Posted by: evedlewis | October 7, 2009


I’m almost completely adjusted to my new life in Korea.  Classes are going well, and my weekends have been great.  This weekend, I got my first manicure and pedicure with Allison, which was awesome.  We also did a little shopping, and browsing around downtown.  When we returned home, we decided to watch a movie later at her place.  I went to open my door, and the lock was stuck.  I couldn’t get into my home.  Assuming the battery was dead in my digital lock, I wasn’t sure what to do (because you must open the door to change the batteries).  I called my Director, and he was there within five minutes to solve the problem.  My door lock battery had died, and Mr. Lim used a 9 Volt battery on the outside to get in to replace the batteries on the inside.  I hated to bother him on a Saturday, but I was glad that he quickly came to the rescue.  I mention this tid-bit to say that my Director is sooooo amazing, and I am so thankful that he takes care of me so well.

I had my first taxi cab ride and shopping adventure all ALONE on Sunday, and I had to call my Director – AGAIN!!!!!  I went for a long walk in the rain, and then I decided to walk to the E-mart to get my groceries and take a cab back home – ALONE – IN THE RAIN.  This was a very big deal for me, since I still don’t know the language.  All of my previous shopping trips to the E-mart had been with other people.  So – shopping at the E-mart went well – I LOVE THAT PLACE!!!  When I finished, I ask a cab driver if he can take me to the “Shin Tung Ha Mart,” which is my corner store.  He seemed to understand at first, so I loaded the car with the groceries, and I hopped back in the car.  Then, he didn’t seem to fully understand where he is taking me, so I call my Director again, and he told the driver more precise directions.  I should have brought my full written address from home.  So – now I know for next time.

Now I have some healthy food to cook this week, which I will be doing.  My eating habits have GOT to change, and I must start working out daily.  I am going back to salads, fruits, veggies and soups.  I am fully settled in now, and I must get back on a strict eating and exercise schedule.

I got my first two bills – YAYYYY!!!!  I am excited because they are sooooo low!!!!!  $50.00 for electricity and $10 for gas – YESSSSSS!!!!!  To go from $200-$400 in gas to $10 is pretty amazing.  I have not seen my cell phone bill yet, which is the one I’m afraid to see. UPDATE:  I just got my first “big” monthy paycheck today – YAYYY!!!!  And I saw my phone bill.  My bill was $56 for the first three days – YIKES!!!!!  But – the total due is $200 for the month, which is much less than I expected – so, I’m relieved.

I met some new friends over the weekend – YAYYYY!!!!  Jasmine and Alex.  We went out to dinner on Sunday and had a great time.  They are involved in a book club, and they also told me about a “photography group” here in Jeonju.  So – I hope to hook up with more people soon.  Jasmine is leaving in November – BOOOOOO – so, I won’t be able to spend much more time with her.

My classes have been pretty empty over the last few weeks because of mid-terms.  The students are taking mid-term exams, so they are not attending classes at the academies.  I have used this time to grade papers and complete progress reports.  I hope to be done with all the reports by Thursday.

Our first school Holiday is on Friday, so I have a day off – YAYYY!!!!!  I decided to visit Seoul this weekend, because I will have three days to enjoy myself.  I booked my hotel last week, and Allison helped me purchase my train tickets.  I will take the train there on Friday, do some sight-seeing on Saturday and head back on Sunday.  Wish me luck on the train.  This will be my first time going, so I hope all goes well.

The holiday being celebrated this weekend is called Chuseok.  It falls on a Saturday this year, and it’s a time for Koreans to celebrate the good harvest,  and to give thanks and praise to their Ancestors.  They get together with family, prepare a big traditional meal, and pay their respects.  Many people compare it to our “Thanksgiving” holiday – because of the big traditional feast.  My director gave me a HUGE box of apples, which will unfortunately go to waste.  I got him a nice plant today to thank him for all his kindness and generosity.

I have so many updates, so please excuse the length.  I have not written an entry in a while, so I’m playing catch up. 

 In my personal world – I have FINALLY downloaded music to my new ipod, so I’m very excited about flooding my ears with all my favorite tunes again.  I have also purchased two Korean language books, and I have done a little studying.  I will also be taking Korean classes on Sundays to learn the language.  In neighborhood news: there is a new mini-mart on my street, which was constructed in what seemed to be less than a month.  There are already 3 other corner stores within a 1 block radius – so – we now have four corner stores on my street (3 behind me and 1 in front of me).  I find that to be rather interesting, and I wonder how they will all stay in business.  In school news: my Director says that he will be hiring another “foreign” teacher soon, so that will be cool.  I am the only foreign teacher there now, so it will be nice to have another English teacher in the mix.

Here are some interesting observations  I have made, and other things I have learned in the past few weeks:

–          There is no Daylight Savings Time in Korea.  I have been accustomed to setting my clocks back in the fall and then moving them forward in the Spring all of my life.  Not this year!!!  I will be 14 hours ahead of Atlanta time after the November “time change” in the U.S.  This will be interesting.  Reminds me again – that EVERYTHING is relative.  Especially time.

