Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Day 6 in Korea

Day 6 of the intrepid journey to the land of Goryeo has been an intrepid one, full of adventure, intrigue and strange customs. And then there's Korea to worry about. :) We've had some interesting events in the last couple of days that have been confusion, exciting and bizarre.

Yesterday was different, what with the icebreaker seminar and all. I did finally get to meet the kid named Thomas Smallwood who was emailing me before we left, and it turns out that he is a return missionary from the Quito Ecuador mission. There are now three of us LDS people here, and we've found each other, we're going to try to hit up a church on sunday. Luckily, Min, who served in this area, has a list of wards she wants to visit to say hi to her old members, so if she lets us, we will follow.

Following the ice breaker, we had a cultural difference seminary, and met probably the coolest dude in Korea; he’s a Korean guy whose family moved to LA when he was 8, so he had this full-on west coast, California personality, and told it to us straight. He went into all kinds of stuff, like how to greet your boss, hooking up, drugs, the whole deal. There was a lot of useful information, so if it had been like an hour shorter, it would have been the best seminary I’ve ever been to, but it was too long and eventually he started to repeat himself. Fortunately he realized that and cut himself off early.

Yesterday was medical check day, and the disorganization of the TaLK people once again led us to near failure. It was by the skin of my teeth that myself and Nate, another guy here, got on the bus, because they told us to wait in our rooms for an announcement, and then the admin guys removed our coordinators PA priviliedges, so I got up to get something and saw the last bus getting filled, so I ran to the ledge that looked down on the lobby and asked if they were ever going to make an announcement. The TaLK people freaked and moved us to the last bus, so we clogged up the works, but we got ourselves checked.

After our medical checks, we got moved to a different dorm building just 500 meters down the road. Jim decided he needed to leave to program because of personal reasons, so he's not longer my roommate. :) I was looking forward to seeing Jim on campus and stuff, since we were in the same classes at Ulsan, but apparently, he's coming back next year after he graduates. Turns out, he moved into our new training center, the Hyundai Training Center, and is living across the hall from me until his flight leaves on Saturday. It’s kinda nice to be able to see him a little bit more.

We've been organized into regional groups, so both of my roommates are going to Ulsan as well, and Smallwood is in the next room (also going to Ulsan and also an exchange student with the University of Ulsan). My new roommate is Simon's old roommate, so we all hang out alot. Andrew (that's the new guy's name) is actually Korean and moved to Canada to go to school. That means that he's actually the most beneficial roommate I could have gotten. We decided to talk in Korean as much as possible, but I still have to get up the nerve to initiate the conversation. I mean, he'd not going to talk to me in Korean if I don't start talking to him in it. I think after tonight it will be easier because I will be able to start using phrases and stuff that I'm going to learn.

Speaking of studying, I haven't really begun, but Smallwood and I made a plan to meet up with one of his roommates in the lounge at 6am every morning and study Korean together. I guess that's what we return missionaries who've gone through the MTC do. We really should invite Min to these things, since she's probably the best out of all of us. The intermediate Korean class was really hard, and I think it was because she assumed that she was teaching Korean Americans. Oh well, I guess I try harder and harder until I finally understand what’s going on in this country.

Happy trails people. More updates to come.

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