of cooked fish with spices - all bones still in it, all skin still on it
B) Cold potato fries - tasteless compared to "real" fries.
C) Kimchi - Pretty awesome spicy cabbage
D) I'm not sure what they called it, but the Korean lady said it was made out of acorns
E) Korean pickles - didn't try them... I don't like pickles
F) Sardines and peppers - ew. tried it. didn't like it.
G) Seaweed soup - surprisingly good. Good for the Seoul*
H) Ham? - She said it was ham, didn't taste like it at all. The texture was weird too.
I) Rice - Duh.
J) I have no idea. Didn't try it.

After getting done with lunch, which took about 30 min, we went back to training. I'm not going to talk a lot about training because it would be pretty boring to hear about.

Training completed. Had to get back to the hotel.


The subway is pretty easy to use once you understand where you are and where you're going. Every time I've been on the subway thus far it's been pretty packed. Lots of advertising everywhere. After getting back to the hotel, some other trainees quickly called and said they wanted to go to this Korean Barbecue place down the street.



Thank god for locals. If she didn't come with, we wouldn't have known how to order.


You know I'm always down for grilled meat. and Kimchi. They were all surprised that I was willing to try everything on the table. Bring it on.


During supper, someone mentioned Soju. Holy Soju. I tried it. Tasted like water. Had two more shots of Soju. Definitely felt it. I think I should be careful around Soju.

After supper I went back up to my room and passed out, knowing that I'd wake up at 4am anyways so I could study more for todays FINAL EXAM! Wish me luck. I suck at grammar.

Oh, still flippin' humid.

Till next time, wherever you are,

Matt Mead

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Day 1: Holy Moses

Hello everyone!

I'm in Korea. Holy smokes. It was a long flight but I made it. I have to say, if all planes were like the one I took to Korea, I'd think about flying a whole lot more. Leg room, lots of it. The food was awful though. Don't have the fried rice.

I stepped off the plane and started sweating right away. The sweating still hasn't stopped. It is so so humid here. After taking a bus and taxi, I arrived at the Coatel Hotel around 8:30 p.m. Korea Time. I guess they weren't expecting me to get there so early so they had to find a room for me. After asking a million-bagillion questions to the front desk clerk (thank god for him), I found my room on the 12th floor. It took me about... well... way longer than it should take anyone... to find out how to turn on the lights. After that, I was suppose to call the recruiting office. So, I wondered down into the streets to find a public telephone. I found one, couldn't figure out how to use it for the life of me, and decided I'd just e-mail her to let her know that I had arrived. Then it was off to sleep.

I woke up around 6:30 a.m. (Well... woke up is a loose term. I more so just got up because I couldn't really sleep). To get to the training center I had to use the subway, something that can be difficult the first time if you're alone and don't understand a lot of the Korean language. By some stroke of luck, I made it there with, oh, about 2 hours to kill. I wandered up and down the streets like a tourist and made my way to a bench next to a passed out man and people watched until I decided maybe someone from my program would be at the training center.

After talking to a REALLY nice security man, I found my way to ChungDahm's recruiting office. Water. Cold Water. I liked this place already. After chatting it up with other trainees, I started my day with a class full of other people about to embark on their journey to the April Institute. We did mock training and I felt a little behind (only because I definitely was about two days). Nevertheless, we completed our day of training and I was told to go to the hospital to get my medical check.

One cab ride later and I was there. Here are the things and people I encountered, in order, before and at the hospital:

1. Angry cab driver who rolled down his window to, I'm guessing, swear at the car next to him for not letting him cut in front.
2. A very nice old man who had a tag that said "Volunteer Interpreter" that didn't really know what I was saying.
3. A nurse who I'm pretty sure said that I was cute, and then proceeded to check my weight, height, blood pressure, eye sight, and hearing.
4. An X-Ray machine that took a picture of my chest.
5. Another nurse who took three viles of my blood (my arm swelled up like there was a golf ball under my skin and it still hurts) and asked for a sample of my urine.
6. The old man interpreter again who somehow helped lead me to the nearest subway

Surprisingly, I made it back to this hotel. Now I'm off to study all this stuff and mock teach with myself.

Still humid here. But I found out how to turn the air conditioner on finally.

Hope all is well wherever you may be.

Matt Mead

P.S. Did I mention that in Korea I'm a mill-Won-aire... hehe

Sunday, July 11, 2010