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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Home sweet home

Hi everyone!

This is the first time I am blogging from South Korea!

I've been here about 3 days, and so far I've been very busy attempting to adjust to life here.

My arrival here was a little chaotic, with the airline losing my bags & I had to sleep my first night here on a sheetless bed...but since then they have been recovered :)

I am living in the dormitories here at Chung-Ang university, which are a very coveted real estate, believe it or not... Many students who live up to an hour away are denied rooms because there are other students who live even further! The dorms here are pretty nice, comparable to what you'd see in American universities. The only big difference is that there is no kitchenette or anywhere to have a fridge or stove. Cooking in the dorms is strictly prohibited, along with many other things such as:
- having outside friends visit the dorms
- visiting the dormitory of the opposite sex
- alcohol, tobacco or drugs of any kind may not be kept in the dorms
- cooked food and food that can go bad may not be kept in the dorms
- a strict curfew of 1am is kept at all times- if you get to the dorms after 1am you will be denied access!

here is a picture of the dormitory- see that steep hill? I have to climb about 4 of those just to get to and from the dorms every day!

my bed has sheets now :)



But for the most part life here is pretty similar to an American dormitory, but you will notice that Korean students are NOT here to party! They are here to study, and are rarely distracted by outside influences (unlike many American students!)

My roommate's name is Minh Nguyet, she is a Vietnamese American from San Diego, California, and she has 14 brothers and sisters! She is such a sweetheart, and we are getting along quite well already.

our first meal out.... pho ;)
(so much for Korean culture immersion!)

The dormitory also offers a meal plan here for a very affordable price. The meals served are a choice between Korean and Western options, although I honestly don't even know what some of the Western options are, let alone the Korean options, haha. Meal times are strictly observed here, so if you miss the time breakfast/lunch/dinner is served, you're on your own! Luckily though, there are myriad of little restaurants and shops close by for all your meal and snacking needs. Since breakfast is served from 7-8 (way too early for me!) I took it upon myself to provide my own breakfast:

Now...I know what you guys are thinking- really Morgan? you're in Korea, and you're eating corn flakes?? But let me explain! Breakfast in Asian countries is not anything like breakfast in Western countries, in fact, if you walked into the cafeteria at breakfast time, you'd have no idea it was breakfast! There is little distinction between foods eaten for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. and YES! kimchi is even served at breakfast. Now, I'm sorry, but there is no way my stomach can handle spicy fermented cabbage at 9oclock in the morning. Gimme a chance to adjust guys! Thus the corn flakes, haha. I promise, once I become more familiar with my surroundings, I will share all of my Korean foodie experiences :)

I also started classes today, Beginning Korean and ELT curriculum (which is basically a class about different ways to teach ESL learners using different curriculums) So far, the classes here are similar to home, except the professors are a LOT stricter! Attendance is fiercely enforced, and much of your grade is dependent on midterms and finals....with little supplementation from homework or projects. 

I still have a lot to share...but alas! lunch and class are waiting....stay tuned for more soon :)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Goodbye Miss Havisham

What was I thinking? 

Did I seriously think I could do this? Just up and leave for five whole months? 

I guess I thought I would be too excited about going to even miss the people I care so much about... so why is it that I haven't even left yet & I already miss them? 
Reassurance is comforting, but it doesn't relieve the sinking feeling I feel in my heart. 
Yes, I know I'll be back before I know it, but it's exactly the "before I know it" part I'm worried about! 
I know I'm going to have a great time, great experiences, meet exciting people and see wonderful sights, but I'm so scared to leave what I know. I guess in my dreams and fantasies of leaving home to explore the world, I never thought of the actual act of leaving home. 
But this is life. Life is change, and those that can't accept it become remnants of the past, left to reminisce of a world that no longer exists. 
So although it's scary, and unfamiliar, and everyone is scared of the F word- failure, Life goes on;.Whether you fail or not, whether you accomplished what you wanted to do or you didn't, life goes on, and in a way, it's reassuring. 
I guess what I am afraid of most is the people who are important to me forgetting me and moving on. But in a way, while we do all move on eventually, truly part of us never really does. Each person in our life, whether they are a constant companion, or simply an acquaintance on your journey, each person will impact you, they will add to your experience, and if & when they leave, they will leave an indelible mark on your life. To leave is inevitable. To move on is certain, but for the people and experiences that are of any real importance, to forget these is impossible.  

"Because maybe, in a way, we didn't leave it behind nearly as much as we might once have thought. Because somewhere underneath, a part of us stayed like that: fearful of the world around us, and no matter how much we despised ourselves for it--unable quite to let each other go." -kazuo ishiguro