–           One of my Korean books (and my students) called “construction-type” jobs “3D” jobs because they are Difficult, Dirty and Dangerous.  HAAA!!!!!  I thought that was cute.  So – James is a 3D Man!!!!!!! 😉

–           The police.  They don’t seem to really exist or patrol the streets here.  Tickets are almost unheard of.  I have only seen a few police cars since I have been here.  However, I have seen numerous people run through RED traffic lights and break many of the “road rules”.  Many people drive well over the speed limit, run through lights, turn without yielding, make “illegal” u-turns and follow too closely.  It’s awesome and quite refreshing actually – I feel like I’m right where I belong, since I’m such an aggressive driver myself.  KIDDING!!!  Kind of 😉

–          Speaking of driving.  I recently saw a young man on a motorcycle get hit by a car.  Accidents are, of course, the downfall of aggressive driving and “breaking road rules”.  The motorcycle guy drove out in front of the car, and the car hit him from behind.  He was thrown from his bike, but he was okay.  I saw him walk away from the scene shortly after the accident.  Good thing he was wearing his helmet.  I have seen many motorcycle drivers without helmets, although the law here requires wearing helmets.

–          I have remembered some great forms of punishment that I had COMPLETELY forgotten about.  I am super excited about this, because I may have to start using these methods with my students.  I saw one of my students outside of Lauren’s class with his hands stretched up above his head.  I said, “Chris, what are you doing out here?”  He said, “no homework”.  I said, “OOHHHHH, so now I know what I need to do to make you do your homework!”  He just looked at me and smiled.  So – that made me remember a few other techniques used on students at school when I was younger.  They were just starting to phase out corporal punishment when I was a child in school, but I have some memories.  I remember having to stand against the wall with my legs in a squat position and my hands held high out in front of me.  YESSSS!!!!!  I will certainly be incorporating these methods when necessary. 

–          I went to my first Korean “staff meeting” this week.  I could not understand much, but it was interesting.  I understood that we are going to start using a new textbook program at the school.  The guy introduced the new textbooks, which all the teachers will incorporate into the classrooms soon.  I’m still not sure exactly when.  I have already copied some of the exercises and used them in a few of my classes.

So – all is well in my world.  I am still learning new things daily, which makes my time here even more enjoyable.  I have already returned from my fabulous weekend in Seoul – and I’m approaching another weekend.  So – I’m thinking of going to the mountains on Saturday, but I have not decided yet.  I will tell you all about Seoul soon.  Right now, I have got to get some sleep!!! 😉



  1. Eve,
    I found your wordpress link on the eslpark testimonials site. Thanks for being so detailed! I am considering going to Korea to teach also but am not sure and your blog makes it seem a bit more doable now.
    I am concerned about the cold weather and I know you have not been there through a winter yet but, being from Atlanta where it is not very cold in the winter, have to ask the veteran teachers over there about the winter weather?
    Also, the food is a concern for me. I hardly eat fast food and prefer to cook my own food. Is it possible to cook a lot and keep the kind of diet I may prefer? I am not too much of a “starch only” person.
    How did you determine where to teach? I’m not sure where I would like to go. I only know that I’d prefer less winter-type weather if possible.
    You seem to have landed in a great place. I’d like to have the same good fortune as you!
    Thanks for your response and the great writing on your blog!

    • Hey Bernie – I am glad you took the time to read my testimony and my blog. YAYYY!!! 😉 To answer your questions: The weather is getting colder here by the day. It’s Fall right now, and it gets pretty chilly at night. I am expecting to see snow between December and February. To be honest, I hate cold weather, and this was a big concern of mine also. However, the weather has been very similar to Atlanta thus far, and I think I can handle snow for just a few months out of the year. Especially when it’s BEAUTIFUL for the rest of the year!!! 3 months of cold – and 9 months of gorgeous weather is not so bad. I went hiking this past weekend – and the weather was PERFECT!!!!! It’s the end of October – and we still have sunny days, so I am still enjoying myself and the outdoors 😉 As far as food: Like you, I was VERY SCARED about the food!!!! I don’t eat fast food either – I can’t eat much starch or seafood – and I prefer to cook at home. I will say that finding certain things is hard – and can also be expensive!!!!!! I just took a trip to Costco on Sat. to buy some things that I can’t find in Jeonju (Turkey Meat, shrimp, albacore tuna, etc.) – I spent $23 on 8 cans of Albacore tuna – CRAZY!!! I know!!!! But – that’s what I like to eat, so it was worth it to me. $6.00 for peanut butter – etc. I brought back cheese and bacon for other people – A Huge block of Cheese was $20 – and Bacon was $18.00 – You get the idea. The E-mart in Jeonju has everything else I need – as far as fresh fruit, veggies and chicken breasts. I also eat soy products – which I have not been able to find in Jeonju or at the Costco. You may not be as picky as I am – but finding food to cook can be a little challenging. Also – please note that not many people speak ENGLISH!!!!! Which makes shopping even more difficult. You can’t really ask for help, and you won’t be able to read what you are buying!!!!!!!! I have managed to do pretty well – but you will have to adjust to your new environment – and shopping will be a part of that adjustment. It will certainly NOT be like shopping in the states at your local Kroger – or whatever grocery store you visit. Where to teach: I told my recruiter what kind of environment I liked – and she recommended Jeonju City – which was a PERFECT choice for me. I have visited Seoul – and I like to visit – but, I’m not sure if I would like to live there. I like Jeonju because it has a city atmosphere – but it’s not as busy and overcrowded as Seoul. I have CERTAINLY landed in a wonderful place – and I am soooo fortunate. I will say that Jeonju City has a GREAT nework of foreign teachers – and, I am assuming that every city in Korea does. If you reach out to people – which I HIGHLY recommend – you will be fine. You will adjust, you will learn a lot, and you will have fun!!!!!! Feel free to ask me any other questions. I will send another e-mail to your g-mail account, so we can continue talking through gmail.

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